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‘Tough Sales,’ ‘Big Growth,’ ‘We’re Dying’

Computer Repair: “Hardware and software sales are tough. We are trying to get away from that but it’s not easy. We have to offer more of a solutions-based rather than products-based approach. If we don’t, we’ll be gone.”

Herb and Spice Distributor: “We are growing by leaps and bounds. The nutriceutical and health-food industries are causing us to grow quickly. We put out a new herb and then we get all sorts of requests for it from those wanting to use it in ways we never imagined. The Internet has allowed us to ship anywhere. Our biggest problems are tracking inventory and keeping the right amount on hand. We can’t always project if we will need 10 ounces or 1,000 pounds of a product.”

Precision CNC Machine Shop: “We are dying. China can make the same products that sell for 20% of what we have to charge. Their turnaround time is two weeks to deliver to Silicon Valley. Our only markets may be high-quality, fast-turnaround markets, such as health products. To the manufacturers, price has become more important than quality.”

Writer: Jack D. Deal, owner of the Deal Consulting Group in Santa Cruz, Calif., likes talking to entrepreneurs in a variety of industries.