Tag Archive for 'employment'

Why I Thanked My Boss for Firing Me

In 1989 I was managing the national ad sales effort for a sports magazine, based out of my home office. Having designed that office space as part of the house I’d built a dozen years earlier when I was a territory sales rep for Xerox, I was home-based long before being home-based was cool.

At 8:30am one Monday the phone rang – of course, I was at my desk. The caller was a boss who got to the point: They had a new plan for how they were going to market, but I wasn’t going to be part of their plan. The call was over by 8:35.

As I collected my thoughts, the first clear one was that I’d better dust off my resume. After all, I had a pretty good one: 23 years of successful corporate employment, from sales rep to C-Suite. And then there were those five other details: a wife, two teenagers and two mortgages.

But for some reason, I couldn’t pull the trigger. I remember thinking, “I don’t need any help screwing up my life; I can do that by myself.” So at 8:36am, my Macintosh and I designed the logo and business cards for my new business, Jim Blasingame & Associates, Business Consultants. At that moment the Mac and a laser printer were my associates.

Reinvention was nothing new to me. I had successful tenures in more than one industry over the years. But this trip was new because I was now going to work the high-wire act of entrepreneurs, which by definition means without a net. A professor friend calls it, “Living by your wits.”

That life-changing phone call came 26 years ago this week and I’ve since reinvented myself as a business owner at least one other time. Along my entrepreneurial journey there have been good times and bad times. Speaking of the latter, there were times when I didn’t know if I would be in business one more hour, let along another day. Entrepreneurship is not for sissies.

But in all the time since that momentous call I’ve never looked back – even when offered a job during one of those tough times. I’ve loved being a small business owner for the past 26 years, warts and all, for one prime reason: ownership. But not just business ownership.

This might sound strange, but I love that I have ownership of the challenges, too. All of them, against all odds. Because when you own the challenges, by definition you own the opportunities you turn them into.

Money and stuff are just ways to keep score. Claiming ownership of a Tyrannosaurus Rex business-eating challenge and turning it into your advantage is, to me, what being a small business owner is all about.  Perhaps you can relate.

By the way, within a year I called that boss and thanked him for firing me.

Write this on a rock …

Ring, ring … “Hello. Oh, hi, boss. What? I’m fired? Okay. Thank you very much.”

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

RESULTS: What are your hiring plans for the year?

The Question:

Employment in the U.S. is still down. What are your hiring plans for this year?

16% - We will definitely be hiring this year.
5% - We’re probably going to be hiring this year.
61% - We only hire as business opportunity dictates.
18% - We will not be hiring this year.
Jim’s Comments:
There was a time when businesses hired in anticipation of opportunity, to make sure there was no delay in serving customers. But as you can see from our response this week, of the almost 80% who have no current plans to hire this year, three-fourths of them are waiting on opportunity to dictate their next step.

Employment growth has historically been one of the indicators of economic optimism. So when barely one-in-five of our respondents are making plans to hire, we have to be honest and admit that doesn’t bode well for the economy in 2015. However, as mentioned above, if good news could start taking over the headlines, those who plan to hire and those who would hire could turn the tide and result in over 80% of small businesses putting more new employees to work.

I’m working on more about this for an upcoming Feature Article, so stay tuned.  Thanks for participating.

Small Business Advocate Poll: What is your experience in finding qualified applicants for job openings?

The Question:
What is your experience in finding qualified applicants
for your job openings?

38% - We have job openings but it’s difficult finding qualified applicants

32% - We are able to find qualified employees when we have an opening.

29% - We are not hiring and don’t expect to this year.

My Comments:
Over the past several decades, the challenge most often identified by small business owners as their greatest has varied between inflation, taxes and the cost of health care insurance. But for the past few years, another concern has risen to the top of the list: finding qualified employee candidates.

Consequently, in last week’s poll we asked, “What is your experience in finding qualified applicants for your job openings?

The greatest number, almost four of ten, said, “We have job openings but it’s difficult finding qualified applicants.” one-third of our respondents reported, “We are able to find qualified employees when we have an opening,” while a little less than one-third said, “We are not hiring and don’t expect to this year.”

The American economy - and society - has serious problems when only 40% of small businesses are growing employment, but even those can’t find qualified applicants among 22 million unemployed.

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On The Small Business Advocate Show, I’ve talked with Bob Prosen, President/CEO of the Prosen Center for Business Advancement and author of Kiss Theory Good Bye about improving your hiring practices to find employees for 21st century jobs. Take a few minutes to click on one of the links below to listen or download our conversations.

Improving your 21st century hiring practices

Hire new employees who have done their homework

Hire salespeople who understand customer relationships

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

America needs jobs in all the Crayola colors

It is generally stipulated among political experts and interested observers of the 2012 election cycle that the presidential contest will be heavily weighted toward the condition of the economy, especially unemployment.

The unemployment metric most often cited by the media and politicians, called U-3, is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and was recently reported to be 8.3%, or just over 12 million Americans. This number does not include those who have given up looking for a job or transferred onto Social Security disability.

But there is another statistic tracked by the BLS called U-6, which covers a more comprehensive unemployment universe, including those who have stopped looking and those who are involuntarily underemployed. The most recent U-6 number came in at 14.8% of the workforce, or more than 22 million Americans. Expect to hear more about U-6 between now and November 6.

It can also be stipulated that the Obama Administration has been keen to promote “green jobs,” seemingly, at times, at the expense of not-so-green jobs. We wanted to know what small business owners think about this type of economic focus, so we asked this question in a recent online poll: “Emphasizing ‘green jobs’ has been a big part of the Obama Administration’s plan for the direction of the U.S. economy. Do you agree with this plan?” Here’s what we learned:

Those who said, “Government should significantly influence conversion to a green economy,” came in at 15% of our sample. The other 85% said, “Innovation and customers should decide how the marketplace converts to green.” This topic apparently brings out strong feelings, because none of our respondents were “Uncertain.”

Another stipulation we can make is that everyone likes it when a “green job” is created. First, it’s a job. Second, it’s good for the environment. And third, well, it just makes us feel good. But right now, what America needs is for the millions of small businesses to create any kind of jobs – period! It shouldn’t matter if it’s green, brown, periwinkle, or any other color in the Crayola box; we need all kinds of jobs – and we need millions of them as soon as possible.

In America’s free market economy, jobs are a product of opportunity and a casualty of fear and uncertainty. Small businesses are telling Washington to promote opportunity for all jobs with policies that minimize fear and uncertainty.

A single-minded focus on green jobs isn’t good economics, policy or politics.

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Yesterday on my radio program I talked more about the focus on green jobs and why I - and 85% of my viewers - believe the government should provide opportunities for all businesses, not just green ones. I’ve also had a conversation with Ray Keating, Chief Economist of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council about why there are policies and regulations that favor green jobs, sometimes at the expense of other jobs. Click on the links below to download or listen.

Also, leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on whether the government should create specific policies for and subsidize green jobs.

What kind of jobs does President Obama like? with Ray Keating

America needs jobs in all the Crayola colors with Jim Blasingame

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Future Employee Planning

The Question: What is the likelihood that you will hire at least one person this year?

50% - We will definitely be hiring this year.

22% - If the economy improves we will have to hire.

28% - We will not be adding any employees this year.

Jim’s comment:
America needs new jobs. We wanted to check on the hiring attitude of our small business audience, so we asked this question: “What is the likelihood that you will hire at least one person this year?” The news was encouraging.

Fully half of our respondents said, “We will definitely be hiring this year.” America needs more CEOs drinking this Kool-Aid.

A little over one in five of our sample said, “If the economy improves we will have to hire.” Perhaps the employment leadership of the first group will encourage these folks in the middle to find hiring confidence.

The last group, representing a little more than a quarter of our sample, said, “We will not be adding any employees this year.”

Considering where unemployment is, plus all the other headwinds pushing back on economic recovery, I am encouraged by the response this week. You go, small business owners. America - and the world - really needs you right now.

To participate in this weeks poll on mobile phones, click here.




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