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Old 04-30-2009, 07:58 AM   #21
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Arif, great to see you posting again!

If you feel comfortable in sharing, please tell us about your business. Has the downturn in the economy hurt your revenue?
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Old 04-30-2009, 06:27 PM   #22
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Hey Ken!
Well as you know I bought a pool service/maintenance company in San Antonio. We've grown about 34% from November of last year and this month we qualified to work on home warranty calls. The lady that manages the region including Texas said we should be able to get about 500 calls per year. I just hired a new guy last week to handle the increase workload.
One thing I have noticed is that new prospects are more price sensitive than they were last summer. Some just want us to come out an teach them how to take care of their pool rather than sign up for weekly cleanings.
We're still using that finder's fee from the pool store with great success though.

I think in this environment you must think out of the box. What worked last year might not work today so you have to adapt and over come. Just like in the military.
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Old 04-30-2009, 06:38 PM   #23
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Quote:
Hi again, Arif. Welcome back!

No, I don't use the Robot Portfolio. I have long been interested in mechanical schemes, though and this deep value one interests me. I have been waiting for a bust like this to see how it would fare in a downdraft--and this one is a monster!

Good timing, man! I hope your business is doing well. (It wouldn't take much to do better than stocks.)

I have been thinking of using a little of my pot to start a small business, too. How could it be more risky than what we are experiencing?

Cheers,

Ed
Hey Ed!
Sorry I didn't see this post when I replied to Ken.
So the 34% drop was a model port? I would be interested to see how the robot is doing year to date.
Some say buying a small business is risky but after this downturn I beg to differ. Due your homework and anticipate you'll lose about 20% of the customers and plan accordingly. It was a steep learning curve during a very busy time of year (June) and we made some mistakes and brought some new ideas. This June will mark our 1 year anniversary in business and we anticipate atleast doubling our gross revenue.
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Old 04-30-2009, 10:09 PM   #24
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Hi, Arif,

I just read what I wrote and I can see I was not clear. Gotta try again.

My personal retirement pot was down 34% in 2008.

I am not using a mechanical system, just my own seat-of-the-pants ideas:
70% equities, 30% bond funds, CDs, etc.
Equities 50/50 US/foreign.
Bond funds also 50% US, 50% foreign.
Equities mostly VG funds, but also have BP and Chevron for oil/energy today, plus BRK-B (not a good buy).

And so forth.

Even having taken a hit, I am still happy with my approach.

Well done with your business!

I am thinking of starting a small business myself. I took such a big hit with a decent portfolio, why not take a risk with a few grand?
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Old 04-30-2009, 10:31 PM   #25
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Ed,
If you don't mind me asking. What type of business are you looking to get into?
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Old 05-01-2009, 06:43 AM   #26
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Hi, Arif,

A friend and I have been doing the planning for setting up a small lab to provide services for a niche market. Our circumstances are such that it will not take much to set this up. He knows the market well and has credentials and contacts. At this time all I risk is a few grand and some of that could be recovered by reselling the equipment if it doesn't work out.

And it looks like I will have the time to manage this since I have been out of work for 4 months with no serious prospects. Engineering is in bad shape at the moment. I may be retired and don't know it yet.

Ed
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Old 05-01-2009, 07:27 AM   #27
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Sounds like you and your friend have the technical side down pat. Just be sure to keep an eye on the financials, ie. cashflow timing, etc.
Sorry to hear about the job search. But maybe that will give you time to focus on making the business a success. Just like Michael Bloomberg. He was let go from one of the brokerage houses and decided to start up his own company and the rest my friend is history.
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Old 05-01-2009, 03:29 PM   #28
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Yes!

I am not going to spend a penny until the business plan is complete. I don't want something to come out and bite me.

Positive cash flow is the first order of business.
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