News You Can Use (with a Little Research)

It occurred to me that I’ve never outlined in a blog the articles I give to my groups and clients to the electronic public, so here goes (we hope to do this towards the end of every month):

  1. The Industrial Evolution: be prepared to automate some of your jobs out of existence.
  2. Collaboration Is More Than a Buzzword: what should you do to make your employees more collaborative? (hint: change company culture). Big topic.
  3. Earlier deadlines for reporting Obamacare (if you have more than 50 employees).
  4. More firms are using bonuses, not pay raises, to reward employees.
  5. Employer Impact of Marajuana Regulation: this was the Arizona impact, but over 40 states have laws about it. Companion article on why businesses oppose marijuana legalization in Arizona.
  6.  Lead a Revolution from Within: Be an internal disruptor, don’t wait to get run over.
  7. $12 Arizona Minimum Wage Plus Sick Leave: an Arizona ballot proposition in November. NFIB special ballot. Serious implementation problems if it passes, since AZ is at $8.05 now.

This was actually a light month for reading.

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You Can Do It!

We just had an interesting new joiner of Solutions Forum….an ex-con who started his clothing design business with $50 in a shack behind his house, because no one would hire him as a screen printer/designer. He actually conceived the business while still in prison.

Now he’s doing fine (aside from having more ideas than money), and is about to get some of his designs and T-shirts listed on Amazon, which, I suspect, is gonna be Huuuuge. He did a test recently and sold 33 in 7 minutes. Not bad.

He’s got great instincts, and joined us to have us act as a focus group as well as business advisors.

So, don’t think that you can’t start a business. If you’ve got a dream and $50, you can do it. We can help. 1-800-716-9626.


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Tim, We’re Here for You

There have been several articles lately about Tim Cook and his leadership style, most recently in FAST COMPANY, where he complained that it was lonely at the top.

Well, yeah. Doesn’t make any difference how big the company is.

But, we’ve written a lot about Apple in this blog, and we’d be pleased to help. John Heinrich has served as a counsellor to heads of large companies before, when there were new CEOs. John happens to be an Apple stockholder, too, so he’s got a vested interest in seeing Apple do well.

So, Tim, give us a all. 1-800-716-9626. We’re here.

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Trump on Trade

It’s no particular secret among our friends and associates that we like Donald Trump; went to school with him and have supported him for President.

However, his trade policy needs rethinking. It sounds like protectionism, but there are times when it sounds more like equal tariffs/fair trade.

Lower tariffs, the economic texbooks tell us, promote job growth and spcialization into particular industries. Protectionism is acceptable when a country wants to get an essential industry off the ground, such as solar.

However, it’s clear that some countries, notably Mexico and China, have higher entry tariffs than we do, and they should reduce them. I think this is what Donald is saying, but he needs to clarify it at some point. We would think that his stable of economic advisors, notably Steve Moore, would be so advising him.

But, trade isn’t essential to the growth agenda Trump advocates, but it will help. Getting lower taxes, less regulation and fewer agency interventions will do more.


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The Trump Meltdown

Well, Donald has about reached his nadir; he didn’t show for a rally in Phoenix, although there was a hellacious monsoon storm, so he’s mostly forgiven. But no one apologized for the no show on national TV from Denver or wherever he might have been. Mike Pence was here, but didn’t apologize, not that it was broadcast on the 10 pm news.

It’s time for Donald to take stock of what’s going right and wrong. We in the business community are praying that he makes it, and this constituency remains solid, although an informal poll taken among my friends at a local gathering of the Leadership Council of Arizona NFIB didn’t get a lot of enthusiasm for attending the rally, even before the storm.

Donald has got to realize that it’s time to broaden his appeal beyond the white males. Here are some ideas:


Hire some surrogates in the minority communities: Jason Riley and Ben Carson are on board as African Americans, ask them how man appearances they want to make.

You need a high profile female endorser, such as a Carly Fiorina, if she doesn’t still have bad feelings about losing to you. Meg Whitman, a nominal Republican is backing Hillary. AARGH!

Same thing with a Latino or Latina endorser; you trashed Gov. Susan Martinez of New Mexico, who would have been good.

Stop the petty fights: take a deep breath when you know the press is baiting you (which they’re going to do until November) on a question and think for a couple of beats before answering. You know most of the mainstream press is against you, occasionally even Fox, so don’t give them any ammunition.

Stay focused on jobs and the economy; it’s your sweet spot. It’s ok to criticize Hillary on these, because she has no ideas. Your tax plans are excellent, as is your debt plan, but deserves more explanation.

Anyway, Donald, you’ve got 88 days to turn it around. The electorate is just about paying attention.

Your former classmate at Wharton, John.


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You Forgot the Product or Service and Price

I’m not sure what’s being taught in marketing classes these days, but Smita Singh, writing in the Huffington Post (I didn’t know they covered business) has some new ‘P’s in the marketing equation: Purpose, Positioning, Personality.

Wow. Several marketing mavens are turning over in their graves.

Personality? Sounds like something you would bring personally. However, Apple has injected personality into its products, so I’m not completely opposed. But, in a B2B environment?

Purpose is good: you should explain in ad copy, social media and elsewhere what your product or service does. And how it’s different or better, and why one should buy it.

Positioning is good, or where your product or service stands in the in the marketplace, on a perceptual basis. So keep that one.

But she forgot anything about the product or service, or what you’re offering. It’s what you normally put in promotional literature, but she forgot that one, too.

Price was dropped on the floor, too. You DO have to charge something for your product or service, and hopefully you’ve researched it to position well in the marketplace.

Anyway, there are more ‘P’s (some of my marketing buddies have used as many as nine of them) and you should take a look at your product or service to see how you’re doing.

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What’s the Most Important Leadership Skill?

Entrepreneur published this article some months ago, and it languished on my pile of things to comment on, but better late than never:

  1. Do (or have done before) what you’re asking others to do;
  2. Trust and empower your employees.
  3. Authentic, vulnerable, or at least honest; adaptable;
  4. Have a compelling purpose and be accountable for the results of the individual and the team;
  5. Admit when you’re wrong;
  6. Serve your way to the top;
  7. Push your followers; rather than pulling them;
  8. Strong opinions loosely held;
  9. Ask more questions and listen longer;
  10. Build a culture with a purpose and empathy.

OK, how many of these are you doing? 90%: you’re great. 80% you’re ok. 70%, be nice to the investors/stockholders. Less? Go look for another job.

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The Intern

As you may recall, this was a movie starring Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway. Not a great movie as movies go per se, but it has some hidden meaning for management and startups.

The nominal story is that a president of an internet startup (Anne Hathaway) hires an old codger (Robert DeNiro) as an intern, after she gets the idea that she should have some age diversity in her company.

He’s just looking for something to do because he’s bored being retired, but he has a lot of management background that she lacks, that the whole firm lacks,  because it’s gone from one person to 200 in 18 months.

And the company is a disaster waiting to happen….at one point, a guy who looks like he might be the CFO lists the faults, besides management: poor customer service, slow changes to the web site in a fast industry (fashion), no organizational structure, VC’s in an uproar because of the aforementioned problems.

At one point, Anne asks if she can ‘take CEO pills’ to get smarter about running a company. Robert demurs, but he convinces her to look for a professional CEO, which is a good idea, to bring some order out of the chaos. She does find one, after some false starts; her husband, with whom she started the company, but who has ‘retired’ to raise their daughter, validates her choice.

Presumably, the company goes on to remain a roaring success.

But, there’s a lot of sturm and drang on the way, most of which might have been avoidable with more adult supervision. Even a board of directors, beyond Robert DeNiro.

Makes you wonder if a lot of this is going on in Silicon Valley and elsewhere because all the founders think they’re too cool for school, when they’re really not.

So, if you’re a startup, take some CEO pills on the American School of Entrepreneurship website. Or you can just call us at 1-800-716-9626 for that old school personal touch

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The Business Case for Brexit

We’re commenting on this because 40% of our School enrollees come from outside the United States, so we think it would be in order. So, here goes:

  1. Philosophically, the Brits just don’t fit with the other, more socialized and structured democracies on the Continent.
  2. The British businesses are more innovative in our experience, and it seems that all the rules and regs coming from Brussels are stifling innovation in Britain.
  3. Immigration. Under the EU, the British have to apparently take all immigrants, a sizeable portion of which are Muslim, when the Brits already have about 15% Muslims. And, they’ve had problems with Muslim terrorists.
  4. Our sense is that British business taxes are lower than those companies on the continent, and should remain so. We cousins could emulate this low tax policy, but we’ll have to wait a few months.
  5. The Brits had their own union, known as the Commonwealth (Canada, Australia, New Zealand and some lesser countries), so it was rather amazing to us when they went in the EU in the first place. Our trading relations with Britain are excellent. In our experience, it is a lot easier to set up shop as a business branch than in the EU.
  6. We would suspect that the Brits signed on for the trade advantages in the EU, and weren’t too happy with the government regs they’ve gotten in the last few years.

So, that’s our .02 worth. Looking forward to comments on this post.

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Hamlet Ryan

This isn’t a political blog, but we do get into leadership, or lack of it.

Whatever you might say about the Donald, he’s a leader. Get on the noisy train, or he’ll diss you and you’d wish you’d been thrown off. Standard business practice in New York. This ain’t beanbag.

Leadership study #2 is Paul Ryan, whose behavior is looking increasingly bizzare. Forget the fact that if Trump is elected, he might loose his perch as Speaker to someone more in tune with Trump. And he’s doing his best Hamlet interpretation.

Frankly, after he and Trump sort of kissed and made up, we thought the union would at least be civil.

But, it appears that Ryan’s whining again about suing Trump for something. At least Trump is giving Ryan time to come to his senses. Trump is the best opportunity Rs have had in a generation to get an R agenda enacted. But it might not be Ryan’s agenda, it might be a compromise. Trump has given all kinds of signals about what he wants as President.

Trump is pretty tolerant of other idiot politicians (meaning he’ll at least listen to them), but don’t diss him in public. Pick up the phone or the email.

Paul, don’t be surprised if you see a Trumpkin running against you in November, unless you’ve already won your primary. Your governor is on the Trump Train; he’s no fool.

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