3 Ways to Make Your Business More Profitable…the Right Way.

The Golden Rule is The Only Rule

A wise man once said, “Facilis descensus averno” Translated: the descent to the underworld is easy. Or in other more modern words, it is hard to do the right thing, and extremely easy to do the wrong thing.

Companies in today’s economy have been dealing with a continually shrinking market while simultaneously battling with increasing competition. The end result of this phenomenon has most notably been in the loss of overall gross sales and corresponding profit margin. To address this, many companies have made cuts in jobs, wages, bonuses, profit-sharing plans, advertising budgets, travel, and “non-essential” expenses to lessen their exposure and secure profits. But the companies that do this are making a bad mistake that can have long term negative effects.

No one can argue that the largest traditional expense(s) for any business is either Wages or Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). So the easiest thing to do is to just fire people, give them a reduction in salary and/or benefits, or lessen the quality of the good or service the company produces to offset the lost sales and profits, right?

WRONG.

There are three hard things all business owners can do to accomplish the same goal, while not compromising jobs, morale, integrity, or reputation. But remember, they are much harder to dothan just arbitrary cutting and slashing…

1. Get Your House in Order

Investigate all of your indirect spend, or fixed costs to “mine” for existing profits. Leave no expense unturned. Expense reduction consultants or inter-departmental committees can accomplish this and produce impressive, quantifiable results in a short amount of time.

2. Outsource, Outsource, Outsource

There are an enormous amount of tasks that can be outsourced for a fraction of the cost of a FTE. And with that task being taken care of by a contractor, the FTE can be re-allocated to revenue generating  projects. You will lose zero strategic control and essentially have a trained employee that can start immediately.

3. Don’t be Afraid to Raise Prices

If you know you have a great product, a great service, and/or great quality, have the confidence to create an “elite membership” of clients and raise the prices for your goods or services. Don’t be that guy/girl that flinches first, back-peddles, or cowls to a lower quote from a competitor looking to buy the business. Stand your ground and price yourself above your competition. If someone leaves, let them. Studies have shown that more often than not if a company leaves you because of price, they are twice as likely to return to you because of service and/or quality within one year.

So the moral of the story is simple: don’t be lazy, think outside the box, be willing to change, and stand firm. You don’t have to penalize your employees that depend on you in an fragile economy, or cut areas that are directly linked to service. Your employees, customers, and vendors will see your courage in the face of adversity and become even more loyal to you and work harder than they did before as a result of YOUR hard work and decisions.

But then again, it’s a lot easier to just let people go, eliminate customer service, or reduce the quality of your product.

It’s up to you to decide.

Until next time,

Jason Ritchason -President/CEO

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How to Convert Facebook Fans Into Paying Customers

BY  | 23 hours ago|
How to Convert Facebook Fans Into Paying Customers

Many small-business owners are perplexed by all the fanfare surrounding Facebook marketing. Sure, they can see the return in terms of interactions and maybe even new fans from sharing videos, photos, questions and other content. But why invest all that time and energy in community-building efforts when the real goal is to sell?

Scroll through your News Feed on any given day, and you’ll notice that photos and questions get the most traction. But the challenge for most business owners lies in how to take that momentum and convert it into buying power.

Think of Facebook as the first step of your sales cycle. The ultimate goal is to move fans outside of Facebook to a website or sales page, but first you need to build trust and identify leads. And that’s where Facebook marketing reigns supreme.

Consider these three steps when looking to convert Facebook fans into paying customers:

An example of a post that includes a quote and a call to action to ignite community engagement.

1. Engage fans with content they can share. 
Facebook is a powerful community hub, giving even the biggest brands a human face. It is not, however, a venue for spamming your fans. They’re on Facebook for fun and human interaction, not sales pitches.

That’s why step one is engagement, not sales. The more likes, shares, comments and fans uploading photos and content to your page, the higher your EdgeRank score, which means more fans and friends of fans see your posts. (By Facebook’s own estimate, only about 16 percent of a company’s page posts make it to the average fan’s feed.)

Photos, questions and other interactive content, along with clear calls to action such as “click here” and “share this,” give fans compelling opportunities to interact with your brand. Think about the pages you interact with. Do they include long text or fun photos? Updates that promote or updates that entertain and inform? Test different approaches and compare results. Which posts get the most traction?

Related: 3 Ways to Supercharge Fan Engagement on Facebook

2. Turn your raving fans into leads. 
Once you succeed in increasing engagement — measured in part by the number of people “talking about this,” which counts all fan interactions over a period of time — it’s time to move your fans to take an additional action, preferably one that results in a lead outside Facebook.

Step two of your Facebook sales funnel starts with sharing content that invites fans not to comment, share or like — all actions inside Facebook — but rather to visit a link outside of Facebook. This can be a page on your website or a Facebook app and have people opt into your list. Facebook custom apps are useful lead generation tools because you can collect leads without taking your fans outside Facebook.

Moving your fans to action takes an extra leap of faith on their part, so when you first take them outside Facebook or to a Facebook app, do so with a valuable offer, such as a contest entry or a free e-book or webinar, not a sales page link.

Related: 3 Ways to Generate Better Leads on Facebook

3. Introduce sales opportunities via email. 
Now that you’ve started to build your list on Facebook, you can deploy email marketing to build relationships with your warmest leads, and gradually introduce sales opportunities too.

Email marketing is the third part of your sales funnel, and it’s the best place to convert fans into customers. Instead of annoying your Facebook community by broadcasting sales messages, you can market your product to qualified leads right in their inboxes.

Focus on creating engaging social content for your email list, just as you would for any other marketing channel. The key is to balance appealing content with sales messages. One approach is to send out emails to encourage your audience to check out your latest blog post, sign up for your webinar or download your latest report–all free, valuable content. Once they consume that great content, you can use email marketing to encourage them to take the next step and do business with you.

If you nurture your opted-in leads with giveaways on Facebook and use the “help now, sell later” approach to email marketing to close sales, your converted Facebook fans will likely be happy to open their wallets.

TSBDC Press

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TSBDC at Volunteer State Community College

Seminars
Thursday, August 02, 2012 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Tuesday, August 14, 2012 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Thursday, August 16, 2012 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Friday, August 17, 2012 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
SBA

Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.  All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.
How to Increase Your Bottom Line, Today!
           
     Not that long ago, we had our second baby and we decided that it was a good time for the wife to quit her full-time job and go part-time somewhere.  We also realized that this would be quite a hit to the income of our household.  Sure we could still eat, pay the bills, tithe, send the kids to college, and maybe even retire one day.  But, it would be a photo finish.
     So, with no real way to increase income, other than working more, which kills the point of going part-time, we set out to cut some expenses.  By the way, my lovely wife is an accountant and well trained in this area.  We quickly discovered that despite our cheap bargain-basement frugal lifestyle, we still had fat we could trim.
  • We had several channels that we never watched, so down came the cable bill.  Bye-bye C-Span 7 and the Pan Flute Channel.
  • Our cell phone bill had steadily increased and we had enough minutes to cover the entire neighborhood.  Down came the cell phone bill.
  • We had super-duper high speed internet.  We learned that we didn’t need to download a terabyte in .04 seconds, so we downgraded to economy high speed.  Who knew this existed?
     You get the point.  The same happened with insurance premiums, the grocery bill, going out-to-eat costs, and door-to-door coupon/magazine sales.
     Before you know it, we had recovered a lot of that lost income.  Too bad we didn’t practice what we preached sooner.

     I recently had a workshop on increasing a business’ value.  One of the presenters, Jason Ritchason from the The Skyline Group, discussed expense reduction.  This makes sense, since a more profitable business can have more value. 
     It is our impulse reaction to assume that we are not wasting money.  We couldn’t be.  Not in this economy.  Sometimes we even rationalize that the cost savings would be so insignificant that it wouldn’t even be worth our time and effort.  And don’t even get me started on being penny-wise and pound foolish.
     With all of that being said, the average business could get a bump to their net income today  if they go line-item, by line-item in their expenses and look for ways to save.
  • Telephone bill – Consider a VOIP or renegotiate with your current provider.
  • Cell phone bill – Review the number of minutes/texts/data you need versus what you are actually using.
  • Internet – Shop out various providers and see what level of speed you truly need.
  • Credit card – Call the credit card company and negotiate a lower rate.
  • Insurance – Review what is necessary in your policy, consider raising your premiums, and don’t be afraid to shop with an independent agent.
  • Vendor discounts – Most vendors will offer a 1% – 5% discount for paying within a certain period of time.
  • Merchant services – Shop around for a reduced rate and cost per swipe.
  • Lease – If you are comfortable where you are, the landlord may be willing to offer you a lower rate to lock you in a lease over the next few years.
The TSBDC offers free and confidential one-on-one counseling for existing and start up small businesses.  To register for go to www.tsbdc.org.   

Other contact information – Phone (615) 230-4780  www.volstate.edu/tsbdc
The Tennessee Small Business Development Center Network is funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration and local community donors.

 

 

A Penny Saved…

This month’s savings tip focuses on saving money on various everyday habits and was provided by Jennifer Ulrich, Project Manager.

Up to now we have provided you with some excellent tips on how to save money in various ways.  This month I would like to highlight some small things you can do in your everyday habits that are sure to save small amounts that can add up big!

  1. Home brew Try to alternate days that you buy coffee and make it at home and bring it with.  You do not have to give up that tasty Dunkin or Starbucks everyday, but cutting it out a few days a week can add up to significant monthly savings.
  2. Bring your lunch to work day. While it is convenient at times to buy lunch out and certainly can be more enticing at times, by preparing your lunch at home and brown bagging it you will almost always pay a fraction of what you would pay by eating out.
  3. Just filter it! Depending on the pollutant levels in your home or work tap water, filtering will eliminate most toxins.  Bottled water, even at its cheapest can cost $4 per case of 24 bottles.  Another cost that can easily add up when you are meeting your 8 glasses a day!
  4. As good as new. The reduce, reuse, recycle theme is one that should be considered when making purchases.  Cell phones, pcs, and even automobiles are some of the most common items that are just as good refurbished as they are new.  Consider these items before hopping on the “brand new” bandwagon and you are sure to notice a price difference.

While some of these tips may seem like common sense, you would be surprised at how many people go the easy but more costly route in their daily budgeting.

Additionally, the following categories of your personal expenses can be areas of substantial savings if all you do is just pick up the phone and negotiate with your provider:

1. Cellular

     2. Lawn-care

     3. Internet/Phone/Cable

     4. Home Insurance

     5. Trash Services

Give these suggestions a try and let us know the results!

Until Next Time,

Jason Ritchason -President

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The Red-Headed Step-Child of Business: Procurement

Does this look like your Procurement Manager???

Marketing Procurement’s Value: Defining Cost Savings

Posted on June 14, 2012 in Business Philosophy | by 

While many corporate procurement teams have been tasked with lowering costs and buying on lean budgets, the value that these professionals can bring to financial planning and significant cost reduction is overlooked.  According to a recent article in the May/June issue of Procurement Leaders Magazine, “Procurement has an image problem.”  The article about recruiting and talented procurement professionals goes on to state “Internally, the image of procurement as a backroom bean-counter, while horrendously outdated in many organizations, still means that attracting internal talent over procurement involves correcting pre-established perceptions and making sure that the representatives of the team sell procurement to their counterparts.” The question remains, how do you market procurement’s value, internally?

One of the first steps to improving the perceptions of procurement is to define the key term that is most associated with procurement: cost savings.  Cost savings can be defined in multiple ways and can be unpersuasive if presented in an insignificant way.  Procurement personnel should understand how and when to use different metrics with various departments to communicate successes.  These numbers will be interpreted differently by an organization’s various internal groups based on their day-to-day operations and established management goals.

Unit Cost Savings & Discount Improvements

The most basic of cost metrics, these models provide a simplified view of achieved successes. However, the numbers in both of these metrics can still result in a budget increase due to increased volumes.  For example: Product Development asks procurement to purchase Widget A for a new product they are developing.  In the first year, procurement ordered 100,000 units of Widget A at
$1.00 per unit equaling a $100,000 budget for Year 1.  In the Year 2, procurement re-negotiated the price of Widget A down to $0.85.  At the same time, in Year 2 of making the new product, demand increased by 25%.  Therefore, 125,000 units of Widget A were purchased in Year 2, increasing the annual budget to $106,250.

Procurement managers need to ensure that if they are reporting to Finance that they communicate unit cost savings and discount
improvements and are not solely measured based on annual budgetary achievements.

Index-Based Commodity Cost Reduction

Most of the items bought by procurement departments are tied back to a commodity index of some kind.  Whether it be increased shipping costs due to fuel cost increases or the decrease of pulp and paper costs for office supplies.  Procurement also buys commodities directly and is subjected to the market price of products.  Savings achieved in this arena are hard to qualify for management and finance departments.  Increases or decreases in cost should not be tracked as savings unless the cost reduction was a direct result of a change to the procurement process, such as hedging.

Hard Dollar and Soft Dollar Savings

Hard dollar savings are defined as quantifiable metrics such as hard-dollar savings projections, payment terms, lead-time, rebates and signing bonuses, and quality improvements.  While these numbers are quantifiable, if they are not communicated in a meaningful way to interested parties, they will be of no benefit to procurement.

Soft dollar savings are not as easily quantified.  Such savings include exclusive distribution rights, quality improvements (as they impact consumer opinions), procure-to-pay efficiency gains, and process improvements.  It may seem difficult to communicate these items to other internal departments, but the best way to do so is to relate the savings to the goals the department has set.  Marketing loves quality improvements and product development loves process improvements.

Defining your cost metrics is just the first step in promoting the value procurement brings to an organization.  By continually communicating with internal departments and presenting meaningful data, procurement has an opportunity to present and promote successes and create a reputation for meeting and exceeding expectations.


Social Media the New Resume?

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No More Résumés, Say Some Firms

The Wall Street Journal

        Are resumes a document of the past?

Union Square Ventures recently posted an opening for an investment analyst.

Instead of asking for résumés, the New York venture-capital firm—which has invested in Twitter, Foursquare, Zynga and other technology companies—asked applicants to send links representing their “Web presence,” such as a Twitter account or Tumblr blog. Applicants also had to submit short videos demonstrating their interest in the position.

Union Square says its process nets better-quality candidates —especially for a venture-capital operation that invests heavily in the Internet and social-media—and the firm plans to use it going forward to fill analyst positions and other jobs.

Companies are increasingly relying on social networks such as LinkedIn, video profiles and online quizzes to gauge candidates’ suitability for a job. While most still request a résumé as part of the application package, some are bypassing the staid requirement altogether.

A résumé doesn’t provide much depth about a candidate, says Christina Cacioppo, an associate atUnion Square Ventures who blogs about the hiring process on the company’s website and was herself hired after she compiled a profile comprising her personal blog, Twitter feed, LinkedIn profile, and links to social-media sites Delicious and Dopplr, which showed places where she had traveled.

StickerGiant’s John Fischer, right, and interviewee Adam Thackeray shoot a video Monday.
“We are most interested in what people are like, what they are like to work with, how they think,” she says.

John Fischer, founder and owner of StickerGiant.com, a Hygiene, Colo., company that makes bumper and marketing stickers, says a résumé isn’t the best way to determine whether a potential employee will be a good social fit for the company. Instead, his firm uses an online survey to help screen applicants.

Questions are tailored to the position. A current opening for an Adobe Illustrator expert asks applicants about their skills, but also asks questions such as “What is your ideal dream job?” and “What is the best job you’ve ever had?” Applicants have the option to attach a résumé, but it isn’t required. Mr. Fischer says he started using online questionnaires several years ago, after receiving too many résumés from candidates who had no qualifications or interest. Having applicants fill out surveys is a “self-filter,” he says.

A previous posting for an Internet marketing position had applicants rate their marketing and social-media skills on a scale of one to 10 and select from a list of words how friends or co-workers would describe them. Options included: high energy, type-A, laid back, perfect, creative or fun.

In times of high unemployment, bypassing résumés can also help companies winnow out candidates from a broader labor pool.

IGN Entertainment Inc., a gaming and media firm, launched a program dubbed Code Foo, in which it taught programming skills to passionate gamers with little experience, paying participants while they learned. Instead of asking for résumés, the firm posted a series of challenges on its website aimed at gauging candidates’ thought processes. (One challenge: Estimate how many pennies lined side by side would span the Golden Gate Bridge.)

It also asked candidates to submit a video demonstrating their love of gaming and the firm’s products.

IGN is a unit of News Corp., which also owns The Wall Street Journal.

Nearly 30 people out of about 100 applicants were picked for the six-week Code Foo program, and six were eventually hired full-time. Several of the hires were nontraditional applicants who didn’t attend college or who had thin work experience.

“If we had just looked at their résumés at the moment we wouldn’t have hired them,” says Greg Silva, IGN’s vice president of people and places. The company does require résumés for its regular job openings.

At most companies, résumés are still the first step of the recruiting process, even at supposedly nontraditional places like Google Inc., which hired about 7,000 people in 2011, after receiving some two million résumés. Google has an army of “hundreds” of recruiters who actually read every one, says Todd Carlisle, the technology firm’s director of staffing.

But Dr. Carlisle says he reads résumés in an unusual way: from the bottom up.

Candidates’ early work experience, hobbies, extracurricular activities or nonprofit involvement—such as painting houses to pay for college or touring with a punk rock band through Europe—often provide insight into how well an applicant would fit into the company culture, Dr. Carlisle says.

Plus, “It’s the first sample of work we have of yours,” he says.

By Rachel Emma Silverman lThe Wall Street Journal

Your-business-name-here.XXX Facts

Should you register your .XXX domain name or not?

As you may know, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) last year authorized the creation of .XXX as a new top-level domain (TLD). Launching .XXX was done through a three-phase process, promoted as way to create competition and fairness across adult entertainment companies. The third and final phase – open enrollment – is now in effect.

There has been and will continue to be a lot of hype and, frankly, fear-mongering by some less scrupulous vendors. Basically, their pitch goes like this:

“Pay us to register www.yourcompany.xxx to protect your brand and good name. If you don’t, well, you never know when someone might create a porn site under your name. Act now! Every day you wait is a day you are at risk.”

Although technically true, this type of implied threat comes dangerously close to “internet blackmail” in our view.

Let’s look at the facts:

  • .XXX is the newest of nearly 400 active top level domains.
  • .XXX was created to make it easier for individuals seeking adult entertainment online to find it, and those who are not interested in such material to avoid it.
  • Like all TLDs, anyone can register “somename.xxx”.  This includes both legitimate use (i.e., “hotporn.xxx”) and cyber-squatters (i.e., “yourbusinessname.xxx”).
  • Cyber-squatting is a contentious business practice, whether it involves XXX or not.
  • The policies, laws, and regulations governing cyber-squatting are complex, vary from country to country, and are an active battleground in the courts. If you are interested in the gory details, http://www.caslon.com.au/domainsprofile13.htm provides a good jumping-off point.
  • In the U.S. and many countries around the world, you can request arbitration under ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). Compared to litigation in U.S. courts, costs are quite low. However, remedies are limited to transfer (from loser to winner) of the domain name, or outright cancellation of the “squatted” domain.
  • In the U.S., you can file suit against cyber-squatters under the Federal Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) of 1999. ACPA provides for statutory damages up to $100,000 per domain name, or actual damages and profits, plus court costs and legal fees.
  • Perhaps because of the enormous global value of the adult entertainment industry (some estimates suggest that $3,000 – $5,000 per SECOND is spent on porn worldwide), domain name registrars are charging premium prices for .XXX domains. For example, a 5 year registration ofwww.johnsrepairshop.com retails for $114.95 ($23/year) at Network Solutions, butwww.johnsrepairshop.xxx retails for $649.95 ($123/yr) for the same 5 year term.

Should YOU register a .XXX?

It depends:

  • Is it likely that someone would want to operate a legitimate adult entertainment website with the same name as your brand or company? For example, www.realestatenashville.xxx is an unlikely choice for a porn site, whereas www.BestSkinUS.xxx might be more at risk.
  • Do you think that squatters might want to target your brand or company with the intent of selling it back to you (“ransom”)? Clearly, you’d be a greater risk if you have a global brand and deep pockets, like Coke or Apple. Is there a personal or political reason someone might target your brand or company for financial gain: www.joesmithforgovernor.xxx, orwww.yourcompanynamesucks.xxx ?
  • If your customers stumbled upon www.yourcompany.xxx, is there a meaningful risk they’d believe that you operate a porn site as a sideline business? Aren’t they more likely to realize that the overlap is coincidental or that someone is trying to take advantage of you?
  • When looking at search results, are prospects likely to get the wrong impression or make the wrong choice if they see listings for both www.yourcompany.com and www.yourcompany.xxxlisted? Or are they more likely to choose the .COM link and move on?
  • If you found that someone had registered your company or brand name as a .XXX site, would you be willing and able to commit the resources required to litigate? Would you have time and resources available for arbitration?
  • How effective is your current domain name registration position? Could you benefit more by adding registrations under .INFO, .BIZ, and .CO (for less money) than under .XXX?
  • How well does you current site perform in SEO rankings? Is your content fresh and authoritative? Would legitimate search results overwhelm whatever www.yourcompany.xxxlinks that might exist? Remember, the best defense is a good offense.

These questions should be considered as a part of your overall strategy for establishing, promoting and maintaining your online brand identity. Domain name coverage beyond www.yourcompany.com can be beneficial, both in terms of brand protection and in link-building; so are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, FourSquare, and other social media outlets.

We’re happy to discuss your online brand presence at any time, including questions about .XXX. And yes, if you want to lock-down your .XXX, we’re happy to help. But don’t succumb to high-pressure sales tactics or email scare campaigns.

Garry Hornbuckle

By Garry Hornbuckle, Compliments of Bytes of Knowledge Management

Apple vs RIMM (Blackberry) = TKO

Celebrity death-match anyone?

There was a time that Research in Motion (RIMM) was the darling of Wall Street. The products that they sold were on the leading edge of technology; interactive, life and business simplifying, and a product that quite literally had an “addictive” nature that produced uncanny sales and loyalty from their customers. Their signature SKU, the Blackberry Phone, was infamously dubbed the “Crack-berry” for that immediate comparison to the most addictive drug on the streets.

Well times have certainly changed for the once dominant wireless communication company. Over the last four years, RIMM has seen a literal disappearance of market capitalization to the tune of 84%, going from $54.81B in 2008 to $8.79B to date. While their revenue growth year-over-year has been steady since 2009, along with steady EPS growth, and net income growth, RIMM has incurred increasing debt, shrinking cash flows, and most importantly the absolute onslaught of their competitors with newer, better, and more customer pleasing products developed by Google (GOOG) and Apple (AAPL) most specifically.

Adding to RIMM’s woes will be a half billion dollars in charges related to two major failures this fiscal year. First was the dramatic overproduction of the “Playbook” tablet (est. loss $485M). The second related to the prolonged service outage in October ’11 that will undoubtedly result in numerous lawsuits (est. loss $15-20M). And when CEO, Mike Lazaridis, was asked about his thoughts on the most current earnings reports, he showed an audacious denial of reality by stating:

“RIMM is committed to the Blackberry Playbook and believes the tablet market is still in its infancy…early results from recent Playbook promotions indicate a significant increase in demand across most channels.” (TechCrunch, “RIM To Miss Earnings Goals After Half a Billion in Charges”,12/4/11)

And if all of that weren’t enough to make you scratch your head, according to an article published in November by BusinessWeek, for the first time in nine years, RIMM’S stock price fell below it’s book value.

“So, what did RIMM do?” to get themselves into this mess becomes the most obvious question. However, analyzing what RIMM didn’t do and what their competitors did do reveals the true answer. One only needs to compare RIMM’s financials with that of its most formidable competitors, Apple, Inc.…

Created in 1976 by the legendary Steve Jobs, Apple rose to prominent status quickly in the ‘80’s. The iconic Macintosh was the precursor to home computing of the future like no other technological innovation of the 20th century. But just as quickly as it rose, Apple fell to the double-edged sword that helped create it; Jobs himself. He was ousted by the other directors because of his unpleasant demeanor, insistence on everything having to be done his way, and just a little bit of ego.

Little did they know, Jobs’ personality and paradigm changing vision for personalized technology was to become the actual heartbeat and core foundation of Apple and its coming success. And until his return in ’96, Apple’s growth, market share, R&D, and profits languished mercilessly. Once back in the captain’s chair, Jobs spearheaded products like the iPod, iPhone, iMac, Macbook, iPad, and transformed personal computing with the advent of the touchscreen on all devices. And the results have been nothing short of Wall Street gold since his return.

According to the financial data compared to RIMM, Apple has become the 21st century’s reincarnation of the dominance that RIMM once garnered at the end of the 20th century. Since 2009, Apple’s sales have grown 157%, their market capitalization has increased 120%, their debt ratio and working capital have decreased significantly, their EPS has more than tripled and their book value per share has almost tripled! And if all of that weren’t enough to impress you, the media widely reported how Apple had more cash on hand than the United States government early this summer!

However, not all of Apple’s success has been directly attributed to the wireless communication devices that directly compete with RIMM’s products for a fair evaluation. Of the $108.2B in revenue for their last reporting period, roughly $70.8B (65%) of those sales can be attributed to the iPhone and iPad, while the other $37B (35%) were sales of their desktop and portable computer devices where RIMM does not compete. Even so, Apple has dominated the wireless industry of late and their current revenues dwarf RIMM’s best year ever of revenue, computers aside. And once Verizon became licensed to sell the iPhone on February 10th of this year, after having had an exclusive agreement with AT&T since it’s launch, their sales have taken off even more dramatically.

All of that being said, I find it interesting that less than 1% of Apple’s insiders own Apple stock, where RIMM’s insiders own 11% of their stock. And as of December 2 of this year, RIMM’s P/E of 3.06 compared to Apple’s 14.08 makes RIMM possibly more attractive as a buy for nothing other than a takeover scenario. And now that Steve Jobs has passed away and Timothy Cook has taken the reigns, are the innovative technological breakthroughs going to dry up for Apple without their spiritual leader? Or become less than spectacularly popular like every single launched product of the last ten years for Apple? I guess we will all see soon. But if I were a betting man, I would put my money on Apple, even with a new CEO…

…nuff said.

Until next time…

Jason Ritchason -President/CEO