Gini Dietrich

Control Your Own Destiny

By: Gini Dietrich | September 26, 2011 | 
116

A week ago, former President Bill Clinton was on The Today Show to talk about the sixth Clinton Global Initiative and “jobs, jobs, jobs.”

Politics aside, he said something very interesting.

He said companies are sitting on $2 trillion they’re not willing to spend.

Two. Trillion. Dollars.

They’re not spending it. They’re not hiring people. And, when Matt Lauer asked what reasons business leaders are giving, Clinton said there isn’t just one reason.

He said they:

  • Aren’t sure, if they hire more people, that the products they make will be sold; and
  • Believe we should have a more competitive tax system in America.

He also said most business leader do not:

  • Complain about the price of labor; or
  • Complain about the quality of labor.

Most believe American workers are highly productive and more flexible so that’s not the issue.

Because of the anecdotal conversations he’s having with business leaders, he believes the best way to bring the economy back is to find ways, “sector by sector, to help increase sales and to make business taxes more competitive.”

Perhaps the companies Clinton and other leaders are speaking with are on Wall Street (Microsoft, Cisco, and Google), but here on Main Street, we’re not sitting on any cash.

As much as I would love for the government to help me increase my sales, I think there is only one way we’re going to get out of this: Stop blaming the economy and start working twice as hard to build our businesses.

It seems Mark Cuban agrees with me (or I agree with him – he’s slightly more popular than me). Yes, Mark Cuban the billionaire. The guy who owns the Dallas Mavericks.

He blogged, the same day Clinton was on The Today Show, that the most patriotic thing you can do is make a crapload of money. Yourself. He suggests not relying on the government to do it for you. Or to wait for someone else to control your destiny for you. Do it yourself.

Here’s the flaw in that thinking: We’re human beings. We like to have someone/something to blame when things don’t go our way. We’re inherently lazy. And we are always looking for shortcuts and the easy way out.

But I agree with Mark. We are the only ones who can change the way our businesses are run. If we all work to build our businesses, instead of complaining that taxes suck and the economy sucks and no one will buy what we make, we might actually change the economic outlook.

We’ve been presented huge issues by big banks and Ponzi schemes and unethical and dishonest people who were allowed too much control.

But what good is it going to do to complain about it? Why not work on growing our businesses so that, together, we can affect change?

Perhaps that’s naive or maybe you think I’ve been drinking too much of the American Dream kool-aid.

But, if there really is $2 trillion in cash in public and private companies, let’s work hard to find ways to not just create jobs, but to buy the products and services developed by those new positions.

Let’s spend that money and turn the economy around already.

We’re the only ones who can do it. Not the government. Not Clinton’s Global Initiative. Not a bunch of really smart people sitting in a think tank.

Us.

A portion of this ran as my weekly Crain’s column last Friday.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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116 Comments on "Control Your Own Destiny"

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RobertDempsey
4 years 8 months ago
Alrighty Gini I’ve got to jump on top of this statement: “We’re human beings. We like to have someone/something to blame when things don’t go our way. We’re inherently lazy. And we are always looking for shortcuts and the easy way out.” And with that I climb up on my soapbox. First off as an entrepreneur on his third business I fully agree that capitalism is good and that we should not be ashamed in our pursuit of money. When someone makes money they don’t typically just sit on it, they spend it. Spending it means jobs are required, those… Read more »
fitzternet
4 years 8 months ago

Businesses holding cash ARE controlling their own destiny. They see an uncertain regulatory future and they’re waiting on the sidelines until it stabilizes. The alternative is to spend, lose, fail and get in the unemployment line. When you’re outnumbered and outgunned, you don’t get aggressive. You retreat and regroup.

Clinton is correct – a more competitive (easier-to-understand and stable) tax and regulatory structure will free up capital.

Putting this problem on the shoulders of CEOs and small business owners when they are simply reacting to the overreach of government regulation is looking at it backwards.

HowieSPM
4 years 8 months ago
The problem @ginidietrich is the 80 – 20 situation. 80% of all jobs in the US today are making 30K or less. No one has money to spend. And that shrinks dramatically the pool of people brands can sell too. And when brands like Walmart have such a high % of workers in or around the poverty level, without healthcare so the Government actually supplements it with Medicare for the poor, it is not a healthy cycle/situation. Then of course no one wants to spend on Education or the care of Children (don’t you dare raise my taxes for this!).… Read more »
HowieSPM
4 years 8 months ago
The problem @ginidietrich is the 80 – 20 situation. 80% of all jobs in the US today are making 30K or less. No one has money to spend. And that shrinks dramatically the pool of people brands can sell too. And when brands like Walmart have such a high % of workers in or around the poverty level, without healthcare so the Government actually supplements it with Medicare for the poor, it is not a healthy cycle/situation. Then of course no one wants to spend on Education or the care of Children (don’t you dare raise my taxes for this!).… Read more »
HowieSPM
4 years 8 months ago
The problem @ginidietrich is the 80 – 20 situation. 80% of all jobs in the US today are making 30K or less. No one has money to spend. And that shrinks dramatically the pool of people brands can sell too. And when brands like Walmart have such a high % of workers in or around the poverty level, without healthcare so the Government actually supplements it with Medicare for the poor, it is not a healthy cycle/situation. Then of course no one wants to spend on Education or the care of Children (don’t you dare raise my taxes for this!).… Read more »
John Falchetto
4 years 8 months ago
Absolutely Gin we are the only who can do it, not the government, not Clinton, not Obama, not some millionaire and the large corporations sitting on trillions. There is a good in every situation with the pinch in the economy it forces companies to think twice about who they hire and what value they offer. The days of growing bigger for the sake of it are gone. If people can’t find jobs or businesses can’t find clients it’s in their hands. Why should corporations which made smart moves decide to spend their savings? The banks are also full of cash… Read more »
John Falchetto
4 years 8 months ago
Absolutely Gin we are the only who can do it, not the government, not Clinton, not Obama, not some millionaire and the large corporations sitting on trillions. There is a good in every situation with the pinch in the economy it forces companies to think twice about who they hire and what value they offer. The days of growing bigger for the sake of it are gone. If people can’t find jobs or businesses can’t find clients it’s in their hands. Why should corporations which made smart moves decide to spend their savings? The banks are also full of cash… Read more »
John Falchetto
4 years 8 months ago
Absolutely Gini we are the only who can do it, not the government, not Clinton, not Obama, not some millionaire and the large corporations sitting on trillions. There is a good in every situation with the pinch in the economy it forces companies to think twice about who they hire and what value they offer. The days of growing bigger for the sake of it are gone. If people can’t find jobs or businesses can’t find clients it’s in their hands. Why should corporations which made smart moves decide to spend their savings? The banks are also full of cash… Read more »
EricaAllison
4 years 8 months ago
A-freakin- Men! I say this all the time to my husband and anyone else lucky to hear me: we have to work hard and we have to make money. We then need to spend it. After we’ve saved it :). That’s of course an overly simplistic solution, but I do believe in it. The rub comes in, like @HowieSPM mentions below, when we refuse to invest in our own infrastructure, ourselves, our country. What can we do to fix that? I had a friend ask the question the other day: Would you invest in this (meaning the US)? Truthfully, not… Read more »
rachaelseda
4 years 8 months ago
Well said! It’s sad that as humans we are quick to blame other people for our problems when in reality I don’t see how that helps us at all. Instead of taking the easy way out and blaming others, I think it’s time for us to all step it up and work harder and think before we act. Think before we act is another big one. Unfortunately, I have had a few friends myself that straight out of college decided to start their own business. They put everything they had into a business they didn’t logically think through before risking… Read more »
rachaelseda
4 years 8 months ago
Well said! It’s sad that as humans we are quick to blame other people for our problems when in reality I don’t see how that helps us at all. Instead of taking the easy way out and blaming others, I think it’s time for us to all step it up and work harder and think before we act. Think before we act is another big one. Unfortunately, I have had a few friends myself that straight out of college decided to start their own business. They put everything they had into a business they didn’t logically think through before risking… Read more »
Al Smith
4 years 8 months ago

Wow ! Great post, Gini. Now it is official. You really do CARE. Ha ! Seriously, this is great. We have got to stop complaining and whining and get out there and make it happen. I am trying. One of my favorites, Dale Carnegie said; Don’t criticize, condemn or complain. So true. It does no one any good. Thanks again for this. Hope everyone will read it and take action.

Sorry about your Bears. Luv ya !

Al

RobertDempsey
4 years 8 months ago
@EricaAllison and people wonder why the US is falling behind now? Here in Asia I see nothing but massive growth across all sectors. Do they have issues here? Sure – it’s a very different political environment. But there is more growth than in the US currently. And I see that as sad for my home country. I for one am happy to see my tax dollars go to investing in all the things that @HowieSPM mentioned. Perhaps we can pull out of a war or two and focus on our own country for a bit. I understand the war on… Read more »
sydcon_mktg
4 years 8 months ago
EXCELLENT!!! A little over 3 years ago when we officially went independent (meaning we weren’t working 2 full-time jobs!) many people thought we were insane to give up hubbys secure, full-time gig to go on our own in what everyone dubbed “this economy”. At the time we had many well established clients and the time was right. You are so right, Gini, we can’t sit around waiting for the economy to suddenly get better. We all have to help it get better. If we don’t spend or hire, how is it ever going to improve? How can we expect new… Read more »
T60Productions
4 years 8 months ago

Good stuff Gini. I tell people all the time that the bad economy has been good for our company. Not because it’s earned us more business… because it’s forced us to work that much harder to find new clients and promote our message about the power of video.

Things will turn around… in spite of the government… and when it does I feel like our company will be in an even better position to capitalize thanks to the hard work we’re putting in now.

–Tony Gnau

rustyspeidel
rustyspeidel
4 years 8 months ago
I sat on the plane the other night with a VP of Sales at a national recruiting firm. She says she travels 48 weeks a year to all their regional sales offices, helping them grow their business. I mentiuoned that it must be tough deal selling recruiting in this economy, expecting the typical response. But instead, she told me that in almost every sector of the economy except construction/housing and manufacturing, their business is up almost 40% YoY. People ARE hiring. A LOT. So why aren’t we hearing about it?? Why can’t we see it? It would help if there… Read more »
TheJackB
4 years 8 months ago

@rustyspeidel My friends and I aren’t seeing or hearing about any of this hiring. Or should I say that it appears that if you are in your forties you are being passed over for people ten to 15 years younger.

TheJackB
4 years 8 months ago
I am a supporter of business and capitalism but there are some significant problems now that exist for a host of reasons. We are living during a time when the US Government is being run by people who spend more time pointing fingers and working hard to make the other side look bad. That goes for both sides. The banks were bailed out and given instructions to try and help homeowners save their homes. That is not happening. They are not spending the money that they were given to do that. They are sitting on it earning interest on “gift… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 8 months ago

@RobertDempsey I totally agree with you that it’s a cop out, which is why I wrote it. It makes me NUTS when I hear/see people blaming someone/something else for their problems. It happens when we blame our parents for the way we behave as adults or a hurt knee for the reason we didn’t win a championship game. There is only one person who is responsible for the way we behave…ourselves. All we have to do, like you said, is try.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 8 months ago

@fitzternet Sure, I think Clinton is right. And it’s amazing to me that there are companies holding on to that kind of cash. But it makes me nuts when my peers (other business owners) blame the government for their lack of growth. That was my point.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 8 months ago

@HowieSPM There is only one thing I can fix, and it’s not the government. I can fix how I run my business, I can create jobs, and I can continue to push forward. That was my point. My point isn’t in trying to figure out how to find leadership for our country (though we sorely need it).

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 8 months ago

@HowieSPM There is only one thing I can fix, and it’s not the government. I can fix how I run my business, I can create jobs, and I can continue to push forward. That was my point. My point isn’t in trying to figure out how to find leadership for our country (though we sorely need it).

wabbitoid
4 years 8 months ago

Interesting that I wrote on this today, except more from a policy perspective (as I usually do):

http://tinyurl.com/4ytk8oh

We’re in a classic problem when trying to stimulate the economy, a place where fear easily outweighs greed. That’s why the money the Fed pumps into banks continues to simply pile up (at a rate of about a trillion bucks a year!).

ExoCreative
4 years 8 months ago

A lot of long comments below, so we’ll keep it short – great little article. Very true. It really is about rolling up the proverbial sleeves and ‘making’ things happen. Getting on the phone, knocking things out – making things happen. It’s not easy, but the reward hopefully justifies the means…

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 8 months ago

@John Falchetto Your last sentence is my whole point. I mean, look at what you’re doing. You’re not waiting for some monopoly to come out and dig a trench so you have Internet. You take matters into your own hands. Sure, the economy sucks. What’s going on in Europe right now could easily hurt the entire world. But what good is it to sit and complain?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 8 months ago

@RobertDempsey I’ll bet you have a really interesting perspective, being a U.S. citizen and living in Asia. Maybe our country’s leadership should ask YOU what they should be doing.

JayDolan
4 years 8 months ago

One of the goals I had for my blog was the ability to hire someone to work full time to arrange my life with my speaking gigs, and do some of the hustling and ass-busting that I can’t get to on a normal, day to day basis.

I realize how insane of a goal that is for a blog, but I feel that it’s really worth all of the effort.

Also, I get to make people laugh. What could be better?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 8 months ago

@EricaAllison Do you use this as an excuse to go shopping?!? But honey, I’m helping to reinvigorate the economy. LOL!

The school of hard knocks sure does provide a valuable lesson, does it not?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 8 months ago

@rachaelseda You know I’m big on failing if we learn from our mistakes, so I agree with you. It’s really easy to blame things on other people. Heck, when the economy tanked and I thought we might go out of business I actually had the thought, “Well, at least I can blame it on the economy when people ask why we didn’t make it.” That thought was horrifying to me! Shame on me.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 8 months ago

@rachaelseda You know I’m big on failing if we learn from our mistakes, so I agree with you. It’s really easy to blame things on other people. Heck, when the economy tanked and I thought we might go out of business I actually had the thought, “Well, at least I can blame it on the economy when people ask why we didn’t make it.” That thought was horrifying to me! Shame on me.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 8 months ago

@Al Smith Sigh…such a terrible game. I have a theory that Jay Cutler slept with a teammate’s wife and that’s why his line refuses to protect him. THEY don’t CARE about him!

Marcus_Sheridan
4 years 8 months ago

“We’re the only ones who can do it. Not the government. Not Clinton’s Global Initiative. Not a bunch of really smart people sitting in a think tank.”—One of the best lines I’ve ever read here on SS or anywhere else for that matter.

Freak-yeah Gini D.

Marcus

jono.smith
4 years 8 months ago
I love President Clinton (full disclosure: I used to work for him), but the idea that American business leaders (and specifically Fortune 500 CEOs) are not hiring because of the tax system and because they aren’t sure that if they hire more people that the products they make will be sold is pure rubbish. Let’s start with taxes: corporate tax revenue last year was down by 27% compared to 2000, even though corporate profits are up 60% over the last decade. In 2005, 1 out of 4 large corporations paid no income taxes at all even though they collected $1.1… Read more »
hackmanj
4 years 8 months ago

I appreciate the “don’t complain, act” aspect of this Gini. I think that is something that anyone can rally behind regardless of their economics/politics. That’s all I am going to say though to keep this on the rails because I have many opinions about a lot but want to stay on topic. Kudos girl.

janbeery
4 years 8 months ago

Amen Sister!

Funny, I was at church this weekend, (that’s not the funny part) and the pastor was talking about money. He put his hands cupped around his mouth and said very loudly, “THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT GOING TO TAKE CARE OF YOU!”

We have always been a country that pulls together and makes things happen. We need to get back to basics and move forward as the strong people we are.

scribblinghappy
scribblinghappy
4 years 8 months ago

I totally agree with you on this one. “We the people” need to act!

maryhruth
maryhruth
4 years 8 months ago

Thanks for saying this, Gini. Always seems so dumb to me that we blame instead of create. It was our greed right along with Wall Street’s that caused this Recession.

maryhruth
maryhruth
4 years 8 months ago

Thanks for saying this, Gini. Always seems so dumb to me that we blame instead of create. It was our greed right along with Wall Street’s that caused this Recession.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 8 months ago

@sydcon_mktg Or…as I like to say, it’s the domino effect. We’ve spent a lot of time the past two months renegotiating payment terms and offering discounts for early payment. It really helps loosen the purse strings so we get paid and then can pay our vendors.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 8 months ago

@T60Productions “In spite of the government.” LOL!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 8 months ago

@TheJackB@rustyspeidel I’m not seeing it, either. Our clients aren’t hiring. Their budgets aren’t increasing. They’re all definitely doing more with less…still. I don’t know if that anecdote is more Wall Street than Main Street?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 8 months ago

@maryhruth Exactly! It’s like buying a house you KNOW you can’t afford, just because the bank is willing to give you the money. Where is the accountability?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 8 months ago

@scribblinghappy Amen!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 8 months ago

@janbeery “The government is not going to take care of you.” I would have yelled an amen at that!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 8 months ago

@hackmanj LOL! It’s hard to stay on the rails with politics involved. I appreciate the comment.

wabbitoid
4 years 8 months ago

I hope people are beginning to understand just what FDR meant when he said during the previous Depression, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.

While I’m not a big fan of greed, if we have to choose between fear and greed I’ll take greed any day. The more we can all plow ahead, the better. We may not know just what we’re doing half the time, but we can be sure that sitting around like scared bunnies isn’t going to get much done at all.

joelfortner03
4 years 8 months ago

I was thrilled reading this post! I echo the other comments about us taking care of us. Im a huge Dave Ramsey fan and while he always preaches this, his team recently started an initiative called The Great Recovery, inspiring people to do exactly what you said here – take responsibility for and control of future.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 8 months ago

@ExoCreative It’s not easy or everyone would be doing it…right?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 8 months ago

@joelfortner03 I’ll have to check out The Great Recovery…sounds like it’s right up by alley. Thanks Joel!

fitzternet
4 years 8 months ago

We agree to disagree. I own a business. I don’t have any money on the sidelines (or much money in the game for that matter), but I don’t blame someone who is waiting for the regulatory climate to clear up before spending. Even if the climate was pro-business, uncertainty would be a factor in that decision. So an anti-business climate coupled with uncertainty about exactly how much more it will swing in the anti-business direction is a recipe for an economic slowdown. And here we are…

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