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Business Plan

February 14, 2013 | By Jon Healey
One key to launching a successful business is finding the right problem to solve. That's why so many entrepreneurs are inspired by problems they encounter themselves or that stymie their family and friends. The trick is not confusing an anecdote for a trend. For example, consider Ramin Bastani, founder and chief executive officer of Los Angeles-based . The company's website is designed to help people deal with one of life's great mysteries: namely, is it safe to have sex with someone I just met in a bar?
December 6, 2012 | By Tiffany Hsu
The job outlook at America's small businesses is the worst it's ever been, according to new research. Last month, 21% of small business owners said they expected to lower head count over the next six months - the highest percentage recorded by the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index since its launch in 2003. In July, the last time the data was compiled, just 10% of bosses said they planned to shrink employee ranks. More than six in 10 owners said they would keep their workforce steady, while 17% said they intended to boost hiring.
November 18, 2012 | By Shan Li, Los Angeles Times
The gig: Rick Wetzel and Bill Phelps are the chieftains of pretzel empire Wetzel's Pretzels. As co-founders of the Pasadena chain, the pair oversee a company with 263 franchises worldwide, 3,000 employees and $107 million in annual sales. There's also 12 company-owned stores that employ 150 people. Origin story: In 1994, the two were working in marketing at Nestle USA. On a business trip to Seattle, the colleagues, who weren't friends at the time, started kicking around the idea of pretzels as a new snack-food business.
November 1, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch
Ford Motor Corp. has named Mark Fields, the chief of its North American business, as the automaker's new chief operating officer and handed him responsibility for the day-to-day operations of its global business. The announcement Thursday by Executive Chairman Bill Ford was designed to quell speculation about the future of the automaker's chief executive, Alan Mulally. Mulally, 67, is credited with restructuring the company's operations and guiding it through the recession without the bankruptcy reorganizations and federal bailouts of General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group.
October 11, 2012 | By Jessica Gelt
Mixology king Aidan Demarest's Glendale hideaway, Neat , turns 1 this Sunday. To celebrate the milestone, Demarest is throwing a birthday bash that day featuring a backyard BBQ, lots of Sailor Jerry barrel-aged cocktails and a stellar lineup of guest bartenders including John Lermayer, Erick Castro, Mia Sarazen, Rich Andreoli and Arash Pakzad. "I've got so many bartenders working that night that there won't be room for customers," jokes Demarest, adding that another superstar bartender is on the roster who he can't announce yet. When Demarest opened Neat, his business plan flew in the face of the city's thriving mixology scene.
October 6, 2012 | By Bill Shaikin
If you like your sports with a morality play attached - the team of destiny, the team that refused to lose, the team that overcame adversity, and so on - then root, root, root for the New York Yankees and the Oakland Athletics. The Yankees spent the most money on players this season. The Athletics spent the least. If the Yankees and A's advance to the American League Championship Series, the story line will be all about the money. The David-vs- Goliath cliche will be working overtime.
September 25, 2012 | By Shan Li
A Los Angeles maker of kid-oriented products is suing Toys R Us Inc. for allegedly ripping off its business plan to sell a tablet computer geared for children. In a suit filed in federal court in San Diego, Fuhu Inc. accuses the toy giant of stealing trade secrets and trademark information to launch its own $150 tablet called Tabeo, which will hit store shelves next month. Last holiday season, Fuhu sold a similar tablet called Nabi exclusively through Toys R Us before terminating the agreement in January.
August 1, 2012 | By Nicole Sperling, Los Angeles Times
Hawk Koch remembers sitting with his family at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in 1989 and watching as his father, Hollywood producer Howard W. Koch, received the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences' Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Oscars. The elder Koch had served as academy president in the 1970s and had worked on films as diverse as"The Manchurian Candidate"and "Airplane. " He addressed his son - who by then had produced "Gorky Park" and had served as first assistant director on"Chinatown" - from the dais.
July 18, 2012 | By Larry Gordon, Los Angeles Times
SAN FRANCISCO — UCLA's controversial plan to build a conference center and 250-room hotel on campus won crucial approval Tuesday from a University of California regents' panel. The $162-million project, to be built on the site of a garage south of the Bruin statue, was unanimously endorsed by the regents' buildings committee despite opposition from some Westwood-area residents and hoteliers. The full Board of Regents is expected to support the proposal Wednesday, a turnaround from March, when the plan was temporarily withdrawn after officials raised concerns about finances and the effect on private Westside hotels.
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