Author Archives: Contributor

Incubation Time 

Sergio Adame, founder of API Real Estate, wanted to create a little bit of buzz in the Harlingen business community. After realizing that some prospective businesses were having trouble starting up because of financial issues, he decided to offer office space in the Bank of America building that his firm owns. “I was thinking that if a start-up doesn’t have money, you give them a space for free or at…

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Nicho’s niche: fruits and vegetables

“I love working here,” said Tommy Villarreal, president of Nicho Produce Company in Edinburg. “It’s a thrilling environment.” The wholesale company is a hive of activity, fronted by a war room of agents negotiating orders for shipments from over 500 suppliers from around the country and backed by warehouse employees loading and unloading boxes of produce, and kitchen workers moving a variety of vegetables and fruits through the fresh-cut process.…

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More than pumping iron: getting fit  

At the turn of the millennium, the U.S. fitness industry was on the cusp of a huge growth decade. Young adults in the 18–34-year-old range drove membership, helping to make it the fastest-growing job market by 2006. Large gyms, of more than 10,000 square feet, studded with endless rows of Nautilus equipment and treadmills, dotted the typical upscale suburban landscape. In recent years, however, the robust $20-billion-plus industry has undergone…

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Accidental Mentors

Everyone who has seen the movie Star Wars wishes he’d had a mentor like the wise Jedi Master, Yoda, the greenish-grey, pointy-eared elfin creature who coached Luke Skywalker through every emotional crisis and physical challenge imaginable.  Remember Yoda’s cryptic advice?  “Ready you are?  What do you know of ready?  Difficult it is.” As an executive search consultant, I interviewed many candidates who told me that they were good managers.  Some…

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Protecting property in a LLC 

While LLCs are common in the business world, a relatively new form of LLC could be of great use to South Texas property investors. The Texas Series LLC provision was added to the Texas Business Organizations Code in 2009 and offers a unique twist on the ability of an LLC to diversify its overall holdings while limiting its liabilities. A Series LLC essentially has the ability to create separate “series”…

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Demotivation Insight  

Fortunes have been, and continue to be, made studying and teaching the art of human motivation in the workplace.  Businesses want more from their employees, and turnover is so very costly.  We can’t seem to get enough of this stuff we call motivation.  Well, we are Americans.  We want more, of everything; and we want it better, faster, cheaper. The reasons people work are as unique as individuals themselves.  But…

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The Cobra Effect 

No, I’m not talking about COBRA, the law that allows employees to extend their insurance coverage after separation.  I’m actually talking about the snake, the cobra.  “The Cobra Effect” is a nickname for any worst-case-scenario involving the “Law of Unintended Consequences.” During India’s colonial days, the British decided to exterminate the venomous cobra by offering a bounty.  “Bring us dead cobras and we will give you cash.”  Problem solved.  But…

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Fish on! 

The Bay King anchored just past the jetties, bathed in moonlight, gently rocked in tidal swells in time to “… rock me mama like a wagon wheel …” coming from the boat’s muted radio. Skipjack flickered on the surface of the Gulf’s waters. “Fish on!” was shouted time and again, bringing the captain and first mate to assist anglers hauling in whiting, sand trout and feisty gafftopsail catfish. Tex-Mex Tours,…

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Oil from Mexico’s Eagle Ford  

Why do the thousands of Eagle Ford wells on the map all end at the Rio Grande? Oil reservoirs know no river nor international boundary. Last November Morales Gil, then-president of PEMEX E&P, announced at Platt’s Mexican Energy Conference in Mexico City that Mexico may soon be producing five million bbls (barrels)/day. His ultra-deep water exploration activities offshore Matamoros/Brownsville were doing very well, and he hoped to send more ultra-deep…

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Internal controls for small businesses

What is internal control?  How does it affect your business?  Internal controls or internal checks and balances in companies are extremely important to safeguard your assets such as cash and ensuring accurate and reliable financial accounting reporting. One component of internal controls consists of segregation of accounting duties. For example, if a company has one person who is able to 1) create a new vendor in the accounting system, 2) process invoices, 3) prepare checks,…

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