Monthly Archive for October, 2015

POLL RESULTS: To what do you attribute the reason the U.S. economy is still slow?

The Question: To what do you attribute the reason the U.S. economy is still slow?

2% - The slowdown in the global economy - especially China.

77% - Washington’s anti-business policies, especially from Obama.

16% - Lack of investment in the economy by corporate America.

5% - What slow economy? We’re doing great.

Jim’s Comments:
In our poll this week, only 5% of America’s small businesses report their businesses are doing great, while more than three-fourths say they think their business is being held back by Washington’s anti-business policies. If this were any other significant voting bloc, these numbers would be foretelling a revolution.

And make no mistake. When you add up all small business owners in America, plus their employees and voting age dependent children, that number would total about 100 million voters. Find another constituency like that!

With this sentiment in evidence, if small business owners and their connected “family” got organized behind what’s good for the entity that feeds and clothes them, they could be the electoral revolution. And the result would be what’s good for small business. Which I’ve long held and have many times said that what’s good for small business is good for the world.

Alas, we’re not organized. If we were, the world would change - for the better.

Thanks for playing along. Please participate in this week’s poll below.
http://survey.constantcontact.com/poll/a07ebqrv1rzig44mnoo/start.html

Where do your priorities lie?

The following quizzes, and the subsequent paragraph, are attributed to the late Charles Schultz, creator of the comic strip, Peanuts.  I’m passing along his thoughts because I think it’s important that we realize what is really important in life.
Quiz 1:
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade’s World Series winners.
Quiz 2:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
6. Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.
“The applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.  The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones who cared.”
This is Jim again.  As we go through life, let’s make sure our goals and priorities include caring about and serving other people, not just about other things.

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

Washington’s New Hashtag: #WithoutAnySenseOfShame

Let me tell you a story.

A boss gives an employee a project on January 1st that could easily be completed right away. This project had significant financial implications for the company. Month after month the boss checks in with the employee but finds the project still isn’t completed. The employee hasn’t done his job.

Finally, in the middle of December, almost a year later, the employee delivers the finished project as if there’s been a great accomplishment, but with two pieces of bad news: There are only two weeks left for the project to contribute to this year’s business, plus the project just delivered will be useless on January 1 without being completely reworked.

No doubt right now you’re yelling, “Who keeps an employee like this?” Or perhaps you’re saying, “This is a joke, right? No organization operates like that.” Sadly, this scenario is not only true, it’s been happening in a real organization, like in the movie Groundhog Day, for several years.

The employee in my story is Congress and the employer is America’s small business owners. The projects are 52 tax extenders which Congress has chosen to reapprove annually rather than make them permanent.

Many of these extenders are key factors in growth strategies, plus cash and tax planning for millions of businesses. Perhaps the most prominent is section 179 of the tax code. Part of this section allows and sets a limit for direct expensing of capital items in the year of acquisition, rather than depreciating those items over years.

For several years the Section 179 expensing limit, and the amount awaiting re-approval, was $500,000. But if this provision isn’t renewed it drops to $25,000. And just like in my story, instead of finishing the project permanently, Congress keeps renewing this extender each year, which wouldn’t be so bad if they did their work in January. But in 2014, without any sense of shame, Congress passed another one-year extension for the $500,000 level on December 16.

The expensing provision might not change whether you make the investment, nor the price of the purchase, but it does impact cash flow and tax planning for the year of acquisition, which is a big deal for most small businesses. If you were trying to make a 2014 equipment purchase decision, you had less than two weeks – over the holidays – to get that equipment in service in order to take advantage of the expensing option.

When you’ve read my past criticism of the anti-business practices of the political class in Washington, this is but one example. Like it or not, the tax code is very much a part of business investment decisions for companies large and small. And when investment decisions impeded at the micro level of a single purchase are aggregated across millions of businesses, it has a negative impact on economic growth. It’s not difficult to see how Congress’s failure to do their job has contributed to the moribund 2% annual GDP growth we’ve been suffering since 2009.

So here we are again feeling like it’s Groundhog Day because, like last year, Congress still hasn’t renewed the tax extenders for 2015. Next time someone asks why non-politicians are polling so high in the presidential campaigns, tell them this story.

Write this on a rock … Washington’s new Twitter hashtag should be: #WITHOUTANYSENSEOFSHAME.

Jim Blasingame is author of the award-winning book, The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance.

POLL RESULTS: If an armed intruder (not a robber) came into your business and started shooting, what would be your response?

The Question:

If an armed intruder (not a robber) came into your business and started shooting, what would be your response?

31% - We would dial 911.
9% - Try to talk the person into not hurting anyone.
0% - This is silly. Why would anyone start shooting in my business?
60% - He (or she) would make the acquaintance of my properly licensed side-arm.
Jim’s Comments:
I’m not afraid of guns. I’m afraid of stupid people, the mentally disturbed who are walking around, and terrorists. Remember, in one of the recent mass killings the weapon of choice was a knife. So include me in the 60% who won’t be begging for my life, or waiting for the police, while some wacko is pointing a gun at me and my people.
Thanks for playing along. Please participate in this week’s poll below.

The failure/success connection

Here are three pieces of wisdom which can only come from those who have known failure and from that acquaintance, found success:
In Uncommon Wisdom, my friend, Tom Feltenstein wrote, “When winners fail, they get up and go again. And the very act of getting up is victory”.
Robert Allen, author of Multiple Streams of Income, wrote, “There is no failure, only feedback.”
Paraphrasing Thomas Edison just a little, “Failure is successfully identifying what doesn’t work.”
And since I certainly am no stranger to failure, here is Jim Blasingame’s contribution to understanding its value, “Failure is the harness mate of success, and I expect to be acquainted with both as long as I live.”
You will never enjoy success until you are prepared to risk failure.

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

Four kinds of Vitamin C prevent professional scurvy

For centuries, prolonged service at sea resulted in sailors contracting a malady called scurvy.  Those so afflicted bruised easily, had joint pain, gum disease, tooth loss — you get the picture.

By the mid-18th century, researchers discovered that eating citrus fruit, like lemons and limes, would prevent scurvy. We now know the active ingredient in this “remedy” is vitamin C in the ascorbic acid found in these fruits. Ascorbic literally means “no scurvy” in Latin.

One of the maladies often found in business owners is a condition I call professional scurvy. This kind doesn’t cause your teeth to fall out, but symptoms do include high levels of negative energy, low levels of performance and an easily bruised ego resulting in an unfortunately high business failure rate.

The good news is, like the seagoing kind, professional scurvy can be cured with vitamin C — actually four kinds of professional vitamin C.

1.  Vitamin Courage

Challenges ignored turn into ugly problems that can bruise a business. But facing challenges with courage reduces the negative impact and provides a chance to morph them into opportunities.

Courage is being brave AFTER you’ve had time to think about it.  Catch challenges early so you can administer a dose of Vitamin Courage.

2.  Vitamin Confidence

Thomas Edison is alleged to have said failure is successfully identifying what doesn’t work. Pure success tends to build ego, which in high concentration can be professionally dangerous. But success alloyed with failure actually builds confidence, which is essential for long-term performance.

Vitamin Confidence in business is nothing more than faith in your ability to sail around present and future challenges, as well as seize opportunities that come your way.

3.  Vitamin Character

Contracts are the transactional laws of the marketplace. But like the relationship between captain and crew, it’s character that counts, not legal words or signatures on paper.

Those who demonstrate high levels of Vitamin Character —like doing the right thing even if the contract doesn’t require it — have no difficulty finding customers or crew.

4.  Vitamin Credential

This one is critical because courage without skill is the definition of foolhardy; confidence without resources is what Texans call “all hat and no cattle;” and character without knowledge is a well-intentioned commitment that may not be kept.

All the best intentions won’t help you succeed if you don’t acquire Vitamin Credentials — education, skill, experience and resources — that can back up your business plan and commitment to deliver.

Write this on a rock….

Prevent professional scurvy with regular doses Professional Vitamin C.

Jim Blasingame is author of the award-winning book, The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance.




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