Tuesday, September 29, 2015

#1 Entrepreneurial Mistake

      I have been watching some comments on a Linkedin forum titled “What’s your best tips for an entrepreneur?”  I find most of the comments very disturbing, because they lead the new entrepreneur down the wrong path.  The comments may be valid, but many are dangerous if blindly followed.  Most seem to be rah-rah, psychological, self-help or motivational in nature.  I think some of the advice is just people trying to psych themselves up to continue their own venture. 
There are both new and old clichés that ignore the basics of business.  This infatuation with current clichés scares me.  It is no wonder so many new entrepreneurs fail.  This obsession with blindly plunging forward and ignoring the basics of business promotes failure.   I have previously blogged about the 7Ps, which are Proper Prior Preparation Prevents Pitifully Poor Performance.  Many current clichés encourage moving forward without proper preparation. 
I understand that no one can be an expert in every area necessary to successfully start and operate a profitable business.  But, the new entrepreneur must be aware of all areas of business so he can obtain the help he needs.  If the new entrepreneur ignores the basics of business, he will fail unless he is extremely lucky.   
There are three books I recommend every new entrepreneur read.  I do not mean read them when time allows.  They need to be a priority, as there is probably nothing more important to a new entrepreneur’s success.  These books are not some psychological Rah Rah or written by a professor talking theory.  All three of these books are easy to read and offer real life examples of business basics that must not be ignored if the new entrepreneur is to succeed.  These three books are:

1.   Business Fits by Terry Oliver Lee
2.   The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
3.   Marketing War-Fare by Al Ries & Jack Trout

All three of these books are available on Amazon as an eBook or a paperback.  I would recommend the paperback if you are serious about your business, because you will want to refer back to them later.  
I knew an individual who was very successful in the real estate business.  He told a story about going to a class on how to grow his firm.  There was considerable expense in time and travel to take this course.  When he walked into the class the first day, he was disappointed to see several of his competitors in the class, because he felt the class would not give him a competitive advantage. 
He later said the class did help him because he implemented what he learned.  His competitors went home and continued blindly on doing business as usual without implementing anything the class taught them. 
Unfortunately, I realize that 90% of all entrepreneurs will ignore this advice and move eagerly forward until it is too late.  They will justify this by telling themselves that they al ready know what they want to do and don’t have time to read some book.  This makes me sad.  I wrote Business Fits for the new or aspiring entrepreneur, but it must be read to have any value.   
This naive approach to business reminds me of politics.  Some people do not want to learn the facts.  The facts might not support their political views.  They would rather just blindly push forward with their emotional perceptions. 


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Traditional Politics

Some of us have an image of big money and the political elite in a cigar-smoke-filled room determining who will be our next President.  Presidential candidates were selected by big money and party politics, and then the public was told what it wanted to hear with all those promises forgotten.  With today’s improved communications, the smoke-filled room no longer exists, but the process is alive and well. 
There was a time when if a Presidential candidate was from the north, his running mate needed to be from the south.  Now politicians are more successful at dividing the country on race, sex, religion and other special interest groups.  A current Presidential candidate might want a running mate from the other race, sex or sexual orientation. Our current President won with no experience or qualifications, but commanded votes from a large majority of blacks, Muslims, union members, and Democrats.  That and a meaningless campaign slogan of “Hope and Change” was enough for him to be elected and reelected.
I hope this process is changing.  Political commentators are totally befuddled by the current political campaign.  They can’t get their head around the fact that the working middle class is fed up with the political establishment.  Political commentators and the media cannot understand a candidate that is not dependant on political donations and the political elite.  The fact that Donald Trump was part of big money, understands how to buy politicians, and has bought politicians in the past, terrifies the political establishment. 
Since Trump is not dependent on the political establishment, he could actually change the system.  What if he initiated relevant campaign spending reforms and term limits?  This would take away, or weaken the power of the Washington insider.  Candidates who actually represent working America would be elected. 
I realize this is very optimistic, but I can dream.  Big business, big money, the Washington insider, and the political elite are not working in the best interests of our country.  We have to do something to take back our country. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Lawful Compliance

A county clerk from Kentucky was jailed recently for refusing to issue a marriage license to a gay couple.  She was jailed with no opportunity to post bond.  She said she refused because her religious belief was that marriage must only be between a man and a woman. 
There clearly is a conflict between her right to practice her religious beliefs and compliance with the law.  Would an elected county official who refused to comply for religious reasons have been treated the same if they had not been Christian?  We bend over backwards for Muslims and atheists, but Christians continually have their First Amendment rights violated. 
I question the law because I question the Supreme Court legislating instead of just enforcing the Constitution, as they should.  I cannot understand why both Congress and the states allow their laws to be ignored and their power taken away. 
Personally, I think the county clerk should have assigned the duty of issuing marriage licenses to another staff member if it was against her religious beliefs.  This may be a cop out, but it would have complied with the law.  She also could have resigned, but this would not have given her a platform to express her beliefs.
All members of government, both elected and appointed, should comply with the law or be forced out of office.  This needs to be applied at all levels of office and not just the low level of a county clerk.  Why should the political elite be exempt?  Maybe President Nixon was right when he said “It’s not illegal if a President does it.”  President Obama has taken this philosophy to a new level of arrogance.  
High-level officials should be held to a higher standard and not given a pass.  Not one President since Eisenhower has enforced our immigration laws.  A President does not have the right to choose which laws he wants to enforce.  If we held our Presidents to the same standard as that Kentucky county clerk, they would all have been impeached and/or jailed.  Why do we accept and allow this double standard for the political elite? 
Congress makes our laws.  The President enforces those laws.  The Supreme Court’s job is to enforce the Constitution.  Our founding fathers knew what they were doing when they set up these three branches of government.  Why do we allow the political elite to ignore the rules and hold themselves above the law?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Work Ethics and Welfare

What has happened to the work ethic in this country?  We just celebrated Labor Day, and we have a larger and larger percentage of people unemployed.  Many are not even looking for work, and why should they bother?  We have a welfare system that rewards them for being unemployed.  Many people never plan to work again, because of welfare (often shamefully disguised as disability) food stamps, aid to dependant children, and other government programs.
I was raised on a farm.  The summer I turned sixteen my dad told me that he could handle the farm work while I took a job detasseling corn.  For you city folk, tassels at the top of the corn stalk are removed from one hybrid of corn plants in order for those plants to be pollinated by rows of another hybrid in order to create a specific hybrid of seed corn. 
At that time this was done by walking through the field and pulling the tassels by hand, or by pulling the tassels as you rode by on a machine.  I had taken a job riding on a machine. 
About the time my detasseling job was to start, my dad fell in a granary and was bedridden with some badly broken ribs.  I became responsible for the farm chores and fieldwork.  If I got up by 4:00 AM, I could get the morning chores done and be at my detasseling job by the 6:00 AM start time.  We usually worked detasseling until 4:00 or 5:00 in the afternoon.   
Our neighbor, Ed Kemna, wrapped up his work early so he could have his chores done and eaten supper by the time I got home.  When he saw me arrive home, he would come over to help with the fieldwork.  We combined the oats and bailed the straw until Dad was able to work. 
Many nights, we would work until dark.  I then had to do the evening chores, which normally took about two hours.  By the time I finished chores and got cleaned up, it was often midnight. 
In recent years, I thought about why I did not quit the detasseling job when Dad was hurt.  This was never mentioned or considered.  It was accepted that I had committed to the detasseling job.  My parents and myself just assumed I would do that job and the farm work too.  What has happened to this work ethic?
I think it is interesting that none of us back then asked for any assistance or subsidies from the government.  Our neighbor gave his time and labor with little or no compensation.  That was just the way it was in rural Iowa when I was a kid.  What has happened?  How have we lost that work ethic and neighborly spirit?   We have to get it back. 
President Franklin D. Roosevelt was considered a liberal Progressive for his time.  But, he never felt people should be given welfare without doing anything to earn it.  He created government work programs so people could feel they were contributing and earning their government check.  
We need to do the same thing.  People must work for their welfare money.  We may need to provide transportation and childcare, but if at all possible, they have to work at some job according to their capabilities.  They must stay sober, stay off drugs, get out of bed, and go to work if they want the welfare check.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Constitutional Amendment Mistakes

      I am continually amazed at the foresight of our founding fathers in writing our Constitution.  It is amazing how relevant the document still is today.  The only time there is a problem is when we try call it a Living Document in order to change  or reinterpret it for some political agenda. 
The founding fathers knew they could not anticipate every possible issue in the future, so they made a provision to add Constitutional Amendments.  Most of these Amendments have been necessary and have served a good purpose. 
The first ten Constitutional Amendments are normally referred to as The Bill of Rights.  These Amendments protect our personal liberties, like freedom of speech and religion.  The second amendment guarantees the right to bear arms, which liberal Progressives would like to do away with.  
All ten Amendments in The Bill of Rights are important, but number ten is critical to the future of this country and our federal government is ignoring it.  The Tenth Amendment prohibits the federal government from any power or activity not specifically granted in the Constitution.  The federal government has ignored this Amendment to an ever-increasing extent for the last century.  This must be corrected. 
Several Constitutional Amendments were a mistake.  Three that are obvious at this time are Amendment 14, Amendment 17, and Amendment 18.
The 14th Amendment states that all children born in this country are citizens of this country.  This Amendment was clearly written to apply to the children born to slaves in this country.  The broad interpretation today promotes illegal immigrants entering this country in order to produce Anchor Babies that are American citizens.  This is wrong and must be corrected. 
The 17th Amendment established that U.S. Senators are elected by popular vote.  This sounded good initially, but has not been good for the people. The founding fathers determined that a good balance of power was to have U.S. Representatives elected by popular vote, and U.S. Senators appointed by the individual state legislatures.  This system insured that an appointed Senator actually represented their state.  This is not true today when expensive U.S. Senate campaigns are funded by big money.  This Amendment should be repealed.
The 18th Amendment prohibited the manufacture or sale of alcohol in the country.  This was great for organized crime and led to thousands of deaths from alcohol poisoning.  The 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment.  It can be done and should be done with the 14th and 17th Amendments.
We must follow the Constitution.  We have legal options to change it.  We will, and have made mistakes, but they can be corrected.  We cannot allow the Constitution to be changed with Executive orders, Executive interpretations, and enforcing only those laws that fit the White House agenda.