Tag Archive for 'voting'

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.

RESULTS: How much of your revenue comes from online sales?

The Question:

Small businesses are increasingly using e-business to grow. How much of your annual revenue do you estimate comes from online sales?

0% - 100%
6% - More than 50%
39% - Less than 50%
55% - None
Jim’s Comments:
As you can see, our respondents this week aren’t using the Internet much to drive sales. Over the years our responses have been consistent with several scientific surveys I report on my radio program, but I hope this isn’t the case this time.  Consider the research below:

  • According to an aggregation of sales research, the amount of global online sales reached almost $1.5 TRILLION in 2014 (all caps for emphasis), and is projected to be almost $2.5 TRILLION by 2018. And that’s just business-to-consumer (B2C).
  • But the big online bell ringer is business-to-business (B2B), projected to reach almost $7 TRILLION by 2020.

I’m going to have more to say about this in an upcoming Feature Article, but for now let me tell you that if you’re not providing at least some online capability for all kinds of customers to do business with you online, you’re becoming a dinosaur. And we all know what happened to dinosaurs.


RESULTS: How concerned are you about potential business damage due to racial tensions?

The Question:
How concerned are you about potential damage to your business due to racial tensions?

35% - Not concerned at all
49% - Not concerned in my market, but upset about owners who’ve been harmed
14% - Somewhat concerned and upset about owners who’ve been harmed
3% - Very concerned - if it can happen in Ferguson, it can happen here
Jim’s Comments:
As you can see, while most of us aren’t worried about being looted by racially-charged protesters, we do have empathy for those who’ve been harmed.

But we’ve got to stop acting like America has made no progress with race relations in the past half-century every time a single altercation happens. In America, where the rule of law is supposed to replace anarchy, how does what happened between Mr. Brown and Officer Wilson justify the destruction of neighborhood small businesses?

And shame on national leaders whose words and behavior give grievance-merchants license to incite riots that make collateral damage of innocent people, including Main Street business owners.

RESULTS: What should be the priority of Obama and the GOP?

The Question:
As President Obama and the Republican majority begin their work, what should be their priority?

24% - Fix Obamacare
10% - Immigration reform
27% - Reform the tax code
5% - Foreign policy
34% - I’ll take anything if they’ll just work together

Jim’s Comments:
It looks like the big interest is in Obamacare and tax reform.  But more of you just threw up your hands and chose “I’ll take anything, if they’ll just work together.” That sounds like an indictment to me. What do you think?

Sadly, from the looks of things this week, we’re going to get anything but working together.

Beware of the small business voting bloc

Photo credit to MorgueFile

Going into Tuesday’s elections, President Obama could either brace for the curse of the second mid-term or imagine America’s first black president could pull off a Clinton miracle. So when he declared that his policies were on the ballots, even if his name wasn’t, we were left to assume Obama dreamed of a Clinton repeat.

Apparently voters agreed with the president about one thing: his policies were on their minds in the voting booth. Indeed, GOP gains were too pervasive to lay blame to just the Democrats on the ballot. Republicans gained the majority in the Senate, increased their majority in the House, increased governorships by three—including in four deep blue states, plus a net pickup of eight state legislative chambers. Talk about the wrong kind of coattails.

We wanted to know how small business owners were feeling about this election, so in a pre-election online poll we asked them which party they favored. Only 12% said Democrat. Most small business owners consider Obama’s ideology, policies and rhetoric to be anti-business. Here’s a short list of their issues with this president:

  • The worst economic recovery in history
  • Obamacare, the mother of all uncertainties
  • His environmental policies negatively impact job creation and energy prices
  • His fealty to unions is anti-employer
  • The exponential growth of regulations—the stealth tax
  • His plan to relinquish U.S. control of the Internet
  • Small business owners don’t like hearing, “You didn’t build your businesses”

There are approximately 100 million potential voters in Small Business America, including owners and employees. Considering the economic uncertainty and financial damage small businesses have experienced for the past six years, it’s reasonable to attribute much of the election outcome to these voters.

As a lame-duck president, it may be too late to redeem Mr. Obama. But the political class should heed the prophetic wisdom of the late Massachusetts Democrat Senator Paul Tsongas, who told his party in 1992, “You can’t be pro-jobs and anti-business at the same time. You cannot love employment and hate employers.”

Write this on a rock … Beware the small business voting bloc

Be a single-issue voter for your small business

Americans are afforded a privilege which, while not rare on Earth, is certainly unavailable to billions of other Earthlings: We’re allowed to vote for those who represent us in government.

The words “privilege” and “allowed” are used with a purpose: the U.S. Constitution gives Americans the right to vote, but does not require us to do so. If voting were a legal requirement, in the 2000 election 100 million Americans could have been arrested, as pundits lamented the “Vanishing Voter” phenomenon.

But with all of its faults, no one can say America is hidebound. In the span of a decade, the Vanishing Voter has been supplanted by the Engaged Voter. We’re experiencing one of the most promising phenomena of the current age: increasing fervor and investment of the American electorate in the political process.

Say what you will about the Tea Party, it has not only given voice to those who hold dear conservative values, but to paraphrase Mr. Newton, it has engendered an equal and opposite reaction from those who inhabit the left side of the political spectrum. Ironically, this vociferous differentiation has placed greater import on the new electoral power brokers, independent voters.

Nothing bad happens when Americans get fired up about the political process, regardless of whether they spin to the left or the right, or mark time in the middle. Feeling pressure to take a political position typically manifests in becoming a more knowledgeable voter. If America is to ever solve its many challenges, those solutions will be demanded by an informed electorate who hire representatives to serve them, rather than anoint a self-serving political class.

Something good would happen if small business stakeholders were as politically organized and influential as other single-issue groups, like unions. If small business were a country, Wikipedia would describe Small Business USA like this: Population: 125 million (owners, employees and dependents). Economy: Largest on the planet. Contribution to society: Significant. Organized political influence for its own interests: Negligible.

What’s wrong with this picture?

With so much to contribute, Small Business America has many reasons to catch the tide of electoral fervor and become more involved in the political process. With so much at stake—challenges and opportunities—we have even more reasons to make our positions known to those who would represent us, rather than accepting policies we’re given by those who could rightly assume we don’t care.

Write this on a rock … Be a single-issue voter for your small business.




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