Monthly Archives: November 2010

What’s wrong with the Crazy Baker’s website?

One of my favorite blogs is You’re the Boss: The Art of running a small business. It offers practice advice and comments about small business.  If you own a small business I urge you to subscribe to this blog.

One issue that many small business owners are facing:  Why is my website not generating sales even though it receives a lot of traffic?   Click here to see a collection of blogs where readers are asked to criticize websites.  You might find some tips for your website if it is not generating the sales that you think it shoud.

Want to know about recruiting industry? Read this.

If you want to know about how the industrial recruiting business really works, then this article will be of great interest.  Insite Consulting, a South Carolina company that provides real estate, economic development and site selection told a group of local leaders in Mississippi how the process of site selection works.

Click here to read the Columbus (MS) Dispatch article.

This little dollar stayed home.

NOTE:  This is a column that I wrote several years and which was originally published in the Mississippi Business Journal.  Permission to reprint with attribution to Mississippi Business Journal and Phil Hardwick.


This is a tale of two dollars. One stayed at home. One went to another town.

Once upon a time there were two dollars. They each lived with their owners in the small town of Make Believe in rural Mississippi. Make Believe was a nice little town. There was a Main Street that had lots of little shops that sold special items and arts and crafts and catered to people who drove through town. There was also a grocery store. There was even a doctor in Make Believe. It was a nice little town that was enjoyed by all its residents, none of whom wanted it to change.

This story of the first dollar is easy to tell. Its owner placed it snugly in her purse and drove 45 minutes to a nearby, larger town with a shopping mall. The owner stayed all day at the mall and spent the entire dollar on things bought in stores owned by big corporations in faraway states.

Part of the first little dollar stayed in that town and part of it went to the state government, but most of it went by electronic magic to another state. At the end of the day, the owner went back to Make Believe with all her treasures. Not one penny of the first dollar ever saw Make Believe, Miss., again.

The story of the second dollar is much different. The owner of the second dollar went to a little shop in downtown Make Believe. There the owner talked a long time to the shop owner about the beautiful merchandise in the store.

The shopkeeper told all about the things that were made right there in Make Believe. There were birdhouses built by Bob, beveled glass made by Beverly, blouses of silk designed by Betty, mocha chocolates by Missy, and even silverware crafted by Sam.

This owner of the dollar spent the entire dollar right there in the shop. The journey of the second dollar was much different from that of the first dollar. Yes, the first 7 cents arrived at the government in Jackson. One penny was sent back to the local town. So one penny of the sales tax came back to the Make Believe City Hall.

The owner of the shop took the next 50 cents and sent it to the manufacturers of the items that were bought. Because all of them lived right there in Make Believe, the 50 cents stayed there.

The next 16 cents went to the employee of the shop owner. Yes, you guessed it; the employee lived in Make Believe.

There was rent to pay on the shopkeeper’s retail space. It was paid to the owner of the building, who had lived in Make Believe all his life. The rent was 10 cents of the dollar.

There were operating expenses that the shopkeeper had to pay. Things such as utilities and maintenance and insurance. Sixteen cents of the dollar went to pay those expenses and some of the people that got paid lived in another town far away. Still, eight of those 16 cents was paid to people in Make Believe.

That left 8 cents. What would happen to it?

That’s right. Eight cents was the shopkeeper’s profit she got to keep. Of course, the shopkeeper lived in an apartment upstairs above the shop.

If we total where the second dollar went, we learn about 86 cents stayed in Make Believe.

I wonder what will happen to the 86 cents. Will the manufacturer, the employee, the real estate owner, the shopkeeper and the others spend the 86 cents in Make Believe? Or will they go somewhere else?

I wonder how much of the 86 cents will be spent in Make Believe. Because every time another penny is spent in Make Believe, the little town is better off because someone in Make Believe received it instead of another town.

Each person has a right to spend his or her money wherever and whenever he or she wishes. But when people spend their dollars in other towns, it does not help the economy of their hometowns.

The Tale of Two Dollars is told at this time every year because many people don’t know when they spend their money in their own hometown it helps their hometown.

Why Republicans and Democrats may never come together.

Most Republican members of Congress describe themselves, or are described by others, as “conservative.”  Most Democratic members of Congress describe themselves, or are described by others, as “liberal.”  Thus, the Republican Party is seen as the conservative political party, and the Democratic Party is seen as the liberal political party. I suspect that if a member of Congress had to read a bill without knowing who introduced it, i.e. read the bill on its own merits, and then decide whether to support it there would be a lot more meaningful legislation passed.  Unfortunately, it seems that many members look to their political party to learn where they stand.  It reminds me of a time when I saw a church member walk up to the pastor to inquire about a certain religious issue.    The member asked, “What do I believe about that?”

Meanwhile, back to liberal versus conservative.  From my perspective, I think that Senator Patrick Moynihan’s comment on the subject was very insightful, and helps us understand the difference in liberals and conservatives.

“The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of society,” Moynihan wrote.  “The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from himself.”

Facebook’s relevance to political victory

It appears that how many friends a political candidate has on Facebook has some relevance to success at the box office.  According to an article in, the Facebook political team reported that 74 percent of the House of Representative candidates with the most friends won their races and that 81 percent of the Senate candidates did so.

Elected officials, politicians and non-elected public officials who scoff at social media do so at their own risk.

Rural voters key to Republican victory


Republicans won the U.S. House Tuesday largely by winning districts with high proportions of rural voters.

Two-thirds of the 60 House seats switching from Democrat to Republican in this election were in the congressional districts with the most rural voters.

Daily Yonder This map shows the election results in the 125 most rural House districts.

Site Selection’s 2010 Top State Business Climate Rankings

The November issue of Site Selection contains its annual business climate rankings.  The Southern states all made the Top 25, with North Carolina coming in first place for the ninth time in 10 years.  Entergy was also named to the Top Ten Utilities list.

Notes from Mississippi World Trade Center Event – and comments on the wine business in MS

This past Thursday, October 28, 2010 the Mississippi World Trade Center presented an International Food and Wine Festival showcasing food and wine from around the world.  The event was held at the beautiful and amazing Viking Cooking School in Ridgeland.  Local chefs picked a country or region’s cuisine to showcase, and then local wine merchants matched wines to go with the food.  It was an educational and delightful adventure in international cuisine.  I never knew stuffed grape leaves were so tasty.  Participating partners were Viking Cooling School, Kats Wine Cellar, Colony Wine Market, Briarwood Wine and Spirits, Mint Restaurant, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Parker House.

While there I took the opportunity to get Scott Jackson’s comments on the wine business in central Mississippi.  Scott is a certified sommelier and proprietor of Colony Wine Market in Madison, Mississippi.  He said that his business is up 30 percent this year over last, and that the central Mississippi retail wine market is doing well.  He also said that wine retailers are working with the Mississippi legislature to come up with an equitable law that will allow consumers to buy wine online that is not available through a local shop.  Currently, it is illegal to order wine and have it shipped to one’s home in Mississippi, according to the Mississippi Department of Revenue website.  Here’s more info about wine sales in Mississippi from the Department of Revenue Product and Sales Information section of its website:

As the state’s wholesaler, the ABC imports, stores, and sells 2,700,000 cases of spirits and wines annually from its 211,000 square foot warehouse located in South Madison County Industrial Park. ABC offers Mississippi’s 1,600 licensed retailers almost 4,500 brands and sizes of beverage alcohol. For items not on its Price Book or its monthly Fine Wine List, ABC develops and maintains business relations throughout the nation to accommodate consumer orders of special products. The 27.5% markup (set by state laws) on products shipped by the Warehouse yields some $56,000,000 of the $91,000,000 deposited annually into the state’s General Fund.