Ricardo Semler: Set Employees Free for Long-Term Growth and Success

Ricardo Semler: Set Employees Free for Long-Term Growth and Successby Brad Wieners –
For nearly 25 years, Ricardo Semler, CEO of Brazil-based Semco, has let his employees set their own hours, wages, even choose their own IT. The result: increased productivity, long-term loyalty and phenomenal growth.

Ricardo Semler had the sort of reckoning at 21 that most executives don’t face until middle age. Fresh from law school, where he’d been a restless underachiever, Semler took over his father’s business, which manufactured pumps and propellers for the world’s merchant marine. He was awfully young, but his dad sensed that if he didn’t give his son a chance, he’d lose him to another career. Besides, Semler Sr. was a pragmatist. “Better make your mistakes,” he told his son, “while I’m still alive.”

Straightaway, Semler Jr. spearheaded an ambitious plan to diversify his dad’s ship-parts company, which, like the Brazilian economy in the mid-eighties, was sinking. At Semco headquarters, in São Paulo, he tried to learn everything there was to know, and, while a quick study, he irritated plenty of the old hands with his precociousness and micromanaging. Working from 7:30 a.m. to midnight every day, or jumping planes overseas to raise capital and find new partners and companies to buy, his live-to-work lifestyle seemed ripped from the pages of John Grisham’s The Firm. [Read more…]

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Jeff Bezos (Amazon): Top Ten Maxims for Business Success

Jeff Bezos Amazon Top Ten Maxims for Business Success Chris Banescu –
Jeff Bezos, the founder and current CEO of Amazon.com, offers ten maxims that have helped him turn Amazon into the world-class company it is today. Leaders should consider these important principles if they want to insure the long-term success of their businesses. The list was compiled by George Anders, Forbes contributor who writes about management, careers and unforgettable personalities. This story appeared in the April 23, 2012 issue of FORBES magazine.

1. “Base your strategy on things that won’t change.”
Selling lipstick, tractor seats, e-book readers and data storage is all part of one big plan with three big constants: offer wider selection, lower prices and fast, reliable delivery.

2. “Obsess over customers.”
Early on Bezos brought an empty chair into meetings so lieutenants would be forced to think about the crucial participant who wasn’t in the room: the customer. Now that ­surrogate’s role is played by specially trained employees, dubbed “Customer Experience Bar Raisers.” When they frown, vice ­presidents tremble. [Read more…]

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California Income Tax Rates 2013 and Beyond, Highest Taxes in America

California Income Tax Rates Highest in America by Chris Banescu –
Following the passage of Proposition 30 in November 2012, California’s income tax rates have reached an astronomical 13.3% rate. Not only does California now have the most progressive income tax rates of all the states, individuals begin paying an 6% rate at $27,898 and an 8% rate at $38,727 in income, but it now surpassed Hawaii (11% top rate) as the state with the highest income tax rate in America.

According to a 2013 survey from Chief Executive magazine California’s business climate ranks dead last among all 50 states. Is it any wonder that so many companies, corporations, and high income individuals continue to flee California and relocate to other states?

Proposition 30 raised income tax rates for all Californians earning more than $250,000 per year. It progressively increased tax rates from 1% to 3% for all individuals and families earning above that level. Higher income households now face a 10.8% to 29.1% increase in overall tax rates. [Read more…]

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Top State Income Tax Rates for All 50 States

Top State Income Tax Rates Americaby Chris Banescu –
The Tax Foundation has released a comprehensive graphic that summarizes the top state income tax rates for all 50 states. It provides a very clear picture of the tax situation across the United States. The chart is reproduced below.

California (13.3%), Hawaii (11%), and Oregon (9.9%) have the highest marginal tax rates in America. Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming, on the other hand, are the only seven states with no income tax.

The Tax Foundation, a non-partisan, non-profit research organization that has monitored tax policy at the federal, state and local levels since 1937. [Read more…]

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Relying On Customer Trust To Help You Weather A Tough Economy

Customer Trust Customer Service Key to Successby Don Peppers –
You’ve probably heard the joke: Two hunters confront a large grizzly bear. Their weapons misfire and the bear comes at them. The first hunter takes off running, but the second one pauses briefly to discard his hunting boots and put on running shoes. “Don’t waste so much time!” the first hunter yells over his shoulder, “Running shoes aren’t going to be enough to outrun that bear!” The second hunter, quickly catching up with his friend, replies “I don’t need to outrun the bear. I just need to outrun you!”

So now the question is: Do you have the right shoes to outrun your competitors? You might want to consider how well your customers trust you to act in their interest.

In tough times, buyers want to economize every bit as much as sellers do, so customers cut back, simplify, and search for reliability. Discount stores benefit as consumers look for bargains, but customer-oriented sellers also benefit, as customers seek out businesses they can trust. [Read more…]

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Superpower Role Reversal And The Flat Tax Miracle

Russia Flat Tax Capitalism Freedomby Jeff Haden –
While the U.S. punishes millionaires, Russia and China reward them. In the upside-down era of Barack Obama, the capitalists act like communists and the communists act like capitalists.

Our multimillionaire president frowns on “millionaires and billionaires” and soaks them with higher taxes. But Russia loves them and even offers refugees of high-tax countries asylum.

Last week, the Kremlin, once headquarters of the Evil Empire, granted millionaire French actor Gerard Depardieu Russian citizenship so he can avail himself of Russia’s 13% flat tax and avoid his home country’s proposed new 75% supertax on millionaires. [Read more…]

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California Faces Large Tax Increases with Propositions 30 and 38

California Tax Increases by Chris Banescu –
California taxpayers, already paying some of the highest income and sales tax rates in the country, will face even higher taxes this November. If California voters approve Propositions 30 and 38, the state Sales Tax rate will rise to 7.5% and the Income Tax rates paid by individuals and families at all income levels will rise significantly, with higher income taxpayers having to pay an astronomical 15.5% tax rate.

Proposition 38 will raise income tax rates for all Californians earning more than $7,316 per year. It will increase tax rates from 0.4% to 2.2% across all income levels above that limit. This represents a 17.5% to 20% increase in overall tax rates for low and middle income taxpayers and a 17.2% to 21.4% increase for higher income households.

Proposition 30 will raise income tax rates for all Californians earning more than $250,000 per year. It will progressively increase tax rates from 1% to 3% for all individuals and families earning above that level. Higher income households will see a 10.8% to 29.1% increase in overall tax rates. Prop 38 also raises the state sales tax rate to 7.5% from the current 7.25% for everyone. [Read more…]

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Franchisors Warn Obamacare Will Halve Profits

Franchisors warn Obamacare will halve profitsby Paul Bedard
The International Franchise Association held a convention in Washington this week where most of the Radio Shack, Dunkin Donuts, Curves and other franchisers were grumbling about new federal regulations, especially the impact of Obamacare.

Most, said Atlanta Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken franchiser David Barr, presumed that the reports about how hard Obamacare will hit them were overblown. “They had their head in the sand,” he told Secrets.

That is until he pulled out his powerpoint showing how funding Obamacare will cut his –and likely their– profits in half overnight. [Read more…]

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Seven Reasons Why Venture Capitalists Will Hate Your Idea

Entrepreneurship Venture Capitalists by Josh Linkner –
Having witnessed thousands of entrepreneurial pitches as a venture capitalist, I’ve seen the gamut from the good, the bad and the ugly. Of the pitches any VC sees, very few will actually receive funding; there are a lot of factors in that equation, so even for those companies that might be appealing, terms, location, market share, traction and other hurdles sometimes get in the way of signing a check.

However, you’ve got no shot at funding if your potential venture capitalist flat-out hates your idea. If your “next great” idea has any of the following characteristics, there’s a solid chance a VC isn’t going to dig it. [Read more…]

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Why Most Ideas are Worthless

Most Ideas are Worthless By focusing less on your next “big idea” and more on the actual execution, you’ll have a better chance of building a successful new business.

by Karl Stark and Bill Stewart –
Maybe it’s the Facebook craze, or the warped view of entrepreneurialism that Hollywood and mainstream media have created. For ages, young and hopeful entrepreneurs have embraced the fallacy that great ideas are the root of entrepreneurial success and instant wealth. People say, “If only I would have thought of that, I’d be rich!”

Those of us who have built businesses know that success is rarely about the breakthrough idea. Clearly, a good idea is important, but it’s just not the source of limitless riches. Real entrepreneurial success most often comes from hard work, risk-taking, and developing a product or solution that creates real value for customers. [Read more…]

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Simplifying the Tax Code

Simplifying the Tax Code Paying taxes can be tough — it’s complex, convoluted, time consuming, and often very frustrating. The US Tax Code has become a monstrosity that destroys competitiveness and productivity. It must be radically simplified!

In this video Randall Holcombe, Professor of Economics, explains how we can simplify the tax code by eliminating loopholes for special interests and lowering tax rates and how this helps improve economic growth and promotes wealth creation. [Read more…]

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JetBlue Airways Chairman Joel Peterson: Innovation Is Hiding In Plain Sight

JetBlue Airways Innovation in Plain Sight by Lydia Dishman –
Sometimes innovation looks like good old-fashioned customer service served with a heaping helping of passion from a forward-thinking entrepreneur.

Sometimes innovation doesn’t look like a new social media channel, iPhone, app, or nifty widget. In fact, Joel Peterson believes that innovation is hiding in plain sight. Peterson tells Fast Company, “It’s any time you are doing something in a better way.” The way he sees it, innovation can be simply, “tweaks around the edges [of existing products and services], and a lot of people don’t get credit.”

Peterson sees it happen all the time. Most people don’t know he’s chairman of JetBlue Airways–and the discount airline’s first investor–or that he founded Peterson Partners, a Salt Lake City-based private equity group with some half a billion dollars under management, as well as Peterson Ventures which funds startups. [Read more…]

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