Tag Archive for 'business'

POLL RESULTS:I’ve been in business more than 26 years, but this week we’re celebrating the 18th anniversary of my radio program. How long have you been in business?

The Question:

business_handshake_men.jpgI’ve been in business more than 26 years, but this week we’re celebrating the 18th anniversary of my radio program. How long have you been in business?

0% - We’ve been in business less than two years.
8% - We’ve been in business 2 to 5 years.
5% - We’ve been in business 5 to 10 years.
87% - We’ve been in business more than 10 years.

Jim’s Comments:
Early in 2009, as the 2008 financial crisis was being resolved and the Great Recession was coming to an end, I heard someone say, “Just wait until the startups get going after the recession - they’ll get the economy going again.”
That statement caused me to think about the dynamic they had described and to conclude, which I included in my long-term predictions, that there were going to be fewer startups in this recovery cycle than before. My reason for this prediction was because of the lack of two of the primary sources of startup funds: personal credit and home equity.  Both of these were virtually wiped out for millions of Americans starting in 2008 and did not recover for some time.
So when we asked our online audience how long they had been in business, I wasn’t too surprised to see how the responses rolled in, with so many in business more than 10 years, and none of our respondents as startups. There is good and bad news in this response, which I intend to write about in an upcoming Featured Article. Stay tuned.
Thanks for playing along. Please participate in this week’s poll below.
http://survey.constantcontact.com/poll/a07ebvi462hih83vsto/start.html

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.

Motivating employees is good business

Smart business owners know that there’s a direct link between motivating employees to be successful in their assignments and the success of that business. Want a good example of why you should be one of these smart managers?

Let’s imagine that your best employee has just resigned. How much will it cost – directly and indirectly – to find, hire, train and get that replacement up to the productivity level of your former employee? The answer is: maybe years. Scary, huh? Now ask yourself if you could be in jeopardy of losing good employees merely because you aren’t motivating them.

There are many ways to successfully motivate employees and all of them require managers to focus on the human beings with whom they work, and who desire to find their own success. Consider these six motivational elements.

1. Communication.

There’s nothing more fundamental to having loyal, productive and engaged employees than good communication. If you’re having problems keeping good employees, the low-hanging fruit for you may be to just start talking with – not to – your people.

2. Professionalism.

This is the aggregation of proper business, ethical and interpersonal behavior, and it’s critical to successful employee motivation.  Professionalism fosters pride and employee loyalty. Demonstrate your professionalism first and then help employees achieve and value their own professionalism. And don’t forget to recognize their progress.

3. Management style.

Check yours. Are you a leader or a driver? Managers who are drivers disregard others, consume people as a means to their end, and are identified by high employee turnover. Leaders value their people and encourage them to be successful. They can be identified by the double-digit numbers representing how many years their employees have been with them, and the multiple black digits to the left of the decimal on their bottom line.

4. Training.

Employee training pays operational and motivational dividends. It fosters knowledge, which fosters self-confidence, which fosters leadership, which fosters employee loyalty, which fosters customer loyalty, which fosters your bank account. How’s that for a training straight line to return-on-investment?

5. Recognition.

A robin noticed a turtle sitting on top of a fence post.  When the robin stopped to ask how he got there, the turtle replied, “Obviously, not by myself.”

When talking about what your company has done, be sure to manage your pronouns properly.  Whenever “I” can be replaced with “we,” do it. This tiny 2-letter pronoun is a powerful verbal high-five that resonates motivational energy throughout your organization.

6.  Fun.

Fun is very motivational. Make sure your organization finds ways to have fun at work. The people I know who are the most successful and the happiest are those who take their work seriously, but they don’t take themselves very seriously.

Write this on a rock….

Motivating employees to be successful in their assignments is not only good business, it’s also the right thing to do.


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

It’s Time to Tell The Truth About Minimum Wage

Before any product or service is offered to customers, the price must be determined. The foundational element of this calculus are costs, which includes labor. In a true free-market economy, all elements of cost are determined by the marketplace. But in the U.S., we don’t have a true free-market economy because of mandates and subsidies imposed by the federal government, one of which is the minimum wage.

Alas, raising the minimum wage is being proposed again.

When the government is involved, politics, not reason, is the motivation, which isn’t so bad when the issue is politics. But politics has no place in what businesses pay for their cost factors, especially labor, often the largest cost factor.

When proposed, the national minimum wage was never some great egalitarian blow for the working man. It became law in 1938 as a cynical, protectionist move by the Congressional delegations of the northern textile industry – primarily Massachusetts –against their southern counterparts, whose lower, market-based labor costs made them more competitive.

Today the minimum wage has become a political wedge issue of the cruelest type, because research shows each increase actually hurts the segment it purports to help, especially younger, entry-level workers, like teenagers and minorities. The primary reason is that for decades employers have controlled the impact of an increase by reducing entry-level positions using various organizational steps. But today, technological advances have given all employers an increased ability to forgo entry-level hires in favor of low-maintenance, non-taxed innovative devices and/or software.

The results of two recent online polls reveal how these options manifest on Main Street. When we asked about their attitude toward the minimum wage, 82% of small businesses said the government should not be setting wage rates. But when asked how a minimum wage increase would impact their business, 76% said “Not at all.” The reason for the lack of concern by the sector that doesn’t like the minimum wage is likely because: a) they’re already paying more than minimum wage; b) they have legal ways around it to the disadvantage of the unskilled, increasingly unemployed worker.

An important goal of most businesses is growth, but adding payroll expense to achieve it is no longer a given. And so far, business owners are in charge of the decision to add workers or use other means to achieve growth. Nevertheless, increasing minimum wage does cause problems: an arbitrary increase distorts all wages as it becomes the new base from which other workers measure wage progress. If a small business adjusts all wages up in response, expenses rise. But if it doesn’t, morale declines. Furthermore, unions use minimum wage as a contract lever to exact from employers automatic, across the board increases for all organized workers.

In the marketplace, any increase in price must be justified by value delivered. But this logic is lost when labor costs rise by government fiat without adding one extra unit of productivity.

Write this on a rock … Let’s call the minimum wage what it is: A political lie that actually hurts poor and unskilled workers.

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

POLL RESULTS: The Supreme Court and Obamacare

The Question:

The Supreme Court may strike down a major component of Obamacare this month. What do you think?

5% - I like Obamacare and hope they don’t change it.

66% - I don’t like Obamacare and hope they strike it down.

18% - I won’t be impacted either way.


11% - I don’t know.


Jim’s Comments:

As you can see, the Affordable Care Act is not popular among small business owners. The primary reason is it isn’t more affordable than what most of us already had, plus it has added extra regulatory complications to our lives.

But stay tuned, because sometime this coming week the Supreme Court will likely announce their decision on King v Burwell. This case has many implications that I’ve either written about or talked about with experts on my show. Here are the main points to keep in mind:

* If the decision goes against the Obama Administration, it would essentially void many of the law’s key components, making it a shadow of its former self.

* If the decision goes for the President, it would establish that the IRS can interpret laws as they see fit, rather than as written.

This may not be the most significant ruling in the history of the high court, but surely it’s one of them. Say a prayer for the Constitution.

Replace worry & fear with business performance

In his book, Blue Highways, William “Least Heat Moon” Trogdon said his Osage Indian grandfather, William “Heat” Moon, taught him this about worry: “Some things don’t have to be remembered; they remember themselves.”

Owners are justified in worrying about their small businesses, but sometimes they waste emotional energy worrying about things over which they have little or no control, or aren’t likely to happen.

In the movie, Bowfinger, Eddie Murphy played Kit Ramsey, an action movie star also famous for being a pathological worrier. He leads a frightened and miserable life because he worries about strange things that would never happen.

Ramsey’s greatest worry was being captured, killed and eaten by space aliens. He also worried about being crushed by a gigantic foot, or that his body might burst into flames. Pretty silly, huh?!

Watching Murphy play this unstable character is hilarious. But it’s not funny or silly when you and I worry about things that, like Ramsey’s obsessions, probably will never happen.

·  Instead of aliens, how much do you stress out about your business being killed and eaten by the dreaded Internet competition?

Stop obsessing about online competitors. First, you should be an online competitor yourself. Second, without a fixed base, online-only competitors may have what customers need, but you have something more powerful: You know what customers want.

·  Instead of being stepped on by a giant foot, do you obsess about being squashed by one of the Big Boxes?

In The Age of the Customer, prospects often rule you in or out before they know how much you charge. You can establish a level of relevance with prospects and customers that no Big Box can, as they continue to focus first on being competitive.

·  Instead of bursting into flames, do you wake up in the night obsessing that your business might go up in smoke if customers abandon you?

In The Age of the Customer, you actually should obsess about customer expectations, otherwise they won’t really leave, you’ll just become irrelevant.

Instead of living a frightened and miserable life like Kit Ramsey, put that energy into performing so well that any competitor would be hard-pressed to take customers away. Build relationships with customers to the degree that when something they want pops into their heads, as Trogdon’s grandfather would say, your company remembers itself.

Write this on a rock -

Don’t live a frightened and miserable life. Replace worry with action and performance.

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




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