State of the Hunting Industry | March 2010

[private_member]MEMBERS – Please view in .pdf form – State of the Hunting Industry Report | March 2010[/private_member]

Edition 5           A Publication of Hunting Business Marketing         March 2010

Uncertain 2010 + Looming Commercial Real Estate Collapse

Introduction

Image courtesy of LancerE

Uncertainty rules the US consumer in today’s economy.

There is uncertainty in the way things are shaking up with unemployment. Millions are without jobs today and millions more are underemployed and not happy with the amount they’re making or the outlook for their financial future.

Employment and the cost of living have always been two of the biggest factors on the economy and the hunting industry is certainly affected by these two economic indicators. The outlook is not good for unemployment in the short and long-term future so it’s going to take a new level of innovation and expertise from entrepreneurs like you to succeed in the next 5, 10, 20, and 50 years.

Also looming on the immediate horizon in the impending crash of the commercial real estate bubble. Small banks are working feverously to make things work before, but their efforts appear to be on a crash course with reality.

Thousands of local and community banks are on the brink of collapse as their bets on businesses in the past 5-10 years are not panning out. Malls and offices sit vacant and without rent money coming in there is a buildup in supply while the demand for space is shrinking. Values of properties in the commercial sector will shrink and rents will likely plunge as well.

Many more jobs will be lost and things don’t look good.

The reality for businesses is that consumers are going to be prudent in their spending and it’ll take strong communication of benefits to convince people to make purchases for themselves and their families. It’s important for businesses to be open and transparent in the things they do daily to earn customer trust.

Building successful businesses is still possible and your business can grow and succeed in the future with the right outlook.

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Economic Trends

Millions of Unemployed Face Years Without Jobs

From New York Times (Feb. 2010):

Even as the American economy shows tentative signs of a rebound, the human toll of the recession continues to mount, with millions of Americans remaining out of work, out of savings and nearing the end of their unemployment benefits.

Economists fear that the nascent recovery will leave more people behind than in past recessions, failing to create jobs in sufficient numbers to absorb the record-setting ranks of the long-term unemployed.

Call them the new poor: people long accustomed to the comforts of middle-class life who are now relying on public assistance for the first time in their lives — potentially for years to come.

Yet the social safety net is already showing severe strains. Roughly 2.7 million jobless people will lose their unemployment check before the end of April unless Congress approves the Obama administration’s proposal to extend the payments, according to the Labor Department.

Here in Southern California, Jean Eisen has been without work since she lost her job selling beauty salon equipment more than two years ago. In the several months she has endured with neither a paycheck nor an unemployment check, she has relied on local food banks for her groceries.

She has learned to live without the prescription medications she is supposed to take for high blood pressure and cholesterol. She has become effusively religious — an unexpected turn for this onetime standup comic with X-rated material — finding in Christianity her only form of health insurance.

“I pray for healing,” says Ms. Eisen, 57. “When you’ve got nothing, you’ve got to go with what you know.”

Read the rest Millions of Unemployed Face Years Without Jobs

Impact on your business

Millions of Americans are unemployed and millions more are working jobs that pay less or offer fewer hours than they have been used to seeing in previous years. It’s a difficult reality for most and emergency lifelines like savings, credit cards, and family loans are running dry.

It’s a difficult climate for any business trying to get started or trying to expand. Any economy depends on a strong unemployment rate where people are able to earn a quality living while seeing their cost of living expand as business innovate and prices drop.

Without an innovative sign in the market (such as the computer and Internet revolution) there is no telling when quality employment will come back to the US.

Brookdale Center Mall Sold at Auction for Big Markdown

From Star Tribune (Feb. 2010):

Brookdale Center went on the auction block at a sheriff’s foreclosure sale Friday, netting just one bid of $12.5 million from the shopping mall’s lenders.

The bid from Brookdale Mall HH LLC was well below the $51.8 million owed on a $54.2 million mortgage by the property’s owners, Brooks Mall Properties of Coral Gables, Fla.

A representative of the lenders declined to comment on the bidding or plans for the Brooklyn Center shopping mall. Other real estate experts said the low bid could make it easier for the owners to redeem or other buyers to purchase the property.

Brooks Mall Properties had agreed to a voluntary foreclosure, so the redemption period will be two months rather than six. Representatives of the firm could not be reached for comment Friday.

The foreclosure doesn’t mean the 47-year-old mall, the second-oldest of the Twin Cities’ “Dales,” is closing.

Brookdale’s struggles began well before the retail market meltdown, and its problems have worsened since then. Sears is its sole remaining anchor. In the last couple of years Macy’s, Barnes & Noble and Mervyn’s have all closed their stores. The mall also has lost other key tenants, such as Steve & Barry’s. Almost 60 percent of its space is vacant, according to recent figures from NorthMarq.

Read the entire story Brookdale Center Mall Sold at Auction for Big Markdown

Impact on your business

On top of the worsening employment situation in the US is the looming commercial real estate bubble that has yet to face reality.

Just as the billions, if not trillions of dollars in residential real estate brought the US economy to its knees two years ago, the bubble in commercial real estate finally appears to be reaching its breaking point.

Businesses are trying all they can to make thing work with lenders, but lenders are afraid of losing out on their investments in commercial real estate from the past 5-10 years. It’s a big problem and one that has potential to be bigger than the residential real estate problem.

There is good and bad news for businesses in the commercial real estate climate. The good news is that rents and prices for office space and other commercial space will likely plummet due to the overcapacity. The bad news is that more businesses will go under and the unemployment will likely climb further, which hampers all economic recoveries.

In D.C., more evidence that commercial real estate headed for foreclosure crisis

From The Washington Post (Feb. 2010):

A mortgage crisis like the one that has devastated homeowners is enveloping the nation’s office and retail buildings, and few places are likely to be hit as hard as Washington.

The foreclosure wave is likely to swamp many smaller community banks across the country, and many well-known properties, including Washington’s Mayflower Hotel and the Boulevard at the Capital Centre in Largo, are at risk, industry analysts say.

The new round of financial pain, which some had anticipated but hoped to avoid, now seems all but certain. “There’s been an enormous bubble in commercial real estate, and it has to come down,” said Elizabeth Warren, chairman of the Congressional Oversight Panel, the watchdog created by Congress to monitor the financial bailout. “There will be significant bankruptcies among developers and significant failures among community banks.”

Unlike the largest banks, such as Citigroup and Wachovia, that got into so much trouble early on, the community banks in general fared better in the residential mortgage crisis. But their turn is coming: Not only did community banks issue a higher proportion of commercial loans, but they also have held on to them rather than sell them to other investors.

Nearly 3,000 community banks — 40 percent of the banking system — have a high proportion of commercial real estate loans relative to their capital, said Warren, whose committee issued a report on commercial real estate last week. “Every dollar they lose in commercial real estate is a dollar they can’t use for small businesses,” she said. Individuals — who saw their home values drop in the residential mortgage crisis — would not feel that kind of loss, but, Warren said, a large-scale failure would “throw sand into the gears of economic recovery.”

In Washington, the number of troubled properties has multiplied at a phenomenal rate, with the value growing from only $13 million in 2007 to $40 billion now, according to CoStar Group, a Bethesda real estate research company. The region trails only South Florida and metropolitan New York in the per capita value of commercial real estate assets in foreclosure, default or delinquency, according to the research group Real Capital Analytics.

The threat is especially acute in the District, the firm said, where the catalogue of troubled commercial real estate properties has grown tenfold since April. Moreover, the region has $7.3 billion in commercial properties that are underwater — worth less than the mortgages on them — according to CoStar.

Read the entire story In D.C., more evidence that commercial real estate headed for crisis

Impact on your business

Many people saw this coming, but the trend in the past year or two has been to ignore the problem and simply not talk about it as there were more pressing issues in the short-term.

The reality is coming close today and most have to deal with the situation.

If you’re in the business of commercial real estate lending or if your customers depend on the income generated from the industry you are likely to be affected. In fact, most in the US economy will be affected due to the large scale of the issue.

The correct thing is for the situation to correct itself as the mismanaged businesses can be liquidated and apt businesses can pick up the pieces and form a proper recovery.

That business could be yours. See opportunity in the hunting industry and do what it takes to find the things people need and want in the new economy.

Commercial Real Estate Apocalypse in 2011-2012

From Mish’s Global Trend Analysis (Feb. 2010):

Inquiring minds are digging deep into a 190 page PDF by the Congressional Oversight Panel regarding Commercial Real Estate Losses and the Risk to Financial Stability.

Executive Summary

Over the next few years, a wave of commercial real estate loan failures could threaten America’s already-weakened financial system. The Congressional Oversight Panel is deeply concerned that commercial loan losses could jeopardize the stability of many banks, particularly the nation’s mid-size and smaller banks, and that as the damage spreads beyond individual banks that it will contribute to prolonged weakness throughout the economy.

Between 2010 and 2014, about $1.4 trillion in commercial real estate loans will reach the end of their terms. Nearly half are at present “underwater” – that is, the borrower owes more than the underlying property is currently worth. Commercial property values have fallen more than 40 percent since the beginning of 2007. Increased vacancy rates, which now range from eight percent for multifamily housing to 18 percent for office buildings, and falling rents, which have declined 40 percent for office space and 33 percent for retail space, have exerted a powerful downward pressure on the value of commercial properties.

The largest commercial real estate loan losses are projected for 2011 and beyond; losses at banks alone could range as high as $200-$300 billion. The stress tests conducted last year for 19 major financial institutions examined their capital reserves only through the end of 2010.

Even more significantly, small and mid-sized banks were never subjected to any exercise comparable to the stress tests, despite the fact that small and mid-sized banks are proportionately even more exposed than their larger counterparts to commercial real estate loan losses.

A significant wave of commercial mortgage defaults would trigger economic damage that could touch the lives of nearly every American. Empty office complexes, hotels, and retail stores could lead directly to lost jobs. Foreclosures on apartment complexes could push families out of their residences, even if they had never missed a rent payment. Banks that suffer, or are afraid of suffering, commercial mortgage losses could grow even more reluctant to lend, which could in turn further reduce access to credit for more businesses and families and accelerate a negative economic cycle.

Read the entire story Commercial Real Estate Apocalypse 20011-2012

Impact on your business

The commercial real estate issue is a very big problem. If some of the banks in trouble go under it will have an immediate impact on local communities and businesses.

Businesses will fail and it will be difficult for new and existing businesses to have access to credit at the rates they once had in the past 5-10 years.

It’s important to understand what it will take to be successful in the new economy: savings and quality ideas that consumers need.

Savings is key for the new reality in America. People that have savings will protect it with their lives and will only invest in sound businesses.

Make sure your business is one of the ones built with strong fundamentals.


Industry News

Programs Aim to Attract New Hunters

From Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Feb. 2010):

Hunting is as natural to humans as eating. In fact our ancestors couldn’t do one without the other.

But while 21st century Americans display ever more gusto at the table, the food gathering is largely outsourced. Hunting has been in decline for decades.

The reasons are many, including urbanization, loss of wildlife habitat, changes in the way we spend our free time.

We are an increasingly sedentary culture, more connected to digital devices than the natural world.

The trend is reflected in many outdoor pursuits, but is especially marked in hunting.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the number of licensed hunters in America declined about 35% from 1975 to 2006.

Even in Wisconsin, where deer hunting is considered by many as a second state religion, only about one in eight state residents bought a hunting license last year.

The downward trend is troubling to wildlife managers, who rely on funding from license sales and excise taxes, but also to advocates of the healthfulness of a lifestyle that includes hunting.

The push to stabilize or even increase hunting participation in the Badger State took center stage last weekend when the Department of Natural Resources hosted the first Wisconsin Hunting Heritage Conference.

A banner at the conference featured a quote by Theodore Roosevelt: “Those of us privileged to take to the field are entrusted by fate and circumstance to hold and nurture the hunter’s legacy.”

Read the entire story Programs Aim to Attract New Hunters

Impact on your business

It’s great to see that acquiring new hunters to the hunting industry is a priority.

Hunting is big business and acquiring new hunters is the lifeblood of businesses like yours in the hunting industry. The benefits of hunting need to be expressed to the young folks in our population. Passions need to be passed along by parents and other mentors in the hunting industry if there is to be a prosperous hunting industry in the future.

It can happen and acknowledgement is the first step.

Online Trends

5 Sure Fire Tactics to Promote a Business Blog

From Online Marketing Blog (Feb. 2010):

Relevant, Consistently Updated Content + Flawless Technical Functionality & User Experience = Perfect Blog Launch

What’s missing from the equation above? You guessed it: blog promotion.

Creating a glitch-free blog with informative content means next to nothing without attracting readers.

Start promoting your blog today with these five effective tips:

1) Involve influential industry bloggers.

By linking to popular blogs, you can gain the attention of both the influential blogger and his or her readers.

But your blog won’t be the only one to benefit. You’ll be giving the other blog a little link juice – and be paying them a compliment at the same time.

Try out a few of these ideas for leveraging other blogs:

  • Create a post around an interesting concept published by an influential blogger: Be sure to attribute the information to the blogger and link to his or her post. And don’t forget to offer additional unique insight to make the post your own.
  • Interview an influential blogger and turn it into a Q&A post: That blogger is sure to link to your post, and his or her readers are likely to visit your blog as a result. Side benefit: Including the insight of a thought leader will help position you as a thought leader as well.
  • Create a list of influential blogs: Include popular blogs from your industry, and include a link, short description and even a screenshot. Online Marketing Blog has successfully done this with its BIGLIST of online marketing blogs. Publish a blog post each week highlighting one or two new blogs to promote the list and acquire another link to the list.

Read the entire article 5 Sure Fire Tactics to Promote a Business Blog

Impact on your business

A blog is one of the best ways for businesses to acquire new customers on the Web.

A blog built around attracting, educating, and selling customers on the things your business is how people are having success. Blogs have huge SEO value as the content posted reaches customers searching for general and long-tail keywords in search engines. Once visitors reach the site they are looking to research the products they are interested in purchasing and if a blog is captivating and intriguing they will subscribe and turn into long-term customers that will prove profitable for your business.

8 Reasons You Might Not Be Getting Many Comments

From Problogger (Feb. 2010):

No matter how big their blog is, every blogger loves and wants comments. When you’re just starting out, there are few bigger thrills than writing something and having people comment and give you feedback about what you’ve written. Veteran bloggers love comments and also know that the quantity and quality of the comments says a lot about the impact of the particular post in question.

But sometimes you write something that you think is awesome and the comment thread is like a ghost town. To say that this is discouraging is to put it too lightly. Not only does it suck, but it’s enough to make you start thinking that your writing sucks, and it makes it really hard to hit write and hit publish the next time, too.

Here’s the deal, though: just because you’re not getting a lot of comments doesn’t mean that your posts suck. Here are eight reasons why you might not be getting comments – and what you can do about it.

1) Your Posts Are Too Long

While it’s hard to say that long post always get fewer comments – there are a lot of different considerations at play – as a general rule, longer posts set a bigger barrier to commenting. I write a lot of long posts, and I’ve seen this bear out time and time again.

There are two things to keep in mind when you’re writing longer posts: 1) most blog posts are short(er) and 2) your readers are busy. If they’re used to reading 500 word posts on other blogs and then hit your 3,000 word post, they’re might be a bit overwhelmed. It’s not uncommon for them to bookmark your post for reading “when they have time” and move on to the next, shorter post, only to forget to come back and read yours. (For more considerations on blog length, check out Post Length ‚Äì How Long Should a Blog Post Be?)

Some bloggers manage to thrive in the long post format, but you’ve got to understand that you’ll be going against the current if you write in that style. That’s not a bad thing – just understand that you might not get as many comments as if you wrote shorter posts.

Once your post is published, it’s probably best to leave it, though. In the future, see if you can take a long draft of a post and split it into a series or discrete post. Also try varying the tempo of your blog by following a long post with a short post and vice versa.

Red the entire post 8 Reasons You Might Not Be Getting Many Comments

Impact on your business

Interaction is something all businesses and bloggers are looking for because most understand the benefits of having a strong customer base and readership that is engaged in the things your business is doing.

Follow the steps in the article to crafting blog posts that have potential to generate a lot of comments and you’ll start seeing your readers more interactive (and thus more loyal).

Conclusions

There is a lot of uncertainty in the world today.

Consumers are looking for security in the things they do on a daily basis. They want to make decisions that ensure their family and friends are safe and secure for the future and this is leading to more prudent saving and planning in the market.

It’s a change for most business models as businesses have to be more up front with their benefits to the customers.

Having an open and honest relationship that where you are transparent with your customers is going to make you successful in the next era of the US economy.

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This publication is NOT copyrighted by Hunting Business Marketing. All contents are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States. Please share the contents of this report via any channel you prefer with any hunting businesses owners you know who would benefit from receiving a copy. Please provide attribution to Hunting Business Marketing.

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Hunting Business Marketing

Security is an Illusion

“Sure, some people like the security of a regular paycheck, but if recent events have taught us anything, it’s that this kind of security is an illusion.” Leo Babauta of Zen Habits on The Get-Started-Now Guide to Becoming Self-Employed

Security is an Illusion

image credit: Anonymous Account

The title of this post may suggest a negative tone, but I’d like to take the idea of security in a different direction and put a positive twist on something that is commonly viewed as negative.

The idea of security as illusion is not something we should all fear.

As an entrepreneur, understanding that no business, person, or job is secure is exciting and should continue refueling the fire and passion you have when first starting a hunting business.

Let’s take a closer look at why your understanding that security is an illusion should actually excite you…

Staying Ahead/Looking for the Next Breakthrough

I’ve always thought that the companies and business owners who were most successful were always those who never stopped looking for the next innovation that would help them better serve their audience and customers.

Even today the people I find most successful on the Web or the leaders in business are looking for the ahead at ways to improve – ways to make their business better than the competition.

One example in the hunting industry I always look to for inspiration is Mathews Bows and Archery.

In fact, Innovation is a highlight of the Mathews philosophy:

We strive to achieve the extraordinary through the continuous improvement of people, process and product.

This is a great mission statement for any company and Mathews is definitely a great example of a company that lives up to its mission by continually providing innovative archery products that seem to revolutionize the bow hunting industry every season.

It’s truly amazing for a company to continually be the leader in design, functionality, and effectiveness when it comes to a product that has been around for thousands of years.

More on Mathews Innovation:

Matt McPherson started making recurve and compound bows in the early 70’s.  Many designs and years later, Matt decided to take one of his newest innovations; the Inner Cam (patented 1985), and started McPherson Archery.  The company was sold in 1989 and in 1992 Mathews, Inc. was born.

In addition to a lifelong passion for the sport and boundless energy, Matt had one major advantage: an invention that would revolutionize the archery industry.  His design for single cam technology; the SOLOCAM®, made Mathews bows lighter, faster, quieter and powerfully accurate.  Today, McPherson is owner and CEO of the largest grossing bow manufacturer in the world.

In addition to his role as CEO, McPherson leads the research and development team and has produced 31 patented innovations  including the Harmonic Damping System™, Zebra® ZS Twist Bowstrings and the V-lock Zero Tolerance Limb Cup System.  His passionate pursuit of creative distinction and high-performance engineering inspired the company slogan, “Catch us if you can.”

There is always new competition with new innovations that take industries by storm and knock the leaders off their pedestal. This is one of the reasons why it’s necessary to make sure that you are the continuous innovator in your area of the hunting world.

Looking at Yourself

One of the difficult things it seems with our own businesses it taking a good objective look at our strengths and weaknesses especially when it comes to where we feel our business is secure and where the business is weak.

I don’t think it’s always the fault of the business owner or those involved closely with the business when it comes taking an objective look.

Take your Website for example…you probably look at your Website often and you probably have a few things you’d like changed and it’s likely those changes would be beneficial.

But it’s the things you don’t see that are often the most important for your audience – the people who will use your Website as a resource and a way to connect with you and ultimately trust you enough to purchase your product or service.

It might be worth it for others, perhaps someone who fits your customer profile, to explore your Website and provide feedback. This person will likely come across some simple things you can change to make your user experience more simple and beneficial.

This concept works for your products and services as well as other areas of your business.

Getting opinions and taking a look at yourself and your business is one of the crucial aspects of understanding that security is an illusion and that your business needs to be a continuous work in progress to avoid falling for the security trap.

Preparation

While security is something that can’t truly ever be achieved, there are things you can do (once you understand that you’re business is never secure) to prepare for the day your product or service is replaced.

I’ve always been a big fan of keeping some cold hard cash on hand or some other assets that seem to have value just in case something happens to the business.

Beyond keeping some cash on hand to pay the bills in a crunch, the most important assets you have if your competitors come up with an industry changing innovation are the relationships and connections you make by being a quality person and business to work with.

In my experience I would say that people are loyal and trusting with businesses and business owners who treat them fairly and respectfully.

This is a strong loyalty that takes time and commitment to gain from customers.

But once you have it and if you continue to honor the trust, these customers will be loyal to you and give you time to catch up and surpass your competition if you reach a point where you fall behind for a moment…and it happens to all businesses at some point.

It’s something you can prepare for and you shouldn’t be afraid of it happening.

Security is an illusion and once you understand this you can prepare for the little surprises that are not an illusion, but certainty.

Summary

Understanding that your business is not secure is an empowering realization.

Once you realize that you have to continuously work and challenge yourself and your staff to work and improve every aspect of your business you will feel the power to change the industry and shift paradigms.

Mathews archery has continued to be the leader in the bow and archery field because their make innovation and lack of security in their field the mission of the business.

Continue to take a look at all aspects of your business and don’t be afraid to ask your customers, business partners, employees, friends and family for advice and input into how you could make your products, services, and processes more user-friendly and efficient.

While there is no such thing as security, you can prepare for your future of insecurity. The most important thing you can do to prepare yourself for the day you’re caught off guard is to make the most of your current and future connections relating to your business.

Trust is hard to come by in any business field and it’s the relationships, connections, trust, and loyalty that will keep your business strong while you take time to adapt to changing innovations in your industry.

Don’t fear the fact that security is an illusion – accept it and use it as motivation to continuously improve your hunting business for the betterment of you and your customers.

Turing the idea of insecurity into a positive emotion is one step you can take right now that puts you ahead of most of your competition.

Do you have any others thoughts on security and your hunting business?

Please share in the comments and I’ll be sure to respond promptly.

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

Applying The Power of Less to Your Hunting Business

How to Do It All – The Time Management Question

10 Online Resources for Hunting Businesses

Related posts on the Web

The Power of Analogy

Creating A Blogging Maintenance Routine That Isn’t A Chore

Perfecting Keyword Targeting & On-Page Optimization

A Different Take on Intellectual Property and Blogging

We put everything in Creative Commons so that anybody can take anything without permission,” Jeffrey Tucker.

Happiness Through Sharing

image credit: tipiro

Update: After re-reading through this post I wanted to clarify a few things.

Some areas in italics (not the quoted material) have been updated for clarification specifically on the notion of “free content” that I addressed in the original post.

In short, I provide content in the sense that Web content is copy-able. It’s for this reason that while some of the content on this site is ‘hidden’ it’s the participation, personalization, and learning experience that hopefully provides value to Hunting Business Marketing members.

T. Michael Riddle (who is one of the best participators on this site) left a comment requesting a post on intellectual property:

The one thing which you might mention on your next post is the “Perils Of Plagiarism”

Albert, over at the Rasch Chronicles has a good one going on right now with a thief such as they (Plagiarist’s)

I have had several run in’s with this terrible activity during my 30+ years in the music industry, and it is heartbreaking to witness any artist (such as are in the outdoor blogging community) that has to endure the thievery of their intellectual property.

Keep up the good work which you are doing here Dayne, and please protect yourself from these type people!

————————————

And there are things which people are completely unaware of concerning copyrighted material.

Such as: The producer of an artist has every right to copyright the “Sounds” which are used in the recording of an artists’ material.

And said producer, will even attach a “Royalty Fee” for each time the artists material is sold or played anywhere for public purchase or entertainment.

This would hold true for anyone who even uses “Public Domain” material which might be enhanced with reverb, echo, chorus, flange etc. etc. by a web designer, who is in essence, the producer of your content.

If your website starts becoming popular and you implement any merchandising program, said designer/producer could come back with their hand extended out for a piece of your pie!

It never hurts to carry your own liability, disclosure and copyright release forms for anyone whom does work for you for them to sign.

If a person refuses to sign your forms, then move on down the line and find someone whom does not have a problem with doing so.

Because generally, if a person has a problem with that, then they most likely had bad intentions and ulterior motives to work for you in the first place.

Immediately I had a hunch that my take on the topic might conflict with T. Michael’s.

I wanted to write on the topic of Intellectual property because:

1| It’s important to bloggers and readers like you

2| T. Michael requested it and he made some great points in his comments

3| It’s a topic I’m passionate about

Now, I don’t want to get into the fact that people steal, harm, and harass other people. There is no excuse for putting others through pain. The issue that Albert and others are addressing is serious and I’ll say that some material from this site has been used on the sites addressed.

This article concerns intellectual property and my views on creating content for your hunting business, Website, and blog.

Let’s begin…

My General Take

I give away content and intellectual property for free – free in the sense that online content is copy-able. For this reason, I focus on providing added value on top of content to provide a product and service that hunting business owners are willing to pay for. Some articles and discussion in the forum are available for members only (unless members wish to share this content). The participation, personalization, and learning experience is where the value is hopefully provided.

Anybody can steal content from this site.

I like to believe that readers like you use the content on this site for the benefit of your hunting business so you can help hunters experience hunting as a fulfilling passion in life.

I do realize, however, that there are those who will abuse the content I create. It’s a necessary evil of sharing all of mythe content.

For me, it really comes down to accepting the bad with the (overwhelming) good and deciding to spend time on creating more quality content.

I hope those who share the content will provide attribution, but I realize it won’t always happen and that’s Ok. The fact that the content is being shared is enough. I hope to provide an appealing platform and hope that those who are genuinely interested in the content will realize that I’m the true source.

While I’m in favor of sharing content for free, let’s take a look at some arguments from both sides.

Pros of Sharing Content

In my view, the pros outweigh the cons in this argument.

Let’s take a look at a couple of the arguments in favor of sharing your content on the Web.

Larger Audience

The goal of any hunting business should be to connect with as many hunters as possible and to improve their hunting experiences so they can enjoy their passion in life to the fullest: hunting.

Sharing content on the Web leads to larger audiences.

Thousands of sites allow Web users post content to share with friends, family, and peers. People also share content face-to-face, via email, or over the phone.

Sharing content is a way for people to feel good about providing something of value to someone else.

And if your goal is to provide value to others you may feel the need and drive to provide value to as many people who share the same worldview as you.

I believe in sharing what I have to offer (hopefully it’s valuable to some) with anyone willing to accept it. I don’t want to push anything on anyone. I believe in creating an atmosphere of sharing so the content has the ability to reach those who may be interested in finding something that might be of value to them in some way.

And the way I envision reaching a large audience is by sharing content on the Web.

Priorities

One thing I’ve found in the time I’ve spent sharing content on the Web is that allowing the content to be shared (and accepting the bad and the good that comes with it) has allowed me to focus more on creating quality content and figuring out ways to better share it with hunting business owners.

When you’re running a business it’s always a constant battle to choose your priorities. You have to focus on how you spend your time.

As a resource for hunters you’re most precious asset is your time and the quality of the time you an provide your customers. Your resource shows up in the products and services you provide your customers.

I’ve found that when I prioritize and make the most time for creating quality content and connecting with people like you, I feel the most successful and fulfilled.

Here is an inspirational video on dissident publishing by Jeffrey Tucker of the Mises Institute.

For the part related to this piece, please jump to about 26:30. I suggest watching the entire video, but to see the part about dissident publishing you can skip ahead.

Cons of Sharing Content

There are objections to sharing your content online and protecting it with copyright.

Let’s take a look at a couple of the possible arguments against sharing content.

Giving Up a Feeling of Ownership

For any artist or creator, it is difficult to give up ownership of your art.

Most times when I discuss copyrighting and intellectual property with artists the fact of giving up ownership of their work is the main issue.

The idea of someone else using the work and art you’ve created and representing it as their own creation is difficult to accept.

There is a lot of work and passion that goes into creating content online and it’s difficult when someone misuses that content and takes the credit for creating it.

One of the things that can also happen is that people will recognize your content and share it with their friends, family, and audience while giving you the credit for creating.

People will also expand on your thoughts and ideas.

If you allow others to share and rework your art there are amazing things that can be created.

And it all starts with your work.

It’s rewarding to connect with people through your content and art.

While I accept the fact that I lose ownership of the content, I understand that more times than not, I’ll be recognized as creator in some way and this recognition and connection are reward enough.

Misrepresentation of You and Your Business

One thing that goes along with losing ownership of your content on the Web is that you and your business may be misrepresented.

There is always the chance of being misrepresented or slandered when you open a hunting business. A former client, competitors, or con misrepresenting your content as their own is all part of the reality we live in.

It can be difficult if you’re company is put in an ill-light especially for new business that don’t have a strong audience or client base.

If this were to happen to me I think what I would do is to go back to my base: creating quality content and connecting with my audience as a valuable resource.

I’d be angry and upset if I, my business, or the content were misrepresented, but I probably wouldn’t go further than an email to the party asking for a change in the representation.

I’d go back to my audience and work on creating more content and making sure my audience knows the quality of content I create.

And I believe that if your audience is strong and loyal enough they’ll come together to make sure you are represented properly.

Making Money with Copy-able Content

The issue that follows hunting businesses around on the Web is the issue of making money.

Since content publishing on the Web is easily copied and shared, it’s difficult to make money simply from content you share on your Website and blog.

I know making money online is difficult for all hunting businesses and especially for those who create content so I felt this topic needed to be discussed.

I want to highlight an excellent article on the subject of:

When copies are free, you need to sell things which can not be copied

Here is a short excerpt and the 8 things people pay money for:

Our digital communication network has been engineered so that copies flow with as little friction as possible. Indeed, copies flow so freely we could think of the internet as a super-distribution system, where once a copy is introduced it will continue to flow through the network forever, much like electricity in a superconductive wire. We see evidence of this in real life. Once anything that can be copied is brought into contact with internet, it will be copied, and those copies never leave. Even a dog knows you can’t erase something once it’s flowed on the internet.

Yet the previous round of wealth in this economy was built on selling precious copies, so the free flow of free copies tends to undermine the established order. If reproductions of our best efforts are free, how can we keep going? To put it simply, how does one make money selling free copies?

I have an answer. The simplest way I can put it is thus:

When copies are super abundant, they become worthless.

When copies are super abundant, stuff which can’t be copied becomes scarce and valuable.

Check out the entire article. It’s worth the read.

Eight categories of intangible value that we buy when we pay for something that could be free.

1| Immediacy

2| Personalization

3| Interpretation

4| Authenticity

5| Accessibility

6| Embodiment

7| Patronage

8| Findability

It is possible to make money while giving away your content or art for free.

It seems that the music industry (in general) got caught up in trying to protect their old paradigm of controlling the distribution of the artist’s content.

Today, record sales and more importantly, profits are falling through the basement.

I think the artists that focus on what exactly people will pay money for they’ll be better set to connect with their audience and make profit.

Is the world better off with fewer record companies and more individual artists working with marketers, designers, etc. who understand sharing today?

The same is true for your hunting business and the content you create for the Web.

Focus on the things people are willing to pay for. It’s not the actual content you create because that can easily be shared.

Figure out ways to make your resource scarce and people will pay for it if your resource, products, and services are valuable.

Once you find something that works, stick with it, but always be prepared for shifting paradigms so you don’t end up like a select few in the music industry.

Here is a post on profit and transparency that is semi-related:

Appearing Transparent is Profitable, Being Transparent is Not

Summary of My Take

Once again, I’m in favor of sharing content, but that doesn’t mean that you have to do the same with your hunting business, website and blog.

I’ve tried to present a few pros and cons to sharing content.

I accept that content on the Web is copy-able and there is nothing to stop it from happening.

So why not skip that step and give some away for free right away and focus on other ways to provide value and make profit while satisfying the needs of hunters?

I give away the content and intellectual property for free.

Even the ‘hidden’ content is copy-able in some way to determined individuals. The fact is that I try to provide value in others ways (see the 8 above) that people are willing to pay for and participate in.

Anybody can steal content on this site.

Bonus

Since it’s such a discussed topic right now and it relates to intellectual property, I thought I’d link to the Snopes entry on Michael Jackson and The Beatles concerning the publishing rights to some of The Beatles music.

Let Discuss

I know this topic is important to you and other readers.

Here is your chance to weigh in.

Please leave your comments below and let’s discuss.

You’re thoughts and contributions are always appreciated and never judged.

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The best selling MP3 album of the year was free

Update: Adam Singer wrote a great piece on this topic: Steal This Blog Post

How to Find Your Lucky Break

Do you think you create your own luck in life and business?

Find Your Lucky Break

image credit: alancleaver_2000

There is a common phrase we often reply with when somebody calls us “lucky”.

I’d rather be lucky than good.

When operating a business of your own there are many times you feel that all you need is one big, lucky break to push you forward on your way to riches.

Your lucky break may be getting your first client or getting your first lead via a targeted search term or even just getting a comment on your blog.

Whatever your break is there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of seeing your luck sooner rather than later.

While it you may think it’s better to be lucky than good it’s also important to improve your odds of being lucky by working hard at the things that increase your chances of catching lucky breaks.

Let’s take a look at a few of the ways you can find your lucky break.

Blogging

Since starting this blog I have met and made connections with many great people in the outdoor industry.

My luck has also seemed to improve as a result of writing posts for this blog.

I’ve had the chance to discuss some great business ideas with brilliant minds and those amazing business ideas that always seem to be elusive are now always right in front of me.

I wasn’t sure what this blog would turn into when I first started it, but now a few ideas are coming together and I think it’s going to turn into something beneficial for all hunting business owners.

I feel both fortunate and lucky to have stumbled on a few great business ideas as a result of writing for this blog and the connections I’ve made along the way.

Starting a blog for your hunting business can be one of the most rewarding things you can do both from a business and a personal standpoint.

A blog is one of the best ways to create quality content that slowly build search traffic to your business Website over time.

A blog is also a great way to make connections. As more people visit your site and as you visit other blogs, you’ll meet some wonderful and influential folks in the outdoor industry.

A blog should be one of the biggest focal points for your hunting business on the Web if you’re looking to increase your chances of catching that lucky break.

Write about the things your customers care about and make sure you are passionate about the topics and the rest should fall into place.

It all starts with a little focus and your passion.

After that it will seem like luck is following you around.

Social Media

One of the Web phrases that has reached mainstream over the past few years is “social media”.

Social media sites (the big ones that most people have heard of are Titter, Facebook, and MySpace) are places where Web users gather to make connections.

Still, some people are afraid of what social media sites can offer because people are generally afraid of change.

The truth is, social media is not really change. Social media is all about making connections just as you and I do every day in our offline lives.

We meet new people when we visit the bank or when we go to a conference.

Social media is exactly the same; the only thing that changes is the setting is now taken online and there are no location barriers.

I had a valuable experience when I wrote What is the Point of Twitter awhile back.

It’s a simple question that most people have about social media. They wonder what the point is of spending their valuable time messing around with something they are not familiar with. It’s a logical question.

The benefit of social media is the increase in your chance of making a connection that may lead to a business opportunity or perhaps even a sale lead.

Social media is simply about making connections and the more people you connect with the higher your chances are of catching your lucky break.

Thirst for Knowledge

One of the things I’ve always seemed to have is an inquisitive mind. I’m a Wikipedia addict. I don’t know how I ever lived without having all information available to me in a moment’s notice.

If I ever have a question about something or if I can’t seem to figure something out I will spend as much time as it takes to figure out the answer or solution.

The bad part about being inquisitive is that I can spend too much time on things that may not be important.

The benefit of being inquisitive is that I’m always looking for more knowledge on all topics and trends.

I’ve become convinced recently that it’s beneficial to try and stay current with the new trends and technologies on the Web (and offline as well).

I’ve come to accept that not all new technology and developments are best for every business and I’m likely to find a few that will fail, but the things I’ve found that have worked have proved to have benefits that far outweigh any setbacks that may happen.

I’ve even had people say that I’m lucky to find something so quick when they haven’t even heard about it yet (and I’ve said this to other inquisitive people as well).

So another way you can increase your chances of catching a lucky break is to stay on top of what’s going on both in the hunting industry and on the Web.

By staying up-to-date with new developments on the Web I’ve also been able to make more connections with other inquisitive people as well as people who have questions about the new technologies. I’m seen as an expert at times (I’m definitely not an expert at anything though) and people ask me questions about various new things that happen on the Web (and after they ask me I have to go to the people who I think are experts and ask them the same question).

Either way, staying ahead of the curve has led to new connections that have been beneficial for me and my hunting business.

Always be willing to take chances with new technology and developments and don’t be afraid to fail. It’s often the failure and lesson learned that lead to some of the biggest breakthroughs (the things people see as lucky developments).

Summary

As you can probably tell, most of these ideas for catching your lucky break involve making connections with people. The idea is to create mutually valuable relationships and connections with as many people as you can.

Valuable connections lead to leads for your business or potential readers for your blogs or even to long-term clients.

With the Web today, there are no location barriers so you can connect with anybody throughout the world. It’s exciting and overwhelming at the same time.

Don’t be afraid to jump right into new things.

Don’t worry about failing.

Don’t worry about meeting new people.

The people who continually make connections are the people who always seem to be luckier than the rest of us.

So, do you think you create your own luck in life and business?

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