StrategyDriven Podcast Series

StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective – Hiring Uncertainties

The extension of Bush-era tax breaks, healthcare reform and an increase in the rate of hiring in November suggests that the economy is gaining momentum. Unfortunately, few expect a change in the 9.6 percent unemployment rate. Yet despite this constant, many economists are optimistic about the Nation’s hiring forecast.

Two pillars of the economy – jobs and consumer spending – appear to be on the upswing. Factories are producing, auto sales are rising and new businesses pop up daily. Also, applications for initial unemployment benefits hit a two year low in November and 151,000 new jobs were created.

Job creation does not necessarily correlate with lowering the unemployment rate. According to analysts, the economy would need to consistently add 200,000-300,000 jobs a month to make a noticeable dent in the unemployment rate. Despite the job creation shortfall, the economy is moving in the right direction. Economists predict that the United States economy will grow at a three percent pace in the October-December quarter, up from a two and a half percent growth rate in the July-September quarter.

Will the steady increase in the economy translate into a positive hiring forecast? The results are mixed. The increase in private sector jobs suggests that retail and factory jobs will continue to climb. The same cannot be said for small businesses, mainly due to uncertain tax future many businesses face.

The issue at the heart of this uncertainty involves limited access to capital at a time when banks are reluctant to lend. Taxes further hinder these businesses’ ability to produce. If a business owner has to pay higher taxes on net earnings, the business is much less available to do other things needed to contribute to the economy such as hire employees, buy equipment and expand. Many small business owners seek long term tax strategies rather than year-by-year decisions that make planning for the future of their business impossible.

Recent healthcare reform is also adding to economic uncertainty for small businesses. Many of the provisions of the sweeping health-care bill passed by the House of Representatives in March won’t kick in until 2014, however these provisions spell big changes for small businesses.

By no later than 2014, states will have to set up Small Business Health Options Programs, or “SHOP Exchanges,” where small businesses will be able to pool together to buy insurance. Businesses with more than 50 employees will be required to either offer healthcare coverage or pay a penalty of $750 a year per full-time worker. Part-time employees would be counted toward the 50-employee minimum on pro-rated basis based on hours worked, bringing more small businesses into the group required to provide coverage.

This clearly effects hiring as many small businesses have been able to exclude part time employees from healthcare benefits and from its total number of employees. However, the proposed reforms could help spur entrepreneurial activity by increasing the incentives for talented Americans to launch their own companies, and could increase the pool of workers willing to work at small firms. Further, successful reform would reduce the phenomenon of ‘job lock,’ in which workers are reluctant to leave a job with employer-sponsored health insurance out of fear that they will not be able to find affordable coverage.

As both the future of business tax as well as healthcare reform are uncertain, the countries hiring forecast is foggy. However, both private sector jobs and consumer spending have risen creating an optimistic attitude among economic analysts for our country’s economic future. New healthcare laws also suggest a possible increase in entrepreneurial activity, thus creating more jobs, hopefully creating a positive hiring trend.

About the Author

As CEO of MyCorporation Business Services, Inc. (, Deborah Sweeney is an advocate for protecting personal and business assets for all consumers. With experience in the field of corporate and intellectual property law, Deborah provides insightful commentary on the benefits, barriers and who should consider incorporation and trademark registration.

Deborah joined MyCorporation in 2003 after serving as outside general counsel for 5 years. She received her Juris Doctor and Masters in Business Administration degrees from Pepperdine University and is a member of the American Bar Association.

Deborah served as an adjunct professor at the University of West Los Angeles and San Fernando School of Law in the area of corporate and intellectual property law. Because of her extensive knowledge, Deborah has long served as a speaker and panelist on legal issues affecting new to the world and growing businesses.

10 Tools to Audit Your Site

Gaining clarity on where your site really is, is half the battle. SEO must be looked at through 2 lenses – lens 1 has to do with your site, lens 2 is your competition. To move forward and spot opportunities, you have to get your arms around your strengths and weaknesses and that of your competition.

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About the Authors

Jason Hennessey is an internationally-known Search Engine Optimization (SEO) expert. Over the past seven years, Jason has been a vigorous student/practitioner of search marketing – dissecting, testing, debunking, and reverse engineering the major search algorithms.

As the director of SEO at Everspark, Hennessey oversees search marketing campaigns for high profile celebrities, lawyers, politicians and Fortune 500 companies. Within the industry he is known as ‘The Secret Weapon‘ people call on when they want to rank for extremely competitive terms in short periods of time. Jason played an instrumental role in turning Everspark Interactive into a $1.2 million agency in only three months.

Chris Watson is a 20-year marketing veteran, with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the magazine publishing industry. Over the span of his career, Chris has won numerous industry awards for his work with the InfoLink stable of publications in Australia.

In January 2010, he partnered with three colleagues to create a full-service SEO agency called Everspark Interactive. With Chris’s extensive background and creative vision, he has helped grow Everspark Interactive into a $1.2 million company in just three months; making it one of Atlanta’s fastest growing new companies.

StrategyDriven Podcast Episode 38a – Overcoming Resistance to Change, part 1 of 2

StrategyDriven Podcasts focus on the tools and techniques executives and managers can use to improve their organization’s alignment and accountability to ultimately achieve superior results. These podcasts elaborate on the best practice and warning flag articles on the StrategyDriven website.

Episode 38a – Overcoming Resistance to Change, part 1 of 2 explores the three different types of resistance frequently encountered when implementing a business change, how to recognize each type, and the actions change leaders can take to overcome each of these objections. During our discussion, Rick Maurer, author of Beyond the Wall of Resistance: Why 70% of All Changes Still Fail – and What You Can Do About It, shares with us his insights and illustrative examples regarding:

  • whether resistance has to occur with every change or if it can be avoided
  • what resistance to change is
  • the three types of change resistance and risks associated with each
  • how change leaders can recognize the first type of resistance to change
  • actions leaders should take to overcome this type of resistance

Additional Information

In addition to the outstanding insights Rick shares in Beyond the Wall of Resistance and this edition of the StrategyDriven Podcast are the resources accessible from his websites, and   Rick’s book, Beyond the Wall of Resistance, can be purchased by clicking here.

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About the Author

Rick Maurer, author of Beyond the Wall of Resistance, is a renowned change management expert, speaker, and bestselling author. He is an advisor to business leaders from a variety of organizations throughout the world, including major Fortune 500 companies, as well as private and nonprofit institutions in industries such as aerospace, healthcare, government, professional associations, telecommunications, and finance. Rick’s opinion has been sought by The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Investor’s Business Daily, Fortune, USA Today, and The Economist. To read Rick’s complete biography, click here.

Minding Your Manners Online: Eight Lessons in Netiquette That Will Help You Succeed in Social Media Charm School

Social networking provides companies with a user-friendly, fast, and far-reaching way to connect with employees and clients. But as with face-to-face meetings, there are certain rules of etiquette that must be followed to achieve the desired outcome.

The Internet is a big, limitless place where the rules of everyday life don’t always apply. You can be whomever you want to be and say whatever you want to say…right? Well actually, no, you can’t – or at least, you shouldn’t. Especially if your online presence is connected to your professional image. The fact of the matter is, just as there is proper etiquette in the ‘real’ world, there’s a right way and a wrong way to behave in the online world, too. In fact, how you choose to communicate can have a very real impact on your relationships with employees, customers, and partners.

For some reason, many people seem to think that using social media gives them a pass to leave manners and etiquette behind. They don’t realize that social media can actually be a critical vehicle by which to engage customers and inspire employees.

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About the Author

Barry Libert is the author of Social Nation: How to Harness the Power of Social Media to Attract Customers, Motivate Employees, and Grow Your Business. He is Chairman and CEO of Mzinga®, the leading provider of social software, services, and analytics that improve business performance. Barry has published five books on the value of social and information networks. He is a regularly featured keynote speaker at industry associations and for leading companies on the power of social media. He has been published in Newsweek, Smart Money, Barron’s, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times, and he has appeared on CNN, CNBC, and NPR. Barry currently serves on the Board of Directors at Innocentive and The SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. To learn more about Barry, click here.

StrategyDriven Project Management Best Practice Article

Project Management Best Practice 8 – Roles and Responsibilities Matrix

Projects optimally progress toward the achievement of their ultimate goals when team members individually and collectively contribute to the completion of project tasks in a non-redundant fashion. While project schedules should assign individuals or groups of individuals to each task, the schedule itself is not likely to include minute tasks or to clearly assign the very specific nuanced contribution of each individual within a group assigned to a task. Another tool, the roles and responsibilities matrix, provides the needed performance assignment clarity for those minute undocumented tasks and group activities; helping eliminate the risk of redundantly performed work that would unnecessarily slow progress and raise costs.

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