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Frank Farwell

Blog Entries by Frank Farwell

A Tale of Two Contractors

(0) Comments | Posted December 20, 2012 | 1:50 PM

If you own your own small business, or are thinking of starting one, here's something to remember: There is nothing as damaging as a very disappointed customer.

Take me, for instance. Last summer my wife and I hired a young, inexperienced contractor after being impressed by a house he built...

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Why Entrepreneurs Need Mentors and How to Find Them

(5) Comments | Posted October 5, 2012 | 2:20 PM

Sure, entrepreneurs can eventually succeed without mentors. But it will cost extra time and wasted resources. So, how does a small business start-up find a mentor? Or, better yet, a handful of them?

With a little time and pick-and-shovel work, a stable of mentors can be signed up. Soon they...

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Measurable Advertising Is Key to Growth and Profits

(1) Comments | Posted August 21, 2012 | 1:41 PM

When I left gainful employment as a magazine staff editor and set out on my own in 1979 with a B.A. in English and history, I was the quintessential, clueless first-time entrepreneur. Suffice it to say that my first two years as a small business start-up rookie were quite humbling.

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Entrepreneurs Can Find Best Advice in Biographies, Not Online

(2) Comments | Posted June 11, 2012 | 12:49 PM

When I quit a perfectly good job as a magazine staff editor in 1979 and went out on my own to start a direct marketing business, I read every book on the topic I could get my hands on. I found six or seven written by entrepreneurs in my chosen...

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The Hidden Payoffs of Good Customer Service

(7) Comments | Posted April 19, 2012 | 12:40 PM

Some things are so simple, they're hard to understand.

Customer service, when you're a company founder and owner, or manager, is like that. On the surface, it seems a nagging irritant: Customers aren't happy, and you have to deal with them.

But underneath that initial perception is a...

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A Tried-and-True Tool for Entrepreneurs: The Compounding Effects of Smart Cost Control

(1) Comments | Posted March 22, 2012 | 12:50 PM

It's not fancy or trendy. It's a boring topic at cocktail parties. Seldom is it covered in M.B.A. programs. But this tool will free up buckets of cash flow and at no expense to business owners, and move your bottom line skyward.

The "it" I'm talking about is cost control....

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Heads-Up for Entrepreneurs: Run Your Start-Up Through this Checklist Before You Take the Leap

(4) Comments | Posted March 11, 2012 | 2:18 PM

When I eagerly quit a perfectly good job in New York to start my own business many years ago, at age 27, I was blessed with ideas and energy--and simultaneously cursed with the lame-brained naiveté of youth. I went rushing into my first little venture to sell a specialty cookbook...

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The Truth About Job Interviews With Entrepreneurs: Your Employer's Mind May Be Far, Far Away

(0) Comments | Posted March 1, 2012 | 6:50 PM

Here's the deal: You heard about a nearby hot start-up company from a friend, applied online, and three days later got an e-mail for an interview. Last night you spent an hour researching the company and the job you're angling for. They liked you online; now comes the moment of...

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How Do Entrepreneurs Tame the Red Tide of Employee Turnover?

(5) Comments | Posted February 15, 2012 | 2:18 PM

After many months of planning, negotiating and saving you've bought a small business, or you've gone out on your own to start one. Your product or service is beginning to sell, your little firm shows promise, and the future is beginning to look bright. You start to breathe a little...

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For Entrepreneurs, Taking On a Business Partner Can Be More Risky than Marriage

(2) Comments | Posted February 3, 2012 | 4:24 PM

Sure, starting a business is scary and financially dangerous. Entrepreneurs should feel queasy when they quit their jobs in The Land of Steady Paychecks and venture out on their own. But that doesn't mean they should take on a partner just to hold their hand and put a few dollars...

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Should You Burn Your Business Plan?

(2) Comments | Posted January 11, 2012 | 2:40 PM

Are you kidding--burn your beloved business plan? The one with all the stunning projections and detailed footnotes that you spent weeks tweaking and polishing? The one that's going to make your financial and self-employment dreams come true? The one full of rosy forecasts that makes you feel like a successful...

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A Restaurant Closes, and a Community Mourns

(3) Comments | Posted January 5, 2012 | 7:04 PM

On New Year's Eve, the much-admired Rubaiyat restaurant in scenic Marquette, Michigan held its last supper, complete with live music and a custom menu to commemorate the closing. The establishment had been open for about three years, was well reviewed, and was a classic family business--with mom cooking splendidly in...

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Entrepreneurs' Memoirs: A Gold Mine of Information for Self-Employed Wannabes

(5) Comments | Posted December 20, 2011 | 5:21 PM

This holiday season give your college- or graduate-school-age children a few entrepreneurial memoirs. They provide a low-cost, entertaining mentorship for the self-employed-in-the-making.

Huh? Give books to a young person in this techno-age holiday season? Are you kidding? Young people don't read books anymore, do they?

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For Entrepreneurs' Success, the Right Product is More Important than an M.B.A.

(0) Comments | Posted December 12, 2011 | 10:00 AM

You're an entrepreneur in the making, seeking the holy grail of working for yourself. Maybe you have an M.B.A., maybe not. No matter. What you need to focus on is what is going to drive your business. Or, more precisely, what product is going to drive it. And I don't...

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M.B.A., But No Job? It's Time to Become an Entrepreneur

(2) Comments | Posted December 2, 2011 | 12:47 PM

Sure, you've heard it all before--if you've been laid off, or just finished your degree and can't find a job, now could be a great time to start a business. But is this just fashionable talk of the times, or is it really possible in today's ravaged economy?

I'd say...

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Why You Should Forget About Venture Capital

(6) Comments | Posted November 18, 2011 | 4:28 PM

There, I said it -- and it must sound so out of vogue, since financial magazines are full of articles about M.B.A. students competing for big investments from venture capitalists. After all, who wouldn't take a check for $5 or $10 million to fund a start-up?

Well, I hate to...

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It's a Great Time to Start a Small Business

(8) Comments | Posted July 8, 2011 | 12:14 PM

Sure, it sounds counter-intuitive, maybe even nuts. But it's true -- times like this can be a great time to cut your teeth as an entrepreneur. How should I know? Because I did just that -- I quit a good job in the darkening days of 1979, trading an office...

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