Small Business Owners – Making Millions, of Jobs That Is…

Obama - Biden Entreprenever_edited-1President Obama, you coined the phrase “middle class economics” as one of your latest “camplaign” appeals.

I coined the phrase “Entreprenever” for you.

Mr. Obama, you have never been an entrepreneur.  You are successful beyond the imagination of most people’s dreams.  You are obviously a highly talented and intelligent person. You have a loving family.

You have a loyal and caring following… then here comes the but, at least not until, and unless, you are willing to walk in a small business owner’s shoes, you’re politics hurt small business owners.

I’m an entrepreneur.  I’m not a millionaire, but job growth is a constant in my business. There are a lot of small business entrepreneurs out there earning millions in taxable revenues for their small businesses, who aren’t millionaires.  They’re making jobs, not millions.  Why not millions of dollars? Too many regulations, too many taxes, too much big government getting in the way.

Small Business Owners make millions of jobs, not millions of dollars! That’s what I call “American Exceptionalism.”

Mr. President, if you truly want to help the middle class, help small businesses grow and hire more people.  They’re your middle class economy.  There are many up and coming millionaires that are making products, providing services and creating jobs.  They should be paying less taxes, NOT more, than they do today.

Small businesses want to invest their income in products, services and jobs, not squandered on meeting meaningless regulatory bureaucratic “make work.”  Call it unintended consequences, but I don’t think you really care, or you care more about bureaucratic jobs than you do about free enterprise jobs?  Free enterprise better defines “middle class economics” than big government any day!

Free enterprise defines middle class economics” better than big government any day!!

Small businesses that file their taxes as individuals need lower income tax rates, even at the top income brackets, so that we receive a fair return for the risk we take to grow our businesses.  In my case, growing a successful business from 1 to 40 FTEs required; cashing in all my savings, a second mortgage on the house, personal loans from friends and family, 12-14 hour days, no PTO or vacations for the first 10-12 years. The mortgage on my house was $100K when I bought the house.  Twenty-five years later after loans, it is still over $200K.  If I’m not successful, that will be my legacy to my children, not your children.

Before you insert your platitudes about every American giving their fair share, you’re too intelligent to believe our current entitlement society, including illegal immigrants choking our medical, educational and government resources, is fair to hard working legal US CITIZENS.

The failure rate for small businesses like my own is one success in five failures.  So where is your reward at the end of the tunnel?  Higher taxes.   You don’t care, but higher taxes on small business owners prevent further investment in their business,  reduces the chances of paying off outstanding loans and lost income due to lack of cash flow.

I didn’t have a 401K or savings account for over 10 years.  I don’t have a huge stock portfolio, a second home, fancy cars or take Alaskan cruises… well OK,  I did take an Alaskan cruise with my wife,  It was awesome!  Should I thank you Mr. President?  Higher taxes is how you, our President rewards hard work, ingenuity and innovation.  That’s why I coined the phrase for you, President Obama, Entreprenever.

Yes, I’ve seen the news stories about this small business and that small business, who obtained and SBA loan or some other government handout.  Good for them!  That’s great theater.  That’s great politics!  You’re the best!

I’m not going to get into the weeds on excessive regulation and the politics here.  There are plenty of people capable of doing so.  Of this I am certain.  You’ve never run a business, certainly not a small business, and certainly never had to put your life’s savings on the line for a small business.

Mr. Obama, you’re ticket’s already been punched.  You’ve already made millions.  You stand to make millions more.  Maybe you already have, so what’s my point?  My point is you can never say you are for the little guy, the small business owner, end of story.

For all the Rich and Famous liberals out there that make millions and billions, mind your own f$$$$n” business!! If you want to raise taxes on people, think about small business owners versus our government’s track record in making money.  You’re pretty good at it, why don’t you get it!!!

We’re $18 Trillion in debt.  You could let big government spend more money on the backs of hard-working small business people, as well as, their employees and their families.  You could push for lower taxes on small business owners or you could just put you money where your mouth is…

Send your contributions to:

Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Credit Accounting Branch
3700 East-West Highway, Room 622D
Hyattsville, MD 20782

Much obliged!

Sincerely,

The ideacapitalist

Small Business Owner

Defining a Small Business

Osmar_Schindler_David_und_GoliathLet’s face it, we are a small business, under 50 FTEs.  We’re no Goliath.  We’re not an Apple, a Google or a Microsoft.  We are a David, and to a degree, a family.  We actually make a difference.  People are our rocks and our products and services are our slings.
Today when technology changes in a blink of an eye, we would maintain the Goliath’s with the heavy armor and the shield may have the heavier burden. Every day there are new challenges.  The challenges we face with regard to technology, products and customers are also interwoven with life’s challenges.
Often they relate to challenges we face at home with our families and friends.  So how we perform as a business can affect how we perform at home.  In retrospect, if we are helping each other at work, we are helping each other at home.  More so than at a Goliath, we depend on each other. Everyone who works for a small business has to become a leader in some respect. We have to take a leadership role in order to insure our own success and that of others.  Where someone may be strong others may be weak.
It’s always a hard choice to make when we have work responsibilities that take time from family and friends.  These choices are not taken lightly.  We depend on each other.  Consequently there’s little room here for failure or mediocrity.  Isn’t that the way it should be? Many small businesses believed they could successfully run a business, make a fair profit, compete with the big boys and still provide a personal touch.  What a novel idea!

Small businesses have built their business predicated on personalized service.  They have survived the white box commoditization and low margins of off the shelf products and services and transcended the call center case number, whereby if your case number was called and a problem was solved it was like winning the lottery…”

Our work affects the people we are close to or have close ties with including our customers and fellow employees in a way much more intimately than in a large corporation.  Our customers and partners take a chance doing business with a David.  Each employee has the opportunity to help a small company succeed.  We see and hear from customers every day, instances where fellow employees are stressed out and still come through with a win. This is most often a collaborative effort. To put it in the right perspective…

Our greatest achievement is the relationships we have developed over the years with our customers, employees, partners and friends, of which many are synonymous. 

You Cannot Govern Leadership

individualism

While small business owners are putting up their houses and their life savings to survive, to cash flow their business, to hire employees, President Obama was and still is, greasing the palms of his political donors in the name of greentech failures, spending billions of our taxpayer dollars.

The alarming failure of big government was never more evident than when President Obama publicly and carelessly joked about a trillion dollars (stimulus (taxpayer) money) wasted on “Shovel-Ready Was Not As Shovel-Ready As We Expected.”  Where was the red flag then?  Where is the red flag now?

The only hope I see for this country is individual responsibility, and leadership that creates prosperity, not big government. You cannot govern leadership.   Today individual responsibility, leadership, and American exceptionalism are too often political talking points and empty words. When individual leadership fails, or fails to materialize, it creates dependency.

Leonardo da Vinci said it 480 years ago and he said it in Italian. Here is the clearest translation:  “People of accomplishment rarely sit back and let things happen to them. They go out and happen to things.”

I don’t do what you’re passionate about, but be passionate about what you do.  Don’t follow your passion.  Let your passion follow you.  That’s leadership.

As a small business owner after 25 years it has been my experience, the most important life decisions you make, have to be made on your own.  I built my business and leadership is key.

Others will pontificate as to what a leader is, what a leader must do and how a leader must act.  I don’t have time for all that and neither do you.  The best way to find out if you are a leader is to deal with life’s biggest challenges when it comes to crunch time.

Decide on your own and act accordingly.  You’ll no doubt get plenty of advice, but no one is going to know better than you, what to do.  You are better qualified than anyone or anything to make the decisions that affect you personally and those who depend on you.

There’s a disturbing trend in our day-to-day lives towards dependency on others, big institutions, big labor and big government.  Sweat equity has been replaced by entitlement equity.  People measure success based on what they can get, not what they can give.  

A major new study by Harvard economist Raj Chetty, however, shows things haven’t changed all that much. “Children entering the labor market today have the same chances of moving up in the income distribution relative to their parents as children born in the 1970s,” it finds.  “That doesn’t mean politicians can’t improve people’s chances of rising. It’s just that the best way they can do so is by getting out of the way.”  The Foundry

The problem is the more you lean on the government, the more your life depends on government.  You are governed by more  laws, more regulations and more public policy today than ever before.  Who you become, what you do, and how you do it, is shaped by public opinion and the mainstream media.

In this new era influenced by mass media and public opinion, big government is their divined solution to all your problems.  American exceptionalism, entrepreneurship and the multitude of small business success stories that built a thriving post WWII economy, are too often ignored, discounted and discouraged with crippling regulation and  laws that are the new normal.

What if a typical family spent like government?

What if a typical family spent like government?

Individualism and leadership are sorely needed.  People, not big government, can make a difference.  You and I need to step up to the plate.  Our country’s in peril as is our next generation.  Take on the career politicians who have created roadblocks to personal responsibility and leadership.  Our country is on the line. Vote them out in 2014 and 2016.

Career politicians passing laws that control our lives severely curtail the entrepreneurial spirit and small business startups, the little engine that could, that should and does grow the economy.   Consider the cost of healthcare has virtually doubled for small businesses in the past 5 years.  

Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of free enterprise. Their heart is beating for their next customer, for their fellow employees and their families.  Their soul is intact.  They epitomize what comprises the backbone of our country, small business.  In their shadows are the real leaders, the chief cooks and bottle washers; the real risk takers that stand behind their champions, small business owners.  Small business owners are essential to the future success of the US economy.

Entrepreneurs are not the only leaders.  Leaders are people I see when I come to work before dawn.  I see them after dusk, when darkness settles.  They are resourceful.  They don’t think twice.  If you say something to them about the long hours they keep, they will readily commiserate with you, complain if you will, but there is a sense of pride in their voice.  There is a smile on their face.  These hard working people who are the heart and soul of the US economy.

In an atmosphere where people lean more on government, blame others and institutions for their circumstance, we need more leaders. Whether you are a parent, employee, small business owner or CEO of a multi-billion dollar corporation; people depend on you for guidance.  You are accountable for the success or failure of others.  You have to make decisions that affect other people for better or for worse. 

In business or in your personal life, when the time comes, no one will make the important decisions for you.  Don’t get me wrong.  You will get plenty of advice.  “If I were you…” “You should…”  “You could…” “You might…” Later on, after the decision has been made, you will summarily receive the same words, only in a different context.  “If it were me…” “I would have…”  I could have…”  “I would have… Draw on your own experience.  Make your own decisions.

The most important decisions you can make, are made by you alone.  That’s leadership.  You can change the world, change you can believe in.

Private sector velocity!? In 2011, IBM CEO, Palmisano offered the Obama Administration to fix Medicare and Medicaid to the tune of $900B for FREE. He was turned down twice!

AM-BB803_Watson_G_20140108221204

IBM Watson

This is mind boggling to me.  IBM’s CEO offering the Obama Administration software to fix Medicare/Medicaid for free…$200B in fraud, plus remedies for other healthcare concerns to the tune of $900B!  Reportedly the Obama Administration refused this offer not once but twice!

The obvious reason is Obama is running for re-election on Obamacare.  His reelection depended on the hype of the success of Obamacare as a means to reduce Medicare and Medicaid fraud.  It is one of their five major talking points of their Medicare.gov website.  “The life of the Medicare Trust fund will be extended to at least 2029—a 12-year extension due to reductions in waste, fraud and abuse, and Medicare costs, which will provide you with future savings on your premiums and coinsurance.”  Why would you want someone in the private sector solving the problem?

Plus. if you were a freeloading on Medicare or Medicaid, would you vote Republican?

I had to dig to find this original video, because I was very skeptical.., scroll to two minutes into the video. My jaw dropped by the end.  VIDEO —> http://on.wsj.com/193939f

HERE’S THE NARRATIVE…
The video opens with the Journal’s Alan Murray saying: “When President Obama was elected, you started spending a fair amount of time at the White House.”

Palmisano: “Yes, I did.”

Murray: “What was that all about?”

“Well,” Palmisano replied, “part of it was the administration was reaching out to the business community. I mean, I was one of many, obviously … around economic (issues)… So we were having lots of input, lots of exchange. That’s what we all were working on at the time.”

Asked how he thought the White House visits had turned out, Palmisano replied: “We haven’t made any progress. It doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a lot of interaction.”

Murray: “Well, what’s the point of interaction if it doesn’t lead to progress?”

Palmisano: “You’d have to ask the people who aren’t progressing.”

He added, We’ve done tons of work, and for whatever sets of reasons, we haven’t been able to establish, be in sync with, the priorities.”

Palmisano offered an example: “We — and I’m fairly confident about this one because it required no legislative change — we could have improved quality and reduced the costs of the health-care system by $900 billion… It was self-funding. You could have insured anybody you wanted to, illegal aliens, dogs, cats, ponies, whatever, right? And the stuff was simple. Did not require any big legislative change.”

About $400 billion of the reduced costs could be realized through negotiating discounts with drug companies, just as IBM negotiates its own discounts, he said. “Buy a nationwide discount,” he said. “Just like pharmaceutical companies sell to us on a nationwide discount. It’s no different. I said, ‘Take the IBM discount! Take the IBM discount.’ ”

Another example of savings: “Two hundred billion in fraud. That was a 3 percent improvement, by the way. This wasn’t transformational. … There’s so much fraud in the system — 3 percent and then Year 7 was 8 percent, Year 5 was 5 percent. It’s 200 billion.”

Murray: “And why didn’t they do that? Is there a fraud –”

Palmisano: “I said we would do it for free to prove that it works. They turned us down. You’ll have to ask them… Free. Free wasn’t good enough.”

I didn't know!

I didn’t know!

Murray asks again: Why?

Palmisano replies, “I think what it is, not to be judgmental about these things, I really do think what it is that we weren’t aligning with the priorities. … the priority at the time, if I stay on my example of health care, was not to reduce costs and improve quality. It was to provide insurance and coverage for more people. That was our priority in the line. All we said, if you did this you could fund the priority without increasing the deficit, taking taxes up. And we couldn’t sell the case.”

We have all paid a huge price for the 2012 election bid made by Barack Obama.

Happy Thanksgiving a.k.a. Thanksgivukkah!

Independence Hall

Independence Hall

I have a great deal to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, a wonderful wife and family, good friends and yes, a job.  Speaking of a wonderful wife and good friends,  I recently visited Philadelphia, for a friend’s daughter’s wedding.

Philadelphia was our nation’s first capital in 1790, while the permanent capital became Washington D.C. in 1800.  While there, I was afforded the opportunity to tour the site of the Liberty Bell and the Independence Hall.  I was not only humbled by the amazing stories of the sacrifices our forefathers made during the Revolutionary War, like the winter of Valley Forge, but by the National Park Ranger, who’s knowledge and enthusiasm took me to school.

Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell

She was also kind of scary.  She reminded me of my 3rd grade teacher, a nun, except she was carrying a gun or a taser.  I immediately got on the wrong side of her when she asked everyone to raise their hand if they were under 21.  My gray hair didn’t fool her.  She challenged the tour with many history questions.  Lucky for me and the other gray-haired guys I was with, their was a boy scout troop as part of our tour group, who knew most of the answers.

There were memorials in front of Independence Hall from several of our great leader.  Here are excerpts from speeches from these great leaders in History on this day of Thanksgiving…

George Washington (1789) – And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best. 

Washington Statue Independence Hall

Washington Statue Independence Hall

Lincoln at Independence Hall

Lincoln at Independence Hall

Abraham Lincoln (1863) – “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!”

Kennedy Memorial Independence Hall

Kennedy at Independence Hall

John F. Kennedy (1961)  “Let us observe this day with reverence and with prayer that will rekindle in us the will and show us the way not only to preserve our blessings, but also to extend them to the four corners of the earth. Let us by our example, as well as by our material aid, assist all peoples of all nations who are striving to achieve a better life in freedom.”

I’d like to revisit Philly, if not only to follow Rocky’s Run to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Rocky’s Steps.

Note: Thanksgivukkah! Last happened in 1888 won’t occur again for another 79,000 years.

Anytown Small Business Sequestration – A Letter from the CEO

EVAN VUCCI / AP President Barack Obama during the fiscal cliff negotiations in the briefing room of the White House on Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, in Washington.

EVAN VUCCI / AP  – President Barack Obama during the fiscal cliff negotiations in the briefing room of the White House on Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, in Washington.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Due to our inability to produce a product in the past 4 years and the conjoined, unbridled spending we have undertaken, it pains us to adopt the Government’s style Sequestration, a.k.a. mandatory spending cuts, here at Anytown Small Business, Inc. 

Following the President’s example, I am voluntarily taking a 5% salary cut.  If I was making as much as our President, that would be enough to replace the windows in Building 100, thereby erasing the threat of Mud daubers terrorizing our finest.

Let me explain.  The promise of lower healthcare costs didn’t happen.

The promise of cleaner, renewable, and cheaper energy costs and fewer regulations, where everything that was beautiful, has now brought us down, didn’t happen.

Our hiring practices, spurred on by the promise of a Government backed Stimulus plan to create jobs and economic growth, didn’t happen.

We have had to hire armies of attorneys and consultants to remain in compliance of the new regulations and laws.

Each year over the past four years our healthcare costs have risen 25% or more.  As the Supreme Court has ruled, we all know now, even though the Main Stream Media (MSM) chooses to ignore, Obamacare is a tax!  Now on top of the cost of healthcare we have an additional tax burden.  Any new tax increases the cost of doing business.

So now we have to  reduce employment to less than 50 workers.  We are playing spin the bottle every day, after work of course.  The winner gets to kiss his or her job good-bye but gets to keep the bottle.

We’ve hired the people the Government wanted us to hire.  If you were down on your luck, if you had been laid off or fired somewhere else, if you had remained unemployed past the limit of your unemployment benefits, and you have been kicked to the curb by the government, you were on our radar.  Why not?  There were thousands of reasons to hire you.  Government incentives.  Government dollars.

Those of you who turned our job offers down and preferred to live on government entitlements, it seems like you’re working harder not to work.  Too often we have seen your job inquiries were bogus.  Too bad there were no frequent flyer points from Craig’s List for answering either your own phony ads or ads for which you need not apply, because you were not remotely qualified.

At Anytown, you would have come to the front of the line.  The less qualified the better.  Our local, county, state and federal government want you to work for us and they want to provide Anytown, thousands of dollars in incentives to hire you.

Of course, we all know, there are the many companies who take the government’s money and not only never meet quotas, meaning jobs, but basically fail, pick a Chapter 7 or 11.

Many who were hired spent their valuable time to build a truly homogeneous product.  We made every effort to provide our product in many different languages, including all of the Asian dialects, but then we realized all of our major competitors learned to publish their products in English and are our best customers, too.  As part of the Sequestration, we had to let every translator go.

This has been a tremendous benefit to our company’s bottom line, the cost cutting terminations and the fact is there that are still employees working for us that do not comprehend, read or write in English. The last thing we need is a lawsuit from the government.

Those of us who are capable of doing our  job, spend countless hours covering for our fellow employees, and the company appreciates it!   Unfortunately, we are also announcing 10%, across the board, salary cuts for all personnel, will affect each and every one of you… the same.   I thank you for your sacrifice.

Finally, we poured unconscionable sums of borrowed money into unproven technology and insolvent companies.  Our investments, while popular with the majority of our customer base, they did little to contribute to our future growth in revenues or in our company’s best interest.  

After nearly going out of business it finally dawned on us.  The top 20% of our customers were contributing 70% of our revenues.   Our General Accounting Office (GAO) said it’s time we start paying attention to our paying customers.  

Let’s hope they love golf!

Why in the World Would You Build a Small Business!?

Small business owners

Small business owners

The ideacapitalist interviews… the ideacapitalist, family guy, entrepreneur and small business owner.

How did you become a small business owner, and why?

The simplest answer would be, no one would hire me.  My first job out of school was working for my dad.  Nine months later, my dad fired me.  I knew it was coming.  My dad ran the business out of the house.  That morning my mom had made me my favorite breakfast, blueberry pancakes. 

Thereafter, I have had successful stints with large and mid-size companies, but there’s only so much a person will do for money.  I had reached my limit.

What do you love the most about running a small business?

Gainfully employing good people.  Growing the business.  Being more innovative and responsive than our larger competitors and winning.

What does owning a business allow you to do that most folks do not get to enjoy?

This question has the potential to be long on clichés, but the right answer is that I never have to think twice about getting out of bed in the morning.

What is your biggest challenge right now and how are you dealing with it?

Ok, now it’s time for a clichés.  My favorite expression is from Alan Kay, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” In the software development (technology) business we are reminded of this expression daily.  We have to constantly reinvent ourselves.

What has been your proudest moment as a small business owner?

I’m going to equate pride with reward and say my most rewarding moment was when an employee, I held in high regard, walked into my office, and stuck out his hand.  We shook hands and I asked him, “What is this all about?”  He said, “You promised me within five years, I would be making “x-amount” of dollars per year and I am.  Thanks.” 

My proudest moment was March 7, 2013 when we celebrated 25 years in business.

What have you not yet achieved that you would like to?

I’m not a “bucket list” kind of guy.  Certainly I have revenue goals and long-term objectives for the business.  Call it 20/20, annual twenty (20) percent growth in both revenue and profit.  The real challenge is balancing the physical challenges with the mental challenges.  Next year, I’m looking forward to both cross-country skiing and cycling around Crater Lake.

What is the best part of your day?

Getting out on my bike for an hour or two in the middle of a work day, and not getting run over.

What do you read?

I’m reading an amazing, gut-wrenching, inspirational story of personal struggle and entrepreneurship titled Born to Rise: A Story of Children and Teachers Reaching Their Highest Potential by Deborah Kenney

What has been your biggest mistake and how did you learn from it?

I’ve made many. I’m going to make many more.  My biggest mistake would be not to learn from them. 

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