Month: April 2018


Guerilla Versus Gorilla – Small Companies Can Win

We make our living as guerillas – not the bad kind, but more of a freedom fighter. By using the term ëguerillaí I mean EMJ (now a division of SYNNEX) fights for business against big gorillas (other distributors) in the field. Our competitors are almost 100 times our size; EMJ is a Canadian-based, $165 million per year distributor. We have made an operating profit for the past 80 consecutive quarters. So even though we are up against the big gorillas as a distributor, we must be doing something right.

If you are in a business where some of the competitors are much larger, you may be able to benefit from using guerilla tactics. The principles of running a guerrilla organization differ from running a gorilla organization. As a guerrilla, we hide from our competitor; we do not try to crush them. I even go so far as to examine what they do well and let them do it. At the same time, I look for under-serviced markets and get to these markets fast.

A gorilla takes all competitors head on, trying to crush the competition. Sometimes this takes the form of a price war. Sometimes it takes major prolonged, drawn-out investment. This works as long as you are the same size, or larger than the competition. Even then, such a long battle can sap power and ultimately profits.

Companies that die often believe they were gorillas. It is certain death for a business to fight gorillas unless they can withstand the siege. Any time we hire someone with a gorilla-company background, we watch and coach that person to make sure they are indoctrinated with the appropriate tactics. We have to make sure they understand out business model.

My 8 favourite guerilla tactics are:

1 – Act fast. I use my companyís size for my advantage. I can act lightning fast. In the computer business, this is a huge asset. Things change so rapidly that moving fast and being first to market is a huge advantage. Larger companies do not react quickly. Develop a reputation for being first – it gets the attention of customers.

2 – Welcome smaller opportunities. Gorillas tend to say ënoí to manufacturers who donít think they can do significant volume with. But a small opportunity rejected by a gorilla can be a very profitable opportunity for a guerilla. For EMJ, a million dollar per product line is an opportunity big enough to get the attention of my first string. In your business, look for the right-sized opportunity for you. Frequently, it is the smaller opportunity that has the best promise. The gorillas will leave you alone. There is always a right-sized opportunity for a company of any size. Knowing your rightful place in the market can help you to thrive.

3 – Get focussed. Higher focus means we know more, stock more, and sell more product of fewer manufacturers. The smaller our product listing, the more powerful we become. We know a lot about a little. That means we know the products we sell better than a gorilla, and we become a sales tool for the reseller, not just an order-taker. Could you become more focused and specialized in a business area by giving up on a part of your business?

4 – Be more flexible. We can adapt more easily to our customers and suppliers. We try not to be ruled by policy. The bigger a company gets, the more likely they are to have policy and some of it is required. As a small distributor, we can be more flexible. Are there areas that your competition is ignoring that by being more entrepreneurial, you can capitalize on?

5 – Be smarter. This sounds too simple, almost embarrassing to write. Since we are smaller, we can look at the business we do more carefully and make sure it makes good business sense. We donít pick up another manufacturer just to increase the size of our line card. Thatís just not good business sense for us. Thatís the way we have to think – and so should you.

6 – Lower your overhead. For some reason, most companies seem to choose more expensive offices and furnishings as they grow. This expectation tends to increase costs in all areas of the company that distribution, at current margin levels, can ill afford. At EMJ, we buy quality used furniture. We are on the outskirts of Guelph where the cost of land and taxes is less. Our capital base is even high enough that our cost of capital is less than some of the gorillas. Are there areas that you can be lower overhead than the gorillas in your field? Costs always add up on the bottom line.

7 – Foster staff loyalty – one major advantage guerillas have over gorillas is the ability to attract, motivate, and keep good people. Primarily this is because guerillas can be more flexible, easier to work for and give people more of a sense of accomplishment because what they do contributes more directly the companyís bottom line. I have always found there to be great power by being smaller and treating my people with respect and not just as numbers. Gorillas can try to do this but it is tough for them to copy you.

8 – Just BE a gorilla. We like to enter market areas that we can dominate and specialize in. We may not be the biggest but in certain specific niches, we dominate. As long as we are the biggest in an area, we can act the part. We can under-price and over-service the competition forever. Anyone who enters our markets learns that it is expensive and often impossible to unseat us.

9 – Be personal. One thing a smaller organization can do is to be more personal. People buy from people. You can foster relationships that will help you sell. Part of the way we are personal is by showing our customers what markets and products ARE profitable. There is nothing that cements a customer relationship better than making them money, because youíll be making money for them AND for you!

10 – Be opportunistic – to sum up guerilla strategy is simply to be opportunistic. Take advantage of opportunities that the gorillas cannot do. There are many companies that remain profitable by being opportunistic.

In summary, unless you are huge – think guerilla. Appropriate guerilla tactics for your size will win any battle.

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Guidelines for Online Small Business Owners.

you are contemplating setting up a small online business you should realise it is simply to down to a numbers game.

The difference between businesses that succeeded and ones that do not is down to their conversion ratios, meaning the ratio of visitors who actually become paying customers.

If one in 50 of your visitors become a paying customer, then you will have a conversion ration of 2%. All businesses should aim to increase this ratio, simple things like using enticing tactics such as a sale can help.
The trouble is nowadays people seem desperate for visitors, they panic and pay for batches of visitors. Unfortunately these systems rarely increase your conversation ratio at all; in fact all they do is give you a false perception of your business.

A lot of online small business owners make 3 mistakes:

1. They put Google Adsense/affiliates everywhere, in my opinion these are good systems but they do detract from your core business.
2. They make their websites too complicated, when marketing to a worldwide audience; keep your website simple and easy to follow.
3. They get greedy, their prices are too high.

These points may seem obvious but it is often the most obvious things that people miss.

Here are some general guidelines for small business owners.

1. Spend time researching your website development.
2. Have an understanding of ëKeywordsí and how they benefit your site.
3. List with the main search engines and directories.
4. Have patience, especially in the first year.
5. Be imaginative
6. Donít be greedy, donít scare potential customers away.

Remember do not get carried away by the amount of visitors to your site, simply work on improving your conversation ratio, by doing this year on year you will be well on your way to running a successful business.

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Trial by Jury in Old Times.


By Thomas Frost.


WHEN we congratulate ourselves, as we are so apt to do, on the length of time the system of trial by jury has been established in England, and the safeguard it affords against attempts to strain the law to the prejudice of the accused, we are often unmindful of the fact that the institution has not always proved a safeguard when the court, acting under the influence of the Crown, endeavoured to obtain a conviction. It was only in the latter half of the sixteenth century that juries began to evince that determination not to yield their own judgment to the wishes of those in high authority, which became further developed in the course of the seventeenth. An interesting illustration of the old spirit of judges, and the new spirit of juries, is afforded by the trial of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, in 1554, on a charge of high treason, in conspiring the death or deposition of the Queen, and the seizure by force of arms of the Tower of London. The prosecution was conducted by Serjeant Stanford and the Attorney-General, Griffin, the former leading; and it is noteworthy that both they and Chief Justice Bromley questioned the prisoner in much the same manner as is still customary in France and Belgium, striving to procure evidence that would convict him out of his own mouth. The endeavour failed, and the only criminating evidence against the prisoner was contained in the alleged confessions of Winter and Crofts, who, however, were not called as witnesses.

The jury, after several hours’ deliberation, returned a verdict of not guilty, upon which the Lord Chief Justice addressed them in threatening tones, saying, “Remember yourselves better. Have you considered substantially the whole evidence as it was declared and recited? The matter doth touch the Queen’s highness and yourselves also. Take good heed what you do.” The jury were firm, however, and the foreman replied to the remonstrance of the bench, “We have found him not guilty, agreeable to all our consciences.” Then the Attorney-General rose, and addressing the court, said, “An it please you, my lords, forasmuch as it seemeth these men of the jury, which have strangely acquitted the prisoner of his treasons whereof he was indicted, will forthwith depart the court, I pray you for the Queen that they and every one of them may be bound in a recognizance of £500 a-piece, to answer to such matters as they shall be charged with in the Queen’s behalf, whensoever they shall be charged or called.” The court went beyond even this audacious request, for they actually committed the jury to prison! Four of them were discharged shortly afterwards, having so little moral stamina left as to make a humble confession that they had done wrong; but the remaining eight were brought before the Star Chamber and severely dealt with, three being ordered to pay a fine of £2,000 each, and the others £200 each.

In the following reign, in a case in which three persons were indicted for murder, and the jury found them guilty of manslaughter only, contrary to the direction of the court, the jurors were both fined and bound in recognizances for their future “good behaviour.” A decision of the Lord Chancellor, the two Chief Justices, and the Chief Baron, in the reign of James I., sets forth that when a person is found guilty on indictment, the jury should not be questioned; but when a jury has acquitted a prisoner against what the court holds to be proof of guilt, they may be charged in the Star Chamber, “for their partiality in finding a manifest offender not guilty.” In 1667, we find this view extended to the case of grand juries ignoring a bill on grounds which the court did not consider sufficient. Chief Justice Kelying in that year having fined a grand jury of the County of Somerset, for not finding a true bill against a man accused of murder; but, says the report, “because they were gentlemen of repute in the county, the court spared the fine.” This case, and several others in which the same judge had acted in a similar manner, were brought under the notice of the House of Commons, however, and that assembly resolved “that the precedents and practice of fining or imprisoning jurors for verdicts is illegal.”

Notwithstanding this resolution of the House of Commons, William Penn, and another member of the Society of Friends, named Mead, being indicted at the Old Bailey for having, with other persons unknown, unlawfully and tumultuously assembled in Gracechurch Street, in the City of London, the Recorder dealt with the jury in a manner which caused the illegality of fining jurors for their verdicts to be again brought into question. The indictment set forth that Penn, by agreement with and abetment of Mead, did in the open street speak and preach to the persons there assembled, by reason whereof a great concourse of people gathered and remained a long time, in contempt of the King and the law, and to the great terror and disturbance of many of His Majesty’s liege subjects. The trial took place before the Recorder, the Lord Mayor, and the Aldermen; and when witnesses had deposed that Penn had preached, and that Mead was there with him, the Recorder summed up the evidence, and the jury retired to consider their verdict. They were absent a considerable time, at length returning with the verdict that Penn was “guilty of speaking in Gracechurch Street.”

“Is that all?” the Recorder asked.

“That is all I have in commission,” replied the foreman.

“You had as good say nothing,” observed the Recorder, and the Lord Mayor added, “Was it not an unlawful assembly? You mean he was speaking to a tumult of people there.”

“My lord,” returned the foreman, “that is all I have in commission.”

“The law of England,” said the Recorder “will not allow you to part until you have given in your verdict.”

“We have given in our verdict,” returned the jury, “and we can give in no other.”

“Gentlemen,” said the Recorder, “you have not given in your verdict, and you had as good say nothing; therefore go and consider it once more, that we may make an end of this troublesome business.”

The jury then asked for pen, ink, and paper, and the request being complied with, they again retired, returning after a brief interval with their verdict in writing. They found Penn “guilty of speaking or preaching to an assembly met together in Gracechurch Street,” and Mead not guilty.

“Gentlemen,” said the Recorder, regarding the jury angrily, “you shall not be dismissed till we have a verdict that the court will accept; and you shall be locked up, without meat, drink, fire, and tobacco. You shall not think thus to abuse the court. We will have a verdict, or you shall starve for it.”

Penn protested against this course, upon which the Recorder ordered the officers of the court to stop his mouth or remove him. The jury not leaving their box, the Recorder again directed them to retire and re-consider their verdict. Penn made a spirited remonstrance. “The agreement of twelve men,” said he, “is a verdict in law, and such a one having been given by the jury, I require the clerk of the peace to record it, as he will answer at his peril. And if the jury bring in another verdict contradictory to this, I affirm they are perjured men in law. You are Englishmen,” he added, turning to the jury, “mind your privilege; give not away your right.” The court then adjourned to the following morning, when the prisoners were brought to the bar, and the jury, who had been locked up all night, were sent for. They were firm of purpose, and through their foreman persisted in their verdict.

“What is this to the purpose?” demanded the Recorder, “I will have a verdict.” Then addressing a juror, named Bushel, whom he had threatened on the previous day, he said, “you are a factious fellow; I will set a mark on you, and whilst I have anything to do in the city, I will have an eye on you.”

Penn again protested against the jury being threatened in this manner, upon which the Lord Mayor ordered that his mouth should be stopped, and that the gaoler should bring fetters and chain him to the floor; but it does not appear that this was done. The jury were again directed to retire and bring in a different verdict, and they withdrew under protest, the foreman saying, “We have given in our verdict, and all agreed to it; and if we give in another, it will be a force upon us to save our lives.”

According to the narrative written by Penn and Mead, and quoted in Forsyth’s “History of Trial by Jury,” this scene took place on Sunday morning, and the court adjourned again to the following day, when, unless they were supplied with food surreptitiously, they must have fasted since Saturday. The foreman gave in their verdict in writing, as before, to which they had severally subscribed their names. The clerk received it, but was prevented from reading it by the Recorder, who desired him to ask for a “positive verdict.”

“That is our verdict,” said the foreman. “We have subscribed to it.”

“Then hearken to your verdict,” said the clerk. “You say that William Penn is not guilty in manner and form as he stands indicted; you say that William Mead is not guilty in manner and form as he stands indicted; and so say you all.”

The jury responded affirmatively, and their names were then called over, and each juror was commanded to give his separate verdict, which they did unanimously.

“I am sorry, gentlemen,” the Recorder then said, “you have followed your own judgments and opinions, rather than the good and wholesome advice which was given you. God keep my life out of your hands! But for this the court fines you forty marks a man, and imprisonment till paid.”

Penn was about to leave the dock, but was prevented from doing so, upon which he said, “I demand my liberty, being freed by the jury.”

“You are in for your fines,” the Lord Mayor told the prisoners.

“Fines, for what?” demanded Penn.

“For contempt of court,” replied the Lord Mayor.

“I ask,” exclaimed Penn, “if it be according to the fundamental laws of England, that any Englishman should be fined or amerced but by the judgment of his peers or jury; since it expressly contradicts the fourteenth and twenty-ninth chapters of the Great Charter of England, which say, ‘No freeman ought to be amerced but by the oath of good and lawful men of the vicinage.’”

“Take him away,” cried the Recorder.

“They then,” continues the narrative, “hauled the prisoners into the bail-dock, and from thence sent them to Newgate, for non-payment of their fines; and so were their jury. But the jury were afterwards discharged upon an habeas corpus, returnable in the Common Pleas, where their commitment was adjudged illegal.” Even then, judges appear to have remained unconvinced of the illegality of the practice, or stubborn in their desire to enforce their own views or wishes upon juries; for the question was not regarded as finally settled until the decision in the Court of Common Pleas was clinched, in the same year, by a similar judgment of the Court of King’s Bench.


Factoring Financing For Canadian Companies

Running a business in Canada has always had its particular set of challenges. One of the biggest challenges has always been finding the right business financing. The market has been dominated by banks and institutions, which have very tough and strict lending criteria. Obtaining a business loan or almost any other type of business financing in Canada in pretty difficult. However, that is changing. Quickly.

Recently, Canada has seen an increase in the number of independent financing companies that specialize in business financing. Some offer business loans, but the majority have focused on offering invoice discounting (also know as invoice factoring). Although a relatively young industry, the Canadian factoring industry is growing quickly. But, what is invoice discounting?

One of the biggest problems for small and mid sized businesses is waiting up to 60 days to get invoices paid by their commercial clients. This can affect their ability to pay rent, suppliers or salaries on time. This problem is common for many businesses, such as trucking companies, staffing agencies, manufacturers, consultants and others. Invoice discounting is a financial product that eliminates slow paying invoices by financing them.

The factoring process is very simple. Once you invoice an approved client, you send a copy of the invoice to the financing company (also known as the factoring company). The factoring company advances you a significant portion of the invoice while they wait to get paid by your customer. The transaction is settled once the customer pays the invoice. The factoring company offers this service for a small fee or discount.

An invoice discounting arrangement provides you with the necessary funding to pay expenses such as rent, suppliers and employee salaries. This enables you to operate your business efficiently, without worrying about when your clients will pay. Furthermore, invoice discounting can help you win bigger clients, because it eliminates the worries of having to wait for them to pay.

As opposed to bank financing, invoice factoring is relatively easy to obtain. The biggest requirement is that you do business with established clients who pay their invoices regularly. Invoice discounting is truly a flexible product that is within easy reach of small and mid sized businesses.

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Entrepreneurs Don't Have Average Credit Scores

Fair Isaac, the company that develops the formula to determine credit scores looks at the average statistics of consumers and factors that into your score, called a (FICO). According to Fair Isaac the average consumer will have:

– One inquiry on their personal credit report in a given year
– 54% of credit holders carry a balance of less then $5,000 on all debts other then a mortgage
– Have access to $12,190 on all credit cards combined

”’ìNow are entrepreneurs, like you, the typical consumer?’ I asked one of my clients (J.G.). ìNo.î, said J.G.. ìYou will see that as an entrepreneur, we have several more credit needs then the average consumer. So when the personal credit bureaus compare us to the average consumer, our credit consumption is not normal. Which is why your credit score lowered since starting your business.î ìThat’s not fairî said J.G. My reply, ìIf you don’t understand how the system works, you’re right.î’

Let’s look at J.G.’s situation. He has applied several times with suppliers for various credit lines over the last year. Each inquiry will likely drop his credit score approximately 5-10 points. The credit bureaus as suppose to lump three together and only drop 5-10 for the three, we’ll see if it happens. He also has a $60,000 line of credit available and carries a balance of $42,000. Both the amount of credit and balance are more then the consumer average which can hurt his score as well. This is without looking at anything else in the business or his personal life.

If J.G. had just taken the time to develop a business credit profile and start establishing basic lines of credit in the business name and then slowly build the businesses credit over time, he may never have ended up without the ability to buy the home he and his family wanted.

This is why I have written books and developed products and services with our company, Business Credit Services, to provide an education to the entrepreneur on how to ìbecome the typical consumer again’ and ìseparate your personal and business life.

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Entrepreneurial Myths: The Truth Behind Them

If you are about to start off in business you will have no doubt heard these comments:
ìSo many businesses fail. Why are you doing this?î
ìI hear that you need a large amount of money to get a business off the ground these days.î
ìWhy are you throwing away the security of your job?î

These, and more of the same, are typical of the barriers that so called friends and advisors, put in your way if you are thinking of starting a business. These barriers are built on the back of myths about the pitfalls and challenges which surround running your own business.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of these myths and reveal them to be exactly that just myths! Don’t get me wrong, being an entrepreneur can be tough and there are hurdles to cross, but let’s bring some common sense into the debate!

<b>You Don’t Have a Personal Life</b>

Yes you will! It can be hard juggling the responsibilities of running your own business and spending time with the family, but at the end of the day, you are going to have far more flexibility with your personal life, than any employee will ever have. The real issue is, do you have the time management and planning skills to get things done, thereby allowing you time to spend with your family.

<b>You Have To Be Cunning and Ruthless To Be a Successful Entrepreneur</b>

Ok, it may help you in the short term but this is not a sound, long term strategy. To be a successful entrepreneur you need to build relationships with both customers and suppliers who will stick by you during the rough times. Being ruthless over pricing may get you one or two good deals but you are unlikely to build a lasting and profitable relationship. Your aim should be to strike a balance between what you want and what your customer or supplier wants.

<b>You Won’t Have To Work As Hard</b>

Your current job may be stressful and subject you to long hours. The idea of running your own business is appealing because you can slow down and take life at your own pace. To a degree this is true but there’s no getting away from the fact that it will be hard work. Most small businesses don’t achieve profitability until year 3 and so it’s a long slog. Remember, if was easy, everyone would be doing it!

What does make the difference though, is that you are finally doing something you love and so the hours and the struggles don’t seem like hard work at all. So perhaps this myth may be true after all!

<b>You Have To Have an Original Idea</b>

No you don’t. Most businesses are built around a central idea. The difference is usually how it’s delivered. The core products of all fast food places are the same, as are clothes shops, newsagents etc. You can make a decent living effectively copying someone else’s idea but done in a slightly different way. Don’t be put off by the doomsayers who will gleefully point out that ìit’s been done beforeî. Your response should be, ëGreat! That shows the idea works!î

<b>You Will Be Your Own Boss</b>

No way! There’s only one boss in your new business the customer. They are essential to your success. When you were working for that large, faceless Corporation, the loss of the odd client wasn’t that big a deal – plenty more where they came from.

In your new world you have to do whatever it takes to keep your customers and keep them happy. The customer is the one who calls the tunes. You have to listen and take note, before someone else does. However, at the end of the day, when all their demands are met, then perhaps you can have some time to yourself and enjoy the pleasures of being your own boss after all!

<b>You Need A lot Of Money To Get a Business Off The Ground</b>

Some businesses do need a fair bit of cash to get moving but there are many areas you can go into without the need to invest in a large amount of stock, machinery or equipment. The low-capital businesses involve the use of three very cheap commodities – your brain power, your knowledge and your time.

A business where you sell your expertise, not actual goods, to other people can be cheaply set up and carry high profit margins. All you may need is a PC, a desk and a telephone line. What’s stopping you?

<b>You Only Have To Do What You Want To Do</b>

Unfortunately this myth is wrong. We all have areas or skills in which we excel and it’s this expertise which usually forms the basis of your business. Your dedication to paperwork, bank statements and the VAT man may not be that high, but branching out on your own doesn’t mean you have the choice to avoid these terrible tasks.

Whilst you were able to do this when you were sitting in the big corporate office, you can no longer hide. These tasks have to be done otherwise the deck of cards can start to collapse.

If you do have serious misgivings on certain areas, marketing for example, then consider taking a course to improve your skills. If it’s something you seriously can’t do, then go and find someone to do it for you – don’t hope it will go away because it won’t.

You will have seen that some of the myths not being true is good news and others not so good news! Be sensible in considering the myths which are thrown at you. See it for what they are – comments from people who don’t know what they are talking about! In the next issue I’ll have some more myth-busting ideas for you.

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Trials of Animals.

By Thomas Frost.


ONE of the most singular features of the jurisprudence of the middle ages, and one which was retained in the French code down to nearly the middle of the last century, was the indictment of domestic animals for injuries inflicted on mankind. The records of the criminal tribunals of France disclose ninety-two such judicial processes between 1120 and 1741, when the last of these grotesque trials took place in Poitou. The practice seems to have been based on the Mosaic law, it being there ordered that, “if an ox gore a man or a woman that they die, then the ox shall be stoned, and his flesh shall not be eaten.” (Exodus, c. xxi., v. 28.) Oxen and pigs were the animals that most frequently were the subjects of these strange proceedings, the indictment against the former being for goring persons, while the latter suffered for killing and sometimes devouring very young children.

The earliest instance of which any particulars can be gathered occurred in 1314, when, according to M. Carlier, who relates the story in his history of the Duchy of Valois, a bull escaped from a farm-yard in the village of Moisy, and gored a man so severely that death ensued. The Count of Valois, being informed of the fatility, directed that the bull should be captured, and formally prosecuted for causing the man’s death. This was done, and evidence was given by persons who had seen the man attacked and killed. The bull was thereupon sentenced to suffer death, which was inflicted by strangulation, after which the carcase was suspended from a tree by the hind legs. But the affair did not end thus, for the sentence was appealed against, probably by the owner of the bull, on the ground that the retainers of the Count of Valois had no legal authority to execute the sentence. This plea was debated at great length, and the provincial parliament eventually decided that, though the sentence was a just one, the Count of Valois had no justiciary authority in the district of Moisy.

Next in the order of time comes the trial at Falaise of a sow which had torn the face and arm of a child, from the effects of which injuries it died. The sow was condemned to be mutilated in the head and one fore leg, and afterwards to be strangled, which sentence was executed in the public square of the town. This was in 1386. Three years later, a horse was condemned to death at Dijon for having killed a man. In 1403, Simon de Baudemont, lieutenant of Meulan; Jean, lord of Maintenon; and the bailiff of Mantes and Meulan, signed an attestation of the expenses incurred in the prosecution and execution of a sow that had killed and partially eaten a child. The following is a copy of the document, to which it may be added that the story of the trial and execution may be found in the “Curiosités Judiciaires et Historiques du Moyen Age” of M. Aguel:—“Item, for expenses within the gaol, 6 sols. Item, to the executioner, who came from Paris to Meulan to put the sentence in execution, by command of our Lord the Bailiff and of the King’s Attorney, 54 sols. Item, for the carriage that conveyed her to execution, 6 sols. Item, for ropes to tie and haul her up, 2 sols, 8 deniers. Item, for gloves, 12 deniers; amounting in the whole to 69 sols, 8 deniers.” In connection with the first item of this curious document, it may be observed that, in a receipt delivered five years later by a notary of Pont de l’Arche to the gaoler of the prison of that town, the same amount is allowed for the daily food of a pig, imprisoned on the charge of killing a child, as for a man in the same prison. The last item, the gloves, is supposed by M. Aguel to be a customary allowance to the executioner.

In 1457, a sow and her six young pigs were tried at Lavegny, on the charge of having killed and partially eaten a child. The sow was convicted, and condemned to death; but the little ones were acquitted on the ground of their tender years or months, the bad example of their mother, and the absence of direct evidence of their having partaken of the unnatural feast. In 1494, sentence of death was pronounced on a pig by the Mayor of Laon for having mutilated and destroyed an infant in its cradle, full particulars of which case were given in the “Annuaire du Departement de l’Aisne” for 1812. The act of condemnation, as there given, concludes as follows:—“We, in detestation and horror of this crime, and in order to make an example and satisfy justice, have declared, judged, sentenced, pronounced, and appointed that the said hog, being detained a prisoner, and confined in the said abbey, shall be, by the executioner, strangled and hanged on a gibbet, near and adjoining the gallows in the jurisdiction of the said monks, being near their copyhold of Avin. In witness of which we have sealed this present with our seal.” This document was sealed with red wax, and endorsed:—“Sentence on a hog, executed by justice, brought into the copyhold of Clermont, and strangled on a gibbet at Avin.”

Three years later, a sow was condemned to be beaten to death for having mutilated the face of a child of the village of Charonne. The act of condemnation in this case directed further that the flesh of the sow should be given to the dogs of the village, and that the owner of the sow and his wife should make a pilgrimage to the Church of Our Lady at Pontoise, and bring on their return a certificate that this injunction had been duly complied with. In 1499, a bull was strangled for having killed a boy in the lordship of Cauroy, which belonged to the abbey of Beaufiré.

Lionnois gives, in his history of Nancy, a full report of the proceedings on the delivery of a condemned pig to the executioner of that city in 1572. He mentions, among other details, that the animal, secured by a cord, was led to a cross near the cemetery; that from the most remote period the justice of the lord, the abbot of Moyen Moutier, was accustomed to deliver to the provost, or marshal of St. Diez, near to this cross, all condemned criminals, that execution might ensue; and that, the said pig being a brute beast, the mayor and the justice held a conference at that place, and left the said pig tied with a cord, without prejudice to the judicial rights of the lord.

Judicial proceedings against the lower animals were not confined to France, for the list of such cases compiled by M. Berriat St. Prix, and published in the “Memoires de la Societé des Antiquaires” for 1829, mentions one tried at Lausanne in 1364, another at the same town in 1451, a third at Basle in 1474, another at Lausanne in 1479, and a fifth at the same place in 1554. Concerning the first of these Swiss trials, Ruchat states, in his history of the Protestant reformation in Switzerland, that the victim was a pig that had killed a child in the village of Chattens, situated among the Jorat hills. It was cited to appear in the Bishop’s Court at Lausanne, convicted of murder, and sentenced to death—the executioner being a pork butcher.

The Basle case was a very singular one. A farm-yard cock was tried on the absurd charge of having laid an egg. It was contended in support of the prosecution that eggs laid by cocks were of inestimable value for use in certain magical preparations; that a sorcerer would rather possess a cock’s egg than the philosopher’s stone; and that Satan employed witches to hatch such eggs, from which proceeded winged serpents most dangerous to mankind. On behalf of the gallinaceous prisoner, the facts of the case were admitted, but his advocate submitted that no evil animus had been proved against his client, and that no injury to man or beast had resulted. Besides, the laying of the egg was an involuntary act, and as such not punishable by law. If it was intended to impute the crime of sorcery to his client, he was entitled to an acquittal; for there was no instance on record of Satan having made a compact with one of the brute creation. In reply, the public prosecutor stated that, though the Evil One did not make compacts with brutes, he sometimes entered into them; and though the swine possessed by devils, as related by the Evangelists, were involuntary agents, yet they, nevertheless, were punished by being caused to run down a steep decline into the Lake of Galilee, where they were drowned. The poor cock was convicted, and condemned to death, not as a cock, however, but as a sorcerer, or perhaps a devil, in the form of a cock, on which finding it was, with the egg attributed to it, burned at a stake, with all the form and solemnity of a judicial execution.

As the lower animals were amenable to the law in Switzerland in those dark ages, so, in certain circumstances, they could be put into the witness box. If a house was broken into between sunset and sunrise, and the occupier killed the intruder, the act was regarded as justifiable homicide. But it was thought right to provide by law against the case of a man, living alone, who might invite a person whom he wished to kill to spend the evening with him, and having slain him, might assert that he committed the act in self-defence, or to protect his property, the dead man having been a burglar. Therefore, when a man was killed in such circumstances, the occupier of the house was required to produce some domestic animal that was an inmate of the house, and had witnessed the tragedy, and to declare his innocence on oath in the presence of such animal. If the brute witness did not contradict him, he was acquitted; the law taking it for granted that God, rather than allow a murderer to go unpunished, would intervene by causing a miraculous manifestation by the mouth of a dumb witness.

Even more strange than the trials of oxen, pigs, etc., for offences against mankind, were the legal proceedings often taken in the middle ages against noxious insects and the smaller quadrupeds, such as rats. The “Memoires de la Societé Royale Academique de Savoie” contain a very curious account of the proceedings instituted in 1445 and 1487 against certain beetles that had committed great ravages in the vineyards of St. Julien. Advocates were named on behalf of the vine-growers and the beetles respectively; but, by a singular coincidence, the insects disappeared when cited to answer for the mischief they had done, and the proceedings were in consequence abandoned. That was in 1445. In 1487, however, they re-appeared, and a complaint was thereupon addressed to the vicar-general of the Bishop of Maurienne, who named a judge, and also an advocate to represent the beetles. Counsel having been heard on both sides, the judge suggested that the vine-growers should cede to the defendants certain land, where they could live without encroaching on the vineyards. The plaintiffs agreed to this compromise, with the proviso that, in default of the defendants accepting the terms offered them, the judge would order that the vineyards should be respected by the beetles under certain penalties. The advocate for the beetles demanded time for consideration, and on the resumption of the proceedings stated that he could not accept, on behalf of his clients, the suggestion of the court, as the land proposed to be given up to them was barren, and afforded nothing upon which they could subsist. The court then appointed assessors to survey the land in question, and on their report that it was well wooded and provided with herbage, the conveyance was ordered to be engrossed in due form and executed. The matter was then regarded by the plaintiffs as settled; but the beetles discovered, or their advocate discovered for them, that a quarry of an ochreous earth, used as a pigment, had formerly been worked on the land conveyed to the insects, and though it had long since been worked out, some person possessed an ancient right of way to it, the exercise of which would be extremely prejudicial to them. Consequently, the agreement was held to be vitiated, and the legal proceedings had to be recommenced de novo. How they eventually terminated cannot be told, owing to the mutilation of the documents relating to the proceedings subsequent to 1487.

Nearly a century later, legal proceedings were commenced by the inhabitants of a village in the diocese of Autun against the rats by which their houses and barns were infested; the trial being famous in the annals of French jurisprudence as that in which Chassanee, the celebrated jurisconsult, first achieved distinction. The rats not appearing on the first citation, Chassanee, who was retained for the defence, argued that the summons was of too local a character, and that, as all the rats in the diocese of Autun were interested in the case, they should be summoned throughout the diocese. This plea being admitted, the curé of every parish in the diocese was instructed to summon all the rats within its limits to attend on a day named in the summons. The day having arrived, and the rats failing to appear, Chassanee said that, as all his clients were summoned, including old and young, sick and healthy, great preparations had to be made, and certain necessary arrangements effected, and he had to ask, therefore, for an extension of time. This also being granted, another day was appointed, but again not a single rat put in an appearance.

Chassanee then made an objection to the legality of the summons. A summons from that court, he said, implied full protection to the parties summoned, both on their way to it and on their return to their homes; and his clients, the rats, though most anxious to appear in obedience to the court, did not dare to leave their homes to come to Autun, on account of the number of evil-disposed cats kept by the plaintiffs. If the latter would enter into bonds, under heavy pecuniary penalties, that their cats should not molest his clients, the summons would be immediately obeyed. The court acknowledged the validity of this plea, but the plaintiffs declined to be bound for the good behaviour of their cats. The further hearing of the case was, therefore, adjourned sine die, and thus Chassanee gained his cause. Full particulars of the proceedings are given in a Latin work, written by him, and published in 1588.



Exit Strategies for Businesses

Many investors are only interested in investing money into an enterprise for a limited amount of time. They want to know when they will get their money back and what sort of return they will be receiving at that time. Both issues are closely linked. Therefore, when preparing your business plan, to pitch to potential investors, you will need to make sure that you have outlined your long term plans and a sound <b>exit strategy</b>.

In order to do this properly you will have to ask yourself a few questions about your own personal plans regarding the business. Do you wish to stay involved in this business in the long run, or are you more interested in getting it off the ground and letting someone else take over then? These are the kinds of questions you should deal with in your exit strategy.

You will also want to know a little about the <b>investors</b> you are pitching to and what their expectations are regarding the future of the investment:

<ul><li>If you are dealing with <b>venture capitalists</b> you have to be aware that they are looking for a <b>high return</b>. They will generally be expecting the business to go public at the end of the period or make some other high profit move. The period they are willing to invest is about three to seven years so you will need some sort of high return exit strategy at the end of that period. However, you should not opt for going public unless you are confident that it is a realistic goal for your company. Public offerings are very rare for small businesses and the investors you are speaking to will be all too aware of that fact.</li><li>If you are considering an <b>angel investor</b> then again they will be looking for a high return but will not be overly concerned with the type of exit strategy under consideration, as long as it seems sound. They will be less sophisticated than the venture capitalists or institutional investors you may deal with and are more likely to be involved because of a <b>personal relationship</b> to you or the business.</li></ul>

There are a number of exit strategies you can consider:

<ul><li>The most basic exit strategy would be to simply <b>bleed the business dry</b>. This can be done by giving yourself a huge salary or other remuneration, regardless of the performance of the business. While it is not appropriate in most cases, there is no doubt that it can get a lot of your investment back out of the company in a short time.</li><li>Another simple option is <b>liquidation</b>. Simply close the doors and wait for the company to be wound up. All debts will be paid off, and then whatever is left over will be clear to the shareholders.</li></ul>

While these two options above are quite practical and effective, they are professionally frowned upon and you may wish to propose a more sophisticated exit strategy if you wish to impress potential investors.

<ul><li>Another option could be <b>selling to a friendly buyer</b>. While you may have come to the end of your relationship with the business, there may be many people who would be saddened to see it end and may well be willing to step in to take over. This might include passing it on to another member of the family, or selling it to employees or customers. There are many businesses where this will be a realistic option, however it is difficult to predict it at the beginning of the venture.</li><li>Another option is <b>acquisition</b>. This is when a rival firm, usually one wishing to expand, agrees to buy you out. You can negotiate the price and terms with the buyer and there is a good chance that both of you can come up with a very <b>attractive price</b>. You will get a good price because together with your assets, the buyer will be willing to pay for good will, market share, client contacts etc. This means you can get a very good price for the business.</li><li>The <b>IPOs</b> that we previously talked about are the final option. These are potentially the most lucrative of all, but when reality kicks in, they might not seem like the dream you thought they were. In reality, a minuscule percent of companies manage to make it through an IPO. The process costs millions, includes lawyers, analysts, publicity agents and a lot of other costly professionals. The odds are against you ever making it. And if you do, you will probably be left with only a fraction share of the company you used to own.</li></ul>

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Find the Right Clients

Computer consulting business owners need to latch on to the right clients in order to get their computer consulting business profitable. Make sure you are not running a charitable computer consulting business.

If you really want to make a decent living and want to have a good, successful, viable computer consulting business, sooner or later you have to narrow down your focus and develop a keen intuition. Additionally, you have to become good at spotting the best small businesses accounts.

The Small Business Myriad

There are millions of small businesses in the U.S. and there are millions of small businesses abroad. There’s a pretty good chance that there are thousands, if not tens of thousands, of companies that would qualify as small businesses in your local area.

The sad fact is, if you latch onto the wrong ones, you’re not going to have a very good computer consulting business.

Finding the Best Accounts

You need to know where to find these best accounts. In the computer consulting business you also need to know how to say “no,” and when to say “no.”

It’s extremely important that you know where to look, and how to verify that a small business is going to be a gratifying client for your computer consulting business.

You obviously want to feel a certain sense of career satisfaction. That’s probably one of the reasons you’re looking at starting your own computer consulting business as opposed to sticking with a traditional corporate IT career.

Keep the Financial Aspects in Mind

Your computer consulting business also has to be lucrative financially because you need to have a profitable business. You want it to be a stable source of recurring revenue.

Remember, all small businesses are not created equal. Your job is not to be the Mother Teresa of PC support. You are not starting a computer consulting business as a charitable organization.

The Bottom Line about the Computer Consulting Business

Of course, you want to have empathy for the people you support and you want to do a great job for them. At the same time, you have to look out for your own interests to make sure you’re going to be there for them six months to a year down the road.

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Computer Consulting: 3 Questions To Ask Your Clients

From a customer service perspective, you can ask your computer consulting clients three questions that will explode the growth of your company.

Question Number One:

ìHow Can We Improve the Level of Service That We Provide Your Company?î

Ask your computer consulting clients this question on a regular basis; at least a couple times a year. You will be amazed at the type of suggestions they give you.

They will tell you some things youíll be able to implement without charging them another nickel or penny more because theyíre simple no-brainer kind of things. For example, ìCould you send us an email reminder the day before youíre coming in?î Obviously you donít have to charge for something like that.

Some of the others may say, ìIt would be great if you could guarantee this kind of response timeî or ìIt would be great if you could also take over finding someone who can help us with our PBXs.î

Youíre going to get some ideas, some of which are going to make sense for you, some won’t. Some of them may require a little more legwork and some of them may be great opportunities for additional revenue.

Question Number Two:

ìIs There Anything Else IT-related That Your Company Needs Help With?î

Question Number Three:

ìDo You Know Anyone Else Such as Business Associates, Friends, Family Members in the Greater Area That Could Use Some Help With Their Computer-related Problems?î

Help Your Computer Consulting Clients Help You

Spend a minute or two to tell your computer consulting clients what they should look out for. If they happen to be on the phone with a vendor or supplier or family member and theyíre complaining and moaning that everythingís running slowly or that the LANís down again or emailís not working or the server crashed.

Get your computer consulting clients trained to listen for those clues and let you know that thereís an opportunity out there. If theyíre a long-term client of yours and theyíre happy with you, they should be more than happy to recommend you. All you need to do is ask and train them to be looking for these clues.

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