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It’s your Business so do what you want to-Part One

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=business+graphs&iid=6752210″ src=”9/8/3/5/GM_CEO_Fritz_1d7c.jpg?adImageId=9360485&imageId=6752210″ width=”234″ height=”152″ /]*This is Part One of a 2-part post: It’s your Business so do what you want to.

PART ONE: It IS your Business so do what YOU want to.

Sometimes when people are asked to choose between two kinds of news, good and bad, they will take the bad first, to get it over with so they can end the conversation on a more pleasant note.  That’s what we’ll do here.  To that end, here’s the bad part of the conversation for those with tiny businesses, the very small business owner and the home-based business owner – if you happen to have a truly large business or you influence great chunks of our global commerce, well this is the bad news for you too.  If you do what YOU want to with your business at the expense of your integrity, your ethics, your clients and customers, your friends and family and your industry…then you ought not to be in business at all.

That’s a pretty bold statement.  I’ve actually heard a person or two say, ‘it’s MY business so I’ll do whatever I want to do with it.’  I wonder if that was the sentiments of those bullies on Wall Street who claimed recently before the U.S. congress that they were ever so sorry for “…severity of the 2008 financial crisis and apologized for risky behavior and poor decisions….”  I pulled this from the Associated Press story as it appears online at Tampa Bay Online.  Of the quotes that appear in the article that continue to raise my blood pressure:

  • “…Americans are furious and “have a right to be” about the hefty bonuses banks paid out after getting billions of dollars in federal help,….”
  • “…’Over the course of the crisis, we as an industry caused a lot of damage,’ Moynihan said….”
  • “…Like the other witnesses, Blankfein acknowledged lapses in judgment in some practices leading up to the crisis….”
  • “…Dimon said a crucial blunder was ‘how we just missed that housing prices don’t go up forever…..'”

Let’s talk for a moment about lapses of judgment as Mr. Blankfein of Goldman Sachs said in the quote above.  I would ask: lapses of judgment?  How could these people have such huge lapses of judgment as to cause the near collapse of an entire economic structure?  As a home business owner I have to watch very carefully every business judgment I make because I can see instantly what the ramifications of my decisions will be.  Is it that these institutions are so huge that the people who make the decisions and carry the influence can no longer see anything beyond their pen to paper?

Shoshana Zuboff, the author of The Support Economy: Why Corporations Are Failing Individuals and the Next Episode of Capitalism,  said in a BusinessWeek article :

  • “…The economic crisis is not the Holocaust but, I would argue, it derives from a business model that routinely produced a similar kind of remoteness and thoughtlessness, compounded by a widespread abrogation of individual moral judgment. As we learn more about the behavior within our financial institutions, we see that just about everyone accepted a reckless system that rewards transactions but rejects responsibility for the consequences of those transactions. Bankers, brokers, and financial specialists were all willing participants in a self-centered business model that celebrates what’s good for organization insiders while dehumanizing and distancing everyone else—the outsiders…..”

Don’t you think this hints at an erosion of personal business integrity and an erosion of personal business ethics?  I’m not so naive as to think that money and power won’t always be addictive aphrodisiacs for some people and that the siren call of more zeroes on the check can blind some people as to what cost those zeroes were arrived at?  [clumsy sentence but asks my question]  But what about the folks around those people?  Wasn’t there someone in those overpriced offices who thought, just for a moment, that perhaps this was a bit too good to be true and whenever this question arises it means that someone somewhere down the line is being hurt?

Ms. Zuboff’s references in her article another she had read about the Nazi war trials and the conclusions of “…Hannah Arendt’s ruminations on Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann as she reported on his trial in Jerusalem for The New Yorker 45 years ago….”  What at first might seem an unfair comparison, I find not so and agree as Ms. Zuboff says:

  • “…This message is not restricted to the unspeakable horrors of mass murder. It is relevant to the relationship between individual judgment and institutional processes in any situation. It’s a message that says: you can’t just blame the system for the bad things you’ve done. Yet to the world’s dismay, thousands of men and women entrusted with our economic well being systematically failed to meet this minimum standard of civilized behavior. They did not capably discern right and wrong. They either did not judge, or they did not act on their judgment….”

I guess what I want to say is that just because it is YOUR business doesn’t mean that you get to do what you WANT to do at the expense of other people. Ms. Zuboff says, “…The economic crisis has demonstrated that the banality of evil concealed within a widely accepted business model can put the entire world and its peoples at risk….” Then she asks, “… Shouldn’t those businesses be held accountable to agreed international standards of rights, obligations, and conduct? Shouldn’t the individuals whose actions unleashed such devastating consequences be held accountable to these moral standards?….”

Then she says, “…I believe the answer is yes….”  And so do I.

And why not?  Small business owners are expected to pay their taxes, not cheat their customers, have truth in advertising,  make their prices competitive [not gouging the customer or stealing market share from competitors], recall products that don’t work, offer replacements and a host of other ethical practices…as well as giving to their communities and being good citizens.  So how are small business owners any different from the “big guys?”

I think it’s a matter of personal integrity.  I think a person has to choose to be ethical and to do so it requires that he or she begin with personal integrity.  In an article at Columbus Business First, John Maxwell, author of  The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, said: “…In the midst of an ever-changing and uncertain environment, there is one thing over which you have absolute control – your integrity….When it comes to being principled and ethical, you are the master of your destiny. Other people and external forces might test it in various ways, but ultimately you alone control your integrity….”

Mr. Maxwell continues in the article with, “…This is a good way to think of us as leaders when it comes to integrity. People of integrity don’t live divided lives; their morals, ethics and treatment of others are the same wherever they are and whatever they’re doing….”

Yesterday Arianna Huffington wrote about renewing the hope of Dr. Martin Luther King, ‘…What we need is Hope 2.0: the realization that our system is too broken to be fixed by politicians, however well intentioned — that change is going to have to come from outside Washington…This realization is especially resonant as we celebrate Dr. King, whose life and work demonstrate the vital importance of social movements in bringing about change. Indeed, King showed that no real change can be accomplished without a movement demanding it….”

Maybe what’s needed is a movement from all of “us” – the individual citizens of the world [is that too broad a movement?] or to start local, the individual citizens of the U.S. – to ask that the leaders of policies [government] and industry [commerce] rediscover the meaning of personal integrity and business ethics and apply those meanings to themselves and to their business and political practices.

Is this a naive thing to ask?  No, I think it’s necessary.  The small business sector needs a healthy economy within which to prosper.  Home business owners need homes from which to conduct their business.  Everyone needs customers who have spendable income.  Can we expect a utopia?  Goodness, no…never happen because human beings are involved.  We’re fallible, but we’re also educate-able.  We can learn and grow and improve.  So let’s do so.

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Business news bits and bobs

IMG_1231Sometimes business news comes in little bite-size pieces, much like the Halloween candy we didn’t give out last night – this was the leanest year for TricksOrTreaters we’ve had in the seven years we’ve lived in our neighborhood.  We answered our front door less than 10 times.  And I carved my best effort at a Jack O’Lantern yet!  I know what you’re thinking, I’m supposed to be an “artist” and this is the best I can do? Well, sometimes one gift simply doesn’t translate into another.

Talking about translating, I’m finding that working in concert with various social media sites has its advantages.  Last Friday I put up a question on Twitter: are doctors small business owners? As was recommended to me -and I pass this recommendation along to others- I have my Twitter account linked to my Facebook account so that what I post on Twitter shows as a status update on Facebook – for a small or home-based business that is good to know as it increases the exposure for quick news items you might have.  I got a response on my Facebook status/Twitter question from Paul Sinasohn “…It depends on the structure of the practice. Some are, even if the practice is incorporated, but some – such as those who are partners in larger medical groups (Brown & Toland, Hill Physicians) are not.   SBA standard is $10 million average receipts….”  Thank you, Paul.

Bits from today’s news:

*Today from The Huffington Post, an article about counties in the U.S. that have been stressed the hardest by the year’s economic woes and wouldn’t you know, of the top ten counties, 4 are in my home state of California, and #8 is the county of my youth, San Joaquin County.  The housing boom/bust has had just awful repercussions – it’s not just the home sales industry, but also construction and all the pond ripples out to associated businesses of both those industries that have been hurt.  In the neighborhood in which I live, there is one home that was a victim of bank foreclosure that still sits empty [we had two].  Then you add the layoffs and other woes of the  auto industry and the computer software/hardware industry and it’s rather depressing.  Not so easy to be a solo-preneur in such a climate.

*Swine flu…actually any flu…advice is to stay home if you are contagious.  Article today by Associated Press writer Ashley M. Heher points out that this advice is difficult to follow for those who don’t get paid if they don’t show up.  From the article:  “…That idea drives an untold number of carpenters, day care workers, servers, shopkeepers and small-business owners to their jobs each day. Sniffles or not….”  Home business owners who work primarily online don’t have this as an issue necessarily.  However, those small and tiny businesses who must meet with clients/customers and potential customers daily will have to figure this one out.  Just today I went out to run errands and saw people in the store wearing a protective breathing mask over their face.  This might be one answer.

*This last item really isn’t about small business…it’s about big business.  Unless you could say that an actor is a small business person…even a home-based business person who goes from contract-to-contract.  I mention this one because my sister would have loved it.  My sister passed away three years ago and today is her birthday.  One of the things she and I shared was a love of science fiction movies and television shows.  We both, together and separately, watched the second “Aliens” installment too many times to count.  Tomorrow night on ABC, “V” debuts and it looks fantastic.  I have been a fan of Morena Baccarin since her days on the one-season series “Firefly” as Inara Serra and as Adria in Season 10 of  Stargate SG-1.  The TV critic of my newspaper, Chuck Barney, says of “V” in today’s column, “…it all makes for a suspenseful, scary concoction. The fast-paced “V” pilot sucks you in from the start and keeps you welded to your seat right up through a couple of shockers near the end of the hour….”  I’m going to watch it.  I know my sister would have loved it.

 

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Direct Selling, Network Marketing, MLM-why sign up today?

There are very good reasons  to sign up as an independent distributor [or consultant or contractor] with a direct selling company today…and all of them are economic.  I use the terms direct selling and network marketing interchangeably because they are virtually the same.  A direct selling business is one where an independent distributor sells product person-to-person [as opposed to having a store on Main Street]; a network marketing business is exactly the same…just another way to say it.  It’s networking person-to-person to market [inform] possible customers and others who might also want a business of their own about your business and products.

MLM?  We’ve addressed this before and hopefully the education is paying off: MLM is nothing more than 3 alphabet letters that stand for multi-level marketing which is nothing more than a form of compensation plan.

Why sign up with a direct selling company today?

You might be one of the thousands in the United States who areliving on unemployment insurance and having to pay fees to receive it.  In my newspaper this morning is an Associated Press story by reporter Christopher Leonard  that talks about a practice in some states of unemployment insurance payments being run through a bank, the bank gives the recipients a debit card to use to get the money and then turns around and charges these same people a fee to retrieve the money.  The idea was to save money by not having to write and mail out checks…however – and this is why the banks were interested I think as they get to make money through this plan – .the mail/check plan meant the recipient got his money and deposited it.  No fee to get a check.  Now however, it can cost from $1 to $3 each transaction to get money using this debit card unemployment insurance payment plan.

I’m of the opinion…opinion only…that this just isn’t right.  Seems very wrong.   How ethical is it to take money away from those who can least afford it in such a mean-spirited way?  It also seems doubly wrong if any of the banks participating are receiving bailout money from the federal government. 

This goes back to my proposition that now TODAY is the time to start a business of your own, right in your own home.  If you are currently working or not makes no difference…you can put however much time and effort you want to into it, but even just an extra $100 a month  would be a Godsend to some people.  What if you could bring in an extra $100 a week?  Would that help?

There are many direct selling, network marketing companies with very good products and awesome compensation plans with the potential to make financial worries a thing of the past.  All it takes is:

  1. some research to find one that fits your personal tastes
  2. due diligence to find one that is currently doing business ethically and is financially sound
  3. find one that offers a low sign-in fee and gives good help in getting started
  4. your time and your effort

I personally know several people who have direct selling businesses, each with a different company, but all with great products, good compensation plans and company cultures that make being associated with them something positive and special.  The company with which I’m an independent distributor is a fantastic one, with a great compensation plan, an awesome product and right now, through the end of March, is offering free enrollment to new distributors.  If you’d like information please email me – see my email link at right.

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Do layoffs at Christmas bother you?

Economic news today wasn’t very goodYahoo Inc. will layoff “at least 1,500 workers…Yahoo’s housecleaning, to be completed by the end of the year….”[written by Michael Liedtke, Associated Press]

Sadness that so many people are facing the holiday season with the prospect of zero income.  Facing a new year with the challenge of having to go into the job marketplace and find something to replace their current income.  Facing the looks on their families’ faces when they have to tell them that this Christmas will be lean or not at all.  Good grief…why is that every year so many companies choose the holiday season to throw employees out into the cold?  [yes, an emotional response to an economic reality]

I don’t want to criticize Mr. Liedtke’s writing and choice of words, nor am I picking on Yahoo Inc.,  but I’d hate to think of myself as a Yahoo employee who is being swept out the kitchen door into the dustbin – “housecleaning.”  This might be a prudent action on the part of Yahoo Inc. – and other companies that need to reduce payroll – but these are real peopleReal people who rely on their paychecks to pay their bills, to buy food and provide shelter.

I’m no financial wizard and I can understand expedient necessity…but my heart-side says it always ought to be an action [laying off employees] that is expressed publically as deeply regrettable.  My husband works in the software computer industry.  We’ve been through the layoff situation a couple of times.  It’s grim, painful and difficult to overcome.

So, to all people facing layoffs, experiencing layoffs this coming holiday season I offer my condolences.  I will tell you that it is this very experience that pushed me in the direction of seeking a home-based business.  It is what caused me to research the world of network marketing.  My goal through my direct selling, home-based business Independent Distributorship is what will make it possible to never again dread impending layoff.

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