How to Make Your Employees Smile

Paul Spiegelman
Paul Spiegelman

11/19/2010 – Paul Spiegelman –
Paul Spiegelman, the founder and CEO of Beryl, a call-center company in Bedford, Texas, has built a unique, people-centric culture, which he chronicled in the book, Why is Everyone Smiling? His next book, co-authored with Beryl employees, is titled Smile Guide: Employee Perspectives on Culture, Loyalty and Profit. Here, Spiegelman shares tips on how to keep your workers happy.

1. Give People a Voice
“Listen to what your employees say,” says Spiegelman. “And don’t just listen – implement the ideas that they have, and give them credit for those ideas. As entrepreneurs, we might in our gut know the right answers to certain questions, but it is often better to let workers tell you what the answers are and give them credit.” [Read more…]

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How Washington Continues to Ignore Small Businesses

When the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was enacted by Congress in February of 2009, a mere 0.899% of the funds were directed toward helping Small Businesses. Despite the fact that the Small Business sector employs over 50% of the American population, Big Business and Wall Street got most of the attention from our government during the “Great Recession” (and continues to do so).


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Yes, Taxes Do Change Behavior

10/23/2010 – Tom Roberson –
Bloomberg Businessweek details the complicated “Dutch Sandwich” tax strategy employed by Google to avoid the massive tax hit it would incur on overseas profits repatriated to the U.S. After reading this and seeing the lengths that U.S. companies go to protect their profits, can anyone seriously believe that taxes do not influence behavior? Should anyone be surprised that these innovative companies are able to develop innovative tax avoidance strategies? Let me point out that these are perfectly legal tax avoidance strategies and it is management’s duty to pursue every legal opportunity to minimize corporate tax obligations to maximize shareholder value. [Read more…]

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Volt Fraud At Government Motors

GM Volt car Government Fraud and Failure10/19/2010 – IBD Editorial –

Government Motors’ all-electric car isn’t all-electric and doesn’t get near the touted hundreds of miles per gallon. Like “shovel-ready” jobs, maybe there’s no such thing as “plug-ready” cars either.

The Chevy Volt, hailed by the Obama administration as the electric savior of the auto industry and the planet, makes its debut in showrooms next month, but it’s already being rolled out for test drives by journalists. It appears we’re all being taken for a ride.

When President Obama visited a GM plant in Hamtramck near Detroit a few months ago to drive a Chevy Volt 10 feet off an assembly line, we called the car an “electric Edsel.” Now that it’s about to hit the road, nothing revealed has changed our mind. [Read more…]

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Want doctors to innovate? Free them!

Doctors Innovate Free 10/11/2010 – Steven Goldfien, MD –

Peter Orszag, formerly the Director of the White Office of Management and Budget, appears to have found a new career as a pundit for the NYT. The fact that he’s chosen to admonish doctors in a recent sermon at least means that the new preacher and his chosen pulpit are well-matched. The contempt for the medical profession shown by Mr. Orszag — and his boss — during health care reform is readily apparent, as he begins his editorial by stating that

[d]octors, like most people, don’t love to work weekends, and they probably don’t enjoy being evaluated against their peers. But their industry can no longer afford to protect them from the inevitable. Imagine a drugstore open only five days a week, or a television network that didn’t measure its ratings. Improving the quality of health care and reducing its cost will require that doctors make many changes – but working weekends and consenting to quality management are two clear ones.

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The Social Network

The Crisis of Ethics in America
10/8/2010 – Chuck Colson –
Even before the critically acclaimed film The Social Network opened in theaters, there was one big financial winner: Newark, New Jersey’s public schools.

While critics were screening the movie, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to the struggling school system. Not only that, he made the announcement on Oprah.

Apparently, Zuckerberg was looking for a little bit of good PR. He’s concerned that people who see the film may question his personal ethics. The more important concern ought to be, however, what the film says about business ethics in our culture. [Read more…]

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Eight Ideas for Small Business Success

Privé Products 10/5/2010 – Drew Neisser –
How petite Privé Products succeeded where giant P&G couldn’t.

Before I could even get in my first question, my hands were already covered with a soft liquid that transformed into a foamy shampoo. An excited Jackie Applebaum, the CEO of, exclaimed that “this is an unbelievable shampoo and never before has this been done in a can.” And before my hands were dry, she had me trying a non-aerosol mousse from a tiny 2.5 ounce bottle that Applebaum noted was “also blowing out the door.” This emphasis on unique products was both refreshing and enlightening, setting up this 8-point guide for small business success.

1. Create unique products to take the challenge out of marketing
With sales expected to rise 30% in 2010, obviously Applebaum is not alone in her enthusiasm for Privé’s new products. “The assignment I gave the lab is that I don’t want ‘me too’ products,” offered Applebaum. “We now have cutting edge products with cutting edge delivery systems that the market is responding to,” she added. While many small businesses feel out gunned by their larger competitors R&D departments, Privé decided that having unique products that “marketed themselves” would be the only way they could cost-effectively build their company. [Read more…]

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Just Manic Enough: Seeking Perfect Entrepreneurs

9/18/2010 – David Segal –
Imagine you are a venture capitalist. One day a man comes to you and says, “I want to build the game layer on top of the world.”

You don’t know what “the game layer” is, let alone whether it should be built atop the world. But he has a passionate speech about a business plan, conceived when he was a college freshman, that he says will change the planet — making it more entertaining, more engaging, and giving humans a new way to interact with businesses and one another. [Read more…]

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Economic Lunacy

9/13/2010 – Larrey Anderson –
I know logical lunacy when I see it. I may not be an economist, but as one trained in logic as a philosopher, I have been horrified by the recent economic policies of both Presidents G.W. Bush and B.H. Obama.

Let’s start with Bush and the first TARP bill. My heart broke when Bush announced the TARP program. I understood that the $750-billion blank check (to be spent at the discretion of the next Secretary of the Treasury — who turned out to be tax-cheat Timothy Geithner) might well trigger the end of our constitutional republic. [Read more…]

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The Obama Recovery

Obama Recession8/23/2010 – Jeffrey Folks –

During the same week in which the president was vacationing in a $50,000-per-night home in Martha’s Vineyard, half a million Americans were standing in line, waiting their turn to apply for unemployment benefits. Those benefits are about $400 a week, not enough to put food on the table, pay the mortgage and car payments, and cover medical and other expenses. Not only that, but they run out (or used to) at 26 weeks. Even with Congress’s election-year largesse, which has tacked on an additional 73 weeks, unemployment benefits must run out at some point. More and more Americans — those who have begun calling themselves the 99ers — are now arriving at that point. [Read more…]

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Economy Needs Heart Transplant, Obama Offering Band-Aid

Economy Needs Heart Transplant Not Band-AidAmerica’s economic situation needs an emergency heart transplant, but Obama and the Democrats keep offering band-aids instead. We need a major change in government economic, tax, and fiscal policies not more government bailouts. Yet the president is doing nothing to reverse the enormous uncertainty fostered by his own administration’s aggressive anti-business and pro high-tax initiatives and rhetoric.

In the latest indication that our president has no clue why businesses are struggling and unwilling to hire, Obama is trying to force through another $30 billion government bailout program to “help banks boost lending to small businesses.” Unfortunately, it’s not the lack of available funds that are stopping businesses from expanding and generating new jobs. It’s the massive economic uncertainty and instability created by misguided government mandates (especially the oppressive regulations of ObamaCare), coupled with the massive tax increases coming in January 2011, that have spooked companies and forced them into defensive economic positions. [Read more…]

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Finding John Galt

John Galt8/16/2010 – Henry Oliner –

John Galt is the mysterious hero lurking in the background in Ayn Rand’s infamous novel, Atlas Shrugged. He is the industrialist who went into hiding and led a strike of producers fed up with the physical and moral encroachment from a government of moral supremacists who rationalized theft with childish notions of fairness but no conception of the actual production of wealth. That synopsis should also explain why Atlas Shrugged, first published in 1957, is having a very strong resurgence in popularity.

I meet with two different groups of independent business owners focused in the southeast and their perception of current business conditions is almost unanimous. They are angry. They face conflicting and unclear regulations, and a near certainty of increasing taxes . They are impatient. Many are not profitable and are unable and unwilling to tolerate customers who cannot pay, employees who do not think, banks without judgment, and a government that despises their efforts to create wealth and jobs. [Read more…]

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