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Business experts weigh in on the question: How do we move on from coronavirus and get back to work?

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Today we know every member of the workforce is extremely valuable because when we went home in March, everything fell apart.

The stock market (and our retirement savings), our incomes, companies, and a good slice of our dreams, at least in the short term. Not to mention our friends and family who suffered from the virus that has been the top of our minds.

But now that we see the end of the virus insight, what do we do?

People have different ideas.

Harvard Business Review recommends:

1 – Test every worker — Open the parking lots and make sure every person is well.

2 – Certify patients as ready to work (and not shedding virus.)

3 – Employers, retailers, restaurants, even friends, and neighbors insist on verification that each person is virus-free. Everyone maintains social distancing.

4 – States would optimize the plan.

Meanwhile, the Imperial College of London says stringent controls will be required to keep people safe.

They suggest: Impose social distancing every time admissions to intensive care units spike. Relax when they fall.

Their advice is to do this until a vaccine is discovered, possibly 18 months. So schools would close and social distancing practiced in two-month blocks, with one month off.

Meanwhile, until a vaccine is available, everyone mostly stays in quarantine, minimizing social contact.

Under this model, we just accept that restaurants, cafés, sports, gyms, theaters, malls cruises, and airlines basically shut down.

A dour existence in which we live the pandemic daily?

Not everyone is so downbeat.

Most observers think that mass testing is really the main requirement for getting back to work and social life.

In China, traffic jams and smog are back and sales of housing and cars are ticking upward, according to Foreign Policy.

One problem in China that is slowing a return to growth: People are not spending money, especially on big-ticket items. Maybe everyone everywhere is saving an emergency fund.

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Using social media to market

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When you think of Facebook or Instagram, it is not immediately clear that the gargantuan is local, not just global.

Every community has an online presence of citizens that use the website to communicate with their local friends and family, as well as out of town folks.

So a small business can successfully market to its regular customers online.

The key is getting people engaged and getting people to share information about products and services.

Some ideas:

– Announce new products with photos using local people and local locations.

– Put your unique product ideas out there.

– Ask questions that involve your product: Use local people in local pictures or just a good photo.

– Do a short video of your new take-out appetizer.

– Show how it’s made with a video.

– Post photos of your sales associates and delivery people.

– Show your products and services in connection with holiday and obscure special days.

– Create and announce virtual events.

– Have a photo contest.

– Create video tutorials.

– Parody other videos.

– Post inspirational videos.

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Small business responds to Covid crisis

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So, now what?

Their stores closed. The offices are vacant. Their income limited.

Small businesses had to answer the question of what they can do right now.

And, for the most part, they did.

About 92 percent of small business owners reinvented themselves, according to Small Biz Trends.

Digital technology was the answer to many small businesses.

– 58% created new online delivery channels.

– 40% created a new virtual service.

– 36% made a new offline delivery channel.

– 31% created a new product.

– 19% worked for a new customer group.

Small restaurateurs and stores selling unique goods all could have had a website presence, but many owners were too busy to make it happen before the coronavirus crisis. When lockdowns happened, they had to set those up.

Virtual services are not just for schools. Trainers, chefs, music teachers all have tried to involve local customers in virtual classes. While they might find new customers, the same services also find they compete with existing businesses online.

For some, new products have helped. Some small manufacturers began making the things most in demand: masks and sanitizers, for example. Breweries made sanitizer. Pillow companies made masks and medical scrubs.

For some, it has worked. Fifty-one percent of businesses that did a pivot say they have increased business against forecasts. But small businesses are still facing issues with skills and staffing for new skills, as well as a lack of money.

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How to hang on to your best employees

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If you own a business, you likely know that skilled and hard-working employees are an invaluable asset. Unfortunately, these employees are the ones most likely to be approached by your competitors with tempting offers. Here are a few tips to help you create a positive work environment that will make your staff want to stay.

Provide opportunities for advancement
Talented and ambitious employees are often driven by a desire to achieve their full potential. If their opportunities for growth dwindle, they may wonder if it’s time to seek a new challenge elsewhere. You should also consider paying staff to attend seminars and workshops. This shows that you’re invested in their professional development.

Take their ideas into consideration

If an employee approaches you with a strategy to improve the company’s services or productivity, listen to their proposal, and seriously weigh its merits. In addition to providing you with a fresh perspective, this shows your employees that their insights and opinions are valued. Another way to promote this type of open communication is to regularly ask the staff for their input.

Show your appreciation For a job well done
Taking the time to recognize an employee’s hard work and success is a simple way to boost their morale and strengthen their dedication to the company. While a simple thank you can suffice, consider rewarding employees who go above and beyond. You could give them tickets to an upcoming show, a bottle of wine, a meal from a local restaurant or a paid day off.

Finally, if you’re concerned that an employee isn’t satisfied, ask them what would make them happier. Oftentimes, a simple adjustment can make all the difference.

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Entrepreneur: John Paul DeJoria been there, done that, and now, billions shared

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John Paul DeJoria. Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

As a kid growing up in downtown Los Angeles in the 1950s, John Paul DeJoria didn’t really think times were tough.

The second son of an Italian immigrant father and Greek immigrant mother, DeJoria’s parents divorced in 1946 when he was two years old. Eight years later, he and his brother landed in a foster home.

After two years in the U.S. Navy, DeJoria got a job as a janitor. Then he peddled encyclopedias door-to-door. Next, he sold life insurance the same way.

After getting fired from an entry-level job with a hair company, DeJoria slept in his car while selling shampoo door-to-door until 1980, when he and Paul Mitchell took out a $700 loan to launch John Paul Mitchell Systems, Inc.

The idea was to sell their unique new shampoo to hairdressers only. According to CNBC, their shampoo required only one wash (saving time and money) and a conditioner that remained in the hair. The big deal about the conditioner was that while acting as a sculpting agent for the hairdresser, it also defended hair against the blow dryer’s heat and neutralized any chemicals on the hairdresser’s hands.

The shampoo took off like a rocket, and almost 40 years later John Paul Mitchell Systems remains one of the premier hair-care companies in the world.

Not long after their shampoo’s debut, Paul Mitchell died in 1989, and DeJoria took over the company. DeJoria and partner Martin Crowley acquired a stake in the Patron Spirits Company to develop what they said was the smoothest tequila ever. In 2018, they sold it to Bacardi for $5.1 billion.

Having been down and out so much of his life, DeJoria, now 76, relishes giving back. In 2011 he signed Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s pledge to give half his earnings to better the world. Today — with a net worth of $3.1 billion — John Paul DeJoria’s view of wealth is this: “Success not shared is failure.”

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3 recruitment mistakes to avoid

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If you have a position to fill at your company, implementing the right hiring strategy is key. Here are three mistakes to avoid during recruitment that could cost you considerable time and money.

1. Fast-tracking the process
Even if a position needs to be filled right away, you shouldn’t rush through recruitment. After all, if you hire the wrong person, you’ll have to start over. Plus, you’ll have wasted time training someone who wasn’t suited for the job. It’s far more efficient to schedule interviews with promising candidates and then properly assess their skills so you can make an informed decision.

2. Ignoring in-house talent

It’s possible that one of your current employees has the right qualifications for the open position. Plus, since they’re already familiar with the company culture, they’re likely to adapt to their new role quickly. If an employee shows potential, consider giving them the position.

3. Relying solely on interviews and CVs
A candidate might make a good impression during the interview but still be the wrong person for the job. Make sure to contact their references for more information about their ability to work under pressure or as part of a team. Similarly, it’s easy to embellish a CV, which is why an aptitude test is a more reliable way to assess someone’s qualifications.

In addition to saving you time and money, avoiding these mistakes will help you find the right candidate for the job.

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The key to fraud — printed right on your checks

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In a business checking account, a small charge of $10 to $20 might not generate too much concern or suspicion.

But, beware, small amounts coming out of your checking account can be a fraud, and all the criminal needs to know are printed right on your check.

Automated Clearing House (ACH) fraud is a common way to steal. The criminal only needs your account number and the bank routing number. It is like check fraud only much easier since the funds come right out of your bank account without the need for paper.

Be aware that any time you type in your checking account and routing number online you are offering a bad actor all he or she needs to steal from you, either in small amounts over time, or by gutting your account entirely.

Criminals get your checking account information through phony websites, phishing schemes, spoofed emails from entities such as the IRS, and even work at home schemes.

Or, if you send them a check. That’s all it takes.

Such fraudulent ACH transactions can be labeled many things, including “Bank Card draft” or “Bank payment” and seem legitimate at a glance.

Consumers have 60 days to alert their banks and recover funds, but businesses may only have one day to do the same. The key is daily monitoring of the account, reviewing all the credits and debits to detect fraud immediately.

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