Auction-Rate Insecurity

At least three Richmond investment firms are having trouble retrieving client money from investments that were thought to be short-term and low-risk. Individuals and businesses that invest with Davenport & Company, Charles Schwab and Wachovia Securities might be unable to access money from certain mutual funds that invest in municipal bonds, also known as auction-rate… Read more »

Ode to the Vending Machine. In B Minor.

In the world of casual Fridays and awkward going-away parties, there is no friend more loyal to the office worker than the vending machine. It’s like a husky pal who’s always up for ordering pizza. It doesn’t discriminate, dropping chips, chocolate bars and mini muffins into the waiting hands of mailroom clerks and CFOs alike.

This Bud is Bound for Brazil/Belgium

Busch Gardens in Williamsburg might be put up for sale if a foreign brewer follows through on plans to buy the Anheuser Busch Company, according to a story in the Financial Times. InBev, which has operations around the world, would also likely layoff some of the Williamsburg brewery staff if a deal goes through. The… Read more »

Lower your chances of pulling a retirement goose-egg

It seems some lessons need constant repeating. You’d think the fall of Enron and WorldCom taught investors a valuable lesson in the dangers of having too much of their company-sponsored retirement plan in company stock. But judging by what appears to be the pending demise of Bear Stearns, whose stock plummeted from $160 per share… Read more »

The “Recesion-Proof” Myth

When I ask small business owners if they’re seeing a slowdown, I’m told that invoices are taking longer to get paid, that expansion plans are getting put on hold, or that new contracts are slower in coming than in the past. Construction and auto dealers so far appear to be suffering the most. But any… Read more »

Wanna Trade: bartering can help conserve cash

Most business owners have at least a few good yarns to tell about a trade gone screwy (possibly involving a goat, if you’re lucky). No hard statistics exist on the volume of bartered transactions because much of it is off the books. One accountant said it happens, “all the time.” Sometimes Scott Brown likes to… Read more »

Follow the Model

Igor Jekauc often wishes he didn’t have to fork over 19% of his annual revenue, but he says he wouldn’t have been able to open a tax preparation business without Liberty Tax Service’s business model and support system. A computer software that allows Jekauc to instantly issue tax return checks to customers was essential –… Read more »

Henrico Goes to Korea

Ten Henrico County officials will travel to South Korea in May to learn from the growing metropolis of Yangju, and to promote Henrico to Korean businesses As part of the trip, Fred Agostino, head of the Henrico County Economic Development Authority, might also visit Tokyo, Beijing, and Shanghai (Henrico has an economic development office there),… Read more »

Are you ready to start talking franchise?

It takes two to do the franchise tango. First there’s the franchisor. He’s typically the entrepreneur that built a company from scratch. He also generally likes taking risks, said Eric Perkins, a business attorney at Hirschler Fleischer. The franchisee, on the other hand, is usually a “straight-A student and likes to learn a system and… Read more »