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Showing posts from August, 2018

Going Green to Make Green

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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 Penn…

A Bright Spot for Retail?

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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.

Strategy Is Useless Without Execution

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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.

Loss of Consumer Trust Can Be Costly

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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 marg…

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

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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 id…

Number of Women-Owned Employer Firms Increases

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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 fo…

Complaining Customers Can Be Great For Business

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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."

How Marketers Are Using Original Research in Content

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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.)."

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 …

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

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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 …

$12B farmer aid program status

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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 wi…

Is the 609 Letter Really a Credit Repair Secret?

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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 …

Retirement in the Age of Uber

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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…

Physical Stores Remain Go-To Channel for Discovery

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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."

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

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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."