Bill to open access to adoptee records

Advocates are trying to get a bill written that would give New York adoptees access to their original birth certificates. The bill would also include provisions for:

  • allowing biological parents to file update medical information in case the adopted child seeks it
  • allowing biological parents to choose whether they want to be contacted or not, and if so, directly or through an intermediary agency

Other proposals include allowing biological parents to (like Illinois’ new law) redact their name or requiring a judge to final good cause before access is granted. Similar laws were recently enacted in New Jersey and Connecticut. Most advocates believe that New York’s mutual consent registry is inadequate and rarely productive.

There is a controversy over whether adoptive parents should expect lifelong anonymity. Some argue the closed records policy was to protect the child and the adoptive family, not the relinquishing biological parent. Many argue that the stigma and shame of years past is no longer a social issue that demands secrecy. Access to health information is a greater right in the balance between parent and child.

Bills have been proposed several times over the past two decades but none have been successful. With the growth of personalized medicine, access to medical record and genetic information can be increasingly important.

Detection of Embezzlement by Your Employees

 business often owners rely on their bookkeepers to take care of financial matters. This is especially so where restaurant owners are chefs in the kitchen, leaving them less time to focus on the administrative aspects of the business. However, the business owner is legally responsible for oversight of all aspects of the business, especially financial matters. The sad news is that much of the problem is caused by family members who are trusted and not subject to any checks and balances in the accounting system.

A periodic review of the business books and records can reveal signs of trouble before they bankrupt your business. There are a number of warning signs of employee or partner embezzlement. Some general indicators may include:

  • Missing Documents
  • Delayed bank deposits
  • Holes in accounting records
  • A large drop in profits
  • A jump in business with one particular customer
  • Customers complaining about double billing
  • Repeated duplicate payments
  • Numerous outstanding checks or bills
  • Disparity between accounts payable and receivable
  • Disappearance of petty cash

Other employee warning signs:

  • The employee goes out of the way to work overtime
  • The employee spending more lavishly than salary might indicate
  • The employee has the same address as a vendor

If you suspect embezzlement, you should consult an accountant to confirm your findings. You may also consult your attorney for your options to address any malfeasance  and your insurance agent to identify any coverage you may have for the losses.

Enabling You to Unlock Your Mobile Device

The DCMA prohibits software manipulation to circumvent electronic security measures. Congress temporarily exempted wireless mobile devices from the anti-circumventions prohibitions to allow consumers to “unlock” the mobile device to change carriers. The exemption ended in January 2013 and strictly speaking, unlocking mobile devices is currently illegal under the DMCA. The Unlocking Technology Act of 2013 would amend this section of the DMCA (Section 1201) and allow consumers to unlock their personally owned devices and would protect those people and companies that develop and distribute the software that facilitates unlocking.

Recent Reads

Interaction to transaction: How to Get Comfortable When Asking for the Sale by Nancy Roberts  addresses the social, cultural and behavioral patterns that affect women in the role of a salesperson. Understanding why women are adverse to the notion of sales is the key to overcoming the obstacles and taking action to beat the odds. Nancy Roberts promises you won’t hate sales after you read her book. I agree, you won’t. This book does a great job adjusting our perception and attitude about sales. It is worth the price and the few hours it takes to read it. Give up one evening to read this and you will have a whole new understanding and approach to selling your product or service.

New Jersey school districts defending bullying case can possibly seek contribution from student accused of bullying and parents

In New Jersey, school districts defending a bullying case can seek contribution from the students accused of bullying and their parents.  That means the parents can be responsible for some or all of the damages and attorney fees. V.B. a Minor by his Parent and Guardian v. Flemington-Raritan Regional Board of Ed, et al., Docket No. HNT-L-95-13 (NJ Superior Court, Hunterdon County, March 12, 2014).  The case involved a long history of physical abuse and cyberbullying.

Parents should take note. New York courts may follow suit.

April 2014 Gallup Pole: 84% of small business owners would do it again

For would-be entrepreneurs, there is always that nagging doubt – am I making the right decision? I hope this statistic will ease your mind: 84% of small business owners would definitely do it again. Reasons given included:

  • Being own boss/independence
  • Job satisfaction/sense of accomplishment
  • Creating employment
  • Financial reward
  • Flexible schedules
  • Working with customers

Biggest challenges:

  • Generating business/marketing
  • Cash flow and credit
  • Government regulations
  • Uncertainty/learning curve
  • Employee issues

Interestingly, the hard work was not a detracting factor. Less than 2% complained about long hours, competition and spending/expenses. Less than 1% complained about taxes, the economy or technology/website challenges.

So, what’s stopping you?

Online reviews or content disparages your brand reputation. How do you decide whether to take countermeasures?

Your first step is to determine if this review or story will natural fade away or is likely to snowball and cause lasting damage to your reputation in the marketplace. You must give the situation a non-emotional evaluation and in light of the fact that the overwhelming majority of online content is never read.

If you decide defensive action is warranted, you may want to consider options such as these:

  1. DIY approach: Asking a social network or web host to remove content that infringes on your IP rights or violates on the site’s terms and conditions relating to defamatory content
  2. Involving a lawyer: A cease and desist demand, injunction, or lawsuit against the writer alleging defamation, unfair competition, breach of contract, copyright or trademark infringement or other legal causes of action

I Recommend Income 180 Conference

Earlier this month, I attended the Income 180 Live Event 2014, with Nancy Roberts and Chris Kenney.  I had two goals for this 2½ day conference: learn how I could do better in conveying the benefits I provide to people so I would have the opportunity to work with more business owners, and secondly, to learn some business building techniques I could convey to my clients to help improve their business and its bottom line.

My opinion: This experience is very affordable and well worth the time investment.  Here are a few highlights of my 3 days:

  1. I now have a better understanding of the psychology of the buying process and how it affects the way potential clients interact with me (and my clients).
  2. I have some techniques my clients and I can immediately use to improve client relationships.
  3.  I learned how to improve my initial consultation with a potential client to make it more customer-centric.
  4. I left energized and re-invigorated- something we all need to have (that fire inside us to do our best work).

The material was presented in an interactive and easy to understand manner.  That is crucial.  Since some of the lessons are taught by an experiential exercise, your understanding goes to a depth you never before felt when you are put in your customer’s shoes.  The lessons will never be forgotten and will forever impact how I see certain situations.

Who will benefit most?  I believe people in a service or consulting type business will have the most profound experience.  However, the experience will benefit any entrepreneur.  Nancy and Chris offer professional coaching in a more personalized basis and I have no doubt this is a sound investment.  Consider this coaching as your “MBA” in profitably operating your own business.  Instead of spending money one time for marketing or pay-per-click advertising, invest in you for a lifelong results and return on investment.  They convey real world, real time experience to teach you how to do it right.  The investment is substantial for private coaching but with real results you’ll earn the cost back in months, not years.  You’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

Donald Sterling scandal sparks issues on the First Amendment

This week’s news has been dominated by the Donald Sterling scandal. In case you are the only person in America who hasn’t heard about the racist comments by professional basketball’s owner of the L.A. Clippers, he made colorful comments that resulted in him being banned from the NBA and potentially the loss of his team by the Board of Governors forcing him to sell the team.

While I am outraged that a public figure and role model would be so irresponsible in his choice of words, I don’t agree that he should be stripped of his property. Fans can put economic pressure on him to affect a sale – that is the way free enterprise works. Players can choose not to play for his team, affecting his bottom line. But I want to live in a country where I enjoy free speech without worry of reprisal by the government or some governing body. I admit, I may be an idealist living in Utopia.

I believe we have to live with the consequences of our actions. I just believe that those consequences should be imposed by the court of public opinion rather than a governing body who can strip Sterling of his property rights without some sort of due process. I can’t imagine life monitored by some Big Brother who overhears my private conversations, thoughts and opinions. I should be free to have an opinion or thought, and if I don’t break any laws and I don’t harm anyone’s safety, I should be protected from the  loss of my freedom, life or property by my Freedom of Speech. Even reprehensible people have basic liberties and freedoms in the United States. Marc Cuban said it best “In America, people are allowed to be morons.”

Do you think he should lose his team for his private thoughts and conversations?