| Randy Elgin
10999 W IH10 Ste 175
How to Win Big in Today’s Economy
The altered economic landscape presents innovative and nimble businesses with opportunities to thrive.
Find out how by requesting my free report “How to Win Big in Today’s Economy.”
Just reply to this email and I’ll send it right out to you.
What Google Learned from Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team
By Charles Duhigg
The New York Times Magazine
Studies show that people working in groups innovate faster, identify mistakes quicker, problem-solve more effectively, and achieve better results. Google launched Project Aristotle to discover why some work groups thrive and others fail. The study revealed that building a great team is about a norm of “psychological safety,” in which group members feel valued and respected.
Digital Innovation Is Kind of a Big Deal Right Now
By Daniel Burrus
Burrus distinguishes two types of innovation accelerators: hard trends (those that will happen) and soft trends (those that might happen). Business strategy based on hard trends enables innovation with little risk and real upsides in terms of value and ROI. Learning to use hard trends to anticipate disruptions, problems, customer needs, and opportunities is a must for today’s businesses.
Google Ventures on How Sketching Can Unlock Big Ideas
By Jake Knapp
LINKS YOU CAN USE
This Month: Learning from Your Financial Statements
Small-business owners regularly make key decisions affecting the financial future of their companies. Are these decisions well informed? To ensure they are, use one of your most valuable decision-making tools: financial statements. Check out the following tips on how to use these resources to your advantage.
Financial statements are a fountain of valuable information. Find out what they have to offer at
12 Things You Need To Know About Financial Statements
Many small business professionals are intimidated by financial statements because they don’t understand how to track sales and expenses. Luckily, they’re not alone. Conquer that fear.
If You Fear Financial Statements, You’re Not Alone
Analyzing certain trends in your financial statements could put more money in the bank each quarter. Learn how.
What Are Your Financial Statements Telling You?
What are the essential tools of a business plan? Find out here.
How to Make Sense of Your Small Business Financial Statements
|| REAL ESTATE
3-D Printing: Shaping the Future of the Building Industry
Three-dimensional, or 3-D, printing is everywhere these days. The process of creating a physical object from a digital model by laying down thin layers of material has myriad applications. From creating human organs built from patients’ own cells to tailoring machine parts, 3-D has uses in every industry, including construction.
The process of creating 3-D models of structures and nonstructural products (such as bricks for landscaping) has been in use in the construction industry for many years. But researchers are looking far beyond making models using bigger, better, more versatile printers and recycled materials.
For investors and developers, the positive disruption to the building industry caused by 3-D technology opens up a whole new world of investment potential.
Take the Big Delta, developed by World’s Advanced Saving Project (WASP). The 40-foot-high (12.2 m) 3-D printer can print homes from clay and dirt to provide emergency housing whenever and wherever it’s needed.
And a process developed by University of Southern California researcher Behrokh Khoshnevis has the possibility of totally automating the home construction process down to the plumbing and electrical systems.
A report from CMHC notes many of the advantages of 3-D printing in the home building industry, including on-site applications, reduced waste (as “printed products only use as much material as needed to form them”), and the potential of customizing design on a large scale with more interesting design features. There are challenges, as the CMHC report points out, including the cost. Investors take note.
HOT BIZ TRENDS
Company Book Clubs Ensure Everyone Is on the Same Page
In the small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) world, hours are long, tasks seem endless, and responsibilities are often onerous. There’s barely time to eat and sleep, let alone keep up with business trends. Yet accessing the wisdom of thought leaders is critical to success in today’s global economy.
Books provide insights into people who have faced down challenges and learned the kind of critical lessons the rest of us need to learn. This is why company book clubs are currently having a moment.
A company book club not only is a way to learn and leverage this knowledge, it also can foster a learning culture, challenge employees’ mental models, and provide a forum for them to exchange ideas.
Company book clubs generally meet monthly, and participation is always voluntary. A facilitator is usually designated to keep the group focused and the discussion flowing. Groups often choose to discuss books that align with issues the company is facing, such as growth, talent retention, marketing, and competition.
The group may simply talk about a book’s main points and highlight any ideas that seem to resonate. Or participants may try to relate the material to the firm’s operations or strategic road map. Usually, it’s a combination of the two: learning and applying.
A company book club can also be a way to encourage continuous learning, foster team building, and help employees de-stress and pull away from their busy workdays.
Many companies have discovered it’s a tradition that enriches the team, the culture, and the company. But best of all is knowing that everyone’s on the same page.
June Is Internet Safety Month: Be Aware of Cyber Threats
The Internet adds new access, enhancements, and abilities to businesses. Most of its offerings are beneficial, but the downside to the Internet is cyber threats. In today’s world, businesses must be prepared for these risks, which come in many forms, including:
- Intellectual property threats. Depending on the business, hackers may be seeking technical plans, blueprints, patents, or other secure information
- Hacktivists. These tech pros are on a mission to make a political point or simply make a company look bad.
- Criminal hackers. On a different mission from hacktivists, these masterminds are trying to accumulate funds illegally. Think of them as online thieves.
- Terrorism. These hackers aren’t looking for monetary gain, and they are definitely in it for more than an embarrassing prank. Terrorists may want to hurt the economy or steal information that aids in a physical attack.
- Disgruntled employees. The other four types of cyber threats come from outside sources; this is an inside job, involving employees with access to passwords and other insider information. A disgruntled employee wants to hurt you and your business.
Raised awareness can help businesses identify vulnerabilities and take protective measures. Because these attacks are almost inevitable, company owners must take steps now. While your primary goal is to prevent breaches, should they happen, your next goals are to act quickly to minimize damage.
CRE Crowdfunding Is Attracting Small Investors
As most investors know, there are three main asset classes in which to invest: stocks, bonds, and cash. But those who think outside the box have found another good investment opportunity: commercial real estate (CRE).
In the past, many investors have ignored the awesome potential of commercial real estate as an investment vehicle, primarily because most know very little about CRE. Others who saw the potential were discouraged because of rules governing who can invest in CRE and who can’t. Now, however, there are crowdfunding portals that welcome the small investor and allow small operators and startups the chance to raise funds to help them grow.
In the United States, the JOBS Act of 2012 facilitated investment in commercial real estate but limited access to wealthy individuals. In 2015, the potential audience of investors expanded, and companies were able to crowdfund to a limit of $50 million a year. The only restriction was the amount that an individual investor could risk.
In 2015, the total return on CRE investments was 12.71%, according to the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF.) However, rates of return have moderated recently. According to the Blackstone Group, a significant investor in CRE, the culprits are a lower-than-anticipated US economic growth rate and volatility in capital markets. Despite lower returns, Blackstone singles out residential housing and shopping centers with grocery stores as anchor tenants as solid investments.
Investments can range from office buildings, retail and industrial properties, and multifamily residential buildings to self-storage facilities and parking lots. Office properties in particular are high-profile investments. They are not for everyone, however, as many areas currently have high office-vacancy rates.
Multifamily residentials are a more stable investment; people always need a place to live, and the loss of a single tenant would not impact the investment the way it would, for example, if a shopping center lost an anchor tenant.
Generally, real estate tends to be a relatively stable investment, especially compared to the stock market, and North American CRE is attracting foreign investment fleeing the up-and-down markets in Europe and Asia.
Also, it allows for portfolio diversification as it spreads out beyond the more traditional asset classes.
Individuals can still invest even very small amounts of money in commercial real estate through crowdfunding platforms.
Still, with opportunities come risk, and fledgling CRE investors in North America should note that commercial real estate investments generally are not liquid or as easily traded as stocks.
But with the opening up of CRE investments to the smaller investor through crowdfunding, the big winners are undoubtedly those companies able to access a new source of income.
As Nav Athwal comments in a Forbes article: “Coming out of the great recession with banks becoming more regulated and credit getting tighter, real estate crowdfunding has filled the gap by connecting real estate entrepreneurs with a new base of investors and capital.”