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Returning to the U.S.? What to Do?

Man with passport and bag

Davy Crockett once said, “First, be sure your right and go ahead.” It’s a motto I’ve tried to live by. Make a (good or right) decision and move toward it as quickly as possible. Don’t let anything stand in the way. It’s gotten me into some dangerous situations, but everything worked out – and I have some great stories to tell. However, barging ahead doesn’t work when you have other people to consider. Now the question I face is “Do we move to the U.S., or do we stay in Russia?”

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A New Way to Do Business: Thrive, Don’t just Survive

A new way to do business to thrive not survive

Coronavirus and the resulting restrictions have devastated and frightened the American people, businessmen, and entrepreneurs. Small businesses are going bankrupt and closing their doors forever. Larger businesses aren’t faring very well, either. Only a few mega-businesses have gained market share and profitability, including Wal-Mart and Amazon. However, this flies in the face of what we’ve been told about smaller businesses, and it means that every business has to adapt to a new, different model of accomplishing its core tasks. In short, we need to find a new way to do business.

Small Businesses and Entrepreneur Advantages

In a healthy economy, small businesses and entrepreneurs are supposed to have the advantage of being able to quickly adapt to market changes. They can pivot to offer new products and create new strategies because they aren’t tied down by bureaucracy and traditions. The ability to change on the fly has been touted by experts as the reason why small businesses survive and disrupt large businesses. It has also been emulated by larger businesses to stay competitive. Unfortunately, the ability to change seems to have been unable to help small businesses survive COVID-19.

Disadvantages of Small Business

In an unhealthy economy, which the U.S. is experiencing due to coronavirus and the exacerbating political policies put in place over sound medical advice, small businesses don’t have the capital to sustain themselves or their employees. Brick and mortar stores rely on foot traffic and in person sales to boost their bottom line. When those things fail, what can a small business do to survive, especially one that was already hanging by a thread. It’s clear that many retailers don’t have the answer as well-known brands declare bankruptcy.

A New Way to Do Business

Small businesses need to change the way they do business. This will require an adjustment time, a change in mentality, and a whole lot of effort and learning. In order for small businesses to survive the next few months to year, they need to embrace the power of the Internet, figure out how to deliver the personalized service and convey that it gets delivered, and partner with other businesses to create synergy. Fans who love a small business need to help by getting the word out, leaving reviews, and making purchases when possible.

Power of the Internet

Some small businesses don’t have a website or have one they don’t use. Don’t let this be you. Weebly (if you’re not worried about international pageviews) and WordPress are easy to use and can get you started without too much trouble, even if you’re Internet inept. Your website can host a blog and be monetized with ads to provide additional revenue. Depending on the package you get, you may be able to sell digitized products as well as your regular stock on hand. If you’re not great at writing, hire someone to provide you with regular blog posts. Make sure you find someone who is willing to work with you, knows search engine optimization techniques, and can help you with keyword decisions.

Power of Video

You may also want to look into starting YouTube channel to promote your products with video and provide engaging content. (This can be monetized more fully later.) This can be especially useful for businesses that have moving, visual components. If you need more personal interaction, you might consider Zoom. Karaoke bars, for example, could host a sing off. Magicians, like Paul Draper, can offer their shows online. Musicians can do the same. Video offers a personal connection that photos can’t convey.

Power of Service

You need to meet your customers where they are. Some will be at your Facebook page. Others will be on your website. Some will want to pick up their items. Some will prefer delivery. Your business needs to provide these services without hesitation and with joy. Being able to process credit cards is something that you already do. Get a Paypal account or other electronic way to take payments as well. Provide your customers with better service than ever if you want to retain them.

Power of Connection

The Internet provides one form of connection, your business needs to make sure it provides another. As people have to stay inside and are less likely to go out, when your business has to remain closed even when people are out, you still need to provide that personal connection. An email list is good, but it’s not enough. You need to connect with each one of your customers and find out how things are going for them. If you’ve built this connection in real life, it should be a small matter to take it to the Internet. If you haven’t, you’ll need to work hard at finding an approach that delivers your personality and positivity.

Power of Partnerships

Every small business around you is in the same boat. If you can team up with one or more business to provide each other with services and to refer your customers to, you’ll be ahead of the curve. When people work together, their returns become greater than what they would have gotten on their own. Rather than looking at each other as competition for limited funds, start seeing how you can come together to synergize. Create something greater than the sum of its part, and you will be more successful.

It’s about Thriving not Surviving

As a small business if you’re thinking about surviving, you’re in trouble. The stress of surviving will cause you to make poor choices. Instead, you need to think boldly and figure out how you’re going to thrive in the new paradigm. You didn’t get into your business to survive, you got into it to be successful. In order to do that you need to be able to make clear-headed choices that take into account the information on hand. Then you need to apply your abilities to pivoting into new and better modes of doing business. At some point, you may find the old model isn’t even worth keeping. If you’d like a consultation for your business and how to move it forward, contact us.

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Coronavirus Delays Our Journey to the U.S.

Plane outside the TWA Hotel

In Sep. 2018, we applied for my wife’s green card to live in the U.S. We thought we would go about it the right way, so we sent in our money and waited. Then we waited some more. Then we waited some more. In between all the waiting, we spent time in the U.S. with her tourist visa. By Sep. 2019, we still hadn’t heard anything, and we decided to book a trip to New Zealand. It would be easier to get to than if we flew from the U.S.

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For the Love of Money or People: COVID-19

Money or people, what are your real values?

This whole thing comes down to your real values. You have a simple choice. Do you value money or life? And you can see by the reactions and the calls those who truly value life and those who value money. As an individual in a system that requires you to have money to have life, you have to make a decision. How much do you value your current level of living and how much are you willing to sacrifice to not have to put your life and the lives of your loved ones in danger?

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The Selfishness of ‘I’d rather get coronavirus and die, than…’

I'd rather get coronavirus and die than stay at home?

Protesters gathered in Michigan with their weapons and their privilege to complain about the stay at home orders issued by the governor there. They waved the Confederate flag, gathered in groups brandishing their weapons, held signs saying they would not comply, and blocked ambulances from getting to the hospital. Live free or die! “I’d rather get coronavirus and die than… see a generational company be gone, let America die, let the economy die, GIVE UP MY FREEDOMS!” These selfish a—holes don’t understand what they are doing. If they would like to die, then they better do it quickly and decrease the surplus population. They don’t have to wait for coronavirus; they have guns. It’s the selfish way out, but it’s a lot better than their proposed solution because getting coronavirus isn’t about them dying specifically. It’s about them passing the virus on to someone else and that person dying, and then multiple people dying from one a—hole who decided he or she didn’t want to be inside.

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America Needs You! To Stay at Home: Unpatriotic, Unprincipled Draft Dodging in the Age of COVID-19

America Needs You to Stay at home

Abraham Lincoln gave a blueprint for the death of the United States of America in a speech that included this excerpt:

Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us with a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer: If it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we ourselves must be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time or die by suicide.

– Abraham Lincoln, Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois on January 27, 1838

Little did anyone suspect how literal his case would be. As coronavirus springs up amongst us, we are its authors and its finishers. As long as we continue to spread the virus, we will be responsible for our own destruction.

The United States is facing, what Surgeon General Jerome Adams is calling, this generation’s Pearl Harbor moment. We are at war with an unseen enemy, and we have all been drafted to fight against that enemy.

Still, draft dodgers abound as they claim bone spurs, bathing in the blood of Christ, and it just doesn’t seem to fit with my style, to help them gather together at church, in parks when the sun shines, and with friends and family they could just as well see over an app on their phone. These draft dodgers burn their hoarded toilet paper and cry, “We aren’t going to follow the recommendations of the experts!”

These unpatriotic individuals with false bravado wave the flag as if they were doing their duty and on the front line. While they are out partying or visiting their congregations, they are ignoring the directions of the generals put in charge to fight this war. Worse, they are putting the actual people on the front lines at risk.

No one is being asked to go and kill people on foreign soil. In fact, we are being asked to do the exact opposite. We are being asked to save lives. We can protect fellow Americans and to keep people from dying by doing one simple thing: stay at home. That’s all we have to do to win this war: stay at home. If you have to go out, wear a mask, wash your hands, and stay six feet away from other people.

What are we fighting for? Our grandparents, our parents, and our children’s future. We are fighting for the very essence of America – its people and their safety. This fight is on our home turf, literally, and the more draft dodging nimrods there are, the worse its going to get, the longer the process of healing is going to take, and the more loved ones we are going to lose. Do your part. Stay at home.

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Never Have so Many Been Asked to Do so Little to Save the People of the World

Wear a mask or better yet stay at home

Man, it’s a crazy time! I hope you’re doing everything you can to keep you, your family, your community, and the people of the world safer. It’s hard with some of the mixed messages coming from different news and not-news sources, but listen to the experts. Stay at home, get regular exercise, practice social distancing, buy only what you need for two weeks, and limit necessary trips to the bare minimum.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill: Never have so many been asked to do so little to save the people of the world. To be fair, it’s not so much a paraphrasing as a butchering, but it still works, especially since we’re being asked to do so little to save each other.

Stay at Home

All we have to do is: Stay home. How hard can that be? For years, stay-at-home moms got a bad rap for being at home all day with nothing to do but watch daytime soaps and feed themselves into oblivion. (Maybe now we have more respect for people who choose to stay at home over getting a job. Just like we should have more respect now for teachers.)

Think about it. Even with the difficulties associated with staying at home, many of us are getting exactly what we wished for: a chance to grow and be at home away from our jobs. That’s amazing! Stay at home, play video games all day, and eat cheese from a can (if you can find it). Read, binge watch something on Netflix or your other favorite streaming service, and start a new hobby if you have the supplies or can order them through Amazon (affiliate link). Stay away from any of the hobby stores that are open; they aren’t necessities and you shouldn’t be going to unnecessary places.

We can be heroes by staying at home. Who’s pulling out the old Atari with me and getting back their old high score on Donkey Kong?

People before Profits

Still, there’s a core section of the population that is finding it difficult to stay at home. They want to work, or they want others to go back to work, or they want you to go back to work, so they can prop up their portfolios and profits. These men, and some women, are a—holes. You should ignore them. They aren’t doctors. They don’t know anything about how the virus is going to progress. Most of them aren’t even economists. They are pundits or talk show hosts, who have somehow disguised themselves as journalists or they are business people, who have somehow found themselves in a position of authority for something they know nothing about. These talking heads are putting profits before people.

Worse, even though they claim to be pro-life, they are advocating killing off up to five percent of the population, most of those being old people and those with compromised immune systems. That doesn’t make them heroes even if they are willing to make that sacrifice. These same advocates of exposing people to a deadly disease make their proclamations from their isolated basements or the sanctuary of their knowledge that their money and position will get them a test and a result in 15 minutes while the average person has to show signs of the virus and wait much longer than 15 minutes to get any results. They continue to doubt the experts and suggest that people do things that will end up in their own deaths or the deaths of loved ones. The longer they encourage people to go outside and come in contact with others, the longer this pandemic will last.

Stay Home

As long as people keep partying with their friends, keep going to their non-essential jobs, keep leaving their homes for no real reason, America will keep facing the deadly consequences of a view miscreants ill-advised acts, and the healthcare system will continue facing an overwhelming job that will result in life and death decisions due to a lack of resources. Communities can’t wait until they see symptoms and confirm that there is a case or cases in the area. It’s like a horror movie or ninjas. If they wait to act, and the action is to stay at home and do nothing, it will be too late. Getting ahead of the curve and shortening the effects of this virus means acting now.

Stay at home, stay away from others, wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and wear masks if you have to go outside. If your work requires you to go in and your job can be done from home or is non-essential, consider telling your boss, “No. I don’t want to be responsible for transmitting a disease that could kill someone.” It’s difficult to stand up to your boss, especially if you need the money. However, someone is going to have to do it. Maybe it starts with you, and it might help to send your boss a poem or that video with Samuel L. Jackson (see below). Be safe, my friends and don’t let anyone trade your life and lives of those you love for money.

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The Moral Dilemma of Employees at Non-Essential Businesses

Old people are more valuable than politicians

There are some people who are still going to work because they are essential. Doctors, nurses, fire fighters, police officers, grocery store workers, postal workers, the people who keep the Internet running are a few of those people. We salute them for being on the frontlines. Everyone of them deserves a pay raise for being at risk of catching coronavirus. Here’s hoping they have adequate medical coverage. By staying at home and not going any place you don’t have to go, you’re honoring the sacrifice and the risk these workers are taking to keep your community functioning and in touch with the rest of the world.

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Snow White’s Run into the Woods Mirrors What We’re Going Through

The woods may be scary

She couldn’t believe what had happened. The hunter had taken her out into the forest and raised his knife as her back was turned. Only the shadow on the rock told her how close he was to her. When she turned, the light glinted off the cold steel. She raised her arms and inhaled sharply. The hunter dropped the knife and then dropped to his knees. His hands covered his face as he cried. Through the sobs, she could hear him explain to her that her mother wanted her dead, but he couldn’t do it. Instead, he left her frightened and alone with one word: Run!

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Stay the F—K at Home (Go the F—k to Sleep parody)

Stay the F--k at Home

The malls are closed; the stores are shuttered.
There’s no place for you to roam.
Disneyland is empty and quiet.
Please stay the fuck at home.

The movie theaters are dark.
Movie companies aren’t releasing any more.
You can watch all the movies on the Internet,
and stay the fuck indoors.

You need to get some sunlight, and the backyard’s just too small?
You can go on a little trip. Let me be your guide:
Around your fence and down the middle
Or stay the fuck inside.

You need to get some groceries?
Get it through your thick dome,
You’ve got enough food and toilet paper. Stop lying.
Don’t go outside; stay the fuck at home.

You need to get some exercise?
You never cared before.
Put on a yoga video,
And stay the fuck indoors.

You’re not scared of a virus?
There’s no need to run and hide?
If not for you, then for your family;
Stay the fuck inside.

You’re bored and lonely and tired?
Just follow the instructions of this poem.
Read books, use Facetime, take a nap,
But for real: stay the fuck at home.

You’ve been cooped up for 24 hours,
And you just can’t take it anymore?
You’ve played video games for three days straight
Jesus Christ, what the fuck? Stay indoors.

You decided to go out and hang with friends
So what if old people will have died?
Make the right choice for your grandparents now,
And stay the fuck inside.

There’s nothing new out there.
Everything’s shut from St. Petersburg to Nome.
Some wonderful places to drive to,
You know where you can fucking go? No, stay home.

This room is all you can remember.
You’ve never been out you swore.
That’s okay. You’ve got this.
Don’t give up and stay the fuck indoors.

The nation is counting on you.
In fact, this is worldwide.
Screw your courage to the sticking post,
And stay the fuck inside.

There’s no reason to leave the house.
In the future you can say with pride
Others went out to meet friends
But I stayed the fuck inside.

If you need more things to do while you’re at home, read, aerobicize, and movies.

Now, I just need to figure out how to get Samuel L. Jackson or Jennifer Garner to read this.

Thanks to Adam Mansbach, who wrote “Go the F—k to Sleep” (affiliate links). Hopefully, he’s coming up with a better version of this.