Monthly Archive for August, 2012

Olympic and small business heroes

Every four years, you can watch special people participate in a noble cause – the Olympics.

These heroes commit countless hours over many years to achieve a level of excellence that might somehow qualify them to represent their country in the Olympic Games.

Notice no mention of winning, medals or glory. Most Olympians find neither. And yet they train and compete.

Watching an event, we’re at once self-conscious and grateful as the camera’s lens permits us to invade that private moment just prior to competition. Self-conscious because of the intrusion, but grateful to share the moment and benefit vicariously from the Herculean effort and sacrifice.

The TV camera moves in closer. We can actually see the color of their eyes — even imagine their thoughts.

The swimmer: “Twelve years of training and it all comes down to the next few seconds – must remember the fundamentals.”

The runner: “Today I will perform my personal best.”

Then the long lens captures the mouth. There’s a lick to fight the cottonmouth that only those who risk failure have tasted. The lips move ever so slightly, as if to offer a short prayer or claim an affirmation.

Every day, you can watch another group of special people participate in a noble cause – small business.

Small business owners are a lot like Olympic athletes. They commit countless hours over many years, pushing mind and body to achieve a level of excellence that might somehow allow them to merely … make a living.

Notice no mention of winning, medals or glory. Most small business owners find neither. And yet they show up, year after year, to work, compete, and contribute.

Like an Olympic race, sometimes the future of a small business’ success rides on how well the owner performs over a very short period of time. If the camera could take you in close, you might see an owner thinking: “All these years of work and risk could come down to how well I deliver this proposal inthe next few minutes - must remember the fundamentals.”

The long lens would also capture the lick to lessen the cottonmouth that only those who risk failure have tasted. Then the lips move ever so slightly, as if to offer a prayer or claim an affirmation.

Olympians and small business owners are dedicated to what they love. Both work hard, in search of excellence, take great risks against all odds, and usually at their own expense.

I’ll gladly spend my admiration on that kind of spirit.

Because of Olympians and small business owners, the world is a better place.

#####

Today on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked more about my heroes, Olympic athletes and small business owners. Click here to download or listen.

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Small Business Advocate Poll: What does the rest of 2012 look like?

The Question
Regarding sales projections for second half of 2012, how does it compare to actual sales in the first half?

20% - So far, the second half is looking stronger.

34% - It’s not looking as good as the first half.

46% - About the same.

My Comments
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the measurement of the performance of the U.S. economy based on activity within the geographic boundaries of the country. Gross National Product (GNP) is GDP plus the performance of all U.S.-based interests conducted abroad.

So the business GM, Caterpillar, IBM, and Bubba’s Lawn Service does within our borders rolls up to GDP, and is then added to what GM, Caterpillar and IBM does in the EU, China, etc., to calculate GNP.

This week, GDP results were released by the government and it showed the U.S. economy grew at only 1.5% in the second quarter of 2012. That was down from the 1.8% GDP figures for Q1 2012.

For years it has been generally held that 3% annual GDP was the baseline for acceptable U.S. economic performance. These last two reports put the average for the first half of 2012 at 1.65%, essentially half of that baseline.

We wanted to see what the second half of this year was looking like based on what our small business audience is seeing, so last week we asked this question in our online poll: “Regarding sales projections for second half of 2012, how does it compare to actual sales in the first half?” Here’s what we learned:

One in five said, “So far, the second half is looking stronger,” while more than a third of our sample reported from the other end of the spectrum with, “It’s not looking as good as the first half.” The middle group came in at 46% who said they expected the rest of 2012 to be “About the same” as the first half.

Based on YTD GDP, and looking at the recent survey of our audience of small businesses, the 2012 economy could wind up being weaker than either of the previous two. That’s not the kind of trend Americans expect and, under the circumstances, certainly not what we need.

There are many structural issues remaining that we have to work through in order to achieve a more robust economy. But the greatest impediment to sustained economic expansion in America today is the uncertainty that has been pervasive on Main Street since 2008.

Structural challenges can be removed with the healing properties of performance. But pervasive uncertainty - caused more than anything else by a lack of confidence in national leadership and their policies - can only be fixed when those leaders demonstrate that service to country is more important than service to party.

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Small business advice for the President

In recent campaign speeches, President Obama made remarks that caused small business owners to blink. Since the SBA estimates there are almost 28 million small businesses in America, that’s a lot of blinking.

And since the small business sector is one of the groups most likely to show up on election day, it’s easy to see that troubling these folks could be politically troubling. Consequently, I would like to offer the president some campaign advice to avoid future missteps when talking to, or about small businesses.

Dear President Obama:

Earlier this year you said, “The more fortunate among us can afford to pay a little more.” Perhaps you didn’t realize your definition of “fortunate” includes millions of small business owners.

But you might be surprised to learn that my advice is not whether you should talk about raising taxes, but rather, about calling small business owners fortunate. All Americans are fortunate because we have the liberty to pursue our dreams. But liberty does not guarantee success.

So, Mr. President, if small business owners ever have to pay the new tax rate you propose, they will want you to recognize that it was because against all odds, their considerable effort, investment, and risk made them successful, not because they are fortunate.

More recently, Mr. President, trying to convey the completely accurate reminder that we’ve all had help getting to where we are in life, you used the following words that got you into hot water: “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own … somebody else invested in roads and bridges; if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that – somebody else made that happen.”

Some think, Mr. President, that you literally meant, “you didn’t build your business.” I think you were taken out of context and meant, “You didn’t build the roads and bridges that serve your business; the government did.”

But even if I’m correct about your meaning, sir, your statement is still ill-advised. Because regardless of who built those road and bridges, they were funded by taxes paid in part by America’s small businesses and employees.

So, Mr. President, here is my campaign advice:

  1. If you want small business owners to pay more taxes, recognize it will come from their successful efforts, not because they are more fortunate.
  2. Recognize that tax revenue to fund things the government builds comes partially from what entrepreneurs built first.

All Americans are fortunate to have the liberty to pursue and create their own success.

####

I talked more about the hard work of small business owners and the contributions they make to America on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show. Click here to download or listen.

Check out more great SBA content HERE!




Warning: fsockopen() [function.fsockopen]: php_network_getaddresses: getaddrinfo failed: Temporary failure in name resolution in /var/www/wordpress/wp-includes/class-snoopy.php on line 1142

Warning: fsockopen() [function.fsockopen]: unable to connect to twitter.com:80 (Unknown error) in /var/www/wordpress/wp-includes/class-snoopy.php on line 1142