A.G. Gaston’s 10 Rules

While on a trip across country, My wife and I had the opportunity to visit the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham Alabama.

It was heart wrenching to see both the discrimination and hatred of individual‘s due to the color of their skin. It was a sad and disgraceful time in our country’s history. Sorry to say that this type of discrimination has always been, and will most likely always will continue, due to the fallen nature of men & women. It doesn’t seem to matter the race or what part of the world it exists it is all wrong. But in spite of the circumstances there are those who prosper.

One  such example was A.G. Gaston. Arthur George Gaston born in 1892 in Alabama was one of those individuals.

Mr. Gaston’s father died while he was still an infant. He grew up in a log cabin with his mother and grandparents. A.G. Gaston’s formal education ended with the 10th grade. After WWl he went to work in the mines and according to Wikipedia while working in the mines, he decided there was a need to feed the workers and came up with the idea of selling lunches to his fellow miners and then branched into loaning money to them.

Overtime Mr. Gaston had become a wealthy businessman in spite of the discrimination and poverty that surrounded him. His success included a business college, insurance company, a home for senior citizens, a bank, savings and loan association, motel, funeral home, bottling company, construction company, two radio stations, and a boys and girls club. He was a tremendous success by any standard of measure.

What were some of the principles that Mr. Gaston practiced and live by that allowed him to ascend to this level of success?

A.G. Gaston had 10 rules for success which he followed;

  1. Pay yourself first and save a part of all you earn.
  2. Save at an established institution such as a bank or savings and loan and stay away from loan sharks.
  3. Take no chances with your money.
  4. Never borrow anything that if forced to it, you can’t pay back.
  5. Don’t get big headed with regular people. It you take care of their needs they will make you big.
  6. Don’t have so much pride and wear the same suit for a year or two. It doesn’t matter the kind of suit if there is no money in it.
  7. Find a need and fill it. Successful businesses are found on the needs of other people. Keep good books and hire the best people you can find.
  8. Never run around with people that you can’t compete with. Stay in your own class.
  9. Once you get money or a reputation for having money people will give you money.
  10. Once you reach a certain bracket it is very difficult not to make more money                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Mr. Gaston famously said, “I never went into anything with the idea of making money. I thought of doing something, and it would come up and make money. I never thought of trying to get rich” Mr. Gaston’s net worth was estimated to be more than $130 million dollars at the time of his death..

I have learned over the years that when it comes to finances that good principles are necessary to follow. No matter your background or environment, if you follow sound financial principles not only will you find a way to earn money, but you will more than likely be able to keep it.

Want a Fair Tax System?

Why do Major Corporations and the Super Rich have the ability to pay less taxes?

Because they can!!

The government has become a special interest government and those who have the money to get deals and breaks can do so because they are big enough to afford lobbyists and lawyers who get them favors with politicians.

Why would politicians give favors to big companies?  I’ll let you decide.

For now let’s look at a solution, not only a solution to limit the favoritism but a solution that would make every Americans life easier and more fair.

Watch and comment;

What could be more fair than EVERYONE without exception paying the same percentage?

What’s the Truth?

What’s the Truth?

That is the question we have to ask ourselves today with any piece of information or advice we get.

Whether the information or advice comes from a known source such as a family or friend, or from the mainstream media, the internet, or even our own physician whom we have so come to trust, we have to question is that information really true.

This short TED Talks video of Sharyl Attkisson, formerly an investigative correspondent in the Washington bureau for CBS News might be an eye opener for many.

After watching this video it made me start to wonder “What’s the Truth?”

If our own doctor can be misinformed/educated, maybe we are being misinformed or improperly educated. If Wikipedia a trusted source for so many, contradicts Actual Peer Review Medical Research according to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, or Philip Roth a noted author in a an Open Letter to Wikipedia posted in The New Yorker Magazine contested that according to Wikipedia, he was not a credible source on himself, you have to wonder how can we tell “What’s the Truth?”

Maybe one of the telltale signs as Ms. Attkisson suggests is when you hear someone attack an issue, and the people around that issue by saying, they are nutty, telling lies, saying it’s a myth or conspiracy, maybe you need to question those who are making the attacks. As she states “instead of questioning authority they question those who question authority”

I like the concept of going to the source. If you want to know something about someone meet the person and ask them yourself. See the behavior of those closest to them, their children, friends and associates. People tend to associate with people like themselves.

Small Businesses Threatened by Increasing Regulation

A friend shared an interesting article that could threaten the livelihood of small business in America. Being a small business owner for over 37 years I understand the risk, effort and opportunities that making individual business decisions involve. This decision by the National Labor Relations Board increases the risk and effort, while decreasing the opportunities for small business owners by the government having greater control of a small business while taking that control away from the individual owner.

Business owners trying to keep a clear understanding and meet the federal guidelines regarding the separation of employees from independent contractors now will have the lines muddier. This opens the door for increased liabilities regarding workers compensation, unemployment compensation, insurance liability, overtime, etc.etc.

This reminds me of the gerrymandering of election districts that political parties do to control the outcome of elections. The control of  electing our electing government officials is taken away from the individual and put in the control by the parties redistricting.

Individual liberty and the freedom to succeed or fail has been the cornerstone of entrepreneurship. It is what made America a diverse nation in the first place. People flocked to America because they wanted the freedom to control their destiny and escape the governments controlling every aspect of their lives.

After reading this interesting article how do you feel about this decision by the National Labor Relations Board?

From – Small Business Solutions – by Diana Furchgott-Roth

Under a National Labor Relations Board decision released on Thursday, the Board has dramatically expanded the numbers of “joint employers” in America. Now, employees of franchised business such as Burger King may be classified as employees of the parent company. Employees of subcontractors, such as office cleaners, may be classified as employees of the company that hires the subcontractor.

With its decision, the Board overturned a prior ruling by its regional director that employees of Leadpoint were not joint employees of Browning Ferris, a recycling plant that subcontracted operations to Leadpoint. Subcontractors and franchisees across the country had better watch out for more lawsuits and higher costs of doing business.

Last week, speaking at the Detroit Economic Club, Republican presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio said, “The National Labor Relations Board is on the verge of declaring that David doesn’t even own his business, that he is a ‘joint employer’ with his franchisor. The likely impact is that fewer franchises will open, and costs and litigation will increase for existing ones.”

Before this decision, if a firm did not exercise authority over the employees of its subcontractors then it was not counted as an employer.  Now the NLRB is saying that if a firm just possesses the authority to control its subcontractor’s employees—even if it does not use this authority—then it is a joint employer.

The implications of this decision are immense. Millions of franchises are at risk of being told that they are joint employers with parent companies such as Jiffy Lube, Dunkin Donuts, or H & R Block.  Millions of subcontractors may find that the company that is employing them has morphed into a boss. This raises the costs of doing business, encouraging companies to reorganize or go offshore.

The Board notes, disapprovingly, that “the diversity of workplace arrangements in today’s economy has significantly expanded. The procurement of employees through staffing and subcontracting arrangements, or contingent employment, has increased steadily…”

What the Board fails to note is that franchises and subcontractors have come about as the most efficient way of providing particular services.  Franchises make it easier for people to start their own businesses, and independent contractors can move from one employer to another at will, or work for multiple employers at one time.

The Board’s ruling follows guidelines from the Labor Department  on when to classify workers as employees, who are entitled to fringe benefits, or independent contractors, who are not.  These guidelines, which became effective in July, attempt to make it more difficult for employers to hire independent contractors.  In June the Labor Department issued new proposed expanded overtime revisions that would reduce workplace flexibility for millions more workers by prohibiting time off in exchange for extra time on the job.

With the new Labor Department rulings and the National Labor Relations Board decisions, President Obama wants to move America back to the mid-20th century when people worked for one employer for most of their lives and independent contractors were less common.  The sharing economy, with Uber and Airbnb, were unimaginable.

One result of the new 21st century economy is that unionization levels have decreased. People don’t want to pay union dues and initiation fees.With the share of wage and salary workers who belong to unions declining from 20 percent in 1983 to 11 percent in 2014, unions are feeling the pinch. They lack dues to pay salaries for union bosses and give political contributions to political parties, practically all Democrats.   That is why the Board is trying to make it easier for unions to coerce workers into joining. It is far easier for a union to organize one large workplace than several small ones.

Unions are particularly interested in the fast food industry because of its rapid turnover.  On average three people per year occupy one slot at a fast food restaurant. People come for a short period of time, such as the summer, then leave. Someone else might start in the fall. If each of these three people had to join a union, the union would get three sets of initiation fees per year.  With fees at about $50 per person, that is $150 annually.

As federal and state governments have tried to expand the benefits that employers must provide, it has become more advantageous for small firms to form to avoid these mandates.  Take the Affordable Care Act, for instance.  Firms with more than 50 employees have to offer a certain level of health insurance or pay a penalty.  Firms with fewer than 50 workers are often exempt from other mandates, too. Contracting out some operations keeps the size of the firm down, along with the costs of doing business. With the new rules, watch for more companies going offshore, and the share of Americans who are employed or looking for work declining further.

The franchise model has dramatically expanded the number of small businesses in America. Congress should place a clear definition of an employer and a subcontractor in the law.  The NLRB’s decision is a travesty that Congress and the next president can and should reverse.

 

Forbes Thought Of The Day

“ Take the tools in hand and carve your own best life. ”

— Douglas Lurton

Whatever your profession this thought alone could change your life.

Are you using the tools of your trade?

Are you using the resources at your fingertips?

What do you have access to that could be used as a tool to carve your own best life?

A friend, a mentor, a spouse, a teacher, a seminar, a book,  CD, or DVD, a blog?

Tools are everywhere, seek them out, and Seize the Day (Carpe Diem)!!

Carpe Diem

Cronyism in America

There are a considerable amount of Americans that are disillusioned with our government today. Approval of Congress is at an all-time low. Citizens are upset and protests are occurring from the Occupy Movement to the Tea Party.

Why is there such a concern? We’ve heard too big to fail but is the problem too big to fix.

Watch this video and give me your thoughts.

 

Are You Living Up To Your Leadership Potential?

Have you ever wanted to do something significant with your life? Make a difference in a person’s life or make a difference with your own. Maybe you are a big dreamer and have dreamed of doing something amazing with your life. Perhaps even so bold as saying you want to play a part to change the world for good. If that is you then why haven’t you?

Maybe you have tried and fell short or are falling short right now. Do you question your leadership ability? Have you asked yourself or asked GOD “am I even the right person with all my weaknesses and  flaws”? Trust me, I know the feeling. I like anyone else who has attempted to do more than I thought possible and who has wanted to do something important with my life have questioned myself and GOD, if I am really that right person.

I’d like to share some thoughts from a book I’m reading, Exponential, by Dave and Jon Ferguson – who are challenging my questioning of myself and bring some amazing points that are helping me in my leadership growth and may help you in yours.

The Ferguson’s discuss the concept of what they call “Empowering Conversations” in discussing conversations where a coach asks a leader to take the next step in his/her leadership journey.

I would like to look at the conversations we have with ourselves in this regard. We’ve all been there, asking ourselves to commit to a higher level of leadership commitment. When the moment comes how many of us want to “think big” (not in caps intentionally), but shrink back and think to ourselves “I am not capable.”

Here is what the Ferguson’s say; when we settle for a lower level of commitment, we place the development of the leader in jeopardy in a number of ways.

–          We minimize our potential – We think we are doing ourselves a favor by at least getting us to make a small doable commitment, rather than fulfilling GOD’s dream for us to reach our greatest potential.

–          We minimize the vision – When we lower the bar on leadership we make the mission of helping people seem insignificant, hardly worthwhile. Consequently we are less likely to attract high capacity leaders.

–          We minimize GOD – Who says GOD can’t change the world through you?

So you’ve failed….. So you’ve doubted…..So others have dismissed your chance of success….

Welcome to the World of Leadership

Take a Risk – Be a Leader – Change Yourself