Friday, September 21, 2018

The Business Case for Healthy Buildings

The principal author is Kathleen McCormick

For the full report, go to the Urban Land Institute

Inspired by a growing body of evidence that healthy buildings can have a positive effect on human health and real estate performance, as well as the
corporate bottom line, this report highlights the key certification standards in use in the marketplace, explores recent research on the impact of health-promoting design, and offers profiles of five projects that have been early adopters of healthy building and workplace design and management practices. It reviews the
evidence and profiles some early-adopter projects that have been shown—quantitatively and qualitatively—to have had a positive impact on people’s lives and companies’
finances through healthy building design, construction, and management.

The emphasis on health and wellness is a growing global phenomenon. The global wellness real estate industry, valued at $134 billion in 2017, has increased 6.4 percent annually since 2015, and is headed toward being a $180 billion industry by 2022, according the Global Wellness Institute (GWI). Supported by a growing body of research indicating that some chronic health conditions can be prevented or reversed with lifestyle changes, and that health-promoting design can enhance productivity and reduce employee turnover and absenteeism, real estate leaders worldwide are looking to create environments that support the healthy lifestyles that employees seek in workplaces—where they spend one-third to one-half of their waking hours—and in homes that provide a platform for healthy lifestyles.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Retain Your Great Employees. Here's How and Why It's Necessary



Excerpt from an article by Arihant Patni
To read more, visit LinkedIn

"Managing Director at Hive Technologies Key employee retention is critical to the long-term health and success of your business. Retaining best employees ensures customer satisfaction, product sales, satisfied coworkers and reporting staff, effective succession planning and organizational knowledge and learning.

As job hopping is increasingly becoming the norm, thanks in part to a workforce comprised of more millennial's who are likely to have twice as many jobs over their lifetimes as their predecessors, the baby boomers, let’s take a look at some key takeaways on how you can retain your best employees.

Financial stability motivates people to stay in a job, that’s human nature. Apart from this, health care and insurance concerns also add to the list. What you offer your employees must be comparable to other businesses in your industry."

Monday, September 17, 2018

Set your email marketing up for success


An offer for the free eBook "Step-By-Step Guide To Creating A Winning Email Marketing Campaign"
From ThomasNet

Email marketing is one of the best ways to connect with prospects and grow your business. However, it takes a lot of planning and preparation to get it right.

"Whether you are new to email marketing and want to set up your first campaign, or if you’ve been doing it awhile but need to improve your results, this step-by-step guide will help you achieve winning results.

- Learn the best way to build your contact list

- Find out how to choose the email platform that's right for you

- Get expert writing and design tips

- Find out about different tools and apps that can make your job easier

And more."

Friday, September 14, 2018

Customer Attitudes About Emerging Technologies

Excerpt from an article by Remie Arena
To read more, visit eMarketer

"A global survey by marketing platform Hubspot found that among a variety of emerging concepts, cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology, blockchain, leave the most people scratching their heads.

Interestingly, though, those surveyed seemed to perceive that blockchain and cryptocurrencies were not one in the same, because while more than one-quarter of respondents called cryptocurrencies overhyped, only 10% said the same about blockchain.

Two other emerging technologies that were also fairly widely perceived as being overhyped were driverless cars and artificial intelligence (AI). In fact, the survey found that half of respondents did not expect AI to ever have an impact on their jobs."

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Who Knew? Census Bureau Conducts Dozens of Business Surveys

By the AMERICA COUNTS STAFF

More information at the Census Bureau:

The Census Bureau call center receives hundreds of questions every month. We’re bringing you the answers to some of the most common questions in a series of podcasts. Here’s Andrew Hait from the Economic Outreach Office.



We hope this helps clear up any confusion about why you receive multiple surveys.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Most Retailers Haven't Mastered Personalization Yet

Excerpt from an article by Krista Garcia
To read more, visit eMarketer

"Much has been written about value exchange and the push-pull of consumers' willingness to give up personal info for personalization, offers or other supposed special treatment. Many US internet users, however, are reluctant to reveal anything more than their name and email address to marketers.

At the minimum, a retailer should be able to discern and differentiate a consumer at some point during a shopping journey. An April 2018 BRP (Boston Retail Partners) survey of retailers in North America found very different capacities for identifying customers in-store vs. online. That’s not completely surprising since digital activity has been easier historically to track than behavior in-store.

The bulk of customer identification in-store happens at checkout, cited by 57% of respondents. One-fifth of retailers said they couldn't ID a customer in-store at all, while 13% said they can ID a customer when they enter the store. Online customer identification is a different story."

Friday, September 07, 2018

4 Reources to Help You Create a Safe Workplace



Excerpt of an article by Joshlyn Ross

To read more visit sba.gov

When was the last time you’ve revisited your workplace safety plan? Not only is it the law, but it also can ensure that you and your employees are always safe.

In honor of National Safety Month, we would like to highlight four resources that will help you identify unsafe behaviors, create opportunities for improvement and help you (and your employees) make well-informed safety decisions on a daily basis.

1. Ensure your business meets legal requirements with OSHA

Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards as well as providing training and education to business owners. Check out OSHA’s handbook to ensure that your small business meets the legal requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

2. Find the Workplace Health and Safety Requirements that Apply to You

Do you need help creating a workplace safety prevention plan but unsure of where to start? Follow this step-by-step guide to determine which OSHA requirements apply to your workplace and how you can comply.

3. Take advantage of training and educational programs

Now that you know what needs to be done, it’s time to execute. Get the help you need to ensure that you and your employees are prepared to handle safety and health hazards in the workplace. OSHA offers courses, educational programs and training materials that are administered by the OSHA Directorate of Training and Education.

4. Request an on-site consultation for review

Have you recently completed your workplace safety changes? Now is the time to sign up for a free on-site consultation service. Consultants will work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs.

For more information on these safety tips and other resources, visit the Occupational Safety and Health Administration website.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Understanding Younger Baby Boomers' Digital Usage



Excerpt from an article by eMarketer Editors,

To read more visit eMarketer

Younger baby boomers are not a digitally clueless bunch, but marketers cannot assume that they are as digitally active—or as mobile in their usage—as millennials and Gen Xers. Rather, they have their own distinctive ups and downs with digital.

As commerce takes on an increasingly digital skew, many marketers will want to connect digitally with younger boomers. But they must wonder whether (and how) it can be done.

"Younger boomers were early adopters of the personal computer and email. But where do they stand in an era of smartphones and social media and ecommerce and all the rest?" asked Mark Dolliver, analyst at eMarketer and author of the new report, "Younger Baby Boomers as Digital Users: Just How Far Do They Go?"

Monday, September 03, 2018

I Don't Like Being Called a Job Creator

By Hank Green

Listen to the vlog on Hank's channel:

1. People don't hire people to create jobs, they hire people to do jobs.

2. The method through which economic opportunity and job creation occurs is complicated and involves many many people, not just the person who starts or owns or runs a business.

3. Entrepreneurship is not charity, it is only a public good if the business does good work and treats its employees fairly.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Going Green to Make Green



Excerpt of an article by Kristin Manganello,

To read more visit Thomasnet

Sustainability initiatives — which focus on promoting and expanding healthy business systems by addressing various environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors — have become a key focus for consumers and businesses alike. The ultimate goal of implementing sustainable practices is to ensure that the global business community is eco-friendly, socially responsible, inclusive, easier to predict, and financially successful for all involved parties.

Because sustainability is often associated with high implementation costs, there is a common misconception that the expenses outweigh the benefits. For this reason, many companies are still resistant to introduce these practices into their business models. But working toward more sustainable processes offers more than just environmental benefits and a boosted company reputation; opportunities abound for fiscal savings and increased profit margins as well.

A Penny Saved Is a Penny Earned

As traditional fossil fuels become scarcer, pricier, and increasingly controversial, interest in renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind energy, is on the rise. Although the startup costs for these technologies are indeed high, companies that reduce or eliminate their reliance on fossil fuels in favor of more sustainable power sources have the potential to boost their dividends considerably just by lowering how much is spent on energy every year.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A Bright Spot for Retail?



Excerpt from an article by Krista Garcia

To read more, visit eMarketer

Despite persistent gloom and doom surrounding the retail industry, the first half of the year has been positive for most product categories. According to the newly released monthly retail sales report from the US Census Bureau, for H1 2018, retail sales (excluding auto parts and gasoline) totaled $2.06 billion, up 4.9% year over year.

With the exception of sporting goods, which shrunk 1.7%, and department stores that stayed flat, all other segments experienced growth in H1 2018. Furniture and home goods (5.3%) and apparel (5.1%) saw the biggest gains.

Now par for the course, ecommerce outperformed total retail with 10.0% gains during H1 2018 compared with the same time last year.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Strategy Is Useless Without Execution


Written by Tim Berry
Read more at Bplans

It happens all the time. You take your team away from the routine for a few hours, brainstorm, and develop a brilliant new strategy for your business. And when you all get back into the routine, the routine wins and strategy loses. Nothing changes.

The plan was brilliant on the whiteboard but never got to the real world. What happened?

Your business strategy is useless without execution. Don’t leave that whiteboard without developing key tactics. Make sure the execution tactics you choose are directly in service of your strategic goal. For every action you take, you should be able to say how it relates to your overall business strategy.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Loss of Consumer Trust Can Be Costly

Written by Krista Garcia
For more, go to eMarketer:

It's logical to assume consumers might lose trust in a company after a data breach or misuse of personal information. But many businesses vastly underestimate the severity of these security mishaps in the eyes of their consumers.

An April 2018 CA Technologies and Frost & Sullivan study demonstrates this perception gap. They aggregated variables like consumer willingness to share personal information online and the belief that companies protect their information to come up with a digital trust score ranked on a scale of 0 to 100. US internet users gave businesses a trust score of 61, the same as the global average. But businesses gave themselves an average score of 75 when asked if consumers trusted them.

This is important because levels of trust correlate to spending. Consumers across all levels of trust—low, moderate and high—increased spending in the past 12 months, but low-trust consumers decreased spending by larger margins. Forty-three percent of low-trust consumers (those with index scores under 55) increased spending, while 15% decreased spending. By comparison, 57% of high-trust consumers (those with scores of 70 or higher) increased spending, while only 4% spent less.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Are Shoppers Really That Resistant to Scanning and Bagging Their Own Goods?

Excerpt from an article by Krista Garcia
To read more, visit eMarketer

"Amazon Go got a lot of attention, but it could be downplayed since there was only one small store near the company’s headquarters in Seattle. Could it even scale? That looks like a tentative "yes" as Amazon appears to be expanding the convenience store concept to Chicago and San Francisco.

Walmart's answer, Scan & Go, debuted in August 2017 and worked with in-store devices or an app on a shopper's smartphone. However, it was reported that the retailer had shelved this trial. According to CBC News, after rolling out this service to about 120 US locations over eight months ago, the adoption rates were still low. The goal was to provide convenience, but it appears customers didn’t like scanning and bagging their own items.

There has always been a degree of skepticism about self-checkout, whether because it’s too complicated, shopper preference for human interaction or resistance to the idea of providing free labor and making cashiers obsolete."

Monday, August 20, 2018

Number of Women-Owned Employer Firms Increases

From the Census Bureau

Women-owned employer firms in the United States increased by approximately 2.8 percent in 2016 to 1,118,863 from 1,088,466 in 2015, according to findings from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs.
The data also shows that women-owned approximately 20.0 percent (1,118,863) of all employer businesses (5,601,758) nationwide. Additionally, about one-quarter (289,326 or 25.9 percent) of all women-owned employer firms were minority owned. More than half (approximately 153,177 or 52.9 percent) of these minority women-owned firms were Asian -owned.
 The Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs provides a demographic portrait of the nation’s employer businesses by gender, ethnicity, race and veteran status. Tables released today provide estimates on the number of firms, receipts, payroll and employment for the nation, the states and the District of Columbia, and the 50 most populous metropolitan statistical areas. The Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs is being folded into the Annual Business Survey. Announced in June 2018, this new survey will include an innovation content module and replaces the Survey of Business OwnersAnnual Survey of Entrepreneurs and Business Research and Development and Innovation Survey for Microbusinesses.
These data are currently available on American FactFinder. Data will be available on the Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs web page under "Data" and "ASE Tables" soon.
For more information about the Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, including survey design, methodology and data limitations, visit <www.census.gov/programs-surveys/ase.html>.
###

Friday, August 17, 2018

Complaining Customers Can Be Great For Business

Excerpt from an article by Jackie Dana
To read more, visit NameCheap

"Every business needs happy customers and clients to be successful. From repeat business to word of mouth, satisfied customers sustain your business and help it to grow.

But not every customer or client is going to be happy all the time.

Your quest, should you choose to accept it, is to view each complaint you receive as an opportunity to build your business and improve your customer relationships. Let’s take a look at how you can transform your angry customers into your biggest fans and become their hero."

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

How Marketers Are Using Original Research in Content

Excerpt from an article by Ayaz Nanji
To read more, visit MarketingProfs

"Marketers are using original research primarily to create blog posts, infographics, and PDFs, according to a recent report from Mantis Research and BuzzSumo.

The report was based on data from a survey conducted in January and February 2018 among 698 marketers from around the world (53% work for B2B firms, 16% for B2C firms, 26% for hybrid B2B-B2C firms, and 5% for governments/nonprofits).

Respondents were surveyed on how their firms are using original research, which was defined as research published to gain attention from external audiences (benchmarks, salary guides, etc.), not research conducted to meet internal needs (marketing plans, competitive analyses, etc.)."

Monday, August 13, 2018

Checklist for Choosing Business Software

Blog post from SBA.gov
by Anita Campbell

"Good software can enable your small business to increase sales by saving time and money while expanding capacity.

But you must choose wisely — because the wrong software can be an expensive mistake.

Here is my tried-and-true checklist for choosing software to support your business operations:

Testimonials from Businesses Like Mine

Find vendors with a meaningful number of testimonials from other small business owners. Look for testimonials from businesses like yours — businesses of roughly the same size, in similar industries and trying to solve similar problems.

A software package might work just fine for some businesses, however, it may not help fix your problem.

Financially Strong Vendor

For mission critical processes, I hesitate to put my company’s future in the hands of software or an app that may or may not be updated a year from now.

You see this problem with some mobile apps and content management system plugins. A year or two goes by and the plugins appear abandoned and don’t play nice with newer versions of the software. Plugins may have security issues that leave your business vulnerable to hackings. Or perhaps an app looked promising, but it’s still buggy and unreliable a year later. The more mission critical the need, the more you should insist on financially stable vendors that are committed to their software.

Easy to Use

When you use, for example, an inventory management package meant for large corporations, it might seem good because you’re getting lots of features and functionality. And isn’t more always better?

Not necessarily. If you have a small team, getting more features and functionality can leave you worse off. Why? Complexity.

Complexity means it can take your small team more time than they can spare to master the software because they wear six other hats. The result? Resentment, frustration, failure. Complexity also adds more cost to get the software installed and configured, — especially if you must hire a consultant to set it up or have to pay overtime.

Automation with Other Systems

Today you get the most value from cloud software that passes data and transactions automatically to other systems you use. Doing so lets you harness automation — and that saves money. The last thing you want is to have to manually re-enter data from one system to another.

Always look for software that integrates with other software in your business. Many vendors today list all third party integrations on their websites. Avoid developing your own custom integrations, because they can get costly.

Ability to Upgrade Seamlessly

Find software that meets your needs when you are small, but grows with you. When choosing software, I like to start with a simple affordable package, then upgrade to more features or capacity later. And you want to be able to do it seamlessly without switching vendors or going through a manual conversion process.

Free Trials and Low Risk Terms

Free trials enable you to do a hands-on evaluation for a week or two. After that, with a month-to-month payment plan, or the ability to cancel at any time, you’re not locked in. If the software doesn't work out, you at least don’t have to be stuck paying for it long term.

Follow the above six checklist points and you too can improve your operations with software."

Friday, August 10, 2018

Small Scale Food Entrepreneurship: Cornell's Technical Guide for Food Ventures

From the Cornell Food Venture Center:

The Cornell Food Venture Center provides assistance to validate safety and stability of food products entering the marketplace including:

-Lab Analysis for pH, water activity, and Brix of food and beverage products
-Process Authority approval and Scheduled Process: Product Review, Documentation, and Process Validation
-Resources for Nutrition Analysis, Co-packers, Packaging Suppliers, Shelf-Life Studies, and More!
-Regulatory Compliance: Registration and Licensing with State and FDA agencies
-Small Scale Food Entrepreneurship: A Technical Guide for Food Ventures
-Better Process Control School: Necessary certification for Acidified and Low Acid Food manufacturers.
-Food Science 101
-Presentations and workshops: Interested? Contact Shannon Prozeller

The Cornell dropbox link includes everything you will need to work with the university, register with the State and FDA, information on Small Scale Food Production and more.

Services such as process approval and filing, laboratory work and use of pilot plant facility are available on a fee-for-service basis. Prices vary depending on whether your business is registered in NY or outside NY.

NYS Food Venture Center/NECFE
Cornell University/NYSAES
630 W. North Street
Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 787-2273

Information for this post provided by advisor Glamis Haro, in response to a colleague's queestion about tsting dog treats, so the testing isn't limited to human food.





Thursday, August 09, 2018

$12B farmer aid program status

I received a question regarding the announced $12 billion farmer aide program recently announced as a result with the tariff war. Naturally, I called my Congressman's office.

One of his aides reaached out to the USDA Congressional Liaison with the questions I asked. (Her questions in italics). They informed her that most of the responses will be included in the NOFA and the Regulation that is published by OMB by Labor Day, and that they cannot share additional details while it’s being deliberated at this time.

I will follow up after Labor Day.

1- How will farmers have access to the funds? Dependent on what commodities the farmer produces, if they grow something eligible for the Market Facilitation Program (soybeans, cotton, sorghum, wheat, dairy, or pork) then they’ll have to come into their USDA FSA county office to complete the necessary paperwork. More details to be released in the Regulation by OMB later this month.

2- Qualifications/Criteria for eligibility? More details will be released in the Regulation by OMB later this month. Only commodities above are currently eligible for direct assistance. Other commodities will be purchased to be used in our feeding programs/food banks, and others will benefit by our trade promotion branch of the announcement through their trade association.

3- How to apply? Will be released in the Regulation by OMB. USDA will issue more guidance for qualifying producers once the regulation comes out.

4- Expected time frame of when farmers can apply and when they can expect to receive funds? Beginning in September, extended throughout the fall.

5- What is the maximum amount farmers can be granted? To be included in the Regulation that will be released by OMB later this month.

6- Who specifically will be in charge of distributing funds? USDA. The FSA will handle the Market Facilitation Program (Direct assistance), AMS will handle the Food Purchased and Distribution Program (commodity buys), and FAS will handle the Trade Promotion Program.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Is the 609 Letter Really a Credit Repair Secret?

Written by LaToya Irby
Find more at The Balance

A 609 letter is one of the latest internet credit repair “secrets” that claim the ability to remove any kind of information from your credit report - even accurate information––based on a “loophole” in the credit reporting law. If you’ve been working to improve your credit, a 609 letter sounds like exactly what you need to get negative accounts taken off your credit report. What is a 609 letter and does it really work?

Credit bureaus collect consumer credit information from various sources, like banks, then resell that information to businesses who need to evaluate consumer credit applications. Credit bureaus are governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which details what credit reporting agencies and information furnishers can and cannot do when they’re reporting consumer information. One of the credit bureaus’ responsibilities is to only include accurate and verifiable information in consumer credit reports.

Use of the 609 letter in credit repair is based on the credit bureaus responsibility to report only verifiable information.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Retirement in the Age of Uber



Excerpt from an article by Mia Taylor
To read more, visit The Simple Dollar

"There are many upsides to the gig economy and freelance work, like the flexible schedule, the autonomy of being your own boss, and, if it’s a side hustle, the ability to earn extra income to pay off bills or save for special purchases. But a path to a stable retirement does not appear to be among the benefits, at least for a lot of gig economy workers.

Betterment, an online investment platform, has just released new research focused on the finances and the future of retirement in today’s self-employed workforce. And it’s not all good news.

Their report looks at the nation’s dated retirement system, and how it has left gig economy workers unprepared. The study notes that the rise of the gig economy is fundamentally changing the way Americans earn, spend, and save for retirement, pointing out that the freedom and flexibility of the gig economy is nice now, but, for many, unsustainable over the long term."

Friday, August 03, 2018

Physical Stores Remain Go-To Channel for Discovery



Excerpt from an article by Jen King
To read more, visit eMarketer

"For the most part, consumers have a game plan when they enter a store—they know what they intend to buy and stick closely to their shopping list. Still, in-store shopping has one advantage that online doesn't: the ability to see and feel items in person.

That's likely why many people end up spending more then they intended to.

A May 2018 survey conducted by AYTM Market Research for Blis asked 2,000 US internet users ages 18 and older whether they spent more than intended when shopping in-store."

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

How to Launch a New Brand: Five Tips for an Unforgettable Debut



Excerpt from an article by Stewart Hodgson
To read more, visit MarketingProfs

"Building a brand for your company is one of the most important things you can do as a marketer.

A brand allows you to differentiate yourself from industry competitors with a unique image, a memorable voice, and an identity that resonates with your target customers. But establishing and launching your own brand from scratch can be difficult—particularly when you're a startup with limited resources.

It can be tempting to rush through the process of market entry and start selling products as quickly as possible, but the way you introduce your company to your customers could have a huge impact on your potential for future sales. After all, you really do have only one chance to make a first impression."

Monday, July 30, 2018

Consumers Love Personalized Offers, but Only If They Opt In

Excerpt from an article by Krista Garcia
To read more, visit eMarketer

"According to an April 2018 survey of US internet users by verification services company SheerID and Kelton Global, more than two-thirds of respondents said an offer just for them is more important than a promotion sent to everyone, and 94% would take advantage of an offer that wasn’t made available to the public at large.

What would these consumers do if they were given an exclusive offer? Nearly half said they would make a purchase sooner than normal, while 41% would look for products to buy so they could use the offer, and 38% would treat themselves to something they wanted but didn't really need. This would be the nudge to make a purchase, but fewer would spend more or buy a more expensive product.

As many studies have shown, consumers want personalized offers, but they also want control over how much a brand or retailer knows about them."

Friday, July 27, 2018

The Sharing Economy Boom: What it Means for the Supply Chain

Excerpt from an article by Megan Ray Nichols
To read more, visit Thomasnet

"You probably already know about consumer sharing services such as Uber and Airbnb. These services involve the peer-to-peer acquiring or providing of goods and services, which are selected by users via an online platform or app.

This system is mutually beneficial, since the people who rent out their cars or houses on these marketplaces and platforms can earn money and develop a positive reputation, and the people purchasing have a viable, often much more affordable and personalized alternative to traditional services.

When the greater economy subsides, the sharing economy rises. In these situations, people generally have less individual wealth to devote to temporary goods or services, prompting them to search for shared resources. The sharing economy is also growing as the supply chain shifts. Consumers now expect fast deliveries, from anywhere in the world. As a result, shared fulfillment centers and trucking are gradually becoming the new reality."

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Paypal is a Serious Small Business Lender

Excerpt from an article by Bob Coleman
To read more, visit ColemanReport

"Paypal, Amazon and Alibaba pose more of a threat to traditional lenders than the Fintech industry.

As Fintech ebbs and flows, these high tech giants are starting to put up some serious small business lending numbers. Amazon just passed $3 billion.

Last year Paypal also topped $3 billion in small business lending in the United States.

In the US, PayPal offers two financing programs, including one that is similar to the UK program, which takes a percentage of merchants’ PayPal revenue and is underwritten primarily on PayPal sales without a credit check. The other program available in the US is closer to a conventional business loan, taking into account a variety of credit factors and repaid with weekly payments from a business bank account."

Monday, July 23, 2018

Here’s what happens when startups go wrong

Article by Scott Kirsner

Read more in the Boston Globe

When things start going south at a startup, no one wants to talk about it.

The stream of self-congratulatory press releases and social media messages dries up, and executives suddenly stop replying to interview requests. Laid-off employees have typically been asked to sign nondisparagement agreements, so they clam up, too.

Those reasons combine to make it tough to write about the most challenging stage of a startup’s existence: when it has burned through its bankroll, and will either die, get acquired by another company, or figure out some way to survive.

[Cue Gloria Gaynor]

Friday, July 20, 2018

The Rise of Robots in Industry 4.0

Excerpt of an article by Megan Ray Nichols
To read more, visit Thomasnet

"According to recent studies, approximately 2.6 million industrial robots will be active by 2019 — or one million more units than just a few short years ago. It's a record-setting pace that yields mixed reactions from the public. While some are skeptical of the role of robots in the future workplace, others are more than willing to embrace industrial robots and all the opportunities they provide in Industry 4.0.

Big data is just as critical to Industry 4.0 as industrial robots. Many of these next-gen, AI-powered machines utilize advanced data sets to monitor day-to-day operations, provide recommendations, and even learn from their mistakes.

Robots are especially popular in predictive maintenance. By monitoring the condition of production hardware and comparing it to recent trends, industry benchmarks, and manufacturers’ specifications, automated robots diagnose machines before they fail. This functionality gives operators and technicians the opportunity to intervene before something goes wrong.

Robots aren't necessarily replacing the jobs of qualified professionals."

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Home Health Care License

From Health.ny.gov

As part of the New York State Fiscal Year 2018‐2019 budget, a new law was enacted which places a two‐ year moratorium on the processing and approval of applications seeking the licensure of Licensed Home Care Services Agencies (LHCSAs). This moratorium became effective on April 1, 2018 and will continue until March 31, 2020.  The full language of the moratorium can be found in Section 9‐e of Part B of Chapter 57 of the Laws of 2018.

To comply with the statute, no LHCSA application can be accepted for processing unless it meets one of the statutory exceptions.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Women's Earnings Lower in Most Occupations

Excerpt from an article by Amy Newcomb
To read more, visit Census.gov

"Women continue to earn less than men in nearly all occupations, but this is more pronounced in fields that predominantly employ men and in professions with a comparable mix of men and women. The largest pay gap is within the finance and sales professions.

Overall, women are also more likely to be employed in lower-paying jobs.

“The pay gap has narrowed over the last 50 years,” said Lynda Laughlin, chief of the Industry and Occupation Statistics Branch at the U.S. Census Bureau. `However, the gender pay gap continues across the board in almost all occupations. In 2016, median earnings for women was $40,675, compared with $50,741 for men.'"




Friday, July 13, 2018

What to Do if Your Accountant Makes an Error

Excerpt from an article by Brian Eckert
To read more, visit Bplans

A certified, professional accountant can be a valuable partner to a small business at all stages, from formation, to financials, to the sale of the business. Handling your own accounting might seem like a money-saving strategy, but it may not be the best use of your time. Aside from that, do-it-yourself accounting can sometimes result in expensive mistakes.

Paying a professional can have benefits that far outweigh the added costs. But if an accountant makes an error or gives advice that has financial consequences for your business, it can create the sort of setback you were hoping to avoid by hiring a pro in the first place.

As the business owner, you may incur liabilities or suffer losses that stem from an accountant’s negligence. If this happens, you may be able to hold the accountant legally responsible for financial losses that their actions (or failure to take action) result in.

Suing isn’t always the first, best, or only course of action. But if your accountant made a costly error and is unwilling to set things right, you should understand your legal rights and options.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

What is Dropshipping, and Is It Best for Your Online Retail Business?

From MarketingProfs

As an online retailer, you have many options for fulfilling orders from customers, so it's important to figure out which business model is best for your goals.

In this article, we'll cover the difference between dropshipping and other order-fulfillment options. We'll also detail the pros and cons of each order-fulfillment method so you can decide which option is right for your business and needs.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Save Magnolia Park, Burbank, CA

From News from ME:

I do not live near "Beautiful Downtown Burbank" (as the great Gary Owens called it) but I fear for it. What's going on there, as described in the video below, is happening all over this country. It's the squeeze-out of non-chain businesses being replaced by cookie-cutter corporations.

From YouTube:

The retro charm of Burbank's unique shops is what makes Magnolia Boulevard a must-visit destination for all. Beloved by the community and visited by people worldwide, we are now in danger of losing everything that makes this strip unique.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

What Makes Food Shoppers Spend More?

From eMarketer

The US economy is in relatively good shape when looking at measures like unemployment (it's down) and gross domestic product (it's up), but consumers are still feeling financial pressures. According to a Q1 2018 study by market researcher IRI, 47% of US internet users said they are making sacrifices to make ends meet. That's down from 50% in Q1 2017, but it's still a sizeable percentage.

Even so, one-quarter of respondents plan to buy more premium brands in the next six months. This intent was stronger with higher-income brackets, as well as with retirees and seniors.

When asked what they would be willing to pay more for, benefits beyond basic nutrition had the most interest (36%), followed by natural or organic products (29%). Paying extra for home delivery and in-store pickup of online orders were less popular.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Many Facebook Users Are Sharing Less Content

From eMarketer

For the most part, Facebook users haven't stopped using the social platform following the Cambridge Analytica revelations. In fact, in its Q1 2018 earnings report, the social media giant showed no sign of users—or advertisers—abandoning its platform.

And according to a recent survey by Thomson Reuters, nearly half of US Facebook users said they haven't changed how much they use it. Interestingly, over a quarter of respondents said they use it more, while fewer report using it less (18%) and only 1% said they deleted their account.

Still, there are some who are concerned about their personal data and how it will be used. When asked why they're sharing less content with friends and followers on social media, 47% of Facebook users said it was because they have privacy concerns.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Trade War Against China Is Officially Underway

From the New York Times:

A trade war between the world’s two largest economies officially began on Friday morning as the Trump administration followed through with its threat to impose tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese products, a significant escalation of a fight that could hurt companies and consumers in both the United States and China.

But the trade measures come at a cost for American firms, which are facing potentially devastating disruptions to their businesses.

Economists say [the] trade war will raise costs for American industry, potentially threatening the manufacturing jobs that [he] has long said he wants to protect. And some of those higher costs will ultimately work their way through the supply chain to American consumers.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Lender Match Connects Small Businesses with SBA-approved lenders.



From SBA.gov

The SBA is making it easier for small businesses to find lenders through Lender Match, a FREE online referral tool that connects small business borrowers with participating SBA lenders. Whether you live in rural America or a metropolitan area, SBA’s Lender Match can help you access capital for your business.

Lender Match is a free online referral tool that connects small businesses with participating SBA-approved lenders.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Real-World Education for Modern Marketers

From MarketingProfs:

The Federal Trade Commission's Telemarketing Sale Rule (TSR) includes regulations to support both law enforcement and consumers. It provides the FTC and state attorneys general law-enforcement tools to combat telemarketing fraud; it gives consumers added privacy protections and defenses against unscrupulous telemarketers; and it helps consumers differentiate between fraudulent and legitimate telemarketing.

Key provisions of the TSR include, without limitation, the following: required disclosures, prohibited misrepresentations, limited call-time windows, required information on caller ID transmissions, abandoned outbound call prohibitions, billing and payment restrictions, upsell requirements, pre-recorded message restrictions, and recordkeeping obligations.

However, with some exceptions, most telephone calls between a telemarketer and a business are exempt from the TSR, and telemarketers often rely on the B2B exemption from applicable Do Not Call (DNC) registries and other telemarketing rules.

But there is a caveat.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

TMI: Some Consumers Regret Oversharing Online

From eMarketer:

A new survey finds that many consumers worry about how much personal information they've shared online.

Indeed, a January 2018 survey of internet users in Western Europe and the US by digital identity management service provider ForgeRock found that more than half of respondents are concerned. What's more, they regret sharing different types of personal information online, particularly the sensitive kind.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Rage Against the Machine

From News From Me

I have a New Concept for the Target Stores: Having salespeople who can actually sell you stuff…and this goes for Home Depot, as well. In the last month, I've had two instances, one at each chain, where I wanted to buy something, the store's computer system seemed to be doing everything possible to prevent that transaction from transacting and human beings were of little use to override it. I'll start with the Home Depot story…

Monday, July 02, 2018

FTC Action Against Phantom Debt Brokers and Collectors

From Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission and the New York Attorney General’s Office have charged two New York-based operations and their principals with running a scheme to collect money from consumers on fake and unauthorized debts.

This action is part of the FTC’s continuing crackdown on all players in the phantom debt chain, including those who sell fake debt portfolios and those who harass consumers to collect the phony debt.

According to the FTC, debt broker Hylan Asset Management LLC and its owner, Andrew Shaevel, bought, placed for collection, and sold lists of phantom debts, including debts that were fabricated by the defendants or disputed by consumers. Hylan placed these phony debts for collection with several collection agencies, including Worldwide Processing Group LLC and its owner, Frank A. Ungaro, Jr., who collected on the fake debts and used illegal tactics to do so.

The complaint alleges that Hylan was aware the debt was fabricated. Much of it was purchased from Hirsch Mohindra, a defendant in a separate FTC action who was banned from the debt collection business and from selling debt portfolios. Mohindra had bought the debt from Joel Tucker, a defendant in another FTC action who was banned from handling sensitive financial information about consumer debts.

Despite this knowledge, Hylan continued to buy phantom debt lists and place them for collection, even after learning that consumers disputed the debts. Similarly, Worldwide Processing continued its collection efforts after consumers said they had never heard of the lenders and provided records to prove they owed nothing. Worldwide Processing engaged in other illegal collection practices, including failing to provide required notices about the debt and consumers’ rights to dispute the debt, and threatening to contact, or contacting, family members or other third parties.

The defendants are charged with violating the FTC Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and New York state law.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Why Effective Safety Management Can Protect Your Bottom Line

Construction, Worker, Construction Workers

By Catherine Metcalf

When you run a business, it’s important to control expenses so that you can remain profitable. However, unexpected costs can arise that throw off the balance. Employee injuries can be one of the most disruptive things that happen to a company.

According to one work injury lawyer in Philadelphia, “When an employee suffers an injury at work, the employer’s workers compensation coverage will pay benefits to the injured employee.” However, the initial payout is only the beginning of financial effects that can be felt from this type of injury. Having an effective safety management system in place can help you to maintain your bottom line and keep you in business.

Increased Premiums

In many states, workers compensation insurance is mandatory for businesses with more than one employee. This insurance covers employees for rehabilitation, costly medical expenses, and wages lost as a result of a work-related incident.

However, companies pay premiums based on their safety history. The more injuries on the job, the higher your premium will be.

The cost of worker injuries is no small matter. Studies estimated that the direct cost to companies was anywhere from $58 to $74 billion in 2009. With an effective safety system in place, you can cut down on these high expense injuries.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

States Can Now Collect Online Sales Tax

From eMarketer

The 26-year-old law that exempted online retailers from collecting sales tax in states where they have no physical presence has been overturned, per a US Supreme Court ruling Thursday.

This practice was a holdover from a 1992 case, Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, when ecommerce looked very different from today. States looking to make up lost revenues have been pushing for reform for years.

This case was brought by the state of South Dakota, but it has greater implications for the 45 states that rely on sales tax, as well as online retailers like Wayfair, Overstock.com and Newegg.com (all were involved in this case) that have argued that tax collection would be a logistical challenge and an unfair burden, particularly on smaller merchants.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Impact of Saying Thanks in Email Subject Lines

From MarketingProfs

Email subject lines that express gratitude tend to outperform email subject lines that do not, according to recent research from Cheetah Digital.

The report was based on 2017 data from email campaigns sent by Cheetah Digital clients in a wide range of verticals.

The researchers found email subject lines that included terms such as "with heartfelt thanks" and "thank you!" had average unique open and unique click rates that were 69% and 38% higher, respectively, than subject lines which did not express gratitude.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Retail Marketers Aren't Sold on Retargeting

From eMarketer

According to a February 2018 Nanigans survey of retail marketers, a vast majority (83%) think they would’ve achieved the same sales results if they hadn’t used retargeting. And yet, just 28% said they had the ability to measure whether sales occurred, organically or not.

Even so, 53% of these retail marketers planned to spend more on performance ads in the next 12 months—on average, 24% more.

This theme held true when respondents were asked about their biggest digital advertising challenges. More than half (55%) cited measuring true business impact. That sentiment was felt more strongly by larger companies (63%) than smaller ones (43%). Visibility into how ad budgets are being spent (39%) and ad fraud and viewability concerns (39%) were also challenges for respondents overall.

Monday, June 25, 2018

5 ways a crowdfunding campaign could help your startup

From NewHope

A founder wears many hats: leader, evangelist, visionary and more. One of the heaviest of those hats is as a fundraiser. Great ideas don’t become good businesses without money. Too often, this chase for capital becomes all-consuming.

There are alternatives to friends and family, angels and venture capitalists. Crowdfunding, both rewards-based and equity, is a growing avenue for early-stage food startups. Cheryl Clements, founder and CEO of PieShell, a rewards-based food and beverage crowdfunding platform, shared, “There is currently an appetite for funding food. Investment in food and beverage has tripled since 2013 and the crowd wants in on the action.”

Stating the obvious, reward-based crowdfunding campaigns provide product samples, brand swag and recognition in exchange for investment dollars. Equity crowdfunding is a democratized way to sell shares of the company.

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Relentless Pressure to Discount

From eMarketer

An April 2018 study of US retailers by Retail Systems Research (RSR) found that pricing concerns far outstripped other issues. Keeping up with the competition’s prices was the No. 1 challenge, cited by 58% of respondents.

When asked about their top three business challenges, 65% of retailers cited "aggressive competitors of like items make price our primary demand driver." And 60% cited "increased consumer price sensitivity." Those two challenges were the only ones cited by more than half of the respondents.

But pricing pressures were more acute in some sectors than others. In particular, the study noted that fashion and apparel retailers were much less likely to be focused on pricing parity (at 39%) and tended to be more concerned about minimizing markdown spend (48%).

Thursday, June 21, 2018

How Small Business Owners Got Their Start

From MarketingProfs

Most small business owners worked a full-time job while starting their own firm, according to recent research from Paychex.

The report was based on data from a survey of 413 people in the United States who own a business that has fewer than 500 employees.

Some 59% of respondents say they worked a full-time job while initially building their own business.

The reasons small business owners started their own firms range widely by industry, the survey found.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Young, in Debt and (Maybe) Holding Back on Purchases

From eMarketer

Retailers still trying to unlock the question of millennial spending patterns, take note: Millennials are sagging under a heavier debt load than Gen Xers faced at this point in their economic lives. It's the makeup of that debt gap that hints that millennial spending might not be unlocking anytime soon. Gen X had more mortgage debt than millennials, while millennials have more education debt than Gen X.

A research paper published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis compared the overall finances of millennials in 2016 to Gen Xers in 2001. It found that millennial households in 2016 had an average net worth of about $90,000 vs. $130,000 for Generation X households in 2001. Millennials, it noted, had fewer assets and more debt.

The combination of education debt and a lower level of investment in real estate could hold back spending on a host of items, from furniture to hardware to garden supplies.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Stopping Small Business Scams Law Enforcement and Education Initiative

From FTC.gov

Yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission, jointly with the offices of eight state Attorneys General, the New York Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, two U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Better Business Bureau (BBB), announced the results of Operation Main Street: Stopping Small Business Scams, a law enforcement initiative targeting operations seeking to defraud small businesses, and an education outreach effort to help small businesses protect themselves from fraud.

Operation Main Street - Stopping Small Business Scams (24 Law enforcement actions nationwide; 12 Partners in law enforcement, including the FTC, brought these federal and state actions; 6+ Types of scams - including unordered merchandise, business directories, fake invoices, and imposters - collected more than $290 million from businesses in these cases) - Go to ftc.gov/smallbusiness.The agencies are announcing a total of 24 actions involving defendants who allegedly perpetrated scams against small businesses, including one new FTC case, three other FTC actions from the past six months, two criminal actions announced by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and 18 actions by state AGs over the past year.

The BBB is announcing a new research report on small business scams (link is external) that provides substantial new insights into how fraud affects small businesses. In addition, the FTC and the BBB are pleased to announce new business education materials, designed to help small business owners and their employees avoid, identify and report scams.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Are Retailers Ready for a Cashless Store?

From eMarketer.Retail

According to a March 2018 survey of US B2C retail executives by 451 Research, commissioned by Adyen, 78% of respondents said they're considering cashless stores that only accept credit cards and other digital payment options. In contrast, 36% of operations managers, essentially those that are more involved with the customer journey day to day, were in agreement.

And their differing views don't stop there. Retail executives were more likely (81%) to say they saw an increase in customers using their mobile devices while shopping in-store—either for coupons, payments or product information—than operations managers (53%).

In theory, cashless stores may reduce friction at checkout, which is often caused by long lines

Friday, June 15, 2018

For Customer Experience, Consumers Prefer People to Bots

From eMarketer:

Technology may be changing the customer experience, but many consumers still want a human interaction, even as tech continues to improve.

That's what PwC found when it surveyed 4,000 US internet users ages 13 and older, as well as 11,000 internet users ages 18 and older in countries including Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Mexico and the UK.

More than eight in 10 US respondents said that even as technology improves, they will want to interact with a real person. And that sentiment was nearly the same across the other countries polled—although people in China, Brazil and Japan were less likely to agree.