Thursday, September 29, 2011

Jobs Act: Effective Ideas or Counterproductive?

Now that some time has passed since President Obama first unveiled his ideas in the American Jobs Act, we'd love to know what small business owners think. It appears, on the surface, that some of the politicians in DC are unsure of the plan, as evidenced by its lack of a sponsor to affix his/her name  to the legislation. Some argue it's more stimulus spending, some argue it's a desperately needed infusion.

Scrolling through articles and blogs across the 'net, we're seeing some real concern by small business owners. General feedback seems to highlight that many businesses are not choosing to hire now due to the following:

-Uncertainty over impact of healthcare legislation on employee carrying costs
-Uncertainty over tax rates
-Trepidation over "double-dip" recession (though many also question if it ever left the first time)
-Constricted lending leading to reduced cashflow options
-Desire to pay down debt rather than incur new costs

So.... what do you think? Do you see yourself or your clients in this feedback? What do you think would help reduce unemployment in the US by one percentage point?

We're looking for productive dialogue, so no political slamming.

What do you think? Comment below or join the conversation in our LinkedIn group.

Friday, September 16, 2011


The OED 500 is once again open for applications!

Win a $500 prize for your small business PLUS win a PR and marketing package by taking a few minutes to tell us about your business.

Entries are due no later than Oct 15 2011, and winner will be selected and announced Oct 31, 2001.

Give it a go, send it along to any business owner you know, and GOOD LUCK!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Progress for Women Entrepreneurs

The Women's Business Development Center marks its 25th Anniversary with news of great strides by (and on behalf of) women entrepreneurs. The Center co-founder Hedy Ratner gave an interview recently to Francine Knowles of the Chicago Sun Times well worth your read... whether female or male business owner.

Ms. Ratner talks about the evolution in lending policies and perceptions, brought about in large part by the SBA's guarantee program of loans to women-owned-businesses. It's a far cry from the state of the small business market when a father, husband, or brother co-signing was needed to seal the deal.

Twenty five years ago, only 10% of businesses were owned by women. Now, women are starting businesses at a much faster rate than their male counterparts, and are contributing the lion's share of new, badly needed jobs in our faltering economy.

We recommend a quick read of the Sun Time's article as a good check in for the state of women-owned businesses. Whether you are one or not, the are undoubtedly a growing number of your vendors or B2B clients. And if they're not, maybe you need to do a look into why! You could be missing an amazing opp for your own business.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Asking Questions – Key to Business Success

“We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species.” - Desmond Morris (b. 1928), British anthropologist.

Ask people any sensible, relevant question, for their opinion, advice, for a favor or anything that will enable you to meet them; then make sure they know who you are, and maintain your contact so they remember you. Ask "How can we do this better?" Ask "How can we do more?" Ask "How can we serve our clients better?" If you don't have answers to these questions, find someone who does and ask them.

Asking is the quickest, easiest and surest ways to get people to do what you want them to do.
Why does this work? Why do people tend to do what you ask them to do? Why is it that people who have no interest in you use their time and energy to furnish you with information just because you asked them for it? Because people are conditioned from childhood to respond to polite questions. If you ask intelligent questions with impact, almost everyone will answer you.

The other significant reason to ask good questions is to help the person you are asking. Asking well-crafted, intelligent questions causes people to think profoundly. When someone thinks more deeply than before, new ideas, new answers and new possibilities emerge.

Asking appropriate questions of people is like holding up a mirror to their
actions and decisions so they can see for themselves whether it is the right thing to do.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Advice (From Kindergarten) for Managers

Advice (From Kindergarten) for Managers

 Share everything.
 Play fair.
 Don’t hit people.
 Put things back where you found them.
 Clean up your mess.
 Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
 Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
 Wash your hands before your eat.
 Flush
 Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
 Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and work and play some everyday.
 Take a nap every afternoon.
 When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
 Be aware of wonder.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Response to Irene: Business Recovery

We wanted to post several links for business owners effected by Hurricane Irene and the flooding that ensued. Many of the response items vary by state, but here is a consolidated listing to bookmark. Everyone at OED is pulling for you and your business!

Select counties within the following states have received Federal Disaster Declarations:
CT, MA, NC, NH, NJ (all counties), NY, RI, VA, VT

The complete listing of Declarations by date is available on the FEMA site.
To begin processing, keep informed and KEEP DOCUMENTATION at every step. Even the smallest receipt may be of huge value soon.

Locate your Disaster Recovery Center if one is available. These are staffed by people who know the policies and work with them everyday. If a DRC is open in your area, it's worth the trip to them vs. trying only online or over phone.

Your business may be able to receive SBA support if you are in NC, NJ, NY, or PR.

Select grants and programs to rebuild are listed on FEMA's site as well:
Grants and Assistance Programs for Individuals

Declarations, information, and online resources are changing on a nearly daily basis so keep informed. In the pressure to get your business running, you may overlook a key, costly update. We will do our best to monitor any updates for effected areas and pass those details along here and via Twitter

Check the OED Community for updates too!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Win Win Business Philosophy

None of us operates in a vacuum.

Other people always play a vital role in our lives and in our businesses. We cannot fully succeed unless we manage our relationships in a way that helps us move toward our goals and the goals of those that we are dealing with.

Clearly, one of the keys to a productive relationship is learning how to create situations that benefit all parties. No one in today's world can or should attempt to become successful without enlisting the support and help of others.

The Law of Reciprocity says that Like generates Like. Win:Win is the highest form of reciprocity to which we can aspire.

A Win Win situation is essential when:
• you are building long-term relationships
• the results are likely to be public
• you want to take advantage of the synergy in a collaborative effort

In a world driven by information and knowledge, the traditional rules of hard-nosed business dealings and secrecy do not apply. Winning in today's marketplace means ensuring that everyone can achieve their necessary goals and outcomes. This in turn allows us to establish and maintain long term business relationships.

"The world's most successful people manage to live their lives in a state of optimism, enthusiasm and hope... They know that if they will just do certain things a certain way everyday they will be led to their chosen goals." Earl Nightingale

Monday, September 5, 2011

Management Basics

Management Basics

“Management is nothing more than motivating other people.” - Lee Iacocca Former Chairman, Chrysler Corporation

MANAGEMENT: the process of coordinating human, informational, physical and financial resources to accomplish organizational goals.

“A good manager is a man who isn't worried about his own career but rather the careers of those who work for him.” - H.S.M. Burnes

Commitment… knowing what you want and doing whatever it takes to get it!

Business people exist on FACTS not hype…. There are no free lunches.

The world doesn't care about your opinions… only your results.

Management is working with and through other people to accomplish the objectives of both the organization (company) and its members (employees).

Specifically, it is the combined fields of policy and administration and the people who provide the decisions and supervision necessary to implement the owner's business objectives and achieve stability and growth. The formulation of policy requires analysis of all factors having an effect on short and long-term profits.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Life's Lessons

Life's Lessons

Money doesn't bring you happiness,
but it enables you to look for it in more places.

Your conscience may not keep you from doing wrong,
but it sure keeps you from enjoying it.

Misers aren't much fun to live with,
but they make great ancestors.

Be careful what rut you choose.
You may be in it the rest of your life.

Opportunities always look bigger going than coming.

A modern pioneer is a person who can get through a rainy
Saturday when the television's on the blink.

A true friend is one that lets his grass grow
as tall as his neighbor's.

Experience is a wonderful thing.
It enables you to recognize a mistake
when you make it again.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Instructions for Life

Instructions for Life

Excerpts from the “owners manual”.

1. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
2. Memorize your favorite poem.
3. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.
4. When you say, "I love you", mean it.
5. When you say, "I'm sorry", look the person in the eye.
6. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.
7. Believe in love at first sight.
8. Never laugh at anyone's dreams.
9. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.
10. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name-calling.
11. Don't judge people by their relatives.
12. Talk slow but think quick.
13. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, "Why do you want to know?".
14. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
15. Call your mom.
16. Say "bless you" when you hear someone sneeze.
17. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
18. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; Responsibility for all your actions.
19. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
20. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
21. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.
22. Marry a man you love to talk to. As you get older, his conversational skills will be as important as any other.
23. Spend some time alone.
24. Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.
25. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
26. Read more books and watch less TV.
27. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll get to enjoy it a second time.
28. Trust in God but lock your car.
29. A loving atmosphere in your home is so important. Do all you can to create a tranquil harmonious home.
30. In disagreements with loved ones, deal with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.
31. Read between the lines.
32. Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.
33. Be gentle with the earth.
34. Pray. There's immeasurable power in it.
35. Never interrupt when you are being flattered.
36. Mind your own business.
37. Don't trust a man who doesn't close his eyes when you kiss him.
38. Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.
39. If you make a lot of money, put it to use helping others while you are living. That is wealth's greatest satisfaction.
40. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a stroke of luck.
41. Learn the rules then break some.
42. Remember that the best relationship is one where your love for each other is greater than your need for each other.
43. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
44. Remember that your character is your destiny.
45. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon!