Middle market companies often struggle with growing and developing a strong leadership team that is ready to face the challenges that come with each stage of a company’s development. Too often, the founder and visionary of the company reaches a point where he or she is no longer effective. Often the next step is for the board is to intervene and hire a new CEO, which can leave the founder wondering what went wrong.
Well the first half of 2008 wasn’t exactly stellar for the stock market. The U.S. stock market was down by 10.9 percent as measured by the Vanguard Total U.S. Stock Index Fund (VTSMX), while the international stock market was down 10.2 percent as measured by the Vanguard FTSE All World Ex U.S. Index Fund (VEU).
Between 1956 and 1991, Colorado motorists willingly paid “temporary” hikes in the federal gasoline tax knowing that the money was being used to build the 42,000 mile interstate highway system. During 1991, Congress declared the highway system completed — but the tax lived on and on, growing bigger and bigger.
It’s staggering to think that as we march toward a seventh year at war, Iraq (let alone Afghanistan) is hardly an issue on the campaign trail. Of course, nobody has forgotten about the war. But there’s been no substantive debate about it, either.
The fact that our economy is going through a down period is being talked about through every media outlet and probably most conferences or round tables that you attend. As a business manager or owner, you know that having loyal and satisfied clients and customers is a large part of your success. However, it’s no longer enough just to satisfy them. The quality of your revenue is as important as its quantity, and loyal customers represent quality revenue.
Many of you sitting here reading this article are subject to federal workplace laws and, as a result, you should be concerned about the ruling in CBOCS West Inc. v. Humphries, a case handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court last month. In Humphries, the court ruled that employees may pursue retaliation claims under Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866.
It is no secret that the high cost of fuel is affecting consumers, but middle market companies are no less immune to the impact of higher energy costs. There has been a push for several years to become greener by reducing the amount of energy businesses consume. The spike in energy costs has accelerated that process. Now it is both socially and economically advantageous to become more energy efficient at the office.
Nearly two years ago, I was reading the local papers and came across a couple advertisements. One offered to lend me money at a rate just shy of 3.16 percent, while the other offered to pay me 7.12 percent for investing my money. The old saying “what looks too good to be true probably is” immediately came to mind. And after investigating the advertisements, it turned out they were both quite deceptive.
With all the crazy lawsuits that we hear about these days, have you ever wondered whether you have done all that you possibly can to protect the assets that you have accumulated? That is when it is time to consider asset protection planning, which is the implementation of legal techniques to protect the assets of individuals and business entities from civil money judgments.
In challenging and divided times, it is imperative to find consensus-builders. Americans want results from Washington on the important issues before the country. Making progress on these issues means hammering out solutions that can command broad support, and we need the politicians who can do it.
Continuing a long-term trend, race discrimination claims were the most frequently filed charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission during fiscal year 2007. “Corporate America needs to do a better job of proactively preventing discrimination and addressing complaints promptly and effective,” EEOC Chairwoman Naomi C. Earp said in releasing the agency’s 2007 job bias charge statistics.
Many of us are tired of hearing that the economy is heading into a recession. The trouble is that businesses can either make good strategic decisions and grow through tough times or risk becoming a victim of the down economy. An important exercise in any type of an economy is to study your business and separate your activities into two categories — core and other. Then decide if any of the non-core activities make sense to outsource.