Archive for the 'Miscellaneous' Category

POLL RESULTS: New Obamacare compliance is coming for small businesses in 2016. Do you know how it applies to you?

The Question:

New Obamacare compliance is coming for small businesses in 2016. Do you know how it applies to you?

11% - I am prepared to comply with new Obamacare rules.
9% - I am not yet in compliance, but know what to do.
23% - I am not in compliance, and still don’t know what to do.
57% - My business does not have to comply with Obamacare.
Jim’s Comments:
Most small businesses have fewer than 50 employees, which is currently below the criteria for having to comply with Obamacare under the employer mandate. So I’m not surprised to see that our sample responded with 57% in this category.
But I am surprised to see that about a third of our folks still aren’t yet in compliance. The reason is likely that we’ve all seen how many times the law has been unilaterally changed by the Obama administration — more than 30 since 2010 — including moving compliance date deadlines. Why jump through a bunch of hoops if you don’t have to, right?

However, I think Obamacare is where it’s going to be for now, so if you have to be in compliance, either do so or know your exposure for non-compliance. Good luck.

Thanks for your abiding support of our poll each week. Check out our new one below.

http://survey.constantcontact.com/poll/a07ec20m7kriiucwr57/start.html

Hug a Scrooge today - they need love, too

This is Jim’s traditional Christmas message.

Some say I’m a scrooge – they might be right. But here are three exhibits in my defense:

1. The early part of my career was spent in retail, which is tough on the holiday spirit. There’s a syndrome for everything else; why not one for retail survivors? Let’s call it PTHSS: Post-Traumatic Holiday Shock Syndrome.

2.  Since I don’t wait until the holidays to give someone a gift, I just don’t get all worked up about holiday giving.

Not that the ladies mind getting stuff all year (let’s not lose our heads!) — it’s just that they want me to be giddy about giving at Christmastime. Giddy? Bah! Humbug!

3. As an avowed and devout contrarian it would be antithetical for me to feel obligated to do what everyone else is doing. And if there is one thing that has become part and parcel of the holiday season, it’s obligation. For example:

a) If someone gives my significant other and me a last-minute gift before Christmas, “Other” feels obligated to reciprocate. I don’t. I’ll do something nice for them in March.

b) After the Christmas cards have been sent, if an incoming card is received from someone not on your list, do you rush to get a card out to them? Not me. Maybe next year.

In The World According To Blasingame, giving should be voluntary, not obligatory.  In fact to a scrooge, not reciprocating is actually endearing.

It’s not that I don’t like the holidays. As a Christian, this is an important time in my faith life. As a capitalist, the importance of holiday spending to our economy is not lost on me. But I just don’t care for what we self-absorbed humans hath wrought on the holiday season; and if that makes me a scrooge, guilty as charged.

On behalf of my misunderstood scrooge brethren and sistren (I met a female scrooge once), let me clear up a few things.

1. Scrooges are lovable, huggable and, yes, even cute.

2.  It’s a myth that all scrooges are skinflints. Some are actually quite generous, but their generosity isn’t obsessive and doesn’t come with giggles.

3.  Scrooges can be quite caring and compassionate without saying, “Bless their hearts,” over and over.  As proof — and to influence my acquittal — I offer two challenges into evidence; one for me and one for us:

I challenge myself to be more receptive to, and tolerant of, the silly parts of the holiday season and those who perpetuate the silliness. But, please, be patient; the mill of a scrooge grinds slowly.

I challenge us to be more generous, loving, thankful and spiritual all year long, not just during the holidays.

Imagine what would happen if we all practiced peace on earth, goodwill toward everyone, every day. It might sound something like this: “Let’s help those people right now, in the middle of July!”

Write this on a rock …

Peace to you and yours. Shalom.  Salaam. Que la paz este con ustedes.

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

POLL RESULTS: As a citizen and business owner, what do you see as the greatest threat to you and yours right now?

The Question:

As a citizen and business owner, what do you see as the greatest threat to you and yours right now?

18%The poor condition of the economy
7% - Climate change
18% - Expansion of radical Islamic terrorism
2% - Not enough gun control
56% - Over-taxed and over-regulated by the government

Jim’s Comments:
The economy sucks for many Main Street businesses, and terrorism’s on everyone’s minds. But when we asked small business owners what was the greatest threat to them and theirs, those two issues only garnered about one-fifth of our responses each. As you can see, almost six of ten believe their greatest threat is encroachment of the government.
Think about that. The thing that most small business owners lay awake at night worrying about is how their government will hurt them. What’s wrong with this picture? #GODHELPUS
Thanks for playing along. Please participate in this week’s poll below.
http://survey.constantcontact.com/poll/a07ebz4037kii24k7ss/start.html

Results of Blasingame’s 2015 Predictions and His Score

Here are my 2015 predictions and what happened. My prior 14-year record is 73% accuracy.

Prediction: Geopolitics, geo-competition and the supply/demand dynamic for crude oil won’t find equilibrium anytime soon, causing prices to fluctuate, but average less than $70 per barrel. Plus 1 - Crude averaged around $50 per barrel for the year

Prediction: With consumers buoyed by low gas prices and six years of recovery fatigue, the U.S. economy will grow, but global economic headwinds and currency influences on exports will result in U.S. annual GDP averaging below 3%. Plus 1 – Owing to a disastrous Q1, annual GDP is closer to 2%.

Prediction: Consumer optimism will produce small business contribution to GDP greater than any year since the Great Recession. Minus 1 – Incredibly, in the sixth post-recession year, consumers, the small business sector and economy are all going in the wrong direction.

Prediction: An improving economy, plus anticipation of a business-friendly 114th Congress will cause an upward trend in small business optimism toward NFIB Index’s 42-year average of 100 points. Minus 1 – NFIB Index reports trend was no better than flat.

Prediction: Small business loan demand will increase as growth opportunities exceed the ability to fund them with organic capital resources. Plus 1 – The increase came mostly from non-traditional sources, like asset-based lenders.

Prediction: With organizational productivity maxed out, even marginal economic growth will cause small and large businesses to increase hiring. Plus 1 – Hiring did increase. But exposing the irrelevance of U3, not enough to drop true unemployment to 5%.

Prediction: Continued concern about the fragility of the U.S. and global economies will cause the Fed to maintain monetary easing by keeping the Fed Funds rate unchanged. Plus 1 – I took a lot of heat on this from every economist I know – most predicted a June rate increase.

Prediction: In King v Burwell, Supreme Court will rule 5-4 that Obamacare was written to exclude subsidies to states with Federal exchanges. Minus 1 – In the Bizarro World of the Roberts’ Court a 6-3 majority contrived that “only” really means “every.”

Prediction: The GOP-controlled Congress and President Obama will agree on tax reform in 2015.  Plus 1 – Nothing sweeping, but year-end reforms will help small business.

Prediction: Congressional Republicans will thwart the execution of Obama’s executive order on immigration. Plus 1 – This happened, with help from the Courts.

Prediction: The Sony cyber-assault by North Korea will elevate corporate America cyber-security to a de facto national security level. Plus 1 – Corporate cyber-security spending increased by 20%.

Prediction: Unprecedented foreign state cyber-assault on a U.S. corporation will cause the government to stop companies from responding to such threats on their own. Plus 1 – These conversations did happen.

Prediction: In political theater redux, a Clinton and a Bush will become presidential candidates, but neither will be their party’s front-runners by year-end. Push – Got Bush, missed Clinton. Surprised Bush hasn’t done better and Clinton’s baggage hasn’t hurt her.

Prediction: Oregon will defeat Florida State in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day. Plus 1 – A 59-20 whuppin’.

Prediction: Alabama will win the inaugural NCAA Division I Championship Game Jan10. Minus 1 – My first ever football miss.

Write this on a rock …This year I went 11 for 16, or 69%, taking my 15-year record to 72.7%. How’d you do?

Be thankful

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. 

Cause and effect meets humanity & the world changed

This is Jim’s traditional Thanksgiving column.

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.

The Pilgrims’ first winter in the New World was brutal; less than half of the 102 colonists survived until spring. Then on March 16, 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 394 years later.

Write this on a rock … One person can make a difference. Happy Thanksgiving.




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