Tuesday, February 26, 2013

iGavel Art & Antiques owner Interview
While living in Atlanta at the turn of the last century, I was employed by H. Stern's Fine Jewelers from South America.
My manager at the time is a relative of Lark Mason, who at the time was working for Sotheby's with a specialty in Chinese Furniture. Knowing the family, I was aware that he and his siblings grew up behind the scenes watching it all happen at their  mother's antique shop.

MOLLOY: What was the time span of your careerat Sotheby's in New York?

MASON: My career at Sotheby's extended from 1979-2003, approximately 24 years. During that time I had a range of responsibilities and roles and was well-prepared to embark on my own future.

MOLLOY: How did the shift to and from digitalizing the auction house process affect your decision?

MASON: When the opportunity arose with the closing of, the time felt right to start off on my own and was the result.

MOLLOY: Do you consider art as a good investment?

MASON: Art can be a good investment under the right circumstances but in most instances, it is not.
Like all investments, art requires a specialized knowledge and time commitment. Most people lack one or both, and as a result, purchase items and them forget about them, with poor results.

MOLLOY: How would you advise an investor?

MASON: For individuals who watch the market closely, diversify their holdings, and choose objects based on quality and value, the results can be good. Ultimately however, art is not easily convertible into cash, this lack of convertibility comes with high transaction costs that cut into the results.

MOLLOY: Can you help out with the person that considers art an object of pleasure and delight, and just happens to have some disposable income?

MASON: My advice for people is to buy what they like while being aware of the broader market. If they like what they purchased, then when or if the market declines, at least they will have objects that remain to be enjoyed.


Lark Mason can be reached at (212) 289-5588, with his office in the east side of NYC. 

Another source for the auction buff is Http://
Slow to the Internet era, due to a wide variety of concerns, the dealers in art and antiques have valuable inventory and advanced knowledge for high-end pieces.



Friday, February 8, 2013

Business Plan Experts Explain Their Thinking
SANDY NEAL, expert on business plans is a mentor at the NORTH COAST SMALL BUSINESS RESOURCE CENTER

I began visiting Sandy Neal when I built my first website. After multiple visits to the office and several websites later, he remains one of my favorite resources when I have a business question.
MOLLOY: What is the purpose of a business plan?
NEAL: Do you want the short answer or the long one?
MOLLOY: Can we do medium? I need some meat on the bones, but it is a short blog format.
NEAL: OK, the idea of a business plan is to explain to yourself and others, potential financiers, family, you expect to actually make some money with your idea.
MOLLOY: I  know you teach courses and classes, can you sum up for me?
NEAL: I have an 8-step approach.
1) It is a path to your success
2) It is a framework for your research, & an aid to identify target markets
3) It will help formulate marketing strategies
4) It will identify & assess competitors
5) It will create risk analysis & mitigation
6) It helps to develop assumptions for sales projections
7) It is the foundation for financial statements
8) It will determine your potential profit

Several years ago the North Coast Small Business Resource Center had a workshop of Women Entrepreneurs. One of the guest speakers was Rhonda Abrams, an author who was a gracious person with several successful books on consulting. I found her on facebook, & asked her how she got started.

MOLLOY: What triggered the writing of your first book on business planning?
ABRAMS: I was a business plan consultant when I was approached about writing a guide to developing business plans. This was before the Internet and it was hard to find info (still is tough to find really good, qualified info!) and the few books on business plans were terrible. There was, I believe one business plan software package that was a "fill in the blanks" approach that didn't help entrepreneurs grow SUCCESSFUL businesses. So I wrote a book that I wanted when I started out. 
I wanted to help entrepreneurs understand their strategic, competitive position - what would make them succeed and last over the long run. I'm THRILLED that my book has helped millions of people launch businesses - and I hear from so many about their successes.

Rhonda Abrams has been guiding entrepreneurs and small business owners for over 20 years. As CEO of her own small business, THE PLANNING SHOP, she's sold over one millions books.
Titles include: SUCCESSFUL MARKETING,  Secrets & Strategies  and SIX-WEEK START-UP