Richard Branson Shares Innovative Ideas for Small Businesses

Richard Branson is the founder of Virgin Group, which consists of more than 400 companies around the world. Branson recently published to his newsletter an interesting post on innovation in small business, and how it doesn’t require you to have huge research and development budgets in order to build a great (and possibly global) brand. Branson wrote, “Although it might be hard to believe now, the story of the Virgin Group is a small business that succeeded because of our team’s innovative spirit…we were a bunch of young hippies barely managing to scratch a living, yet we knew we had an idea for a product that people would want…We eventually turned our camaraderie and enthusiasm into a global business…To build a successful business, you don’t have to build a new product from scratch…If you can repurpose an existing product, or if you spot a gap in the market where brands are not offering the improvements to their products that customers would like, there is no reason why you shouldn’t step in.”

Branson shares in his article several examples of innovative ideas that were shared during a pitch event in South Africa as part of his Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship in Johannesburg, which has supported 479 entrepreneurs across 21 industries by sharing knowledge, networks and resources. The Virgin Group created the Centre a few years ago because they saw a need and they wanted to do their part to help aspiring entrepreneurs build their dreams, reach their goals, and knock down the 25 percent unemployment rate by increasing the number of small business startups.

Read more from Branson here:



Copyright 2013. Some Rights Reserved. Foreman & Associates, LLC.

Who Says Small Business is Small?

Small Business Facts:

  • Between 1993 and 2009, 65 percent of the 15 million net new jobs were created by small firms. (Source: U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Business Employment Dynamics)
  • 70 percent of small business owners are making changes for organizational growth. (Source: BizTech, “The Elements of Small Business” July, 2012)
  • IT hiring is down 5 percent but small business IT budgets are at their highest point in 3 years. (Source: Spiceworks State of Small Business IT Report, 2012)

John Hope Bryant on Redefining Success

Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman, and CEO, John Hope Bryant is zeroing in and addressing our world’s biggest issues: dignity, financial literacy, financial dignity, flawed definition and model of success, entitled and disconnected youth, students belief that K-12 schools lack immediate relevance to the “real world”, lack of entrepreneurs and small businesses, and a weakened infrastructure. This isn’t just a concern and issue in the United States, this is a global issue that will only get worse if we don’t do something about it and fast.

John Hope Bryant has written another powerful article, this time published in the Huffington Post. Below are excerpts from his article. After you read this then you should read his article in its entirety:

On Free Enterprise and Capitalism’s “Shift”

“For 100 years the world has been on a fairly consistent march towards more and more free enterprise, and deeper and more sharp edged caverns of capitalism. And for approximately 80 of those years, most of the developed world was not on a bad path…But somewhere long the lines of the last 20 years, the bi-product strangely became the product.”

On Re-wiring Our Thinking, Engagement, and Relationship With the So-Called “Poor”:

“…A storyline that sees the so-called poor as an opportunity for emerging market growth, rather than a dead weight which must be shunned, ignored, or worse, spurned and turned away.”

On Redefining Success

“The real focus of success should not be on the narrow minded agenda of ‘making money,’ but rather creating real and sustainable value for society and individuals too. When you do this, you not only have an opportunity to get rich, you also build sustainable wealth (and personal legacy) too.”

On Youth Entrepreneurship, Hope, and Aspirations

“…A storyline that shuns increases in military budgets and instead installs a HOPE Business In A Box Academy in every public school. A place where young people can get a lesson in financial literacy (the language of money), a primer course in entrepreneurship, and dream up a small business that can be funded with $500 or less.”

Those are just a few excerpts from this inspiring and engaging article. John Hope Bryant wrote this article as a delegate and featured speaker at the Global Economic Symposium which took place in Kiel, Germany October 1-2, 2013. His engagement at the GES was in preparation for the HOPE Global Financial Dignity Summit, 2013, scheduled November 13th-14th, 2013, in Atlanta, Georgia.

To read his article in full visit:

To learn more about the HOPE Global Financial Dignity Summit next month, visit:


Copyright 2013. Some Rights Reserved. Foreman & Associates, LLC.

The New Yorker Tells Small Business to Embrace ObamaCare

The New Yorker has tackled the issue with small business and ObamaCare (Affordable Care Act) and the drama that many small business owners have been buying into when it comes to how this Act impacts their businesses and employees. It also sucks the air out of those who have been fueling a fear flame that says, “ObamaCare will destroy small business and our country”. Here are some quick facts The New Yorker has released:

Employer Mandate

  • Requires that employers with 50 or more full-time employees provide health insurance for their workers.
  • Employer-sponsored insurance must cover 60 percent of costs
  • Premiums can’t be more than 9.5 percent of the employees income
  • Companies that don’t participate are charged a penalty fee

Here’s the deal:

  1. 96 percent of small businesses in the United States employ less than 50 employees. So they aren’t affected by the mandate.
  2. More than 90 percent of businesses with 50 or more employees already provide insurance
  3. Only 3 percent of businesses are in the range of 40 and 75 employees, which places them within the threshold—but the impact on the economy will be minimal
  4. “ObamaCare” provides another motivator for people to become small business owners now that the cloud of forfeiting employer-sponsored insurance will no longer haunt them. Now they can avoid “job lock”.
  5. A study reports that ObamaCare could enable 1.5 million people to become self-employed.
  6. Half of uninsured workers work for small businesses or are self-employed
  7. One quarter of small business owners are uninsured
  8. Insurance costs small business owners 18 percent more than larger businesses. That’s why fewer than half of companies with less than 50 employees provide insurance.
  9. ObamaCare provides tax credits to small businesses that want to insure their employees
  10. Now small businesses are rated by insurance companies based on “Community Rating” just like individuals, and no longer on “Experience Rating” like large corporations (who can pool the risk required by the insurance market). Small business gets to take advantage of the perks once reserved only for larger entities.
  11. The U.S. has the lowest rate of small businesses and self-employment in the “developed” world (Source: Economists John Schmitt and Nathan Lane, 2009)
  12. The nonsense you have been reading and hearing about ObamaCare crippling this nation is just that…nonsense!

To read The New Yorker article in its entirety visit:

Copyright 2013. Some Rights Reserved. Foreman & Associates, LLC.

What Science Says About the Brain and Leadership Skills

Inside the June 2013 issue of Inc. magazine there is an interesting article that highlights scientific research on the brains of leaders. David A. Waldman, a management professor at Arizona State University has been studying the neurological patterns of successful entrepreneurs and senior managers to see what they have in common. Waldman and his colleagues report that there appears to be similar electrical patterns in the brains of effective leaders, and that it may be possible to teach the right frontal part of your brain to operate more effectively using neurofeedback training. Basically, Waldman’s team believes that neurological rewiring can boost leadership skills.

How many upwardly mobile employees or established executives would risk “rewiring” to be better leaders? Are there other, less intrusive ways to become a better leader? According to Deloitte, U.S. companies spend $13.6 billion annually on leadership development, and Training Industry notes that 62 percent of businesses say that their employees lack crucial leadership skills.

Another study conducted by the Rotterdam School of Management reports that individuals with high testosterone and low cortisol levels are more likely to be seen as confident and dominant. Supposedly, low testosterone and cortisol level are linked with nervousness and hesitancy. But what does perceived confidence and dominance have to do with a person’s leadership skills and ability to lead? If women naturally have lower testosterone and higher cortisol levels, how does this factor into this study’s theory? The National Association of Women Business Owners conducted a survey where 85 percent of female business owners believe that there will be more women launching companies this years than in past years. It would be interesting to see what they think about the Rotterdam study.