A roomful of business owners and entrepreneurs filled Paonia Town Hall this past Saturday for a North Fork Valley Joint Chamber Symposium on business and investment.
One of the ideas presented was "Invest on Main Street not Wall Street" by Chris Yates.
The theme was invest in your local community. One example is a woman who put her retirement money into a chicken farm. She gave the chicken farm owners a 5 percent interest loan which was better than the 4 percent loss she suffered the previous year with her retirement investments. Plus she got two dozen eggs and all the herbs she wanted every week. "She can see what her money is doing," Yates said. "She can go and visit [the chicken farm] and she's receiving eggs that are an additional dividend." In short, the woman is now investing locally in her own community and she is emotionally invested in the project. "She can see it change the community around her," he said.
There are $26 trillion in investment accounts in the United States, but only four percent are in self-directed IRAs. Examples of permissible IRA investments include single-family and multi-unit homes, apartments and condominiums, private REITs, commercial property, developed and undeveloped land, mortgages, lease options, leveraged property, foreign property, trust deeds, precious metals, private stock, limited liability companies, start-up companies, unsecured/secured loans, joint ventures and life settlements.
Yates said for every investment restriction, someone has found a way around the restriction. That said, prohibited assets for IRAs are collectibles, life insurance policies and S Corporations. Money in an IRA cannot be touched without significant penalties. You can have gold in your IRA by investing in a gold fund.
Yates is making the former TDS building on Grand Avenue into the Paonia Business Center. It's 5,750 square feet which have been empty for some time will now be a business incubator, an idea which has long been kicked around in Paonia.
Hal Brill spoke about his efforts with a green real estate development. He has worked with value-based investors for about 20 years. His father wrote a book, "Investing With Your Heart." Brill said anytime you do anything with your money, you are making an impact.
Elaine Brett, who helps entrepreneurs develop a business plan, quoted from Robert Kennedy who said in 1968 at the University of Kansas, "Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product — if we judge the United States of America by that — that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans."
Brett continued, "When I heard that I thought we have an opportunity in this valley, and it's to do the right things and to invest in the right ways." She gave three examples of local businesses that have thrived with innovative ideas — The Living Farm, Fresh and Wyld and Shadescapes.
Seven duplicatable steps can be followed by other business owners that can lead to success:
1. Polish up the business plan.
2. Find the people who believe in your dream.
3. Hire a good lawyer and great accountant.
4. Find the people who believe in your dream.
5. Work harder.
6. Find the people who believe in your dream.
7. Work even harder.
The Living Farm used KickStarter.com to raise funding online for their orchard.
Brett gave everyone a copy of an article by Stacy Mitchell from Aug. 26, 2010 entitled, "Home-Grown Businesses: The Role of Grassroots Financing."
ShadeScapes is an international distribution company in the North Fork Valley. Founded in 2002, they are the exclusive North America distributor for four lines of high-end outdoor shade solutions. Headquartered in Paonia they have a warehouse in Delta. They have four manufacturers in Belgium, Germany, South Africa and Canada and 36 products. They operate their global business through their website, trade shows, email marketing, social media and sales callsblog comments powered by Disqus