Monthly Archives: January 2011

Best states for small business

Small Business Survival Index Map by the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council reveals ranking of states.  It is a great tool.  Just click on the state to see a list of stats and other info.  Mississippi ranks 16th, by the way.  The Top Five are South Dakota, Nevada, Texas, Wyoming and Washington.  The Bottom Five are District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, California and Vermont.

Speaking of small business, I couldn’t help but raise my eyebrows at this post from Gene Marks blog in the New York Times:

BEST CASE AGAINST LOBBYISTS Huffington Post’s Zach Carter and Ryan Grimm write about how the small-business lobby hurts small business: “Two years into the Obama administration, small businesses are still struggling to obtain credit and hire new workers, while big businesses withhold payments from them, horde cash and enjoy record profits. But if the top small-business goal for the past two years was to elect Republicans, the N.F.I.B. has done its job.”


Notes from 2011 NE Mississippi Economic Forecast Conference

These are my raw and unedited notes from the conference held on January 27, 2011 in Tupelo.

Billy Crews, President of the Community Development Foundation (CDF’s), opened with mention of CDF’s 10-year strategic plan.  He said that the strengths of the region this year were (1) CDF, (2) MTD Products expansion (lawn mowers), (3) General Atomics expansion (aircraft launching system), (4) Cooper Tire and (5) Toyota (first Carolla to roll of in fall 2011).

Weakness/Opportunities – (1) current unemployment rate in the region, (2) education levels, especially college attainment lagging state and national levels and (3) selective leadership/civility – “we must be on the same team, pulling in the same direction.”

Crews quit job as CEO of NE MS Daily Journal to become COO of Tupelo Public School District.  “I did that because we cannot have a great community without great public schools.”

Mike Randle, publisher of Southern Business and Development and, opened his comments by pointing out that the 2011 Person of the Year by his magazine is “The Citizens of Oklahoma City – The city that keeps investing in itself.”

Last year (2009) was a bad year for Mississippi when it comes to major deals (200 or more jobs and/or $30mm investment), but Mississippi may be in the running for State of the Year for 2010.

Tupelo is one of only three communities in the South to win Small Community of the year.

Ranking of categories (jobs created of 200 or more) since 1992 (1) automotive, (2) call centers, (3) financial services, (4) distributors and (5) energy.

Top 15 Industries in the South (based on 200+ jobs)

1.  Energy – 39
2. Food & Beverage (34)
3.  Automotive (29)
4.  Oil & gas (23)
5.  Call centers (21)
6.  Chemicals (21)
7.  Headquarters (19)
8.  Financial centers (18)
Aerospace and aviation (18)
9.  Building materials (17)
10. Distribution (15)
Defense contractors (15)

Biggest sector losing jobs was service sector, not manufacturing.

The South does relative well during a recession because margins are tight for manufacturers – where else are they going to go.

A manufacturing “beachhead” will be created in the South in the next 10 years and in Mexico because that’s the only place for manufactures to go and make money.  Manufacturers will flee non-right-to-work states like never before.  For manufacturers, what’s going on with unions now cannot be sustained.  Prediction: mass migration of manufacturers to the South.  Randle predicted that Boeing will have one-half of its 75/80K employees in Washington state.  The rest will be in the South.

1997 was the year when the services sector began outperforming manufacturing (jobs 200+).  Stayed that way until 2007, when manufacturing started outperfroming services.

Manufacturing jobs in the South:

YEAR   NUMBER(millions)

2010     4.23
2009     4.37
2008     4.64
2007     5.11
2006     5.2
2005     5.54

Manufacturing jobs by region:  South – 4.23mm, Midwest – 3.14mm, Northeast – 2.3mm, West – 1.91mm.

“It’s technology that is taking people off the factory floor.”

In terms of GDP, if the South were a country it would be the 4th largest country, behind US, China and Japan – and ahead of Germany.



Increasing the college-going rate

Yesterday I had the opportunity to moderate a forum of school counselors on the issue of how to increase the the college-going rate for high school students, especially underserved students.  One of the things that came out was the influence of peers on the the college decision.  The counselors also pointed out that the discussion of college should begin in the 9th grade, not the 11th or 12th.

An article in the January 22, 2011 Wall Street Journal entitled “Why Rich Parents Don’t Matter” discusses some research that points out that “… the power of the home environment pales in comparison to the power of genes and peer groups.”  It’s an interesting article and one I recommend.

So where is “Tornado Alley” anyway?

Natural disasters have profound effects on communities.  In particular, tornadoes can physically change a community in a matter of minutes.  It may take years for a community to emotionally recover from serious tornado damage.


Acetaminophen, weapon of choice in one of my books, now limited by FDA.

According to an MSNBC report, the Food and Drug Administration says it will cap the amount of acetaminophen in certain prescription pain killers at 325 milligrams per capsule.

That ubiquitous pain reliever was my weapon of choice in my book Conspiracy in Corinth.  Prior to doing research for this book I had no idea that acetaminophen could be so deadly.

Eleven crucial consumer trends for 2011 just released its 11 Crucial Consumer Trends for 2011.  They are as follows:


In 2011, expect companies to monitor consumers’ public moods and act upon them with random acts of kindness…marketing may never be the same.


Are you ready for hundreds of millions of more daring, more experienced consumers? Oh, and that’s just one side effect of rapid global urbanization.


Flash sales, group buying, GPS-driven deals: this year, pricing will never be the same.


Expect an increasing number of ‘Western’ brands to launch new products or even new brands dedicated (if not paying proper respect) to consumers in emerging markets.


This year, you can’t go wrong supplying your (online-loving) customers with any kind of symbol, virtual or ‘real world’, that helps them display to peers their online contributions, creations or popularity.


As good health is now as important to some consumers as having the biggest, newest or shiniest status symbols, growing numbers of consumers will expect health products and services in the next 12 months (and beyond) to prevent misery (if not improve their quality of life), rather than merely treating illnesses and ailments.


Expect even more consumers to become curators: broadcasting, compiling, commenting, sharing and recommending content, products, purchases, and experiences to both their friends and wider audiences.


Brands and wealthy individuals from emerging markets (yes, especially China) will increasingly be expected to give, donate, care and sympathize versus just sell and take. And not just in their home countries, but on a global scale.


With lifestyles having become fragmented, with dense urban environments offering consumers any number of instantly available options, and with cell/smartphones having created a generation who have little experience of making (or sticking to) rigid plans, this new year will see full-on PLANNED SPONTANEITY.


When it comes to ‘green consumption’, expect a rise in ECO-SUPERIOR products: products that are not only eco-friendly, but superior to polluting incumbents in every possible way.


This could be the year when sharing and renting really tips into mainstream consumer consciousness as big brands and governments put their weight behind this cultural shift.

The top three keys to achieving your goals in 2011

What will you accomplish in 2011?  Have you set your goals yet?

Dr. Gail Matthews of Dominican University conducted a study and some research on the subject of goal setting.  Here are her conclusions:

1.    The positive effect of accountability was supported: those who sent weekly progress reports to their friend accomplished significantly more than those who had unwritten goals, wrote their goals, formulated action commitments or sent those action commitments to a friend.
2.    There was support for the role of public commitment: those who sent their commitments to a friend accomplished significantly more than those who wrote action commitments or did not write their goals.
3.    The positive effect of written goals was supported: Those who wrote their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not write their goals.

On Wednesday, January 5, 2011 I will be announcing the details of my personal goal setting workshop in which we will use the above principles to achieve goals in 2011.  If you would like more information about the workshop, send me an e-mail at

What will you accomplish in 2011?

Dan Phillips builds creative, affordable houses from reclaimed materials

Dan Phillips of Huntsville, Texas reclaims waste and thrown-away materials to build affordable houses.  His houses are  creative, functional and fun.  There is also a philosophy built into them.  Sort of like his lectures. If you have a spare 18 minutes  I guarantee it will be worth your time to watch his TED lecture.

Click here to view the TED lecture.