Tag Archive for 'America'

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

How can you make a difference?

Even in America, the land of plenty, there are so many people who need food, shelter, a helping hand, and a kind word.  It’s true, the safety net created by public and private organizations is multi-layered and highly efficient, but it is, after all, a net not a pillow.  Nets have holes.
Looking at the many unmet needs it’s easy to be intimidated by the scale and we feel justified in our indifference because, “Hey, I pay my taxes and contribute to charities, don’t I?  What more can I do, right?  I’m just one person.”
Here is a condensed version of a one of my favorite stories, which was created my friend and favorite futurist, Joel Barker, who was inspired by Loren Eiselely’s book 

Starthrower.

A man was walking on a familiar stretch of beach one morning after a storm. Up ahead he could see a stranger coming toward him.  The stranger was continually stooping over, picking up something and tossing it in the ocean.  Finally, the man could see that the stranger was throwing into the ocean some of the thousands of tiny starfish the storm had washed up on the beach overnight. As the two men drew near and exchanged greetings, the man commended the stranger for his efforts, but also commented on the futility of such a task. “There must be hundreds of thousands of starfish on this beach. How could one person possibly make a difference?” Picking up another tiny starfish and tossing it back into the ocean, the stranger answered, “Made a difference to that one, didn’t I?!”
Here’s a pledge I will make to you and ask you to consider making:  As I race through my hectic, self-important life, at least once a day I will try to make a difference in another person’s life.
Could be as simple as holding a door, patting a back, giving a compliment, noticing a frown. Or perhaps something a little more involved like checking on someone with a call or visit, creating an opportunity, providing a meal, (your idea here).
With a world full of unmet needs, at the end of the day at least we can say, “Made a difference to that one, didn’t I?!”

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

On Veteran’s Day, let’s recognize all who served

Veterans Day has its origins in Armistice Day, which was first acknowledged by President Wilson in 1919. The first anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles took place “in the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.” Congress made Armistice Day a national holiday on November 11, 1938.

Alvin King, a small business owner in Emporia, Kansas, had a problem with Armistice Day. Al was so moved by the death of his nephew, John E. Cooper, who was killed in the Battle of the Bulge, during World War II that he, along with the Emporia Chamber of Commerce, started a movement to rename and redefine Armistice Day as Veterans Day. His goal was to expand the recognition beyond those who served in WWI. The idea caught on and President Eisenhower made Veterans Day official in 1954.

But who should be recognized on Veterans Day? If you’re looking for the definition of a military veteran, good luck. There are several variations on that theme, since the veteran universe is primarily associated with financial benefits. Consequently, the government has a lot at stake in the official definition.

The most common technical definition of a veteran is someone who served on active duty for more than six months while assigned to a regular U.S. armed services unit. But at least on Veterans Day, the case should be made for a practical definition. Adam Smith may have provided the first one in 1776.

In his seminal book, “Wealth of Nations,” Smith described America’s “Minuteman” militia as those who “. . . turn from their primary citizen character into a standing army.” These were just private citizens, many of whom today we would classify as small business owners and employees.

Even though many don’t qualify for the technical definition of a veteran, past and present members of our modern militia – Reserves and National Guard – deserve to be recognized on Veterans Day. For generations, this group has made themselves available to a grateful nation, not knowing if they would ever deploy. Indeed, John Cooper’s military service began as a member of Company B, 137th Infantry, Kansas National Guard.

Allow me to enter this practical definition of a veteran into the record, from an anonymous author:  “A Veteran – whether active duty, retired, National Guard or Reserve – is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a check made payable on demand to The United States of America, for an amount up to and including their life.”

America has received, held and cashed this “check” from different kinds of patriots who prepared themselves to be called to protect and defend their country.

Write this on a rock…Happy Veterans Day to all who made themselves available to a grateful nation.

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

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

We Began With Freedom and We’re Better for It

The first Plantagenet king of England, Henry II, is important to contemporary small business owners because he’s considered the founder of a legal system to which entrepreneurs owe their freedom to be.

Ambitious and highly intelligent, Henry’s attempts to consolidate all of the 12th century British Isles under his rule created the need for order. And while the subsequent reforms were intended more for his own political expediency than to empower the people, they actually gave birth to a body of law, now known as English Common Law, which replaced elements of the feudal system that included such enlightened practices as trial by ordeal.

Six centuries after Henry’s death, the legal and cultural tide of personal freedoms and property rights that evolved from his reforms were being established across the Atlantic. In the colonies, a group of malcontents, now called America’s Founders, envisioned, created and fought for a new interpretation of Henry’s legacy. Their plan was different because it was sans kings.

In The Fortune of the Republic, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “We began with freedom. America was opened after the feudal mischief was spent. No inquisitions here, no kings, no dominant church.”

In Origins of the Bill of Rights, Leonard W. Levy noted that, “Freedom was mainly a product of New World conditions.” Those conditions, as Thomas Jefferson so artfully wrote in the Declaration of Independence, were, “…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

These were 18th century words for freedom and embryonic conditions for which the 56 signers of Jefferson’s document put their lives and liberties at risk on July 4, 1776.

But America’s founding documents weren’t perfected until they perpetuated rights that were, as John Dickinson declared a decade earlier in 1766, “…born with us, exists with us and cannot be taken from us by any human power without taking our lives.”

By definition entrepreneurs take risks. But only when freedom is converted into the liberty to pursue success are those risks acceptable. Thank you, Henry II.

Research shows that there is a direct connection between the rate of new business start-ups and economic growth. And the American experiment has demonstrated that a healthy entrepreneurial environment fosters national economic well-being. Thank you, Founders.

Without their vision, courage, passion, and sacrifice, it’s doubtful that entrepreneurship as we know it would exist today. And if capitalism is the economic lever of democracy, entrepreneurship is the force that renews the strength and reliability of that lever for each new generation.

We began with freedom. Freedom to dream and to try; to succeed and to fail; to own and to enjoy; to accumulate and to pass on to the next generation.

We began with freedom and entrepreneurship was born. We began with freedom and capitalism was made to flourish.

Write this on a rock … America began with freedom and the world is the better for it. Happy Independence Day.

Remember America’s Militia on Memorial Day

This is Jim’s traditional Memorial Day column.

Reasonable people disagree on the origins of Memorial Day, but most accept that the practice of decorating the graves of Americans who died in military service began in earnest during the Civil War.

On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, Commander of the Army of the Republic, made Memorial Day official with General Order No. 11, which stated in part, “… the 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country …” And other than Congress making Memorial Day a national holiday on the last Monday in May, America has since honored its fallen heroes from all conflicts pretty much as General Logan ordered.

When America issued its first call to arms before we had a professional army, it went to the militia, which was identified as “all able-bodied men.”  Called “Minutemen” because they could be ready to fight on a minute’s notice, they were primarily shopkeepers, craftsmen, farmers, etc. Today we call them small business owners.

From as far away as Scotland, America’s Minutemen were impressive. Writing about the colonies’ quest for independence in “The Wealth of Nations,” Adam Smith predicted America would prevail thanks to its militia which, “…turns from its primary citizen character into a standing army.”

Early in the 20th century, state militias became the National Guard and the National Defense Act created the Reserves. In every war or conflict since, America has deployed these latter-day Minutemen (and women) alongside regular forces, where they represented a proportional number of casualties.

On this Memorial Day, as we honor all who paid the ultimate price in service to this country, let’s also remember the long tradition of America’s militia, including small business owners and employees, who served courageously on behalf of a grateful nation. It’s hard enough leaving family to march into harm’s way, but the degree of difficulty of that commitment is compounded for volunteers who also disconnect from businesses and full-time careers.

Contemplating the blessing of freedom wherever it may be found, there is one prime truth: Freedom is not free. As beneficiaries of those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom, our only method of repayment—the only way we can ever be worthy of their sacrifice—is to do all we can to maintain the freedom that they paid for and gave to us.

Write this on a rock –

God bless those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom, including past and present Minutemen.

Jim Blasingame is the author of the new book, “The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance.”




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