Bill Hass

This month, in addition to our year-end industry report, we begin an exclusive three-part series about creating wealth. The series is authored by Bill Hass, vice president and director of industry services with HOLT Alliance Services, a division of HOLT Value Associates, a Chicago-based provider of insight on stock prices worldwide. HOLT Alliances provides corporations and alliance partners (including financial advisors,investment banks and leading management, investor relations, and compensation consultants) the same proprietary economic performance measurement, global benchmarking and valuation framework used by portfolio managers around the world to make better buy-sell-hold decisions. The series examines the wealth creation dynamics of the major appliance industry this

Kenny Rogers has a song, "You've got to know when to hold them, and know when to fold them," and that's one of the keys to success. It applies to hiring and firing employees, selecting new products, opening and closing store locations and buying and selling stocks in your own retirement account. All this is tied into understanding the minimum performance level or "rate of return" you want to achieve. Financial people working with businesses—public or private—call this "hurdle rate" the "cost of capital" or "discount rate." It is a "benchmark" to measure relative performance. Establishing a hurdle rate or minimum goal is a

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