Posts filed under Entrepreneurs

Peter J. Burns III: Entrepreneur Has Solution For Businesses Squeezed By Government

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“Rather than hire the individual as an employee, the entrepreneur explains to the individual what the benefits would be if they were to incorporate by obtaining the necessary EIN number, bank account, and business license to establish a consulting business in their specialty field,” Burns told the Digital Journal. “The consulting business would then contract with the small business for this service.”

That’s right. Burns suggests that instead of hiring on full-time employees to work for your small business, why not have that individual create their own start-up consulting firm, which would then contract with your small business for work.

No catches. No hoops to jump through. It would function as any other business-to-business interaction would, and you would not be faced with the difficult task of categorizing a worker as an independent contractor or full-timer.

And as of this point in time, and according to Burns’ knowledge, this is 100 percent completely legal and within all IRS rules, regulations and guidelines. In fact, Burns has employed the model with his company B3 Funding Partners, which serves as a portal, or conduit, between small and medium-sized businesses in need of capital and willing lenders.

In an exclusive, in-depth interview, Burns discussed how he came up with this idea, what it means for the IRS and most importantly, what does it mean for you and your business. Here’s what he had to say:

CC: How did you come up with this idea?

PB: I look at it from a purely business stance. The government is jamming us [small businesses] right now trying to make it where if you have 50 employees or more, they’re trying to force you to have ObamaCare. They are taxing us into nonexistence. So I said let me take a look at how I can solve one big problem: I’ve got a business and I’m growing, and I need help, but if I bring people on I have all of the restrictions of having to worry about unemployment insurance, withholding taxes, benefits...

And then I said, "What if the individual became a business themselves and simply had their services exchanged for full compensation from the company?" It wasn’t the half-solution of being an independent contractor; that is so restrictive on all of the elements you have to prove, and then the IRS will slam you and fine you, both the individual and the employer, if they disallow that.

But they can’t do anything about incorporating and starting a business because that’s IRS guidelines and if you adhere to exactly what they require (EIN number, bank account, contractor services), then you’ve come up with a solution using their own legislature against them. I’m not trying to say we’re anti-government. I’m saying if they want us to play by the rules, then they have to obey the rules too. I see it as a really good solution; I see it as a way to hire yourself. You create a little company – you get to offset all of the other expenses you can’t do as an individual. The company itself that needs those services pays a simple gross amount which is up to the client company… if they don’t perform correctly then you sever the contract – you don’t have unemployment insurance, you don’t have to worry about them filing for unemployment, you don’t have any of the headaches…

CC: What are the benefits of doing this?

PB: The top benefits are that it is a simple transaction between business to newly created business without any of the hair of reporting and withholding taxes, or with social security and health care et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. It streamlines the relationship between the employer and employee – it streamlines it into a very efficient business model, which is what capitalism is supposed to be all about anyway.

You don’t have to worry about hiring them [independent contractors] and making them an employee and toeing the line for all of the things you have to do that the government requires. It is a simple exchange of services for money for an actual service performed, agreed to and paid for.

In this case the IRS code doesn’t have anything to do with it. It is a “pay-for-services" to an actual company to company transaction. Period.

You agree on a payment amount, service is rendered, you pay it and it’s a straight deal. I don’t see the negatives in this…except the IRS can’t grab a bunch of money from people and there’s no way to actually screw the individual or the company if you use my process. I can’t see the negatives, honestly.

CC: What did your lawyers and accountants have to say about this? What is the IRS going to think?

PB: I do not believe the IRS is going to like me talking about this but guess what, I don’t really care. I’m the advocate for small business. I’ve been doing this since I was 19 years old… I’m their friend – government is not so I’m going to do whatever I can to help.

My CPA is a principal at one of the largest accounting firms in the country, my lawyer has been practicing for 25 years. I went to them and I said "Punch holes in it, tell me… is this right or wrong?"

They both looked at me and said it is completely within the realm of the current law. My accountant didn’t think it was sustainable, he thought companies are going to have to hire people, and I said of course they are – but what if you can exchange the bulk of, or at least some of your would-be employees with this concept. My lawyer said technically it’s completely correct.

CC: So what made you want to help out fellow small business owners so much? Where is this creativity and passion coming from?

PB: We’ve got to do something to help our small business population; nobody’s helping us so we’ve got to help ourselves.

When you involve government with capitalism, it’s a cluster. It always has been and it always will be. It’s just like how government is interfering with crowd-funding right now. What was a great idea and was actually passed is now mired in controversy and legislation… it’s just a mess. Let business people stay with business people, let government stay with government. Do not mix the two – it is a recipe for disaster.

I’m just another entrepreneur out there just trying to help my fellow entrepreneurs. I am not a lawyer, I am not an accountant, I am just a fellow businessman who may have come up with a way to save a lot of time and trouble, and not to mention money, for my fellow entrepreneurs.
 

Posted on September 5, 2014 and filed under Entrepreneurs.

Peter J. Burns III: THE NEW (OLD) COIN OF THE REALM: BARTER

According to Wikipedia:

"Barter is a method of exchange by which goods or services are directly exchanged for other goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money.[1] It is usually bilateral, but may be multilateral, and usually exists parallel to monetary systems in most developed countries, though to a very limited extent. Barter usually replaces money as the method of exchange in times of monetary crisis, when the currency is unstable and devalued by hyperinflation."

My experience with barter goes back 10 years to when I first moved to Phoenix and partnered with a businessman who taught me the ropes. Brian had a party bus limousine business and he often traded his services through one or more of the established barter companies in the area. Next, he moved into the magazine business and traded ads for barter currency, which he used for restaurant scrip, printing and other services for himself and his business. I moved on to other enterprises and found a use for barter in literally every field.

I was involved in the first Destination Club in the country, Private Retreats, and I actually figured out how to barter memberships (at $100k apiece) and use the barter dollars to both furnish the multimillion dollar residences as well as help the company purchase full page ads in such high profile and glossy national magazines as "The Dupont Registry" and "Ritz" magazine. The results of my introduction to barter and it's adaptation to as-of-yet untested uses like private club members were $900,000 in barter sales!

So, like a duck to water, I learned the "ins and outs" of bartering. This lasted the three years I was partnered up with Brian and then I was involved in other businesses, which didn't lend themselves as readily to barter. That all changed this past year, when I introduced barter to our ever-expanding group at Club Entrepreneur. First, I tested the waters by joining one barter company after another. It took four tries because the first barter groups I tried were so incompetent and/or crooked, that only the most optimistic (or gullible) of souls would ever have remained committed to barter. Finally, I landed in an organization whose integrity and longevity were a testament to what a barter company should really be about.

Tradesource run by the mother and daughter team of Sylvia and Mary Ellen Rosinski has been operating their 1100 member trade company for 24 years. In a barter organization, the members buy and sell their products or services to each other at retail prices, accepting barter currency for their sales to each other. The barter company, Tradesource in this case, acts as the "bank" and makes it's revenue through the 12% transaction charge, which it assesses each member monthly and in cash, for those barter sales.

The "trick" in any barter company is to maintain the quality of service between the members and to balance the books by keeping the value of its currency intact. Hypervigilance is essential, so that "inflation" or "devaluation" of its barter currency does not occur and remains solid. In all candor, the Tradsource dollar is much stronger than our own American "greenbacks" because it really is perfectly balanced.

Having my own organization of literally thousands of Club E members (4500 at last count), I proposed a partnership of sorts with Tradesource. First, I established my own "private label" barter organization that I named the Club E Exchange . Next, I negotiated for a split of the transaction fees for Club E members that I brought into Tradesource. I also negotiated a release from both the membership fee of $695 (cash) and monthly maintenance fees of $20 (cash) for the first six months, for all new members coming from Club E. Tradesource would act as the bookkeeper and "bank" to make certain that everything ran smoothly. It seemed a perfect fit for both organizations.

In the meantime, Sylvia approached me with the possibility of locating one of our CEOs (Club E Office) into one of the new commercial properties that were offered through a new account of Tradesource. These landlords, suffering from commercial vacancies on an unprecedented scale had decided that they'd rather take barter dollars than no dollars for some of their properties. My crew and I staked out a facility and the rest, they say is history.

Club Entrepreneur is now heavily ensconced in a beautiful 8,000 sq. ft. facility in downtown Phoenix, with plenty of parking and a multitude of private offices and open space. We bartered for this "all inclusive" space at less than market rate and for all barter, which includes both the utilities and daily janitorial service. In exchange, we offer the offices and other parts of the space to our Club E members at retail rates - but in barter dollars by signing them up on Tradesource through our own Club E Exchange. Our Club E Office keeps the spread of barter dollars as our profit and spends those barter dollars to maintain operations. For instance, we bartered for the handyman services to assemble the furnishings, which we also purchased with our barter dollars. We used a bartered mover to transport our equipment and furniture to the new facility. We even use a bartered catering service to provide our event attendees with delicious food and beverages at our weekly and monthly events.

Recently, I chanced upon a rather unique application of barter - the retention of skilled services needed by companies who haven't the cash to retain the needed employees. I establish these companies as trade exchange members that then use their excess products or services to generate barter dollars. In turn, the skilled worker incorporates himself and establishes a barter account of his own to offer its services to the company for a 1099 barter exchange. A thorough discussion of this can be read by accessing my blog entry.

In short, there is no limit on how you can make barter work for you, especially in these turbulent times of limited cash and uncertainty. Sign up to an established and reputable barter company, using your excess products and services to generate your barter dollars. Then offset many of your cash expenses for bartered products and services and you will benefit greatly. My own experience proves this out.

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Posted on September 5, 2014 and filed under Entrepreneurs, Personal History.

Peter J. Burns III: AZ Business Resource Blog

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I wanted to share some business resources that we have found particularly valuable for assisting entrepreneurs.  Whether you are starting a new business or have been in business for awhile, these resources can assist you as you launch or grow your business.

Read More at: http://www.azbusinessresource.com/blog/2010/05/business-resources-for-az-entrepreneurs/

Posted on September 5, 2014 and filed under Entrepreneurs.

Peter J. Burns III: CEO UPDATE

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Lots to report on the progress of our Club E Office (CEO) expansion. The 300 W Osborn facility in downtown Phoenix is filling up, with a waiting list for the private offices. We're also starting to get some traction on both the "Drop-In" spaces and hosted meetings outside of our regular Club E functions. We are optimistic that this CEO will quickly become the epicenter of entrepreneurial activity in the Phoenix Metropolitan area.

Through a key introduction from our resident CFO, Al Schaap, we are now discussing the possibility of opening a Veteran-only CEO in a secured facility so that we can host military veterans that win some of the 80% "set aside" government contracts (see below.) We have a 6,000 sq. ft. site in Tempe and a Camelback site with 10, 000 sq. ft. (both secured sites) under consideration. The government contract expert, Dr. Jonathin Miller. is scheduled to come visit us in Phoenix in about a week.

There are over 1 million veterans returning to America after serving our country in the Iraq and Afghanistan war zones. Many of these men and women are disabled. Our government has established an 80% "set aside" for government contracts for qualified disabled vets who seek to go into business for themselves and bid on these contracts. In order to win such a contract, the military entrepreneur must operate from a secured facility. Club E can provide such a facility and support the fledgling "Vetrepreneur" with assorted business services and the collaboration that is only found within the ranks of Club Entrepreneur.

My old friend and business partner, Bob Johnson, has established a new CEO in the Atlanta suburb of College Park. A friend from the economic development department of Goodyear AZ, Barb Coffee, moved to College Park and took her admiration of working with Club E with her. She and Bob connected about creating both a Club E chapter and a CEO facility, located a perfect spot, and for the past 6 months have been working diligently to make this happen. I just received word that Barb had successfully negotiated a $150,000 grant to help support the $300,000 tenant improvement guarantee that Club E needs in order to open the facility. Bob tells me that we already have commitments to rent for 25% of the space and a real shot at making this facility Vetrepreneur-eligible through the help of our new friend, Dr. Miller.

There are a lot of empty commercial structures across the country that could be retrofitted to incorporate a Club E chapter and a CEO operation that could house the cilvilian and military operators alike. This story will only continue to grow...

Stay tuned!

Posted on September 5, 2014 and filed under Entrepreneurs.

Peter J. Burns III: 1% OF CLUB E = INFINITY

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Last night, 1% of our membership of Club Entrepreneur showed up for our one-on-one roundtable. That's over 60 individual business owners from every walk of life, and it was powerful!

Generally, around 2 dozen invited one-on-one "alumni" show up, we introduce ourselves and then deal with one or two issues that need solving within the group. Next, we break for a social hour, usually joined by another dozen attendees for refreshments and conversation. Last night was very different.

For some reason, a whole lot more Club E members came to share last night. The group ranged from a young start up restauranteur to one of America's most recognized informercial personalities with over $1 B in sales. As I was listening to the individual business owners introduce themselves and what businesses they were in, I couldn't help but wonder what magic could be performed for our local economy by simply harnessing the energy and optimism within that room last night.

Think about it - 60 business owners averaging $700k in gross revenues (average small business statistic) represent over $40M in annualized sales. Commit that sum to one or two of our local community banks as deposits in Club E's "Bank Local" program and we could pump over $400M of financing into the economy through the Federal guidelines of matching 10 times a bank's deposits at 0% interest.

We had a husband and wife team whose company provides the successful step-by-step process of obtaining business credit based on a company's EIN number only, without the need for personal credit. For a very reasonable charge (and they'll even finance it) they guarantee that if you follow their steps, your company will receive up to $100,000 in business credit. In a room like last night, that means we could generate over $6,000,000 in unsecured business credit for those businesses. In an economy like this, that is truly outstanding.

A start-up utilizing a proprietary software that attached a bar code on the back of a person's business card debuted last night. The bar code, when accessed by taking a picture from a smartphone that had installed a free aplication, accessed the card holder's web site and video message, making that person's message much more memorable than a handful of other business cards we all collect each time we network. Imagine the effect to that start-up if all 60 businesses became their customers last night.

There was a lady in the ink cartridge business, who recently had a one-on-one with me. Her employer was the largest ink catridge manufacturer in the U.S. with prices far less than the normal providers of such products like Staples and Office Max. I introduced her employer to barter and we just launched a site where you can spend your barter dollars and not cash on replacing the "necessary evil" of print and ink cartridges. The average business spends over $700 annually on ink and printer catridges. Imagine if each of last night's attendees gave that business to the "ink lady." She would have booked a cool $40,000 in sales.

Speaking of barter, the founder of the area's largest and most longstanding (24 years) barter exchange was in attendance last evening. Club E works very closely with Sylvia and Tradesource and counts over 75 Club E members that are part of the 1100 Tradesource members. If all 60 attendees became part of Tradesource and utilized barter for only 10% of their sales, there would be over $4,000,000 in additional annualized business that Tradesource could have booked. This represents millions of dollars in freed-up cash flow for these businesses.

We had a talented artist there last night who produces wonderful paintings of classic cars, portraits and anything else that a client might want. Why not consider giving her your business and commissioning a family portrait for a unique Christmas gift?

There was a young woman who had created a number of products from a unique textile that she had discovered after much research. Who couldn't use the beach and athletic towels which were so much better and more compact than available products? There was a longstanding manufacturer's rep in the audience that started discussing his representation of her product after the break. Another product produced by another attendee, a biomass produced log for burning, also caught his attention and they began discussions last night.

A call center operator with state-of-the art technology which hired American workers and charged far less than even offshore competitors to generate leads and sales calls was in attendance. He will be setting up headquarters at our facility and what company doesn't need more sales leads? Many of the members were lining up to speak with this fella last night.

There was a database programmer there last night. He has engineered a number of software based products including a program that "remembers" all of one's log-ins and passwords for every account. This gentleman has created a CRM, email delivery platform and data base management system that will take all of Club E's thousands of members, classifying them by industry and other parameters for ease of use. What company couldn't use his services? Who couldn't use his "memory stick?"

Speaking of a perfect candidate for our database expert, we had a first time attendee, the founder of one of America's most successful product sales through infomercials, with over $1B in sales. This gentleman's database has over 18 million customers who have bought his products and he has come to Club E to see if there are any new products that he might be interested in promoting through his vast network and via his television celebrity. This man has spent over $250,000,000 in advertising over the years and his recognition factor is greater than former President Clinton's, I am told.

A couple of young men had a towing business and were looking for contracts from commercial property owners. They offered this service free of charge to the property owner and made their money in towing and storage fees. Our landlord was there and she offered them our building and four others that she owned to try out their service. What other commmercial property owners are there in Club E that could use their free towing service to remove unwanted cars that are illegally parked or abandoned?

A lovely young woman in the photography business was there. She specializes in weddings but is now branching off into specialized photo shoots and is even working towards producing an album cover with yet another Club E member who started his own Hip Hop label.

Two old friends of mine that I did business with 10 years ago showed up for a one-on-one a few days ago and shared what had happened since. They are starting a women-only racecar team and through a Club E connection, now have the first lady Indy car driver as their CEO. There are numerous sponsorship possibilities and PR plays for this exciting business starting in our midst.

There were dozens of other business owners with services and products that many of the attendees could use for their own businesses. If all we did last night was to open the possibilities of working together to become each other's clients and referrals, that would be great. But I have something much bigger in mind.

What if we formed a cohort of members from the group last evening and all worked together and acted to become each others' customers? What if we all worked en masse to drive business to each other, to pool our banking resources and to energize our community from within by throwing our collective weight to each other in an effort to jumpstart the local economy?

I can bring America's largest small business lender into the mix to loan $5k-$25k to each member with a 680 FICO score and an executive summary. This loan carries only a 6% interest, is amortized over 10 years and requires no capital. At a mere $10k per loan for the members of last night's gathering, we can generate $600,000 in fresh capital into the businesses there last night. Add the $6 million in new business credit obtained from our experts and you have some serious resources that could be generated from this group.

We could all come together again and again to brainstorm with each other and share the three types of capital that Club E professes in its "Open Source" credo: Relationship Capital, Knowledge Capital and Capital Capital. There could be a simple agenda prepared and we can break into smaller groups, offering each other advice, contacts and most importantly, business. Why dilute this extraordinary collective buying power when we could all throw our much needed business to each other? Like our forefathers once said when facing our British oppressors, "United we stand, divided we fall."

I woke up at 3 AM this morning, so excited with the possibilities that this concept offers all of us. What a model could be created that could be duplicated after proving it out. Sixty talented and motivated entrepreneurs and business owners from within the ranks of Club E can do some seriously great things. I am going to start putting this together right now and I am going to be reaching out to every one of you.

Expect my call!

Posted on September 5, 2014 and filed under Entrepreneurs.

Peter J. Burns III: Going Into Debt Over Attending College Is Ridiculous!

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The headline of today's Arizona Republic blasts out "Defaults on student loans rising." Reading this thoroughly depressing article, we learn that the average student graduates from college with literally tens of thousands of dollars in debt. while launching themselves into one of the worst economies for job seekers in history.

Apparently Arizona's private for-profit schools have the worst record of all for graduates: the largest student-loan debt as well as the highest default rate. So, not only do these schools cost much more to attend than do community colleges, public universities and private non-profit schools, but a graduate ends up owing more student loan debt and has a much higher default rate. What a great deal. NOT!

In these times of uncertainty and economic plight, with our President urging Americans to go back to school and the need for many of us to "retool" ourselves because our former industries don't exist or aren't hiring anymore, where do you turn?

I believe that Club Entrepreneur, the Arizona-based 3500 member entrepreneurial community has a solution to offer. Through an agreement with our friends at Andrew Jackson University, an accredited for-profit inline university, Club E will offer a tuition waiver to every Arizona resident wishing to go to college. AJU offers 11 degree programs in both undergraduate and graduate programs, including the College of Entrepreneurship, where I serve as the Dean. The programs are taught by excellent professors and are solid academic offerings. Why go into debt for thousands of dollars, when Andrew Jackson and Club Entrepreneur can offer you the same education as the other Arizona-based for-profit online schools for NO TUITION?

There's even better news for all of you considering the switch to AJU with Club E's help. In 2010, with Obama's blessing, the American Opportunity Tax Credit, worth up to $2500, should cover literally every other cost associated with attending AJU.

You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Reach out to my friend at AJU: Tammy Kassner at tkassner@aju.edu who will answer all of your questions about our program.

 

Club Entrepreneur Offers Zero Tuition College Education for Arizona Residents

21st Century Marketing Techniques, Tax Credit Cover All Costs

TEMPE, Ariz., March 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Arizona residents can now earn a fully accredited college degree at no cost by joining Club Entrepreneur, a free online community for emerging entrepreneurs. Prospective students who sign up are eligible have their tuition waived at Andrew Jackson University (AJU), a nationally accredited online institution with eleven degree programs. Additional enrollment fees, books and materials costs, and other qualified expenses may be fully offset by the recently passed American Opportunity Tax Credit, effectively bringing the net cost of a college education to zero. (see link below)

"Our sponsored tuition program will strengthen Arizona's economic future by unlocking the gates to higher education for thousands of residents who are being shut out by the recent wave of fee increases at colleges and universities throughout the state," remarked Club Entrepreneur founder Peter J. Burns, III.

Club Entrepreneur is the latest addition to AJU's growing list of business and organizational sponsors who want to offer educational opportunities to their employees or members. Interested students must join the sponsor's e-mail list or online network in order to qualify for the tuition waiver. There is no cost to the sponsor or the student to participate.

"Traditional educational institutions find applicants by paying hefty fees to educational websites which collect and sell personal information of interested students," explains AJU President Don Kassner. "We eliminate this costly middle man by partnering with groups that are trying to reach the same population we are," he adds.

Students are under no obligation to maintain a relationship with their sponsoring organization and will continue to have their tuition waived even if they sever ties with their sponsor. "It's really up to the individual sponsor to maintain a good relationship with the student," according to Kassner. Sponsors are prohibited from selling or sharing the personal information of their sponsored students.

Participating students can choose from a variety of Associate, Bachelor and Master degree programs in business, communication, health care administration and other fields. Courses and assignments are administered "anytime anywhere" on AJU's secure, user-friendly online platform. For more information on the sponsored tuition program, visit Club Entrepreneur at http://www.clubeoffice.com and Andrew Jackson university at www.aju.edu.

INFO ON TAX CREDIT FOR COLLEGE EXPENSES:
http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=211309,00.html
 

Let's get America back on her feet by helping to educate our citizens.

Posted on September 5, 2014 and filed under Teaching, Entrepreneurs.

Peter J. Burns III: Have A Merry (BARTERED) Christmas

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As many of you know, Club Entrepreneur is deeply vested in the barter applications of business. (see www.clubeexchange.net) We've partnered up with the longstanding and integrity-filled barter company, Tradesource (see www.tradesource.net)and have conducted many tens of thousands of barter transactions with our Club E members through Tradesource's barter network.

Over the last year or so, Club Entrepreneur (and me personally) have been able to trade for the lease of our beautiful downtown Phoenix facility (www.clubeoffice.com), complete with bartered furnishings and even the delicious catered food at our weekly and monthly gatherings of entrepreneurs. In the past several weeks, we've added both print and ink cartridges (www.clubeinkandtoner.com) as well as good, used automobiles to the roster of products that can be purchased through our barter network.

Perhaps the greatest personal story of what can be bartered occured just a day or two ago, when I had the privilege of hosting two young single mothers, who are now working with Club E, as well as a surrogate aunt and young Club E member, who were able to pick out literally hundreds of dollars of toys and gifts for their 20 month, 4 and 5 year old little girls for a Christmas that they will never forget. You see, each of these young ladies had been unable to afford to buy Christmas gifts for their little girls because they simply could not afford to this year.

Fortunately, the sale of catridges and cars on barter had left a generous amount of surplus barter in my accounts and I was honored to bring these young ladies to go Christmas shopping at the Tradesource store, which was filed with member items, including toys for little girls. The ladies at Tradesource, Sally and Amanda, kindly assisted these young ladies in finding many great gifts for their children and the smiles on their faces, as they gleefully filled their cars with gifts for their girls, was the greatest gift of all!

Tonight, I was able to fill up my daughter's large SUV to the brim with large boxes of beautiful new furnishings for her townhouse, which she shares with her sister. My daughters had been laboriously filling their new home, piece by piece over the months as they settled in together but they still had a long way to go to make their place comfortably furnished. Through one of Tradesource's members in the new and consigned furniture business, I was able to locate beautiful furniture and accessories that I could give to my two daughters for Christmas. Had I had to pay cash for such beautiful items, I never could have afforded to be so generous this Christmas. Barter saved the day!

There are many other examples of how using barter can help us all in this tough economy. I, for one, can proudly, gratefully attest that barter has allowed me to provide a very Merry Christmas for five young ladies - the three little girls of Club E members and my own two beautiful daughters!

Merry (Bartered) Christmas to you all!
 

Posted on September 5, 2014 and filed under Family, Entrepreneurs.

Peter J. Burns III: Life As An Entrepreneur Need Not Be Lonely

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I know all about writing countless emails, after doing the due diligence on a project, reaching out to potential team members and financiers and hearing nothing back. I know all about the thankless hours spent brainstorming over $5 lattes at coffee shops with prospective strategic partners and teammates and going back home feeling drained and empty. I know all about sitting at my home office computer or laptop outside on the porch and wondering why I'm the only one that seems to be working on a myriad of projects while everyone else is sleeping, out entertaining or even better yet, on vacation. Vacation(!) what's that like, I continually ask myself???

The path of the individual that forges his own path in entrepreneurship is a daunting one. There are no bi-monthly paychecks, health insurance benefits or car allowances. There are no "paid lunch hours" or sick days or anything else that 99% of working Americans enjoy every day. Now, of course, that has changed drastically over the devastating economic decline over the past several years but let's face it there are still 90% of Americans that are gainfully employed somewhere.

Entrepreneurs have to hire themselves. They have to create the jobs within their own organization that have to provide a product or service and then sell them for more than they had to spend to create them. Then, and only then, can the entrepreneur get paid, often at rates that are less than minimum wage. Why do we go through the brain strain and Herculean effort to do this? Because it's in our blood and as a true blue entrepreneur, one just can't be satisfied doing anything else.

Still, it is lonely out there, often holed up in a home office, away from everyone else as we toil away at bringing a new idea to market or in battles to prevent our fledgling businesses from going extinct. The good news is that there are others out there that are facing the same challenges or have done so and won the good fight. They are your fellow entrepreneurs and "corporate refugees" seeking a piece of the American Dream - business ownership.

Organizations abound for the business owner and entrepreneur. Most are specific to the industry or level of experience and size of the entrepreneur and their enterprise. As the founder of one such organization, Club Entrepreneur (www.clubeoffice.com), I can attest firsthand to what a refuge and support network we have been to literally thousands of Phoenix area business owners and entrepreneurs.

Reach out and participate with others with the same dreams and aspirations that you have. Ask them the hard questions and seek out their advice. Offer your own hard-earned knowledge to others that you can help. It's all about "Open Source Entrepreneurship," that is, sharing the three types of capital: Knowledge Capital - where you may know something specific that could help another and share it; Relationship Capital - where you have a contact that can solve another's problem or energize their business; and Capital - where you have a source or alternate financing angle that can save the day for a struggling entrepreneur.

That's what it's all about, my friends. Share the struggles. Share the solutions. Most of all, share yourselves by becoming involved, reaching out and participating with your fellow entrepreneurs. We are all that America has left to correct the terrible position Big Business, Big Banks and Big Government has left us in. Join forces with your fellow entrepreneurs, the founders and backbone of the United States and take America back and right the course. It's your destiny and you need to seize it.

Come join us at Club Entrepreneur and learn what a difference you can all make!
 

Posted on September 5, 2014 and filed under Deep Thoughts, Entrepreneurs.

Peter J. Burns III: NEVER, EVER GIVE UP!

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I often like to paraphrase that great English statesman and warrior, Winston Churchill, who stated "Never, ever give up..." If that isn't the best war cry of the entrepreneur, I don't know what is. As a self-proclaimed "pureblood" entrepreneur, I really do "walk the walk" and have especially done so these past several years. Starting in 2006, I taught my first class in the field of entrepreneurship, as an Adjunct at the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University. I called the class, "Ready, Fire, Aim" and those 19 students ignited my interest in education in a big way.

I was invited back by Dean Mark Jacobs to teach and oversee four classes that second semester and our enrollment grew to 94 students. My "Barrett Honors Entrepreneurship Program" was gaining great traction and I had high hopes to expand the entrepreneurship curriculum throughout Arizona State University. Naively, I reached out for what I thought was a logical ally, the W.P. Carey School of Business and was soundly trounced as a "non-academic," teaching what would surely prove to be a "fad," according to their Dean. I was disappointed but not beaten.

At the urging of the principals of the Phoenix-based Grand Canyon University, I laid out my ambitious plans to create the unique College of Entrepreneurship, hopefully at their university. I shared my disillusionment at ASU's short sightedness at not working with me on what promised to become a unique differentiator and real asset to their school and we fashioned plans to go ahead together.


Eight months after our first meeting, Grand Canyon University was the first school in the country to offer a College of Entrepreneurship. That was January, 2007. The first students followed me from ASU over to GCU on a full academic scholarship and I set about creating the pipeline of new students to enroll in our new school. Aside from giving me this great opportunity, GCU really didn't commit any effort or resources to market our school but I was wholly committed, so I spent my own money to pave the way for the Nation's first College of Entrepreneurship, figuring that their success was my success.

Along the way, the little-known Grand Canyon University started getting some seriously positive press because of the new CoE. We were written up in the venerable WALL STREET JOURNAL, CNN Money wrote about us, along with scores of other periodicals and online sources that were very interested in the "NEW Business School" model that I invented. Only 6 or 7 months after the school's start, FORTUNE Small Business Magazine named GCU's College of Entrepreneurship as #2 out of the top 5 entrepreneurship programs in the United States. I promptly mailed the story to ASU'S Dean to share with him how my "fad" was doing!

The program at GCU gained great traction and I enthusiastically threw myself into the project. I had created a revenue share arrangement with the school and based upon the anticipated future income, I started spending tens of thousands of dollars on new lead generation software and campaigns as well as advertising in targeted publications for the new school. All this came for naught because after only a few more months I received a termination notice of our deal together, citing the lack of student enrollment. This was ludicrous because we had only just gotten started. I learned of the real motivation for this months later when GCU became the only public offering in 2009 and raised their cap rate to over $1.5B. Apparently, they just didn't want to share.

I went to my attorneys to discuss what had happened and they gave me invaluable advice, "get over it and move on." GCU had way too much money for me to fight back but they couldn't take away the fact that I founded the country's first College of Entrepreneurship and despite what Grand Canyon University claimed, it was very successful. I decided, at my attorney's urging, to find a compatible school, that would actually sign my contract, and start another College of Entrepreneurship. I took this advice to heart.

I am now the Dean and on a contracted rev share basis with the accredited online school called Andrew Jackson University in Birmingham, Alabama. I was made the Chancellor of the new College of Entrepreneurship at Southern States University, which just received their accreditation status. SSU is in San Diego and we're now working on another of their schools which has it's own law school and we're discussing forming the country's first JD/MBA in Entrepreneurship together. I'm also working on a new CoE in Michigan and am even in discussions with the local Indian Nation to open up our program at their university.

As an eternal optimist, (read: entrepreneur) I know that when tough things are thrown at you, it is important to see them as opportunities and that you must "Never, ever give up!"

Posted on September 5, 2014 and filed under Personal History, Teaching, Entrepreneurs.

Peter J. Burns III: Play To Your Own "GENIUS"

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As a "pureblood" entrepreneur, I'm often asked how do I put complicated deals together so quickly when others look at the same line-up of components and facts and don't recognize any discernible pattern, let alone see the opportunity to profit. The simple answer is that I play to my "genius," that is, I do what comes naturally, which happens to be recognizing patterns, putting disparate pieces together and monetizing that effort.

We all have our God-given talents, be it in the creative zone of developing graphically beautiful web sites, figuring out how to organize members of an entrepreneurial team (equivalent to herding cats) or developing tech solutions and financial models for any kind of business. Entrepreneurs, being the "lone wolves" that they often are, sometimes forget the importance of collaborating with a team with complimentary skills sets, often making the effort of moving forward, stronger, quicker and better.

Doing business well is all about how one gets along with other people. If one can respect another's talents and work together to achieve a common goal, both win. When a team of like-minded entrepreneurs learns to successfully delegate responsibilities and creates a system of accountability and measurement towards reaching that common goal, magic happens.

The trick is to not only "play to your own genius," but allow others to do the same.

Recently, the creators of our successful StartUp Now workshops, Jim and Sonia Graham, and I had a meeting to see how we might improve upon what we had started with the workshops. Out of the four sessions to date, there were four new businesses started, which is wonderful. However, only a handful of each of the four groups decided to participate in each new business launch, leaving most of each group on their own.

I offered to use my "genius" of recognizing opportunity in a free 45 minute session with any of the StartUp Now group members that wanted to explore the possibilities of starting their own new business, outside of their group, or perhaps move into one of our eFactory business opportunities. I reasoned that given a focused session one-on-one with the erstwhile entrepreneur, I could recognize that individual's passion and motivations, fashioning an opportunity for them on the spot. At least that's the plan and if members from the upcoming April 30th StartUp Now workshop take me up on it, we'll end up having more than one business started from each workshop from now on.

Here's another tip - not everything works the first time you try it. Practice does make perfect and we learn more from what doesn't work than what does and continue to improve with each lesson learned. Now, I don't know how many members of our upcoming StartUp Now workshops will take me up on my offer to fast track them into self-employment but I'm a big believer in "nothing ventured, nothing gained," so if you happen to be in our April 30th or subsequent StartUp Now workshops and don't want to join the group business effort, take a shot and schedule a talk with me. You never know what can result from one simple conversation and maybe you'll find your own "genius" too.
 

Posted on September 5, 2014 and filed under Deep Thoughts, Entrepreneurs.