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Will Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Impact Australian Business Owners?

26 September 2011 by Michael Harrison

The big news is that the U.S. Fed took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These quasi-government agencies, publicly owned and actively traded, are market makers within the US housing sector, providing and guaranteeing mortgages. Both agencies made home ownership in America possible the realization of the proverbial American Dream.Unfortunately, the housing market in the U.S. is in the tank with existing home sales at their lowest levels in more than 20 years and property values in steep decline t... Read More...

Loss of Trust and the Impact on Small Business

26 September 2011 by Michael Harrison

Markets are tumbling. Numbers are crumbling. And everybody is running for the exits thanks to a whopper of an economic crisis thats gone global from its U.S. birthplace.The complexities of the problem are mind-boggling even to experienced, studied economists so, understanding the minutia of this economic tsunami is far beyond my skill set. Even the highest level officials in Washington admit that they dont know how to solve the problem.When asked if this Congressional buy-out of garbage paper ge... Read More...

Pay-Per-Click: Scam or Gold Mine?

02 February 2010 by Michael Harrison

Ive received a handful of emails from friends and clients asking about whether they should add a PPC (pay-per-click) program to boost site revenues. Ive studied PPC programs and learned a great deal about them enough that I can warn my clients and you away from this form of on-line advertising.Google AdWords and AdSensePerhaps the best known of the PPC programs, Google AdWords and AdSense appear as the 60-character blocks on the right hand side of SERPs and web sites. Theyre ubiquitous and, in... Read More...

What the US dollar means to Australian companies

02 February 2010 by Michael Harrison

Like most Australian business people I keep a close watch on the A$ - US$ exchange rate.Weve seen the American dollar take a beating in foreign exchange markets around the world so how does this work to the benefit of Australian businesses especially those doing business in the US?First lets look at the local benefits.The Price of CommoditiesThe cost of raw materials is measured in US dollars. The cost of a barrel of oil, for example, is measured in US dollars. So, as the dollar shrinks in valu... Read More...

Truth in the Face of Authority

02 February 2010 by Michael Harrison

Im often called upon by clients to solve a problem. An outsiders impartial point of view is helpful when solutions arent being developed in-house, usually because the stakeholders are too close to or vested in the problem to see the solution.Sometimes, when I consult, the problem is small enough to be fixed quickly another step in a procedure or a streamlined, digital content management system networked to outside sales personal. So, step one when meeting with a client is to define the players... Read More...

The Obama Effect

25 January 2010 by Michael Harrison

American politics are more complicated than a Rubiks Cube. There are delegates, pledge delegates, super delegates, unseated delegates and we havent even started to think about the presidential election in November. To those of us in the rest of the world, its weird.The U.S. Economy and Small BusinessThe U.S. economy has become a bellwether for the state of world economics due to the sheer size of the countrys GDP. The U.S. produces more than Germany, Japan and the UK combined.During the Bush ad... Read More...

"Sinister Evil" Lurks in Under the Surface

15 January 2010 by Michael Harrison

June 3 was Australias will they or wont they day. The day each month when the Australian Reserve Bank announces whether they are to raise official interest rates (allegedly to keep inflation in check).Just one day earlier I happened to catch a compelling report from CNNs financial analyst, Erin Burnett, on what she described as a sinister evil in world economies: inflation.This spine-tingling report sent me straight to Google to review my understanding of the role global inflation plays in the a... Read More...

Oil Closes at $200 A Barrel, Is Your Business Ready?

08 January 2010 by Michael Harrison

Like many business people I have been watching the Microsoft / Yahoo saga with interest.On May 5th, 2008, Jerry Yang, CEO of Yahoo, and his band of accountants, negotiators and consultants walked away from Microsofts $47.5 billion offer to acquire the second most popular search engine/portal site in the world.Interestingly, despite prognosticators dire predictions of a 30% drop in Yahoo share price, May 6th revealed investors had pumped up Yahoos share price by 6%. Indeed, there are Yahoo s... Read More...

How a Country Motel creates a Point of Difference

05 January 2010 by Michael Harrison

Driving from Canberra to Adelaide this week I spent the night at the Saltbush Motor Inn (http://www.saltbushmotorinn.com.au/) in Hay NSW.(http://www.visithay.com.au/)I have stayed here three times now and heres why:* The rooms are spotlessly clean* The beds are comfortable* The hot water is hot and plentifulI can hear you saying so what, thats what you expect everywhere. But they also:* Have free Internet in every room (common in the US but usually cost $25.00 a day in Australia). Australian hot... Read More...

You Don't Know What You Don't Know!

25 December 2009 by Michael Harrison

I was preparing a presentation titled The Winning Edge for a group of insurance brokers and I was thinking about the importance of data.A small company of 20 or 30 employees generates a lot of important data data critical to making fundamental business decisions, to determining the companys course and to increasing productivity.Unfortunately, much of the data is never collected and that which is received by mid- and upper-tier management is virtually useless. Why?Because too often data is colla... Read More...

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