Fresh Start

With 2023 just few hours away, small business owners are looking ahead.
Thinking how to solve ongoing problems:
Inflation, supply chain issues, anticipated recession, and labor shortages.

Given these, small business owners’ top three priorities are:

1. Cash Flow
They know the importance of cash flow.
It’s what will keep the business afloat should we have an economic downturn.

2. Employees
They are an important asset for the small business.
Its backbone.
That’s why many business owners are offering higher wages and training.

3. Technology
We all know technology will become even more important.
Smart business owners look at technology as a tool.
A tool that will help them achieve their goals.

* * * * *

Entrepreneurs and small business owners feel optimistic about the new coming year.
They plan to increase their opportunities by doing more online marketing.
Hire more employees.
And pay them higher wages.

Their attitude toward the new year is one of tough-minded optimism.
New year.
Fresh start.

Sharing this site with your friends is much appreciated.
Thanks for visiting.

Gig Workers and Taxes

Tax Day is fast approaching

If 2021 was your first year in the gig economy then tax time will be full of surprises for you.
Most likely not very pleasant surprises either
Higher than expected tax liabilities
Even some penalties

Not much fun dealing with all of that.

What to do now?
Get some strong coffee (or your favorite give-me-energy drink)
And start on your paperwork.

Process your paperwork (get help, if necessary).
And file your taxes.

Tax time it’s a stressful time for many.

Now it’s the best time to start thinking, and planning, for next year
Think about how to make it easier on yourself when next tax filing comes around

Here are three things to get you started on the right track:

  1. Income
    Keep track of your income.
    Make sure to keep good records.
    The companies you work with will issue you 1099-NEC and other 1099s
    Do remember:
    The companies will also send copies of these forms to IRS
  2. Expenses
    Keep track of work-related expenses: car maintenance and repairs, work supplies, etc.
    These expenses will help lower your tax bill
  3. Taxes
    Put aside ~20% of your income. Save that money for taxes.
    (If necessary, and to avoid penalties, you may want to make estimated payments.)

That’s it!
Develop a system when you se aside time (weekly or monthly ) and do these.
And I promise you:
Consistently doing these 3 things will make tax time much less stressful.

Wishing you success in all you do

Sharing this site with your friends is much appreciated.
Thanks for visiting.

How important is to have a good teacher for your child?

Good teachers.
A Stanford study show how students learn and perform three times better when they have a good teacher.

Three times better!

“No other attribute of schools comes close to having this much influence on student achievement,” says Stanford economist, Eric Hanushek.

Similar findings in a study at the University of Melbourne (65,000 research papers).
After taking in account other factors (class size, etc.) the results show how important is to have good teachers.
If we want children to have a top-notch education then we need top-notch teachers.

Some say teachers are under-trained.
And teaching methods currently used are obsolete.
Others say that technology and innovation will make bad teachers good and good teachers better.

What do you think?

Knowledge, high tech — and, voila, there is a good teacher?!

What makes a good teacher?
Yes, we need well-trained, knowledgeable teachers.
And technology/innovation does play a central role.
But if that’s all there is, that’s the makings of a mediocre teacher.

What makes a good teacher?
Ask children.
They KNOW.
Children are smart that way.

The good teachers CARE.
Even when they don’t say so.
Their actions speak volumes.

Growing up, I was lucky.
I’ve had some really good teachers.
As I wrote in here, some of them weren’t exactly the “cuddling” type.

Notwithstanding, I knew how much they wanted me to succeed.

Like the time when my French teacher adamantly told me,

“No! The school you chose is not good enough.

You need to go to the one in the capital.

That school it’s better for you.

If necessary my husband will tutor you.

Free of charge.”

It was difficult to get into the school my teacher wanted me to go to.
I needed to be at the top of my game.
And even then, because of so many applicants, my chances of getting in were slim, at best.

*    *    *    *    *

Outside of family, teachers play the most important role in a child’s life.

Sharing this site with your friends is much appreciated.
Thanks for visiting.

Winning strategy at the IMO

This month, in Hong Kong, teams from over 100 countries were competing against each other.
Among top contenders:
Russian Federation, Republic of Korea, Japan,
United Kingdom, China, North Korea, Taiwan, U. S.

This was the 57th International Mathematical Olympiad — a prestigious problem-solving competition for high school students.

U.S. team won the first place
How did the U.S. team train for the competition?
And what was their strategy?

The U.S. team coach (in an interview for NY Times):

There are a lot of very good teams out there.
How you perform on something is not just a function of what you know,
but how intensely you engage during the activity.”

Talking about the training process, the coach continues:

“This year we also included ten international students — students on IMO teams from other countries.
We paid for their airfare, hotel, food and teaching.”


The coach further elaborates:

“First, bringing in the international students gives the top US students peers.
They always tell you — if you’re the smartest guy in the room, you’re in the wrong room.
So we bring in these peers, who are actually at the same level as these top six.”

When asked who came up with that idea, the coach answered,
“My idea. I think of some pretty strange stuff.”

What a concept.
Congratulations U.S. team!
Well done, coach!

The optimists among us see a future where these very same strategies
will be used in other areas: health; environment

A future where the world’s brightest minds would work together
and find solutions to benefit us all.

Sharing this site with your friends is much appreciated.
Thanks for visiting.

Confidence and Success

Confidence makes you feel stronger, making it easier to overcome obstacles and reach your goals.

What does it mean to be confident? Know your value AND know what you need to improve on.

Confidence is that can-do-attitude. And it helps you achieve a higher level of success in life.

My favorite words on success come from Emerson:

To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children,
to leave the world a better place,
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived,
this is to have succeeded.

Sharing this blog with friends — much appreciated.

/Comments/in Leadership,Success/by Mariana Fieraru

Winning an uphill battle

“The neighborhood in which you grow up is a major determinant of your economic success as an adult. That’s been known for a while, but new research suggests that the effects may be much larger than social scientists previously understood. “

This is an excerpt from a New York Times article written by Justin Wolfers, professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan.

Wolfers concludes the article by putting emphasis on the shortcomings of both, conservatives and liberals, in implementing effective programs to help those growing up in bad neighborhoods.

Winning the uphill battle
Over the years I’ve been fortunate to work with successful business men and women who, by their own admission, had less then desirable beginnings. They talked about times when it felt the odds were stacked against them.  But that only strengthened their resolve to win the uphill battle.

My take on this issue?
In one word:  MOTIVATION.
I’m not going to argue with the research cited by Wolfers; or any other similar research.

Obviously poverty does have negative effects on children and their parents.
And it’s difficult growing up without good role models.

Yet, the people I’ve mentioned earlier are great examples of “where you are going it’s far important than where you are coming from.”
Outstanding individuals!

You design the life you want to have
Motivation is only one factor. The people you work with, the friends you hang out with, your family — any and all influence the outcome.

What is obvious is that YOU can influence the outcome by the CHOICES you make.

Ultimately, you design the life you want to have.


/Comments/in Leadership,Success/by Mariana Fieraru

Leadership style and increased profitability

“Having women in the highest corporate offices is correlated with increased profitability, according
to a new study of nearly 22,000 publicly traded companies in 91 countries “,
writes Daniel Victor in a New York Times article earlier this week.

This is not the first time data is used to measure the effectiveness of women in leadership positions.
However, this study mentions “increased profitability”. So business leaders will take notice.
(Give us a strong incentive – it does wonders for our attention span ; )
And actions.

Leadership and gender perceptions
Women leaders are perceived as being more compassionate. More organized. And more honest.
Men leaders are perceived as being more decisive. More ambitious.

In the political arena: general consensus is that women are better at working out compromises.
And at standing up for what they believe in spite of political pressure.

Gender matters in some industries more than others.
Hospitals management and retail chains: women are perceived as doing a better job.
Sports and oil/gas companies: men have the upper hand in this arena.

Leadership built on strengths
Obviously there are differences between leadership styles. Real or perceived.
An effective leader, man or woman, needs to identify and build on strengths.
And avoid the potential pitfalls.

“Presenting leadership as a list of carefully defined qualities
(like strategic, analytical, and performance-oriented) no longer holds.

Instead, true leadership stems from individuality that is honestly
and sometimes imperfectly expressed…
Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.”
Sheryl Sandberg


/Comments/in Leadership,Management,Success/by Mariana Fieraru

Diversity: multi-generational workforce

Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers.
These three generations make up most of today’s workforce.

Is there friction? It can be.

We are inclined to label each other.

You heard it before:
The “me” generation.
The “most demanding” generation.
And more of the same.

It can be filed under:
“I’m great!
You!? Well…let me think about it.”

Fresh ideas and perspectives
That’s when good leadership comes in.
Great leaders know communication and trust need to be at the forefront when building a successful team
A multi generational workforce, with its fresh ideas and perspectives is a great success waiting to happen.
The team will achieve extraordinary results if its leader knows to develop diversity strategies and build on its strengths:

• The strong work ethic of Baby Boomers.
• The independent and results-oriented Generation X.
• Millennials with their vast knowledge of technology. And persistent, never-give-up mentality.

On your team you may have people from different backgrounds. People from different age groups.
Whatever their differences are you can unite them if you know what’s important to them.
Find out what they care about. What motivates them.

Send fewer plastic bags to landfills
An incident at the grocery store is a good example of this.
At the checkout, I remembered: I forgot the shopping bags in the car. Again.
I said to the clerk, “Please don’t bag them. Just put them in the cart.”
As I was ready to leave they both thanked me. They were very appreciative.
It was obvious why. We all three cared about and wanted to reduce the pollution in our environment.
That day we did our part by sending fewer plastic bags to the landfill.

A chocolate buyer
If I would be part of their team, the management would get the best results from the three of us if efforts
to preserve our ecosystem were part of their work strategy.
(If I would work in a grocery store, I would somehow “find” my way to the purchasing department.
A chocolate buyer! So much to sample, so little time : )

New postings: Tuesdays and Fridays

/Comments/in Leadership,Management,Success/by Mariana Fieraru

Diversity: one of the key ingredients for a better and safer tomorrow

On one of the social media sites I come across a photo of two children.
With the caption:

“Humanity should be our race.
Love should be our religion.”

I’m looking at the children.
The clothes they wear indicate their vastly different cultures.
The color of their skin: one is dark, the other is light.
Yet they are so much alike: same wonder in their eyes, same innocence.

Diversity: embodied so beautifully by two children.
It’s one of the key ingredients for a better and safer tomorrow.

Throughout this month we’ll discuss diversity.
How it affects our interactions.

We’ll talk about the complexity of diversity.
And the impact it has on so many facets of our lives.

We’ll start with diversity in business.
A diverse workforce presents challenges as well as opportunities.
And we’ll continue with its many other “flavors”:
educated/less educated, old/young, black/white; the list goes on.

Diversity is a reality of our world. And we need to make it work.


/Comments/in Leadership,Success/by Mariana Fieraru

Year-End reflections: money, new skills, and exercise resolutions

It’s that time again!
Time of the year when we review our activity log for the year.
And analyze what went well.
What could have been done better; or needed improvement.
And think about next years’ goals and resolutions.
(As usual, the exercise resolution is the front runner : )

More money
Not surprisingly, many want 2016 to bring them a raise in salary.
If improving your financial situation is high on your list, a good place to start is by learning a new skill.
This will put you in a better position to achieve that goal.

You’ll see it all over the place, “Never stop learning.”
And it’s true. Learning a new skill is a good investment in yourself.
It benefits you professionally as well as personally.
Choose a good teacher. And have a good support system.

When learning a new skill keep in mind that some will have a high-learning curve;
especially when you don’t know much about the subject/field.
Allow extra time for it. And know you’ll need to put extra effort into it.

Cars and driving
In my case, some skills I’ve “mastered” had nothing to do with my job. Driving was one of them.
For years friends would say, “It doesn’t make sense: an independent person like you not driving!”
It made perfect sense to me: I enjoyed the view from the passenger’s side of the car.
Then several years ago I decided to make the transition:  give-up the much-coveted passenger seat.
And take the driver seat.
Surprisingly, I like driving more than I thought I would. Who knew!?
I should have done it sooner.
(For out-of-town driving I still like the passenger seat: )

Lawnmowers and rocks
About the same time with learning to drive, I’ve also got “acquainted” with the lawnmower.
Lots of fun! First, I had no idea which end was up. Once I figured that up, I started mowing.
But then it made this awful noise.
Apparently lawnmowers don’t like rocks!
(Update: I am still “cautiously optimistic” about my mowing skills ; )

Create your success story
Whatever your reasons are, know that when you acquire new skills
you create new opportunities for yourself.

And that’s the jumpstart to create your own success story.

New postings: Tuesdays and Fridays.

/Comments/in Management,Success/by Mariana Fieraru