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1.  Get two free books from SCORE, “Counselors to America’s Small Business”.  SCORE is giving away How to Really Start Your Business and How to Really Structure Your Business to anyone signing up on their site – GoSee. (Thanks to Duct Tape Marketing blog for the tip).

2.  Interesting tax returns – George W’s (and Laura’s) 2007 tax return can be seen here.  But they didn’t make as much as Dick Cheney and his wife (see here if you don’t believe me).  Obama’s 2007 return can be seen here.  Check out the estimate of the Clinton’s 2007 income  (not too shabby at over $20 million).  Where did I get all of this juicy stuff from? – GoSee

3.  A weak dollar helps some US-based companies (those exporting outside of the US).  More and more there seems to be a trend toward US-based manufacturing companies exporting to more demanding emerging countries (like China and India).  Emerging countries are starting to drive more demand than they used to.  Maybe the US will stop hording everything and start sharing with the other parts of the world (as shared with us from the Small Biz Labs blog) – GoSee

Thanks, Jason M. Blumer

We business owners typically operate day to day with no thought of what’s coming 5, 10 or even 20 years down the road.  We fail to strategize about our future due to the busyness of the “Now”.

This can be a big mistake.  For business owners, big changes are coming, and are currently happening, that can make or break your business.

I’m speaking of the relationship between the boomer generation (currently running the USA), the Gen X generation after them, and the Gen Y generation after them (also called millennials).  How these different generations manage people, are managed by other people and want to work can carry huge ramifications to what you do or don’t do right now.

Our firm is highly focused on the generation that will be taking over leadership from the Boomers.  They are in the Gen X demographic born approximately between 1963 and 1981.  I’m smack in the middle of that generation, and love to serve my clients and prospective clients in the way that I love to be served.  Our Thriveal Theory of operation in our firm summarizes the four main ways we see these clients behaving.  These four points are:

1                    Business owners and individuals with an eye to the future of business, noting trends and acting on those trends today

2                    Business owners and individuals who take on the responsibility of financial management, proper operations and right strategies to succeed

3                    Business owners and individuals who embrace excellent training and learning to succeed and accomplish their business and individual goals

4                    Business owners and individuals who are poised to accept change in a global marketplace and benefit from its lessons and blessings

We see our Gen X clients embracing these values, and we want to be there for them when they call.  We want to be strategic business consultants, helping our clients look forward, learn, accept change and prosper in their world of ownership.

If you are a client, then let us know how we may serve you in this way so that we can both grow together into the future… strategically.

Thanks, Jason M. Blumer

1.  Stomper.net is such an awesome site. The videos on the site are so cool and you can tell they spend a lot of time creating these videos. The videos center around placing your website on the web in such a strategic and awesome way, you’ll want to check it out if you are trying to be discovered on the web.  Dan Thies and the team at StomperNet have a new free product called “Somtper Site Seer” and it will tell you how your webpage or blog is ranking on the web.  Its very well done and very informative – GoSee

2.  Investments from Venture Capital firms was down some 8.5% this first quarter (when compared to the fourth quarter of 2007).  However, as reported by the National Venture Capital Association,  

“VCs have weathered numerous economic cycles and will continue to fund companies with innovative ideas and solid business models while they also stand behind their portfolio companies for the long-term.”  –  GoSee

 

3.  Here is a great post (from The Entrepreneurial Mind blog) on entrepreneurial activity as it relates to the public policy of taxation of state governments – GoSee

Thanks, Jason M. Blumer

The securitization of mortgages is of interest to me (I know, I’m a nerd), as it ultimately affects the individual taxpayer.  Basically, your loan originator funds your mortgage, then sells that mortgage to other entities (sometimes, dang it).  

Those entities then create bonds backed by the guarantee of the payment of your original loan (the process of securitizing loans).  Some of these entities (Ginnie Mae, Freddie Mac, or Fannie Mae) are backed by the US government, which is supported by my tax dollars.  And since these entities are losing their shirts right now, I’m a little worried about this market (as you should be).  Here is a techy write up on this subject, which I thought was interesting.

Some of these original loans are of pretty good quality (solid lenders dubbed “prime” lenders) and some are not (dubbed “subprime” lenders).  The difference is between good and bad credit ratings, or even loan applications that originally had poor documentation on the borrower’s income (called Alt-A loans).  When the entities backing these latter subprime loans are guaranteed by the US government, basically that means you and I back these instruments (although very indirectly).

And now that Fannie Mae is booking huge losses (see here, here and here), I start to get worried about how that will affect you and me.  Will taxes be raised?  The government is always trying to come to our rescue, so I’m worried they’ll be doing the same again.

Most everything in the economy gets back to me and you, and more specifically your tax bill.  This is just another example.

Any more examples of how specific issues in the economy or the news my affect you and me?

Thanks, Jason M. Blumer

 

As a business owner, I think it’s so important to give back to the community that has given our firm so much.  I believe that businesses making a profit should give back to those less fortunate.  And as a Christian, I believe God has called me to look where I am, thank Him for all of His provision and look around for those needing material goods and encouragement.

Our firm supports Food For Life Ministries, a ministry to the homeless in Greenville, SC.  My brother, Paul Blumer, chef and “preacher to the homeless,” runs this ministry and my family (and many other supporters) helps out.  And they (my dad writes it) have developed a blog to let the community know of what they are doing and why.  The blog is called “Homeless on Tuesday”, because that is the night Food For Life has been serving food to the homeless in Greenville for over 5 years.

This most recent post on the Homeless on Tuesday blog was very eye-opening, and poignantly makes an incredible point that we should all heed.  There are those that do not have a voice in this world: the unborn, little children and ,of course, homeless people.  Food For Life Ministries gives to the homeless when they have nothing to give back.

Here is a quote from the blog:

“They can not exercise any right for justice or equal treatment and have no influence among the community. They rely on ministries like ours to speak for them, to give them “a voice” so they can speak for themselves. We do this by listening to them and helping them without expecting anything in return. We are concerned about their health, whether they are cold at night, have any food to eat, and their spiritual condition. We speak for them each Tuesday night.”

Is there anywhere your influence could begin helping others?  Maybe your business has had a great year, and its time to say thank you – with dollars, not words.  Somebody may need you to speak for them – look around you and help “give a voice” and “lend an ear” to the less fortunate.

Thanks, Jason M. Blumer

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