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Feedback 3/04

Letters from our readers

Spirit of Giving

Our congratulations to Rieva Lesonsky for her appeal to business owners to carve out time to help new entrepreneurs ("Editor's Note," December). Here's a suggestion on how an owner can "give back": Join a local community-service organization such as Rotary or Kiwanis, and organize a committee of business owners to conduct free evening courses [for] would-be entrepreneurs. We know from experience that the sharing of business expertise in a classroom is hugely satisfying and warmly appreciated by recipients.

Phil Holland
Chairman and Founder
www.myownbusiness.org

Just the Fax

Steve Kirsch is so disturbed about his unsolicited faxes that he is suing ("Hot Seat," January). He is concerned about the cost of the reams of fax paper he is apparently using and fax signals on his voice lines. He is suing for $2.2 trillion. That will buy a lot of paper. Attention, Staples.

If he is doing this in his spare time, as the article claims, maybe there is too much spare time. Where does this end? Will it eventually come to "Do not e-mail, fax, talk, speak, knock or look"? And federal government lists for [all of them]?

Steve Kirsch owns San Jose, California-based Propel Software Corp.-can't he just route his faxes to a computer and press the "delete" button? Seemingly a natural business practice for a software company. This is my procedure at my low-tech rep business. Note: The "delete" button [also] works on e-mails.

Just for the legal record, as I don't have any part of $2.2 trillion, Steve Kirsch has not received an unsolicited fax from me. We are truly becoming people [in need of] a federal nanny.

Richard M. Davis
President
Metro Travel Marketing
Chicago

Foreign Policy

I would like to confirm the negative impact of H-1B visa holders (/magazine/entrepreneur/2003/may/61058.html) in my industry, SAP consulting. Using the percentages of H-1B visa holders to U.S. citizens on projects that I've worked on for nine years as a guideline, my industry is about 80 percent H-1B visa holders. The market in my industry fluctuates, and when it dropped last year, H-1B visa holders found themselves desperate to find projects. They drove the hourly rate from about $120 per hour plus expenses down to about $50 per hour (expenses included).

H-1B visa holders have two months to find work before they have to return to their countries and start the green card process all over again. This drives the desperate need to find a project-at any cost! Additionally, many H-1B visa holders who aren't accustomed to our higher standard of living find that living in hotel dumps and walking miles to work for a project are acceptable terms.

You can't tell me that this doesn't negatively impact our economy and our small-business initiatives. I own a small, woman-owned business that is suffering from these open immigration laws. If politicians want to help entrepreneurs and small businesses succeed, they'll limit the number of H-1B visa holders to reduce U.S. unemployment and increase small-business growth!

Name Withheld
Via e-mail

Looking Ahead

First, I would like to thank you for including me in your article "About Face" (January). [Because space did not permit a full explanation of what my business does, I would like to explain further].

My company, Design Travel Management Group Inc., is a unique concept in the travel industry. Our location is the homebased office to over 30 travel agents. We are a travel resource management company contracting professional travel counselors who specialize in trip preparation.

I realized back in 1995 that travel agents were going to have to change the way they sold travel, as the airlines began cutting their commissions. I developed a vehicle that has become the agents' facilitator, allowing them to operate their businesses from their homes. My company provides administrative functions and holds the necessary accreditation for them to sell travel without the overhead associated with operating a business of this kind. The concept is called a host agency, and [Design Travel] is among the first in the country to provide this service. Design Travel's customers are essentially travel agents, who pay Design Travel a monthly fee in return for services rendered.

A major factor in my decision to start Design Travel was to provide a unique service to travel agents, considering the changes in our economy and industry. It wasn't necessarily because I wanted to work from home and make my own hours. I have spent many years of my life in the travel industry and simply wanted to create a business that looks to the future.

Nancy Peklo-Nosal
President
Design Travel Management Group Inc.
Arlington Heights, Illinois

Help Wanted

Bravo to your article "At Risk" ("Smarts," January). I'm a regular reader of multiple small-business and entrepreneurial magazines. Entrepreneur is the first in years to respectfully address addiction in high-achieving professionals.

As an addiction psychiatrist, medical school faculty member, speaker, and consultant on substance abuse issues, I can reliably state that at least 10 percent of your readers will see themselves in the article. With your large circulation, that is many thousands of suffering people! The million-dollar question is whether they will take the necessary steps to get healthy.

How possible is recovery for intelligent, driven, self-starting individuals? Each case is unique, but the entrepreneurs I see daily in my practice do extremely well. They quickly see their lives getting out of control from their drug and alcohol use. Since they desperately want back their zeal for life and work, they are motivated for treatment.

Some who read the article will pick up the phone to call for help. Their lives will be restored thanks to your article. My prayers and wishes to those whose addiction won't let them pick up the phone.

Stephen Gilman
Addiction Psychiatrist
New York City

Trend Blending

In "Hot Stuff" (December), Entrepreneur magazine identified multiculturalism and luxury as two of the hot trends, and I totally agree.

However, if you combine multiculturalism and luxury you get cosmopolitanism, an upscale version of multiculturalism. Since cosmopolitanism runs parallel to globalization, it is a trend that will be here for a while.

So what are the opportunities that cosmopolitanism offers? Look for more blending of global cultural influences in music, food, design and fashion. High-end fusion is not multiculturalism, but cosmopolitanism.

The greatest opportunities rest in bringing cosmopolitanism to a broader market. Therefore, even inexpensive products and services should have a feel of elitism . . . even if they are available to most of us.

Stan Skrzeszewski
Partner
ASM Consultants
London, Ontario


Family Circle

As first the son and now the father in a 30-year-old family business, I agree with all the points in your December "What's the Point?"column; however, there is one other key point that was omitted: the training and preparation of the next generation to assume the management duties of the company. If the next generation isn't prepared, the firm will fail or, at best, end up in [the] control of somebody other than the family.

There should be a formal training program just as in the large corporations, where the younger generation spends meaningful time in each of the company's significant areas of operations. Product development, manufacturing, purchasing, sales, accounting and any other significant areas should all be covered by the younger ones.

They should spend time in the one area that they are absolutely disinterested in, as they will especially need to master that aspect of the business. Ideally, they should spend time managing each business department under a senior's guidance or mentoring, although that's not always possible, as it could upset nonfamily managers.

In addition, this provides the younger generation with the opportunity to meet and interact with other employees in the firm. They will get a once-in-a-career opportunity to earn the respect of the rank-and-file employees and to see the world from their point of view. Invaluable information and relationships can be formed that will help in the first years after the succession of ownership occurs.

Kent Milius
President
Management Recruiters of Colorado Inc.
Englewood, Colorado

Making Winning Connections

Male Care (a one-stop service facility for men) was featured in Entrepreneur magazine in 2001 and 2002. Because of this national exposure through your magazine, Rick Calloway and I met with John Salley, host of [Fox Sports Net's] Best Damn Sports Show Period, and four-time NBA basketball world champion, to sign an agreement in which John Salley will be the national personality for Male Care.

This agreement allows Male Care to use Salley's name, likeness and image in the promotion of franchise sales and unit operations, as well as in national and local advertising, circular offerings, etc.

We are eternally grateful to Entrepreneur for featuring us and giving us national exposure. It was because of your article, and others, that we were able to meet Salley.

Fred Calloway
President
Male Care
Augusta, Georgia

Corrections: January's "Digital Edge"column said 45 percent of U.S. workers telecommute; the correct statistic states that 45 percent of U.S. companies have formal programs encouraging telecommuting.

The Web site for The Entrepreneur's Source is www.theEsource.com("Where the Money Is,"January).


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This article was originally published in the March 2004 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Feedback 3/04.

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