September 1

Skip the Book, Steal the Strategies
A new biography about Joe Wilson, who transformed a modest family business into Xerox, comes out this month. Charles D. Ellis's Joe Wilson and the Creation of Xerox (Wiley, $28) isn't a page-turner, but Wilson's strategies are worth, er, copying:

  • Like a number of the companies on this year's Inc. 500 list, Wilson sought military R&D funds to develop his product, which he then adapted for commercial use.
  • Xerox partnered with small international companies to achieve worldwide distribution of Wilson's machines quickly.
  • And then there was that great brand name. Mimicking Kodak, another well-known Rochester, New York, company, Wilson devised a five-letter brand that began and ended on the same consonant. He also decided not to copyright the term "xerography," which he helped coin, so that it would enter the popular lexicon.

September 15

The movie Employee of the Month premieres
Jessica Simpson starring in a business movie? Well, sort of. In Employee of the Month, she plays a toothsome cashier at a warehouse store. The rumor is she'll only date Employee of the Month winners, which incites a slacker worker and a model employee to enter into competition with each other.

September 15

Tax Deadlines
Corporations must file the 2005 calendar year income tax return today (Form 1120 or 1120A). The third installment of your 2006 estimated tax is due. And it's the deadline for making required minimum contributions for two types of calendar year 2005 retirement plans: money-purchase plans, which require fixed contributions, and defined-benefit plans, which require specific payouts.