AI and the Challenges Ahead

  I have a growing curiosity about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and I have been playing with the ChatGPT app to understand it’s capabilities and where we are in 2024! First and foremost, you need to understand that this is a language-based app. It uses enormous computing power to interpret what I am asking and then incorporate all it has learned to provide a response.   It’s training ended in 2022 so current events, such as the Israeli – Hamas war are not in its realm of knowledge. My first attempt to use ChatGPT was particularly eye opening.   I asked what I assumed to be a simple question… Can you create a list of Presidents of the United States ordered by their age at inauguration? The result was surprising.   As I am sure you know Joe Biden is the 46 th president in our nation’s history.   Surprisingly, ChatGPT produced a list of only 41 people!   I did not scrutinize the list, but it was apparent to me that Mr. Biden was not on the list (he should have been last being our

It's Not Too Late

  Looking at the calendar is sometimes a sobering experience.   For most of us, corporate taxes must be filed in 3 days!   Fortunately, I have a new CPA this year who stayed on top of me and made sure I got the necessary work done. In addition, there are approximately 2.5 weeks left in the 1 st quarter.  3 months ago, during Winter break between semesters, I started thinking about the reboot of my business.  I did some preliminary work only to allow myself to be distracted and I am embarrassed to say that much of it remains unfinished.  I am actually hoping that this blog post inspires me (and perhaps you) that it is never too late. So, let’s look at some of what you ought to be doing right now.  1.       Business Plan a.       If you have not invested the time and effort to write a business plan.  I strongly suggest you do so now.  A formal plan forces you to think about your goals and how you will achieve them.  It gives you a road map to follow to make your dreams come true

Evaluating Your Suppliers

Supply Chain Management can help you to weather the challenges that the world throws at us every day. During the Covid19 pandemic we experienced severe interruptions of our supply chains.  Shortages ensued and prices rose starting a worldwide inflation spiral. It is important to understand the supply chain issues and source materials (raw materials, components, finished goods, etc.) in a way that will mitigate your risks.   For starters, there are 2 competing philosophies.   On the one hand, some researchers recommend that you select your best supplier, we will discuss supplier selection in a moment, and develop a strong, mutually beneficial relationship.   The supplier will have reasonable stable volumes and will do its best to fulfill your orders first when goods are in short supply.   At the same time you get leverage that allows you to negotiate better pricing. The other argument, and the one I tend to endorse is to build resiliency into the supply chain, by finding multiple

Management & Operations

  This is the 3 rd post in the series.   In my 1 st post, I talked about developing ideas for your new business and then vetting your idea to see if it seems reasonable.   The 2 nd post dealt with learning about the industry you will be competing in.   Feel free to go back and read the older posts if you want and, of course, if you have any questions or suggestions, you reach out to me anytime via my email address So the next, I think this is a good time to drill down a little further and start to understand how you will turn your idea into a business.   It is important to remember that nothing you are/will be doing is chiseled in stone.   In fact, I would be shocked if all or even most of decisions that you make early in the process actually survive unchanged by the time you are up and running.   There is no shame in going back and making changes.   In fact I strongly recommend reviewing your plan frequently.   I have been in business for over 25 years and I

Industry Analysis

  In my last blog post, I talked about generating an idea and determining if it is marketable, technologically feasible, and economically viable.   Now it is time to understand the state of the industry. First and foremost, you need to define what industry you are competing in.   On the surface, that may seem pretty obvious, however, in many instances, you can choose the industry you want to be a part of.   For example, in my company, I could choose to be in the B2B consulting industry (NAICS code 541611) or I could choose Professional and Management Development Training (NAICS code 611430).   In either case, I can help businesses to start up and navigate growth, however, the size and strength of my competition would vary greatly. Once you decide on the industry, or probably part of the process of deciding, you need to learn everything you can about it. ·          Size: How large is the industry (revenue overall) How many competitors?   Where are they located? ·          Li

Small Business Start and Grow

Starting or expanding a business is often fraught with challenges.  The biggest problem is that you don’t know what you do not know!  I started my business back in 1995 thinking that I knew everything.  After all, I am a smart guy, I have a Master’s degree, and, at the time, I had (almost) 20 years of experience in business.  Sadly, I knew NOTHING!  Sure, I was technologically competent and I understood how businesses work, however, there were big gaps in my background that I hadn’t even noticed.   I struggled with finance and accounting, never understood how to raise money, never even wrote a business plan, hate marketing (especially on-line), and I am a terrible salesman.   Because money was always short, I was forced to hire inexperienced people thinking I would train them.   In reality, much of my staff sat at their desks doing very little and I was doing all the work!   WHAT’S WRONG WITH THAT PICTURE? In this blog, in the weeks to come, I will try to show you a path to succee