Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Honey Creek - A Larger Perspective

Honey Creek – A Personal Perspective

The Des Moines Register reported on Honey Creek and a shortfall over the first nine months of operation. There is perception and there is reality. The media tend to gravitate toward cooking up a rock soup. They create entertainment by starting with a few of the most basic facts and then season liberally (no pun intended) with opposing opinions. It really is a lot like the Jerry Springer show. And those who swim in the story are much like Jerry Springer’s guests and audience.

The story is void of a bigger picture. It is simply meant to entertain. There is no comment on construction delays and its opening after the summer season was over. There was no parallel to the industry as a whole being of those hit hardest as our nation tumbled into hard times.

Honey Creek is a sensational location. Operating four tourism worthy businesses in Appanoose County, I know what visitors to Honey Creek are saying. While the rest of the country saw sales slacken our businesses improved, largely due to tourists visiting Honey Creek. It is hard not to notice the increased volume and the wonderful comments from visitors.

Jason Clayworth deserves some credit. His facts seem to be facts. He was artful to direct the reader’s attention to opposing views and it does stimulate conversation and interest. I think he has done his job. What is disappointing is how so many don’t care to know the details and are easily bated by comment alone. They don’t care to know the entire truth. They want to hear what they want to hear.

On behalf of our companies, especially The Shoppes at Bradley Hall, The Columns, The Exline Country Store and Antique Exchange, and The Continental Hotel, I can express my gratitude for those who cared to try something different and to support Appanoose and the surrounding counties. Rathbun Lake and the surrounding communities, especially Centerville, are thankful for Honey Creek Resort.

There are others who also believe in our area such as philanthropist Morgan Cline. Even Governor Francis Drake, the founder of Drake University was a believer in the area.

Iowans success, indeed all of our success, will lie in doing things positive rather than saying things negative.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Start Making Things Happen on the Web NOW!

It has been about 9 months since diving into all things internet. Before that I was a typical aging entrepreneur. The Executive Director of one company I own bought my Blackberry and programmed everything for me. All I had to do was say, "Thank you!" A company we contract with sweeps in and remotely fixes any frustrations I have.

For me age and increasing success at a few business ventures was making me lazy and stupid. On one hand I spent some portion of each day trying to encourage people to "want to" and other portions were spent in my own denial of the need. Blindly I was diminishing my own value and that of my company. Complacant boss, complacant company. Not a good thing when you are responsible for and to so many.

Today I'm cranking out training and communication videos with three clicks. Voice over demos of how to use software or to share and explain something are seconds away.

Since starting this journey, I've heard many times, "What is that? Where did you get that? How much did that cost? Is it easy to use?" Thus the purpose of this post. For well under $100 you can do a lot! If you've been looking for someone to give you some advice and make it easy, here you go.

I'm going to assume you have a reasonably stable computer that is somewhat recent in make. Maybe 4 years old or newer. With that here are my suggestions.

First a headphone set with a microphone. After scanning a number of postings, rankings, and other data I purchased a Logitech ClearChat Comfort USB Headset (Black) for a little over $30. Excellent buy. I've used it for a while now and have no reason to use anything different for general use. I'm enjoying John Mayer as I type on the very same headphones.

Next, webcam. Using the same process as above I purchased a Hercules web cam for $34.95 on Amazon. Not being happy with it I was chatting online with a client. They had purchased the same headset at my suggestion but on a hunch bought a better web cam. This client is recently out of retirement at the ripe old age of 40. He bought a Logitech Webcam Pro 9000 (Black) for $84.40. I witched. I'm happy.

Frankly, that is all I've been using. My wife and I just ordered a professional microphone to do some pod casting and more professional recording that we have planned.

Almost everything you might want to do can be done with these simple additions. They simply plug into a USB port and off you go. As with many things you can upgrade yourself to poverty. This is working for me very well.

I hope this has been helpful. If you have other questions you are welcome to comment here and I'll try to do what I can to help and maybe others will also.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The “Wow!” Life Anywhere

As many know, Centerville, Iowa is where I call home. It is a deeply rural community and the third poorest in Iowa. No one assumes anything or anyone successful can be from Centerville but I assure you there have been and there are successful people here now.

I can also assure YOU that you can be successful where you are now.

Let me share a couple very recent stories. It is the morning after Christmas and I get a call from a close friend. They listed their home and the property it is on for sale not long ago. They had a real estate agent who represents celebrities do a preliminary viewing on behalf of an interested party. The call is to share that my friend just found out the celebrity is incredibly famous and very interested. I think the term, “more than qualified” was used. Not bad for someone looking at a property listed at $16,800,000.

Today I’m hosting and touring a retired hedge fund manager turned business start up specialist and his fiancĂ©. They are wonderful people who are exceptionally bright. In the interest of not offending them I’ll simply say we are now working on a couple very small business projects. Luck often has a lot to do with introductions and small opportunities. Everyone would agree, I’m very lucky.

Am I just lucky? It feels like that. Is it hard work? It is Saturday morning and I’m working in my home office. Am I lucky to get to work 70 hours a week? Damn right I am.

What I do know is I love doing what I’m doing. I love working with people and building trusting relationships. I love having multiple people that I can call to ask for the favor of a lifetime who would execute first and ask questions later if I needed them.

Those close enough to me to know what is really going on usually ask, “What’s the secret?” Seems everyone loves a secret. Believe me I’m an idiot to a large degree. The secret is simple. You have to want to. You have to want to give up free time. You have to want to educate yourself. You have to work smart more than you have to work hard. It is the fact that I’m not too bright that motivates me to put in the extra hours.

There is another part to the secret. I read books. I read a lot of books. And more importantly I try to do what they suggest. Here are some suggestions:

Getting Things Done by David Allen. Not exactly a murder mystery, Getting Things Done turned my office from multiple piles of… crap into a nice clean office with a desk. I knew I had a leather top on my desk for a reason. For years I couldn’t see it. Now I can. Better yet I’m making more money. David Allen shares what I call “simple stupid” basics that can change your life. There is a link here to purchase it if you are so moved.

The 4 Hour Work Week By Tim Faris is next. This book can shake your tree a little bit. That is especially true if you like to do and control everything yourself. If you want to join the 21st century you need to read this book as soon as possible. It will give you a better grip on outsourcing. While I’m not sure I could do everything the way it is outlined in the book I have executed much of it. My only challenge is that I’m not Tim Faris. I’m Bill Burch and have 150 employees in brick and mortar businesses. I’m not a lone single flitting around the world and making money at it. If I would have had this book before I was married and had children…

The last book I’ll mention in this post is E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. This is a great book. It really shares the heart of the entrepreneur and what they need to do to survive. This book is where I learned the term “entrepreneurial seizure”. Much like children, businesses can be a permanent reminder of a temporary emotion.

The blessings I’m experiencing should be had by everyone. Keep your eye on being the best and move that direction. Most of us have the tools in both potential character and motivation to do what is necessary for us to have a life filled with abundant blessings. Sometimes you just need a little help seeing that they are there or getting a little help and training. Consider the books I’ve mention. They are linked so all you need to do is click on them to purchase them as economically as reasonably possible.

If Bill Burch can do it in Centerville, Iowa most anyone should be able to be successful almost anywhere.

No matter your position, I pray that your life be filled with blessings no less than my own and hopefully many more.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Starting A Business: Are you sure?

With each passing year, more people come to share, discuss, and brainstorm a business idea they are thinking about. While circumstances differ, there are some rather typical similarities. Almost every time they start to share their dream I think back to when my wife was pregnant with our first child.

We hadn’t been married long and contrary to our parents advice the first child came quicker than expected. Those that had children seemed to take special delight in asking, “Do you think you are ready?” In complete ignorance we would respond, “Yes!” If egged on we would drone on about our preparations and the reasons we thought we were ready. They smiled with this weird knowing but patient smile and a slight nod saying nothing more.

So it goes with the idea of starting a new business. Fast forward a few months after our first born “hit the ground” as we say in cattle country. Without getting into the details, Alex had been crying uncontrollably for hours. We called everyone, took temperatures, looked over every millimeter of his little body. No apparent reason. Grandma said calmly, “Maybe he just needs to cry.” It is late and my wife walks outside into the bitter cold. Then I hear it, a blood curdling scream. Within seconds she is back inside. She says, “I’m ok. I’m ok.”

Rather than smile and nod I’m going to share the facts. Starting a business is indeed like having a baby. It will test you to tears. You will experience higher highs and lower lows than you thought imaginable. Some grow up to make you very proud. Others challenge you until death. They keep you up at night and you can never get them off your mind.

Before you start your business, look in the mirror and ask yourself one thing. “Am I sure?” If you are then do it and don’t look back. Good, bad, or somewhere in between, if you were ready it will truly enrich your life.

For more information, resources, or help feel free to check out
www.williamburch.com or www.commercialresources.info.