Small Business Survey Déjà vu

The start of 2013 is a lot like the last few years, says SurePayroll’s Michael Alter. Among business owners, optimism remains low and hiring has plateaued.

Let’s call it the Yogi Berra economy. As 2013 began a lot like the last few years did, it’s starting to feel like déjà vu all over again.

What I see in SurePayroll’s January Small Business Scorecard is that the number of people on payroll dropped slightly (0.1 percent), optimism is low (57 percent), and the average paycheck is up (0.6 percent). Among the 40,000 business owners SurePayroll surveys, productivity gains are still outpacing revenue growth.

Not All Bad

In some ways, this is good for small businesses; they’re growing. But more has to happen to help small businesses increase the number of people in the workforce.

The expiration of the payroll tax holiday, which amounts to a 2 percent hit to employee pocketbooks, doesn’t make the situation any easier. According to the Scorecard, four in five small business owners are not able to dole out raises to make up for the payroll tax increase.

They may use performance-based bonus incentive programs to deal with this change. Indeed, the average paycheck has increased for three consecutive months, but that’s likely because businesses are relying more on existing workers, and reducing seasonal staff now that the holidays are over.

What the Future Holds

The January results seem to point to another year of slow, gradual growth, rather than a significant boost in hiring that Americans are waiting on.

It’s a trend that feels all too familiar.

Applebee’s Waitress Fired For Sharing ‘I Give God 10%’ Tip Receipt

Applebee's Waitress Fired For Sharing 'I Give God 10%' Tip ReceiptThe Huffington Post reports that earlier this week, an Applebee’s waitress posted a photo on Reddit of a receipt from an alleged pastor who, instead of leaving the suggested 18 percent tip, wrote “I give God 10%, why should you get 18.” Now, after the bill went viral, Applebee’s has fired the waitress.

I thought the note was insulting, but it was also comical,” said the waitress, whose first name is Chelsea,. “I posted it to Reddit because I thought other users would find it entertaining.”

While many online were appalled at the Pastor’s behavior, Applebee’s was not happy with the waitresses decision to post the receipt and promptly fired her. In a printed statement Applebee’s spokesperson Dan Smith wrote:

“Our Guests’ personal information – including their meal check – is private, and neither Applebee’s nor its franchisees have a right to share this information publicly. We value our Guests’ trust above all else. Our franchisee has apologized to the Guest and has taken disciplinary action with the Team Member for violating their Guest’s right to privacy. This individual is no longer employed by the franchisee.”

This is not the first time a receipt has cost someone their job. Check out this gallery of offensive receipts and the stories behind them.

READ MORE: Huffington Post

 

Applebee’s Waitress Fired For Sharing ‘I Give God 10%’ Tip Receipt

Applebee's Waitress Fired For Sharing 'I Give God 10%' Tip ReceiptThe Huffington Post reports that earlier this week, an Applebee’s waitress posted a photo on Reddit of a receipt from an alleged pastor who, instead of leaving the suggested 18 percent tip, wrote “I give God 10%, why should you get 18.” Now, after the bill went viral, Applebee’s has fired the waitress.

I thought the note was insulting, but it was also comical,” said the waitress, whose first name is Chelsea,. “I posted it to Reddit because I thought other users would find it entertaining.”

While many online were appalled at the Pastor’s behavior, Applebee’s was not happy with the waitresses decision to post the receipt and promptly fired her. In a printed statement Applebee’s spokesperson Dan Smith wrote:

“Our Guests’ personal information – including their meal check – is private, and neither Applebee’s nor its franchisees have a right to share this information publicly. We value our Guests’ trust above all else. Our franchisee has apologized to the Guest and has taken disciplinary action with the Team Member for violating their Guest’s right to privacy. This individual is no longer employed by the franchisee.”

This is not the first time a receipt has cost someone their job. Check out this gallery of offensive receipts and the stories behind them.

READ MORE: Huffington Post

 

Be Warned: 5 Workplace Elements That Could Be Sabotaging Your Career

(Image: File)

Everyone has that person or group of people who they go to for advice. It could be there parents, pastor, or significant other. The list is extensive. Although these people undoubtedly love and support you  they could also be holding you back. Brazen Careerist writer, Erin Palmer, highlights 5 of the most unlikely people that could be keeping you back in your career.

1. The Bully
A coworker, boss or even a lowly intern—anyone who uses schoolyard tactics to scare people away from an opportunity qualifies as a workplace bully. The bully will start rumors about company layoffs or complain about how it’s impossible to find a job. A bully demeans your accomplishments and publically points out every tiny mistake you’ve ever made.

Bullies can hurt your career progression simply by making you feel like trying to advance your career is a hopeless pursuit. Worse, bullies may even go out of their way to make you look bad to superiors. Chasing after an opportunity is worth your time, so don’t let a coworker convince you otherwise.

Read more at Brazen Careerist

New Government Site Helps Small Business Track Regulations

New Government Site Helps Small Business Track RegulationsA new web site developed by the House Small Business Committee has been established to highlight proposed regulations that affect business owners. The site includes links that allows you to provide comments to the agency regarding the proposals.

“Most small businesses don’t have lawyers or lobbyist who focus on regulatory compliance, like corporations may have,” said Committee Chairman Sam Graves.

He says the site is a major step forward for small businesses in that it allows them to “make their voice heard as federal regulations are being considered.”

This site is an important benefit to small businesses because the burden of complying with federal regulations is disproportionately higher for small businesses than it is for large businesses.  The site itself notes this in its initial paragraph: “With roughly 4,100 new regulations in the pipeline it should come as no surprise that government regulations and red tape consistently rank as top concerns of small business owners.”

“Not all regulations are bad, but many can be unnecessarily burdensome, and it is important that small companies express their concerns before a rule is finalized,” Graves said.

Source: House.gov

Beyoncégate: Avoiding the Perils of Perfectionism

For my daughter’s sixth birthday, I took her to see Beyoncé live at Madison Square Garden. It cost a car note, but came with a priceless guarantee: She would never forget that night and neither would I.

Fast forward a dozen years. My “little” girl is a college freshman and Beyoncé is a wife with a little girl of her own. Unchanged, though, is the fact that my daughter and I remain huge fans of this woman who continues to be a great role model. What sets her apart? Beyoncé is enormously talented, but she constantly takes risks and strives to grow. She’s beautiful, but her reputation is built upon excellence and a ferocious work ethic, as well as the warmth and respect she shows others. She’s rich (and then some, given her reported $40 million in personal earnings last year) but she seems to understand that her real wealth lies in the sanctity of her family, not her fame. Her demonstrated values have enabled her to stay above the fray that’s derailed many of her peers.

So it has pained me to watch what’s occurred in the wake of last week’s Inauguration. The so-called Beyontroversy diminishes the enormous significance of that day, and it strives to diminish her as well. The fact that she has yet to issue a statement about it leads me to speculate that the star is reeling, unaccustomed as she is to negative press. But the proximity of her scheduled Super Bowl appearance makes me wonder if she will respond there by pulling off one of the most incredible live performances of all time.

That would be one way to silence her critics, and I have no doubt she could. What I question is if she should.

Beyoncé should have performed live at President Obama’s inaugural. The other artists did, she surely could have, and ceremony organizers should have insisted upon it; it’s just that kind of party. But there are no do-overs for life’s big moments and, given her amazing track record (no pun intended), Beyoncé has nothing to prove. The Super Bowl is a very different animal. Its super-hyped half-time performances are often tracked, and for good reason. It came to light last week that Whitney Houston’s “Star-Spangled Banner” – the Super Bowl showstopper against which all others are now judged – was performed with a background track. Why would we hold Beyoncé to a higher standard? More importantly, why would she?

She’s a perfectionist, that’s why. And perfectionists are harder on themselves than anyone. I know, because I’m a perfectionist too. But the lessons of seven Women of Power Summits and a few wise friends have me finally embracing the fact that none of us is perfect, least of all me. I understand too that no matter how brilliant, hard working, or accomplished you are, there will always be some who doubt you – and talk about it. That minority of haters can never shape your story unless you allow it. The challenge is to keep going and doing your best on your terms, in spite of them. When you err (and you will) own it, learn from it, and – here’s the hardest part – let it go.

On Sunday, when the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers do battle, I’ll be rooting for Beyoncé, hoping that the only critic her performance strives to please is herself.

Join me and hundreds of other powerful women, including Xerox Corp. CEO Ursula Burns, Radio One Founder Kathy Hughes and ABC’s Scandal inspiration Judy Smith, at the 2013 Women of Power Summit, February 27-March 2, 2013, at the Waldorf Astoria in Orlando, Florida. Enter the code DGTWPS when you register at http://www.blackenterprise.com/events/women-of-power-summit/ and get $200 off!

Career Growth: Cultivate Your Passion For Success

(Image: Thinkstock)

Many people find that they don’t know what they’re good at. They’re especially plagued with this dilemma during their college years when they should be choosing a career. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t only have to be talented to be good at something. With hard work and dedication you can find and succeed in your passion.

There is no need to be envious of the artist, singer, or writer who seems to be doing a lot better than you in their glamourous careers. You can succeed at whatever you put your mind to. Whether you are a publicist, teacher, or police officer. They still have to put in the work and you can too. Brazen Careerist unveils the secret to discovering your passion. What’s stopping you?

The cultivation of passion
Consider Cal Newport’s arguments. Newport is a computer scientist and author of four books about passion. He doesn’t buy into the “follow your passion” mantra. In an interview with Joshua Fields Millburn, Newport says, “There is no special passion waiting for you to discover. Passion is something that is cultivated.”

So let’s examine an equation I’ve developed with this in mind:

(curiosity + engagement) x time = passion

We start by being curious. From a young age, we’re drawn towards the things that we’re curious about, and as we get older, we’re expected to hone in on one that particularly appeals to us.

This is where most of us get stuck, because we’re afraid to pick something “wrong.” But remember what Newport said: “There is no special passion waiting for you to discover.” In other words, there isn’t a “wrong” choice because there isn’t a “right” choice, either. Pick an interest and roll with it.

Once we’ve picked something, we acquire knowledge about that subject, which requires more curiosity. We pick up some books, read articles and watch videos about our interest. We choose majors in college that allow us to explore our interest more deeply. This gets us acquainted with its world, but we don’t stop there.

Read more at Brazen Careerist

No More 9-to-5: 5 Celebs Who Went From Corporate America to Hollywood

laz alonso modeling

Actor Laz Alonzo worked on Wall Street before becoming the prime-time TV star he is today. (Image: File)

“Nine to five is how you survive. I ain’t tryin’ to survive. I’m tryin’ to live it to the limit and love it a lot,” are the words of the great rapper turned businessman Jay-Z.

No matter what career field interests us, it’s safe to say we all want to reach a level of success where we feel like we’re living life to the max. Below are five celebrities who traded in the 9-to-5 life for a career in entertainment, letting us know that sometimes we have to take risks and step outside of our safety nets to reach success.

Taraji P. Henson: Before the movie roles and red carpet appearances, this single mother from Washington, D.C. worked as a receptionist at the Pentagon and a waitress on the “Spirit of Washington” cruise ship. With the encouragement of family and friends, Henson left her normal life in D.C. for Hollywood with little money, big dreams and a toddler on her hip. “Wherever it is I’m going in this business I’m not there yet,” she told the Washington Post in 2011. “Who wants to come to Hollywood and be on the B list? I want the A list!”

2. Laz Alonso: Before landing roles on the big screen and starring in a prime-time TV series, this Howard University graduate started his professional career as an investment banker with Merrill Lynch on Wall Street. After realizing a 9-to-5 wasn’t for him, Alonso left his lucrative office job, took some acting classes, and the rest is history.

Nicki Minaj: Today Nicki is one of the hottest female rappers out, has her own perfume, a clothing line on the way and is a judge on American Idol. But before all of the fame and success, Minaj worked in customer service for a telephone company, admitting to Fuse TV that she was a bit snappy on the job. After leaving her office gig, the head Barb in charge put all her focus on music, saying “I always believe that any and everything is possible if you really believe and do the work.”

Rick Ross: Before becoming the head honcho of Maybach Music Group, Rozay served as a corrections officer in Florida. Despite the criticism of his pre-rap lifestyle not living up to his street-friendly lyrics, Ross has proven with hard work and dedication that he’s one of the biggest “bawses” we’ve seen thus far having four No.1 albums and a Grammy nomination under his belt.

Jesse Williams: Before becoming a star on the ABC hit drama series Grey’s Anatomy, Williams was a schoolteacher in New York who taught high school and middle school students. He got his big break with his role in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 and since then his acting career has climbed up hill, letting us know to never be afraid to answer when a big opportunity

Career Day? Really? 5 Reasons Gucci Mane Isn’t the Best Role Model

Hip-hop artist, Gucci Mane (Image: File)

Clearly we live in an crazy world when tattoos, gold in your mouth and a nursery rhyme over a hot beat means you’ve reached the pinnacle of success.

Wednesday, Atlanta rapper Gucci Mane tweeted a pic of himself speaking at Georgia’s Crawford W. Long Middle School for their Career Day. While giving back to the community is never a bad thing, there comes a point when we all realize everyone who has a little bit of fame may not be in the position to be a role model for youth. Below are five reasons the “Freaky Girl” rapper might be the last person you’d want giving professional advice to students:

1. “Trap God” is the title of his latest mixtape. We highly doubt any content that will help advance a middle school student’s career—or anyone’s career for that matter—will be talked about on a mixtape titled “Trap God.” (And if you know what the “trap” is, I don’t think you want your children aspiring to be the top boss there.)

2. His resume of rap lyrics shows no diversity. While just about every rapper brags about women, money, cars, and their street credibility, many artists also rap about their desire for success, their transition from the streets to the boardroom, and their ability to expand their brand beyond just rap, proving that they have a long resume of diverse experiences. Name one song where Gucci shows diversity in his lyrics? I’ll wait … OK.

3. Does he even own a suit and tie? Every great businessman knows how to look the part even if he knows his credentials aren’t up to par. Any true professional who’s speaking to a group of students about careers and success will want their image to match their message, which makes us wonder what exactly was Gucci’s message?

4. His brand isn’t exactly job market-friendly. In an age where all of your professional and personal business is open to the public with a quick Google search, it’s important to keep a clean brand perception while on the job hunt, and it’s without question that Gucci’s online appearance is far from employment-friendly.

5. Can you imagine Gucci at a networking event? While every professional knows how to let their hair down outside of office hours, they also know how to quickly switch things up when entering a networking event or professional setting. From sit-down interviews to red carpet appearances, this Atlanta rapper takes the street style and demeanor wherever he goes. This isn’t necessarily bad for his line of work, but the average young professional won’t be successful doing the same.