Homer's record store founder offers some straight shooting on starting a business


It was 1971 when Bruce Hoberman came to Omaha, looked around and couldn't find a record shop. Thinking he'd stumbled upon a need not yet met here, Hoberman took out a loan from a buddy and started Homer's, a music retail chain and distributor that is still in operation today.

“If I hadn't opened it,” he said, someone else “would've saw the same thing I did.”

Hoberman, 66, who went on to be CEO of Internet auction service provider Proxibid, offered several business decision-making suggestions at the Straight Shot mentor dinner that drew about 60 people, who ranged from entrepreneurs to workers for Omaha's largest corporations.

Among the tips from the now-chairman of the board at Proxibid:

»  A positive cash flow is essential to the success of a business. Never run out of cash. An unplanned raising of capital makes investors question what you do and how you do it.

»  Don't let education get in your way. Hoberman was armed with the loan from the friend and a degree in English literature when he wanted to open Homer's. Everyone said he couldn't do it, he said, yet he “foolishly went ahead and built a successful business.”

»  If it ain't broke, fix it. Listening to the better-known “if it ain't broke, don't fix it” phrase is a road map to failure. That says you're not going to address a problem until it's a problem. Similarly, if you don't constantly reinvent yourself as a businessperson, someone else will.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Hoberman created Proxibid.

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