Photo Shoot – Alaska!

Dave Weatherholt brings photographer and owner of Alaska Stock Images, Jeff Schultz, onto the show today. Jeff talks about the exciting life of being a photographer with his own business.

Dave starts the show with the questions, “What makes a good employee?” and reports on an innovative article to help small businesses know their hiring practices will ensure they recruit great employees.

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Photo Shoot – Alaska!

Discovering Latent Revenue

Entrepreneurs Sydney Mitchell Dawn Walsh talk with David Weatherholt about their venture: a shoe store for women who love shoes beyond reason. Their store, Shoefly + Hudsons, is in Juneau, AK and appeals to shoe lovers in many creative ways– including hosting private parties.

David also talks economic news, using his experience dealing with recessions to encourage businesses. Paul Foutz joins David later in the show to discuss the Alaskan economy and what’s ahead in the coming year.

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Discovering Latent Revenue

Selling Cold Drinks

Necessity, the Mother of Invention

This path followed, sometimes reluctantly, by brave or desperate individuals driven to make a difference can have a dramatic impact on not only themselves, but sometimes their community and even the world. True entrepreneurs, like heroes, often are simply trying to survive using their own instincts, which can lead to astounding feats while all along they are simply doing their jobs. Setbacks, recessions, down cycles, or just plain bad luck can either defeat or inspire the choice made at an individual level. The choice to move forward (choosing inspiration) requires taking that first step, then the next, and so on until you reach a different point from where you started. This, in a nutshell, is what entrepreneurship is all about, simply doing what it takes to survive. How many businesses do you know of that started this way?

Business innovation takes place all over the world. In Vietnam during the war, I found myself driving a large truck in a convoy that strained under heavy loads to climb the steep grade of An Khe Pass. The pace was so slow that you could literally walk to the next truck and borrow a cigarette. The trucks labored in the sweltering heat to reach the summit of the pass. The trip was long, hot, and treacherous, however, at the summit, in the middle of nowhere, was a vender selling cold drinks. In a war zone, on a road that snaked its way to the Cambodian border in the heart of North Vietnamese Army (NVA) controlled areas in sweltering heat and humidity with no electricity, stood a man and women next to an ice chest selling cold drinks to thirsty drivers. They didn’t do this just to see our smiling faces but were driven by necessity.

Their necessity sheds a different light on our current economic downturn. Many of us are experiencing real pain and anguish over our businesses. Waking in the middle of the night straining restlessly to figure out how we will make it through another day. This is the fertile valley of innovation and many of you are coming up with truly inspiring ideas.

The enterprising owners of a women’s shoe store located in Juneau, Alaska developed the idea of using their store for birthday parties. Their website claims; “You can schedule your own shoe party after-hours at Shoefly + Hudsons! It’s a great idea for celebrating birthdays, wedding parties, summer and more. You bring your own food and drink, and we provide shoenistas and shoes!” This idea created a whole new revenue source with very little in the way of costs.

The innovative owner of ESSpa and Organic SkinCare located in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania needed a quick cash infusion. In a single day she raised $30,000 by pre-selling spa services at a discount. A dentist who developed a “Dentspa” states on their website, “State-of-the art technology, a warm, inviting atmosphere, and an array of spa amenities combine to provide you the highest quality care in the ultimate relaxation setting.”

This is another example of a truly different and innovative spin on a routine business. Then there is the story of an entrepreneur who sold high-end designer t-shirts very successfully, but the economic downturn slowed business to a trickle. They spurred sales by using an innovative discount tied to the Dow Jones Industrial average combined with steep price reductions. Not all changes result in immediate success but taking action is the most important step. What can you do differently with your business?

Is there a new market for your products or services, or possibly a different business opportunity out there that you haven’t considered? Changing your business model is not always a bad idea. Every business that successfully makes it past their first five years usually has changed significantly from the business that it started as. In the beginning of a business, product or service knowledge was your advantage but now that you have demonstrated success operating a business, look for ways to replicate that success using your business experience to engage in and promote other business ideas and opportunities. Tell me, what ideas have you tried or have heard about?