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Coffee Talk Expert

About our Late Guest Expert: Kent Capener of Capener Consulting

After Kent's recent sudden death, we'll honor him by letting his biz advice "live on" here at Idea Cafe to continue to help people after his death.

Kent jokingly called himself 'the business curmudgeon' and was known for his salty, straightforward advice, which he dished out with frankness, generosity and humor here at Idea Cafe for nearly a decade.

In 1998, Kent had decided to beat "burn out" in more ways than one. First, he decided to hang up the vice-president hat he'd been wearing for the past seven years for a private label food company. Then he decided to treat his father to a long-overdue trip to the Last Frontier, Alaska! After 10,000 glorious miles of wanderlust, wilderness, and the best fishing on earth, he returned home to start his own consulting biz. It seemed the natural thing for him to do. Then, he focused his talents on helping his clients, while enjoying the freedom to be with family and manage his own workload.

Having been both in corporate America and in small businesses, Kent knew what it takes to make a business boom. He brought an arsenal of experience to his clients and to the Idea Cafe small business community. Kent had been owner or co-owner of several companies, including those involved in music, marketing, and sports travel. His clients are from a broad spectrum of industries, including automation, real estate, food and beverage, lodging, transportation, medical support, and many more. He also had expertise and experience in producing TV talk shows focusing on current political issues.

His interest in politics and philosophy went back to his college days. He credited his college education on these subjects as the basis for his business career. It helped him to learn how to think, how to project the other side's point of view, and how to resolve issues. He took these skills, and his well-seasoned biz background, to head up Capener Consulting.

Kent Answered These and Many More Questions to Help Small Business Owners:

“I intend to start a professional garden for weddings and special events....The main problem that I'm experiencing is trying to complete the business plan. I'm not sure how to factor in construction costs and materials. The land for the garden still needs to be bought, so I'm not able to offer the contractors specifics on what I will be needing from them."

What's the best way to find out if the business you're thinking about starting (Coffee Bar) will work in the area you live in, demographic-wise?

We have an inline skate business and we have to cater to so many categories -- beginners, children, aggressive skaters, hockey, fitness. How do we target in? How do I find out what my customers really want?

My husband and I are thinking of starting a consulting service. We're just not sure how to go about starting. Can anyone give us any ideas or suggestions?

I've been self-employeed for nearly four years now. Up and down and up and down and up and.... (you get the picture)! When does all this uncertainty and feast and famine finally level out? Bill

I'm investigating opening a bar in my hometown....and I'm having a lot of trouble finding information on costs like shop and bar fittings, licensing, stock...Any suggestions?

How can I make any sort of biz plan [for my wedding accessories biz] without vital info from suppliers on how much items will cost me and how much I can charge my customers? Any suggestions?

I'm a marketing major working on a project for a local record store, and I'd appreciate some advice or ideas.

I'd like to start an online rental business where customers can rent items... My target would be those who would need such items but do not have the funds to pay for it in full... So what do you guys think? Is this a great idea or what?

What exactly is a business plan?... Can you break it down in simple terms for a beginner like me?

Is it always advisable to document an exit strategy in a business plan for a start-up? What are other possible exit strategies for a start-up and under what circumstances is it appropriate to document them in a business plan?

I'll soon be starting a business with my partner. We want to have a national corporation ... Can this still be a corporation? Is it a small business? A partnership? How do you become a corporation? What's the difference between an S-corporation and a C-corporation?

I'd like to develop a strong referral base.... I'm an independent paralegal.... What do people want so I can get referrals, should I be sending them printed ink pens or what?

I live in a college town of about 80k and it seems like there's no end to the trendy stores that last 6 months and die. How can I capitalize on the large student population, yet not exclude the non-student population? Ideas are: Restaurant/Night Club.

What is included in a feasibility study?

I've read a lot of info on business plans...The one thing I'm not sure how to do is projecting the sales and profits of a self-service-oriented business idea I have.

I'm thinking of opening my own business, but am not sure if I should franchise or start up my own business. I'm looking into like Mail Box, etc. kind of business in my local area. Any suggestions...?

My question involves startup capital. We have managed to raise a portion of this through our personal savings, family and friends. This leaves us short of our needed amount. We are considering angel investors or a bank loan through the SBA. Does anyone know what collateral/guarantees SBA loans require?

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