It’s About Time!

Why do we all seem to make excuses? Why do we want to pass the blame? As I was looking at all of the things I needed to write about, and the major themes of my efforts, I realized that I didn’t have one for the tagline of my website. Small Business Finance is something that comes up short in this country, and I’ve written about that already. However, there hasn’t been an easy way to see all of those posts without the distraction of all of the other things I write about. Over the next few weeks, you will begin to see order brought to the chaos. The garden will actually begin to look like it is tended.

Where I Work

When I’m working on writing, I really don’t need more than one computer monitor, but for just about everything else that I do, these two monitors sometimes are not enough! Years ago now, I traded stocks and futures for a living, and I had four monitors hooked up to a single computer, so this is downsizing it for me!

My work area is currently in the “spare room” of our scrapbooking and paper crafting store called Cafe Crop. I’m looking forward to the day when this room is our private classroom area. At that time, it will be my office while it isn’t being used as a private classroom area.

For now though it is exactly what I need to be productive, while at the same time close at hand to help Tina when she needs it. I’m thankful for this new-found flexibility, that we didn’t have in our last location.

In the not too distant future, I’ll be seeing clients here! I can hardly wait!

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.

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.

Spring Cleaning

This NASA picture is clearly extremely clean. You wouldn’t want to spend so much money and time, only to have a small contaminate cause the mission to fail. Perhaps this example is overkill, and your spring cleaning is not nearly this intense. My spring cleaning is this intense. I’m turning a corner, I’m changing direction. And May 1st marks the first day of that new direction.Phoenix Mars Lander inverted in backshell in cleanroom (PIA07246)

I’m going to use the month of May to ramp up to blog posts occurring three days a week. There is one topic. Changing the World of Small Business Finance. You have to be living under a rock if you haven’t heard that Small Business is what drives our economy. And a major reason that our economy continues to struggle, is that nobody seems to be addressing the issue of how Small Businesses are financed.

For the most part Small Business finance consists of owner investment and debt. Individual investment in Small Business is so regulated and restricted, that it is primarily the most successful (or the most connected) that stand a chance of gaining access to the capital markets.

What is coming is a discussion of how to effectively use mechanisms that are already in place in new ways to achieve the same results for smaller businesses that large business has enjoyed for some time.

I used to think that the numbers behind our operations would expose our strengths and weaknesses to our business partners and our competitors. Thinking that way plays into the complexity that large companies deal with in the equity markets. There are so many moving parts, that it is practically impossible for even the most seasoned reader and financial analyst to truly understand what is going on in a well run company, let alone a company that is trying to hide things from investors.

If you can’t buy a piece of equity in my business, what can you buy? And, what do you get in the event that you do decide to buy? Those are good questions, and I’ll answer them next time. Between now, and the next time I write, expect to see a way for you to donate to the cause.

Why should you consider a donation? That’s an easy one. My wife and I have invested everything we have into small businesses. If this idea sees the light of day, it will be nothing short of a God thing. The last time I checked, He’s the only one who has any business making guarantees. The bottom line here is that I am working at building an online platform to support local small businesses, including one of our own.

I’m looking forward to this journey. I have no idea where it is going to end up. All I know for certain is that we’re bound to get lots of things wrong. If you are looking for perfection out of the gate, then this journey is not for you. But if you are ready to see what kind of difference we can make by working together, and you want to read the inside story, then when I’m ready, I’ll be looking for you to join me. Are you ready?