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Sunday
Aug282011

President Obama & Members of Congress: "Operation Jump Start" - Jobs Proposal 

Submitted by Fields Jackson, Jr.
 
"Jump Start Centers" Providing  temporary business consulting to small, medium or start up businesses
 
Business Consulting Centers (operating in many cases inside the local unemployment office and within the local office of congressional representatives) 
  
Business advice and solutions to identify waste, streamline accounting procedures, improve efficiency, business operations, staffing, grant writing, loan advice, marketing and strategy development. etc....
 
Press release headline – 'Operation Jump Start' - consulting business will create approx 500,000 + temp jobs. These jobs will not only stimulate the local and national economy, but also help small and medium size business owners strengthen, improve and expand existing operations or create new business opportunities.
  
The pool of available talent will range from Wall Street executives, accountants, teachers, healthcare workers, bankers, retail, food service, auto, tech, professors, etc.. presently unemployed. Their temporary "pay" would be the unemployment benefits they are currently receiving.
 
Staff each consulting center with 75 to 100 consultants - 5 managers, 20 to 25 support staff - centers open seven days a week. .
  
These centers would offer local consulting and business services at a reasonable/ low hourly billable rate and then utilizing the 75 to 100 business consultants to "crowd source" the management consulting process. With the "pool" of talent - these "jump start centers" can help individuals formulate marketing and sales plans, evaluate and recommend changes to payroll, upgrade computer programs that can help streamline existing or new businesses, create social media programs, etc.. Small to medium sized businesses would have access to business expertise they would never be able to afford under other circumstances. This would also allow the "unemployed" consulting teams the opportunity to sharpen and maintain their business skills by working on real world problems.  This would also create opportunity zones and incubator zones - where not only will new ideas and businesses start - but these businesses will have access to a labor pool of talent that can staff and support their operations. 
 
Cost to tax payer = $0 - Unemployed workers would volunteer/work 25 hours per week while unemployed to work on assigned projects. Projects and work assignments - can be submitted and worked on via email - minimizing travel requirements.
 
Within the same shopping center or office complex where their congressional representatives have these temporary offices, unemployed teachers or healthcare workers can be trained as day care center employees. These centers will provide 24 hour 7 days per week - temporary day care for the "temporary"consulting workers at these centers.
 
Entrepreneurs that have a business concept can submit their rough ideas that will be evaluated by a "pool" of local experts, that can then strengthen viable concepts with business planning, legal, staffing, financial support.  The top ideas can be submitted to their local congressman for further consideration as potential job creation concepts that require loans, SBA funding, additional resources etc... with the overall goal of creating viable local jobs and employment.
 
Because of the low cost of starting these temporary centers - congress people that object to this program - would not have to participate. Acceptance of this program would be on a district by district basis - representing their districts these elected officials would have the right to accept or reject this program on behalf of the citizens they represent.

 

Monday
Aug222011

Summer Edition of Racing Toward Diversity magazine available on-line.

SBA edition featuring Marie Johns

posted by Fields Jackson

 

Click cover to browse the Magazine

Friday
Aug122011

Success … Thy Name is PASSION!

~Find Your Passion and NEVER Look Back~

 

By John T. Hewitt

Founder & CEO of Liberty Tax Service

“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” …Confucius. 


When I read this quote, I immediately knew I had found the words to explain exactly how I wanted to live my life. These words have been my personal mantra and I have literally designed my life to follow this advice. Candidly, I can’t imagine that anyone would choose not to do so as well. When one has a passion for what they are doing, the excitement and fanaticism for the mission at hand is contagious. And, as every successful business leader knows, this type of contagion is what success is all about.

I was very fortunate in that I found my passion early – as a college student while I was studying in upstate New York to be a Mathematician. On advice from my father, I attended a tax preparation class and I found myself thoroughly enthralled with the tax system. I found that my interest in mathematics and its focus on the importance of understanding the “right path” to the solution rather than simply arriving at the actual answer, fit in very nicely with the economics and processes of the tax industry. It was this epiphany that allowed me to understand exactly what “passion” was all about. Through this realization, I was able to begin crafting the formula that would become the foundation for both Jackson Hewitt and Liberty Tax Service as companies that would reflect this passion, and instill the opportunity for other like-minded entrepreneurs, i.e. family, employees and franchisees alike, to also benefit from a business and a working environment that they could love.

But, it’s not just about making money. When you have passion for your business, you are creating a world in which you and others can continue to be fulfilled emotionally, as well as monetarily. Doesn’t it make sense to simultaneously increase your quality of life while in tandem positively affecting your standard of living? After all, without passion, your endeavors become nothing more than a mechanical repetition of formula, a robotic approach to each day that will ultimately leave you empty inside even though your bank statement might reflect otherwise.

An unfortunate statistic is that fewer than 50% of new businesses make it to their fourth year. But these numbers shouldn't discourage you if your business is also your passion. One of the biggest mistakes business leaders and new business owners make is trying to live someone else’s dream. For instance, simply because you know someone who became successful in the real estate business or the stock market, does not mean that either of these business opportunities will serve you equally as well. There is so much more to success than just the medium. You must have the joy that keeps you involved and interested in being a life-long student as one can never stop learning from their own experiences and those of others in their mutual field. And finally, you must have the joy that keeps you innovative so that your world is always fresh and exiting with new ideas and influences, all of which you most definitely need in order to not only achieve success, but to keep it. Only those entrepreneurs who are doing daily what they truly love will make it through the hurdles that all business leaders must face in order to ensure success.

I was asked an interesting question recently that frankly, took me by surprise. I was asked if it took courage to be passionate. After mulling over the question, my response was that it takes “passion in order to be courageous”. But it also requires “courage to choose to follow your passion”. That said, in my opinion, one must be able to incorporate both passion and courage in order to ultimately rise above the “ordinary” and reach the realm of the fanatical if one truly wants to be an extraordinary success story.

There seems to be a matter of opinion by many that there is a definite gap between passion and profits. I, personally, am not of this school of thought. There are so many examples of profitable leaders, besides my own, who had passion and started companies that also incorporated social responsibility [an upcoming article I hope to share soon] that are among the top of the top of profitable companies. As an obvious example, let’s reflect on Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of Google. With a motto of “Don’t Be Evil”, Google started as a passion to share free information through the Internet and quickly grew to be one of the most innovative players in the high tech environment with an application that is, well, ubiquitous without question. But did you know that they recently defied the Chinese government by refusing to continue censoring its Chinese search engine, ultimately placing conscience ahead of profits? This is a fairly obvious example of the power of passion and courage, working in synch!
As an entrepreneur, passion is simply part of the DNA one must incorporate if one is to be successful. However, this does not mean that decisions, innovations or just plain “what-if ideas” are deployed with reckless abandon…on the contrary. When Tim Berns-Lee invented the World Wide Web in the 1980s and followed this extraordinary achievement in 1990 by developing the facility for the “average person” to utilize this resource, do you really think he accomplished this feat haphazardly or as simply a serendipitous technological snafu? Absolutely not. This was a man with passion for a goal – a passion to provide unlimited world-wide access to communication and information through technology that the average person did not even know existed. He had to find a way to get this past the “idea stage” and into a reality. This took passion and courage, which ultimately drove him to the all-important stages of planning and deployment – obvious “next steps” if any idea is ever to become more than just a dream or a good intention.
Today, Berns-Lee has continued his passion and incorporation of social responsibility with the formation of The World Wide Web Foundation that was created to empower people worldwide and bring about positive socio-economic change utilizing technology to help develop socially responsible web services that will ultimately support valuable global improvements such as innovative farming practices, regreening environments, etc.  (World Wide Web Foundation).
So now I ask you, is it courage or is it passion that makes one a great leader? Or is it both?

I try very hard not to proselytize to be the guru of all business success, although as an avid reader, I read many of the books written by lots of professionals who share their strategic success, and yes, sometimes they do indeed claim to have all of the answers. But, while I may not walk away from each reading experience believing that I have read “THE message from THE anointed strategic business Messiah”, I can affirm that there is always at least a kernel of knowledge, or a thought that has driven a direction of thinking that perhaps was actualized because I had some level of new input from having shared in their messages. That is to say, I firmly believe that there is always knowledge to be gained from everyone and every experience, and one would be foolish not to embrace this reality. [But this is a whole new discussion altogether.]

What I do try to accomplish through my seminars and articles is to share only the strategies and experiences that have worked for me, and the advice that I may have to offer to anyone who might need just “that kernel of knowledge” to spark some thought or action that would help to guide them in the direction of their own success.

So as I share my experience with passion and, yes, courage, I want to ensure that I did not fail to impress on you the importance of basic business acumen. Make sure your thinking is not abstract and that you fully realize that ultimately, your success will always be based on your ability to successfully deploy knowledge-thinking processes. Nonetheless, without passion and courage, you are not likely to ever leave the post and enter the race to success. Il sont parti – and may you have a strong finish!

Thursday
Aug112011

Financial literacy for politicians

ANNAMARIA LUSARDI WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATESI have argued in my blog postings that individuals need financial literacy because we are increasingly asked to make financial decisions that have important consequences. But there is a group for whom financial literacy is even more important, since their decisions are going to affect the whole population. These are our politicians. 

As a case in point, the consequences of the standoff about the debt ceiling are severe. For the first time in history, the US debt has been downgraded from AAA to AA. This could mean higher interest rates, for example, on mortgages or car loans, and thus higher costs for many consumers. The stock market gyrated last week, dropping sharply, and it dropped more than 600 points on Monday, destroying in less than a week most of the gains that had been made slowly over many months. These are serious problems that affect real people! 

When politicians make decisions with such consequential economic implications, they must be financially literate. Consumers learned about the costs of financial illiteracy during the financial crisis; politicians will likely get their lessons soon, if what they want to see is what happens to an economy in which basic economic principles are ignored. 

There have been a number of statements by politicians that reveal their financial illiteracy. One example: the argument that it does not matter (or we should not care) if the world is watching or what the world thinks of how the US handles the debt ceiling. This is unfortunately wrong. A large portion of US debt is held by the Chinese, and so it does matter what other countries think of the discussion about the debt ceiling, and politicians should care—in fact, they should care a lot. Another example: the suggestion that we should let the government default to demonstrate how important it is to reign in the deficit. This is strange financial decision-making. It is the equivalent of a household wanting to burn down the house to discipline its members. I would recommend trying that strategy on a desert island but not in a country inhabited by 300 million people. 

I doubt financial illiteracy is concentrated in one political party only. We have witnessed poor economic decisions a lot in the past few years. Having public debt on an unsustainable path is not only problematic, but it provides a bad example to citizens as well. Not just the federal government but also state and local governments have done a poor job in keeping their finances in order. 

The decisions that politicians make have enormous implications for the economy and for all of us. We are the ones paying the cost of the decisions that are made. We should demand that the politicians we sent to represent us and who are bound to make these important decisions be financially literate and explain their decisions to us in economic terms. A fragile economy that has survived a very severe crisis and is trying to recover from a great recession needs politicians who understand basic economic principles, now more than ever.