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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How Have We Strayed So Far?

The Judge rocks.  How could we have strayed so far from the Constitution?

If the Occupy Wall Street protests had stayed along these lines, they'd have had me out there with them. [Heads up: a little rough language]

I heard a quote from Colon Powell that turned my stomach. I guess this is what happens when warriors become politicians. It was along the lines of, "America was founded on compromise".

Really? Thumbing through my old, tattered American history book, I see that compromise didn't work. Our country was founded by the exact opposite of compromise - it was founded by war. Our founders took up arms because they wouldn't compromise their principles.

But that doesn't fit the current political climate, so you just change the facts to suit your ends.  Bastard.


Did you hear about the kid that the state of Ohio stole from his mom because she was teaching him a religion that was against state guidelines?  Yeah, they said that their guidelines require that any religion that teaches that individuals are in charge of their own body, that questioning authority is the ultimate sign of personal power, and that the ownership of property is the only true measure of freedom will result in a child with a warped outlook on life. For the safety and future well-being of the child, they had to act.  They had given the mother all kinds of time to change how she was raising the child, but to no avail.  He's now much better off as a ward of the state.

Oh, wait, my bad, they actually snatched up the kid because he was too fat [link], at least in the opinion of the state.  They piled on fat docs from the federal government and hoity-toity expert groups, and tore the kid away from his family.  He MAY have come down with diabetes.  Weight loss MIGHT help his sleep apnea.  Foster care MIGHT fix the problem.

As the HuffPo regurgitation of the AP article notes,
Roughly 2 million U.S. children are extremely obese – weighing significantly more than what's considered healthy.
So, 2 million families need to be looking over their shoulder waiting for the CPS workers with the big dog-catcher nets to pounce on their kids?

I was going to say that if they had tried that at my house, there would have been gunfire.  As I read the various articles and watched various videos, my guess is that this family was on the government dole, at least in part.  You take our money, you follow our rules.

Never mind.  Like the mother in the story, you're too stupid to understand what's best for you and your family.  The judgement of a bureaucrat is always superior to that of the individual, right?

And just because this lifts my spirits (no pun intended) when I get overloaded with this mess of a Nation.

Crank it....

Copyright 2011 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Why You Need To Care About The EU

What seems like a million years ago - 2008 - I was an Executive Vice President for a small community bank in the SF Bay Area.  We were NOT on the Too Big To Fail list!

Our investment policy stated that we'd only buy investment securities from AAA rated companies, or from the Federal Government.  If there was an investment we wanted to put money into that didn't meet those criteria, we would buy insurance to protect us.

This insurance was called a Credit Default Swap (CDS).  We'd do research on the strength of the company issuing the CDSs to make sure that if our investment went bad, the "insurance company" had the financial strength to meet its obligations.

Something that is important to understand is that the companies that issue these CDSs have no interest or control in the securities they're insuring.  They simply create these policies out of thin air.  They are part of the greater derivatives market (a newly created financial instrument that is derived from another one).

They do research on the underlying securities (say, Mortgage Backed Securities) to determine the likelihood of there being a default on the security (like, for instance, if the people making the payments on the mortgages stop making payments).  If enough of the payment stream is disrupted, the insurance company must pay up.

Similarly, when companies issue bonds, these are essentially loans.  You give the company X dollars, and they give you a stream of payments to pay down the loan.  If the company goes teats-up, the stockholders take the first hit.  They're wiped out.  The bond holders are (usually) secured creditors.  The assets of the company are sold, and the bond holders get some of their money back.

If the bond holder doesn't get back all of his investment PLUS interest, AND he bought a CDS, the CDS issuers make up the difference.

So how does this relate to the European Union (EU)?  The short answer is, European countries and banks have issued a ton of bonds.  US banks have issued a ton of CDSs on those bonds.  If the Euro countries and banks crash, our biggest banks crash with them.

How can that be?  Surely, like a real insurance company, the banks that issued the CDSs held cash or other assets in reserve to cover losses, right?

Uhm, not so much -
Goldman Sachs and US banks have guaranteed perhaps one trillion dollars or more of European sovereign debt [Euro "treasuries" - .ed] by selling swaps or insurance against which they have not reserved. The fees the US banks received for guaranteeing the values of European sovereign debt instruments simply went into profits and executive bonuses. This, of course, is what ruined the American insurance giant, AIG, leading to the TARP bailout at US taxpayer expense and Goldman Sachs’ enormous profits.
So, if other EU countries follow the path of Greece, how are they going to fix this?  There are a couple of options, all of which are going to cost you.

The first option would be to let the EU and their banks crash, and for the US to simply back-stop our own banks.  TARP Part Two (or it is Part Three?).  Not very likely.

Another option would be for more pass-through funding like we did with the original TARP (the US gave money to US banks, who in turn laundered it and gave it to their EU counterparts).  Again, not too likely, as people in the financial press - puppets that they are - might actually ask the question about whether we're going to spend US tax dollars in EU banks, and the answer would be politically devastating.

The third option would be to use a third-party bag man to deliver the cash.  Oh, like maybe the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  We'll dump buckets-o-fiat-currency into the IMF, and they'll pass it off to the EU countries that are gasping for breath.

Along the same lines, the Federal Reserve may open up a big-assed line of credit for the European Central Bank (ECB) to keep things afloat.  Same thing as the IMF route, just using a different bag man.

Since we're not currently flush with excess cash to pay for all of this, Uncle Ben Bernanke will flip on his laptop, and just create the needed funds.  Expect lots of commas and zeroes in the number.

Also expect a further decline in the purchasing power of those green-backs you have in your wallet.

In totally unrelated news (snicker) sovereign nations went on a buying binge last quarter.  What were they buying?  It was that stuff Uncle Ben says isn't money.  Gold.
Total central-bank gold purchases in the third quarter more than doubled from the second quarter and were almost seven times higher than a year earlier as countries continued to diversify reserves, according to a World Gold Council report.

At 148.4 metric tons, gold buying among central banks was at the highest since the sector became a net buyer of the precious metal in the second quarter of 2009, according to the quarterly report.
Double the previous quarter, and seven-times the amount from the same quarter of a year ago.  There sure are a lot of stupid countries out there, huh?

Hell, even dictators are falling for it -
Amid wild celebrations, a first shipment of gold bars arrived home in Venezuela on Friday after President Hugo Chavez ordered almost all the country's foreign bullion reserves be repatriated from Western banks.

Excited crowds lined the roadside waving big Venezuelan flags and chanting "It's returned! It's returned!" as a convoy of soldiers and armored cars carried the ingots from Maiquetia airport to the central bank in Caracas.

Experts had cautioned that the operation, which will eventually transport more than 160 tonnes of gold bars worth more than $11 billion to the South American country, would be risky, slow and expensive.
So, good old Hugo doesn't trust the central banks to actually have his country's gold on-hand, so he wants it in his own greasy little paws.

Silly, silly boy.  Uncle Ben and all of the other "experts" are just laughing their asses off at all of these fools clamoring for physical gold.  Yuck, yuck, yuck...

Hey, brother... can ya spare a Kruggerand?

Copyright 2011 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Deflation, Depression and Deception

If you've been watching the PM market over the past few days, you'll have seen that it's been a wild ride.  On Thursday of last week, gold dropped $50 an ounce.  Up $5 on Friday.  Down another $50 on Monday, and up $20 today (at this time).  Net:  Roughly a $75 drop since late last week.  Ouch.

With yesterday's drop, I wanted to find out what the hell might be causing this.  Most of the "expert articles" I read really didn't say anything.  Most were technical chart driven BS.

But one article caught my eye:  "Gold prices slaughtered as deflationary fears reign" [link].

I'm thinking, "Holy crap - we all know that deflation precedes depression, so here it finally comes".

The theory kind of goes like this:  Demand is so low that producers have to sell the products they've got stacked up in their warehouses - at almost any price.  Prices in general plummet as other businesses drop their prices to keep pace with their competitors.  Income at the producer companies also plummets, and they can't keep their doors open.

This is repeated all over the economy.  Because all of these companies are out of business, unemployment soars, causing the economy to further sour, as with fewer workers, there are fewer dollars being spent, and it turns into this horrible self-perpetuating mess that we call a "depression".

How does this affect the price of Precious Metals?  If you think prices are going to drop, you want to get out of commodities, and into cash.  Those dollars you hold now will be able to buy more commodities-per-dollar in the future.

As I noted earlier, all depressions have been preceded by deflation.

Uhm, well, not so much.  In fact, it looks like there may be little to no correlation between the two.  A couple of economists went back at least 100 years and studied the data from 16 countries (including the US) regarding deflation and depression.  They used actual raw data, not the sanitized "seasonally adjusted" crap we get fed.

One period they studied was the Great Depression.  From the Ludwig von Mises Institute [link] -
In other words, a one-percentage point reduction in inflation is associated with a .40 percentage point decline in real output growth during the Great Depression, although even during this episode the probability that there is no relationship between deflation and depression (the level of significance) exceeds 10 percent. In the jargon of statistical inference this means that the relationship between deflation and depression is not "statistically significant. (emphasis added)"
Whoa.  So it's actually more likely that deflation is an indication that a depression is NOT coming?  This hurts my head 'cause my brains are all scrambled.

Why oh why isn't this study - published in 2004 - more widely discussed?  If it's crap, get a couple of eggheads out there battling to the death.  Disprove the study and move on.

But what if it's true?  What would it mean if deflation wasn't this big-assed Boogie Man that would plunge us into another depression?

For one thing, it would mean that the "justification" the Federal Reserve Bank gives for pumping money into the economy to combat deflation would be baseless.  In fact, it would actually be harmful.

And, holy crap, one of the authors of the study actually WORKS FOR THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK!!  Well, he did at the time he co-authored the study.  I'm guessing that he might be bedding with Jimmy Hoffa right about now...

Accept The Challenge

The long and short of it is that deflation happens, but economies don't crater via this Domino Effect collapse.  History has proven that companies take their lumps, adjust their pricing and costs, and Git 'er done.  The strong companies survive, and the bad companies perish.... just like it's supposed to happen.

But back to PMs - if deflation is happening, should you get out of PMs and into cash?  I guess that depends on your economic outlook horizon.

If you're a Day Trader - speculating on what is going to happen over the near-term - you're going to have to break out your Ouiji board to get your answers.  I've got no clue if some sheikh in some sand country is going to fart in the face of some other sheikh, causing commodity markets to soar or crash.

I personally try to look out 3 to 5 years for the big picture trend.  I see a US government that conned the public into a "deal" whereby the debt limit was increased by $2 trillion in exchange for $1.2 trillion in cuts over 10 years.  That debt limit will be reached in under 12 months or so, and the cuts will likely never happen - Congress-critters are already talking about how to side-step the "mandate".

Nothing is going to change in this time frame.  We'll continue to spend more than we take in.  We'll either raise taxes, print more money, or both.  Probably both.

In theory, if the Eurozone craters, the euro dies, and the dollar soars - punishing commodity holders.  In reality, we'll be the Bail Out-er of Last Resort.  Our banks are tightly intertwined with their banks.  If they fail, ours fail, and Uncle Ben Bernanke will not let that happen.

Again, we'll print more money, debasing the dollar, pushing up the price of commodities.

Physical possession of commodities will be the only way to maintain your asset base.  I've only got so much room for beans and bullets, so PMs are my answer.

We'll continue to have these up and down blips on commodity prices.  When that sheikh gets gassy, we'll get a temporary rise or drop, but the overall trend will be upwards.

Now, go do YOUR homework to support or disprove these beliefs, the ACT accordingly.

Copyright 2011 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sweet Deal

I've got a long-time customer in our bullion shop - he's a silver buyer - that came in 2 months ago.  He had a box full of local, organic honey.  It seems that he's a beekeeper on the side, and wanted to know if anyone wanted to buy a pound or two.

It was a bit pricey - $7 a pound - but he ended up selling 8 pounds or so to me and some of my employees.  I mentioned that I usually buy my honey in bulk - twenty or thirty pounds at a time for my prep storage, or for when I make up a batch of mead (honey wine).

Fast forward to last week:  He pops in again and say he has a bunch of honey he can't sell in his regular 1- and 2-pound bottles, as it's not "commercially presentable".  It was crystallizing and appeared cloudy.  I know that all honey will eventually crystallize and simply heating it up brings it to the rich honey "look" once again.

He wanted to know if I'd like to buy some of this honey in bulk.  How much?  5 gallons at a pop - that's 60 pounds!  We did some negotiating, and we agreed on a price of $3.50 a pound ($210 total), plus he had to break it down into half gallon lots - 6 pounds each.

He then springs this on me:  Hey, you want to "trade" for silver?  Not "yes" but "HELL YES"!  He is currently acquiring Morgan silver dollars.  These are coins that were minted from 1878 to 1921 (with a big gap from 1904 to 1921), and they have 0.77 ounces of pure silver in each.

After some hemming and hawing, we agreed on a number:  8.  I got 60 pounds of raw, organic honey for eight bucks!  Now of course, the value of those eight dollars was considerably higher than eight pieces of green paper, or copper-clad quarters, dimes, halves or modern dollars.

Happy buyer, happy seller.

After we cut our deal, he brought up my mead making activities.  If he provided the honey, would I brew up a batch for him.  I told him that whatever I made, I'd keep half for my time and trouble, plus I'd purchase the proper yeast and provide the equipment.

Deal.  On Wednesday, he dropped off another 27 pounds of honey.  Fifteen pounds will be used for a sweet mead - actually a fruit mead (called a melomel), and twelve pounds will be used for a dry mead.  That will be a total of 10 gallons of mead - which takes a year to make and mellow.

To hold him over, I gave him two pints of my current stock - a Raspberry Melomel and an Orange Melomel.

Drink slowly, my friend.....

Different subject:  Regular commenter Joseph provided a link in a comment to the last post that I wanted to make sure everyone got a chance to see.  This site has a number of videos regarding the Credit Crisis.  Those that I've had a chance to view are very good.  They give a down-to-earth explanation of a number of complex subject.

Take a look here [link].

If you scroll up and down on the page, they've got videos on everything under the sun.  Seriously, a TON of information on everything from banking to art history.  Impressive collection of knowledge.

Copyright 2011 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Are You This In Debt?

Crazy week.

From an article [link] sent my way from one of my brothers -
"Prior to the bursting of the credit bubble, the public was shocked to learn that our biggest investment banks were levered 30-to-1. When asset values fell, those banks were quickly wiped out. But now the Fed is holding many of the same types of assets and is levered 51-to-1! If the value of their portfolio were to fall by just 2%, the Fed itself would be wiped out."
And a friend of mine wanted to know why I was STILL buying gold and silver... LOL!

It's a short, very good article, covering derivatives and other "monopoly money" schemes - including Uncle Ben Bernanke's Quantitative Easing (sounds so mellow, no?).

Gotta go dig some more holes in the backyard...

Copyright 2011 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mens Rea and Other Bygone Concepts

At my gun class on Saturday, I was relating a story from my youth.  We were talking about California gun laws, and how they've been decimated by the state and local legislatures.

I was discussing how in the mid-1960's I remember going to this huge field in Concord, CA - later to be the site for Sun Valley Mall - with my grandfather.  He'd bring one of his dogs to run around and chase rabbits.  He always brought a little .22 rifle, and would take a shot or two at them if they were within range.

No big deal.

Fast forward:  I then told my students about a guy in Fairfield, CA - right around the corner from where I teach my classes - who got pulled over for having a shotgun in a rack in the back window of his truck.  He was arrested for some insane law - something to the effect of Inciting Panic.  Seriously.

Unloaded shotgun, in full compliance with California law, and he gets arrested because some pissant soiled himself.

You get arrested even when you follow the law.

There is a concept in American law called, Mens Rea - it's Latin for "guilty mind".  In short, it means you have to have criminal intent to be found guilty of a crime.

For instance, if you're driving down the road, someone runs in front of your car and you kill them, you're not guilty of murder.  You had no intention of killing them - a tragic set of circumstances came together and someone died.

Mens rea has a counterpart. Ignorantia juris non excusat. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.  The idea here is if the state held someone to account for breaking a law, all the person would have to say is, "Wow, I didn't know that law existed," and they'd get off with no punishment.

I think most people have historically been pretty OK with these two apparently competing legal precepts.  Through a number of ways, we are taught what is right and what is wrong.  As a kid, you're taught not to kill, not to beat someone up unless you're defending yourself ("You throw the first punch, and I'll throw the last"), not to steal or destroy the property of others.

As you grow older, you learn the concepts of sexual propriety and limits, you take lessons to learn how to drive and the accompanying laws.  By the time you're a legal adult, you're pretty well aware of the legal limits generally agreed upon by society.

The problem, now, is reasonableness.  The phrase, "Zero Tolerance" has crept into our lexicon.  It is rapidly upsetting the balance between mens rea and ignorantia juris non excusat.  We are replacing the context of an event with a rule book.

Many of our laws have mandatory minimum sentences. Break a rule, go to jail, buh bye.

As if that weren't enough, the proliferation of laws makes it virtually impossible to know what's legal and what's going to land you in prison.

From the Heritage Foundation -
  • Explosion of Federal Criminal Law: The number of criminal offenses in the U.S. Code increased from 3,000 in the early 1980s to 4,000 by 2000 to over 4,450 by 2008 [The Constitution lists 3 federal crimes for individuals:  treason, piracy and counterfeiting -.ed].
  • Criminalization by Bureaucrat: Scores of federal departments and agencies have created so many criminal offenses that the Congressional Research Service itself admitted that it was unable to even count all of the offenses. The service’s best estimate? “Tens of thousands.” In short, Congress’s own experts do not have a clear understanding of the size and scope of federal criminalization.
In a Nanny state like California, hundreds of new laws are passed each and every year.  It is not unlikely that an individual could be aware of every law - it is impossible.

One of my favorite, go-to quotes -
"Did you really think we want those laws observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them to be broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against... We're after power and we mean it... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Reardon, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with."

--Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
[Isn't it amazing how spot-on Rand, Orwell and Huxley were in their writings?]

Accept The Challenge

We have the Patriot Act which allows the government to treat all citizens as though they are terrorists.  You are presumed guilty until proven innocent.

Same goes for DUI checkpoints.  Find yourself on the wrong road at the wrong time, and you'll be thrown in jail if you don't submit to an unconstitutional search.

Privacy laws - between you and the government - are virtually non-existent.  If you want privacy in your personal matters, you are assumed to be a criminal, because only criminals would want to hide something from Nanny.

We have RICO laws - originally designed to apprehend organized crime syndicates - applied to common citizens.... along with their convenient asset forfeiture laws.

We have insane "preservation" laws that charge fathers and sons with felonies [link] for looking for arrowheads.  Not taking any, just looking for them.  If they had been found guilty of the felonies (they pleaded down to "just" a misdemeanor), they would have lost a number of rights, including voting and firearms possession.  Mens rea is specifically excluded from the law - no criminal intent needed.

Gun laws?  ADA laws?  Food laws?  Don't even get me started.  We've all seen the videos of the "brave and heroic" USDA cops storming the businesses of raw milk purveyors.  We've read the stories of cities prohibiting personal gardens and chickens.

So, what to do?  You break the law.

You keep your head down - stay off the ridgeline - and you take your chances.  What else can you do?  It is impossible to know all of the laws.  If you want any semblance of freedom, you live by your own code of ethics and morality.

You can work to get politicians in place that think as you do, but for the big picture, it's a lost cause.  Stop waiting around, twiddling your thumbs waiting for sanity to return.  Live your life as you see fit.  Assume punitive actions by the state, so keep your forfeit-able assets widely disbursed.

At some time in the future, I think people will turn on our keepers.  I don't think it will be in my (expected) lifetime.  Too many sheeple who have forgotten (or have never known) what it was like to not have the government pre-approve your every move.

I hope I'm wrong.  I hope I get to see it.  And to participate.

Copyright 2011 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mind Your Own Business

Thirteen months ago, we opened our precious metals store.  We've been blessed in a number of ways, and have made a pretty good go of it so far.

A month after we opened, literally right next door to us (we share a common wall), a mailbox franchise opened.  They shut their doors Saturday night.

Same town.  Same location.  Same economy.

Totally different results.  Why the big difference?

I think part of it had to do with homework.  We put a great deal of time into researching the market and our competition.  I can't believe they did the same.

For instance, the space we took over and renovated was previously used by a .... mailbox franchise!  The space had been empty for 2 years before we took it over.  While we were doing our build-out, the new mailbox franchisee came by -before he had signed his lease - and we fairly screamed at him to not open his store, at least not in this location.

He didn't listen, and he dumped he and his wife's life savings into the shop.  Poof!  All gone...  It was horrible watching them move everything out.

So, what makes a successful business?  At the core, you must have a product or service that is wanted or needed in your market.  I know that sounds simplistic, but you've got to know your market.  The suntan lotion market is limited in Alaska when compared to Florida.

If you want to increase your odds of success, see if you can find a business that sells one of two things:  Money or vice - the two things for which there always seems to be a market. 

And there are plenty of options for a small business owner to make a couple of bucks selling either of them.

Money - check cashing, payday loans, pawn shops, bullion shops, "Cash for gold" shops.

Vice - smoke shops, liquor stores, and bars on the legal side.  The vice side also has the illegal side - pot and other drug sales, moonshiners, prostitution.  Somewhere in the middle of the road would be porn.

Obviously, the vice options will have a lot to do with your moral outlook on life.  I'm a die-hard libertarian - do whatever you'd like as long as you're not infringing on the rights of another, and everyone involved is a consenting adult - but I'd never get involved in the sex trade.  It's a personal line I won't cross.

That being said, Vice Sells.  Always has, always will.

Some other things to consider - 

Not seasonal - boom or bust seasons can be rough.  If this is going to be a second income stream, having a psycho month or quarter can put a strain on your regular job.

Consumable - if they don't have to come back for more, what you're selling had better have one hell of a profit margin with that first sale.  Gaining customers is expensive.  Leverage that investment as many times as you can.

Along those same lines, it can be something that is "hoardable" so people keep coming back even if they haven't fully consumed their previous purchase - like PMs, ammo, long-term food storage, alcohol.

With the firearms training, I "graduate" them to additional, successively advanced classes.

Unique or value-added - you could sell milk (not seasonal, consumable) but it is VERY readily available.  Too much competition.  In our precious metals shop, we sell an easily obtainable commodity - gold and silver.  You can get what we sell less expensively online.  We add value by providing immediate delivery, education, and annonymity.  The latter two are a big edge over online bullion sellers.

We also are fortunate that our primary competitor in town is an ass.  Seriously, he'd been the only game in town for so long, he forgot how to treat people.  Don't expect that kind of gift if you open a business, but take advantage of it if it's given to you.

Good profit margins -  You either want products you sell a ton of that have slim margins, or if it's few sales, you need big spreads.  The mailbox guy has slim margins, and slim sales.  Not the right combination...

Be laser focused - You need to obsess with success.  Half-assed effort usually ends up with half-assed results.  You have to know in your heart you're going to succeed. 

I don't know if you've heard of the book, "Think and Grow Rich", but I read it a million years ago.  There's a deal in it where you write down specifically how much money you're going to make, when you're going to have that money, and how you're going to earn it.  You then say your little "mantra" - out loud - a couple times a day.

Get the book, give it a try.  Seriously.  It focus' your mind on your goal.

Be nimble - Things change.  Just ask the old buggy whip industry.  When I started Bison, its primary focus was in doing risk management consluting to small businesses.  Securing data streams/storage, market change dynamics (crystal ballin'), emergency prepearedness. 


That morphed into business disaster recovery.  Nada, zip, zero.  That morphed into personal preps and armed self-defense.  Ding!  Ding!  Ding!  We have a winner!  It's now a reliable, supplimental stream of income.

You MUST adapt as things change.  Markets, micro/macro economies, government intrusions, personal tastes.  With the PM store, this surge to PMs will subside at some time.  I believe that either the economy will strengthen, or the goverment will make it more difficult to purchase and sell precious metals as a hedge against their policies.  I think the latter will happen first, so we're noodling through ways to adapt and to help our customers be successful.

Go forth and succeed!
Copyright 2011 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.