Business: Recovery or Wholesale Change?

Recovery may not be the right word to describe it.

VoIP Supply - Get More
VoIP Supply - Get More

For the record, I’m a pretty optimistic person about most things and not siding with recovery as the answer, the end result remains upbeat. Looking back at recent history for us and most in the telecom/technology retail space, spending jumped off the cliff back in August or so.

While we (VoIP Supply) have seen some stabilization and slight upticks in revenues, far more important changes have occurred and been highly visible. The customer has changed and I’m pretty sure the old one has gone away. We may well be in the midst of a “recovery” but it is more like a rebirth of a more fiscally responsible customer. Gone are the days of spending to spend, spending to meet budgets and buying just to have the latest features and widgets. This is a good thing in my opinion.

We’ve changed and so has our customer.

Interestingly enough, the change has not been our customers running away in search of a less expensive seller (many of our competitors) as the need for value remains despite the need to spend less money. Instead of simply heading for the lowest cost, our customers are just being more careful in their selection, less in need of fancy bells and whistles and more in need of a partner that understands. Rather than drop our pricing to make sure customers are not heading away in search of lower costs, we have increased our offerings and rolled out programs for the customers that offer alternatives and configurations that meet their needs without breaking the bank. They seem to like it.

While I believe we’ve seen a bottoming in the economy, I’m not planning on a V shaped recovery here, I’m pretty sure this is the recovery phase and we’re seeing a new breed of customers. If I’m wrong, the upside is a faster recovery, if I’m right then we’ve got no worries and a lot of value to offer. If I’m really wrong and we haven’t seen the bottom, we’ll be here offering value just the same.

Free Trade. Free for who?

Free Trade – Make it fair, tax goods from those who tax ours!

Imports and Exports – Why is it free to bring anything into the US but cost a fortune for others to import goods from the US?

Until I got involved in online retail in 2002, I had no idea how badly (in my opinion) this country is shooting itself in the foot (and face for that matter). Some seroius pressure needs to be put on politicians to change this or someone needs to explain it because I simply don’t get it.

Here is the example:

If I purchase something from a person in Great Britain (UK) for $100 and pay $25 in shipping to get it here, it costs me $125 when all is said and done.

If that same person in the UK buys something from me for $100 and pays $25 in shipping to get it him, he gets slapped with a huge import tax depending on the type of goods and their classification. Some customers are paying upwards of 175% on these goods coming in.

No wonder we import so much crap and export so little. Why would someone send the US a car for $30,000 and get paid $30,000 so they can pay up to $60,000 for the $30k US car we send them??

Good idea, those foreigners won’t figure it out!

If someone can explain it better for me, please comment as this lack of logic is crazy and hopefully there is a misunderstanding on my part. I’m ok w/ being wrong here, in fact I would prefer it if I was.

Today's Labor Unions – one piece of a spoiled pie.

Who thinks that today’s Labor Unions are necessary and beneficial to this country?

The US economy is a mess today, but even with all of the changes taking place and being made, the root causes are still in existence and spoiling the delicious Apple Pie that all home grown Americans take for granted.

I’m no historian, politician or labor expert, this is merely my opinion. Comments are welcome, especially if you have reason (legitimate selfless reasons) why anyone should feel otherwise. This is less about complaining and more about asking someone to please clarify this for me and anyone else bothered by Labor Unions.

In my humble opinion…

Labor unions have been around since the dark ages and from time to time have actually served a valid purpose, but how many employers in the US could actually get away with paying next to nothing for slave labor? The idea of unionized labor isn’t all bad, but I truly feel that combined with some of the other spoiled pieces of pie I’ve written about, today’s unions are making America weak and threatening (not helping) the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people.

Why is it that labor union members are entitled to $70,000 a year for pushing a button or pulling a lever?

How is it ok with the general public that a union member, laid off because of financial strain to the employer could possibly be entitled to years of compensation (without doing any work) at a large percentage of what they were previously making?

What a joke that the government is willing to bail out car makers, force them into bankruptcy, allow for large scale layoffs, dealers closings and perhaps the total collapse of consolidation of certain brands.

What a joke that the CEOs of these auto giants can’t seem to figure out a basic plan to get their company back on track and making the country proud. Cut your pay, give back money clearly not earned to help preserve jobs and right the ship and most importantly, find a way to right size the labor unions or find a way to get rid of them altogether.  I have to imagine (though I don’t have the facts here) that if unemployed people were not compensated by the employers any more than their last day and if the hourly rates for unskilled button pushing were more in line with minimum wage. When the executives took compensation based on what they contributed and earned not what they felt entitled to and the labor unions recognized how good they would look if they tried hard to preserve jobs and the very companies that fund them, that billions would be saved, no bailout would be necessary and a whole lot of other positive changes would also result.

Come on people, the problem is not nearly any worse than we make it, stop allowing greedy and un-entitled people to force this country into the dumpster. Stop supporting the unions or pretending they are not the problem or at least one of the connected problems.

While I have always thought that labor unions were a thorn in America’s side, the recent rumblings that Obama might change the rules to permit even more labor unions to pop up without employer knowledge and force employers to begin bargaining immediately is crazy. How is that going to help anything? As a CEO myself, if the employees are that unhappy that they need to form a union then I suck as an employer and they should walk out the front door and get a job they are happy with.