American Workers For American Companies

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Gov't Shutdown Affects Small Business

We have been here before and it is never a fun ride. The last shutdown cost the taxpayers about $800 million in wages.  During the shutdown of 1995, 800,000 non-essential workers were furloughed, without pay.   The chance that the gov't will have a shutdown is pretty stressful to people from almost all walks of life.  We all hope and trust that this won't happen but if it does, how is your company prepared?

Karen Mills, administrator with the Small Business Association, says that the guarantee on current small-business loans will continue to be services, seeing as how they are actually now in the hands of banks.  Anyone in the 'queue' and waiting for a final decision on a future loan will be put on hold.  This could be devastating to many small businesses who are anxiously counting on those funds to keep them solvent.

If you have any government contracts there is a great chance that those orders will come to screaming halt until this is resolved.  Again, for some companies that could be devastating.  They, in turn, may have to lay off workers either temporarily or permanently.

If you are vying for a government contract you can put your energies elsewhere during a shutdown.  In fact, most agencies that review these agreements will be closed and you'll be stuck talking to their answering service.

It is possible to survive a gov't shutdown if that were to happen.  A company should have a contingency plan in place, much like a natural disaster plan.  Perhaps it will be a good time to review safety standards with employees, conduct a mid-year inventory, or send employees to some training.  A shutdown won't last forever and those who are ready and think before it happens, should be able to survive it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It's All About Networking

I don't care HOW virtual we get - we can never top the advantages of face-to-face networking. We have several opportunities coming up this week to network with business people in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area and we are more than excited to meet people.

One of our team members hates networking. I took him to a recent event and he wore his sunglasses the entire time. He didn't want to talk to anyone, he didn't want to do the 'schmooze'. To his defense, I kinda dragged him there! But we did make some really good contacts in spite of his trying to escape every five minutes!

Contacts are great ONLY if both sides agree that its a conTACT and not a conTRACT. There's a big difference. Those contacts who are only interested in a contract are just a flash in the pan.  They will wait a certain period of time but if you don't become a conTRACT you may not hear from them again.  What is truly unique about networking is the ability to build a professional set of peers for support, idea sharing, and yes, maybe a contract BUT be very careful getting too friendly with someone with whom you may end up signing a contract - or multiple contracts.

You've heard of the 'friends zone' in dating, right? That's when you are friends - really good ones - and that's all you'll ever be. In business networking you need to decide who is going to be your friend and who is going to be a business partner. It is not impossible to have both, its just dangerous. Can you fire your friend? Can you still have lunch with your friend if your lawyer just served his company papers for failure to pay? The list goes on but I hope I made my point.

So during my networking this week i hope to meet a lot of friendly faces and make some business friends. I also hope to make some conTRACTS. After all, that's what we all need to continue to stay in business, right?

So when you shake that next hand ask yourself, "is this a conTACT or conTRACT?"