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If at First You Don't Succeed

"Failing Up" (October/November 2008) is a great article that points to the challenges and obstacles that entrepreneurs need to overcome. We hear lots about the idea of becoming your own boss and living a life of freedom, yet the hardships that can come with that are not often explained. Managing and growing a business is an enormous juggling and balancing act, but the returns can be very gratifying.

Tejune Kang, Six Dimensions, San Ramon, Calif.

I admire everyone in "Failing Up" who survived with tenacity and a strong sense of what went wrong and how to bring their companies back up again. As Henry Ford said, "Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently."

screen name: Glenn

Where's the Bailout for Us?

Even as it becomes harder to bring in business, our company's fixed expenses remain the same or continue to rise. Since the government is bailing out larger enterprises, they should do something for small companies, too ("Crunch Time," October/November 2008). Small businesses should get tax credits for insurance costs, from health care to workers' compensation and general liability. Credit-card interest should be reduced on existing loan balances to help small businesses pay them off.

I believe in capitalism, but I believe that this bailout cannot work only from the top down. There are many small businesses that are hurting from the loss of income and rising costs. We have done nothing wrong, but we are caught in the middle. We do not have the clout of larger companies.

Chrys Edell, Bonafide Office Services, Metuchen, N.J.

Inventory Is the Root of Plenty of Evil

For many companies, the value of inventory is between 6% to 20% of sales ("Taking Stock," October/November 2008). If a company is earning 4% profit margins, it would take $2,500 in new sales to make up for $100 in lost inventory. So you would think more companies would take inventory more seriously. But they do not, and they blame everything but bad inventory management for their troubles.

Rene Jones, Founder, Total Logistics Solutions, Burbank, Calif.

The Dangers of Plastic Loans

One can never rely on credit cards for borrowing ("The Plastic Trap," October/November 2008). That is what loans and credit lines are for. Use the cards for transactions and get free credit and take advantage of cash back or rewards schemes. If you get a good deal on a credit card, make use of it, but don't for a moment think that you can take it for granted.

Sunil Kanwar, Toronto

Don't Expect Backing on Ideas Alone

The sentiments expressed in "Ask Me Later" (October/November 2008) are so true. I recently met with a venture capitalist who echoed the "bootstrap" idea. In fact, I only got the meeting by letting him know that I didn't expect any funding until we got some customers. Yet, most entrepreneurs don't want to hear this reality. They are enamored with the hope of raising money on an idea alone.

David Silverman, co-founder, Jamseed (via e-mail)

Raising money is a chicken-and-egg scenario. I have products developed. I have customers. I have bootstrapped. The problem is that I don't have a team—it's just me. So I can't get any attention because there isn't a team; and I can't go out and get a team because there is no capital to do so.

Roger Grant, Founder, Human Element Biometrics, Oklahoma City

Vivent Les Entrepreneuses

Why were no women featured in your coverage of the Best Entrepreneurs Under 25 ("Gee Whiz Kids," October/November 2008)? C'mon, BusinessWeek. I expect more diversity than this array of well-groomed men.

Cordelia Chadwick, San Francisco

Back to BWSmallBiz December 2008/January 2009 Table of Contents

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