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When not to share

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As we all learned in kindergarten, sharing is a wonderful thing. Unless you are sharing your cold.

According to a National Sanitation poll of more than 23,800 workers across North America and Europe, 75 percent go to work sick. About 20 percent of respondents said they always go to work when they’re ill, and 55 percent said they only take a sick day if their symptoms are severe. Just 25 percent said they stay home and either work from home (10 percent) or take the day off (15 percent.)

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the changes of getting sick in the next year are 5 percent to 20 percent.

Presumably the 20 percent is for people who get colds from others on the job.

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Business

Essential qualities every plumber needs

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Are you looking for an interesting career that doesn’t involve sitting behind a desk? If so, plumbing may be right for you. This trade provides job security and the opportunity to do something different every day. However, not everyone can become a plumber. Here are a few qualities needed to successfully practice this profession.

Strength
Plumbers need to be able to access awkward spaces, lift heavy objects and spend many consecutive hours on their feet. You don’t need to be a pro athlete to be a plumber, but you do need to be reasonably strong and fit.

Intelligence
Plumbers must be able to read, analyze and create plans quickly. They also need the ability to think critically and solve problems in order to efficiently complete each job. Furthermore, the best plumbers are interested in the newest plumbing technologies and products. These tradespeople should be curious and willing to continue learning over the course of their whole career.

People skills
Plumbing requires you to be around people all day. Whether you’re working on a job site with other tradespeople or in someone’s home, you need to be able to get along well with people and work as part of a team. And if you decide to start your own business, you’ll also need to be able to manage your employees.

If you think you have what it takes to become a plumber, contact your local trade school and find out how to start a new career in this field.

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Business

The “irreplaceable” employee

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“No one is irreplaceable” is a common phrase in business, especially in large corporations.

While everyone can be replaced, some employees would be painful to replace. Why? They’ve earned it.

According to Forbes.com, nearly-irreplaceable employees exceed what’s required of them. They know how to address an issue without long explanations. They respect the time of others and practice effective communication.

They listen, observe, understand relevant content, and act upon it. They anticipate the situation and know what to do about it.

They are trustworthy, accountable, and reliable. When his or her manager is out of the office, the irreplaceable employee not hesitant to take on significant responsibilities. They’re loyal.

They initiate new and better solutions. They make recommendations, ask questions, and are willing to help others. They’re upbeat, friendly, outgoing, and optimistic in hard-working, tense hours.

They quickly adapt to change. They don’t resist it and know there must be a good reason for it. They are problem solvers, not complainers. When they come with a problem, they bring their proposed solution.

They don’t need constant attention and motivation. They know what they do and how and why they do it. They know how to motivate their colleagues.

They embrace the big picture without specifically-detailed guidance. They don’t shy away from a new challenge. They’re fast learners and thinkers.

They have in-depth knowledge of the company, its products, processes, clients, and culture. When something new arrives, they can efficiently process it, apply the latest knowledge, and put it into effect.

They’re organized and efficient. They come to work because they want to, not because they have to. They’re the people who invest their time and potential each day to make the company successful.

That’s why they’re “irreplaceable.” Or nearly so.

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Business

Truck industry always needs drivers

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Trucks transport about 70 percent of all of the freight in the U.S., a $670 billion business and there is plenty of room for help.

Opportunities for drivers are everywhere, including at jobs with top companies, offering excellent money and sterling insurance and retirement benefits.

But, it is also a career that requires both skill and sacrifice.

In terms of skill, it’s not easy to become an expert in navigating a massive rig with an engine six times larger than a car and built for more than a million miles of nonstop running.

Both companies and private schools teach people how to handle rigs, but the demands of the road require experience and even knowledge of the trucks themselves.

To become a driver, you must be 18 years old to drive truck intrastate, 21 across state lines. A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is required to drive any vehicle carrying more than 26,000 pounds, hazardous materials, or oversized loads. To earn a CDL, you must produce a clean driving record, pass a written test, and a Department of Transportation physical.

You also must have good eyesight, hearing, regular use of arms and legs, and normal blood pressure. You can’t use medications affecting your ability to operate the vehicle safely, and employers are required to check their drivers for drug and alcohol use.

For all this, good drivers can earn well over $45,000 in their first year. With some companies, drivers earn over $70,000, according to Truck Driver Salary.

But, as with everything, there is sacrifice.

One of them is the driver’s work schedule. Drivers earning the highest salaries can be gone from 2 to 5 weeks at a time, a schedule that can strain home life, especially for families. Some companies offer guaranteed weekends off, although they probably don’t pay the kind of salary that over-the-road drivers make.

Not every driver is required to shower and sleep at truck stops, though many do. Some companies may offer hotel rooms to drivers.

There is a certain mystique to truck driving. It’s a hard life, but an interesting one that takes a driver to many unique places. Even with the advent of some driverless trucks, there are still plenty of openings in this industry.

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Business

The impact of target marketing in small business

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Target marketing, according to Inc., is collecting information to determine your ideal customers among those who also need and will pay for your product or service.

For these purposes, you need their age, gender, family size, education level, and occupation. To find out where they are, you need their zip codes, size of the area, its population, and climate.

How does your ideal customer decide to make a purchase? The answer helps you determine why they buy what you’re selling, how much of it they need, and how often they must buy it.

Most social media profiles for your business provide a free demographic breakdown of customers like yours. Zip Codes can furnish vast amounts of info from the U.S. Census Bureau.

If you’re currently in business, your sales data clearly show what your customers are buying, when, and their purchase prices, among other data. For the essential feedback, talk to them in person or on the phone, conduct a few customer surveys. You don’t need a ton of responses to acquire a pretty good sense of your customer base.

In addition to the basic demographics, these should be among the takeaways from your target customers:

Is the distance to your location a problem? Parking? Public Transportation? Do, or can you, deliver?

How do they make a living? Knowing what your primary customers do can help you adjust your hours to fit their needs or devise special offers. Having an idea of the money they can or are willing to spend can help with your pricing. With this kind of information, you can confirm some of your assumptions regarding your customers and dismiss others.

Practical target marketing is almost always beneficial. And genuine interaction with your patrons — plus giving them what they want — is almost always a pathway to loyalty and future growth.

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Why Facebook ads are often not profitable for small business

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The revenue of Facebook ads is ever-increasing, and small businesses are the reasons why.

But not all small businesses profit.

With 2.2 billion users every day, Facebook will easily surpass $4 billion in advertising this year. It has a global reach that promises highly-targeted audiences.

All this can be managed with a small dollar amount to begin if the audience is local.

Why, then, do 62 percent of small businesses not make any money with their Facebook ads?

The reason has four parts:
1 – Nature of Facebook
Facebook has become a friends, and family favorite and enabling conversation is Facebook’s first mission, according to Facebook itself. It is an after-work pleasure for most. The key idea is that people are taking a break from work or are at home when they are on Facebook. Something to remember.

2 – The service or product
Consumer items like clothes, decorations, games, and toys do sell on Facebook. Maybe this is because Facebook ads come to people when they are relaxed.

3 – Facebook targeting
Facebook’s targeting abilities are widely acclaimed. Yet, it is sometimes impossible to see whether your targeted ad hit the target. You might gets likes, comments, or shares, but many times you won’t get them from your actual audience. Why is this? Facebook claims that ads are shared. Yet, the person who shares is often not the target market. If your results are bad, change targeting, but you will probably never be able to confirm whether any portion of your ad hit your target.

Consumer products that appeal to nearly everyone work best. Service niches, product niches, just won’t work as well. Business products won’t work as well either, though some do.

4 – User skill
Still, if you want to buy Facebook, you must put in the time to become an expert in its targeting and ad styles.

An eye-catching meme-like ad with an offer usually will attract likes and shares, which expand your audience organically.

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Business

Book Review: The dark shadows of “The Four”

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According to serial entrepreneur and NYU business professor Scott Galloway, they’re The Four Horsemen of technology and digital media.

In his best-selling “The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google,” Galloway casts a harsh light on the dark features of their business models and impact on society.
He calls out Apple for its eagerness to become a luxury brand that maintains high prices for its devices.

Google, he writes, seeks the image of a public utility.

Amazon continues to devour the retail marketplace while leaving local shopping mails deserted if not already closed.

Facebook? According to Galloway’s book, it’s now “the world’s biggest seller of display advertising – an extraordinary achievement, given Google’s brilliant takeover of advertising revenues from traditional media just a few years ago.”

Indeed, Galloway foresees Google and Facebook ultimately in command of more advertising media spending than any two firms in history.

Less taxes
According to the book, from 2007 to 2015–when the average tax rate for the S&P 500 was 27 percent, The Four Horsemen paid much less.

Apple paid 17 percent of its profits in taxes, Google 16 percent, Amazon 13 percent, and Facebook 4 percent.

Meanwhile, the overall impact of The Big Four continues to alter the economy, impede the growth of innovation, and stifle competition. They don’t have many employees, but they do have millions to spend on D.C. lobbyists.

Nevertheless, Galloway believes the breakup of Big Tech will occur because “We’re capitalists.”

This book is a worthy read, especially for those in or starting a new business competing with even a segment of The Four.

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Upcoming Events

Jan
18
Sat
11:00 am Kooky Chefs Cook the World @ Samuels Public Library
Kooky Chefs Cook the World @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 18 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Kooky Chefs Cook the World @ Samuels Public Library
Alaska. What do people eat in the snowy, frozen state of Alaska? Come to Kooky Chefs to find out and help prepare some Alaskan dishes. For ages 8 and up. Registration begins December 18.
12:00 pm Peter Muhlenberg Commemoration @ The Historic Court House in Woodstock
Peter Muhlenberg Commemoration @ The Historic Court House in Woodstock
Jan 18 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Peter Muhlenberg Commemoration @ The Historic Court House in Woodstock
Program Moderator: The Rt. Rev. Larry W. Johnson Call to Order: Larry Johnson Posting of the Colors: James Wood II Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution Color Guard Pledge of Alliance: Dale Carpenter,[...]
3:00 pm Open a Book @ Samuels Public Library
Open a Book @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 18 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Open a Book @ Samuels Public Library
The award-winning team at Rainbow Puppets has created a new musical review that shares the joy of reading through music, dance, puppetry, and story-telling. It’s a travelling early reading program designed around our new children’s book. And thanks[...]
Jan
20
Mon
9:00 am Martin Luther King Prayer Breakfast @ Esbie Baptist Church
Martin Luther King Prayer Breakfast @ Esbie Baptist Church
Jan 20 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Martin Luther King Prayer Breakfast @ Esbie Baptist Church
Monday, January 20, 2020, starting at 9:00am, Esbie Baptist Church will be having their annual MLK Prayer Breakfast. The speaker of the hour will be Rev. Dr. Donald Reid, Pastor of Mt. Parah Baptist Church[...]
Jan
21
Tue
2:30 pm Inspiring speaker Rodney Smith t... @ Boggs Chapel at Randolph-Macon Academy
Inspiring speaker Rodney Smith t... @ Boggs Chapel at Randolph-Macon Academy
Jan 21 @ 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Inspiring speaker Rodney Smith to visit R-MA @ Boggs Chapel at Randolph-Macon Academy
On Tuesday, January 21st, at 2:30 pm, in Boggs Chapel at Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA), the public is invited to be inspired by Rodney Smith, a man who has chosen to make a difference in the[...]
4:30 pm Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 21 @ 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Children will explore popular books and book series through S.T.E.M. activities, games, food, and more! Tuesday, January 7 – Based on books about Balto, we will learn more about service dogs this week. For ages[...]
Jan
22
Wed
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 22 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, December 18 and Thursday, December 19: Something we all enjoy this time of year is giving and receiving gifts. Our stories, songs, and craft will[...]
Jan
23
Thu
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 23 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, December 18 and Thursday, December 19: Something we all enjoy this time of year is giving and receiving gifts. Our stories, songs, and craft will[...]
Jan
24
Fri
9:00 am Veterans Services Meeting at Abl... @ Able Forces
Veterans Services Meeting at Abl... @ Able Forces
Jan 24 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Veterans Services Meeting at Able Forces @ Able Forces
Able Forces Foundation will once again be hosting a visit by Andre Miller, Resource Specialist, Virginia Veteran and Family Support, Department of Veteran Services, Commonwealth of Virginia, and Danielle Cullers, Homeless Veteran Advocate-Volunteers of America[...]
Jan
25
Sat
11:00 am Goldilocks and the Three Bears @ Samuels Public Library
Goldilocks and the Three Bears @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 25 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Goldilocks and the Three Bears @ Samuels Public Library
A Story Ballet. Join us in a celebration of classic literature through dance! The whole family will enjoy this ballet performance, presented by the Northern Virginia Academy of Ballet.