Depending on where you call home, you may have noticed lately that more and more items ordered from Amazon.com are being delivered by fleets of white trucks with the Amazon logo emblazoned on their sides.  In a move signaling a bigger push into the shipping industry, Amazon is expected to acquire French shipping company Colis Privé, as part of a plan to go head to head with FedEx, UPS and DHL according to The Seattle Times.
Amazon’s acquisition of Colis Privé is part of a bigger move by Amazon to rely less on multinational shipping companies to ship their products.  The potential benefit of owning the shipping network could potentially have a substantial impact for Amazon’s bottom line when taking in account rising shipping costs. In 2014, the company spent over $8.7 billion on shipping, up from $6.6 billion in 2013. It seems likely that after managing the logistics of its core revenue-generating, Amazon could then extend their logistics capabilities as a service to other organizations. 
This move would not surprise many, as Amazon is no stranger to disrupting industries. What started as the computing infrastructure that powered the company’s website (the largest retailer in the world) became the building blocks to what would transform into the biggest business in cloud computing by far. Amazon has transformed the way organizations utilize computing power by allowing clients to purchase computing power on an hourly basis which is ideal for projects whose capacity needs fluctuate at certain times. 
With the pending acquisition of Colis Privé, Amazon appears ready to disrupt another industry.
Growth through acquisition, is often mistakenly considered the exclusive domain of the largest companies. However small and midsize company looking to achieve substantial growth can benefit just as well. For more information about how Talley & Company can help you plan, negotiate, structure and execute on your growth strategy, contact us today.
Have you ever wondered where your favorite traditions came from? For example, the American term “Santa Claus” is derived from the Dutch word for old St. Nick, Sinterklaas. Did you know Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when Christians brought decorated trees into their homes? It only became popularized throughout the rest of Europe and North America after Queen Victoria and her German Prince, Albert were sketched in a newspaper standing with their children around a Christmas Tree. Here are other ways countries celebrate during the winter holiday season.
JAMAICA
Jamaicans dress in elaborate costumes and celebrate with parades and “Junkanoo” dancers, based on African dance. The festival, which occurs on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, may have started as early as the 16th century. 
ICELAND
Thirteen jólasveinarnir, or “Christmas Lads,” deliver presents to children in Iceland. Originally, the Christmas Lads were pranksters. Each showed up on a specific day around Christmas and performed a trick or prank.
JAPAN
Children in Japan receive their Christmas presents on their pillow during Christmas night. And a traditional Christmas meal in Japan is fried chicken.
UKRAINE
In the Ukraine, it’s traditional to hang spider web-shaped decorations on the tree. This reflects the Ukrainian legend of the poor widow who didn’t have enough money to decorate her tree, but when her children awoke on Christmas day, the tree was covered in webs that glistened gold and silver in the morning light.
SPAIN
The Spanish dish, turrón, a confection made from honey, egg white, sugar, and toasted almonds, is served during Christmas. Recipes date back to the 16th century.
GREAT BRITAIN
Mistletoe was first hung as a Christmas decoration in Great Britain. However, the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe is most likely of Scandinavian origin.
HOLLAND
Children in Holland receive presents from Sinterklaas on December 5, not Christmas Eve or day. And if they leave carrots for Sinterklaas’s horse, he’ll leave the kids sweets.
NORWAY
Here, people hide all the brooms in the house on Christmas Eve to prevent witches from stealing them for a midnight ride. And it’s also a Christmas Eve tradition to leave a bowl of porridge in the barn for the gnome who protects the farm.
GERMANY
In Germany, it is traditional for children to decorate their Christmas lists with pictures and then leave them on the windowsill overnight. And the Christkind delivers gifts at Christmas. Also in Germany, it’s a tradition to leave a shoe or boot outside the front door on December 5th.
RUSSIA
Here, Christmas is celebrated on January 7th, and Babouschka brings gifts to children. Babouschka, meaning old woman or grandmother in Russian, is based on the biblical story of the woman who didn’t give a gift to the baby Jesus. So, to repent, she gives gifts to children.
POLAND
The traditional Christmas meal in Poland is called the Wigilia. Held on Christmas Eve, Wigilia is derived from the Latin phrase “to watch.” Families here believe that what happens during Wigilia festivities predicts the coming year.
ITALY
Italian families celebrate Christmas Eve with the Feast of the Seven Fishes and eat lentils during the holiday season to ensure luck and wealth for the following year. The children in Italy receive gifts from La Befana during Christmas.
IRELAND
It’s traditional for Irish families to leave out mince pies and Guinness Ale as a snack for Santa.
FINLAND
In Finland, families decorate the holiday tree with geometric mobiles made out of straw. And it’s customary to enjoy a sauna before Santa’s visit.
In his prime, infamous Medellín cartel boss Pablo Escobar pulled in an estimated $20 million a day in revenue, easily making him one of the wealthiest drug lords in history. In 1989, Forbes named Escobar the seventh richest man in the word with a net worth of roughly $25 billion. When you have more money than you know what to do with and the feds slowly closing in, losing money to rodents is probably the least of your worries.  For the rest of us who run honest businesses, Pablo Escobar’s story provides remarkable advice. Here are some of the highlights.
According to Pablo Escobar’s brother and chief accountant Roberto Escobar, Pablo’s wealth grew at such a rate he was forced to stash mountains of cash in Colombian farming fields, warehouses, and in the walls of his cartel member’s homes. “Pablo was earning so much that each year he would write off 10% of the money because the rats would eat it in storage or it would be damaged by water or lost”.  Doing the math, Escobar lost nearly $2.1 billion a year – and it didn’t even matter.
You’re bound to run into unforeseen challenges when scaling your business. Escobar made so much money that he allegedly spent $2,500 on rubber bands a month just to keep his cash organized.   (What an inconvenient expense, right?) Growing businesses face a range of challenges. As a business grows, different problems and opportunities demand different solutions – what worked a year ago might now be not the best approach. All too often, avoidable mistakes turn what could have been a great business into one that falls to the wayside.
Surround yourself with a team that complements your strengths. Escobar began his illustrious criminal career by allegedly stealing gravestones and reselling them to smugglers. At the height of his powers, Escobar was responsible for 80 percent of the cocaine smuggled into the United States. As the Medellín Cartel grew, Escobar would enlist the help from other notable “colleagues” (we use that term loosely here) in the business of drug trafficking. This allowed him to concentrate more on growing his business and less on the day-to-day operations of his empire.
While we don’t advise anyone attempt to create a drug empire following Escobar’s example, Talley & Company understands the challenges facing entrepreneurs with generating and protecting income. Whether you’re looking to improve your tax position, build your brand through a business transaction, or wish to guarantee a legacy for your family, Talley & Company is uniquely equipped to provide the technical and managerial expertise to help you plan, negotiate, structure and execute upon your goals.
The NFL just wrapped up their 2015 draft with over 250 elite players hoping to make a statement in the upcoming football season. Picks one and two, Jameis Winston for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Marcus Mariota for the Tennessee Titans, stand to receive $22.4 million and $21.4 million contracts, respectively. But just as salary estimates are being calculated, a new study shows nearly 16 percent of players go bankrupt within 12 years of retirement. Let’s look at a couple who fumbled and how others are scoring by pivoting their training into the business world.
The media has widely reported on two high-profile names, among others, who’ve filed for bankruptcy: defensive tackle Warren Sapp and University of Texas star Vince Young. Sapp made more than $83 million during his career but filed for bankruptcy in 2012, within five years of retirement. Young made $34 million over six years as quarterback but filed for bankruptcy in 2014.
Unrestrained spending and bad investments plagued these and other NFL athletes, contributing to the grim data based on 2,016 drafted players from 1996 to 2003. The National Bureau of Economic Research says in its study, “Having played for a long time and been well-paid does not provide much protection against the risk of going bankrupt.”
Despite these statistics, some NFL veterans have been able to parlay their athletic experience into a success mindset ideal for business. In a column written for Entrepreneur.com, Israel Idonije says adaptability is what helped him achieve success on the field and continues to do so off of it. After setting a long-term goal to play in the NFL for 10 years, he realized he had to be flexible in the short-term to make sure he got there, doing everything from modifying his training to gaining and losing as much as 55 pounds to play different positions.
Today, he reviews goals in his merchandise business, Athlitacomics Sports Heroes, in much the same way. To him, “A business plan is like a football game plan in that, sometimes, the strategy must change mid-game to adjust to what the competition is doing.”
NFL veteran Bryan Scott took a different path to business after playing for teams like the Atlanta Falcons and Buffalo Bills. He’s applying his affinity for following playbooks to his new position as the owner of multiple TITLE Boxing Club franchises in Georgia. He’s said that having a built-in game plan with a franchise doesn’t in itself guarantee success, but instead, “Each and every day you must under-promise and over-deliver on your product and customer experience and make your performance louder than your applause.”
Insights like these apply to almost every business owner working to build on his financial success. To learn specific plays that can grow your assets over time and work to protect them, consult with a member of Talley & Company’s advisory team about your position.

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