Strange Days Are Upon Us

I was sitting, writing the other day and came up with a really awesome idea. What if I came up with a character to play in live segments who was otherworldly and read books? So I set out to design a persona I could portray on youtube,Instagram, and Facebook. Well, it took three of us to come up with the right character type.

The day before yesterday, I was talking to Sunny, my cover artist, and he suggested an Incubus/Reaper…sort of a Soul Reaver.  Thus, Souljourner was born.  The projected “show” is entitled Souljourner’s Dark Story Time. I will be reading  stories, recommending books, and whatever else I can think of as Souljourner.

I am not sure exactly how long the little vignettes will be, but I do know that there will be a lot of mischief and mayhem, trying recipes, introducing new books, and talking to Headley.

Souljourner:

Souljourner template

Headley:

718YHnaQBKL._UY500_

Who knows? I may even share really great music…

Just a reminder

For those who want to keep up with my entrepreneurial side, please feel free to visit the following blog. There are shared emails dealing with costs of different projects, what my future plans hold, and so on. in time, you will even be able to connect to the weebly site and buy goods…or I might try a social experiment and sell right from the blog…

https://jaytruebloodbooksmusicandmore.wordpress.com/2016/10/29/tee-shirts-hoodies-etc/

 

A small poll

I need some input here. I am thinking about creating some promo items and want to know what you, the reader,  would be most interested in.

The first idea is action figures depicting some of my characters from most of my books. Although I feel this could possibly draw a small crowd, I need to know whether or not there is interest.

The second idea is possibly having shirts and hoodies created with the book covers and/or characters on them or maybe other possible promo logos.

The third is posters.

The fourth is costumes.

I have other ideas, but these are the first four just to get things started.

The books/series’s I want to start with:

Angel of Death

The Faust Syndrome

A Month of Thanksgiving

Tales From the Renge

Later, I will explore the other stories and books. These are the ones I want to start with. Good idea? Bad Idea? Please give me a little verbal input. I would appreciate it.

New Ideas on Ethics: Being the First to Sacrifice

New Ideas on Ethics: Being the First to Sacrifice

In my first article, I introduced you to some of the “new” ethics concepts. The first of these, though I put it near the end of my list of facts, is management’s being the first to make sacrifices in a time of corporate crisis. This is known as being fiscally responsible. It also goes hand-in-hand with never paying one self any more than you believe your employees to be worth.
If this last point was in use, then there would be less use to make unnecessary sacrifices to keep your business from failure, and most slumps could be faced with a surety that the company would not fail because there would be enough past profits left in the bank account to keep it running through any hard times. Unfortunately, too many within top management believe that, in a time of prosperity, they can afford to take pay raises and soon these raises drain the company’s reserves and when crisis hits, they have grown too accustomed to their high salaries and refuse to see that they need to make the first cuts in their own pocket books.
After all, a company is only as good as those who are in charge. If they do not take enough care to establish a solid account for the business, then the business is doomed to fail. I don’t care how prosperous it had been before the crisis, it will fail. But, if the top management are always aware that a crisis could arise at any time, even after massive success, and wipe their company out, then they will be careful to build the company coffers up first and forego any raises in their salaries.
With this said, a salary should never exceed $100,000 per year for any. This keeps them on equal footing with their employees and keeps them humble enough to understand that tomorrow’s fortunes are never assured us. All we have is today’s success or failure, no more and no less.
If this fiscal responsibility is put into practice, there should never be a need to cut jobs or production. If all top salaries are kept relatively low, then most of the profits are going back into the company to bolster and strengthen it. Let’s examine this idea with the following order of how things should be done.

1. Pay all bills. This includes loans, investors, and running costs.
2. Pay all employees. Yes, this also includes top management, but not huge salaries. Never pay management more than what the average worker is making. If they want top salary, they must make sure they are also willing to risk sinking the business by paying everyone the same salary they are wanting to give themselves.
3. Community involvement. This is whatever organization you wish to associate your company with.
4. The majority of the profits should go straight back into the company it self. This will ensure that you still have your job 5-20 years down the road.

Fact: a fiscally responsible management team realizes that company will either succeed or fail based on what they demand as a salary. In a time of crisis, it is their salary, not the common worker, that costs the company the most. The view of one standard of pay, across the board, for all, is a policy that will see any company through any hard times that come its way.
Fact: a fiscally responsible management team understands that the bills always come first. Running a business is a lot like running a household. The bills always must be paid, or nothing can get done. Among these bills, other than utilities, are contracts with suppliers, investors (if your company is publicly traded or if you opened your business with outside help) and lenders who have put money into your business, taxes, advertising, and internet marketing just to name a few.
Fact: fiscally responsible leaders will lead by example and be able to help their employees make sound financial decisions through setting an example in the company first and in their own behavior second. In this, I mean that a company that offers profit sharing options, a 401K, and anything else that makes good business sense is going to have financially stable employees as well as management. At the same time, the employees will feel as if they are part of a team, not just a name in a file. Many new companies are already beginning this trend of “sharing” and are finding that their employees tend to be much happier and feel more fulfilled as workers.
Fact: fiscally responsible leaders realize that their workforce is their most valuable resource. Without it, they would have no company, and thus, would not have the success they have. Employees should never be the first option in crisis as what to cut back on and the first to be listened to when there is a need. The only reasons to let an employee go, and it should never be just an excuse or unfounded, is either for theft and the inability or unwillingness to follow rules or do their job. Laying off workers should never cross a responsible employer’s mind unless everything else has been tried and there is no saving the business. Yet, if most of the business’ profits are constantly being re-invested into the business, then you should never enter a point of no return.
Fact: fiscally responsible leaders will see that it is more important to take care of the health and well-being of their workforce than it is to save by not offering health coverage.
Fact: fiscally responsible leaders never look for shortcuts. Relocating jobs should never ever be an option. Neither should finding cheaper labor or using temporary staffing services. Fiscally responsible leaders know these are a waste of money and time. They know that shortcuts end up costing more in the long run that just simply sticking with the workforce you already have.
Fact: fiscal responsibility means that you never pay yourself more than you pay your workers. A flat salary, across the board, is more fiscally sound than paying out millions on a bunch of desk jockeys who have no clue how to run anything in the company.
Fact: a fiscally responsible leader works alongside his or her main work force and has an intimate knowledge of how everything in the company works. It is only common sense to know your system so that you know what changes can and can not be made to it. Sitting behind a desk and dreaming up ideal changes is not keeping in touch with how your company runs. It is dreaming of things that won’t work. Only by knowing can you make informed decisions.
Fact: fiscal responsibility heralds a strong and successful company that is sure of its place in the market. It ensures that the company, and her employees, will remain active for decades, not just a few years. In essence, it will keep the company stable even when others are unstable. It will keep work going for those who depend on it for their livelihoods, including the management.
Fact: fiscally responsible management always listens to their workers. Sadly, all too often, management loses touch or stops caring about their employees and make useless changes that only serve to hamper and impede progress, then begin letting go of staff who can not make it work instead of abandoning the notion that their new process will work. They stop listening to the feedback given by their people and start thinking that they alone hold the answers. It is at this point that they have already wasted more money in wasting the time they have vainly fought to keep a change in place. They have cost their company precious time and money in enforcing something that does not work.
When management listens to their workers, they can form conclusions based on multiple viewpoints and decide whether a change is worth keeping or if it would just save time, effort, and money to go back to the original way of getting the job done.
Armed with these facts, we should-then-be able to better manage a business. When we fail to change how we view things, we fail to progress. Without progress, we are doomed to fail. To put it another way, if we do not learn from the mistakes of those who came before, we are doomed to repeat them.

New Ideas On Ethics: An Introduction To Old Rules Drawn From Common Sense

New Ideas On Ethics: An Introduction To Old Rules Drawn From Common Sense

Ethics. The word, as it is defined by Webster, is simply stated as moral standards. Most of us think of equal pay and equal treatment or-in essence-equal opportunity for all despite age (within reason), race, gender, belief, sexual preference, or ability as the overall embodiment of ethics. We believe, to some extent, that we have achieved this status of equality today in business. But have we?
It has been proven that-even today-age, gender, and race determine your pay. Family name, sexual preference, age, gender, beliefs, and race also factor into whether you are picked for management or even hired at times as well. Sadly, even current knowledge factor in. There is even discrimination due to a person’s last name. If their parent is known for some peculiar or less than savory personality quirk, or if their parent is a known felon, the person runs the risk of not being able to find work in an area. Sad, but true. Your name can be used against you, and often is by prospective employers should they know the reputation of others in your family. Is this wrong? Yes, but it happens nonetheless.
Now, we are also faced with being overqualified for positions that we need certain knowledge for as well as under qualified. There is no longer such a thing as training a new employee with the right amount of knowledge for a job. It has to already be learned and even then you risk not getting the job because you know too much. You can’t know too much, you can’t know too little. But there is nothing to gauge what is the right amount.
For instance, it has been proven that women are paid less than men for the same amount of work. Never mind qualifications, never mind it is the same basic job, they still are paid less. Many employers will hire minorities for less than what they would pay a white laborer. Of course, this has been a trend in American business since the onset of the Industrial Age. It was no longer enough to pay their current employees (who earned little more than slave wages) such low wages, they hired on cheaper labor. They imported it in the form of the Chinese laborers who built our railroads and much of this country. This trend has even been kept alive today by importing low wage workers from Mexico, allowing illegals to work with a promise of protecting them from deportation instead of actually helping them earn legal status. Yet, now, businesses are even leaving the shores of this country to find their “cheap” labor.
There is a major problem with this practice. Yes, the logic they use is faulty. They are not really saving anything. The problem is this: no matter how much money you try to save through this practice, you spend it out trying to fix faulty products made through substandard labor which is a by-product of seeking cheaper labor, parts, and manufacturing methods. Cutting corners will not solve your company’s woes, it will only end up causing more problems than you have solved.
Another disturbing trend in companies today is their sudden interest in hiring help through temporary staffing services instead of looking for solid, hard working people willing to work reasonable hours for a reasonable wage or salary and health insurance for them and their families. Instead, companies seek to cut costs by no longer offering health benefits and cutting to temporary staffing needs instead of full time happy workers who can get more done than any part-time worker.
In the long run, these temporary staffing places cost a company more. The staffing turns out inferior products, causing a rise in cost to the company. The contracts with staffing services also cost the company in the long run. And it all costs the company the most as their reputation and quality of product begins to see the damage done by faulty business practices.
I know, in this current age of social consciousness, that what I have been saying is shocking, but it is true. It is even hard for us to understand how corporate heads who claim to be so ethical could act so unethically. Many seem to think themselves to be above the law, when they really aren’t. They should strictly adhere to the very rules they expect their employees to obey, but tend to ignore the very rules they try to impose. They even seem to ignore rules set by the government to regulate-in a limited way-safety, welfare of the workers, wages, and even behavior. Even the limitation on how large a company can get is ignored.
Today, entertainment is divided among only three big companies. Television and radio is split among just as few companies. Our own media is split between only two. Any who try to rise without being linked to these select corporations are forced out of business or forced to merge with them even though there are anti-trust and anti-monopoly laws in effect in this country. This, also, is unethical practice.
Fact: ethics demand that every corporate head act responsibly. Yet, when crisis strikes, the first thing to go is personal responsibility. It seems to always be replaced with a blaming of “high” wages for the employees, never with their own gluttonous greed which is mirrored in their million-dollar salaries, million-dollar severance packages, top-of-the-line retirement benefits, and best-in-the-world health care options which are never passed down to their employees.
Fact: if one acts ethically, they are the first to make sacrifices. As head of a company, they should be the first to take a pay cut, and this cut should always be the largest of any pay cut. They should always search for other ways to handle a financial crisis, leaving lay-offs as the very last and most drastic resort.
Fact: in ethics, the employee is always seen as your most precious resource. They are more precious to you than anything else. Without your employees, you have no one to keep your company going. No work gets done. No products are made. Nothing can be sold, no profits made. Yet, it seems as if company heads currently see their employees as either a tradable commodity or an expendable temporary resource they can simply write off as a loss whenever they need to cut costs.
Fact: ethics demands equal payment throughout the company. In other words, a CEO should never make more than he believes his employees are worth. How is this worth measured? It is measured in the wages or salaries they earn. If you pay an employee minimum wage, then you-as the head of the company-are not worth paying more than minimum wage. It is as simple as that. Always be willing to live on the same pay you give your employees.

Fact: ethics demands that all are treated equal within the company. Even the lowliest machinist is as valuable to the company as the highest member of the senior staff. It does not matter whether they are man, woman, teen or adult; black, white, yellow or brown; Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Shinto, or Christian; or whether they are homosexual or straight. All are equal within the bounds of ethics. All should be shown respect and honor. Their language should not matter either.
Fact: ethics demands that even management be willing to work “on the line”. In other words, management should be able to work anywhere within the company. They should be able to run the machines, do warehousing, whatever aspect within the company that they are called to do. They should never see their job description as being a desk jockey. The only way to make ethically sound decisions in times of change is to know how everything runs. One can not make a truly sound decision on, say, streamlining the systems if they do not first understand how the systems actually run in their current configuration. Changes never work as planned if you do not have first-hand knowledge on what you are about to change.
Fact: ethics demands you talk to your employees. This means you need to get your employees’ input on changes before you implement them. Also, outside points of view can point out any flaws before things are done rather than finding costly flaws during or after putting it into practice.
Fact: ethics demands that, in order for you to lead, you must also be willing to serve. Service comes in many forms. Power is not something you lord over everyone, it is not necessarily the ability to fire, but it is knowing that you have that ability, but never exercising it. It is knowing that you carry the heaviest load and showing your employees how to handle a task and handling it well.
Now, I know I have pointed out a few very shocking, but it is all basic common sense. Rarely, do you see a CEO on the line. They tend to believe that their job is to “crunch the numbers.” Yet they tend to not have all the facts and are out of touch with their workers. The only way to truly know “the numbers” is to be out there doing with those you hire to work for you and to know how everything in your company actually works and what role each employees really serves in.
It is a foreign concept to think of the company head’s position as a position of service, but it is. They, after all, serve as an example. They also serve as our leaders, our guides, our mentors in business. And yet, so few actually realize that the examples they set through extravagant salaries and lavish lifestyles are actually what gives their employees the idea they can steal from the company.
How? Well, look at it from this angle. An employee sees his boss in a nice new $500 suit. The thought in his mind is that the company must be doing rather well in order for his boss to have a salary that would afford him a $500 suit, thus planting in his mind the idea that “the company won’t miss the stapler” or “the company won’t miss the metal file” or the metal or whatever it is he steals from the company. Thus, employees are more apt to steal from a company where there is wasteful top salaries and wantonly flashy shows of “success among their superiors.

Let’s take a minute and examine this concept of “wasteful salaries”. What exactly is a wasteful salary? Well, let me explain. When GM and the big three auto makers were begging to be bailed out by the government, the last thing they looked at was where they could have cut their spending in the first place. They had closed plants, laid off thousands of workers, and stopped making certain models of their cars. What one thing could the have done to cut costs even further?
The one thing they did not even think of doing. They never cut the top salaries. At the time they were going through the bailout, the CEO of GM was making somewhere between $1.5 million and $4million and had a severance package worth almost as much. Who is really worth this amount? No one. Not one CEO is worth millions of dollars to any company. They are only worth that amount in their own minds. Their salaries eat up most of a company’s profits, leaving little to operate on and yet, the first to go is the lowest employees, not the CEO. Never do they once ever think of taking a pay cut. They believe that they are worth that to the company, even though they are the reason the company is folding…both financially and from within.
No one is worth millions to run a company. As I have already stated, a CEO is only worth what he is willing to pay his employees. Never more. And though there are instances where a CEO is worth less than his employees (and this is enough reason to dismiss him), we are not going to go into that here. Had I been on the board of directors for either, or had I been involved with the committee sent to oversee the proper use of the bailout money, I would have pressed for the firing of each CEO and a restructure of top salaries to a reasonable level. But I was not, and what has been done is already done.
What can be done is a swift change in the direction of our thoughts and methods. We can change business methods and ethics to match what is good and what will be most profitable. We can put into the past the old ways and begin to work on build anew. If we do not change things soon, there will be many more businesses fail because the lessons from those who came before have not been learned and we have failed to see that business can not continue to be done the way it has been done for well over a century. If we truly wish to regain prosperity, we mist be willing to usher in change, both in how we view ethics and how we enact it within our businesses and our lives.
We can no longer afford to view success as having $1.5 to $4 million salaries. We must start viewing success as having a business worth millions, and a rewarding life because we have begun to show how to truly run our businesses. We must also learn to save our earnings so that we can build for our later years and honestly build it to a level that will allow us to live comfortably within reason.

Ideas In Business

IDEAS IN BUSINESS: INTRODUCTION
By Jason L. Peterman

Entrepreneur: a person who organizes and manages a business undertaking, assuming the risk for sake of the profit. (Webster’s New World Dictionary)

According to Webster, I am an entrepreneur. I have decided to organize and manage my own business. In a way, I seek to profit from it, but not exactly in the same ways as the traditional sense. I want to see it successful both as a business and as an ideal. Personally, I do not want to profit from the running of the business as much as I want to profit from remaining completely immersed in it, doing different tasks within the business rather than being paid to keep a seat behind a desk warm.
Let me elaborate. So many CEOs get paid millions of dollars for being desk jockeys. They sit and crunch the numbers, never realizing that the millions they get paid for being the top of the food chain should be put back into the business. No, I am not claiming that all of it should, but the vast majority should. Why? Because those millions should be for the preservation of the company, not the preservation of a decadent and showy lifestyle. Business could use with a little modesty. Modesty in top salaries. Modesty when dealing with the public.
I am not recommending that there should be enacted an austerity clause into every top management pay. But lack of profit is equal in proportion to the excess that goes into each top management salary. Let me ask a question: who suffers most from these extravagant salaries? It isn’t the people being paid the salary. No, it is the worker who ensures that the company still has products to sell or services to render.
My point? Simple. No one in business management is worth millions. No one. My solution? Cut the top salaries to sustain the business. Raise lower worker wages to encourage harder work. Supply health and retirement benefits for all, not just those at the top.
The number one reason that most businesses fail? Gluttonous misappropriation of profits. What does this mean? Simple. Each “successful” business that has either folded or who had to ask the government for bailout money during the last recession had one thing in common.
What was that one thing they had in common? Simple. Their CEOs and top management were making well over $1million in yearly salaries for mismanaging the business. In some instances, the CEO-alone-was making $4.5 million or more and was making errors in judgment where projects and/or products were concerned. These company heads had severance packages worth even more than that. Even worse, they were allowed to keep those severance packages and salaries even after they were given bailout money. And they were still paid, after their companies-if their companies- went under. This should not have been allowed, ever. They ran their companies into the ground, they should have taken the biggest hit, financially.
As an entrepreneur, I set out to figure out how best to solve this discrepancy. Even when I found an answer, I was criticized for not thinking about those who have earned their level of pay. Why? Because I expressed that a company should do one simple thing: offer a single, across the board salary set at a level that is actually $15,000 more than was expected by a CFO candidate early on in my attempts to start my business. His desire was for $100,000 a year. Ok, why not offer all a salary of $115,000 per year? No one is getting more than anyone else at this level and it offers a good incentive to work hard, no matter what position they hold.

At this point, you’re probably saying “but hold on! What about you, the owner and CEO?” As CEO, if I were to put myself under this salary, would make no more than the man or woman in distribution or in duplication/manufacturing. But I will not be on salary.
Why? For several reasons. First, I am a writer. I will be making money off books and articles. Second, I am an actor. I will be making money from roles I play or shows I am involved in. thirdly, I am a musician. I will be making money off every CD I release and every concert I perform. I could go on here, but you get the picture.
You’re probably saying now “but wait, you’ll still be making more than your employees. True, but I will also give them the same opportunities. As you have probably figured out by now, I am trying to open my own entertainment company.
So what exactly goes into an entertainment company? What do they sell? What is their market?
Let’s take time to break the company down. I suppose I should clarify that I want to build an entertainment PRODUCTION company as opposed to entertainment management, promotion, or agency. Of course, with production, there is a little of the others, but I am not simply promoting or recording…or even filming. I am also selling, distributing and finding the components that go into film, television, and music.
I simply term my company and entertainment company, since I want to do more than just produce. My company includes every aspect: the production, the distribution, the promotion, the discovery of the talent, the educating of the next generation on the industry.
This means that my products are simply stated as follows: for music, CDs and online music sales; for film, theatrical releases of movies, DVDs and online streaming; for television, the production and broadcasting of television programming as well as online streaming and marketing to other broadcasting companies; radio, production of programming, broadcast and marketing of that programming; and for publishing-publishing music and entertainment related magazines, publishing music, publishing book and comic books, and the distribution thereof both in stores and online in every possible form.
I list this because when I submitted my two-year business projections, I was told that I did not list what my products were. Granted, I did not break it down this much, but I did break down the costs and the returns. My original breakdown was this: music, television, film, publishing, radio. If a company invests funds into these sectors, what does it usually sell? Maybe I see things more simply as those who try to match numbers with traditional ideals. I am involved in the industry, so I know what I am selling under those headings. I go and buy DVDs. I go to the theater. I buy CDs. And, every now and then, I go to a concert. I know the cost of a ticket, a CD, a DVD, and even a download. Do I have to break even these costs down for a lender? I know I shouldn’t, if they have spent any time doing whatever the average consumer does, but it seems that this is what they expect. Just as it seems as if they expect a full break down of every aspect of a business so that they can understand exactly what kind of business it is.
I know, I seem to be ranting, but I am not. I explained, to the best of my ability within my simplified business plan, what I was going to be doing as a corporation. I also gave my biggest competitors: Universal Entertainment, DreamWorks, Fox, Imagine…I could have listed all of Hollywood, but only listed three or four companies. And, still, I could not get across what kind of company I am trying to start.
My projections were done with a conservative view on profits, putting them at the break-even level. Assuming that a movie, through ticket sales brings in $1million in sales weekly, and the company’s take is 10%, I multiplied this percentage (about $100,000 per film) times the number of films I intended to market to the public and distribute to the theaters. I had figured that I could easily license at least 5 films and 5 straight to DVD productions at first and build to low budget in-house productions after a certain length of time. This meant that I would also have to raise the actual budget at a certain time as well, but that was something I did not figure in right away. In the first six months, while the main facilities of the company are slated to be under construction, I intend to sign licensing agreements with producers and production companies that have market-ready films, thus cutting some of the costs of production.
Still, taking into consideration each possible mode of sales, it is easy to figure that a company can easily make back the investment they have made in a certain project or number of projects on a weekly basis and thus make a rather large profit in the end. Yet, after figuring this, and the estimates for all the other groupings (music, television, radio, and publishing) with every possible market as well, I found that it was possible to have double the profits weekly without compromising any.
In fact, I found, by the end of the projections, that I would be able to make more than I had originally projected in my less descriptive projections (I had done a standard two-year projection, but was asked to break things down more). At the end of my final projections, I included the following:
At the end of year one: repayment of investors, Iowa state tax, federal tax, benefits, community involvement funds, and family loan repayment.
At the end of year two: state taxes, federal taxes, benefits, and community involvement funds.
I did not opt for deferred taxes. If my projections are right, I didn’t need to. I did the full 60% for federal and a 7% for Iowa State. Even at this, I still came out ahead. Even with paying triple ($300,000,000 per $100,000,000 invested) what the investors would which equaled a $600,000,000 total for two investors (would rise to 900,000,000 for three, and so on.). So the full year-end totals looked like this:
Year one
Pretax total: $49,256,453,259.50
Year-end total after loans and investors paid: $48,656,258,259.50
Total after benefits: $30,656,258,259.50
Total after federal taxes (at 60%): $12,262,503,303.80
Total after Iowa State taxes (7%): $11,404,128,072.53
Total after community involvement: 304,128,072.53.
Community involvement would include such things as sponsored workshops, local and regional charities, scholarships, etc.
Year two
Pretax total: $ 207,998,700,353.10
Total after federal taxes (at 60%): $83,199,480’141.40
Total after Iowa State taxes (at 7%) $77,375,516,531.50
Total after community involvement: $7,375,516,531.50
Total after educational fund: $3,687,758,265.75
Total after benefits: $687,758,265.75
I thought this was both well estimated, even from a “break-even” stand point, and well thought out. I covered all the majors. Even the $115,000 salary per employee, which was broken down weekly, starting at the 100 employee level to start, then doubling as the projections showed I could…except in the second year projections.
But the microloan lender decided that these figures were “unbelieveable” and that they could not finance me due to this point. Perhaps they were confused as to what I was actually going to be doing. Perhaps they had thought that I was just simply opening another studio or promotions agency. I cannot begin to understand their reasoning. Whatever they were thinking, it was not a realistic view of my business or its capabilities.
Still, I am undaunted. Determined. Persistent. I am still searching for the one lender who will get the ball rolling for me.
Even though my credit is lacking, this should not stand in the way of some lender who can see the big picture instead of just the numbers. I have no credit, financially. What credit I might have had was destroyed by personal events that I have since learned from. It was also not allowed to grow due to the job market recession we just went through. I have had to endure seven years of nothingness, job-wise, and watched as countless jobs in my area have either folded or been turned into “temporary” work.
The problem with temp work is that you are only on the job for a week or less, then are without work for months. You can’t pay bills with that. You can’t build your credit on that. You can’t survive at all.
I am not whining, just telling the current status of my region and local area. When factories are not hiring, or are relying on temp services to fill jobs that won’t be there tomorrow, there is no work. There is no way to build credit.
This time, right now, to me, would be the perfect time for lenders to look for fresh and innovative business ideas and business plans. This would be the best time to start rebuilding America’s job market.
Yet, we have them still holding onto the traditional “let’s crunch the numbers according to the markets we are used to” mentality. No originality. No sense of adventure. No diversity in thinking.
Personal credit is seemingly always a key, as is equity. For someone struggling to get started, these are things they have precious little to offer. Especially someone who has had a less than stellar go of it to that point.
If your credit is bad, you lose. If you lack credit, you lose. If you don’t have enough revolving credit, you lose. Never mind what has taken place, or what the job market has been for the past six to seven years, to make your credit less than what they expect. Never mind the fact that you are trying to start a business so that you are gainfully employed.

Business Plan, The Conclusion: Historical Financial Data, Proforma Financial Sheet, Proforma Balance Sheet, Effects Of Investment

Before I begin, I must remark at how naive I was in the writing of this plan. I did not have accurate figures on cost of building, cost of employing labor, cost of internal (product, benefits, overhead) investment, or the really important figures I should have had. All I had to go on was an outdated book on building a recording studio and thought that it was the best guide to go by. The figures I am about to show you are all a bunch of crap. I was way out of touch and didn’t even know it. Perhaps, back in the 1990s, this plan could have worked. But it would have never even gotten anything started…except maybe the facility itself.

How do you give someone information that doesn’t exist? At least I tried.

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Historical Financial Data

All previous attempts to do business ended without any positive financial result. Though all articles of machinery were returned and both websites were shut down, there was much serious interest in our services.

Proforma Financial Sheet

Assumptions: none
Cash receipts: none
Rent: we will be building our own facilities
Construction: $16,000,000-$30,000,000 (est)
Utilities: 6120/yr (est)
Telephone: unknown
payroll: $19-100/hr
withholding: not yet determined
inventory: $20,000,000
Freight-in: unknown
Office supplies: unknown
Postage: unknown
Advertising: $100,000-$5.2 million
Professionals: Unknown
Commissions: 10% of total account
Insurance: yet to be determined
Travel and entertainment: Unknown
Research: n/a
Miscellaneous: unknown
State: 5% (actually 7%)
Federal: (left blank, but should have stated 25%)

We project that we will be able to generate sufficient capital from operations to meet our initial needs after the infusion of $100,000,000. However, our projections are in an industry that has never been fully addressed and are based upon current industry and market conditions and our own experience. Should profits not be up to projections, adjustments will be made in ordering and long term commitments decreased or postponed.

Proforma Balance Sheet

Cost Control

Our books will initially be maintained manually. DAE seeks at a future point to use a computerized accounting package to monitor our financial performance. This information be compiled at the end of each month for preparation of financial statements. Each month, these statements will be reviewed against our proformas and appropriate action taken to adjust costs of our budget. If we find that we are continually over budget, our first step will be to re-evaluate our markup on services and then to recheck our costs to make certain that we are obtaining the best possible prices.

Break Even Point

The following chart shows our break even point:
Profit/ Revenue/ fixed costs/ variable costs
$0 / 1,000,000 / 100,000 / 900,000

Effects Of Investment

The money invested in DAE will be used for the following purposes:
construction of proper facilities: $16,000,000-$30,000,000
equipment: 18,000,000-20,000,000
land: $1,000,000
Working capital: $60,400,000
inventory: 20,000,000

All figures herein are estimated costs. Construction and equipment costs estimates given by the representative at Crouse-Kimzey Corp. of Houston, Texas, A professional studio design and installation company. Estimate allows for the equipment, building, and installing for publishing division as well. I have allowed for a 10% margin of error on all estimates.

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*Deep Depressed sight*

No one knows how hard it is to give information that you don’t have. And to write all these stupid little lists. Although the estimate for building/equipment was a professionally given estimate, the rest was total BS. You can tell I wrote this last section late in the night. My figures were a little off.

*A sigh of relief*

Finally done with my old business plan. All umpteen pages of crap. Don’t worry, my current plan doesn’t have all this list crap in it. But before I give you that, I will post the added features I came up with, then the actual divisions of my company as I had it planned at the time. Out of this grew the current idea for the company.

This plan was also written before I began to realize that traditional business ethics was/is corrupt and the way corporations are run contribute to their failures. But that is for a future time.

Business Plan, Part 7: Pricing, Specific Markets, Market Size,and Location

Continuing on with my release of my first business plan, we head straight into the twilight zone (or at least the very mouth of the abyss) with the next sections. I have actually decided to put two pages of info into one post. And, included, are several more hated lists. *shudder* But it is amazing the torture you will endure to please those you have never met before.

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Pricing

Before we set a price for our services, we forecast (code for we’ll lie and give you a future figure or statement that we can’t guarantee)what our fixed monthly costs were going to be. We then determined what the market rate for comparable services were. At this rate, it was determined that for all but the lowest billing projections this service would turn a profit at this rate. However, since our service is unique and demands a higher level of expertise (yeah, right.), we felt that we should bill according to what each account includes within its respective contract.

Specific Markets

Market #1

History

The independent arts and entertainment community has enjoyed a steady growth over the last ten to twenty years (truth). This is due to many factors, not the least of which has been the increased interest in independent music and film as well as the increasing accessibility of basic recording technology which makes recording easier for the artist. In our proposed marketing area, there are twenty-five record labels and five confirmed recording studios. (Nationally, there are thousands of both.)

Entry Strategy

Over the past few years, I have noticed an increasing demand for full-service entertainment companies, not just for studios or distribution. Our computerized office will allow us to track client needs and customize contracted services accordingly as their needs grow.
We (again with the multiple crap) intend to attack this market through:
1. an all inclusive distribution/promotion package
2. scout out and find promising artists and entertainers
3. cater exclusively to independent labels/film companies and unsigned artists, writers and entertainers.

Market #2

History

The driving force behind the entertainment and arts industry has always been the audience. As with our experience in the independent entertainment/arts community, we have noticed a growing trend therein that suggests a greater awareness and desire to buy independently produced music and film.

Entry Strategy

As stated above, there has been a growing trend within the general population to aggressively seek out and purchase independently produced music and films. We have witnessed this boom first hand as we researched the plausibility of our own business and the final form it should take. We desire to help the audience acquire this independent entertainment and arts by making it more accessible through a larger selling venue. We intend to do this through:
1. an exclusive independent music, movies, books, visual arts, digital media mail order/online club
2. a proposed promotional (traditional) radio show
3. a proposed promotional magazine
4. a warehouse outlet store on the site of our studio complex lot.

Market Size And Share

The American market for entertainment and entertainment related services is estimated to be around $92 billion annually. A per person estimate is $7,000-$8,000 (2004 estimates, US Trade Commission). We estimate that we can achieve a 20-25% market share within 3-5 years. To compliment our domestic market, we are currently researching prospective international markets and our possible share within these as well.

Targeting New Markets

To continue growth, we will be using the following methods to expand our markets and increase our new areas of doing business:
trade shows
US government trade leads
State government trade leads
online prospecting
market surveys

Location

This business will be operated just off I-29 On State Highway 2. This location is desirable because:
1. it is a prime growing commercial community
2. can build to suit, negating need to pay rent
3. traffic flow is rated high (interchange of two major thoroughfares)
4. location is ideal and convenient for freight companies we might use to ship, our clients, and our employees.
5. Possible on-site expansion.
We will be purchasing the land and building proper facilities, up to code, and with special accommodations (according to state, local and federal laws) in mind.
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Notice all the lists? Every section, it seemed, had to have a list or the readers would not be satisfied. I am still wondering why. To me, they are unneeded and unwanted.

And all the bullshit. Don’t get me wrong, the data I used was current. The problem was that everything else was conjecture and…pretty much a lie told just to please potential investors. Why do they insist on this ugly tripe?

I had no one. I was the only person listed in the “Quick Bio” section. “We” was really me. No one else.

I couldn’t nail down a single person who wanted to come on board as “management” until I had money. And I had no money to offer. I couldn’t even secure a CFO, which I desperately needed to help secure funds, in order to sweeten the deal for the venture.

I had a lot of interest, but interest a management team does not build. Interest is just interest. And it passes rather quickly when the jobs do not materialize. And, in the end, I was still company-less.

Business Plan, Part 6: Innovation

Keep in mind that this was written for a start up, not an existing business. I had no clue what I was doing, and wanted nothing more than to attract money to a business. The only innovation I had even tried was to make an attempt to build a business.
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Innovation

We have a history of innovative ideas.
1. A system of resource and development centers through which our corporation will work alongside communities (towns/cities) to develop their arts and entertainment communities (talent pool).
2. Offering paid internships within the entertainment industry for interested high school students.
3. Proposed radio program as means of promotion of material.
4. Proposed magazine as a means of promoting material.
5. Open door policy toward the public and other record labels/film companies where they are allowed to use the facilities for their needs.
6. public tours to raise awareness that we are in the community.

Through our leadership, we will be able to reduce overhead as a percentage of sales, thereby increasing the amount of profit to be retained by the business. What DAE proposes to use are just good solid business sense, economics of scale, and the use of efficient financial techniques. This will allow us to:
-increase customer service
-increase advertising expenditures
-increase profits
-increase selection of services offered.

This plan will give us tremendous flexibility to use any of these options or a mix of them to effectively attack our target markets and meet our long term goals. This combination of experience, sophistication, capitalization, and innovation will assist DAE as it strives to reach its sales, profit and return objectives.

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More lists. Have I told you how much I hate lists? All this sounds good and wonderful…but is a bunch of bull. Not the idea behind it, but the rhetoric. I basically talked myself in a circle and the innovations have nothing on the reality of my idea. You can tell that I wrote this to please a bunch of pedants.