November 2007

Turn Your Obsession Into Your Profession

The Escape Artists by PivenThe Escape Artists: True Stories of People Who Turned Their Obsessions into Professions, by Joshua Piven [McGraw Hill 2007]. “Have you ever wondered what it would be like to turn your hobby into a career, to get paid to do what you would do for free? Piven (The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook) profiles ten individuals who have done just that. From the dangerous (e.g., Navy SEAL; drug enforcement agent) to the humorous (stand-up comedian; clown), these jobs all have one thing in common: they are great escapes from the 9-5 world. Instead of a cubicle or corner office, these intrepid individuals report to raging river rapids, remote African villages, or the top of Mount Elbrus, the highest point in all of Europe. This book does not supply a 12-step plan to finding the ideal job; however, it does offer insight into the lives of individuals who have created jobs for themselves in unique and interesting ways. None of these individuals gets rich, but all are richly rewarded. In the tradition of Studs Turkel’s Working , this book gives readers a voyeuristic view of the life and work of well-delineated individuals.” Library Journal, 2007.

SCL Biz Brags on One of Our Own

SCL Biz is proud to report that the Sonoma County Wine Library, and our Wine Librarian Bo Simons, are featured in the October 2007 issue of NorthBay Biz. “Barrels of Books: Looking to Get Your Hands on Some Wine Information? It’s at Healdsburg’s Wine Library,” by Richard Paul Hinkle, describes the extensive collection of materials, new and old (some very old) about the science and technology of growing grapes and making wine and the business of selling wine, including marketing and the economics of the wine industry, and the history of wine here in Sonoma County.

The Wine Library is housed in the Healdbsurg Regional Library, a branch of the Sonoma County Library, and worth a visit by anyone interested in wine – along with books and magazines, they have beautiful maps and a collection of wine labels. If you are a grower, a wine maker or anyone interested in the wine industry, consider the benefits of a membership in the Wine Library Associates.

20 Tips for Telecommuters, Freelancers, & Those Who Work From Home

A nice article for anyone who works from home with tips to keep you on track and productive, from ‘Create a Ritual’ to ‘Don’t Go to the Couch’:

20 Essential Tips for Telecommutersing Success, by Leo Babauta, from, a Community of Freelancers.

Bay Area’s Most Admired CEO Awards

“Meet the Bay Area’s Most Admired CEOs as we celebrate leadership at its best and proudly honor them at a gala awards dinner.


Dick Kovacevich, Chairman, Wells & Fargo Company, Lifetime Achievement Award; Steve Burd, Safeway, Public Company (Large); Stephanie DiMarco, Advent Software, Public Company (Small); Lloyd Dean, Catholic Healthcare West, Non-Profit (Large); Carol Galante, BRIDGE Housing, Non-Profit (Small); Chip Conley, Joie de Vivre Hospitality, Innovator; Paul Touw, XOJET, Emerging Growth; Terry MacRae, Hornblower Cruises & Events, Private Company (Large); Andrew Ly, Sugar Bowl Bakery, Private Company (Small); Stephen Mayer, Burr, Pilger & Mayer LLP, Professional Services; Jeffrey Housenbold, Shutterfly, Inc., CEO Under 40; David Gavrich, Waste Solutions Group, Small Business.”

November 13, 2007 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Four Seasons Hotel, 757 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

Online Reservations

Valuing Your Business

Cayenne Consulting, a business consulting firm with offices around the country, including San Francisco, has an interesting (and amusing) questionnaire that will help you determine the value of your business. “Wondering what your pre-money valuation will be if a VC ever puts a term sheet on the table? Valuing a startup is intrinsically different from valuing established companies. Because of the high level of risk and often little or no revenues, traditional quantitative valuation methods like P/E comparables or discounting free cash flows are of little use. Startup valuations are largely determined based on qualitative attributes. We’ve been told by several investors that our valuation model produces reasonably good valuations. Of course, every situation is different, so your mileage may vary.”

While you may not get an exact value, the twenty-five questions will give you food for thought about what contributes to the value of a business and certainly will bring a smile or two to your face.

Opportunities and Danger

SCL Biz was listening to a nationally syndicated consumer/business radio show and the speaker was commenting on doing business in a slowing economic environment. There are opportunities: there will be more storefronts and buildings available and rents/purchase prices will be lower; excellent employees will be looking for jobs if their last employer closed; look for better deals on equipment leases, etc. But the danger of scams increases as crooks and cons prey on people who decide that this is the time to start their own business. Please be especially careful about franchises and home-based businesses – you can end up wealthy or broke.

There are two great local counseling resources for anyone starting a business to help you do it right the first time: The Redwood Empire Small Business Development Center is a project of the SBA and Santa Rosa Junior College that offers workshops and no-cost consulting for business start-ups, as well as help and information on business plans, business loans and other capital sources, marketing, and product development. The Sonoma County Chapter of SCORE offers excellent free counseling and workshops on all aspects of small business management. The Business Assistance Guide is an excellent online resource from the Sonoma County Economic Development Board – everything you need to know to start your own business in Sonoma County.

Check the SCL Biz posts about franchise fraud and protecting yourself from working from home scams. The SCL Biz Guide to Starting A Business has more help and the Library has many books on starting a business in California, including books on specific businesses: Internet, home-based, retail, day-care, clothing, vending, construction, and many more.

Writing Effective & Useful Business Plans – SCORE Workshop

“In this workshop, you will get a start on writing your business plan, and how it can be fun and exciting rather than tedious. A straightforward process of “telling your business story” will serve as your writing guide. You will learn about the main components of a good business plan: Position your product or service within your industry; reaching your target customers through methods of guerrilla marketing; and how operations, marketing, and sales work together.Then, you’ll hear about the choices you have to legally “form” your business: sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, S or C corporation. Considerable time will be spent on another crucial topic: how to convince an underwriter at a bank to fund your business. We will talk about the entire process from application to managing the loans prudently.”

November 10, 2007 8:30am – Noon
SRJC, Emeritus Hall on Elliott Avenue, Room 1597

More information and register online

Back On Track For Moms

Back on the Career Track by Cohen Back on the Career Track: A Guide for Stay-at-home Moms Who Want to Return to Work, by Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin [Warner Business Books, 2007]. “Cohen and Rabin have hit the nail on the head with this thorough, well-written, step-by-step relaunch guide for stay-at-home moms. Both Harvard MBA relaunchers themselves, they explore the role career plays in the quality of life for professional women by going beyond the mere dollars and cents. Readers are guided on their way with the “Re-launch Readiness Quiz” to help identify motivating factors and the “Job Building Block” exercise to explore new career directions. The increasing availability of flexible work options and the newfound interest of employers are presented. The trade-offs and downsides of working motherhood are also honestly explored, as are many inspirational stories of successful relaunchers, such as Sandra Day O’Connor. A listing of resources, recommended reading, and sample resumes are provided.” Library Journal, 2007.

See the SCL Biz Guide to Women in Business for more information.

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