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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — Facebook will now ban “bad” businesses from advertising.

Facebook has announced the global rollout of a new policy that will now let users file a complaint about businesses they’ve had a problem with if they bought something after clicking on one of their ads. If enough people complain about a business, it could lead Facebook to ban the company from running ads. The new policy is meant to help Facebook fight back against advertising abuse on its platform and trying to prevent “bad shopping experiences,” which can cost customers and make them frustrated with Facebook, too. (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your business:

Don’t panic. The good news for your business is that if you’re on the up and up, do a good job, and provide good products and service you’ll be fine. Your competitors, on the other hand, may find themselves at a disadvantage to you on Facebook if they’re not doing the same. My only concern is good businesses who find themselves the victims of trolls who attack them on Facebook because…well, what reasons do trolls need? I think this policy, however, has more benefits than drawbacks, particularly for reputable companies.

2 — Cortana good news: a study predicts Microsoft’s digital assistant will rival Amazon and Google in business use.

A new survey of IT professionals by Pindrop, a voice tech security company, shows that Cortana is making a big impact in the enterprise world. The study that predicts Microsoft’s digital assistant will be a serious rival for its counterparts from Google and Amazon. Results showed that 78 percent of businesses want to implement Cortana into their operations over the next two years, compared to 78 percent for the Google Assistant and 77 percent for Amazon’s Alexa. (Source: Geek Wire) (My company, The Marks Group PC, is a Microsoft partner)

Why this is important for your business:

As Office and Dynamics continue their significant growth, more businesses of all sizes will find themselves using and relying on voice-enable assistants to process transactions and complete activities. For people in Microsoft World, that means Cortana. This study does not surprise me.

3 — Cortana bad news: hackers can summon Cortana to break into Windows 10 PCs.

This week, Microsoft issued a Windows 10 security update after McAfee security researchers discovered that hackers can break into PCs using Cortana—its digital assistant, which is built into every version of Windows 10. McAfee found that Cortana could be summoned from a lock screen to execute malicious software. Potential hackers would need physical access to a PC, and McAfee details methods to get the digital assistant to index files from a USB drive and execute them. (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your business:

With growth comes attention…and not always from the best people. I expect this to be the first of many reported hacks that Cortana will suffer over the coming years as the voice assistant grows in popularity. Make sure your security software is addressing any potential exposures you may have as a result of Cortana’s exposure to hacking.

4 — 25% of employees use the same password for every account.

A report this week from OpenVPN shows that, despite an increased focus on security training, 25% of the 500 US employees surveyed say they use the same password for every account. Another 23% of employees said they frequently click on links before verifying that they lead to a legitimate, safe website. Of the employees who use the same password for everything, 81% said they do not password protect their computer or phone at all. (Source: Tech Republic)

Why this is important for your business:

User error – and ignorance – is the main reason why businesses get hacked. We all make mistakes. Increase your training budget, make sure your security software is always current and implement online backup software to protect your company.

5 — Bitcoin price plunges after cryptocurrency exchange is hacked.

This week, the price of bitcoin and other virtual currencies dropped sharply due to a recent hack of the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Coinrail. After Coinrail confirmed the cyber-attack, bitcoin’s price fell 10% to a two-month low. It lost $500 (£372) in an hour, dropping to $6,627 on the Luxembourg exchange Bitstamp, while most other digital currencies also recorded large losses. (Source: The Guardian)

Why this is important for your business:

Since The Guardian article was written, bitcoin has recovered some of its losses. But there’s no question that digital currencies like it are in their early days, subject to hacks and exposed to manipulation. The takeaway? Stay away! Go ahead and have some fun with a few dollars of your personal funds. But keep digital currencies out of your business for the time being…until things settle down and become more secure. Which I believe they will.

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(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

Lazy. Impetuous. Disrespectful. Unreliable. No, those aren’t the words that people today use to describe the millennial generation. Those are actually the words our parents’ generation used to describe us!

Now, there’s a new generation in town.

Millennials – those aged anywhere from 18-34 years old by most accounts – make up a significant majority of the current workforce. The smartest CEOs and business owners I meet accept that this generation has different values and priorities than the ones before and – instead of complaining about this fact – adjust their employment practices to attract the best workers from this group. But attracting new people and then keeping the best ones motivated and working long term are two different things.

How do you keep them from quitting?

A new study by Visier, a human resources analytics and planning firm, reveals some data that may help. The research was conducted using the company’s internal database of 60 large U.S. based companies from multiple industries who employ about 1.5 million workers. Researchers then broke down this data between employees who were millennials (those born in 1983 or later) and everyone else.

For starters, your intuitions about this generation are probably correct: millennials really do change jobs more often. In fact, according to the data, this group quits their jobs at a rate that’s twice the rate of non-millennials. Is this a bad thing? No, it’s just a fact, and the reasons why they quit are what’s important if you’re running a business. They mostly have to do with the two things that this generation cares about the most: craft beer and Fortnite.

Just kidding. It’s actually career growth and mobility.

When millennial workers progress, particularly to management level, their turnover declines dramatically – about two-thirds less than managers who are not millennials. When they don’t get promoted they resign at a rate higher than average. The data also found that the lack of promotion drives more millennial men to leave their jobs than women. What’s also interesting is that millennials tend to internally job-hop about twice as much as everyone else.

“With employment numbers at an all-time high and the war for talent more fierce than ever, organizations need to have a strategy to attract and retain millennials,” John Schwarz, Visier’s co-founder and CEO said in a press release. “Our analysis confirmed that millennials change jobs significantly more often, but it also uncovered the power of promotion as a key factor in motivating millennials to stay with their firm.”

The takeaway if you’re a business owner or executive: enough stop crying and complaining about millennials! This is a generation of very hard-working people who – in survey after survey – value mobility, independence and flexibility. They also value feedback, want more responsibilities quicker and gravitate towards jobs that provide opportunities for growth. Otherwise they get bored, unproductive, unhappy and…become former employees.

These issues are easy to address.

Performance reviews should be conducted not once a year, but throughout the year. Constant feedback – both formally and informally – should be provided to your workers. You need to have a willingness to promote more often and share more responsibilities with your employees (it may up your game too!).

Keeping an eye on your workers and being open to them switching roles, trying new things, taking on different duties and even changing jobs entirely within your organization will address this generation’s desire for flexibility and potentially solve more of your problems. Having a strong onboarding process is vital for new hires to feel welcome and motivated the moment they walk in the door.

You need to change, not them. You need to trust more and give more rope to your people.  Why? Because once you have a great person, you don’t let them go. Your job is to maximize their return on investment and find ways to make them profitable. The ways to do this have changed, thanks to the millennial generation and you must adapt to this. You spend too much time and money attracting good people to your business to lose them.

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Most of my clients are small or medium sized companies and are generally not SAP customers. It’s not that SAP doesn’t offer good solutions for this market – they do. But let’s face it: the company has built its very existence on large scale software for large scale enterprises and implemented by large consulting firms like Accenture and the big four accounting firms.

But just last week, the enterprise software giant made an announcement that affects companies of all sizes.

At its annual Sapphire Now conference, the company’s CEO Bill McDermott announced a new product suite called SAP C/4HANA – a new set of CRM software and tools that will integrate with its existing S/4HANA financial applications.

The software sounds exciting – and daunting. Bringing together a bunch of recent acquisitions, the company promises the approximately 8,300 customers of S/4HANA that its new CRM tool will focus not only on just the customer, but the entire supply chain by connecting data from multiple sources and giving users a full view of customer information regardless of their responsibilities in the company. It will use machine learning and include capabilities for sales automation, marketing, commerce and customer service. The company is hoping that its CRM capabilities can, in future, be rolled out to work with its other product lines.

Many experts correctly see this as a direct attack on Salesforce.com, who over the past decade has upended SAP’s once-stronger market position in CRM with its more flexible and scalable cloud-based tools. But SAP’s re-entry into the CRM space is also an indication of a growing trend that should be noticed by leaders at companies of all sizes: vendor brands usurping product brands.

When clients ask me what CRM product is best for them I usually tell them to not spend as much time evaluating features in lieu of considering the software vendor. Who is their community? How committed are they to CRM? What other applications do they provide? How does their CRM system integrate with those applications?

The cloud is steadily turning applications into commodities. Most CRM products can pretty much do the same things and if one does something that the others don’t then just give it a few days and there’ll be parity. Cloud based tools are making it easier to integrate data and customize the delivery of information. So don’t worry so much about the features, I tell my clients. Instead, worry more about the vendor.

The question isn’t whether C/4HANA is the right product for your company.  The more important question is whether SAP is the right vendor for you. Or Microsoft. Or Sage, NetSuite or Intuit. Software companies don’t want their customers using other software companies’ software. They want to keep these customers completely in-house when they can.

Microsoft no longer sells separate financial and CRM products. It now just sells Dynamics. Sage sells its Business Cloud. Netsuite and other cloud accounting software makers have CRM modules that meld into their core financial offerings.  Of course there are powerful stand-alone CRMs. But for the user, there’s a choice: get one of those potentially, more powerful stand-alone CRM applications or get one that’s good enough from your current ERP or financial system provider.  Less vendors means less headaches.

SAP has third party products that integrate its applications with CRM offerings from other companies. But why do that if C/4HANA lives up to its expectations? Why should a S/4HANA customer need to go anywhere else for their business software other than the company that provides its core financial and supply chain systems? And isn’t that a potential upper-hand for SAP over Salesforce’s CRM-only offerings?

McDermott, and the CEO’s of other software companies like his, certainly care about this. And so should you.

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — Intel claims its new display technology can give laptops 28 hours of battery life.

This week, Intel introduced a new low-power display technology that could potentially double the battery life on laptops. It has joined forces with display tech companies Sharp and Innolux to make laptop displays that consume just one watt of power. Intel says a low-power display can add four to eight hours of battery life to a typical laptop during local (non-streaming) video playback—meaning battery life could be up to 28 hours on some devices, rather than the usual 12 hours. (Source: Business Insider)

Why this is important for your business:

Any company that give my devices a 28-hour battery life will win my business. I’m sure many professionals would agree with me.

2 — Buying GitHub would take Microsoft back to its roots.

This week, Microsoft announced it will buy GitHub Inc.—which would be both a return to the company’s earliest roots and a sharp turnaround from where it was a decade ago. GitHub is a code-repository company popular with many software developers, and, of course, Microsoft’s origin story lies in the market for software-development tools. (Source: Bloomberg) (My company, The Marks Group PC, is a Microsoft partner).

Why this is important for your business:

Although concerning to some, especially those in the “open source” community, most people in the tech world that I know are happy to see Microsoft taking yet another big (and expensive) step towards showing the world that it’s a software company, not a “Windows” company. Business owners can be further assured that Microsoft will develop solutions that will run on any device and any operating systems – even open-source ones, and not just theirs.

3 — Order-ahead app Ritual picks up $70M to rethink the social office lunch break.

A startup named Ritual has raised $70 million from a group of investors to introduce its new order-ahead app, which remakes the process of ordering and then picking up lunch. Its founders, Larry Stinson and Robert Kim, designed it for coworkers who have the daily ritual of getting lunch with their team. Consumers use the app to order food or drinks and have coworkers piggyback onto their order, thus creating a more socialized experience. (Source: Tech Crunch)

Why this is important for your business:

The app is intended to provide two benefits for your business. First, instead of multiple people from the same office bringing back food from the corner deli, workers can piggy back on an existing order, so there are productivity gains. Second, it’s social and builds teams as people inside your company collaborate on their lunch orders. So, what do you think?

4 — Sprint and Intel say they’ll offer 5G PCs next year.

Sprint announced this week that it will be offering 5G PCs next year powered by chips made by Intel. Two more companies also said they’ll be building Intel-powered 5G PCs: Acer and Asus—bringing the total number of companies to six. These companies are all supposed to release 5G laptops and 2-in-1s at some point in 2019. This is good news for Intel, which has struggled to compete with Qualcomm in the connected device space. (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your business:

Faster internet speeds are coming, and coming very soon. If some of your cloud based applications appear bloated and slow performing, you’ll hopefully be seeing improvement in 2019.

5 — AI could drive global digital economy to $23 trillion: study.

A new study by global ICT solutions provider Huawei reveals that industries are embedding AI in key enabling technologies, such as Broadband, Data Centers, Cloud, Big Data, and IoT, in order to turn connectivity into Intelligent Connectivity. As a result, AI could almost double the value of the global digital economy to $23 trillion by 2025. However, the study also says that a scarcity of AI talent worldwide threatens this growth. (Source: Thomson Reuters Zawya)

Why this is important for your business:

While many people fear the potential risks of artificial intelligence, robotics and the internet of things (ever see The Terminator?) many researchers, like the ones above, are predicting that these technologies will provide trillions in added economic opportunities – as well as jobs for those willing to learn.

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

As a certified public accountant, I often get asked for ways to save on taxes. Thanks to the new tax reform bill, there are puh-lenty. But there’s one tax benefit in particular that I’ve been recommending to business owners of late, mainly because schools are about to let out for the summer: hire your kid!

Don’t let some other employer steal your children this summer! What, you think some pimply manager at the local fast food restaurant is going to teach your child all the things about life and the meaning of a hard day’s work like you can? No way. This is a golden opportunity for you. You are a devoted parent who wants to raise good, hard-working, law-abiding and conscientious children. Of course, saving a few bucks on your tax bill wouldn’t hurt either, right? This year, you can save big.

Why? Thanks to tax reform, the 2018 standard deduction was increased to $12,000. Last year it was $6,350. That means that you can now pay your child as much as $12,000 this summer. Assuming there’s no other earnings, when your accountant does your kid’s returns at year end, he’ll just net that income against the standard deduction and boom! No taxable income. Not only that but depending on your company’s tax structure (i.e. if you’re a proprietorship or partnership) your kid’s income may be exempt from social security, Medicare and the federal unemployment tax too. State and local tax rules, however, may vary depending on where you live.

I’m not through. Ready? Your business also gets a tax deduction! It’s a bona-fide business expense. So, to recap: your kid makes tax free money. You save money on your taxes. It’s a win-win. But before you start texting your son or daughter the great news about the upcoming summer, I do have a few suggested ground rules for you.

First, I recommend not putting your six-year-old behind the wheel of a forklift in your warehouse. True, she could probably do a better job than some of your guys working out there right now.  But your kid needs to be of reasonable working age. Middle school and up to 18 years old is fine. Assign them reasonable responsibilities. I suggest light warehouse duties, filing work, database tasks and cleaning out his or her bedroom. (OK, the time spent on the last one wouldn’t qualify for a tax deduction but just have her do it anyway. It’s a disgrace.)

Second, you have to pay your kids a reasonable wage and treat them like any other employee. She may be your little baby-girl, but trust me, your employees are going to be the ones crying if they find out she’s allowed to leave early or being paid at a higher rate than they are. The IRS isn’t going to like that either, particularly if it’s disproportionate to what others her skill level would be earning. It doesn’t have to be your state’s minimum wage (although it’s not a bad place to start). But it shouldn’t be excessive.

Also, have your payroll service deposit her earnings — directly and without delay — to a savings account that you set up for her. I’d recommend a 529 plan where the proceeds from her paycheck can grow tax-free and be used to pay for her college tuition some day in the future, assuming you don’t ground her permanently first for going out with that Peter kid after you’ve told her a million times to stay away from him because he’s only interested in one thing. Won’t they ever learn?

Finally, enjoy the moment. She’s only this age once. Thanks to our wise and caring representatives in Congress, you’ve now got the opportunity to have her around the entire summer. In a few years she’ll be who-knows-where doing God-knows-what. Use the opportunity to spend some time together. Grab some lunches. Give her work that she can do nearby. Check in for a hello or a chat. Give her some love.

She may not say so now. But she’ll always remember that great summer she had with her dad — even when she inevitably puts you away in a nursing home.

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(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

The landscaping business has never been easy. But this year, it’s harder than ever. And no, global warming has nothing to do with it.

Take Joe Chiera, who owns Impact Landscape & Maintenance in Boston Heights, Ohio. Chiera is used to dealing with shifting labor, unpredictable weather, environmental concerns and navigating the challenges of managing cash in a seasonal business. But this year, he’s got another huge challenge: no workers.

“We are having major struggles finding people to work,” Chiera told the Akron Beacon Journal. “No one wants to hear me. No one cares.”

People do hear him. People do care. Those people are other landscapers. That’s because Chiera’s not the only landscaper feeling the heat. Businesses like him across the country are also struggling – and for the same reasons. They’re finding themselves at the epicenter of an economic perfect storm: a historically low unemployment rate combined with a dire shortage of seasonal workers. Why the shortage? Most, if not all, blame Washington.

The problem isn’t a new one. For the past few years seasonal businesses like landscapers, resorts and tourist attractions around the country have had to fight over a dwindling supply of legal immigrants allowed to come to this country for a short-term period under the federal H2B visa program. But, as concerns (and attention) about immigration have increased, the program has come under more scrutiny – and used as a media tool to demonstrate the government’s efforts to crack down on immigrants. The government this year said that it would cap the program to only 66,000 immigrants – a number that many consider to be woefully low.

Meanwhile, a strong economy has not only created a surge in demand for landscaping services but a low unemployment environment where even companies offering generous benefits are struggling to find good people to fill jobs. Just this week, government data showed that there were more jobs available than workers for the first time since recordkeeping of this data began in 2000. Adding to an employer’s headaches is a shortage of available college students who are drawn towards internships, a desire by many Americans to avoid manual jobs (even though many pay as much as twice the national minimum wage) and more people failing drug tests due to the legalization of marijuana in many parts of the country.

All of these challenges have put an enormous squeeze on many small businesses in the landscaping industry, where low skilled workers are in high demand. It’s already causing some businesses to cut overhead, reduce capital investments and even consider going out of business.

Jason Turpin, who owns Turpin Landscape and Design in Coatesville, PA, is concerned about his company’s future. “If the cap is not addressed, businesses, including ours, will have to turn down contracts, lay off U.S. workers and possibly close down,” Turpin said in this Daily Local News report. “This is a disaster right now.”

The good news is that the problem is fixable. The 66,000 cap on immigrant workers allowed into the country is an arbitrary number and is pretty easy to change. In fact, the government increased the cap by 15,000 this past May in response to many pleas from the business community. But the increase is still not enough and in today’s politically-charged, anti-immigration environment upping the number even higher is a tall order.

Yes, illegal immigration is a major issue in this country. There are too many people here that have broken the law to be here. And I personally know a few unscrupulous small business owners who have used these people’s illegal status to take advantage of them by paying them much less than they deserve. I sympathize with them.

But it’s also a very unfair predicament for both natural-born Americans and the millions of hard-working immigrants who abide by the law and made the effort to get their green cards the right way. Those workers, and other temporary, legal workers shouldn’t be punished. And neither should the businesses who employ them. The problems faced by the landscaping industry during this summer of 2018 underscores the pressing need for a complete overhaul of our national immigration system. If not addressed, the consequences will grow.

“We will have to cut a lot of American jobs,” Turpin said. “This is absolutely political.

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — 70% of people globally work remotely at least once a week, study says.

More than two-thirds of professionals worldwide work away from the office at least once every week, according to a study by Luxembourg-based serviced office provider IWG.  The study also found that 53 percent telecommute for at least half of the week. IWG said the study related to full-time employees rather than self-employed people or contractors—and that technology was the primary driver of changing perceptions around locations and working hours. (Source: CNBC)

Why this is important for your business:

Working from home – or remotely – is fast becoming a necessity and not just a perk that should be offered to your employees. Most of my clients have invested in cloud-based technologies that allow their workers to work while out of the office. Have you?

2 — Robot boats are propelling one of China’s hottest startups.

A freezer-tested boat drone is mapping the ocean floor in China. The ‘Snow Dragon’ icebreaker is setting up China’s fifth Antarctic research station and using the drones for its work. What was a university project has now turned into China’s largest unmanned surface vessel company, which has sparked the interest of some of the country’s biggest venture capitalists. (Source: Business Times)

Why this is important for your business:

We hear so much about autonomous cars and trucks, but did you know there’s a growing industry of driverless water vehicles too? Using boats as drones could have an enormous impact on shipping, tourism, fishing and other small businesses that rely on the water for their livelihood.

3 — Study: developers are more likely to be self-employed in the UK than anywhere else.

Nearly 12 percent of the coders based in the UK and Ireland work for themselves. According to Stack Overflow, this is higher than the US (7 percent) and the global average (10 percent). (Source: The Next Web)

Why this is important for your business:

One theory of what’s driving this is that, outside of major cities such as London, job opportunities for tech employers get scarcer. As a result, talented coders looking for a challenging and well-paid position often have to create their own. So if you’re looking for a UK based developer for your project, don’t be surprised if he or she works independently.

4 — One-third of employers use decade-old payroll technology.

According to a new survey by Kronos of nearly 1,000 payroll professionals from SMBs in a variety of industries, one-third of employers are using payroll technology that is at least 10 years old.  (Source: Pymnts.com)

Why this is important for your business:

These outdated, manual processes and legacy payroll solutions limit a payroll department’s ability to track and report key performance indicators (KPIs) and also affect their ability to keep up with today’s speed of modern business.

5 — Comet grabs $12.8 million for its engineering freelancer platform.

French startup Comet is building a marketplace of talented tech and data freelancers as well as companies seeking engineers and teams for a specific project—and has just raised a $12.8 million funding round with Otium Venture and Daphni. (Source: Tech Crunch)

Why this is important for your business:

The company, which is currently working with 1,700 freelancers, allows firms to get contractors on demand, without having to scan through hundreds of profiles.

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(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

Is Donald Trump a good leader? Only time will tell. But one thing’s for sure: he’s not afraid to push his weight around to move things in his direction. There’s good reason for that.

Just take a look at this fantastic graphic put together by economist Mark Perry and his team at the American Enterprise Institute. It shows the 2017 Gross Domestic Product of every state and the closest comparable country.

For example, Canada’s entire GDP is equal to Texas. California has a bigger GDP than the U.K., France and India. My home state of Pennsylvania has a larger economy than all of Saudi Arabia, even with their oil money. The state of New York has a bigger economy than that of South Korea, Australia and Russia. Norway is only the size of Maryland. The list goes on.

The takeaway is that, to put it in our President’s words, America is huuuge! We are a massive economy, the largest in the world. We make up almost a quarter of the entire world’s output alone and yet we only have 4.3 percent of the world’s population. Unlike China, our closest competitor, we are a democracy with laws, a free press, a strong currency and open markets. People want to come here. Entrepreneurs want to open up businesses here. Businesses want to do business here. Wow, I’m starting to get a tear in my eye!

I say this not because America is so great (although we are) or that Trump is so great (that’s another conversation altogether) but to illustrate why our country’s elected leader is why he is. He looks at other countries like North Korea, Iran and yes, even Russia as much, much, much smaller rivals and has taken aggressive positions on nuclear disarmament, the environment and trade agreements with them and many others. He is frustrated that his clients – American businesses (and their employees) – are being treated as second rate parties in deals, particularly when the U.S. is – by far – the dominant trading and military power in the world. And so he huffs and puffs and tweets and shouts that things are going to change and he’s going to “make America great again.”

You may disagree with his tactics and behavior and his hair and you would have good reason to. But Trump is the captain of the world’s most powerful military and largest economy. This fact drives him in his negotiations.

And so should it you.

A number of years ago, when my business was much smaller, I found myself making decisions for the wrong reasons. I would undertake jobs despite my concerns that we were unqualified. I would underprice work just to get the work. I would sometimes cut corners. I would work with customers that I didn’t like or trust. Why? I had no money. Therefore, I had no power.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to do too much of those things. And over time my business – as well as my bank balance – grew. I added more people. I acquired more experience and knowledge. And you know what? In my own little world, I started making decisions like – good Lord – Trump! Why? I was in a position to better confront my competition. I could demand better terms, pricing and behavior from my clients all because I had money in the bank and was willing to walk away from a job. Just like the President is willing to walk away from prior deals – military and trade – that he doesn’t feel are in the best interests of the country.

Sure, Trump sometimes behaves like an ass. But he behaves this way because he has a pile of cash. He is sitting on the world’s largest economy. Having size and wealth changes the way you negotiate. It gives you confidence and it helps you make better decisions. You can walk away from deals you don’t like. You can make better deals. You can exert more power and influence. Being big has its perks.

So if you’re startup or a growing business take a look at Perry’s chart once in a while. I’m not saying you should behave like an ass. But wouldn’t you deal with New Zealand a little different knowing that it’s entire economy is the size of Kentucky? Doesn’t that give you a position of strength? Save your money, don’t extend yourself, limit your risks, invest conservatively, have patience and build your wealth. Doing that will one day give you – like me – the ability to make better decisions because you will be in a stronger position to do so.

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Late last week the Trump administration took another step toward rescinding the International Entrepreneur Rule when the Department of Homeland Security formally issued their notice to kill the rule ahead of comments from the public.

The rule, which was proposed under President Barack Obama and did not require congressional approval, was implemented in December after being delayed by the current administration. It aims to encourage foreign entrepreneurship in the United States by allowing qualified entrepreneurs temporary “parole” in the United States — on a case-by-case basis — so that they can build their businesses. It’s estimated that 3,000 entrepreneurs could take advantage of this rule annually.

So why end something that helps, albeit temporarily, thousands of potential job creators? In its proposal to change the rule the Trump administration says that the program “is not the appropriate vehicle for attracting and retaining international entrepreneurs and does not adequately protect U.S. investors and U.S. workers employed by or seeking employment with the start-up.”  The Department of Homeland Security says that existing visa programs are sufficient to support immigrant entrepreneurs.

“Parole is supposed to be reserved for short-term and emergency purposes,” Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies told TechCrunch. “Previous administrations have pushed the envelope on parole, and the Obama administration kicked right through the envelope and claimed that the existence of the parole authority meant that the president could admit anyone.”

The move comes after Congress failed to officially pass “start-up visa” legislation to protect foreigners who launch companies in the United States.

“The start-up and venture community is very disappointed with DHS’s shortsighted decision to turn away American jobs that would be created by the International Entrepreneur Rule,” Bobby Franklin, president and chief executive of the National Venture Capital Association, said in a statementFriday. “The facts are clear: Our country needs more entrepreneurship, which is exactly what the International Entrepreneur Rule would bring. We will continue to explain to the administration why immigrant entrepreneurship benefits our country and must be supported by policymakers.”

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Although the national minimum wage remains stuck at $7.25 an hour, a wave of states and municipalities have taken it upon themselves over the past few years to raise the amount, in some cases to as much as $15 an hour. Advocates believe that paying a higher wage provides a better quality of life to workers and helps to spur consumer spending.

But many business groups that oppose it say a higher minimum wage limits their ability to hire more people and forces them to cut back on workers’ hours, hire part-timers, outsource or invest in more technology. A controversial study conducted in 2017 appeared to bolster that position when researchers at the University of Washington found that the costs of a minimum-wage increase in Seattle — the result of employer cutbacks in workers’ hours — outweighed the benefits of the increase by 3 to 1.

Now a new study further supports the anti-minimum-wagers.

working paper released this week by researchers at the National Bureau of Economic Research looked at employee pay data from 2011 to 2016. It concluded that employers who were forced to raise minimum wages for lower-paid workers also raised the hourly wages of higher-paid workers to maintain parity. However, the same study also found “robust evidence” that employers who raised the minimum hourly wages also reduced the amount they paid for their employees’ health-care benefits to cover those added costs.

According to the research, workers whose minimum wage was increased by $1 found that 9 percent to 57 percent of their wage gains were offset by a decline in their employer’s health insurance coverage. The study also found that many workers who lost their health-care coverage went without insurance rather than seeking out subsidies from the Affordable Care Act exchanges.

The minimum wage debate is far from over. The study’s authors suggested that more research should be done to quantify the effects of raising minimum wages on benefits other than just health care, such as the flexibility of work hours and occupational safety.

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