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|Articles - May 2011|
|Wednesday, April 20, 2011|
Hard-money lending can be a hazardous occupation in the best of times. In the worst of times — say, 2008-2010 — it can be a nightmare. Everybody got hurt when property values plummeted and default rates soared during the recession, but few industries took as big a hit as did hard-money lending, the risky act of funneling loans into troubled businesses at high interest rates, using property as collateral.
Fairway America president Matt Burk heard from plenty of potential customers during the worst of the recession, desperate small-business owners looking for capital while struggling with everything from back taxes to plunging sales to employee theft. Unfortunately, he says, “By the time they’d come see us, it would be too late. If they had done some things differently, they could have avoided the situation they got into.” But they didn’t — often because they lacked expertise or were stretched too thin to pay attention to important details.
After years of finding loans for companies in poor financial shape, Burk felt he had a good understanding of the problems that get small businesses into trouble, and how to avoid them. So rather than trudge on in a market upended by bankruptcy and foreclosure, he has moved his company into the consulting arena. Fairway’s new “finance coach” service offers financial guidance to companies for annual subscription fees with lots of nines and sevens: $997, $1,997 or $11,997 per year. Participating businesses need to provide tax returns, loan documents and financial statements. In return they get a report highlighting strengths and weaknesses and recommended strategies for recovery and/or growth.
Burk says he’s expanding his 13-employee operation to offer an old-school banking service that is more “entrepreneurial and flexible” than what banks can provide, and a lot cheaper than what accountants provide. Oh, and he can help you get a loan if you need one. An early list of clients includes Everett Street Autoworks in Portland, the Oregon City Golf Club, Renaissance Homes in Lake Oswego and Nossa Familia Coffee in Portland.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY OREGON BUSINESS STAFF
An SEC rule targets the disparity between executive and employee compensation, reigniting a long-standing debate about corporate social responsibility.
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How does your workplace stack up against competitors? How can you improve workplace practices to help recruit and retain employees? Find out by taking our 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon survey!
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Tamara Lundgren tackles the challenges—without getting trampled.
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We ask business and nonprofit leaders how they survive the season.
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There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:
The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace.
Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.
This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay.
Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.
New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”
That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!
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