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The Coming Millenium: 12 Business Inter-Views
By Jack Deal
1.Computer Repair. Hardware and software sales are tough. We are trying
to get away from that but it's not easy. We have to offer more of a
solutions-based rather than products-based approach. If we can't do that
we will be gone.
Other article by Jack Deal:
2. Watch Repair. There are fewer watch repairers now. In Switzerland, they
are trying to recruit and train watch repair people. The demand is going
up. I buy old watches, redo them and sell them on the Internet. I also
get people fedexing me watches from all over the country. Jewelers and
watch retailers send me their work because they can't find anyone to fix
them. Engineers especially love mechanical watches.... and remember the
most expensive watches are mechanical.
3. Scuba School and Dive Center. The retail end of our industry has been
going through some really tough times. The Internet and Discount Centers
have hurt the retail trade. We are doing more advanced and technical trips
and instruction. We feel this market is growing and we are able to fit
the need. The strictly retail stores will continue to close.
4. Computer training. As the technology changes and becomes more complex
people and businesses will have to learn it. We have a good future only if
we continue to learn more and more. We have to stay on top.
5. Custom Woodworker. Ours is a dying art. In my day you walked in
looking for a job and were happy to start sweeping floors. Today the kids
want 15 bucks an hour -- that's the first thing they say! That's why I got
rid of my employees -- too much paperwork and bs.
6. Network Security. Security is still within it's infancy...and the
awareness of the need of security is growing incredibly fast! As you know,
more and more sensitive information is being processed in networked
computing environments, dramatically increasing the efficiency of millions
of businesses around the globe, but at the same time rendering them
vulnerable to software and hardware failure and misuse from internal or
external sources. Security is essential.
7. Herb and Spice Distributor. We are growing by leaps and bounds. The
neutriceutical and health food industries are causing us to grow quickly.
We put out a new herb and then we get all sorts of requests for it from
those wanting to use it in ways we never imagined. The Internet has
allowed us to ship anywhere. Our biggest problems are tracking inventory
and keeping the right amount on hand. We can't always project if we will
need 10 ounces or 1000 pounds of a product.
8. Mechanical Contracting, Heating, Air Conditioning, We find it hard to
keep good employees. Because we are not union, some journeymen will drive
an hour to get better pay. We are in a limited marketplace as well. We
don't see how we can really grow at this point.
9. Organic Coffee Distributor. We should continue to grow steadily. We
are selling more product over the Internet. We would like to sell more
overseas but the risks are high for a small company. Our biggest problem
is finding reliable employees that want to work.
10. Mountain Climbing Gym. When we first started there was one other gym
within 100 miles. Now there are 8. Labor is over half our cost. Since we
don't have benefits we get high turnover and it costs us. The applicants
we get have little or no work ethic. Our memberships have not grown as
quickly as we had anticipated so we have been much slower at repaying our
loans. It is truly a labor of love.
11. Garment Manufacturer. 20% of the garments made now are made of natural
fibers. That should rise dramatically in the next century. The
environment is getting worse and I am worried about my children's future.
Recycling will play a greater role in our future as well.
12. Microbrewery - We sell all we make and even run out at times in the
summer. We are kind of in a bind of sorts. To expand and grow we would
need to get more space and buy more equipment. It's really hard for us to
determine if it's worth it or not... the numbers really don't come out all
that well. We will most likely just go another year or two and do what
Jack Deal is owner of Deal Consulting in Santa Cruz, California. Related articles may be found at www.dealconsulting.com.
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