Economic Perspectives with Hopeton Hay on KAZI 88.7 FM in Austin, TX

Archive for July, 2010

Book Review – Power Friending: Demystifying Social Media to Grow Your Business by Amber Mac

Posted by Hopeton on July 30, 2010

By Tim Chamberlain

If you think that your business can’t benefit from using tools like Facebook, Twitter or a plethora of other emerging social media tools, Amber Mac is out to prove you wrong with her new book, Power Friending.

Power Friending is aimed at businesspeople that may have considered joining the growing numbers of professional social media users but didn’t think they had the time, resources or knowledge to do so. Mac does an excellent job of covering the basics of this new way of interacting with customers, and in this way demystifies not only how this new technology works, but how it can be a huge benefit. While this book is a great primer for those new to social media, the number of tools, strategies and examples presented by Mac would benefit even relatively savvy users.

The most important section in Power Friending is Mac’s chapter on the ABCs of social media engagement: authenticity, bravery and consistency. You must have authentic interactions with your customers, be brave with both criticism and innovation, and have consistent engagement with your audience. The rest of Power Friending provides excellent support for these rules, mainly through the real-world stories of companies that have succeeded and failed in their social media forays.

However, Mac does get beyond the basics. As she demonstrates throughout, the strategy and execution of any social media campaign needs to be handled with care and forethought. Poorly planned and executed campaigns can seriously damage customer relationships. Also, whether your business is a large company or a one-person operation, Mac provides practical examples of what can be implemented on any budget or manpower level.

Mac is a new media journalist, speaker and consultant, and her obvious passion for this arena is evident throughout the book—her many examples and anecdotes come mainly from her own online experiences. Though she is an expert in this field, she never comes off as condescending or overly technical. Quite the opposite: Mac is able to describe the important concepts of social media engagement for a business in a very accessible way.

Amber Mac will be a guest on the August 2 Economic Perspectives, 5:50 p.m. – 6 p.m. on KAZI 88.7 FM.  Listen live at kazifm.org.

Posted in Interview, Radio, Social Media | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Managing Your Business Cash Flow and Social Media Focus of August 2 Economic Perspectives

Posted by Hopeton on July 29, 2010

Certified Public Accountant Philip Campbell will discuss 10 cash flow rules entrepreneurs can’t afford to ignore on the August 2 edition of Economic Perspectives on KAZI 88.7 FM, 5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. The second guest on Economic Perspectives will be Amber Mac, author of Power Friending: Demystifying Social Media to Grow Your Business.  Listen live online at kazifm.org.

Campbell has 27 years experience in business and is the author of Never Run Out of Cash: The 10 Cash Flow Rules You Can’t Afford to Ignore. He has served as an officer in a number of growing companies with revenues ranging from $5 million up to $900 million. He has been involved in the acquisition or sale of 33 companies, and an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.

Amber MacArthur is a new media host/producer, strategist, and speaker. Most recently Amber worked at Citytv as its New Media Specialist in 2006, reporting on new media and interactive news and trends on a national news program and hosting/producing Webnation, a half-hour current affairs program about internet culture. Prior to Citytv, Amber spent two years working as a TV host/producer with tech guru Leo Laporte at G4techTV, a national television channel entirely devoted to technology.

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Health Care Reform and Other Insurance Issues Focus of July 26 Economic Perspectives

Posted by Hopeton on July 24, 2010

Audrey Selden will discuss the latest trends and changes in insurance for consumers including the new federal health care reform law on the July 26 edition of Economic Perspectives, 5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. on KAZI 88.7 FM.  Selden is the Senior Associate Commissioner for Consumer Protection at the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI).  Listen live online at kazifm.org.

Audrey Selden

Some of the issues that will be discussed in the interview include:

  • TDI resources available to assist consumers on the web and by phone
  • Timeline for implementation of federal health care reform
  • Medicare’s prescription rebate program
  • Eligibility requirements for the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan

Selden oversees the TDI division that assists consumers with questions and disputes about insurance.  She chairs the Texas State Disaster Coalition and leads the agency’s disaster response efforts.  She is a graduate of Leadership Texas, a board member of the Foundation for Women’s Resources, and Board Development Committee member of the Girl Scouts of Central Texas Council.

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Listen to Interview with Author Richard Florida on How the Economic Crisis Will Change Our Society from July 25 KAZI Book Review

Posted by Hopeton on July 24, 2010

To listen to my interview with author and economic development expert Richard Florida on how the economic meltdown of 2008–09 will change what our economy, society, and geography will look like click here: Richard Florida Interview.  Florida was a guest on the July 25 edition of KAZI Book Review on KAZI 88.7 FM.  He is the author of The Great Reset: How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post-Crash Prosperity

Looking toward the future, Florida identifies the patterns that will drive the next Great Reset and transform virtually every aspect of our lives—from how and where we live, to how we work, to how we invest in individuals and infrastructure, to how we shape our cities and regions. Florida shows how these forces, when combined, will spur a fresh era of growth and prosperity, define a new geography of progress, and create surprising opportunities for all of us. Among these forces will be

  • new patterns of consumption, and new attitudes toward ownership that are less centered on houses and cars
  • the transformation of millions of service jobs into middle class careers that engage workers as a source of innovation
  • new forms of infrastructure that speed the movement of people, goods, and ideas
  • a radically altered and much denser economic landscape organized around “megaregions” that will drive the development of new industries, new jobs, and a whole new way of life

Florida is also the author of the global bestseller The Rise of the Creative Class and Who’s Your City?, a national and international bestseller and Amazon.com book of the month. He is a regular correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly and a regular columnist for The Globe and Mail. He has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Economist, and The Harvard Business Review.

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Sam’s Club Testing Online Small Business Loan Program

Posted by Hopeton on July 19, 2010

Existing small business owners and entrepreneurs with hopes of starting up continue to seek access to capital in the form of bank loans, yet are still struggling to land credit. Only half of small businesses that tried to borrow last year got all or most of what they needed, according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business. In the mid-2000s, 90% of businesses said they got the loans they needed.

To help support small business and its business members, Sam’s Club is testing an online program with Superior Financial Group, a Small Business Administration (SBA) lender, which would make $5,000 to $25,000 loans available to its members who qualify. In a November 2009 state of small business survey conducted by Sam’s Club, nearly 15 percent of its business members reported being denied a loan to run their operation, up from 12 percent in April 2009.

The Sam’s Club small business loan pilot program is a first-of-its-kind and will complement other offerings that cater to small business including low rate merchant credit card processing, convenient order-ahead programs and early shopping hours.

The Sam’s Club small business loan pilot will focus on serving Main Street minority, women and Veteran owned small business owners as well as micro-entrepreneurs under the SBA’s Premier Outreach Express products such as Community Express, Patriot Express and Export Express loans.

“Access to capital is a major pain point for our members and the small business Main Street community.  We believe this pilot program is a step in the right direction to help fuel small business growth and create jobs to stimulate our economy. It’s also simple to apply and costs less, which is consistent with our goal to help our members make smart choices and provide superior value,” said Catherine Corley, vice president, Membership at Sam’s Club.

SFG is one of only 13 approved Small Business Lending Corporations (SBLC) federally regulated by the SBA, and specializes in providing access to credit for Main Street and underserved borrowers. Additionally, SFG offers free online technical assistance and online training courses that specifically target the borrower’s weaknesses. The courses even include a “how to” on writing a business plan, complete with a business plan writing template.

“All Lenders are trying to make an impact on Main Street, which includes minorities, women and veterans to help create jobs. Main Street however remains the most difficult underserved market to reach, said Tim Jochner, CEO Superior Financial Group.“Sam’s Club together with SBA’s premier outreach express loan programs provides both a unique and powerful opportunity to reach and provide capital along with technical assistance and training to increase successful penetration into this underserved space.”

Sam’s Club members who apply for a small business loan online during the pilot will receive a $100 off the application fee, a 20 percent discount and a 7.5 APR, which is 25 basis point discount. The terms of the loans will remain at 10 years, which is common to help keep monthly payments low. There is no penalty for early repayment. Business memberships cost $35 annually at Sam’s Club.

While the majority of the Sam’s Club small business loan pilot program is to be delivered online, Sam’s Club will test some in club communication and other marketing efforts to reach business members and small business owners. For more information visit samsclub.com and click on the services tab.

Posted in Banking, Small Business Loans | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Role of Hedge Funds in Financial Crisis Focus of July 19 Economic Perspectives

Posted by Hopeton on July 18, 2010

Sebastian Mallaby, author of More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite, will be a guest on the July 19 edition of Economic Perspectives, 5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m., on KAZI 88.7 FM.  Listen live online at kazifm.org.

Based on Mallaby’s unprecedented access to the industry, including three hundred hours of interviews, More Money Than God tells the inside story of hedge funds, from their origins in the 1960s and 1970s to their role in the financial crisis of 2007-2009.

Finance professors have long argued that beating the market is impossible, and yet drawing on insights from physics, economics, and psychology, hedge fund moguls have cracked the market’s mysteries and gone on to earn fortunes. Their innovation has transformed the world, spawning new markets in exotic financial instruments and rewriting the rules of capitalism.

More than just a history, More Money Than God is a window on tomorrow’s financial system. Hedge funds have been left for dead after past financial panics: After the stock market rout of the early 1970s, after the bond market bloodbath of 1994, after the collapse of Long Term Capital Management in 1998, and yet again after the dot-com crash in 2000. Each time, hedge funds have proved to be. Banks such as CitiGroup, brokers such as Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, home lenders such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, insurers such as AIG, and money market funds run by giants such as Fidelity-all have failed or been bailed out. But the hedge fund industry has survived the test of 2008 far better than its rivals.

Mallaby has been a Washington Post columnist since 1999. From 1986 to 1999, he was on the staff of The Economist, serving in Zimbabwe, London, and Japan, and as the magazine’s Washington bureau chief. He spent 2003 as a Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and has written for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The New York Times, and The New Republic, among others.

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Book Review – The End of Wall Street by Roger Lowenstein

Posted by Hopeton on July 16, 2010

By Travis Kent

The End of Wall Street is the most complete historical account of the sub-prime mortgage crises that I have seen.  The author, Roger Lowenstein, is a contributing editor for The New York Times Magazine.  He conducted 180 interviews with government officials, Wall Street power brokers and heads of industry. The result is an easy to read and follow account of the time lines and decisions that helped lead the U.S. to it’s current economic state.

Mortgage lending in the U.S. has predominantly been an upfront money down, 30 year note market. Lenders (mostly bank’s at this time) historically adhered to tight underwriting standards and rarely took chances with their long term credit decisions often requiring as much as 33% down payment. Then in 1960 Beneficial Loan Society entered the market, lending to those with weaker credit and accepting 20% down payment. Since it accepted no deposits, Beneficial was outside the “purview of bank regulators.”  These were the early days of the sub-prime mortgage market.

What  Lowenstein captures is not just the high risk, profit hungry mindset of the 1990’s and 2000’s Wall Street banks and lenders. He also reveals the basis of Wall Street greed. Exotic mortgage backed securities packaged for sale to high worth and institutional investors. He provides insight by recapping the events that led to corporate bankruptcy and wall street brokerage failures. He goes behind the scenes with Federal Reserve Governors, Treasury Secretaries and CEO’s of long time stalwart Wall Street investment firms and provides a frightening disregard for conservative principles and basic common risk reward analysis.

Before we all rush to judgment and blame solely corporate and government greed, we also need to look at the demand for these products by consumers. As Lowenstein writes:

“The business (subprime mortgages) took off in states, like California, where housing was least affordable. Subprime catered, if not to the poor, then at least to the emergent middle class, the striving middle, and the upwardly covetous middle.”

” Eager Lenders such as Countrywide and New Century were hailed as suburban Johnny Appleseeds, planting mortgages in every backyard. ”

In the end, Lowenstein has provided us if nothing else, a fantastic work to provide future generations with historical perspective. His book is well written and, easy to read and although his timelines jump around as he changes perspectives, it is easy to follow.

Posted in Banking, Books, Business | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Number of Minority-Owned Businesses Increases but Economic Parity Remains Elusive

Posted by Hopeton on July 13, 2010

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and the U.S. Census Bureau today announced that the number of minority-owned firms increased by 46 percent to 5.8 million between 2002 and 2007 according to data from the Preliminary Estimates of Business Ownership by Gender, Ethnicity, Race and Veteran Status: 2007, from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 Survey of Business Owners.

David Hinson

“It is encouraging that the minority business community is growing and making progress relative to all U.S. firms, but economic parity remains elusive,” MBDA’s National Director, David A. Hinson said. “While the number of minority-owned businesses continues to grow, they are still smaller in size and scale compared to non-minority-owned firms.”

In 2007, average gross receipts for minority-owned firms increased to $179,000 from $167,000 in 2002 – still well below gross receipts for non-minority-owned firms, which had average gross receipts of $490,000.

“We must continue to close this gap,” Hinson said. “It is unacceptable, particularly during an economic crisis that disproportionately affects the minority business community, to have this ongoing disparity.”

As the nation’s population demographics change, so too has the United States business community. Specifically:

  • Between 2002 and 2007, the number of minority firms grew by 46 percent, compared to 18 percent for all U.S. firms, and compared to 13.7 percent growth for the minority population age 18 and older, during the same period.
  • Minority-owned firms employed approximately 5.9 million people in 2007, up from 4.7 million in 2002.
  • Asian-owned firms grew 41 percent to 1.6 million from 2002. Asian-owned firms continue to generate the highest annual gross receipts at $510.1 billion in 2007, increasing 56 percent from 2002.
  • The number of Hispanic-owned businesses totaled 2.3 million in 2007, up 44 percent from 2002. Receipts for Hispanic firms increased 55 percent to $343.3 billion.
  • Black, or African-American-owned businesses grew to 1.9 million firms in 2007, up 61 percent from 2002 – the largest increase among all minority-owned companies; and generated $135.6 billion in gross receipts, up 53 percent from 2002.
  • There were 237,203 American Indian and Alaska Native-owned businesses in 2007, up 18 percent from 2002, generating $34.2 billion in gross receipts, an increase of 27 percent.
  • Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islander-owned businesses totaled 38,854 in 2007, up 34 percent from 2002. While these firms’ reported the largest increase in receipts among all minority-owned firms in 2002 (63 percent), the total amount reached only $7 billion.
  • Minority-owned firms employed approximately 5.9 million people in 2007, up from 4.6 million in 2002.

“The data on minority business growth clearly shows that minority-owned and operated firms are a significant contributor to the long term health of the United States economy,” Hinson said. “We must aggressively grow minority-owned firms and assist them in contributing to President Obama’s goal of doubling exports over the next five years.”

The Obama Administration established the National Export Initiative earlier this year to support export and domestic jobs. Additionally, the Administration established the Interagency Task Force on Federal Contracting Opportunities for Small Businesses. With MBDA’s input, this task force will make recommendations to the President on how to increase government contracting opportunities for small and minority-owned businesses.

Minority-owned firms help fuel the engine that drives our economy and job creation. Success of the minority business community leads to the creation of more jobs, an expanded tax base, community benefits and global competitiveness. Their success will ultimately help drive the success and recovery of the American economy.

The Survey of Business Owners is conducted every five years as part of the economic census. The 2007 survey collected data from a sample of more than 2.3 million businesses. The collected data in a sample survey are subject to sampling variability as well as nonsampling errors. Sources of nonsampling errors include errors of response, nonreporting and coverage. More details concerning the SBO survey design, methodology and data limitations can be found at http://www.census.gov/econ/sbo/methodology.html.

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Interview with Co-Author of Taming Change with Portfolio Management from Economic Perspectives Available

Posted by Hopeton on July 12, 2010

I interviewed Pat Durbin, co-author of Taming Change with Portfolio Management on the second segment of the July 12 Economic Perspectives on KAZI 88.7 FM. To listen to the interview click here: Pat Durbin Interview.

In this book Durbin and co-author Terry Doerscher addressed critical issues, such as:

  • Sharpening the focus of the organization to define and execute strategic decisions
  • Restoring the balance between the demands placed on the organization and the resource capacities needed to meet them
  • Establishing powerful metrics that drives management accountability
  • Improving communications to unify the organization behind common objectives
  • Reducing politics and interdepartmental silos
  • Conducting effective investment analysis
  • Minimizing the inefficiencies inherent in multi-tasking matrix organizations
  • Addressing the changing make up of today’s workforce and how it impacts organizations
  • Defining methods to prove the value created from putting strategies into practice

The authors bring to the readers more than 50 years of combined experience in implementing portfolio management initiatives in a variety of organization types, sizes and industry sectors around the world.

Durbin is the Chief Executive Officer and founder of Planview, Inc., a leading developer of portfolio management solutions. Durbin has worked with such companies as Deutsche Bank, Citigroup and Farmer’s Insurance to help align work, resources, and business objectives across their enterprise.

Posted in Books, Business, Interview, Management, Radio | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Book Review – Click: The Magic of Instant Connections

Posted by Hopeton on July 11, 2010

I interviewed Rom Brafman, the co-author of Click: The Magic of Instant Connection, on KAZI Book Review today, and I was so impressed with what he had to say that I decided to write this quick review of his book.

Have you ever had that experience where you just instantly connected with someone?  Do you wish you knew how you were able to do it so you could do it again to close a business deal or persuade a donor to make that big contribution?  If you answered yes to the preceding questions you may want to read, Click: The Magic of Instant Connections by Ori and Rom Brafman.

In this book, Ori and Rom demystify the topic by showing you through true stories why some people are able to quickly connect, and provide chapter-by-chapter directions on how to accelerate the process of connecting with people.  But this book is about more than instant connections.  From the two scientists at Bell Labs that invented the modern microphone to the core group of four players at The University of Florida that led their team to two straight NCAA national championships in 2006 and 2007, Ori and Rom illustrate how the power of connection can help a group accomplish great things.

Unlike many business books on the market, Click is written for a mass audiences (you don’t need an advanced degree to understand them).  It’s 8 chapters and conclusion encompass only 190 pages.  And beginning in chapter two, a chart illustrating the key points made in the book in the previous chapters so far are shown right before the narrative for each chapter begins.

So what credentials do the Brothers Brafman bring to writing this book?  Rom is a psychologist in private practice with a PhD from The University of Florida and Ori is an organizational business consultant with an MBA from Standford University.  After reviewing their book, it is clear that they have cross pollinated their disciplines to write an informative book.  I highly recommend it.

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