East Coast storm prompts closure of Wall Street

It’s not often that the weather brings Wall Street to its knees. But Hurricane Sandy is already packing a wallop along the East Coast, and it has prompted the shutdown of U.S.¬†financial¬†markets – which were closed Monday and will remain closed Tuesday.

The last time the weather caused a two-day closure of the markets was back in 1888. That was the year Democrat Grover Cleveland lost his bid for a second term as U.S. president to Republican Benjamin Harrison. It was also the year that the first waxed drinking straw was patented by Marvin C. Stone in Washington, D.C.

Go figure.

And ironically, it was the year of the second largest snowfall in New York City history – 21 inches. Extreme weather then, extreme weather now … it seems that some things never change.

Tips on the job search

I go these tips in an email, and they seemed useful, this day and age.

Thanks to Ford R. Myers, a career coach and author of “Get the Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring,” for sending.

1. Network, network, network. Continually increase your level of networking and keep expanding your contact database. There is no substitute for connecting with people one-on-one.
2. Seek help. Get career support from a professional. A qualified career coach can better prepare you to land your next position.
3. Read career books and attend career seminars. Being informed about business will keep you “fresh” as a candidate, and helps you consistently improve your career management and job-search skills.
4. Leverage technology. Utilize Web sites and online services to connect with your industry and to build greater visibility. Create a career Web site and reach out through social networking sites such as Facebook, Linked-In and Twitter.
5. Differentiate yourself. Position yourself as an expert by writing articles, giving presentations, or teaching a class. Get involved in professional organizations and assume leadership roles there.
6. Use your time off wisely. Pursue professional development by participating in classes, seminars, certifications and industry conferences.
7. Pursue a temporary, part-time, or contract position. Volunteer, provide pro bono work, take on a consulting contract, or complete an internship or apprenticeship. All these options provide excellent “bridge job” opportunities.
8. Act with speed and urgency. Demonstrate that you’re more serious and more determined than the competition. Show up earlier. Arrive more prepared. Move quickly and efficiently. Make an impression by being more responsive and assertive than other candidates.
9. Take care of yourself. Eat well, exercise, and get plenty of rest. You’ll need to be healthy and vital to maintain the pace of an active job search campaign.
10. Be flexible and adaptable. Consider shifting industries and/or being geographically mobile to open-up more career possibilities, even if you would not choose these options under normal circumstances.
11. Improve and enhance all the documents in your career portfolio. Craft a unified package that consistently conveys a highly professional image of yourself.  This will include a Resume, a one-page Professional Biography, a collection of powerful Accomplishment Stories, a series of compelling Cover Letters, a page of Professional References, a list of Target Companies, and a 15-second commercial (Positioning Statement).
12. Identify industries that will emerge stronger when the market improves. Research emerging opportunities and niches that will offer career growth, and position yourself to take advantage of these trends.
13. Practice interviewing and negotiation skills. Solicit the help of a partner to role-play with you, and switch roles as needed with the questions and answers. Practice with an audio-recording device, and listen to yourself as you continually improve your performance.
14. Be patient, but persistent. Be persistent, but don’t be a pest, as you follow up consistently on every opportunity. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Instead, keep moving forward as you explore every appropriate opening you can find.
15. Focus on tangible results and practical solutions. The primary question in the employer’s mind will be, “What can you do for me — now?” This means that you should quickly identify the employer’s most pressing needs and challenges — and then explain exactly how your relevant accomplishments will allow you to successfully address those issues in the short term.
16. Work from a budget. Instead of going into a panic or worrying that you’ll lose everything you’ve worked for, conduct a detailed analysis of your financial situation and develop a family budget. You may discover that you’re in a better financial position than you had thought.
17. Be kind to yourself. There is no longer the same stigma there used to be about being unemployed, as almost every family in America has been touched by layoffs and downsizings. Forgive yourself, forgive your ex-employer, and forgive the world. Move on toward a better career future.
18. Pay extra attention to your personal image. First impressions count. Make a deliberate, consistent effort to present yourself in the best light. Now is the ideal time to take stock of your appearance, and make whatever changes you feel could improve your image — and your job search results.
19. Watch your attitude. Maintain a positive attitude. Never state anything negative or act desperate. Spend some time each day focusing-in and recalibrating your internal attitude.
20. Be philosophical. Try to find the life lessons and new perspectives in this transition. Commit to yourself that, somehow, you will make this a rewarding and productive experience.

“Conducting a successful job search campaign takes energy, discipline, and career support. Despite the pressures many face in today’s employment market, job seekers must stay focused on their goals and search smart,” says Myers.

Reprinted by permission of Ford R. Myers, a nationally-known Career Coach and author of “Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring.” Download a Free Special Report, “10 Vital Strategies to Maximize Your Career Success” at http://www.careerpotential.com.

Supreme Court’s pending decision could have big effect on business

Here’s one from the what-to-watch file:

A Supreme Court opinion could come soon on a case that some business interests say could have serious effects on corporate governance.

At issue in Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board is whether the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate accounting law – which was established ealier this decade in the midst of all those corporate scandals – violates the Constitution by giving the Securities & Exchange Commission power to appoint members of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

That board, created by the law, is made up of private sector members who are supposed to oversee the auditors of public companies with a goal of protecting investors.

The Free Enterprise Fund, a nonprofit that promotes free enterprise, contends that the Constitution allows only the president or heads of his cabinet to appoint members to the board. Ultimately, anti-regulation interests say, the board is not accountable to anyone as it makes the rules that govern public accounting while also enforcing them.

Some observers say that if the Court rules in favor of Free Enterprise Fund, the decision could have far-ranging implications for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act – which was designed as an anti-fraud law stemming from the Enron scandal.

The effect could go even further, challenging the power of independent federal agencies such as the SEC and the Federal Communications Commission.

For its part, the government vigorously defends the board, noting that it is ultimately accountable to the SEC, which is appointed by the president.

This is definitely one to watch, especially in light of the debate over increased regulation in the marketplace going in Congress.



Small business gets some good news

Who says small business never gets any credit. After all, they employ most people, our medical benefits, etc…

Here’s a press release I received today about a Monterey Park business:


Assemblymember Mike Eng honors Dr. Irvin Kaw in recognition of California Small Business Day
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Today, Assemblymember Mike Eng presented Dr. Irvin Kaw with an award for his contributions to the 49th Assembly District as both a business and community leader during the California Small Business Day celebration held at the Sacramento Convention Center.
“As our state continues to struggle with a depressed economy, it is of great importance that we recognize the contributions and the significant role of our most outstanding entrepreneurs,” said Assemblymember Eng.  “Dr. Irvin Kaw is an exceptional business leader who transformed his passion as a dentist into his work in the community.”
Dr. Kaw is a General Dentistry specialist in Monterey Park and has served on several dental and community organizations like the San Gabriel Dental Society Board of Directors, Southern California Burmese Chinese Association, and the Burmese American Dental Association.
California Small Business Day is a day dedicated to recognizing the contributions of small business to the state of California, and provides the California State Assembly and Senate an opportunity to honor small businesses from their districts

Business workshop for veterans…

With small business workshops left and write these days, it was nice to come across one that was a little out of the ordinary, and which catered to a group of men and women who we see a lot of in war, but not much — at least in the media world — in the world of business.

An April 13 Small Business Administration workshop will provide information on loan programs, technical assistance and government contracting including the federal economic stimulus.  Keynote speakers will share information on technical assistance and government contracting. You can learn how these programs and services can help you in your own business planning.  There will also be information on what lenders look for in this economic climate in regards to loans and lines of credit.  Presentations regarding service disabled veteran-owned businesses and VA sponsored Employment Programs.

The event begins at 4 p.m.. Registration begins at 3 p.m.

It’s at the West Los Angeles VA Hospital, 11301 W. Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles.



The end of ‘trickle-down’ economics?

Defenders of market capitalism always point to companies, rather than the government, as the key generators of wealth in society.

And for the most part I agree that business should play this role. But a recent report seems to put a dent in that idea.

The Los Angeles Times reported this week that large companies that have held on to their bottom lines are reluctant to hire, because of jitters about the economy and worries about health care costs. (here’s the link: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-rich-companies24-2010mar24,0,395617.story)

The report’s sources point out that hiring is right around the corner.

Let’s hope so. Because if companies with relatively healthy cash flows don’t hire — even when they have loads of cash — then this idea of the social value of the market will take a serious hit, and “supply-siders” will have lost a golden opportunity to prove they are right.

Instead, if healthy companies don’t ultimately start hiring, that would mean that our economy is truly caught in a vicious cycle: Firms won’t hire because they are worried about a sluggish economy and sluggish demand; people will remain unemployed, which means they won’t have the money to create that demand; and firms will continue to extract more and more productivity from fewer and fewer people.

In the end, companies will get or stay rich, and consumers will stay poor. Reagan’s “supply-side” economics – in which wealth is supposed to flow from top to bottom, will have been nothing but a pipe dream.

What is becoming more apparent every day is that we need a new industry, new kinds of products that create demand…and ultimately jobs. Either that, or we’ll simply have to rein in our appetite for wealth.

Conservatives can point to excessive government intrusion as a monkey on the free market’s back. But that doesn’t seem like much of an argument when you can’t people to buy your products.

Hopefully, the Internet wasn’t the last great new industry….



‘Subsideized’ employment seminar on Wednesday

From the Sante Fe Springs Chamber of Commerce….



“Has your Santa Fe Springs Business weathered the recession?
Can you use some employees to start helping your business to grow, but are holding off because you are just not sure the recovery is for real? 
 What if you were able to hire these employees
At no cost to you?
Come learn about the Transitonial Subsidized Employment Program that is available in Santa Fe Springs through SASSFA
Wednesday, February 17, noon to 1:30 p.m.”


Santa Fe Springs Chamber
12016 Telegraph Rd.
Santa Fe Springs, California 90670
(562) 944-1616



Take your client to lunch… it works…

If you’re looking for validation about that power lunch, check this out — courtesy of this press release from Robert Half Management Resources….

CFO Survey Shows It Pays to Take Your Client to Lunch  
MENLO PARK, CA– Breaking bread with key contacts is good business, according to a recent survey of chief financial officers (CFOs). More than a third (36 percent) of executives surveyed said their most successful business meeting outside the office was conducted over a meal.
The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, the world’s premier provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals on a project and interim basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.
CFOs were asked, “Other than in the office, what was the location of your most successful business meeting ever?” Their responses:
Restaurant ……………………………………………..    36%
Trade show or conference…………………………….    25%
Sporting event……………………………………………     4%
Golf course……………………………………………….     3%
In a car……………………………………………………    1%
On a trip/plane…………………………………………..     1%
Nowhere else, only in office…………………………..    24%
Other/don’t know/refused……………………………..     4%
(*Total does not equal 100% due to rounding)
“A well-chosen restaurant can offer a neutral, more relaxed environment than the office, often with fewer distractions,” said Paul McDonald, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources. “Sharing a meal with clients or colleagues puts all parties more at ease and helps to establish rapport.”
McDonald offers the following tips to ensure a successful business meeting outside the office:
         Choose the right location. If you’re planning on a restaurant, select one that is quiet, easy-to-find and provides excellent food and service. Make sure the menu has enough variety to accommodate anyone with dietary restrictions.
         Arrive early. Plan on getting to the meeting before your guests so you can select a comfortable spot and be there to greet them.
         Stay on schedule. While you want to postpone talking shop until after you’ve ordered, don’t let the meal go on too long if your client has told you he or she has limited time to meet. On the other hand, if things are going well, avoid rushing to get your bill.
         Give them your undivided attention. Never take cell phone calls or check e-mail at the table. As the host, it’s your job to make sure the meeting is productive and on topic.
Practice good manners. Always treat the restaurant or facility staff with courtesy and respect.

Fitness business promoting stories…

A little news about Curves…

Local Curves Centers Announce New Year’s Resolution: Help Make One Million
Women Stronger in 2010
West Covina area fitness franchises launch campaign to promote fitness to
prevent disease, focus on sharing success stories with others

 Curves locations in the West Covina area will be joining other Curves facilities throughout
the world this January in a company-wide campaign called Stronger +
Together, an international movement to make one million women healthier in
2010. The program will rely heavily on women sharing their success stories
and providing confidence and inspiration to others.

The heart of the program lives online at www.Curves.com/StrongerTogether,
where women can find useful information about the new campaign, register
for the campaign to join the cause, share their personal stories about how
they were able to start a healthier lifestyle, and find a myriad of useful
tools, such as easy-to-send emails designed for women to send messages of
inspiration to loved ones and the option to create a personal profile to
promote their story on the Web site.

What a decade it was

It’s a quarter to five on New Year’s Eve and I’m sitting here thinking about how 2009 played out — how the whole decade played out, for that matter.

And it wasn’t pretty.

In 2000 we saw the collapse of the dot-com industry. A year later, we watched terrorists wage a brazen attack on our shores that left thousands dead. We saw a still-unresolved war heat up in the Middle East, and we saw the stock market tank and the nation’s travel and airline industries struggle in the wake of those terrorist attacks.

We saw some pretty bizzare things too, including the wacky saga of the “balloon boy.” We watched Tiger Woods implode and lose lucrative endorsement contracts amid allegations of multiple affairs. We watched Michael Jackson die needlessly as a result of the heavy medications he was taking.

And as the decade wound down, we waded through a deep recession that was fueled by the collapse of the nation’s subprime mortgage industry. As more and more loans went bad, banks and other financial institutions began to fail, igniting a global economic downturn – a downturn we’ll probably be feeling for years to come.

So what about 2010 and the rest of the coming decade?

My gut feeling is that things will turn around, producing one of the most productive and innovative decades ever. I don’t base this on anything scientific. But I do know that when you’ve been down — really down — you either give up, or pull yourself up and move forward with new ideas and a new determination.

 As Morgan Freeman said in “Shawshank,” you “get busy livin’ or get busy dyin.’ 

I think we’re all ready to move forward. And let’s just be glad we’re seeing this past decade in our rearview mirror.