Fox: What Donald Trump and the Size of Candidate’s Flag Pins Have To Do With It

(This post originally appeared on Fox Small Business)

The debates generated a lot of tweets this week.  Donald Trump seemed to be popular too. But in my opinion the wisest words of the week come from @FuelOnline.

@KarenKerrigan

#smallbiz takes center stage at debate – great to see key issues – taxes, regs, health care, deficit and debt – addressed.

@rainnWilson

I think debate performance was directly tied to size of flag pin.

@justinshanes

This is the least funny SNL opening ever.

@TierraDestiny

To put people back to work, consumers need more money to SPEND to increase #SmallBiz bottom line! Not just tax breaks! #Debate #CNNdebate

@Ruth_A_Buzzi
I’m convinced this is a great country. After all, immigration is the sincerest form of flattery.

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Forbes: 3 Little Technologies You Never Heard Of, But May Have a Big Impact On Your Business

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

A few weeks ago I had a British experience at Pizzeria Uno’s near Boston.  No, they weren’t serving fish and chips.  On each table at the restaurant was a little wireless device.  When I was done eating I paid for my meal by using the device.  No server was involved.  I say this was a British experience because every time I visit my wife’s family in London my kids drag us to the local Pizza Express restaurant.  After receiving our bill of $100 for a pizza dinner (yes, London is expensive) we pay for it like all Londoners do: via a handheld device brought to our table by our server.  I always wondered why this type of mobile payment technology isn’t more widespread here in the U.S.  Well, I can wonder no more. It’s here.  And it’s just one little technology that’s going to change millions of businesses.

The device I used is made by Ziosk.  “Ziosk is currently servicing about 5 million guests per month. Over the next 12 months we will service 100 million guests and in the next 24 months we will be servicing 100 million guests per month.” This is per John Regal, the company’s Chief Marketing Officer.   By using the Ziosk’s 7″ touch screen, guests can check into Facebook or the restaurant’s loyalty program, view the menu, order food and drinks, play games, read the news, view movie trailers and pay their check.  And unlike my family’s beloved Pizza Express in London, a server doesn’t have to bring the device to the table – it’s there to play with for the entire meal.

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NYT: This Week in Small Business: They’re Talking About Us!

(This post originally appeared on the New York Times)

The Debate: Small Businesses Front and Center

The first presidential debate favored Governor Romney, and small businesses were front and center. Stocks rallied the next day. Unfortunately, too many people were playing drinking games to pay attention. But these are five good takeaways from the night. And here’s one issue the candidates missed.

The Fiscal Cliff: Fears Grow

Fears begin to build about the looming cliff, and some people are concerned itmay impede job growth. Americans may see smaller paychecks next year as payroll tax breaks expire. Senate leaders work on a plan to avoid mandatory cuts. A group offers a $2 trillion alternative. Rick Newman advises on how to prepare. Dana Blankenhorn says the real fiscal cliff is economic growth: “So let’s assume we’re all about to be made happy, with faster growth, and lower unemployment starting to push up wages. What happens, then, to the government’s costs for borrowing new money? It goes up. And small increases in interest rates make for a big change in costs, when calculated as a percentage. It’s simple math.” Chairman Bernanke answers five questions. ThePostal Service defaults again.

The Economy: Slow Growth, Rising Stress

The unemployment rate falls to 7.8 percent, and ADP says companies added 162,000 jobs to payrolls. Jack Welch says the president cooked the books; Paul Krugman says Republicans can’t handle the truth. Advertised vacanciesrise. But weekly unemployment claims go up again. An Intuit index shows thatsmall-business growth is slowing, and TD Bank says small-business owners’stress levels are rising. Wells Fargo’s chief financial officer offers a sober outlook on the economy. Chief executives sharply reduce their expectations. Harlan Levy says that “other than technology, it’s hard to see any part of the U.S. economy growing more than 1 percent or 2 percent.” Retailers reportslower sales growth. The domestic office market barely gains in the third quarter. Manufacturing new orders are “a disaster.” Curt Schilling may evenhave to sell his bloody sock. But mall vacancies declined and auto sales stayed strong with Ford reporting truck sales at their best pace since 2007. The service sector grew in September and holiday sales are expected to rise 4.1 percent. Home prices went up in August.

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Huffington Post: This Election, Let’s Remember: It’s Ridiculous How Good Small Business Has It

(This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post)

Every day I get a few hundred emails. Most of them I glance through or delete. But a few I read religiously. One of these comes from the vintage photo site Shorpy.com. Why? Check this out. And this. And this. Here’s one more. Go ahead and click to enlarge those photos. The detail is pretty amazing, right? It’s almost like I’m right there, running that bookstore in Boston in 1900 or a factory in Dayton in 1902. Wait… is that guy actually picking his nose in front of the bookstore? Gross.

I like to look at these pictures to remind me how ridiculous it is to complain about my business today.

Thank God I’m not running a bookstore in Boston in 1900 or a factory in Dayton in 1902.These were the good old days. And with the exception of poor dental hygiene, these people were just like me and you, with the same problems and the same hopes. But we’re not the same. They were running and working in businesses in the early 1900’s. They put in long hours and faced challenges few of us face today. Everything seemed to be in black and white too, which must have been really depressing after a while.

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Inc.: It’s Ridiculous How Good You Have It

(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

Every day I get a few hundred emails.  Most of them I glance through or delete.  But a few I read religiously.  One of these comes from the vintage photo site Shorpy.com.  Why?  Check this out.  And this.  And this.  Here’s one more.  Go ahead and click to enlarge those photos.  The detail is pretty amazing, right?  It’s almost like I’m right there, running that bookstore in Boston in 1900 or a factory in Dayton in 1902.  Wait…is that guy actually picking his nose in front of the bookstore?  Gross.

I like to look at these pictures to remind me how ridiculous it is to complain about my business today.  Thank God I’m not running a bookstore in Boston in 1900 or a factory in Dayton in 1902.

These were the good old days.  And with the exception of poor dental hygiene, these people were just like me and you, with the same problems and the same hopes.  But we’re not the same.  They were running and working in businesses in the early 1900s.  They put in long hours and faced challenges few of us face today.  Everything seemed to be in black and white too, which must have been really depressing after a while.

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Fox Business: Sending Work Emails From the Shower? Proud Of Yourselves?

(This post originally appeared on Fox Business)

No I’m not that proud.  And I don’t send emails from the shower either.  These and other great tweets caught my attention this week.

@nickbilton
Love that Google has figured out how to map oceans, while Apple is still trying figure how to get you to the corner deli.

@DaveKerpen
LinkedIn just gets better and better. “Endorsements” will be huge. I’m buying stock.

@milguy23
The questions r not: “How do I do social media?” or “How do I do Twitter?” The question is: What does my customer need/want/desire?

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Forbes: For Most Businesses, The iPhone Doesn’t Matter

 

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

A couple of weeks ago I travelled to Orlando and a car service met me at the airport.  The driver was a nice man who spoke almost no English.   But that made little difference.  Because what was the first thing he did once I was settled in the backseat?  He took out his iPad and updated the office with details of my pick-up time, number of bags and destination.  When we arrived at the hotel where I was staying the driver again completed the order with my drop-off time and took my credit card using the tablet.  His office knew where he was at every turn by the device’s built in GPS system and notified him of his next pickup.

Other than the election, the biggest recent news story seems to be all about the iPhone 5.  We’ve heard about its record sales.  The lines around the block atApple stores.  The rave reviews.  The disappointment with Apple’s mapping software, followed by the company’s apology.  It’s been a regular soap opera.  Yet for businesses, both large and small, the news is completely irrelevant.  The iPhone 5 doesn’t matter.

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