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Showing posts from March, 2017

Two Executive Orders the U.S. is Enacting to Fight Chinese Illegal Trade

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A half trillion dollar trade deficit makes America a little weaker every year as it continues unimpeded. Right sizing our economy not only means improving our business competitiveness, but also catching trade abuses when they occur. The first executive order is to conduct a study on why the U.S. has a large trade deficit with its largest trading partners and the second executive order is to enforce anti-dumping laws. It is wise to determine the cost of trading and why the U.S. is loosing its position. This may be some of our own making but also may behaviors by our trade partners. The study should seek ways to improve American businesses while ensuring that we understand the global world in which we now find ourselves part of. The second executive order is designed to collect $2.8 billion on trade losses and create better mechanisms for enforcing anti-dumping laws. It is necessary to seek better manners of detecting, enforcing, punishing and collecting when countries willfully viol

Three Things You Should Never Do in an Interview

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The interview can land you the job or get you promoted. Sometimes we need help figuring out what things we should do and what we shouldn't do. Most of the time people give advice on what we should be doing but I would like to give you some advice on what NOT to do. Here are three things you SHOULD NOT do. Never Go Unprepared: Never go to an interview without researching the company and understanding the nature of the job. Your hiring manager is going to ask you about how you fit within the company and fulfill their needs. If you don't understand the company and what it wants your not going to show you have value for them. Never Go Not Looking Your Best: Dress to impress! Make sure you go looking your best with traditional business colors. Shine your shoes, dry clean your clothes and put on a nice tie. Make sure you are wearing black or blue suit. Check on your accessories like watch and belt to ensure they fit well. Never Go Without Rehearsing: Think about what they

Tips on How to Brand Your Small Business

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Small business can be difficult if you are trying to compete against larger companies with powerful marketing departments. It isn't enough to hand out business cards and advertise if you don't have a catchy brand. Your brand will tell others what your business stands for and sums up your offering in a way that appeals to your core demographics. Developing your brand is easy if you follow a few steps below: Step 1: Define what you are trying to accomplish: Have a business strategy in place and ensure you know what you are trying to accomplish. This will determine your strategic method and the image you need to achieve that message. For example, if you are a boutique store selling shoes then you will want to have a brand associated with unique offerings. Step 2 : Research your customers: Who are your customers and what do they like? If you understand your customers you will also understand what appeals to them and the type of brand image you should develop to attract the

Service and Manufacturing Industries Support Each Other

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The development of strong businesses within urban settings is supported by the mutual development of multiple type of industries that create complementary links and interests. According to a study in Chinese Geographical Science, service and manufacturing industries support each other in a way that encourages further economic growth (Yang, Liang & Cai, 2014). A type of synergy between the strengths of two different industries fuse together to foster new opportunities. The study looked at data from 1987, 1992, 1997, 2002 and 2007 and found that as clusters developed they moved from manufacturing to a more service orientation. Manufacturing was still a key and central part of the cluster but that the cluster took on a more dynamic service approach. As service industry developed, they created connections with manufacturing that not only enhanced product offerings but also spun off new products. The example used in the study was how metals and safety clothing grew around a "

China and "Non Market Economy" Status

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China has been increasing in export and economic power for the past few decades. Few could argue the remarkable growth they have realized. The U.S. Commerce Department is pondering changing the status of the country from a non market economy to market economy that would in effect limit the calculation of anti-dumping duties on Chinese made goods. Since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001 it has been treated as a non market economy that allows for third nation prices to determine whether or not they are selling products below market prices. By changing this designation it would remove that consideration and potentially allow more Chinese products to move into the U.S. market. The problem is that China isn't a free market system and does have a modern communist management system where strict control over labor and production is maintained. This means that many of their products are not produced at market prices where the natural mechanics of rising wages, costs, a

The Art of Negotiation and Politics

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Negotiation is a mainstay of life that we engage with in business, life, politics and our personal relationships. Learning how to negotiate can make a big difference in the frequency in which you get what you want when dealing with people. The essence is knowing what you want and knowing what you are willing to give up, or compromise, to get it! It is rare to find a winner takes all outcome unless you are owning all of the chips and leverage. Few people have all the power to force their opinions. However, it is possible to get more of what you want if you are willing to find commonality and mutual benefits with the person you are negotiating with. Consider that there are two different parties to any negotiation (i.e. Democrat and Republican). One party wants one thing and another party wants something seemingly opposed. If we think out of the box we can often find that at the root there are essentially similar arguments but are sought after in different manners. For example, he

Reducing Taxes Will Impact the Economy....If?

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Will lower taxes improve the economy? There is a current initiative to lower the tax rate with the belief that doing so will increase business and raise the economy. The proposal is a solid one but exists under set of fundamental beliefs that if such taxes are lowered there will be more to invest thereby spurring the economy. Any tax reduction proposal should consider the need to reinvest such money within the U.S. versus loosing it to investments in foreign markets. Lower taxes means more profits for businesses and essentially more return on investment money. This is great news depending on what businesses and investors plan on doing with it. There are four broad possibilities on what happens to the money: 1.) Investors take the profits and invest in foreign markets: The money is essentially lost to the American economy, businesses, and workers. 2.) Investors take the profits and put the money into a bank account or other wealth holding account: Under this circumstance the

Interaction is the Key to Economic Cluster Success

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Clusters are an interconnected network of businesses that share ideas, work on collaborative projects and compete against the market. They are clusters of innovation that require constant engagement to achieve their mutual goals. According to a study in the International Review of Management and Marketing, a cluster is effectively formed when there is coordination of interaction with the environment, coordination of financial-economic policy, coordination of production-economic activity of members (Basyuk, et. al. 2016). Coordination with the Environment: Companies within a cluster don't act on their own and are part of a larger network of co-creators. While they may engage in some competitive activities they ultimately work together to create synergy that benefits all members that are actively engaged. Helping them to actively engage in cluster management is helpful.  Coordination of Financial-Economic Policies: The cluster survives because city, state, and national polici

Higher Education is too Important to Not Protect

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Nations succeed on the abilities of their workers and providing a lifestyle that maintains a growing development of skills and important. Higher education is something we can't afford to give up and not encourage. Yet how we do this can take many forms as we ponder how we are going to make it affordable and beneficial for the nation. We may want to go back to the drawing board and start with fresh ideas and methods that are focused on higher education's essential purpose. Much of the problem we face is the entrenchment of what higher education. We think it is expensive structures, traditional mindset and the protection of privilege that makes higher education valuable. The problem is that these things are costly to maintain and take a lot of money out of the hands of our national coffers. But perhaps there is a different way? When we think of higher education we should think about its essential purposes of raising our skill levels, expanding our mental capacity and transf

Pulling Your Team Together

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Pulling together team takes a little skill as people from varying walks of life and skill sets come together to achieve an objective. Whether this is for business or this for something else like a non-profit the process is the same. Successful teams are built and created from a particular mindset. The following tips will help you create a high functioning team. 1. Different Strengths: Pull together a team with the strengths you need to accomplish your goals. Recruit people with the skills you need and try and ensure that they support the goals of the team. 2. Find Commonality: Find something all the members believe in. It could be the development of innovative products or it could be getting the books in the hands of kids. The values can be used to create a way of focusing on the end result. 3. Set Your Goals: Develop specific goals for the team to achieve. They will be your highest priority. All actions will be measure against goal attainment. When you achieve one goal work to

Working from your Strengths

Working from your strengths can lead to greater productivity and overall development of one's skills by focusing on what you do well. Putting your best foot forward can reap rewards for your career as you align your strengths to the needs of your employer in a way that leads to mutual benefit. We can't be good at everything so be really good at what you know your good at! When we are young we are taught to be good at everything. At a young age we need to learn how to develop our skills and explore our abilities. Yet, as we get older we will need to take those skills we are good at and apply them to earn a living. Each person is born with certain skills and abilities that once discovered need to be practiced to achieve mastery. We start out slowly and clumsy until we slowly gain confidence with each new experience. Over time we know what our strengths and weaknesses are and can use them for our benefit. Tips for working from your strengths: 1.) When engaging in work proj

Human Resource Practices in Innovative Clusters

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It has been said that people are the center of success for any organization. They build things, invent things, and sell things. Leaders rely on their highly skilled workers to keep their business growing in the right direction. Clusters are sources of innovation and it is necessary to recruit and attract the right kind of people for success. According to an article in the International Review of Management and Marketing Journal, Human resource practices can have a big impact on corporate success within a cluster setting (Doronina, et. al., 2016). Human resource practices are important for innovative clusters as the essential soul of such systems is their high quality talent and technical "know how". Management of people within a cluster have two important aspects such as... 1. Defining and enacting business objectives. 2. Managing people within the cluster. The first aspect applies to all types of businesses regardless of where they are located. The second aspect tak

Military Spending vs. Higher Education

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Should we spend on Education or the Military? As a nation we must debate the use of our money in order to ensure we are using national resources in a way that further the interest of the country. Budget battles and rising costs are hitting the necessary functions of higher education and the military hard in a way that makes us believe the battle is between the two. The guns vs. butter debate has been a staple for intellectual debate since the beginning of modern society. It isn't easy to choose one over the other and few can claim they have the right answers. We need a strong military that can handle the growing threats around the world but at the same time we need an educated workforce that keeps our economy growing. The argument has been pitted education vs. military when this is not really the case. The question really isn't whether we should or should not be spending on either of these institutions, but whether we need to rethink them. When our hands are tied with lim

A Systemic Approach to Corporate Performance and Cross-Corporate Innovation

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Companies have input and output departments and these are often seen as cost centers. They don't make money and are instead allocated a budget based on the total sales of the company. However, at their core, businesses are seen as bundles of efficient transactions that allow them to create value by being more than the sum of their parts. According to an article published in the  Business Management Dynamics Journal thinking systemically it is possible to turn cost centers into efficient profit centers in that it allows them to learn from their environment (Roth, 2014). In turn, they would also be able to create additional cross corporate collaboration by selling their services. Consider the nature of an organization that is based on a number of departments such as design departments, production departments, advertising departments, etc... Each has a value to the organization but often become non-competitive due to the captive nature of their internal customers. Such departments

U.S. Lowers in Happiness Rating. Why does it matter?

Happiness, elusive and often ignored component of economic success. The happiness rating of the U.S. just moved down from 13 to 14 this year according to the World Happiness Report. It slid from 11 to 14 since the beginning of the report in 2012. The report focused on perceptions as they relate to income, health, social connections, reliance, freedom, trust and corruption of business and government. In wealthier countries like the U.S., physical and mental health as well as relationship quality seems to be the most important factor for happiness. Poorer countries seek out money as an important contributor to their happiness. The results seem to make sense that once our basic needs are met money has diminished utility. The study does help us consider how important it is to develop meaningful relationships with others and find ways to improve our lives. Many Americans are simply unaware of what makes them happy, don't reflect on their lives, and have lost touch with relatives. We

Adam Smith and the Role of Limited Government

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Adam Smith, the father of economics taught us in his book The Wealth of Nations, that laissez-faire approaches to the market encourage the highest levels of growth. Government is limited in its role and provide the greatest freedom to business without unnecessary restriction. As we experienced during the advent of globalization, companies regularly choose nations with lower input costs and fewer restrictions. Newly formed clusters will need to offer something more than simply "cheap" costs and instead push for maximum growth opportunities through cultivating environments that supersede advantages of low cost manufacturing localities. The market system will determine where companies will invest in operations, where they will hire employees, and how they will contribute to the global economy. Low cost copycats will be drawn to cheaper locations, while innovators will be attracted to places that spark the greatest opportunities for the development of new services and product

Buttom-up National Cluster Policies

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Each country managers their clusters in different ways depending on their cultural and economic backgrounds. A study in the Administrative Sciences analyzes six biotech clusters in Japan, Germany, and France helped to determine which approaches each uses (Okamuro & Nishimura,2015). What they found was that clusters typically take a bottom-up versus top-down approach to management that leads to different costs and benefits. Bottom-up driven clusters are initiated, driven, and financed mainly by local firms that seek self gain within the system. Top-down clusters are publicly funded and pushed by policy makers.  Cluster management can run the whole range between these two approaches. Bottom-up clusters appear to be more cost effective for countries that seek to develop homegrown skills based on previous businesses within the region. It doesn't require high amounts of excess capital to "force" these clusters to emerge but instead uses policies that seek to set in p

Data Infrastructure Investment Leads to GDP Growth

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The internet has led to economic growth within the country and will continue to do so if investment in data infrastructure is made. According to a study conducted in the International Economics & Economic Policy Journal , the expansion of the internet leads directly to increased goods and services a country produces (Welfens & Perret, 2014). The greater the integration of the internet and its networking capabilities, the higher the growth of national production leaving one to conclude that focusing on developing stronger information and data sharing systems can have significant benefits for regional development. The study found that the amount of time people spent on the internet in meaningful searches led to an increase in gross domestic product (GDP). A 10% relevant share of time budget use of the internet led to 2k-5% increase in gross domestic product. At 20% usage this would increase GDP to 4.7-10.4%. Meaningful searches and web based activities leads to greater know

Does Expanding the Internet Open Possibilities for Economic Growth?

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The Internet has led to remarkable growth in global commerce in ways that are slowly shifting society toward a highly competitive environment. The way in which companies connect to each other has fundamentally changed as information moves from one to other parts of the world quickly. According to a study in the    International Economics and Economic Policy,  the Internet matched with Openness leads to the most economic growth (Meijers, 2014).  The Internet is an important mechanism by which open cultures connect with the world, share ideas, engage in commercial activities and develop economic momentum. When cultures are open in terms of being open to new ideas, concepts, sciences, cultures, religions and engagement they can use the Internet to enhance their commerce. Economic growth without openness to new ideas is stunted. While it may allow for transfer of information, the use of that information to develop new opportunities is limited. Having the right mindset supported by th

Foreign R&D Investment Spurs Cross Firm Innovation

Foreign investment and development of firms within clusters creates higher levels of learning and adaptation for domestic firms. According to a study of intra-industry knowledge spillovers in the Review of Development Economics, the R&D stock of foreign-owned firms had a positive impact on the productivity of domestic firms within the same industry creating significant knowledge spillovers that led to  faster adaptation (Todo, Zhang, & Peking, 2011). Encouraging foreign R&D investment can improve local growth through the creation of a greater product knowledge. The study used firm-level panel data from a Chinese science park, known locally as China's "Silicon Valley". What they found was that R&D activities of foreign investment had a significant impact on the innovative abilities of domestic firms through knowledge sharing. Local firms quickly adjusted and changed after introduction to new technologies and information. The process is similar among dom

Encouraging Trade and Fighting Intellectual Property Theft

Intellectual property theft, hacking and lack of regard for other ideas is becoming a concern. Even more alarming is the amount of theft that occurs across international borders as some nations have developed cultures of stealing where the rights of the producers are not respected. Precisely why some countries, and the companies within, engage in intentional acts of intellectual theft is discussed in Trade Liberalization, Corruption and Software Piracy published in the Journal of Business Ethics . Culture of Corruption: Cultures that have more corrupt governments also engage in more theft. They have little oversight and lack a healthy respect for the rights of their citizens as well as the rights of those from other countries. Within develops a culture of corruption where theft is part of everyday business and there are few ethical qualms about it. Economic Freedom: Countries that have more restrictions on economic activities also have more corruption. Free trade countries seem