Monthly Archive for September, 2009

Labor day? Why not a day to celebrate small businesses?

Some say Matthew Maguire is the father of Labor Day – others say it was Peter McGuire. Both cared greatly for an important segment of the marketplace, its workers.

Regardless of paternity, such a day was first celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, when members of the CLU took an unpaid day off to demonstrate solidarity and, of course, have picnics. In 1884, President Grover Cleveland designated the first Monday in September as Labor Day and an official federal holiday.

In 1898, Samuel Gompers, then head of the American Federation of Labor, called Labor Day, “the day when toilers’ rights and wrongs would be discussed … that the workers of our day may not only lay down their tools of labor for a holiday, but upon which they may touch shoulders in marching phalanx and feel the stronger for it.”

Alas, entrepreneurs aren’t organized like our union brethren, probably because we’re too busy making payroll. There is no single Small Business Day officially decreed by the U.S. Government. No Entrepreneur’s Day set aside to honor the few who do so much for so many; a day to picnic and party down in honor of the real heroes of the marketplace, small business owners.

There actually is a small business week when the U.S. Small Business Administration recognizes the “creme de la creme” of entrepreneurs in America. But it’s not a federal holiday, and it’s not always the same week each year.

Small businesses represent over 98% of all U.S. businesses and produce over half of the U.S. $13 trillion GDP. Plus, we sign the FRONT of the paychecks of over half (70 million) of all U.S. workers.

Let’s see: big deal on Labor Day; no Small Business Day. What’s wrong with this picture?

So, what’s the answer? Let’s celebrate Small Business Day in a way no other national holiday has been established: on a Sunday, because that would create the least payroll expense.

August is the month-of-choice because that’s when politicians are home on recess. This way they can practice casting their pearls before us small business owners in preparation for eating barbeque with the workers on Labor Day.

To paraphrase Samuel Gompers, small business owners deserve a day for which these signers-of-the-front-of-paychecks can have their rights and wrongs discussed; that the small employers of our day may not only lay down their challenges for a holiday, but during which they may touch shoulders in marching phalanx and feel the stronger for it.

It’s time America had a day to honor small business owners.

But in the meantime, Happy Labor Day.

21st century servers designed specifically for small business

Do you know what this term means: peer-to-peer? How about this one: server-based? These are terms that describe how computer environments are structured.

Peer-to-peer means stand-alone PCs are at every workstation and are only connected to each other, if at all, over a local network, typically to deliver Internet connection. This is de-centralized management of computer activity, where each PC has its own programs and files, plus performs its own data back-up and security. File sharing is possible, but not very elegant.

Peer-to-peer is the default environment for small businesses because of the way most of us begin and grow: one desktop at a time.

A server-based environment is the next level up from peer-to-peer. Growing small businesses find that a server set-up provides more control for file management and sharing, data back-up and security, plus efficiency and cost-control when growth calls for added workstations.

A server is a computer that is stripped of everything but the central processing unit (CPU) and a hard drive, and is designed to “serve” workstations that have the monitors, keyboards, etc. A server-based system means there is at least one server that delivers processing power to multiple workstations. All programs, applications, files, storage, back-up and security resides on these central units, instead of at the desktop. And file sharing? Servers were born to share files the way Tiger Woods was born to play golf.

Here’s the next question: How does a small business know when to make the leap from peer-to-peer to server?

Having a server configuration has long been seen as something for big businesses. And historically, a peer-to-peer environment had to be so unproductive that getting rid of its operational pain had to be worse than the conversion challenges that came with making the jump to a server system.

Until now. Enter the server appliance.

This device is a multi-purpose box with a server in it designed to virtually eliminate conversion headaches. Just plug the appliance into an electric outlet and then plug your own local area network into it and bada-bing, bada-bam you’re server-based, baby, with all of the advantages of central data back-up, security, file sharing – even a phone system. Plus, when you add a new person, you don’t have to buy new software programs for the added workstation..

Several IT companies offer server appliances, including IBM’s Lotus Foundations, Iomega, HP, just to name a few. Most work with a local small business computer company, so contact one in your area and let them help you decide if it’s time to make the jump to a server platform and which system is best for you.

Small business owners, in the 21st century you don’t have to be big to be server-based.

Recently, I talked about peer-to-peer and server-based on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show. Take a few minutes to listen, and as always, be sure to leave a comment.

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