The XII Blog
Today is 16 August 2018

The Plan
[Richard J. Sacks]
Tuesday, 24 August 2010
On our side we have no access. It’s always been that way. But don’t understand it in terms of “haves and have-nots” because that’s not really the case. Part of the fallout from the financial debacle is that a measurable percentage of “haves” have been “transported” to our side of the canyon, finding themselves on the “wrong” side of the abyss for the first time in their lives. And they don’t like it one little bit.

They are coming up with all kinds of contraptions to try to get back across. All to no avail. Where are the Wright Brothers when we need them? And it’s not only the new l... (more) 

My Vision or Yours?
[Richard J. Sacks]
Tuesday, 29 June 2010
A friend of mine, who was CEO of a complex hospital operation (I guess that’s why they call them “hospital complexes”), had recently hired a bright, young graduate of a local university. He was planning to groom this young lady and to eventually move her into a middle management position. He arranged for her to be his direct report for her first six months on the job.

He gave her an assignment to write up a proposal for a new emergency room procedure that he was thinking of implementing. He gave her a very specific outline of what he envisioned and sent her on her way.

A... (more) 

C'mon, Conservatives!
[Richard J. Sacks]
Tuesday, 08 June 2010
I feel compelled to stand up for the conservative point of view.

As a matter of full disclosure, I don’t consider myself a conservative. I have always thought of myself as a moderate Republican and, when that became an oxymoron, I found a home as an ambiguous Independent. I don’t really fit anywhere.

But, back to the conservatives. Conservatism is a valid political philosophy as is liberalism. Unfortunately, the people who call themselves conservative today do not represent the mainstream of conservatives. In effect, the label has been co-opted by a bunch of people who ar... (more) 

Man, Have We Ever Lost Our Way!
[Richard J. Sacks]
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nearly 40 million Americans received food stamps -- the latest in an ever-higher string of record enrollment that dates from December 2008 and the U.S. recession, according to a government update.

U.S. Food stamps are the primary federal anti-hunger program, helping poor people buy food. Enrollment is highest during times of economic distress. The jobless rate was 9.9 percent, the government said on Friday.

The Agriculture Department said 39.68 million people, or 1 in 8 Americans, were enrolled for food stam... (more) 

I Just Had An Idea...
[Richard J. Sacks]
Wednesday, 24 February 2010
I just had an idea…we could jump-start our economy by converting to the metric system.

Imagine how many industries would be effected. Virtually everything we use would have to be re-calibrated. Unemployment would come to a screeching halt as factories geared up to manufacture new measuring devices and new containers for things and new textbooks.

And if the players in Washington, D.C. really wanted to have an impact they could require the conversion to take place within 24 months. They could create tax credits to encourage quick conversion. Think of the number of auditors ... (more) 

Fixing The Train Wreck
[Richard J. Sacks]
Friday, 05 February 2010
If you can look beyond all the grief, wrecked careers and general upset, these are rather interesting times we live in.

The theory behind our culture is that we operate a capitalist economy within a democratic society. Neither of those systems is very hard to understand and I think it's their very simplicity that makes them work. Ironically, the two systems are diametrically opposed – two racing trains heading for each other on the same track. In case you didn't notice, they collided recently.

In a capitalist system, there is a clear delineation between the wealthy (tho... (more) 

A New Market Niche
[Richard J. Sacks]
Wednesday, 06 January 2010

Every society has “haves” and “have nots”. We usually think of the differentiation as being based on economics. But equally as important as money, is power and authority.  Being able to “get what you want” is not limited to the wealthy…plenty of middle-management (and not necessarily wealthy) people actually control how the world turns.

Sure, wealth and power usually coincide. But look at the federal government…it’s the middle level bureaucrats who make things work or not work. It’s an old story that Washington functions the same way regardless of ... (more) 

Q&A / Discretionary Bonus or Punishment?
[Richard J. Sacks]
Thursday, 10 December 2009
Question:  My Company employs about fifty people.  We have had a discretionary year-end bonus program at the end of the company’s fiscal year, consistently paying out 15% to 25% of salaries.  This year, for the first time, we lost money and, frankly, I’m not very happy about it.  I called a company meeting and told everyone there would be no bonuses and that, furthermore, they were lucky I didn’t cut their salaries to make up for the losses. I made it clear that they would have to work harder, in future years, if they expected to get bonuses.  The meeting practically c... (more) 

Consultant Forms Entrepreneur School in Missouri
[Richard J. Sacks]
Tuesday, 01 December 2009

ST. LOUIS, MO -- Looking for a job? Why not create one yourself by opening your own small business?

That is the message a local consultant for small businesses is promoting through his new entrepreneur school, The Matterhorn Project.

The school is the brainchild of Richard Sacks, owner of St. Charles-based The Sacks Group, and longtime banking professionals Mark and Melissa Hollander.

Check out this link for the whole article!   Great Job, Sarah Wienke!

... (more) 

New Business, Not Small Business, Is What Creates Jobs.
[Richard J. Sacks]
Tuesday, 10 November 2009

New Business, Not Small Business, Is What Creates Jobs

Nearly all net job creation since 1980 occurred in firms less than five years old.



"Where Will The Jobs Come From?"
[Richard J. Sacks]
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation issued a report on November 5, 2009 entitled "Where Will The Jobs Come From?" and the last paragraph of the 17 page report is SPOT on for our economic woes.  Here is an excerpt:

"Still, virtually all of the attention among policymakers and the media has focused on the waiting game by larger firms, currently reluctant to take back employees they dismissed, and unwilling so far to begin hiring new employees again. The analysis here, however, suggests this attention is misplaced. The overwhelming source ... (more) 

Kauffman Foundation Analysis Emphasizes Importance of Young Bus
[Richard J. Sacks]
Friday, 06 November 2009

U.S. Census data showing ... (more) 


[Richard J. Sacks]
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
That beautiful flower bed I had laid out that represented my plan for the balance of my life is looking a little wilted. A lot wilted, actually.

I tried to plan for most eventualities, even the bad ones. I carry life insurance and disability insurance in case something happens to me. I even carry long-term care insurance.

So, Murphy’s Law, the one thing I didn’t foresee was that every strut supporting my goals would be demolished. They didn’t offer insurance for that (unless you count credit default swaps) or I probably would have had it.

Too bad, so sad.

What Happened to Individual Thought?
[Richard J. Sacks]
Monday, 05 October 2009
In the midst of this financial cataclysm there’s one question I ponder over and over again: “Where was everybody while all this backroom fraud was going on?” 

Could it be that our society is so sick that no one in any position of authority felt obligated to step up to the plate and say “No more”?

Sorry to say, what was going on during the last couple of years was totally obvious to some of us. I’m no Wall Street wizard but I knew something was wrong. The whole concept of derivatives, and their associated fabrications, was clearly a game. Was there no honest man in t... (more) 

Incentive Comp
[Richard J. Sacks]
Monday, 24 August 2009
Incentive compensation…the life’s blood of employee motivation.

“IC” is something we all want. A prize for special performance. A monetary pat on the back for standing out in the crowd. A glob of cash plunked down as a reward for knocking yourself out for the company. How wonderful. How dangerous.

I never realized there was a negative side to IC until recently. It never occurred to me that it could be used to promote bad behavior. In retrospect it seems pretty obvious that people bribe other people to do bad things all the time. But we call that a “payoff”, not an incenti... (more) 

American Idol
[Richard J. Sacks]
Monday, 03 August 2009
American Idol…love it or hate it. Personally, I love to hate it. I watch it every week (or DVR it) and find that it grows on me as the number of competitors decreases. By the last couple of weeks, it's actually entertaining!

From a business perspective it's fascinating. The program got people to cast 60,000,000 votes during the last week. That's either one very busy person (with sore fingers) or a lot of people paying attention to a process and enthusiastically going out of their way to participate. Any time you can get that many people to do the same thing at the same time, you... (more) 

Rich or Good Looking?
[Richard J. Sacks]
Thursday, 23 July 2009

I've always thought it's better to be born rich than good looking.

It's a matter of competitive advantage. Which makes it easier to navigate through life? Money or looks? Besides, if you've got independent wealth you can always have some work done on your homely visage.

Competitive advantage is something everyone seeks. Do you know yours? Are you smarter or faster or stronger? Are you more clever or more ... (more) 


Slap Slap Flip Flops
[Richard J. Sacks]
Friday, 10 July 2009

Slap slap, slap slap, slap slap.


That's the sound of flip-flops walking. Just ordinary flip flops, not necessarily the kind with flowers on them or jewels. Just plain vanilla flip-flops.



I've Decided to Live in the
[Richard J. Sacks]
Wednesday, 01 July 2009

I've decided to live in the "Big Picture". Things are so much easier there. That's where the "long run" lives. People are so much smarter in the Big Picture, because that's where "hindsight" resides. And let's not forget about "trends".  Or the "final analysis".




Methinks We Have A Breakdown...
[Richard J. Sacks]
Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Methinks we have a breakdown in communication between microbusinesses and bankers.. Well, actually, meknows we have a breakdown in communication. It's not really a breakdown, because that assumes there ever was an actual line of communication between them, but it's been so long that only the eldest amongst us would be apt to remember it.




You Said You Were The Best
[Richard J. Sacks]
Tuesday, 02 June 2009

You told me you are the best salesman your company has…if you could only get out on the street and sell more often. With the budget crunch we’re all facing you laid a couple of people off in the office and now you and everyone else are picking up the slack. It’s gotten to the point where you can’t afford to spend a full day in the field because of all the time it’s taking you to run your company.



Do You Have a Plan?
[Richard J. Sacks]
Thursday, 21 May 2009

Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. has a new ad campaign. I've seen two different commercials so far, both with the same message. In one, Dad, who doesn't look like he's having a very good day, is speaking to the family at dinner (wife, teens and tweens) and telling them it looks like he's going to lose his job. And that he's sorry, and obviously defeated, that they're all going to have to tighten their belts and postpone some things.



I am getting tired of being outraged
[Richard J. Sacks]
Friday, 08 May 2009

Every single day something new comes to light that makes me more and more angry. Disturbed in fact. I simply cannot believe that some of the things people have done in the name of commerce have actually taken place. Every time you thought you'd heard it all (I thought Maddoff was as bad as it could get) something else crops up.



Why I Must Own My Own Business
[Richard J. Sacks]
Wednesday, 29 April 2009

I had an "aha" moment the other day. I was reading an obituary of Irving R. Levine ("NBC News") in which the eulogist pointed out that the famous journalist habitually "told the truth to power", a trait that didn't tend to ingratiate him to certain politicians. He was sometimes excluded from the inner circle, not invited to the best parties, because of his audacity.




I broke my leg...
[Richard J. Sacks]
Saturday, 07 March 2009
A couple of months ago I broke my leg. I slipped on the ice on a step outside of my office. After dragging myself back indoors to call 911 (my cellphone had no signal for some reason) I waited for the EMT's to come. The thought crossed my mind that I should sue my landlord but, she's a nice gal and it wasn't her fault there was ice on the step and I really didn't want to capitalize on my own misfortune. So, I called her and told her what happened and that I wouldn't sue her. She thanked me and said she really didn't need anymore stress that day, because her husband just broke his leg after s... (more) 

Make it easy to buy from you
[Richard J. Sacks]
Thursday, 15 January 2009
Did you ever walk into a store, where you are the only customer, and everyone ignores you? Did you ever want to make a big noise and say "Excuse me! I am a customer and I am in your store?"

Man, that pisses me off. I took the trouble to come into your store, or visit your website, or call you on the telephone and all I get in return is the feeling I'm disturbing your very busy day. I guess you were preoccupied with something more important than making a sale.

Many businesses make the mistake of making it difficult for a customer to buy from them. Whether it i... (more) 

It's all in the attitude
[Richard J. Sacks]
Monday, 05 January 2009
"It's mostly mental" any athlete will tell you. The physical contribution to success always takes a back seat to the mental contribution.

How come we don't realize the same thing about business success?

Failure is so often a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you approach things thinking you're going to get screwed you probably will. Or, more importantly, you will interpret things that happen to you through that filter.

No one is out to get you in business. Frankly, no one cares enough about your business to be out to get you. Why should they expend t... (more) 

My First Entry
[Richard J. Sacks]
Monday, 15 December 2008
Out of roughly 6,000,000 businesses in the United States, 4,500,000 have fewer than 10 employees. 17,000 businesses have over 500 employees. Those 17,000 businesses have close to 2,000,000 locations.

Why do I care? Because the 4.5 million "micro" businesses get virtually no help either financially or otherwise and the 17,000 businesses absorb almost all the goods and services directed towards businesses.

Why do I care? Because 500,000 businesses fail every year and no one seems to care. Because it's about time someone did something to make things change. So ... (more) 

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