Monthly Archive for November, 2013

When cause-and-effect met humanity and changed the world

As the 17th century dawned, cause-and-effect was merging parallel universes.

In the Old World, a decision by a group of Leiden Separatists put them on a circuitous journey. Meanwhile, in the New World, a manchild named Tisquantum was born to the Wampanoag Indians.

Both the Separatists and Tisquantum became very important to our future, but not before their lives would change and intertwine in ways not to be imagined by either.

Seeking religious freedom, the Separatists crossed Europe and then the Atlantic. On their odyssey they would steel their convictions, which proved handy in the New World.

Incredibly, first as a hostage and later as an interpreter, Tisquantum crossed the Atlantic six times. On his odyssey, Tisquantum learned Old World languages that, combined with his New World survival skills, would contribute to his rendezvous with destiny.

During their journeys, both experienced a name change: The Separatists became Pilgrims and Tisquantum became Squanto. And as the Pilgrims prepared for their first Atlantic crossing, Squanto made his last.

Arriving at his birthplace in 1619, Squanto found that his entire village and family had been wiped out by an epidemic.

On the day after Christmas, 1620, with the Mayflower Compact in hand, the Pilgrims came ashore at what is now Massachusetts, on a place they named Plymouth, after the city where their voyage began.

he Pilgrims’ first winter in the New World was brutal; less than half of the 102 colonists survived to spring. Then on March 16th, 1621, an Indian named Samoset walked up to the Pilgrims and said, “Hello, English.” Very soon he recognized that these sad-looking folks needed help from someone who spoke better English.

The two universes finally converged and cause-and-effect met humanity as Samoset brought Squanto to the Pilgrims. In one of the great moments of serendipity, it turns out “Plymouth” was the very spot of Squanto’s ill-fated village.

Squanto spent the rest of 1621 befriending the Pilgrims and teaching them how to survive in the New World. It’s clear that his contribution was critical to the survival of these important American forebears.

When the courage and convictions of one group of individuals converged with the humanity of two others, something special happened: Part of the foundation of the most benevolent nation in history was born.

This week we give thanks for these individuals and the blessings that have accrued to us 393 years later.

One person can make a difference. Happy Thanksgiving.

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Be sure to listen to my segments below from The Small Business Advocate Show® celebrating Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Show!

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SBA Poll Results: Will Obamacare ever be fixed?

The Question:
How confident are you that the Obama administration will be able to fix the problems with Obamacare?

00% - Completely confident

00% - Somewhat confident

100%- No confidence

My Comments:
We’ve polled our online audience several times regarding their attitude about and experience with Obamacare. Most of our respondents, but certainly not all, have been negative toward the law in past polls. But this week something happened that has NEVER happened in more than three years of our weekly poll: the response was 100% for a single option. As you can see above, not even those who have in the past favored Obamacare believe that the problems with this law can and will be fixed.

Such are the wages of ideological arrogance by any political party, to believe it could unilaterally reorder one-sixth of the economy and replace a 200-year-old marketplace that touches every citizen so intimately, merely by government fiat. Here’s my prediction: Obamacare will go down in history as a pejorative reference and metaphor on the scale of Watergate.

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What are you thankful for?

Americans punctuate each year with the Thanksgiving holiday as a way of perpetuating a 390-year-old tradition begun by a rag-tag group of our forebears. That first time, in 1621, thanksgiving day wasn’t the proper noun it became. It was just a day set aside by a few dozen humans who risked everything, actually lost most of it, were hard-by to any number of dangers that could cost them the rest, but still felt compelled to be thankful for what they had.

Regardless of where you live on planet Earth, let me leave you with a list of things to think about. This is not my list. When we’ve published it before in this space with attribution to Anonymous, some of my readers have attributed it to Mother (Saint) Theresa, which suits me just fine. I’m thankful I found it and have the ability to pass it along.

Be thankful for the clothes that fit a little too snug, because it means you have enough to eat.

Be thankful for the mess you clean up after a party, because it means you have been surrounded by friends.

Be thankful for the taxes you pay, because it means you’re employed.

Be thankful that your lawn needs mowing and your windows need fixing, because it means you have a home.

Be thankful for your heating bill, because it means you are warm.

Be thankful for the laundry, because it means you have clothes to wear.

Be thankful for the space you find at the far end of the parking lot, because it means you can walk.

Be thankful for the lady who sings off key behind you in church, because it means you can hear.

Be thankful for the alarm that goes off in the early morning, because it means you are alive.

And finally, here is mine: I’m thankful for small business owners - the most courageous and most important modern-day pilgrims I know.

Thanks for being part of my community. I’ll see you on the radio and the Internet.

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Check out more of Jim’s great content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!

Celebrating milestones

If you will permit me, today I would like to talk about a couple of milestones of which we’re kind of proud.

On November 17, 1997, I began broadcasting The Small Business Advocate Show for two hours Monday through Friday, and ever since that first day the program has been nationally syndicated. This week we will celebrate our 16th anniversary and the beginning of our 17th year on the air.

In January 1998, we began simulcasting our show on the Internet, which makes us one of the pioneers of Internet streaming. Since 1999, we’ve offered multiple on-demand streaming options and in 20o7 added the ability to podcast all current and archived interviews.

Next Monday will be my 4,161st live broadcast since we began - including all the holidays (next week I’ll broadcast my 17th consecutive live Thanksgiving Day show). Since that first broadcast, I’ve conducted over 16,600 live interviews with small business experts and entrepreneurs. When you hear me talking about making sure that you’re passionate about the business you start, if you didn’t already, now you know I practice what I preach.

From the beginning, my primary programming goal was to focus on the fundamentals that are important to successfully starting, operating and growing a small business, and to make all of the things we do available to you for free. On that last note–the free one–I must say thanks to our outstanding corporate partners, without whose support the free part would not be possible. I especially want to thank our Presenting Sponsor, Insperity, for more than eight great years together.

Over the years I have received a number of national awards from organizations such as: the U.S. Small Business Administration, FORTUNE Small Business magazine, TALKERS magazine, the American Chamber of Commerce Executives, the American Small Business Development Centers, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, and New York Enterprise Report. Plus, for many years now, Google has ranked me as the #1 small business expert.

Also this week, we’re celebrating the 14th anniversary of our e-zine, The Small Business Advocate NEWSLETTER. This week’s edition, Volume XV, Issue 1, represents 728 consecutive weekly issues since 1999. Thanks for being a loyal subscriber.

Finally, thank you for your support, comments, many words of encouragement and especially the honor and privilege of being your Advocate. I’m already looking forward to the rest of our journey together. More than anything else, I want you to know how proud I am of you as a small business owner and what you have accomplished.

Nothing I do as The Small Business Advocate is about me–it’s all about you, my heroes, small business owners, regardless of where you live on planet Earth.

Thanks for being part of my community. I’ll see you on the radio and the Internet.

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Check out more of Jim’s great content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!

SBA Poll Results: How is Obamacare affecting your health insurance?

The Question:
How is the impact of Obamacare affecting your health insurance coverage so far?

47% - My plan is still in force for now, with no changes in cost or coverage.

32% - My plan is still in force, but the premium has been increased.

0%- My plan has been cancelled, but I found acceptable coverage in the Exchange.

18% - Exchange options are more expensive and not as good as my canceled plan.

3% - If my plan is cancelled, I won’t be able to afford the Exchange options.

My Comments:
When considering the damage that Obamacare has created, it’s difficult to know where to begin. Over half of our respondents report challenges due to Obamacare, and it’s only been in force for six weeks. One can only imagine how bad things will be a year from now, based on the current trend and the knee-jerk attempts to “fix” the law. And I’m not even talking about the website. And the fear of what this law would do has been a major headwind to economic growth since it passed, by creating more long-term uncertainty that I’ve ever seen in my long career.

As you know, I have been an outspoken critic of Obamacare since day one. I was convinced it was never going to be successful in replacing a 200-year-old marketplace, and nothing that has happened in the past six weeks has surprised me. Obamacare should never have been passed. It took a contrived ruling by Chief Justice Roberts so it could at least seem to be constitutional. And the ineptitude of the government to run anything, let alone create something, has never been more fully in evidence.

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Check out more of Jim’s great content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!

Should Mamas let their babies grow up to be entrepreneurs?

“Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.”

Country music fans recognize this title and passage from the Ed and Patsy Bruce song made famous by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. If there ever was a honky-tonk anthem, this is it.

Every good anthem has a hook lyric and it goes like this in this song: “He ain’t wrong, he’s just different, and his pride won’t make him do things to make you think that he’s right.”

Wish I had a nickel for every time someone watched an entrepreneur doing what entrepreneurs do, and asked, “What’s wrong with him?” Well, entrepreneurs are a lot like cowboys—they’re not wrong they’re just different. Consider these examples:

Entrepreneurs like financial rewards no less than the next guy. But for most entrepreneurs, money is more of a way to keep score. What really drives them is accomplishing something that hasn’t been done before—to create something from nothing. If money were the most important thing to entrepreneurs you’d be reading this by candlelight before you take the buggy to work.

Entrepreneurs are usually smarter than the average bear, but that’s not to say the most educated. One of the greatest entrepreneurial minds I’ve ever observed had a poor formal education. Entrepreneurs have a special kind of intelligence that allows them to see things before they exist. Anyone can ask, “What if?” But it takes an entrepreneurial mind to turn that question into something useful you can hold.

Entrepreneurs care about what others think of them about as much as they care about the weather on Mars. Which is not to say that entrepreneurs don’t seek outside advice and counsel. But if your opinion is going to be valued by entrepreneurs, you’d better be able to keep up. Entrepreneurs don’t truck much with marketplace pedestrians, unless they’re customers.

Entrepreneurs turn the lights on and they turn the lights off. It’s not that they’re workaholics; it’s just that they don’t actually think of what they do as work. Workers clock in thinking about quitting time and vacation. But a small business weaves a very fine seam between itself and the life of its entrepreneur.

And an entrepreneur sees a risk others avoid as essential to discovering what works, or a valuable lesson.

Entrepreneurs ain’t wrong they’re just different. And their vision won’t let them do things that make you think they’re right. But you should love them anyway.

Should Mamas let their babies grow up to be entrepreneurs? Absolutely. The world can’t do without them.

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Check out my latest segments below from The Small Business Advocate Show® where I talk more about what entrepreneurs and their contribution to the marketplace. Also, this week I talk about the 16th anniversary of The Small Business Advocate Radio Show®.

Should Mamas let their babies grow up to be entrepreneurs?

Celebrating 16 years of The Small Business Advocate Show

Check out more of Jim’s great content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!




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