Archive for June, 2009

Your business dream made a little simpler

More and more people are dreaming about starting their own business, especially since many can’t get a job in somebody else’s.

It’s a daunting task. But one Atlanta entrepreneur is trying to make it slightly easier for you.

AJC reporter David Markiewicz writes about Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin, who tells you how to launch a company in a 54-card deck. (She must have two cards up her sleeves.)

Each card has one how-to step, from getting a business license, registering your domain, obtaining a line of credit and developing a brand.

Obviously, entrepreneurs will need a lot more help than a deck of cards. But it’s a good start for thinking about a start-up.

Continue reading Your business dream made a little simpler »

Power Breakfast: July 4 travel, Delta, foreclosure, ticket-fixing

The roads over the July 4 holiday should be less congested as the tough economy keeps more people at home.

AAA is predicting that 25,000 fewer Georgians will take to the roads next weekend, AJC staffer Ariel Hart reports.

Four-thousand more Georgians will fly, taking advantage of discounts offered by a beleaguered industry.

The net loss will be 21,000 fewer travelers.

Also in the AJC:

In other media:

Continue reading Power Breakfast: July 4 travel, Delta, foreclosure, ticket-fixing »

Atlanta tourism taking a hit

Atlanta is not having a very good week on the tourism front.

First, the Georgia World Congress Center projected it will lose $5.64 million in the next fiscal year.

Now, a new survey says Atlanta is nearly as unpopular as Detroit as a travel destination.

AJC reporter Alyse Knorr writes that a national survey of 3,400 people by Web site TripAdvisor has listed Atlanta as America’s third least-favorite city, ahead of Los Angeles and Detroit.

The poll listed New York City, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston as favorites, Knorr reports.

To be fair, there was a little bit of good news this week.

AJC reporter Leon Stafford wrote that meeting planners gave Atlanta high marks as a convention town, but issues with public safety continue to dog the city.

The Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau’s annual survey of meeting planners’ attitudes toward Georgia’s capital finds overall satisfaction inching up slightly in 2008 over the year before — from 88.3 percent to 88.4 percent.

Every …

Continue reading Atlanta tourism taking a hit »

Economists right about unemployment

Unfortunately, the economists have been right.

Almost all of them have predicted unemployment would continue to get worse, even if the overall economy starts to bottom out and then turn around.

Well today, there are two more examples of a very sour labor market.

Metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate jumped to 9.6 percent in May, up six-tenths of a percentage point from April, the state Labor Department reported today.

The rate nearly matches the state’s unemployment rate, which jumped to 9.7 percent in May, the highest rate ever recorded in Georgia.

Meanwhile, the number of people filing new jobless claims nationally jumped unexpectedly last week, and the total unemployment benefit rolls rose to more than 6.7 million.

The Labor Department data released Thursday show jobs remain scarce even as the economy shows some signs of recovering from the longest recession since World War II, the Associated Press reported.

The department said initial claims for jobless benefits rose last …

Continue reading Economists right about unemployment »

It’s clear as mud

In Atlanta, a business hawking “Clear” services may be a little confusing to consumers these days.

The Clear company shut down its paid security lines at Hartsfield-Jackson International and other airports on Monday night. Travelers may never see a refund of their membership fees of up to $199.

At the same time, Clearwire has launched an aggressive advertising and marketing campaign for its Clear wireless, broadband Internet service throughout metro Atlanta.

When contacted about the possible confusion, Clearwire spokeswoman Susan Johnston e-mailed the following:
“Atlanta residents are savvy and will recognize the difference between their company and ours. We are open for business across the region and we don’t expect this to have any impact on the launch of CLEAR in Atlanta.”

I hope that clears it up for you.

Continue reading It’s clear as mud »

Power Breakfast: Coca-Cola, Atlanta unemployment, Holyfield, Delta

It’s a short story by AJC reporter Joe Guy Collier, but it represents something big.

Coca-Cola announced two new bottling plants in China as part of its plans to invest another $2 billion there over the next three years.

In China for decades, Coke has had a successful long-term strategy of growing there by adding to its production facilities little by little.

When I covered the company for the AJC about a decade ago, I got the opportunity to travel to China and see some of Coke’s operations there. The company and its bottling partners had 24 plants at the time. Now, they operate 38.

The number of plants is very important because it controls how quickly the company can grow. And maintaining good relations with government officials is key, because they have ultimate approval for new plants.

Many companies, big and small, salivate over the huge Chinese market. They may want to take a look at the Coke example as they proceed.

Also in the AJC:

Continue reading Power Breakfast: Coca-Cola, Atlanta unemployment, Holyfield, Delta »

Warren Buffett sees no sign of recovery yet

Last week, GE Vice Chairman John Rice told Atlanta reporters that he had not seen any signs of recovery.

On Wednesday, billionaire investor Warren Buffett told CNBC the same thing. Here’s the story link.

The recession, which officially began in December, 2007, already is long in the tooth.

But Buffett believes the economy will be “in a shambles this year and probably well beyond.”

He still thinks stocks will be attractive during the next 10 years, when compared with alternatives, such as Treasury bonds.

Continue reading Warren Buffett sees no sign of recovery yet »

No refunds and no way to run a business

Is this a way to run a business — even a struggling one?

Travelers who paid up to $199 a year to have access to Clear’s paid security lines at Hartsfield-Jackson International and other airports are not in line to get refunds any time soon, AJC staff writer Kelly Yamanouchi is reporting.

So, there won’t be any faster access to flights for frequent business travelers, who’ll be flying lighter in their wallets.

Clear shut down its security lines Monday evening without warning. It said parent company, Verified Identity Pass, couldn’t get a deal with a key creditor to stay in business, Yamanouchi reports.

“At the present time, because of its financial condition, Verified Identity Pass, Inc. cannot issue refunds,” a message on its Web site said.

I imagine company officials were in negotiations with its creditor for a period of time.

I imagine they could have warned travelers that trouble was brewing.

I imagine a customer-friendly business would have done just that.

I guess …

Continue reading No refunds and no way to run a business »

Power Breakfast: GWCC, Clermont Hotel, Grady, TBS, Fed Reserve, Citigroup

Numbers are out for another victim of this recession — the convention business.

The Georgia World Congress Center is projecting a loss of $5.64 million in the next fiscal year, AJC reporter Leon Stafford writes.

GWCC officials are turning off lights and cutting off air conditioning to save money, Stafford reports.

“When a city bets real big on conventions and tourism, it’s like riding a wave. When the economy is good, business is there. But when it’s bad, it’s real obvious,” said Heywood Sanders, a professor at the University of Texas-San Antonio and critic of convention center overbuilding.

Also in the AJC:

In other media:

Continue reading Power Breakfast: GWCC, Clermont Hotel, Grady, TBS, Fed Reserve, Citigroup »

Hartsfield travelers: What do you think about the shutdown of paid security lanes?

For some business travelers, it was a no-brainer. Pay an annual membership fee to breeze through airport security.

But now Clear, the company that operates the paid-security lanes at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, is shutting down after failing to reach a deal with its key creditor, AJC reporter Kelly Yamanouchi writes.

What do you think? Will your trip be a bigger hassle?

Airport spokesman John Kennedy says expanded checkpoints have improved the free security lines since last fall.

Is he right?

Continue reading Hartsfield travelers: What do you think about the shutdown of paid security lanes? »