Business

Thoughts on Networking

Posted on August 25, 2013. Filed under: Business, Guerilla Marketing, Marketing, Networking, Sales, Social Networking | Tags: , , , |

Last week I attended two networking events.  Now the purpose of networking events is to meet new people, establish new connections, and hopefully obtain referrals for more business.  You would think that such opportunities would be treasured and explored.

Between the two events I collected about 60 business cards and had brief to virtually no conversation with most of the attendees, and talked in depth with about fifteen.  I followed up the next day by inviting each individual to connect with me on LinkedIn, and for those not on LinkedIn I sent a traditional e-mail.  Each individual received a personalized message commenting on what we had discussed, or an apology for not having but a brief interaction.  Some, those who had the potential of mutually beneficial referrals, I suggested we meet for more discussion.

Of those 60 e-mails about 24 replied or accepted my invitation to connect; two initiated the suggestion that we get together to learn more about each others business.  Not a single individual initiated an e-mail to me or a request to connect to them.

Only 40% of the networkers did anything.  And then only after I initiated the dialog.

How is that networking?  About 60% of the people ignored an opportunity.  Now I’m certainly not the best referral opportunity for some of those individuals, but you never know when I, or someone I know, might need a plumber, or painter, or Avon representative, or car, or whatever.

Networking is about staying in touch, but to stay in touch you have to acknowledge a person when they reach out to you.  You have to be willing to interact when someone approaches you.  Most that I met unfortunately didn’t bother.

When networking the name of the “game” is meet as many potential referral opportunities as possible, especially those in fields that would naturally feed into you.  But you keep in touch with everyone because you never know where that next big opportunity might come from.

Not one member even reached out to me and said “Thanks for coming, hope you liked the group and come back.”  Oh I got a packet of info at the end, and two lovely ladies talking up the group, and they did say “come back”, but they were part of the membership committee; none of the regular members said two words to me.

It just really saddened me to attend professional networking groups that aren’t interested in truly reaching out to prospective members or sources of referrals.  And quite honestly member interest and reaching out are qualities I look for in a networking group.

That’s my 2 cents.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

OnStar: Shame on you

Posted on September 22, 2011. Filed under: Business, Customer Service, Good Business, Life | Tags: , , , , , |

For the record I do not own a GM car, but have thought the introduction of OnStar emergency services was a wonderful idea.  And when I saw that you could now purchase OnStar at BestBuy for installation on any car, well I was elated.  Was even considering buying one for my wife’s car.

Now however, my high regard for OnStar has come crashing to the ground … perhaps even below ground.

In the article below it is revealed that OnStar now continuously monitors your vehicle and sells that information to insurance companies, law enforcement, and anyone else who might be interested. 

To put it another way:  Customers purchase the OnStar service and pay a monthly fee so that OnStar can profit even more by selling detailed customer information. 

 That’s just too much of an invasion of privacy for me.

Article:

GM’s OnStar now spying on your car for profit even after you unsubscribe? [UPDATE]

OnStar
 

By Zach Bowman RSS feed

Posted Sep 21st 2011 4:28Pm

 
If you’re the owner of a fairly new General Motors product, you may want to take a close look at the most recent OnStar terms and conditions. As it turns out, the company has altered the parameters under which it can legally collect GPSdata on your vehicle.Originally, the terms and conditions stated that OnStar could only collect information on your vehicle’s location during a theft recovery or in the midst of sending emergency services your way. That has apparently changed. Now, OnStar says that it has the right to collect and sell personal, yet supposedly anonymous information on your vehicle, including speed, location, seat belt usage and other information.

Who would be interested in that data, you ask? Law enforcement agencies, for starters, as well as insurance companies. Perhaps the most startling news to come out of the latest OnStar terms and conditions is the fact that the company can continue to collect the information even after you disconnect the service. If you want the info to be cut off all together, you’ll have to specifically shut down the vehicle’s data connection. If that sounds scary, you should check out a full breakdown of the new policies here.

*UPDATE: OnStar has released a statement in response to the dust up over its newest set of terms and conditions:

 
New Terms & ConditionsThe following statement can be attributed to Joanne Finnorn, Vice President, Subscriber Services

“OnStar has and always will give our customers the choice in how we use their data. We’ve also been very open with our customers about changes in services and privacy terms.

“Under our new Terms and Conditions, when a customer cancels service, we have informed customers that OnStar will maintain a two-way connection to their vehicle unless they ask us not to do so. In the future, this connection may provide us with the capability to alert vehicle occupants about severe weather conditions such as tornado warnings or mandatory evacuations. Another benefit for keeping this connection “open” could be to provide vehicle owners with any updated warranty data or recall issues.

“Of course, if the customer requests us to turn off the two-way connection, we will do as we have always done, and that is honor customers’ requests.

“Our guiding practices regarding sharing our subscribers’ personal information have not changed. We are always very specific about with whom we share customers’ personal information, and how they will use it. We have never sold any personally identifiable information to any third party.

“Keeping the two-way connection open will also allow OnStar to capture general vehicle information that could be used in future product development.

“We apologize for creating any confusion about our Terms and Conditions. We want to make sure we are as clear with our customers as possible, but it’s apparent that we have failed to do this. As always, we are listening to our subscribers’ feedback and we will continue to be open to their suggestions and concerns.”

 
Sorry OnStar, I’m not buying it . . . or your product. 
 
That’s my 2 cents
 
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Comprehensive List of Obama Tax Hikes

Posted on September 8, 2011. Filed under: Business, Economics, Government, Life, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , |

Thought you would find this interesting, it’s from the Americans for Tax Reform:

Which one of these tax hikes will destroy the most jobs?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has signed into law twenty-one new or higher taxes:

1. A 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco:  On February 4, 2009, just sixteen days into his Administration, Obama signed into law a 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco, a hike of 61 cents per pack.  The median income of smokers is just over $36,000 per year.

2. Obamacare Individual Mandate Excise Tax (takes effect in Jan 2014): Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance must pay an income surtax according to the higher of the following

  1 Adult 2 Adults 3+ Adults
2014 1% AGI/$95 1% AGI/$190 1% AGI/$285
2015 2% AGI/$325 2% AGI/$650 2% AGI/$975
2016 + 2.5% AGI/$695 2.5% AGI/$1390 2.5% AGI/$2085
 

Exemptions for religious objectors, undocumented immigrants, prisoners, those earning less than the poverty line, members of Indian tribes, and hardship cases (determined by HHS). Bill: PPACA; Page: 317-337

3. Obamacare Employer Mandate Tax (takes effect Jan. 2014):  If an employer does not offer health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit, the employer must pay an additional non-deductible tax of $2000 for all full-time employees.  Applies to all employers with 50 or more employees. If any employee actually receives coverage through the exchange, the penalty on the employer for that employee rises to $3000. If the employer requires a waiting period to enroll in coverage of 30-60 days, there is a $400 tax per employee ($600 if the period is 60 days or longer). Bill: PPACA; Page: 345-346

Combined score of individual and employer mandate tax penalty: $65 billion/10 years

4. Obamacare Surtax on Investment Income (Tax hike of $123 billion/takes effect Jan. 2013):  Creation of a new, 3.8 percent surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 single).  This would result in the following top tax rates on investment income: Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 87-93

  Capital Gains Dividends Other*
2011-2012 15% 15% 35%
2013+ (current law) 23.8% 43.4% 43.4%
2013+ (Obama budget) 23.8% 23.8% 43.4%
 

*Other unearned income includes (for surtax purposes) gross income from interest, annuities, royalties, net rents, and passive income in partnerships and Subchapter-S corporations.  It does not include municipal bond interest or life insurance proceeds, since those do not add to gross income.  It does not include active trade or business income, fair market value sales of ownership in pass-through entities, or distributions from retirement plans.  The 3.8% surtax does not apply to non-resident aliens.

5. Obamacare Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans (Tax hike of $32 bil/takes effect Jan. 2018): Starting in 2018, new 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans ($10,200 single/$27,500 family).  Higher threshold ($11,500 single/$29,450 family) for early retirees and high-risk professions.  CPI +1 percentage point indexed. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,941-1,956

6. Obamacare Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax (Tax hike of $86.8 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Current law and changes:

  First $200,000
($250,000 Married)
Employer/Employee
All Remaining Wages
Employer/Employee
Current Law 1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed
1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed
Obamacare Tax Hike 1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed
1.45%/2.35%
3.8% self-employed
 

Bill: PPACA, Reconciliation            Act; Page: 2000-2003; 87-93

7. Obamacare Medicine Cabinet Tax (Tax hike of $5 bil/took effect Jan. 2011): Americans no longer able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin). Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,957-1,959

8. Obamacare HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike (Tax hike of $1.4 bil/took effect Jan. 2011): Increases additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,959

9. Obamacare Flexible Spending Account Cap – aka “Special Needs Kids Tax” (Tax hike of $13 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Imposes cap on FSAs of $2500 (now unlimited).  Indexed to inflation after 2013. There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children.  There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education.  Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs educationBill: PPACA; Page: 2,388-2,389

10. Obamacare Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers (Tax hike of $20 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Medical device manufacturers employ 360,000 people in 6000 plants across the country. This law imposes a new 2.3% excise tax.  Exempts items retailing for <$100. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,980-1,986

11. Obamacare “Haircut” for Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI (Tax hike of $15.2 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Currently, those facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction for medical expenses to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI).  The new provision imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. Waived for 65+ taxpayers in 2013-2016 only. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,994-1,995

12. Obamacare Tax on Indoor Tanning Services (Tax hike of $2.7 billion/took effect July 2010): New 10 percent excise tax on Americans using indoor tanning salons. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,397-2,399

13. Obamacare elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D (Tax hike of $4.5 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013) Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,994

14. Obamacare Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike (Tax hike of $0.4 bil/took effect Jan. 1 2010): The special tax deduction in current law for Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies would only be allowed if 85 percent or more of premium revenues are spent on clinical services. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,004

15. Obamacare Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals (Min$/took effect immediately): $50,000 per hospital if they fail to meet new “community health assessment needs,” “financial assistance,” and “billing and collection” rules set by HHS. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,961-1,971

16. Obamacare Tax on Innovator Drug Companies (Tax hike of $22.2 bil/took effect Jan. 2010): $2.3 billion annual tax on the industry imposed relative to share of sales made that year. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,971-1,980

17. Obamacare Tax on Health Insurers (Tax hike of $60.1 bil/takes effect Jan. 2014): Annual tax on the industry imposed relative to health insurance premiums collected that year.  Phases in gradually until 2018.  Fully-imposed on firms with $50 million in profits. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,986-1,993

18. Obamacare $500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives (Tax hike of $0.6 bil/takes effect Jan 2013). Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,995-2,000

19. Obamacare Employer Reporting of Insurance on W-2 ($min/takes effect Jan. 2012): Preamble to taxing health benefits on individual tax returns. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,957

20. Obamacare “Black liquor” tax hike (Tax hike of $23.6 billion/took effect immediately).  This is a tax increase on a type of bio-fuel. Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 105

21. Obamacare Codification of the “economic substance doctrine” (Tax hike of $4.5 billion/took effect immediately).  This provision allows the IRS to disallow completely-legal tax deductions and other legal tax-minimizing plans just because the IRS deems that the action lacks “substance” and is merely intended to reduce taxes owed. Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 108

Read more: http://www.atr.org/comprehensive-list-obama-tax-hikes-a6433#ixzz1XP3MgyYP

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Hobby Lobby, it’s June

Posted on June 17, 2011. Filed under: Business, Life, Marketing | Tags: , , , , , , |

My family and I were in Hobby Lobby today, and I was surprised to see they were putting Christmas decorations up for sale.

In June!!!!

It’s over six months until Christmas and Hobby Lobby was selling Christmas ornaments.  That’s just starting the season a tad too early in my opinion.  When I was a child, (yes, I understand we’re going back a couple of hundred years), but stores didn’t start the Christmas season until the day after Thanksgiving.  Then they started the Christmas push before Thanksgiving, and more recently the Christmas push starts in October before Halloween.

And now, it’s before the 4th of July.

At this rate it won’t be long before the Christmas selling season will start on January 1st . . . or maybe even December 26th.  Wouldn’t that be something, the day after Christmas and it’s time to start shopping for next years Christmas presents.

It’s time to slow down and be a bit more realistic.  We don’t need to start the Christmas season in July.  Come on Hobby Lobby, use some common sense.

That’s my 2 cents.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Reprimanding 101

Posted on March 18, 2011. Filed under: Business, Customer Service, Good Business, Labor, Life | Tags: , , , |

From time to time even the best of employees may require a performance correction.  But there is a right way and a wrong way to correct or reprimand someone.

No one likes to have their supervisor tell them that they are messing up, and frankly these conversations can be more unsettling to the employee than you might imagine.

For our purposes right now I am talking about oral not written reprimands.

Being told you are “messing up” is very embarrassing, and should be done away from coworkers.  Heaping public humiliation on the employee not only demoralizes them, but also their coworkers; and it diminishes your stature.

What is the correct way to reprimand an employee?

1. You move them into your office or at the very least out of ear-shot of coworkers.

2. Always speak in a calm voice.  If you can’t be calm then wait until you can be.

3. Tell them what you observed that was wrong, and allow them to tell their side of the story.  Maybe what you saw or heard was only part of the story.  You need to be sure of your facts before proceeding.

4. If they were in error explain exactly what they did wrong and how they should handle it next time.

5. Do not threaten, lay blame, be sarcastic, or talk down to the employee.

When you take an employee aside they are automatically on the defensive, but raising your voice only adds to the defensiveness and tension.  Neither you nor the employee need that.

In retail situations I have seen managers reprimand employees in front of customers, that should never be done.

Employees want to do a good job, your job as a manager is to help them do the best job they possibly can.

You do not want them to live in fear of you.  You should have their respect and trust, and you get that by being considerate in all your dealings with your team.  That includes the way you reprimand.

Treat your employees well, and they in turn will do the best job they know how, which will take care of your customers and your business.

Are there times you want to beat your head against the wall?  Sure.

And there will be times when you will not understand how they could possibly have done something so silly, but take a deep breath and count to ten a couple of times.

Everyone makes mistakes, even you.  So reprimand privately, quietly, and with respect for the individual.

 That’s my 2 cents

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

New and Increased Taxes Because of Obamacare

Posted on January 14, 2011. Filed under: Business, Economy, Government, Legislation, Politics | Tags: , , , , |

From the web site Americans for Tax Reform comes this information:

Next week, the U.S. House of Representatives will be voting on an historic repeal of the Obamacare law.  While there are many reasons to oppose this flawed government health insurance law, it is important to remember that Obamacare is also one of the largest tax increases in American history.  Below is a comprehensive list of the two dozen new or higher taxes that pay for Obamcare’s expansion of government spending and interference between doctors and patients.

Individual Mandate Excise Tax(Jan 2014): Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance must pay an income surtax according to the higher of the following

  1 Adult 2 Adults 3+ Adults
2014 1% AGI/$95 1% AGI/$190 1% AGI/$285
2015 2% AGI/$325 2% AGI/$650 2% AGI/$975
2016 + 2.5% AGI/$695 2.5% AGI/$1390 2.5% AGI/$2085

Exemptions for religious objectors, undocumented immigrants, prisoners, those earning less than the poverty line, members of Indian tribes, and hardship cases (determined by HHS)

Employer Mandate Tax(Jan 2014):  If an employer does not offer health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit, the employer must pay an additional non-deductible tax of $2000 for all full-time employees.  This provision applies to all employers with 50 or more employees. If any employee actually receives coverage through the exchange, the penalty on the employer for that employee rises to $3000. If the employer requires a waiting period to enroll in coverage of 30-60 days, there is a $400 tax per employee ($600 if the period is 60 days or longer).

Combined score of individual and employer mandate tax penalty: $65 billion/10 years

Surtax on Investment Income ($123 billion/Jan. 2013):  This increase involves the creation of a new, 3.8 percent surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 single).  This would result in the following top tax rates on investment income

  Capital Gains Dividends Other*
2010 15% 15% 35%
2011-2012 (current law) 20% 39.6% 39.6%
2011-2012 (Obama budget) 20% 20% 39.6%
2013+ (current law) 23.8% 43.4% 43.4%
2013+ (Obama budget) 23.8% 23.8% 43.4%
 
*Other unearned income includes (for surtax purposes) gross income from interest, annuities, royalties, net rents, and passive income in partnerships and Subchapter-S corporations.  It does not include municipal bond interest or life insurance proceeds, since those do not add to gross income.  It does not include active trade or business income, fair market value sales of ownership in pass-through entities, or distributions from retirement plans.  The 3.8% surtax does not apply to non-resident aliens.

Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans($32 bil/Jan 2018): Starting in 2018, new 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans ($10,200 single/$27,500 family). For early retirees and high-risk professions exists a higher threshold ($11,500 single/$29,450 family).  CPI +1 percentage point indexed.

Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax($86.8 bil/Jan 2013): Current law and changes:

  First $200,000
($250,000 Married)
Employer/Employee
All Remaining Wages
Employer/Employee
Current Law 1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed
1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed
Obamacare Tax Hike 1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed
1.45%/2.35%
3.8% self-employed

Medicine Cabinet Tax($5 bil/Jan 2011): Americans no longer able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin)

HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike($1.4 bil/Jan 2011): Increases additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.

Flexible Spending Account Cap – aka“Special Needs Kids Tax”($13 bil/Jan 2013): Imposes cap of $2500 (Indexed to inflation after 2013) on FSAs (now unlimited). . There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children.  There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education.  Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. 

Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers($20 bil/Jan 2013): Medical device manufacturers employ 360,000 people in 6000 plants across the country. This law imposes a new 2.3% excise tax.  Exemptions include items retailing for less than $100. 

Raise “Haircut” for Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI($15.2 bil/Jan 2013): Currently, those facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction for medical expenses to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI).  The new provision imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI; it is waived for 65+ taxpayers in 2013-2016 only.

Tax on Indoor Tanning Services($2.7 billion/July 1, 2010): New 10 percent excise tax on Americans using indoor tanning salons

Elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D($4.5 bil/Jan 2013)

Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike($0.4 bil/Jan 2010): The special tax deduction in current law for Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies would only be allowed if 85 percent or more of premium revenues are spent on clinical services

Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals(Min$/immediate): $50,000 per hospital if they fail to meet new “community health assessment needs,” “financial assistance,” and “billing and collection” rules set by HHS

Tax on Innovator Drug Companies($22.2 bil/Jan 2010): $2.3 billion annual tax on the industry imposed relative to share of sales made that year.

Tax on Health Insurers($60.1 bil/Jan 2014): Annual tax on the industry imposed relative to health insurance premiums collected that year. The stipulation phases in gradually until 2018, and is fully-imposed on firms with $50 million in profits.

$500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives($0.6 bil/Jan 2013)

Employer Reporting of Insurance on W-2(Min$/Jan 2011): Preamble to taxing health benefits on individual tax returns.

Corporate 1099-MISC Information Reporting($17.1 bil/Jan 2012): Requires businesses to send 1099-MISC information tax forms to corporations (currently limited to individuals), a huge compliance burden for small employers

“Black liquor” tax hike(Tax hike of $23.6 billion).  This is a tax increase on a type of bio-fuel.

Codification of the “economic substance doctrine”(Tax hike of $4.5 billion).  This provision allows the IRS to disallow completely-legal tax deductions and other legal tax-minimizing plans just because the IRS deems that the action lacks “substance” and is merely intended to reduce taxes owed.

Read more: http://www.atr.org/comprehensive-list-tax-hikes-obamacare-a5758##ixzz1B33u6QUa

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

50 Billion in New Taxes Headed Our Way

Posted on September 6, 2010. Filed under: Business, Government, Legislation, Life, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

A Fox News article  gives us the depressing news that the President is out to weigh us down with a new 50 Billion dollar “stimulus” plan that will be paid for by an increase in taxes on oil and gas companies, who will naturally pass those taxes on to us.  (Note, I do not fault the oil and gas companies for passing along this tax burden, it is common business practice to increase your prices when your expenses go up.)

But with gas near $3.00 per gallon, can the typical individual afford even higher gasoline prices?

And with most states drowning in red ink will they really take this stimulus money to build the roads and rail roads it is intended to build, or will they use it to pay existing debt and keep existing workers and projects going?

I’ve reprinted the entire FoxNews article below.

(http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/09/06/obama-campaigns-democrats-new-infrastructure-investment-plan/)

(begin article)

In a speech that was part Democratic campaign push, part policy prescription, President Obama on Monday proposed a $50 billion investment in long-term infrastructure projects that he claimed will stimulate the flailing economy, create jobs and refill the exhausted federal highway trust fund.

Speaking to a crowd of union employees at Laborfest in Milwaukee, the president offered a six-year, front-loaded plan to rebuild 150,000 miles of our roads, lay 4,000 miles of railways and restore 150 miles of airport runways.

The proposal also calls for a strategy to build a national high-speed rail network and create an “infrastructure bank” that uses competitive measures to determine which projects receive funding rather than earmarks and grants.

The president said the project will be paid for — assuming congressional support — with tax hikes on oil and gas companies and will cut waste and bureaucracy by consolidating more than 100 duplicative programs. 

“This will not only create jobs immediately, it’s also going to make our economy hum in the long-run,” the president said. “It’s a plan that history tells us can and should attract bipartisan support. It’s a plan that says even in the still-smoldering aftermath of the worst recession in our lifetimes, America can act to shape our own destiny, to move this country forward, to leave our children something better — something that lasts.”

But based on the rest of the president’s speech — and congressional Republicans’ early reactions — it is likely to be a tough sell.

“Americans are rightly skeptical about Washington Democrats asking for more of their money — and their patience,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “After all, they’re still looking for the ‘shovel-ready’ jobs they were promised more than a year ago. A last-minute, cobbled-together stimulus bill with more than $50 billion in new tax hikes will not reverse the complete lack of confidence Americans have in Washington Democrats’ ability to help this economy.”

A senior official acknowledged before the president’s speech that the administration can’t estimate how many jobs might be created. 

“It would obviously (be) a substantial number of jobs. But just as important is that this would be a sustained program with increased investment over six years so it would be a sustained increase in jobs as well as America’s productivity,” the official said.

The GOP response shouldn’t surprise Obama, who used much of his speech to accuse Republicans of rejecting plans to strengthen the middle class and rebuild the economy.

“Even on things we usually agree, they say no,” Obama said of the GOP. “They just think it’s better to score political points before an election than to solve problems.”

In a combative tone, the president pointed specifically to House Minority Leader John Boehner as he laid into Republicans for objecting to a package last month that sent $26 billion to the states to keep teachers on the payroll and pay for police officers by sending additional Medicaid money so states could redirect that cash for salaries. The bill was paid for with cuts to expanded food stamp payments and higher taxes on multinational corporations.

“You know how we paid for it? By closing one of these ridiculous tax loophole that actually rewarded corporations for shipping jobs and profits overseas,” Obama said. “Even a lot of America’s biggest corporations agreed that this loophole didn’t make sense, agreed that it should be closed, that agreed that it wasn’t fair — but the man who thinks he’s gonna be speaker, he wants to re-open this loophole.”

Obama said he doesn’t want to re-live the past when Republicans led Congress, arguing that not only does the GOP not have new ideas, but the party wants to return to past policies that put the country on a downward spiral. 

“These are the folks whose policies helped devastate our middle class. They drove our economy into a ditch. … And then they’ve got the nerve to ask for the keys back,” Obama said. 

But Republicans offered a few reminders for voters as well. Boehner issued a statement recalling that the Obama administration said if the $814 billion stimulus bill passed, unemployment would not rise above 8 percent. It now stands at 9.6 percent, its 19th consecutive month above 8 percent and 16th consecutive month above 9 percent.

“If we’ve learned anything from the past 18 months, it’s that we can’t spend our way to prosperity,” Boehner said in a statement. “We don’t need more government ‘stimulus’ spending — we need to end Washington Democrats’ out-of-control spending spree, stop their tax hikes and create jobs by eliminating the job-killing uncertainty that is hampering our small businesses.”

(end article)

And he is doing this new tax initiative as something for Democrats to run on this November.  “Vote for me, I want to increase your taxes by 50 Billion dollars” … I think he is losing touch with reality.

That’s my 2 cents.

 

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Priorities

Posted on July 19, 2010. Filed under: Business, Life, self-help | Tags: , , , |

Ask just about anyone what their priorities in life are and you will usually get:

  • God
  • Family
  • Work
  • Country

Not necessarily in that order, but along those lines.  I have no quarrel with the list, but I heard a motivational CD recently where the speaker challenged that typical thinking.

He said you should put yourself first; you should be your number one priority.

If you don’t take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally then you can not take care of anything else.

How can you take care of your family or work if you are in poor health?

How can you be effective and on the top of your game if your mind isn’t sharp and nourished?

If you aren’t physically fit you won’t have the energy or the stamina to take care of your job, let alone all the things that need to be done around the house.

So make YOU  your number one priority, so that you can take care of those other equally important items on your list of priorities.

 That’s my 2 cents.

To get all my thoughts on business and marketing subscribe to my monthly newsletter.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Creating a Print Ad

Posted on July 11, 2010. Filed under: Advertising, Business, Good Business, Marketing | Tags: , , , , |

I have spoken in other articles that your headline is of primary importance. 

While you should pay careful attention to every word in your ad, you have got to get the headline right.  If the headline doesn’t grab their attention then they aren’t going to read your ad, no matter how wonderful the copy is.

Size Matters

A large ad has a much better chance of being seen and read over a small ad.

The smallest print ad in a newspaper or magazine I would recommend is 1/4 page.  (Yellow page advertising is an entirely different subject.)

Those small business card size ads simply do no pull customers.  They do tend to create a number of salespeople calling you, trying to sell you something.  Not what you want an ad to do.

Graphics Can Help

An appropriate graphic can help draw a prospect into your ad.  However, sometimes a graphic can distract so much from your message that it actually hurts the effectiveness of the ad.

If the image provides information or helps to illustrate your message, that’s fine; but don’t put in a graphic just because it is “cute” or “funny”, those are the wrong reasons to have a graphic.

You wouldn’t put in words that diminish your message, so don’t utilize a graphic that diminishes your message.

Reverse Type

Some people in the ad business think reverse type is a real attention grabber.  It isn’t.

Reverse type is when you have a dark background with light-colored letters.  Most frequently a black background with white letters.  Generally, it is much more difficult to read reverse type than normal type, such as the words in this article.

Reading reverse type takes longer and requires more effort from the brain simply because you mind is not accustomed to reading reverse type.

There are times when reverse type can be useful in getting a prospects attention, such as:

The words are large and easy to see; there are just two words; and the red helps to attract our attention.  Using reverse to draw attention to a specific element is fine, but don’t make the entire ad in reverse

 

Color Can Help

Color can highlight important information, draw the readers eye to certain areas, and in general make the ad more visually appealing.

But sometimes less is better.  Just because you have the option of color doesn’t mean you need to utilize it.  I have seen some very powerful and effective ads that were simple black & white.

Not all colors work well together.  People can not focus on the colors red and blue at the same time.

While it may appear that you are seeing them at the same time, it is an illusion.  In reality, your mind is switching from red to blue and back again so quickly that it appears “normal” to you.

A final word about color. 

Red denotes action, use it to grab a readers attention, (Act Fast), or have your call to action in red, such as Call Now.

Blue elicits trust, so key words and phrases such as Trust Brock, or a headline in blue, (Brock Increases Your Sales), would give the reader an unconscious favorable impression.

Serif or San-Serif?

Some type fonts are simply easier to read.  Most, (but not all), books, newspapers, and magazines are printed with a serif font.

The font in this article has “feet”; while some fonts such as Aerial do not.  That’s the difference.

Generally, it is easier to read a serif font than it is to read a san-serif.  Why? Books have forever been printed in a serif font, and like black on white printing, it is what our minds are accustomed to.

By now you have no doubt noticed that I use a san-serif font.  To me it gives a cleaner appearance in electronic communications, and that’s why I use it.

Your Ad Copy

This is where you present the (hopefully) compelling information that will get consumers to pick up the phone and call, or rush to your business with wads of cash in their hands.

Make your points clear, concise, succinct, and simple.

I urge that not because the reader is mentally challenged, just the opposite. 

People don’t read what doesn’t interest them; so you need to get your points across as quickly and clearly as possible.

Make important points in large bold print, and then provide additional information and details in smaller “normal” size print.

You do not need to tell the prospect everything in one ad.  The purpose is to get their attention, “wet thei appetite”, and hopefully seek you out for complete information.

The Most Important Word

This one word in all of marketing  is the most important:  YOU

All of your material should focus on the customer and personalize it as much as possible.

It’s not “We help customers increase sales”, it’s “We help you increase sales”, or “What would increased sales mean to you?”, or “What would increased sales mean to your company?”

Personalize all of your marketing, not just the print ads, but radio, television, and especially when doing a face-to-face sales presentation. 

Make it personal and make it count.

 And that’s my 2 cents.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Thoughts on Networking

Posted on June 29, 2010. Filed under: Brock Henderson, Business, Good Business, Guerilla Marketing, Marketing, Networking, Sales | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

I attended a networking event today that overall was quite enjoyable.  We met at a local Italian restaurant, had a bit of open networking then sat down to eat. 

After eating came a period networking that was “speed dating” style.  Half of us remained seated and the other half rotated from person/position to person/position every five minutes.  Got to meet a great many very nice individuals.  Some were competitors, but they were still nice people.

But I was struck by the number of individuals, (about four), that would hand me a business card with scratched out information and corrected information hand written on the card.

For one individual it was, in my mind anyway, excusable — she had only recently started with the company and they hadn’t gotten her business cards yet.

One individual had so much hand written on the card, and so much scratched out that it almost looked like he had simply picked up someone’s business card and scribbled his info on it.

Is that the kind of image you want to give as a business professional?  Computer generated business cards, while not top-of-the-line in image, would have been better than a card all scribbled on.

That business card is how people will remember you, and this gentleman will certainly be remembered . . . but not in a good way.  Oh, his profession?  Marketing Consultant.  What kind of marketing message does a scribbled business card send? 

To add to the image problem he wore jeans, while the rest of us were in business attire; and his body language screamed “I don’t care”.

It’s not unusual to form strategic alliances with competitors on occasion, but I saw no reason to want to form any alliance with this gentleman.  He certainly seemed like a nice individual, but his attitude, attire, and business card all said “unprofessional”.

In marketing you should be presenting a unified image.  All your marketing materials, letter head, staff, and everything else needs to be sending the same message about you and your company.  When they don’t match it sends an unconsious signal to your prospect that something isn’t right; and they become reluctant to do business with you.

Make sure you are sending the right message every time you step out the door.

That’s my 2 cents.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

« Previous Entries
  • My charming self

  • Subscribe to My Newsletters

  • Visit My Website

  • Connect With Me

    View Brock Henderson's profile on LinkedIn
  • Twitter

  • Get Increased Traffic to Your Web Site

  • August 2017
    M T W T F S S
    « Aug    
     123456
    78910111213
    14151617181920
    21222324252627
    28293031  
  • Top Posts

  • Archives

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...