YFS Best Small Business Books of 2014

One of the weekly business shows that I record for later viewing is Your Business, with J.J. Ramberberg. . It’s all about small business and is a program I recommend for small business owners and anyone thinking about going into business for themselves. This past week Ramberg referenced the YSF Magazine‘s (the YSF stands for Young, Fabulous and Self-Employed) Best Small Business Books of 2014. GOOD TO GREAT is a classic, and one I refer to often in my college class. Now I have four more to add to my reading list. Here’s the list:

1. #GIRLBOSS, by Sophia Amoruso
2. BUSINESS MODEL GENERATION: A Handbook for Visionaries,Game Changers and Challengers, byAlexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur
3. DO IT! MARKETING: 77 Instant-Action Ideas to Boost Sales, Maximize Profits, and Crush Your Competition, by David Newman
4. GOOD TO GREAT: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t, by Jim Collins
5. HOOKED: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, by Nir Eyal

Coming to you from France


This column is coming to you from France, where my wife and I are on vacation. Each place we go I am asking as many people we deal with as possible if they have ever heard of Mississippi and what they might know of it.

After 10 days and numerous conversations it is obvious that very few of them really haven’t the slightest impression or idea about the Magnolia State. At least there are no negative images. One Parisian sidewalk artist asked if Mississippi was in Australia. A restaurant server said that “Mark Twain” was the first thing that came to mind when he heard the term, Mississippi.

While in Beaune (pronounced Bone), France, which is the wine capital of the Burgundy region and where wine reigns supreme, we had the opportunity to (more…) 

Q & A About the Writing Life

What were your goals when you started writing?

My writing goals when I began writing were very simple: Write an advice column every week. That’s because a newspaper asked me to write about a subject that I was considered to be an expert. I still write a bi-weekly column in a business publication. After a few years, a local chamber of commerce asked me to write a novella and set it in their community. They wanted to have an unusual marketing piece. The novella was very heavy on setting. Ideally, a reader would want to visit the places in the community after reading the novel. That was a paid assignment that eventually led to nine other short novels set in towns around Mississippi.

What are your goals now?

(1) write two novels and have them published within the next six months.
(2) write and publish two advice books, one on the subject of leadership and one on the subject of economic/community development.

What pays the bills now?

Writing, teaching and consulting.

What advice would you give young authors hoping to make a career out of writing?

If you are going to make a career out of writing you need to remember that you are writing for your customers (readers). Although writing for oneself sounds good, that is not what pays the bills. Understand that there is a blend of writing about what you like and what the reader wants. If you’re lucky those two things will be the same.


Thanks to Bob Clary, Community Manager, Webucator and Google Analytics/AdWords Trainer for the questions.
Check out webucator.com, customized instructor-led training courses.

Seven Things That Will Soon Disappear

October 16, 2014

In this week’s Kiplinger e-newsletter there is a thought-provoking list of things that won’t be around much longer. I don’t have much disagreement with the list. It does make one begin to think about other things that might be added to the list in the near future. Here’s the list:

1. The Plow – Most U.S. cropland is now managed as “no-till” or minimum-till, relying on herbicides and implements such as seed drills that work the ground with very little disturbance, among other practices.

2. College Textbooks – By the end of this decade, digital formats for tablets and e-readers will displace physical books for assigned reading on college campuses, The Kiplinger Letter is forecasting. K–12 schools won’t be far behind, though they’ll mostly stick with larger computers as their platform of choice. (Note – I’ve seen no evidence that they will be cheaper.)

3. The Clutch Pedal – Automatic transmissions are becoming more efficient. (Note – I love my 6-speed)

4. You Neighborhood Mail Collection Box – First-class mail volume is plummeting, down 55% from 2004 to 2013. So, around the country, the U.S. Postal Service has been cutting back on those iconic blue collection boxes.

5. The Incandescent Light Bulb –Stores can still sell whatever inventory they have left, but once the hoarders have had their run.

6. Your Privacy –The list of tracking devices is set to boom, as sensors are added to appliances, lights, locks, HVAC systems and even trash cans.

7. Blockbuster Video Stores – Today, they’re virtually all gone; only a streaming video service remains.

Click here to read more.

Notes from Economic Outlook Forum

September 16, 2014

The Millsaps College Else School of Management and Mississippi Public Universities held their annual Economic Outlook Forum this morning to a packed house audience. The event was sponsored by the CFA Society of Mississippi. Here are my bullet point notes from the two presenters.

Douglas P. Handler, Chief U.S. Economist and Head of North America Macroeconomics, IHS Global Insights –

Outlook is tremendously positive.
The common theme throughout is demographics.
It is a time of transition. Firms that get it will do well.
There will be continued economic growth through 2015.
Housing will continue to improve. If you’re a homebuilder you’re going to be thinking apartments.
Fed tightening to take place 3rd quarter, 2015.

Darrin Webb, State Economist for Mississippi and Director of University Research Center’s –

Mississippi economy is growing, but not as much as we would like. Will probably grow less in 2014 than in 2013.
Sources of growth appear more sustainable than last year.
Growth will strengthen with that of nation.
Mississippi GDP forecast growth:
2014 – 1.4%
2015 – 2.2%
2016 – 2.4%
2017 – 2.5%


Six Leadership Characteristics of Truett Cathy

September 14, 2014

Truett Cathy’s legacy will surely be most recalled as the founder of Chick-fil-A, but I hope his personal and leadership characteristics will not be forgotten either. Those characteristics were summarized in a September 13, 2014 Wall Street Journal column by Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola who referred to Cathy as “a longtime business partner, and dear friend and a teacher.”

Kent listed the following six characteristics as the the way Cathy approached business, people and community.

1. He believed in himself.
2. He worked hard.
3. He embodied the culture he wanted to build, i.e. he walked the talk.
4. He never stopped innovating.
5. He was generous.
6. He stayed humble.

Thank you Stennis Institute and Mississippi State University

Thank you Stennis Institute and Mississippi State University for the wonderful retirement luncheon and for the opportunity to serve in this capacity for 11 years. Very much appreciated. My wish for y’all is very simple – Go dawgs!