Can This Secret Characteristic Every Entrepreneur Possesses Be Taught?

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

There’s a secret characteristic that just about every successful entrepreneur has. It’s not just brains. It’s not just passion. It’s not just capital.

Do you know what it is? It’s called grit. Educators are trying to figure out if it can be taught. Because if you can teach grit, you can create entrepreneurs.

According to Angela Duckworth, a leading researcher on the topic, grit “is the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals.” Duckworth is trying to figure out whether kids today can be taught grit. If people can learn grit, they can do great things. Read More…

3 Reasons Why This Is a Crucial Election Year for Business Owners and Cat Lovers

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(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

In the tiny Alaskan town of Talkeetna, Mayor Stubbs presides. He is, in human terms, about 100 years old. He is a cat. And he has been Mayor of this town for 16 years. Isn’t that adorable? It is adorable. And I’m sure if you’re a resident of Talkeetna, having a cat as Mayor has little impact on the town’s operations. I’m guessing that the issues there are pretty much the same each year: how to stay warm and not get eaten by bears. So why not have a cat as your mayor?

November is approaching and the public’s interest in the mid-term national elections seems very blas. In D.C., control of both the House and the Senate may end up with the Republicans, but if such were to happen their majority would be slim. The Affordable Care Act will not be repealed. Major legislation, such as tax and immigration reform does have a shot of moving forward. But forcing a government shutdown over rising debts is not politically palatable as the 2016 presidential elections loom. Gridlock in DC will likely continue.

However, this election is crucial to business owners and cat lovers too. Sorry, cat-lovers: I’m not seeing any cats on the ballot next month. But Mayor Stubbs is a symbol. He represents the importance of this year’s local referendums. Issues that have a tremendous affect on both your family and your business. And here’s why. Read More…

Here’s a Round-Up of Small Business Surveys That’ll Cheer You Up

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(This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post)

A deadly Ebola epidemic threatens our country and the world. A growing nation of terrorists are targeting the U.S. A new report warns of an imminent and devastating earthquake in the Bay Area. Russia and China sign partnership deals and separately continue to build their militaries and intimidate their neighbors, Iran gets closer to becoming a nuclear state. Global warming may soon be melting our faces. Amanda Bynes may not be well. The country’s most sensitive financial and military data is quietly and quickly breached by our enemies. Our European allies spiral towards another recessionary slowdown. The stock market drops 6 percent in just 30 days. Man, I’m getting depressed just writing this!

So let’s all agree: it’s not been a great month. But hold on.

There is some good news. There is one group of people out there feeling successful and optimistic, even in the midst of all these alarming events. Who are these naïve, yet hearty souls? Why, it’s small business owners! Don’t believe me? Then believe the data. Because just in this past month, along with all the bad news, there have been no less than eight surveys that, for the most part, all say the same thing: small business owners are feeling pretty darn good. And as a public service to you, I’ve rounded them up here just to prove it. Read More…

Today, Apple Raises The Minimum Wage

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

I feel kind of bad. I just ordered three coffees at a Starbucks and didn’t leave a tip in the tip jar.

Do you ever tip the barista at Starbucks? You should. Many don’t make a high wage and tips are very important to them (the average Starbucks employee does make about$9.32 an hour which is a little more than the $7.25 per hour minimum wage). Do you leave a tip for housekeeping when you stay at a hotel? You should do that too. Do you stick any money in the ‘tip jar’ at the local shop or eatery? When you go to a restaurant, do you tip 15%? 20%? Are you bad at math like me and are just sometimes not sure? There are millions of people who are working for minimum wage (and oftentimes less if you’re in the restaurant industry) who need those tips to survive. And in many cases we just don’t tip enough (some, sadly don’t tip at all).

There are reasons for this of course. But for most of us the reason why we don’t tip the barista, leave cash in the tip jar or a $10 bill for housekeeping is because…we have no cash. We’re using credit cards (and yes Starbucks’ excellent app does enable for tipping, but like most customers I don’t use it). However, that’s going to change. And the change starts today. Today Apple AAPL +1.67% releases Apple Pay, the mobile payment service you’ve heard of by now that will soon make it simple for you and me to pay for just about anything by using the iPhone (or in my case my Samsung S4, because Google Wallet, which already uses the same technology, will be keeping up). I recently wrote about how Apple Pay will kill the credit card. That will happen. But it will also have a big impact on the minimum wage debate. How? Read More…

Four Lines of Political B.S. That Make Philly Voters Swoon

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(This post originally appeared on The Philly Post)

Got an election coming up? Running for political office in the city of Philadelphia? Or maybe you’re running for a state or local office that requires votes from Philadelphians?

Relax! I’ve got you covered. There’s still plenty of time to win. All you need to do is say the right things.

It doesn’t even have to be what’s right for the city in the long run. Just focus on the short term. Your job is not to make tough decisions and lead. Your job is to just to get elected, OK? That means you must study the polls and just tell the mob what they want to hear so they’ll vote for you. So what do you need to tell them? Here are a few core messages that are guaranteed winners. Read More…

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