Watching The U.S. Deteriorate From a Distance

The year 2020 took a rough start as the entire world is fighting a pandemic of the deadly virus. The novel coronavirus infection that initially was detected in China's Hubei province has now spread all across the world. Millions of people have contracted the virus whilst the grim number of the death toll keeps soaring. Scientists talk about the inevitable second wave as the temperatures are expected to soon drop as Summer fades away. Under such unprecedented circumstances, the United States is facing other horrors sparked by injustices and political turbulence.

The pandemic was the first major hit for the United States economy that was on a steep rise before it. The country became one of the first areas outside Mainland China to report a positive case in Washington. Later on, as Europe became the global epicenter of the pandemic, the United States government decided to bypass all the necessary social distancing and safety measures. The federal government, along with President Trump stated, that the novel coronavirus pandemic was not a major threat to the country, lives of Americans, or the national economy. Therefore, despite the soaring number of cases on the East Coast, particularly New York, the government did not implement any measures to contain the spread of the virus.

A month later, the United States came under the criticism of the World Health Organization along with other influential entities and governments for not acting quickly. President Trump banned all passenger traffic between the United States and the European Union, one of the largest consumer markets in the world. Nevertheless, as Europe saw a drop in the number of new coronavirus cases, the United States kept climbing the ladder, soon becoming the most affected country in the world.

The US losing its influence over allied nations

Being the biggest economic and military superpower on earth, the United States has many close allies. Those are highly influenced by the country in all regards. The small Caucasus country of Georgia is one of the closest partners of the US in the region. Located on the crossroads of Europe and Asia, the population of this small country loves America or at least used to. After the events developing across the United States, the country's population has changed its attitude towards the ally. They have become much more demanding towards the politics of the United States that also impacts closely allied nations, like Georgia.

The situation is similar in Canada, where people are trying to substitute American products and services with local ones. Historically, politically and geographically, Canada is one of the closest allies of the United States. During the pandemic lockdown, gambling became a way for Canadians to entertain themselves. Representatives of the multi-domain international online gambling platform PlayAmo say that Canadians, more than ever before, avoid playing on the US-based websites. For many of them, the fact that the website is based and primarily aimed at the US market is enough to reject them. But what has sparked such a big outrage in those allied nations?

The death of George Floyd was a breaking point

In the midst of a pandemic and a political turmoil, no one expected to witness yet another major hit to the United States. However, there was something big coming, the anger that had been boiling inside of the BAME households, within minority communities, and oppressed groups for decades. On May 25th, a black man, George Floyd was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis. Now a former police officer had kneeled on Floyd's neck for more than 8 minutes. The murder was recorded on video, which broke the internet and sparked an immediate social response all across the country.

Overnight, thousands of people protested in Minneapolis, soon joined by other States, cities, and towns first in the United States and later all around the world. The number of people attending protests seemed overwhelming even at first, as hundreds of thousands took to the streets, condemning the police brutality, institutional racism, and the absence of the political will to tackle these issues.

Seeing the global support towards the BLM movement and the protest against the violent police, everyone expected, that the government would act and at least promise some visible changes. However, instead of acting, both the federal government and President Trump remained silent up until the point the protests get violent. Soon, the footage of lootings all across the country broke the web and the government took the opportunity to speculate with them. President Trump started addressing the protesters as the group of looters. Trump's use of aggressive and hate language was condemned not only by politicians or the society but also by Twitter which put warning labels on quite a few of his texts. Despite this chaos that covered the entire country, police violence keeps on happening with hundreds of recordings going viral from the protests alone.

Why is the US turmoil difficult to see for the other nations

When it comes to racism and the attitude towards freedom, the United States is very unique. With a violent and incredibly complex history of tensions and segregation within the country, those horrors of the past keep reflecting on the present day. The current situation with the deadly pandemic, the continued police violence, institutional racism, and the refusal of respecting rules by some right-wing liberal groups are making the US look like a vegetative state for foreigners. What is happening across the country is not easy to acknowledge for Europeans, Asians, or Africans. As of now, it is difficult to say whether the current state of the country will lead to a complete collapse of the system or not, but the change is visibly coming and it is unstoppable.

3 Min Read

Five Essential Lessons to Keep in Mind When You're Starting Your Own Business

"How did you ever get into a business like that?" people ask me. They're confounded to hear that my product is industrial baler wire—a very unfeminine pursuit, especially in 1975 when I founded my company in the midst of a machismo man's world. It's a long story, but I'll try to shorten it.

I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up—even if it involved a non-glamorous product. I'd been fired from my previous job working to become a ladies' clothing buyer and was told at my dismissal, "You just aren't management or corporate material." My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.

Over the years, I've learned quite a few tough lessons about how to successfully run a business. Below are five essential elements to keep in mind, as well as my story on how I learned them.

Find A Need And Fill It

I gradually became successful at selling various products, which unfortunately weren't profitable enough to get me off the ground, so I asked people what they needed that they couldn't seem to get. One man said, "Honey, I need baler wire. Even the farmers can't get it." I saw happy dollar signs as he talked on and dedicated myself to figuring out the baler wire industry.

I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up.

Now forty-five years later, I'm proud to be the founder of Vulcan Wire, Inc., an industrial baler wire company with $10 million of annual sales.

Have Working Capital And Credit

There were many pitfalls along the way to my eventual success. My daughters and I were subsisting from my unemployment checks, erratic alimony and child-support payments, and food stamps. I had no money stashed up to start up a business.

I paid for the first wire with a check for which I had no funds, an illegal act, but I thought it wouldn't matter as long as I made a deposit to cover the deficit before the bank received the check. My expectation was that I'd receive payment immediately upon delivery, for which I used a rented truck.

Little did I know that this Fortune 500 company's modus operandi was to pay all bills thirty or more days after receipts. My customer initially refused to pay on the spot. I told him I would consequently have to return the wire, so he reluctantly decided to call corporate headquarters for this unusual request.

My stomach was in knots the whole time he was gone, because he said it was iffy that corporate would come through. Fifty minutes later, however, he emerged with a check in hand, resentful of the time away from his busy schedule. Stressed, he told me to never again expect another C.O.D. and that any future sale must be on credit. Luckily, I made it to the bank with a few minutes to spare.

Know Your Product Thoroughly

I received a disheartening phone call shortly thereafter: my wire was breaking. This horrible news fueled the fire of my fears. Would I have to reimburse my customer? Would my vendor refuse to reimburse me?

My customer told me to come over and take samples of his good wire to see if I might duplicate it. I did that and educated myself on the necessary qualities.

My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.

Voila! I found another wire supplier that had the right specifications. By then, I was savvy enough to act as though they would naturally give me thirty-day terms. They did!

More good news: My customer merely threw away all the bad wire I'd sold him, and the new wire worked perfectly; he then gave me leads and a good endorsement. I rapidly gained more wire customers.

Anticipate The Dangers Of Exponential Growth

I had made a depressing discovery. My working capital was inadequate. After I purchased the wire, I had to wait ten to thirty days for a fabricator to get it reconfigured, which became a looming problem. It meant that to maintain a good credit standing, I had to pay for the wire ten to thirty days before my customers paid me.

I was successful on paper but was incredibly cash deprived. In other words, my exponentially growing business was about to implode due to too many sales. Eventually, my increasing sales grew at a slower rate, solving my cash flow problem.

Delegate From The Bottom Up

I learned how to delegate and eventually delegated myself out of the top jobs of CEO, President, CFO, and Vice President of Finance. Now, at seventy-eight years old, I've sold all but a third of Vulcan's stock and am semi-retired with my only job currently serving as Vice President of Stock and Consultant.

In the interim, I survived many obstacles and learned many other lessons, but hopefully these five will get you started and help prevent some of you from having the same struggles that I did. And in the end, I figured it all out, just like you will.