Friday, June 28, 2019

Are Marketers Being Realistic About Their Customer Experience?

Article by Lucy Koch
From erMarketing

Marketers and consumers feel differently about the delivery of an excellent customer experience. To reconcile this, marketers should turn their attention to consumers’ top concerns, such as privacy and personalization.

In the US, almost half of marketers think they’re delivering an “excellent” customer experience, according to January 2019 research from The Harris Poll. But fewer than a quarter of consumers felt the same.

Privacy, the concern emphasized most in the study, received 4.1 fewer points from consumers than from marketers. Additionally, 60% of respondents said they’d be less likely to shop or use services in the future if a company sent their personal information to other companies.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

How to Get Past the Fear of Buying a Franchise

By Joel Libava
From Small Business Administration

Before I share my ideas on how you can get past your fear of buying a franchise, I need to address this issue:

It’s perfectly normal to have feelings of fear when you’re thinking about buying a franchise. Let’s see if I can help alleviate some of these fears for you.

Transition Fears

You’re probably worried about the transition you’ll be making if you decide to move forward with the franchise opportunity you’re interested in.

The transition I’m referring to is from employee to employer. And it’s a big one.

The reason it’s so big is because of all the responsibilities you’ll have as the owner of a franchise. You’ll be responsible for things like:

Hiring
Payroll
Inventory
Marketing
Operations
Business Development
Expenses

And part of your fear has to do with the fact that you may not know how to do all of those things.

The good news is that when you’re a franchisee, you’ll receive formal training on every aspect of your franchise business. It’s part of what you’re paying for.

In essence, by the time you’re done with training, you’ll have the knowledge and the confidence you need to run your franchise business. As a result, your transition from employee to employer will be much smoother, and less scary.

Financial Fears

Investments can be risky. That includes an investment in a franchise business.

The fact is, you can lose your money in a franchise business. That’s because franchising isn’t perfect.

That’s why it’s important to:

A. Make sure you can afford the franchises you’re investigating

B. Choose and research the franchises you’re interested in carefully and methodically

Doing those two things can help you lower your risk, but I guarantee you’ll still be fearful about losing money.

The best way to walk through your fear is by doing everything you can to minimize your financial risk, like doing great research and staying within your budget.

Fear of Failure

This fear tends to rear its ugly head right when you’re about to make your yes or no decision on the franchise opportunity you’ve been investigating. But don’t kid yourself; this fear has been a part of your psyche ever since you had your first call with franchise headquarters.

That said, what if you do fail? What will happen?

First off, unless you’re able to sell your business before you close it down, you’ll be out the money you invested up-front. You’ll also be out the money you’ve been putting into the business since it opened.

Secondly, you may owe money to vendors, your landlord, and the bank where you took out your small business loan.

Admittedly, what I just described is very unpleasant in every respect. No one wants to lose money. But there’s something else.

When you fail at something, it affects you on the inside. You may feel like a failure.

In addition, it’s possible that you’ll feel like you’ve let others down, the ones who were rooting for you, your family and your friends. But things don’t have to go that way. You just have to be smart.

The upshot of all this is that while there’s a chance you’ll fail if you go into business as a franchise owner, there are specific things you can do to insure you’re making a good, well-thought out decision. Here they are:

1. Take the time to learn everything you can about franchising.

2. Make a commitment to only look at franchises you can afford.

3. Only look at franchises that offer an opportunity for you to use your top skills.

4. Do good research. That includes talking to 10 or more franchisees.

5. Write a thorough and realistic business plan.

6. Hire an experienced franchise attorney who will look out for your best interests.

7. Don’t allow yourself to be rushed into anything.

8. Make sure those closest to you are on board.

In conclusion, while it can be scary to become your own boss, using the suggestions I included in this article will go a long way in lessening your fears, and may even increase your chances of success.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Best Side Gigs to Make Money (Without Public Interaction)

BY MELANIE LOCKERT
From The Balance:

If you have an introverted personality, you might shy away from some jobs that require a lot of face time or public interaction.

There are numerous jobs and side gigs that are perfect for introverts, allowing you to make extra money without having to deal extensively with other people.

How much you make depends on what you’re selling and how much time you’re willing to put into it — this can be a side hustle to make you a little extra money​ or a full-time business that can make you thousands of dollars a month.

Also:

Are you an introverted small business owner? You are not alone: Networking and social gatherings
By Wayne Fowler
For the Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce

Friday, June 21, 2019

How Will Climate Change Impact the Supply Chain?

By Kristin Manganello
From ThomasNet

Although “climate” is often used interchangeably with “weather,” the two are related but different. “Weather” refers to day-to-day atmospheric conditions and precipitation, whereas “climate” refers to the larger pattern of weather. Earth’s climate system consists of five components: the atmosphere (air), the hydrosphere (all fresh and saltwater), the cryosphere (ice), the lithosphere (solid land), and the biosphere (all living plants and animals).

Although weather and natural disasters have always been unpredictable to a certain degree, climate change has made it more difficult to predict the timing and severity of these events. This means that managing supply chains has become more challenging on several fronts.

These recent events serve as a reminder that warehouses, roads, railroads, power plants, and other critical facilities are extremely susceptible to the elements. “Extreme weather events can have a catastrophic effect on the production and transit of goods, thanks to phenomena such as excess rainfall, drought, wildfire, heat waves, and drought, to name a few,” Jake Rheude, director of business development and marketing at Red Stag Fulfillment, told Thomas.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

WhatsApp Beats Instagram, Twitter Among US Hispanic Users

By Lucy Koch
From eMarketer

We estimate that more than half of the US Hispanic population will use messaging app WhatsApp at least monthly this year. The platform’s US Hispanic user base of 32 million is growing because of its data cost savings, messaging encryption capabilities and popularity in Latin American countries.

WhatsApp is more popular among US Hispanics than Instagram or Twitter, with those platforms seeing 34.3% and 21% user penetration, respectively. For greater context, that means there are 10 million more US Hispanics on WhatsApp than Instagram, and almost triple more than Twitter. 

Much of the platform’s popularity is driven by its high use in Latin American countries. Older US Hispanics who wish to communicate with friends and families in these countries can do so via the app. Younger people use the platform to stay in touch with relatives in the US and Latin America because of the easy-to-use interface.

Monday, June 17, 2019

A conversation about the future of work with Katie Burke

By Anna Auerbach
From LinkedIn


HubSpot was one of Werk’s earliest supporters, which put me in the orbit of Chief People Officer Katie Burke, who recently joined me the first installment of “Looking Forward.”

She shares my passion for flexibility solutions—even the kinds that don't make headlines or annual reports.

"Some of the most important work that we do is not measured in revenue but in the trips that aren't taken, in the hours and minutes that people get to spend at home with their loved ones, and in the trust that we build when we create space for people to have those types of connections with their families or with their lives or with things that matter most," she told me.

Millennials get a bad rap for demanding a lot of flexibility, but I think the reality is they just demanded what everyone in the workforce actually wants. Gen Z, millennials, Baby Boomers—I actually think everyone wants flexibility at work.

And so I think we'll continue to see that advance with Gen Z, which is to say, they don't necessarily just want flexibility when they become a parent or when they have a longer commute — they want it as part of their social contract with their employer. And I think, to be honest, they're going to ask for and demand for employers to be more amenable than we currently are on that front.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Shady Numbers And Bad Business: Inside The Esports Bubble

By Cecilia D'Anastasio
From Kotaku

The mainstream narrative of esports has been lovingly crafted by those who benefit from its success. There’s big money in esports, they say. You’ve heard the stories. Teenaged gamers flown overseas to sunny mansions with live-in chefs. The erection of $50 million arenas for Enders Game-esque sci-fi battles. League of Legends pros pulling down seven-figure salaries. Yet there’s a reason why these narratives are provocative enough to attract lip-licking headlines in business news and have accrued colossal amounts of venture capital. More and more, esports is looking like a bubble ready to pop.

“I feel like esports is almost running a Ponzi scheme at this point,” Frank Fields, Corsair’s sponsorship manager, told an audience at San Francisco’s Game Developers Conference last March. He smirked. The crowd laughed uncomfortably. The smile dropped from Fields’ face as he continued. “Everyone I talk to in this industry kind of acknowledges the fact that there is value in esports, but it is not nearly the value that is getting hyped these days.” Later, Fields would clarify that this value, and future value, “as of now, is optimistic at best and fraudulent at worst.”

Fields is not the only longtime esports veteran who is worried the industry is a bubble, or more accurately, an industry comprised of several bubbles. Seventeen other experts on the North American esports industry shared similar concerns with Kotaku, some describing it merely as “inflated” and others as “completely unsustainable.” Several spoke on the controversial topic because they love esports and want to see it succeed organically, in a sustainable way. There is, of course, a genuine love shared by thousands of people for playing games competitively. Right now, many who spoke to us for this story said, the stuff that makes the esports industry seem like a tantalizing investment rests on unsubstantiated claims—or blunt-force lies.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

How 'service with a smile' can lead to problem drinking

By Caitlin Mullen
From BizJournals

[Researchers'] findings? Heavier drinking after work is more likely for those who routinely fake smiles, seem happier than they are or suppress the urge to roll their eyes — called “surface acting” — while on the job.

It’s more than job stress that leads people to drink, researchers found. The more workers had to maintain control over negative emotions at work — suppressing their actual emotions in front of customers or the public — the less able they were to control their alcohol intake at the end of the day. In other words, they’ve exhausted self-control by the time they’re done with work.

It was most apparent in impulsive people whose jobs involve one-time service encounters with customers — like coffee shop baristas or call center employees — rather than workers like nurses or teachers, who build relationships with patients or students, the study, published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, discovered.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Empire Center Compiles Latest Census Population Data

From the Empire Center

Tables summarizing the latest Census Bureau population estimates for towns, cities, and villages in New York State have been posted in the Data section of the Empire Center’s website.

The tables are sortable by county, name of the locality, population totals, changes and rate of change. They can also be downloaded by users.

The tables are:
City and Village Population Change 2017-2018
City and Village Population Change 2010-2018
Town Population Change 2017-2018
Town Population Change 2010-2018

Monday, June 10, 2019

7 Small Businesses You Don't Want to Start

BY SUSAN WARD
From The Balance: Small Business

The title of this article is a bit misleading. These aren’t the absolutely worst ideas for starting businesses. They were fine ideas for starting a business in their day, as were film developing, video stores, dial-up internet services, and horse-drawn carriages.

But for some, that day is gone and these are no longer necessarily good choices. Some are no longer good choices because their potential markets have been saturated. You can still start a business in a saturated market, but if you do you’ll have to find a specific niche you can target and/or have especially strong skills.

For others, times have changed and no matter how talented you are or how much you love the idea are, your new business is unlikely to be profitable.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Mobile Web vs. Mobile App: Where Do Shoppers Spend Time and Money?

Article by Lucy Koch
From eMarketer:

In 2018, total worldwide app revenues grew 63% year over year, according to a March 2019 report from app commerce company Poq, based on data from the company's platform clients. Global time spent in shopping apps on Android devices grew to 18 billion hours in 2018, up 45% from two years prior, per a January 2019 report from app analytics platform App Annie.

In the US, mobile shopping sessions grew 70% from 2016. Amazon's app ranked third for number of active users per month across both iPhones and Androids in 2018. The ecommerce powerhouse was the only retailer to make the top 10 apps in the US, trailing Facebook and Facebook Messenger.

According to App Annie, time spent by US consumers in shopping apps and increasing digital sales had a strong positive correlation of 0.97 between Q1 2014 and Q3 2018—further exemplifying the importance of the user experience.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Valuation: Is Your Small Business as Priceless as You Think?

By Jim Moran
From Bplans
After spending years building your small business, it can be hard to quantify the time and energy you’ve poured into it and the sacrifices you’ve made to get where you are now. Your company probably seems priceless to you, but there inevitably will come a time when you must calculate precisely how much your business is worth.

The value of your company is subjective. Buyers and sellers don’t always agree on what’s valuable and what isn’t, which is why hiring a valuation consultant or a CPA who has experience valuing businesses is a good idea. That said, it’s not overly difficult to come up with a reasonable ballpark valuation on your own—you’ll just need to avoid some of the common misconceptions first-time sellers have.

In nearly every case, small businesses are bought and sold based on the cash flow they produce—with prices adjusted up or down to reflect other qualitative features. Rather than focusing only on cash flow, however, most intermediaries use a figure called “SDE,” or seller discretionary earnings, as the core data point of valuation.

Monday, June 03, 2019

Paper or Paperless, Consumers Want Convenient Coupons

Article by Lucy Koch
From eMarketing

From their mailboxes to their mobile phones, shoppers look for coupons everywhere, but convenience is a must.

For marketers, it’s important to provide consumers with discounts that are easy to find and use.

Consumers across the board use physical and digital coupons, according to the survey, but a deeper dive into shopper behavior reveals nuances.

Coupons—paper and paperless—are most popular among millennial parents (96%) and parents in general (95%). The general population of Gen Xers (93%) was close behind, followed by millennials (92%).

Younger shoppers are more likely to use paperless coupons, with 88% of millennials indicating use vs. 83% of Gen Xers and 64% of baby boomers.