Resources is the Inc. guide to more information on subjects in this issue. This information is intended to help our readers; Inc. does not profit from the sale of any of the resources listed.

Blue Chips: What's in Store for Mobil? Check Your Local 5&10

For more curmudgeonly advice from Stanley Marcus on retailing, check out his book, The Viewpoints of Stanley Marcus: A 10-Year Perspective (University of North Texas Press, untpress@abn.unt.edu or 800-826-8911, 1995, $24.95). Marcus speaks with authority and candor. The chapters most relevant to retail service are "The Lost Art of Salesmanship," "Why Service Is Often So Bad," "My Father's Standards," "Another Good Lesson in Retailing," and "Think Like a Customer."

Obits: Boston Ad Agency Finds Cost of Doing Business Doesn't Add Up

The sad tale of the Burnieika Bearfield Emerson ad agency may have you examining your own collection practices more closely. If you don't like what you see, now's a good time to curl up with a good book such as Collect Those Debts! How to Get Your Money and Still Keep Your Customers (Self-Counsel Press, 800-663-3007, 1992, $8.95). The author, Timothy Paulsen, is a collection expert who offers a range of good ideas.

The Institute of Management and Administration publishes a 16-page monthly newsletter, Managing Credit Receivables and Collections, which includes advice from collection experts and describes effective strategies used by a variety of companies. The price, $199, may sound steep, but the newsletter is worthwhile. For information on ordering it, call 212-244-0360.

And, finally, to find out more about setting up accounts-receivable systems, check out finance editor Jill Andresky Fraser's column " Get Paid Promptly," in our November 1996 issue.

Managing: For Sale--Management Expertise from Small Companies

If you're considering spinning off your own consulting services, take a look at some of the resources recommended by those who have traveled that path before you.

Ed Laflamme recommends Guerrilla Marketing: Secrets for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business, by Jay Conrad Levinson (Houghton Mifflin Co., 800-225-3362, 1993, $12.95), and The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, by Al Ries and Jack Trout (HarperCollins, 800-242-7737, 1994, $13).

Ralph Stayer, in addition to suggesting the book he coauthored with James A. Belasco, Flight of the Buffalo: Soaring to Excellence, Learning to Let Employees Lead (Warner Books, 212-522-7200, 1994, $13.99), also recommends Thinking in the Future Tense: Leadership Skills for the New Age, by Jennifer James (Simon & Schuster, 800-223-2336, 1996, $22.50), and Co-opetition, by Adam M. Brandenburger and Barry J. Nalebuff (Currency/Doubleday, 800-323-9872, 1996, $24.95). Stayer uses the latter all the time in his consulting work. There is much in Co-opetition that is applicable to small business, he says, especially regarding the value of products and services.

While ZingTrain's Maggie Bayless isn't willing to sell training materials directly to readers ("That's the course!"), the two books she most highly recommends from the course's reading list are The Empowered Manager, by Peter Block (Jossey-Bass, 800-956-7739, 1991, $20), and The Great Game of Business, by Jack Stack (Currency/Doubleday, 800-386-2752, 1992, $15). The latter is about Springfield Remanufacturing Co., which has spun off a new company to teach its own brand of open-book management.

Cover Story: The Start-up Factory

Much of Bill Gross's dogma on a company's need to find--and dominate--a narrow niche comes from the book Focus: The Future of Your Company Depends on It, by Al Ries (HarperCollins, 800-331-3761, 1996, $25). The most successful businesses, contends Ries, are those that tie their product to a single concept in the customer's mind: Volvo and safety; Federal Express and overnight; Prego and thick. The more specific the focus, says Gross, "the more everybody in the company can have every blood vessel in their body thinking about that focus." Gross's devotion to Ries and his sometime collaborator Jack Trout verges on scary. "I worship them now," he declares. "They're my religion."

Behind the Scenes: Never Too Small to Manage

For more on working alone, see Working Solo: The Real Guide to Freedom and Financial Success with Your Own Business, by Terri Lonier (Portico Press, 800-222-7656, 1994, $14.95). Also, the Working Solo Internet site (http://www.workingsolo.com) provides a searchable version of the Working Solo Sourcebook of more than 1,200 resources.

To learn more about open-book management, check out John Case's Open-Book Management: The Coming Business Revolution (HarperBusiness, 800-242-7737, 1995, $13). You can read Inc.'s special report on open-book management (in our June 1995 issue) on the Web site. To subscribe to The Open-Book Management Bulletin, a monthly newsletter, call 617-625-7095. An annual subscription costs $195.

Anatomy: Running Out of Time

The best way to learn more about selling to the government, say insiders, is to go to the source: talk directly to the purchasers in the municipal agency you're trying to win over. What are their procedures? What must they see before considering a purchase? What politics are involved?

The second-best way to learn more is to talk with other people selling to your intended buyer, asking the same questions.

For general information, try the International City/County Management Association (777 N. Capitol St. NE, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20002-4201; 202-289-4262).

Further Reading: My Life as a Knowledge Worker

Drucker on Asia should be available in bookstores in March. You can also order a copy directly from the publisher by calling 800-366-2665. If our autobiographical sampling whets your appetite for more, Drucker's autobiography, Adventures of a Bystander (Transaction Publishers, 908-445-2280, 1994, $21.95), is available in paperback.

Management educator Jim Collins wrote in our December 1996 cover story on business classics that if he were forced to choose just one of Drucker's books to recommend, he'd select The Practice of Management (HarperCollins, 800-331-3761, 1954, $16). And for still more of Drucker's wisdom, see Inc.'s 1996 State of Small Business special issue. In " Flashes of Genius," editor-in-chief George Gendron interviews Drucker, who warns entrepreneurs about complacency and the common pitfalls they're likely to encounter.

CEO's Notebook: How Can I Possibly Find Training That Fits My Needs and Budget?

Since most community colleges are publicly subsidized, their classes are often affordable, and many schools will customize training programs. For such customized programs, a lot of schools, like the one in this story, charge per class rather than per student. Community colleges' technology centers in particular are good places to turn for technical training. The technology centers have been forging partnerships with industry since the early 1980s to upgrade the skills of workforces in their communities. Some boast modern facilities where workers can train in everything from industrial math to robotics.

There are about 170 technology centers across the country. To find one in your area, call your local community college or visit the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers' Web site (http://www.cord.org/ncatc.html). At the American Association of Community Colleges' Web site (http://www.aacc.nche.edu), under the heading AACC Membership, you'll find the On-Line Membership Directory, which lists colleges by state and offers direct links to colleges that have Web sites.

CEO's Notebook: A Customer Can't Pay His Bill. Any Suggestions?

For companies considering using barter as a way to collect bad debts, Jill Halper, a vice-president of National Trade Association (847-390-6000, ext. 148), a national barter service based in Chicago, offers three tips:

  • Negotiate for a barter settlement higher than the actual bill, so that you'll have enough to cover any fees (typically 10% to 15%) that the network might charge.
  • Make sure you fully understand the cash/trade ratio involved in any barter deal.
  • Make sure the barter network is big enough to include companies whose products or services you'll actually want to buy. If not, you'd be better off pursuing your deadbeats in court.

Another source of information about how bartering works is the National Association of Trade Exchanges (27801 Euclid Ave., Suite 610, Euclid, OH 44132; 216-732-7171; fax, 216-732-7172). Also check out BarterNet's Web site (http://surplus.net), where you can key into a worldwide barter-exchange network and find a list of products and services and a BarterNet catalog.

Health Insurance: Who Benefits?

Want to learn more about medical savings accounts (MSAs) before contacting your insurance broker? The National Federation for Independent Business (600 Maryland Ave. SW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20024; 202-554-9000) is a lobbyist for MSAs. Another lobbying group is the Council for Affordable Health Insurance (112 Southwest St., Alexandria, VA 22314; 703-836-6200). Both are knowledgeable about MSAs. So is the think tank the National Center for Policy Analysis (12655 N. Central Expressway, Suite 720, Dallas, TX 75243; 972-386-6272).

If you're interested in the pros and cons of MSAs from a policy perspective, you can read the discussion that Elizabeth Farnsworth of public broadcasting's The Newshour led with Dr. Daniel Johnson Jr., the president-elect of the American Medical Association, and Gail Shearer, the director of health-policy analysis for Consumers Union, before the legislation was passed. It's available at PBS's Web site (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/).

Evaluations: Feedback from Everyone

To figure out how to create a 360°-review program at your company, check out 360° Feedback, by Mark R. Edwards and Ann J. Ewen (Amacom, 800-262-9699, 1996, $27.95). If you're already convinced that 360° reviews are for you, skip to Part II and Part III. Those sections explain how to implement a program and avoid potential pitfalls. You can order a copy from Amacom or by calling 888-360-TEAM or 602-517-1466.

Donations: How to Give Wisely

If your company is interested in donating equipment or inventory, rather than cash, one nonprofit organization worth contacting is Gifts in Kind International (http://www.giftsinkind.org). It serves as an intermediary, collecting clothing, office technology, building equipment, and other useful materials and then distributing them to more than 50,000 nonprofits and schools nationwide. If you need help designing a donation program that makes sense for your company, or if you're ready to make an immediate donation, call 703-836-2121.

Managing People: Look Before You Lease

To find an accredited professional employer organization (PEO), contact the Institute for the Accreditation of PEOs (7910 Woodmont Ave., Suite 1040, Bethesda, MD 20814; 301-656-1476; fax, 301-656-5932; http://www.podi.com/iapeo). If you'd like, executive director Regis Canny will explain the intricacies of the accreditation process to you.

Then there's the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (901 N. Pitt St., Suite 350, Alexandria, VA 22314; 703-836-0466; fax, 703-836-0976; http://www.napeo.org/peo/). This trade group, with about 400 member companies, is a source for general industry news and trends.

Personal Portfolio: Paying Your Kids' Tuition

Ready to tackle those college costs? There may be no better way to begin than by visiting the Financial Aid Information Page, a Web site (http://www.finaid.org). It's full of useful information, including a large index of related Web pages on topics that include scholarship scams and various financial-aid databases. You can even download a valuable free government guide, Preparing Your Child for College: A Resource Book for Parents, or visit a question-and-answer site staffed by 60 volunteer financial experts.


How to contact companies, organizations, and individuals mentioned prominently in this issue (some listings have been omitted by request)

The Inc. Directory

ALGONQUIN GAS CO., Jim Grasso, 1284 Soldiers Field Rd., Brighton, MA 02135; 617-254-4050. See article .

ALLEN SYSTEMS GROUP, Frederick Roberts,750 11th St. S., Naples, FL 34102; 941-435-3660. See article .

ALONG CAME MARY!, Mary Micucci, 5265 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90019; 213-931-9082. See article .

ALPINE COMPUTER SYSTEMS, Bob Willis, 125Jeffrey Ave., Holliston, MA 01746; 508-429-0700. See article .

AMANO CINCINNATI, Clarence Kemper, 140 Harrison Ave., Roseland, NJ 07068; 201-403-1900; ckemper@amano.com. See article .

AMAZON.COM, Jeffrey Bezos, 1516 Second Ave., 4th Floor, Seattle, WA 98101; 206-622-2335; http://www.amazon.com. See article .

DAVID ANTONIONI, Management Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 975 University Ave., Madison, WI 53706; 608-262-2155. See article .

BLACKMAN KALLICK BARTELSTEIN LLP, Brian Whitlock, 300 S. Riverside Plaza, Chicago IL 60606; 312-207-1040; bwhitlock@bkbcpa.com. See article .

FRANCES BURKE, Suffolk University, Sawyer School of Management, 8 Ashburton Pl., Boston, MA 02108; 617-573-8315. See article .

RAY BURNETT, Dayton Convention Center, 22 E. Fifth St., Dayton, OH 45402; 937-443-4700. See article .

JOE BURNIEIKA, Pinpoint Marketing & Communication, 508-888-5733. See article .

CAGWIN & DORWARD LANDSCAPE CONTRACTORS, Wayne Richards, P.O. Box 1600, Novato, CA 94948. See article .

CAREER TRANSITION SERVICES, Michael Bryant, 3126 Berkshire Rd., Baltimore, MD 21214; 410-444-5857; mb3126@aol.com. See article .

CHOICE COURIER, Ed Katz, 733 Third Ave., 5th Floor, New York, NY 10017; 212-370-1999. See article .

RONALD COHEN, c/o Cornucopia of Food, 47 W. 34th St., Room 1020, New York, NY 10001; 212-695-3639. See article .

CUTTING DYNAMICS, Bill Carson, 30103 Clemens Rd., Westlake, OH 44145; 216-871-4740. See article .

ENTERTAINNET, Steve Damron, 7336 Santa Monica Blvd., #628, West Hollywood, CA 90046; 213-993-6565; http://www.entertainnet.com. See article .

FAIRLIE-POPLAR IMPLEMENTATION TASK FORCE, Gail Collins, 50 Hurt Plaza, Grand Lobby, Atlanta, GA 30303; 404-658-1877. See article .

GRASS ROOTS MARKETING, Ed Laflamme, P.O. Box 6377, Bridgeport, CT 06606; 203-333-1912. See article .

HIGHLAND BAGEL, Pierce Pape, 70 Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30303; 404-221-0010. See article .

IDEALAB, Bill Gross, 790 E. Colorado Blvd., Suite 200, Pasadena, CA 91101; 888-IDEALAB; http://www.idealab.com. See article .

IMPACT PLANNING GROUP, Robert Galford, 53 Forest Ave., Old Greenwich, CT 06870; 508-371-1893. See article .

INTELLIGENT DEVICES, Vincent Yost, 170 White Pine Way, Harleysville, PA 19438; 610-584-8830; fax, 610-584-8832. See article .

INTERNATIONAL PARKING INSTITUTE, Frank Del Monaco, 701 Kenmore Ave., Suite 200, Fredericksburg, VA 22408; delmonico@parking.org. See article .

INTRANETICS, Savannah Brentnall, 790 E. Colorado Blvd., Suite 200, Pasadena, CA 91101; 818-841-7307. See article .

JOHNSONVILLE FOODS, Ralph Stayer, 950 Woodlake Rd., Kohler, WI 53044; 414-459-6800. See article .

LIFE-PLAN, Jody Tallal, 5339 Alpha Rd., Suite 206, Dallas, TX 75240; 972-726-9595; http://life-plan.com. See article .

JOHN LOUGHMAN, Northampton on the Run Mobil, 300 King St., Northampton, MA 01060; 413-586-2940. See article .

MASTERLAB, Ken Myers, 9713 E. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46229; 317-898-4161. See article .

MCGUNN SAFE CO., Pat McGunn, 4917 S. Central, Chicago, IL 60638; 708-458-7233. See article .

MOBIL, 3225 Gallows Rd., Fairfax, VA 22037; http://www.mobil.com/USA-English/gFM/home_Contact_Us/homepage.asp. See article .

MURPHY'S DELI, Jim Boyle, 57 Broad St., Atlanta, GA 30303; 404-589-9800. See article .

NOTRE CAPITAL, Steven Harter, 4801 Woodway Dr., #300E, Houston, TX 77056; 713-964-2754. See article .

PEACHTREE GUITAR CO. , 43 Forsyth St. NW., Atlanta, GA 30303; 404-223-5523. See article .

PEOPLELINK, Steve Glenn, 2950 31st St., Suite 386, Santa Monica, CA 90405; 310-581-4299; steveg@peoplelink.com. See article .

PHOTODISC, Mark Torrance, 2013 Fourth Ave., Seattle, WA 98121; 206-441-9355; http://creative.gettyimages.com/photodisc/. See article .

PLANET SMOOTHIE, Martin Sprock, 246 Camden Rd., Atlanta, GA 30309; 404-352-8270. See article .

PRINTRAK INTERNATIONAL, David McNeff, 1250N. Tustin Ave., Anaheim, CA 92807; 714-666-2700. See article .

PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYEE MANAGEMENT, Darrin Fedder, 1819 Main St., 8th Floor, Sarasota, FL 34236; 800-329-7823. See article .

PROPLAN, Doug Mollin, 91-31 Queens Blvd., Suite 308, Elmhurst, NY 11373; 718-803-0900. See article .

REAL TIME DATA, Scott Drum, 400 112th Ave. NE, Suite 400, Bellevue, WA 98004; 206-451-1783; scottdrum@realtimedata.com. See article .

AL RIES, Ries & Ries, 80 Cutter Mill Rd., Suite 209, Great Neck, NY 11021; 516-829-9191. See article .

ROBERT W. BAIRD, Randall Mehl, 777 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202; 414-765-3818. See article .

SHERBURNE POWERS & NEEDHAM, PC, Miriam McKendall, 1 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108; 617-523-2700. See article .

SKODA, MINOTTI, REEVES & CO., Steven Hartstein, 6685 Beta Dr., Mayfield Village, OH 44143; 216-442-8642. See article .

SKYWIRE, 2600 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Memphis, TN 38118-2469; 901-363-9535. See article .

STANFORD COACHING, Lisa Jacobson, 850 Seventh Ave., Suite 403, New York, NY 10019; 212-245-3888. See article .

TASHJIAN & PADIAN, Gerald Padian, 120 E. 56th St., New York, NY 10022. See article .

THERMO ELECTRON, John Hatsopoulos, 81 Wyman St., Waltham, MA 02254; 617-622-1000. See article .

TRIBECA, 66 Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30303; 404-522-6699. See article .

VIRTUAL VINEYARDS, Robert Olson, 3803 E. Bayshore Rd., Palo Alto, CA 94303; 415-938-9463; rolson@virtualvin.com. See article .

WEST CONCORD 5&10, Maynard Forbes, 106 Commonwealth Ave., West Concord, MA 01742; 508-369-9011. See article .

STEVE WILSON, 742 51st Ave., East Moline, IL 61244; 309-792-2887; sdwilson33@aol.com. See article .

ZINGTRAIN, Maggie Bayless, P.O. Box 1837, Ann Arbor, MI 48106; 313-930-1919; zingtrain@aol.com. See article .


Editorial Contributors

Dr. Steven Berglas (incberglas@aol.com) is a management consultant and clinical psychologist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School.

Norm Brodsky (brodsky13@aol.com) is the CEO of CitiStorage, in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Bo Burlingham (bo.burlingham@inc.com) is an editor at large at Inc. and is the editor of Street Smarts.

Peter F. Drucker is Clarke Professor of Social Science and Management at Claremont Graduate School, in California.

Jay Finegan (incfinegan@aol.com) is a senior writer at Inc.

Jill Andresky Fraser (incfraser@aol.com) is Inc.'s finance editor.

John Grossmann (grossmannj@aol.com) is editor and publisher of NewsReach, a monthly small-business newsletter based in Jamison, Pa.

Stephanie Gruner (stephanie.gruner@inc.com) is a staff writer at Inc.

Phaedra Hise (phaedra.hise@inc.com) is a staff writer at Inc.

Mike Hofman (mike.hofman@inc.com) is a reporter at Inc.

Michael E. Kanell (mkanell@ajc.com) is a business reporter for the Atlanta Journal & Constitution.

Hal Plotkin (hplotkin@plotkin.com) is a contributing writer at Inc.

Ken Terry (ken_terry@medec.com) is a senior editor at Medical Economics magazine.

Jerry Useem (jerry.useem@inc.com) is a staff writer at Inc.

David Whitford (dswhitford@aol.com) is a business writer in Boston.