Thursday, March 22, 2012


Friends and Foes?

A Dan Madison and Mike Madison Adventure

In Volume I of the Madison Adventures, Mike Madison, Intrepid Explorer, Mike, his dad, and their growing group of friends tackle a century-old mystery of an infamous train robber, a missing fortune in gold, a voodoo curse, and a high-tech terrorist plot.  That would be enough adventure for most families, but new friends and new neighbors bring more intrigue to the Madison clan.  Mike’s new classmate, Kathryn Harris, is hiding a heart-breaking secret about the death of her father, FBI agent Thomas Harris—and Mike can’t resist when she asks for help.  The new neighbors, Joyce and Jim Mills, have very quirky personalities.  Jim seems to be able to read minds and Joyce has this troubling, even frightening habit of “zoning out” as Mike’s mom, Melanie, describes it.  Worried that the Mills might be more than just simply annoying, Dan calls on the family’s network of friends—friends with unique, diverse skills.  Former covert operative & National Security advisor, Steve Jones, computer geeks, Paul and Liz King, and country lawyer, Del Reese all team up with the Madisons to confront these new mysteries.  The danger is real as the group encounters rogue FBI agents, a mad scientist, greedy government officials, professional assassins—and it takes all of the group’s considerable skills to keep everyone safe.   

Watch for Friends and Foes? Due out SOON on . . .

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Entrepreneur or Corporate Minion, Part 2

So, in spite of my good advice, you've decided to go into business for yourself?  If you are an expert in business law, contracts, accounting, marketing, manufacturing, shipping/receiving, asset management, purchasing, selling, sanitation and maintenance--and you have a whole lot of startup capital then you're all set.  Go for it, and good luck.  If you lack those skills or if you're a little under-funded you can still make it, but there are lots of variables.  It's tough to come up with a unique product or service, but that's a good way to start.  If you're a good seller, have a good business plan, a working prototype maybe you can find some investors--but, they'll want a solid return, soon, or a piece of the business.

Lots of people want to "own" restaurants and that's a great idea, but experts say that 60-90% of new restaurants fail within the first year.  Those numbers don't surprise me because I've done it--actually we lasted 15 months and would've made it if. . . .a bunch of bad stuff hadn't happened:  the freezer broke, a big convention cancelled, my breakfast chef fell off the wagon, a regular banquet group's check bounced--all on the same day when we were already short on cash, help, patience and energy.  My partner (wife) and I worked everyday from 5 AM until the bar closed at 2 AM for months.  We were young and strong and could have gone on, but, we agreed that we were not having fun.  It was hard work, hot, dirty, fast-paced, exhilerating, but I knew I'd never get rich.

I once read that the definition of an "amateur" business man is a machinist who opens a machine shop or a cook who opens a restaurant.  They have important skills, but not ALL of the skills needed to run a business.  I had the right background, I'd been the food & beverage manager for a busy hotel and had solid success running every part of that business--but, when I went out on my own (we went out on our own) everything changed.  We were under-capitalized and teetered on the brink from the beginning.  We saw solid growth over the first year, but when the catastrophic events hit all at once we just didn't have the resources to bounce back.

So, that's advice #2, get some skills and plenty of cash.  And, if you're thinking restaurant scroll down to my post about my leftover pork chops.