Trouble In Paradise?

Whenever you’re trying to deliver a valuable system, you realize just how nice it is to have more margin. Civil Engineers design projects to account for the 100-year flood. But what happens when that 100-year flood occurs two years in a row? That’s when everyone becomes a civil engineer without the training! KenChristensen.com is hosted with a small start-up hosting company called Harvest Clouds. If you look at the website, you’ll see we need to work on our own website. While we designed our systems to withstand the information equivalent of the 100-year flood, we were hit by the perfect storm. One thing led to another, and our systems did not react gracefully, or as intended.

A Tale Of Two Cities

More years ago than I care to admit, my sister started off her valedictory speech with a quote from Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities. She of course was using it to refer to the many experiences the class had in its four years of high school, and would now face in life going forward. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. — A Tale of Two Cities

While the title would lead you to think this was a novel about two cities, it was really about two different men. It is that twist that makes this selection of a title for my blog post apropos. In my own version of the twist, I’m going to be talking about two types of people. And the study will also be one of contrasts.

Things That Are Not As They Appear

Some would say that traditional biblical marriage has been defeated in Indiana by the ruling of a court. I do not share that opinion. Now before you think I agree with the ruling, and I’ve abandoned what God thinks about this subject, let me remind you of the title of this post! It really doesn’t matter what I think, or what a court does at the end of the day. Neither one of us can add an inch to my height, or prolong my days beyond the number ordained by God. By the same token, neither can my life be shortened unless God also allows.

This has me wondering. Why is it that so many people who call themselves Christians are so afraid to lovingly speak the truth? Why is it that we seem to fear what men will think of us instead of warning people about the dangers of defying God? Why do we live our lives as if the way things appear are the way they actually are? Are we really that uncertain of what the future holds? Do we really not trust God as much as we say we do?

Always Learning Lessons

At the beginning of lawn mowing season, I was not looking forward to doing that job myself. Oh, I needed the exercise, and that part is good for me. What I wasn’t looking forward to was the time it would take coupled with what it would do with my allergies. I’ve been fine on the allergy front so far, and I’ve gotten to the point where I actually look forward to the hour that it takes me to mow our lawn. I’ve used it to listen to podcasts which I’ve recently discovered.

Yesterday while mowing the lawn, I listened to one of Michael Hyatt’s early podcasts. The gist of what he was talking about is a concept I was very much familiar with. That concept is under promise and over deliver. What jumped out at me as I was walking in monotonous rows back and forth in my yard was his take on letting people know about your goals. I immediately thought of telling all of you what my intentions were for May, and what I intended to do in June. He used Apple as an example. Sure there are leaks about upcoming products, but for the most part, you don’t find out what the product, or software is until they announce it to the public, and then it is usually available that day. Michael said that it is fine to share goals with key people to keep you accountable, but sharing the goal with the world can have two unwanted outcomes. The first being that you fall short of the goal, and the second is that you are not as driven to complete the goal, or it becomes too monumental.

Both of these outcomes are not desirable because the result is the same. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick”, and if your heart is sick, you might say your heart isn’t in it.

That’s exactly what happened to me. In May, we had a major glitch in our server infrastructure that hosts this site. That wouldn’t be a distraction if we were not responsible for hosting the site, as well as the sites of several clients. Instead our focus shifted from creativity to problem solving. We don’t like to just fix a problem without making it less likely that the problem will reoccur, so that meant our focus was now on understanding the cause of the problem and eliminating that.

As if that wasn’t enough, the company where we host our server had infrastructure problems of their own in June. A major switch upgrade didn’t go as planned. So we continue to step up our efforts at finding a long term solution. We have that, and now we are working on a transition of our own.

However, in light of this post, we’re not going to get into more details until after this is all done. We’re going to take a page out of Apple’s book, and make the announcements once everything is in place.

Look for more information coming soon!

Typical Small Business Finance

Most people could be forgiven for thinking that small businesses can just go to a bank with an idea, and the bank will loan them money. There’s more to the story. Most, if not all banks today look at the creditworthiness of the small business owner, and in essence the small business owner is on the hook for the loan personally. At first blush this seems like a good idea, you want the people who are running the business to be responsible. If this was the only problem with small business lending, it would be bad enough.small-business-financeThere is a much bigger problem. Once a small business owner derives all of their income from the small business, their personal guarantee is only as good as the small business, but banks typically don’t look at the health or viability of the business in assessing the risk of loaning a business money. In addition, banks typically are looking for two years of business operations, so that precludes startups from obtaining a loan.

So, where do small businesses startups go for initial funding? First, founder’s funds. Followed frequently by friends and family. It is a shallow pool of resources, and it helps to explain why so many small businesses fail. Oh, sure, there are many other reasons businesses fail, but if all the other factors are sound, the lack of access to the tools of capital formation will keep a viable business from growing, and without growth, businesses eventually die–just like a plant that stops growing will eventually die.

In upcoming posts we will examine in more detail the options that are currently available. Given that the byline for my blog is Changing the World of Small Business Finance, you would be correct in concluding I’m going somewhere with all of this. I’m hoping you’ll join me in this journey, and that together, we’ll make a huge difference for a growing number of small businesses that join our family.