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Small Factories Embrace Automation Because They Can’t Find Enough People

Robotic arms on display.

If you look up at the night sky and happen upon some little lights on the move it might be a shooting star. Likely it is not a UFO.

The better bet, of course, is that the lights belong to an airplane. And the odds are very high they come from Astronics Luminescent Systems Inc (LSI).

These ingeniously designed, extra-durable LED exterior lights are made at Astronics LSI’s flagship factory in East Aurora, New York, a suburb of Buffalo. The facility, utterly nondescript from the outside, though a sprawling, bustling workshop inside, employs 300 mostly blue-collar workers.

With its motto of “innovation at 30,000 feet,” Astronics LSI is well-known in the industry for aircraft lighting. It’s also a major supplier of cockpit instrument panels. The company’s hundreds of products are subjected to rigorous quality control measures as dictated by the Federal Aviation Administration. Cockpit lights need to be bright, but not too bright. And they can’t ever suddenly go out.

Image result for small industry big size gif advertisementsDemand is usually sky high with new jet fleets being rolled out regularly. Astronics products are custom-crafted. They are tested and re-tested. Nothing is rushed.

Still, the company is eager to ramp up production. And they would, too. If only they could hire more people.

“It’s been a continual challenge for us,” Astronics CFO David Burney said. “We can’t find enough qualified workers.”

The company needs machinists and engineers and assemblers – careful, not easily distracted people who like working with their hands.

Astronics is not alone.

The National Association of Manufacturers has sounded an alarm, estimating some 2.4 million manufacturing jobs could go unfilled by 2028 due to labor shortages.

Somewhere along the line, over the past several generations, high school shop courses fell out of favor as communities steered their youths toward college degrees tied to white-collar work. New forces are at now reshaping the labor market.

Automation, as well as AI technology that takes robotics closer to sci-fi levels, has and will continue to reconfigure work as humans have known it. At risk, it seems, are people who weld, fabricate, mill, join, lathe, wire, cut, hoist, assemble, package and load stuff.

“AI could affect work in virtually every occupational group,” said the Brookings Institute in a new report. And while manufacturing and production workers will be among the most affected, white-collar workers are seen as equally vulnerable.

Most big companies, such as those in the automotive industry, already have become mostly automated; smaller companies, not so much.

Robotic arms have become nimbler, safer and less expensive. It has never made more sense for so-called “SMEs” (small and medium-sized enterprises) to automate.

Image result for small industry big size gif advertisements

Advanced manufacturing has a chance to transform smaller manufacturers like Astronics, and hundreds of others like them in the Western New York region.

Written off by some as a rust-belt relic, Buffalo tried to reinvent itself during the 1980s and ‘90s as more of a white-collar hub. But its blue-collar roots run deep, going back to the early part of the nineteenth century.

The first waves of Irish immigrants, many of whom helped build the Erie Canal, found work unloading grain shipments from eastbound lake freighters hauling barley, wheat and rye across Lake Michigan, by way of the Detroit River, to Buffalo. In the latter part of the 19th century, that task was automated. Grain elevators (buckets fastened to steam-powered conveyor belts) may have displaced some Irishmen (who became “scoopers,” going down into hulls to shovel the corner piles that the buckets couldn’t snag) and, as more Irish (and German and Polish and Jewish and Italian and black Southerners) poured into Buffalo, they found abundant employment. Bethlehem Steel and Curtiss-Wright and GM and Ford plants at one time all ranked among the most productive manufacturing sites on the planet.

By the 1970s, most of the large manufacturers were gone, leaving behind empty, too-massive-to-knock down facilities most of which still stand today like “the ruins of a manufacturing empire,” as one local business leader has said.

In 2014, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, through his Buffalo Billion initiative, opened Buffalo Manufacturing Works. It runs an ambitious nonprofit program to help revitalize the area’s manufacturing base through technology, including robotics and also additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing.

Related imageBuffalo Manufacturing Works (and don’t ever call them “BMW” if only because the German multinational has that trademarked) was born of a vision by state and local leaders to reinvigorate the city’s manufacturing base. Because Buffalo had few, if any, automation consultants and no real robotics industry of which to speak, the state partnered with Columbus, Ohio-based technology innovator EWI.

For more than three decades, EWI has been providing advanced manufacturing support to companies across the rust belt and throughout the country. Expanding on what EWI has done in Ohio, Buffalo Manufacturing Works serves as a central resource for Western New York manufacturers as they tip-toe toward innovation, including automation.

The Buffalo area is still home to more than a dozen large manufacturers, including Moog, Sumitomo Rubber, Fisher-Price/Mattel and Dresser-Rand. Two GM plants still make engines here. And there is a Ford stamping plant.

Tesla’s controversial factory in South Buffalo, originally SolarCity, employs about 300 people making energy storage products for electric cars. Panasonic Corp, which makes solar panels, has about 400 employees. Whether the Tesla-Panasonic partnership creates hundreds more jobs remains to be seen. (Based on the amount of subsidies provided, New York State believes it will).

Despite the dramatic reduction of large manufacturers over the decades, there are roughly 1,600 small- and medium-sized factories based in Western New York (a region also often dubbed Buffalo/Niagara) still making stuff – aircraft lights and radio antennas and countless other items. Mostly we are talking about small parts and components of other products. To stay competitive, these small companies, many of them run like family businesses, will need to invest in the future.

“Only about 20% of the small factories in the Buffalo area have some form of automation,” said Mike Garman, Senior Engineer-Automation, Buffalo Manufacturing Works. “The rest are just starting out down this road. A lot of these companies know they need to automate but putting in a robotic arm? That’s overwhelming to them – they don’t know where to begin.”

If Buffalo is ever to regain past manufacturing glory, the companies calling it home might have no choice but to automate.

“We project more than 20,000 advanced manufacturing job openings in Western New York in the next 10 years,” said Stephen Tucker, President and CEO of the Northland Workforce Training Center, another key player in the region’s advanced manufacturing initiative. The openings owe to an aging workforce and pending retirements, Tucker added.

“[The training center] is working to prepare local residents with 21st century technical skills necessary to fill those jobs,” he said.

Related imageAbout a 15-minute drive north from Astronics’ East Aurora factory is one of Buffalo’s best-known suburbs, Orchard Park, home of the NFL’s Bills.

In a bland corporate complex, not that much more than a Josh Allen deep ball away from New Era Field, is a company called STI-CO. They make mobile radio antenna systems. STI-CO’s customers include law enforcement agencies and the military which need customized covert equipment. The U.S. Department of Defense uses the company’s products to outfit low-profile overseas operations and in natural disasters.

Additionally, STI-CO engineers antenna systems for freight and passenger railroads that communicate critical Positive Train Control data such as how fast a train is moving and if it needs to be remotely controlled to slow down.

“We recognize that we need to automate and have allocated the resources to do it,” said CEO Kyle Swiat, whose late father, Robert Kaiser, a machinist, founded the company in 1967. “But we are involving all of our people in the conversation.”

They’ve added CNC machines and a 3-D printer to speed up processes.

“Our employees are excited about the technologies,” she said. “They want to see the company invest in future growth.”

Today, STI-CO produces hundreds of products and is keen to stay competitive in a global market. That means exploring alternatives, including, eventually, robotics.

She also confirmed the challenge of finding qualified, reliable workers and sees automation as inevitable and a win for her 45 employees.

“This is a family,” she said. “Even if we could automate the whole operation we wouldn’t ever do that because we believe that people still make the difference.”

One of the worst jobs at the STI-CO plant had been the dreaded taping and labeling detail. Each set of antennas come with sets of color-coded wires (like when you hook up a stereo). STI-CO’s process for packaging and marking the wires not only was tedious but woefully inefficient i.e. done in an outdated manner the way they’ve always done it – by hand.

So in something of a baby step into the future, STI-CO, about ten months ago, invested in a computer-enabled system. While not a robot, the creatively engineered set-up was a modern machine that took on the bundling and labeling tasks previously done by humans, freeing up those workers to focus more on quality control.

“When a company looks to automate, the first project should be an easy win,” Garman said.

Simply automating for the sake of automating, without fully thinking it through, creates more headaches, not less, he warns; a robot deployed without a clear problem to solve is just “a hammer in search of nail,” Garman explains. “We always say, ‘start slow, start small and keep it simple’ and then move from there to something more ambitious.”

As far as its first foray into actual robots, STI-CO is still coming up the curve with help from Garman and the team at Buffalo Manufacturing Works, as well as from a host of robotics industry people: advisory professionals; robotic arm distributors; systems integrators and consultants. These firms form a village of advanced manufacturing enablers supporting smaller factories in their efforts to automate more activities.

In the next installment, we’ll take a deeper dive into this robotics ecosystem and the work they are doing to reboot the Buffalo area.

(Part two of this three-part series will run tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 27.)

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

I’ve covered Wall Street for nearly 25 years, focused mainly on asset management, working for publications such as ABCNews.com, Trader Monthly and Institutional Investor. Lately, writing as a freelancer, I’ve been focusing on machine learning and automation. I am also the author of three nonfiction books, including “The Day Donny Herbert Woke Up,” currently being adapted into a motion picture. I do NOT have a podcast.

Source: Small Factories Embrace Automation – Because They Can’t Find Enough People

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B2B eCommerce: Here’s What Every B2B Company Needs to Know

B2B customers need seamless user experiences and top-notch branding just like B2C customers.

B2B eCommerce, when compared to the B2C industry, is projected to be two times bigger than B2C in 2020. In fact, it’s anticipated to be the area of largest eCommerce growth from 2020 to 2025.

That means BIG things for B2B marketing are on the horizon.

Merit claims that 73 percent of B2B buyers today are Millennials, who prefer buying online—this is a large part of why B2B eCommerce growth has occurred at such lightning speed.

According to the latest publication from Meticulous Research, the global e-commerce market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.1 percent from 2018 to 2025, reaching $24,265.12 billion by 2025.

This can be attributed to factors including:

  • Rising mobile and internet penetration
  • Technological advances such as big data and cloud-based e-commerce platforms
  • Advanced shipping and payment options
  • Rise in disposable incomes.

The Push for Amazon Businessmazon Business is the B2B marketplace on Amazon, providing business customers with the pricing, selection, and convenience of Amazon, with features and benefits designed for businesses of all sizes.

It’s designed to make purchasing easy and cost-effective by combining Amazon’s familiar one-stop shopping with quantity discounts, price comparisons, approval workflows, and multi-user accounts.

Its competitive annual membership program means that, similar to Prime members, Amazon Business members get perks including free two-day shipping. It also includes business-tailored features, such as multi-user business accounts, approval workflow, payment solutions, tax exemptions, dedicated customer support, and more.

Install WooCommerce

How B2B Brands Build Relationships with Clients and UsersAs retailers become more selective in choosing the brands they want to carry, B2B sites must give brands the platform to not only sell the products they offer but promote the image they’ve built.

So how can you engage the majority of consumers—whether B2B or B2C—with a straightforward marketing strategy? Here are five steps to take which, if implemented over time and with consistency, can help you reach success.

1. Create A Blog About Your Niche

Your eCommerce store is for other business people. They want information that will help them make rational decisions. When you create a blog for your niche, you’re supporting your community while also gaining valuable SEO.

2. High-Quality Backlinks: Reach Out To Develop B2B Connections And Content

Backlinks, or links from other pages leading back to your website, help build your web page’s authority within your domain. They’re also an excellent B2B marketing strategy for eCommerce pages.

3. Establish an E-Commerce SEO Strategy For Your B2B eCommerce Store: Optimize Your URLs

This is a key part of telling both humans and search engines what to expect to find on the page. Good URLs are related to the page they represent, and are essential for good user metrics.

4. Improve Site Speed: B2B Clients Get Impatient Too

People hate to wait for an eCommerce page to load. Whether you’ve got a B2C or B2B page, you need to do everything you can to deliver a speedy experience—otherwise, you’ll be losing business by the second.

5. Set Goals For Your B2B Ecommerce Site And Track With Analytics

Install Required Plugins

On average, B2B clients do more research than B2B consumers because they are making business decisions. Understand what your clients need and offer them the services that will make finding business opportunities easier for them.

Learn to Support Brands in B2B EcommerceEven in B2B, your brand matters! You’ve got to act like a B2C while operating as a B2B in order to generate demand, build better relationships, and ultimately drive sales. Here are four key branding factors to consider that B2B often forget.

  1. Constant Consumer Communication

Manufacture demand by communicating all the time, not just in high season for your industry or high buying times in the calendar year. This includes utilizing all social media channels and keeping them updated with fresh content.

  1. User Experience

Oftentimes, B2B sites don’t consider their user experience a high priority, which can affect how often retailers frequent and use their portal. Just as consumers prefer websites with engaging content, graphics, and character, online ordering portals can and should offer more than just utilitarian lists of SKUs.

  1. Optimize for Mobile

Millennials are picking up the B2B eCommerce market and want it on the go. B2C sites recognize this and are constantly optimizing their websites across desktop, tablet, and mobile. This should be no different for B2B sites.

  1. Brand Story

Provide the same ability for buyers to learn about brands. Enabling brands to share their stories is a crucial part of the wholesale process, both for selling to new buyers and strengthening relationships with existing buyers.

Top B2B Platforms, Technologies, and FunctionalitiesSelecting a shopping platform is the foundation of any eCommerce business operation. Most of the leading platforms are not industry-specific, and all of them competently provide core shopping cart, payment, shipping, and store management features.

For B2B, choosing the right eCommerce platform is not a decision to be taken lightly.

Some big names are always popping up like Magento, Shopify, Enterprise, and BigCommerce. When looking at the array of options, it is important to ask yourself if they have the following:

  • Mobile Compatibility—More and more B2B decision-makers are using their mobile devices to search for solutions. Not being mobile-friendly can prove costly today.
  • Compliance—The platform should be able to accommodate GDPR, ADA, and other mandatory user privacy and accessibility guidelines that are in effect today.
  • B2B eCommerce Functionality—Your B2B eCommerce platform should ideally have b2b eCommerce functionality features directed at B2B buyers like bulk ordering and pricing, account management, and multiple shipping/payment capabilities.
  • Optimal User Experience—The user should have a customizable marketplace template to choose from to create an intuitive and user-friendly experience.
  • 24/7 Availability—Unlike the traditional method where clients need to wait for your response, eCommerce platforms are always open for business.
  • Marketing functionality—With more and more online searches being made via web and mobile, SEO-optimized eCommerce platforms boost your visibility.
  • Automation and Machine Learning—Humans are error-prone. Automated platforms offer a consistent solution.
  • Customer Communications—Not only does the client get an instant response, but he can also select their desired product/s with just a few clicks.

The predominance of B2B eCommerce means that B2B businesses must improve and simplify their shopping journey, channeling the B2C ordering experience. However, the B2B shopping experience is a lot more complicated than that of a B2C customer.

Install WooCommerce

Because of the nature of the transaction, B2B buyers usually need to go through various steps, including sales representative interaction, negotiations, and approvals before they can make a successful purchase.

That’s why it’s crucial for B2B eCommerce businesses to provide a more seamless transaction, building in advanced functionality to their sites for quote management, price negotiation, easy ordering, and inventory management.

Consider hiring the right experts to manage your platforms as B2Bs have enough to consider with running their businesses. Custom programming, development, and functionality require consistent and careful planning, strategy, and great execution.

There are even companies that create custom functionality projects for any eCommerce platform such as Volusion, Bigcommerce, Shopify, 3DCart, Americommerce, Magento, Netsuite, Ecwid, Bigcartel, Zencart, Virtuemart, Prestashop, CoreCommerce, WooCommerce, WordPress, OSCommerce, Infusionsoft, Podio and X-Cart.

If you’ve been told that a certain functionality is not possible, it’s worth getting a second opinion. Even for mobile, your eCommerce store needs to in top shape to convert the sale. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be ready for the next wave of B2B eCommerce growth opportunities.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

Shama Hyder is a visionary strategist for the digital age, a web and TV personality, a bestselling author, and the award-winning CEO of Zen Media – a b2b communications firm. She has been named the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by FastCompany.com. Shama has also been honored at both the White House and The United Nations as one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs in the country.

Shama is the bestselling author of The Zen of Social Media Marketing, now in its 4th edition and Momentum: How to Propel Your Marketing and Transform Your Brand in the Digital Age. An acclaimed keynote speaker, Shama has delivered keynotes in over 20 countries and spoken for recognized brands including Movado, Chase, Tupperware and Inc 5000.

As a result of her success, Shama has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Technology Titan Emerging Company CEO award. She was named one of the “Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25” by Business Week in 2009, one of the “Top 30 Under 30” Entrepreneurs in America in 2014 by Inc. Magazine, and to the Forbes “30 Under 30” list of movers and shakers for 2015. LinkedIn has named Hyder one of their “Top Voices” in Marketing & Social Media for four years in a row. Her online videos were awarded the “Hermes Gold award for Educational Programming in Electronic Media” and most recently she was given the “Global Empowerment award for Marketing and Technology” by Anokhi Media.

As the CEO of Zen Media, she and her team help b2b companies succeed in the digital age

Source: B2B eCommerce: Here’s What Every B2B Company Needs to Know

Adding Product

Eurotas comes with several shortcodes which can be used to display your content. To use our shortcodes, you go to page editor and change to Visual Composer canvas. Click on the Add Element button to open Visual Composer elements list and change to Theme-Sky tab.

  1. Adding a product on sale and a deal:
    • With the Simple Product, you select General tab. You add a Sale Price and click the Schedule button to set up date.
    • With the Variable Product, after setting up Product Attributes in the Attributes tab, you can go to the Variations tab and add New Variation. With each Variation Product, you also click the Schedule button next to the Sale Price field. Please note that product only displays the time of first Variation Product.
  2. Adding Additional Information: You go to the Shipping tab. You set value of Weight and Dimensions options. You can change the unit by going to WooCommerce > Settings > Products tab
  3. Enable/Disable Product Review: You go to the Advanced tab. You will see Enable reviews option. Just check/uncheck it.
  4. The WooW works well with Visual Composer, the popular drag and drop page builder plugin with intuitive interface to build your content at ease. If you plan to use Visual Composer Plugin for your site, check out these source.

60+ Small Business Statistics That You Can’t Afford to Ignore & Top 10 Website Hosting

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for 99.9% of the business population in the U.K. This totals around 5.9 million businesses.

Transforming your dream into reality by starting up a new small business can be both exciting and challenging. However, it’s entirely possible to do but requires some knowledge about what and how small businesses succeed.

Familiarising yourself with recent trends is a great starting point. We’ve put together these small business statistics, including the latest trends in 2019 just for you.

Facts & Statistics

  • Small and medium enterprises represent more than 90% of the business population
  • It is estimated that there are up to 445 million micro and small and medium enterprises in emerging markets around the world
  • 99% of all businesses in the European Union are classified as SMEs
  • 96.4% of manufacturing exporters in the US are SMEs
  • There are currently 30.2 million small businesses in the U.S.
  • 75.3% of private-sector employers are micro-businesses or those with less than ten employees
  • 69% of American entrepreneurs start their businesses at home, and 59% of businesses continue to be home-based even after three years of operation
  • The fastest-growing small business industries in 2018 (with the most number of startups) were business services and food/restaurant tied at 11%
  • The majority of small business owners are over the age of 50, a fourth is in the 40-49 age range, and the rest are between 18 to 39 years old

U.K. Small Businesses

  • There were 5.8 million small businesses at the start of 2019
  • SMEs account for 60% of the employment and around half of turnover in the UK private sector
  • In 2019, there were estimated to be 5.9 million UK private sector businesses
  • 1.4 million of these had employees and 4.5 million had no employees
  • Wholesale and Retail Trade and Repair accounted for 14% of all SME employment
  • London (1.1 million) and the South East (940,000) had the most private sector businesses, accounting for 35% of the UK business population
  • Nearly 1/5 of all SMEs were operating in Construction
  • Between 2018 and 2019, the total business population grew by 3.5%
  • Turnover in 2018 was estimated at £2.2 trillion for SMEs
  • It takes roughly 13 days to start a small business in UK and Ireland

U.S. Small Businesses

  • On average, it takes 6 days to start a small business in the U.S.
  • 56% of small businesses think finding great talent is their biggest challenge
  • 37% of business owners offer higher salaries to make their business more appealing
  • 26% of people say their biggest motivation to start a small business is to be their own boss
  • In 2018, there was a 34% increase in health, beauty, and fitness industries
  • 73% of small business owners are male
  • Only 26% of small business owners have a college degree

Small Business Growth

  • Each month an average of 543,000 new businesses are started
  • As of 2018, 99.9% of US businesses are small businesses
  • Small businesses employ more than 47.5% of the private workforce in the US
  • Businesses with less than ten employees are the most common, accounting for 75.3% of all private-sector employers
  • 50% of small businesses survive five years or more
  • The Small Business Association has stated that only 30% of newly founded businesses are likely to fail within the first two years
  • 66% of small businesses will survive throughout the first ten years
  • Every year 1 in 12 businesses closes
  • 4 out of 100 businesses survive past the 10-year mark
  • 82% of companies fail because of cash flow problems
  • 50% of small businesses are home-based
  • 60.1% of firms are without paid employees
  • 81% of small business owners work nights
  • 70% of small business owners said they work more than 40 hours a week with 19% working over 60 hours
  • 86.3% of small business owners take less than $100,000 a year
  • Technology, health, and energy are the most popular industries to start a small business in
  • Real estate, retail, and hospitality are also among the industries that are set to have the most substantial growth in jobs in the future

Small Business Financials

  • In 2018, the average SBA loan was $417,314
  • 26.9% of small business loans get approved
  • 12% of employer firms and one-third of non-employer firms use no startup capital whatsoever.
  • The average amount of small business starting capital is $80,000 a year
  • 1/3 of small businesses are founded with up to $5,000 of startup capital

Women-owned Small Businesses

  • In the U.S., 12.3 million businesses are owned by women
  • In 2018, 207,900 of women-led businesses (1.7%) generated more than $1 million
  • 17% of all women-led businesses are Latinas
  • 48% of women business owners are between the 45-65 age range
  • 31% are age 25-44

Small Business Marketing

  • 70-80% of people research a small business before visiting or making a purchase from them
  • 64% of small businesses have a website
  • 61% of small businesses invest in social media marketing
  • 39% of small businesses use email marketing
  • Nearly 50% of small businesses spend $10,000 or less on digital marketing each year
  • 80% of small businesses don’t use content marketing
  • 89% of small business owners believe that using SEO helps drive business
  • 92% of small business owners think that having a website is the most effective digital marketing strategy
  • 10% of small businesses engage in AR and VR technology for digital marketing

References

https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/smefinance

https://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/16-surprising-small-business-statistics-infographic-190434232.html

https://ec.europa.eu/growth/smes/business-friendly-environment/sme-definition_en

https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/advocacy/2018-Small-Business-Profiles-US.pdf

https://sbecouncil.org/about-us/facts-and-data/

https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/advocacy/2018-Small-Business-Profiles-US.pdf

https://smallbiztrends.com/2013/07/home-based-businesses-startup.html

https://www.guidantfinancial.com/small-business-trends/

https://www.bluecorona.com/blog/29-small-business-digital-marketing-statistics

https://www.valuepenguin.com/average-small-business-loan-amount

https://www.biz2credit.com/small-business-lending-index/november-2018

https://www.wbenc.org/blog-posts/2018/10/10/behind-the-numbers-the-state-of-women-owned-businesses-in-2018

https://about.americanexpress.com/files/doc_library/file/2018-state-of-women-owned-businesses-report.pdf

https://www.merchantsavvy.co.uk/uk-sme-data-stats-charts/

By: Anna Foster

Source: 60+ Small Business Statistics (That you Can’t Afford to Ignore) – Top 10 Website Hosting

44.5K subscribers
►Bluehost – https://tinyurl.com/y4gqmko9 ►SiteGround – https://tinyurl.com/y2pgzajn ►Flywheel – https://share.getf.ly/d26a9l ►DreamHost – https://tinyurl.com/y5cd3ock ►HostGator – https://tinyurl.com/yxakdnbo We have just laid out the six best web hosting services available right now. BlueHost is first on our list and offers a very respectable uptime record as well as a variety of hosting plans. It also gives you cPanel to make managing your site easier. Next up we have SiteGround, which has servers all over the world and a 99.9% uptime record. It is a great choice if you are an online merchant in need of hosting services. Flywheel is another great hosting service. They have an outstanding reputation and offer customizable plan configurations, so you get exactly what you need. DreamHost is another excellent hosting choice. You can easily build a new website with their proprietary site builder tool, and you definitely get your money’s worth overall. GreenGeeks is the best choice for those who want an eco-friendly hosting solution. They only use renewable energy, and their customer support is top rate. HostGator is last on our list, but it’s definitely not least. This hosting company is highly reliable and offers an impressive 45-day money back guarantee. It is a great choice if you are looking for a dependable web host with scalable options that will grow with your website. ============================================= → Disclaimer Portions of footage found in this video is not original content produced by Too Much Tech. Portions of stock footage of products was gathered from multiple sources including, manufactures, fellow creators and various other sources.

This Scientist and Entrepreneur Proves You Don’t Need to Study Business to Succeed in It

Owning and running a company is no small task. It’s a difficult, stressful, never-ending process that actually gets more complex as you find success. It’s hard enough for people who specifically studied business in school. And for those who didn’t study business, the challenge is even more daunting. When so many former business students fail, it must frequently feel overwhelming for students of other disciplines.

YPO member Yi Li isn’t afraid of a challenge. A lifelong lover of science, she braved a new country and different culture when she left China to pursue her PhD in physics on a full scholarship at Louisiana State University. As she studied energy storage, battery technology and management, and charge control, she realized she had the makings of a great alternative energy company.

Li wasn’t hindered by her lack of business experience–in fact, she started her solar power company in her apartment while she was still a student. Today, Li is the president and CEO of Renogy Solar, which manufactures and sells a wide range of solar-powered products. Renogy was certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council and earned a spot on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies. The company has also won several bronze- and gold-level awards from the Golden Bridge Awards, and was included on the Fastest-Growing Women-Owned Company list released by the Women Presidents’ Organization.

On an episode of my podcast 10 Minute Tips from the Top, Li shared her advice to non-business people starting a company:

1. Don’t be intimidated

Li didn’t have a business background, but she didn’t let that stop her from founding her own company. “I didn’t have any background or experience or education about running a business, or even financial experience or knowledge. I’d never thought about those difficulties,” she recalls. When she began, it certainly wasn’t all smooth sailing. “I definitely went through a lot of difficulties and challenges, but every time I saw challenges, I thought about my passion. I thought about my purpose.

If that’s my goal, forget about how I feel how difficult it is. Just try to find a solution,” she asserts. Li is also not afraid to admit what she doesn’t know. “If I see I lack knowledge [in a particular area], I’ll get a book or take online classes. I’m really a self-learner, so I learned all that stuff by myself,” she explains. Don’t let your own self-doubt get in the way of pursuing something great.

2. Don’t feel compelled to follow all the rules

While she acknowledges the difficulties inherent in starting a company without a business background, Li also believes there may be some benefit in not being tied to one philosophy. “You need to think outside the box,” she argues. “Don’t follow too many old-school type, book, education principles. Even if it’s a lot of good experience, it may not apply to you.” She encourages entrepreneurs to find their own path. “You can learn, but try to develop something that is unique to you,” she says.

Li believes she has a good example in Jack Ma of Alibaba. “He didn’t have all the necessary professional skills when he started the business–he was a teacher,” Li explains. “When he started the business, not everybody believed his dream. But he ignored all of the voices. If he decided to do something, he was very, very determined.” Ma and Li aren’t afraid to follow their instincts.

3. Be frugal

Li is very blunt about this: “You need to run a business frugally,” she emphasizes. The challenge, of course, is that talent can be expensive. Thankfully, she’s found a way to compensate for that. “My employees truly believe in what we’re doing,” she beams. “We’re still a startup, and we’re not paying as high compared to a lot of Fortune 500 companies,” she admits, but her company is about more than dollars and cents.

“I look for people who truly want to develop themselves, because they’re not here just for the paycheck. We instill a passion and a dream into our employees’ minds. That’s how I recruit people.”

4. Believe in it

Do what you love! It’s exactly what led Li down the path from science to entrepreneurship. “I truly want to be a scientist. I really love physics. What I studied was superconductivity and semiconductor materials. And one of my projects was related to alternative energy studies. So there I saw my passion taking form,” she fondly recalls. Whatever your calling, follow what brings you joy. “I truly believe you have to be a passionate person and do what you truly want to do,” Li states.

It doesn’t mean it will be easy. She explains, “You cannot just do this for money. You have to do this for love. Otherwise, you cannot deal with all of the obstacles you’ll face.” For Li, her mission is clear: “I really think a sustainable future is something we should all work for and fight for,” she says. Wherever your passion lies, pursue happiness.

On Fridays, Kevin explores industry trends, professional development, best practices, and other leadership topics with CEOs from around the world.

By Kevin DaumInc. 500 entrepreneur and best-selling author

Source: This Scientist and Entrepreneur Proves You Don’t Need to Study Business to Succeed in It

558K subscribers
Start Your Own Business by Writing Business Plan. How to write a successful business plan for successful startups. Step By Step – How to write a business plan an effectively for starting your own business. Watch 11 Elements of Sample Business Plan – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1b0_… TOP 10 TIPS Before Starting Your OWN BUSINESS : https://youtu.be/wxyGeUkPYFM Join our Young Entrepreneurs Forum – http://www.youngentrepreneursforum.com/ #youngentrepreneursforum Do you need a business plan for successful startups in India, USA, UK & Canada. Starting an own business needs working plan which compiles some important details about product & company. Problem Solving Skills To Start a Small Business – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9Ho3… #startsmallbusiness 9 Steps For Writing a Business Plan – Required Steps to Write a Business Plan for your company or service. Step 1 – Define your vision 1:16 Step 2 – Set your goals and objectives for the business 1:50 Step 3 – Define your Unique Selling Proposition 2:29 Step 4 – Know your market 3:02 Step 5 – Know your customer 3:57 Step 6 – Research the demand for your business 4:47 Step 7 – Set your marketing goals 5:52 Step 8 – Define your marketing strategy 6:38 Step 9 – Take Action! 7:20 These all Steps are very important while you are writing a business plan for starting your own business. Life of Riley by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/…) Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-… Artist: http://incompetech.com/ You must have to focus on Idea, Product,Strategy,Team, Marketing and Profit while you are writing business plan for your successful stratups.

How Your Small Business Can Maximize Profit & Minimize Loss With a Financial Plan

As one of the most essential aspects of a business proposal, the financial plan utilizes current financial data to project long-term profits and losses for your company. As a business owner, having a strong financial plan helps you identify potential issues and discrepancies while it’s still early enough to make changes. Having a good financial plan handy also improves your odds of securing funding from banks and other investors by showing you’ve done your due diligence.

Still, first-time entrepreneurs often struggle to create these all-important documents.

Below are five components every financial plan should have, along with suggestions for collecting the necessary data to plan your business’ future.

1. Income statements

Income statements reveal revenue, expenses and profits over a given period of time. Start by making a list of all the costs and expenses associated with running your business. This may include raw materials, suppliers, employee salaries and rent costs. Then record your revenue, which is the money you receive in exchange for providing goods and services. By subtracting your expenses from total revenue, you can determine whether your company can expect to make a profit or suffer a loss.

This information is crucial not only for planning purposes, but it can also help draw potential investors to your business.

While income statements for existing businesses convey data from the past one or two years, startups must instead forecast this information based on their research. When drafting your company’s first income statements, you may need to project profits and losses using information from similar businesses in the area. The goal is to determine if your company can support itself moving forward and make budgetary changes as needed.

2. Cash flow

Cash flow projections estimate the amount of money that will be entering and exiting the business on a regular basis. Determining net cash flow requires simply subtracting cash outflow from cash inflow, which reveals only those funds that are actually available at a given time.

Just as with your income statement projections, you’ll have to create a plan of how you expect your cash to flow based on rational observations, predictions and your own research. Again, while it seems frustrating, compiling a schedule of when cash comes in and out can give you (and investors) insight into how much cash you’ll actually have available to operate your business.

By keeping accurate cash flow statements as your business matures, you can identify problem areas before they grow too large to contain. For instance, if your projections suggest you need more immediate cash, you can try strategies to help bring it in, such as turning over inventory more quickly or reducing the length of your billing cycle. However you use it, a cash flow’s primary functions are to assess your company’s financial health and help you make business-development decisions moving forward.

Another thing to keep in mind: When calculating your cash flow projection, you won’t be able to use any revenue amounts from unpaid invoices. The reason? That revenue hasn’t been collected yet and thus isn’t available to go in or out. Yes, you may be able to declare the money from unpaid invoices in your revenue projections, but not as cash on hand.

3. Balance sheet

balance sheet provides a snapshot of a company’s assetsliabilities and equity at a given time. As its name implies, a balance is struck between a company’s assets, which equal its liability added to the value of its equity.

First, take time to list all assets, including accounts receivable, savings, inventory and equipment. Next, you should detail all liabilities, such as accounts payable, loan payments and credit card balances. Lastly, you can add up the company’s equity, which may take the form of owner equity, investor shares and earnings from stocks. When you’re finished, check to make sure that the total value of assets equals that of your liabilities plus your equity.

As you may expect, your balance sheet can have a significant effect on your business’ ability to secure the funding it needs to get off the ground. Learn more about how to create a detailed balance sheet to track your startup’s liabilities and equity.

4. Break-even analysis

It’s no secret that startups rarely turn a profit at the onset. If and when your business does cross the threshold from red to black, it will have crossed the break-even point. The break-even point occurs when the expenses of running your business equal the revenue from your products and services. To increase your odds of reaching that crucial turning point, take the time to create a break-even analysis as part of your financial plan.

Along with your company’s fixed and variable costs, the document should include projected prices and account for the value of inflation. Not only does a break-even analysis show potential investors that your company has the potential to succeed, but it also enables you to make better decisions regarding resource allocation. If your break-even point is too high, you may want to consider ways to reduce your cost of business. This might include shopping for new suppliers, increasing prices or even temporarily working out of your home.

5. Financing schedule

Most of us can’t launch a new business entirely on our own. Because loans are an unfortunate fact of life in the startup world, every business plan should include a loan summary and financing schedule. Take note of the types of loans incurred, including interest rates and expected terms as well as securities information. After all, potential lenders want to know that you have a solid plan to pay off existing debts before investing more money in your business venture.

If you’re thinking of starting your own business, then you’ve probably heard the bleak statistics. According to one report, as many as eight in 10 startups fail in the first 18 months. To give your business a fighting chance, you need to have a strong financial plan in place before you launch.

By: April Maguire

Source: How your small business can maximize profit & minimize loss with a financial plan

1.37K subscribers
In this video, Kelly discusses how to maximize profits in business in just three simple steps. By taking advantage of what resources you already have within your company, you can maximize profits and grow your business. Your company can figure out how to improve sales by analyzing what your business is doing so already…and what your business is not doing. By putting these steps into action, you can figure out how to attract customers and increase profits Ask yourself: • When was the last time you last raised profits within your business? Are you getting what you want? • Is your business selling the right kinds of stock including individual packages, group packages, etc. for your services? If not, these kinds of products would bring in money that your company is not seeing already. • Are you engaging with previous customers? If not, these customers are just as important to figure out how to attract customers to your business. Want a quick overview of topics? Check out the time stamps below: 00:49 – Charge what you’re worth to grow your business 1:42 – When was the last time you raised your rates? 2:08 – Consider having reoccurring revenue to maximize profits 2:40 – Fortune is in the follow up! Make it your business growth strategy Learn how to improve your outlook on money but also create more income within your business. Not only will you learn to improve your vision of money but rethink your ideas so you can create new ones. ======================================================== THANK YOU for taking the time to watch these videos!! If you like what you’re watching, comment below to start a conversation! =================================================== To learn more about our program that teaches you how to build and scale your business to create more freedom go to: http://www.KellyRoachCoaching.com/yes ======================================================== Visit the Kelly Roach Coaching online store for products and programs to help you grow your business! http://www.kellyroachcoaching.com/shop ======================================================== **Click Below to SUBSCRIBE for More Videos** https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwyA… ======================================================== Kelly Roach Business Growth Strategist, Rapid Business Growth Coach, Author, Host of Unstoppable Success Radio http://www.KellyRoachCoaching.com ======================================================== Join the conversation: Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kellyroachint… Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kellyroachint YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/kellyroach ====================================================== To learn more about how to grow your business and how to increase sales, watch Kelly’s “How to improve your Money Mindset” video at https://youtu.be/1mo_Fvrgpw4

 

Business Have Been Practicing Social Responsibility For Decades, But Is That Really A Good Thing?

The jury is out on whether corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs will one day make the world a better place. But this much is pretty clear: They’re already benefiting the companies that have implemented them. And in some unexpected ways.

Specifically, CSR has become the weapon of choice for what is known as, in corporate speak, the three R’s: Investor Relations, Human Resources, and Public Relations.

But before we dive into details, a CSR mini-lesson is in order. First off, CSR isn’t an overnight sensation. Over the past couple of decades, companies have been embracing the idea that they need to do more than just make a profit for shareholders. Do-good efforts slowly evolved from passive and limited corporate philanthropy programs—giving to the United Way, for example—to broader and more active CSR programs. Those would take on major social issues like Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women program, which in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (World Bank) has delivered $1.45 billion in loans to women-owned businesses in developing countries.

Now, they have evolved even more. Many companies are now incorporating impact-on-society considerations into core business activities. For example, Starbucks only uses “ethically-sourced coffee.” Programs like these are often focused on “sustainability.” In August, 181 CEOs of the country’s largest corporations signed a Business Roundtable statement committing to managing their companies not just for shareholders, but also for customers, employees, suppliers, and communities.

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Photo Illustration by Ryan Olbrysh for Newsweek; Getty 9; Buzz Courtesy of General Mills, Cesars Courtesy of Caesars Entertainment

The idea behind all of these efforts is the well-worn slogan “doing well by doing good,” which means that being a positive force in the community will enhance a company’s reputation, which in theory will pay off in more sales, lower costs and over the long term, more money for shareholders.

Can you even measure something like this? Stephen Hahn-Griffiths, chief reputation officer of the Reputation Institute in Boston, says you can. He reels off a string of statistics, like “40% of the reputation of a company is related to corporate responsibility” and says his organization’s research proves that reputation is a leading indicator of stock market capitalization, or the total value of a company’s shares. In other words, he adds, “CSR has a multiplier effect” when it comes to a company’s value. But CSR can be risky. And take a little guts.

According to analysts, CVS’s 2014 decision to stop selling tobacco products cost it $2 billion a year in sales and caused the stock price to drop. (Investors took a $1.43 billion hit that year according to Martin Anderson of UNC Greensboro.) In 2010, Campbell Soup announced it was reducing the salt levels in many of its soups, a decision they reversed the following year when sales fell by 32%.

Meanwhile, in 2018, Dick’s Sporting Goods stopped selling assault rifles. On a panel at this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival, CEO Ed Stack said that decision cost them customers and employees. He notes that many of the customers who applauded the decision at the time seem to have forgotten, but those who were in opposition have not. “Love is fleeting,” he says. “But hate is forever.”

But many companies feel the do-gooder dividend outweighs the risks, both in relations with consumers and in day-to-day operations.

Brad McLane, who recruits high-level positions at RSR Partners, says, “Companies aren’t doing it just to say they have it. My clients are incorporating it into how they do business—what ingredients they use, where they source, how they design products.” Megan Kashner, clinical professor at the Kellogg School of Management’s Public-Private Interface agrees. She’s says that we’ve moved from “greenwashing programs that mimic CSR” to an era of “authentic CSR.” Greenwashing is the practice of making misleading claims that make a company appear more environmentally or socially conscious than it is, for example, when BP began touting itself as being environmentally conscious through a $200 million public relations campaign, only to have a string of environmental disasters—some of which, according to a government report, were caused by corporate cost-cutting to boost profits.

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BP is the subject of protests by Greenpeace activists over oil drilling in the North Sea. Christian Charisius/picture alliance/Getty

Simon Lowden, Pepsico chief sustainability officer, says, “It’s woven into how we operate as a business. For instance, we need to maintain our license to operate in water-stressed regions, so we’d better focus on being responsible stewards of water. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s important to our business.”

CSR is particularly useful in human resources. Rebecca M. Henderson, holds the John and Natty McArthur Chair at Harvard and is finishing a book on this topic, Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire. She says: “CSR has a tremendous impact on the morale of employees. Authentic purpose, which may mean occasionally sacrificing profits, accesses a whole range of emotions difficult to get at otherwise, like trust and engagement.”

In other words, it gets through. And that is a good thing. It leads to higher levels of productivity and employee retention.

CSR can also be a big factor in recruiting, particularly for younger employees, says Eric Johnson, executive director of graduate career services at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. He says, “Social impact is a big piece of the recruiting process. Probably 50 percent of that initial conversation is about what the company is doing to make the world better.”

“Beer companies used to talk about fun and sports. Now they talk about their programs to save water in the world. Social impact can tip the scales. Is a student going to choose an $85,000-a-year job over a $125,000 job because of social impact? I doubt it. But my observation is that jobs heavy in social impact often pay up to 10 percent less than comparable jobs that don’t.”

Professor Kashner adds, “These newly minted MBAs care and they care about the type of work they’re going to be doing. Maybe previous generations drew a line between work and personal life and values, but those boundaries no longer exist.” Korn Ferry, the giant executive recruiting firm, recently surveyed the professionals in its network. “Company mission and values” was the No. 1 reason (33 percent ) they’d choose to work for one company over another.

CSR is increasingly part of the conversation with individual shareholders and investors, like the world’s largest investment firm, BlackRock, which manages $6.5 trillion dollars for its clients. In his last two annual letters, CEO Larry Fink has called on companies to do more and said that BlackRock will evaluate companies on more than just financial numbers. His 2018 letter said, “As divisions continue to deepen, companies must demonstrate their commitment to the countries, regions, and communities where they operate, particularly on issues central to the world’s future prosperity.” Many investment firms now have someone in charge of building portfolios around companies based on their performance on Environmental, Social and Governance or ESG. (Measuring which companies are woke is an industry in and of itself.)

One aggregator of ESG ratings, CSRhub.com, lists 634 data sources. They range from the very broad (for example, Alex’s Guide to Compassionate Shopping) to the very specific (for example, the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety).

For public relations, CSR is both an offensive and a defensive weapon. CSR can be used to pre-empt the conversation in areas where companies have been criticized. Procter & Gamble’s “Ambition 2030 program is heavy on recycling and biodegradability.

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A 50-foot cigarette is “snuffed out” by CVS in New York City. Andrew Burton/Getty

But CSR can also be a useful defense. It not only builds up a stock of goodwill with the media and the public, but it generates good news that crowds out the bad. Large corporations are going to get a certain amount of press and awkward questions each day—better that press and those questions be about CSR than, say, worker safety or GMOs. For example, in 2018 when Johnson & Johnson was accused of knowingly selling baby powder with harmful levels of asbestos, Harvard professor Bill George wrote a stirring defense of the company, focusing not on the merits of the claim, but on J&J’s “Our Credo,” a commitment to integrity and customers written in 1943 (and likely the first CSR document ever produced.)

Still, not everyone is convinced. There are many who adhere to the late economist Milton Friedman’s argument that the sole purpose of the corporation is to make more money for shareholders, who can then choose for themselves whether or not they want to save the world.

Judith Samuelson, vice president of Aspen Institute and founder of their Business and Society Program, who’s worked with many of the companies currently leading the way in CSR, says, “The shareholder primacy viewpoint hasn’t gone away. And even if attitudes have changed, measures haven’t. Many executives, including CEO’s, are still paid in stock, and those who manage portfolios for institutional investors are still bonused on the value of those portfolios.”

Samuelson worries that “Companies may think these (current) programs are enough and not make fundamental change.” Kashner is more optimistic. She cites work that says large public companies are increasingly incorporating CSR metrics into executive compensation contracts.

Those who oppose CSR programs argue that trying to do two things at once, like making a profit and serving society, will destroy the effectiveness of companies.

Samuelson scoffs at this. “Of course companies can do more than one thing. Public companies have to manage multiple objectives all the time. No public company in the world would last a week if the only people they cared about were shareholders. What about customers? Employees?”

She believes that CSR really boils down to responsible decision making, doing what it takes for companies to succeed in the long term. Whatever, CSR is here to stay. It’s become part of the fabric of investing, company operations, and business school curricula.

It’s now being tracked and measured, and in business, what gets measured gets done.

By

Source: Business Have Been Practicing Social Responsibility For Decades, But Is That Really A Good Thing?

22M subscribers
Alex Edmans talks about the long-term impacts of social responsibility and challenges the idea that caring for society is at the expense of profit. Alex is a Professor of Finance at London Business School. Alex graduated top of his class from Oxford University and then worked for Morgan Stanley in investment banking (London) and fixed income sales and trading (NYC). After a PhD in Finance from MIT Sloan as a Fulbright Scholar, he joined Wharton, where he was granted tenure and won 14 teaching awards in six years. Alex’s research interests are in corporate finance, behavioural finance, CSR, and practical investment strategies. He has been awarded the Moskowitz Prize for Socially Responsible Investing and the FIR-PRI prize for Finance and Sustainability, and was named a Rising Star of Corporate Governance by Yale University. Alex co-led a session at the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos, and runs a blog, “Access to Finance” (www.alexedmans.blogspot.com), that aims to make complex finance topics accessible to a general audience. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

3 Key Signs Your Startup’s Business Plan Needs to Change

Pivoting is expensive, but so is making smaller changes to your business plan to address the present-day realities of your market, your customers and your company. Revising your plan and implementing those changes can be time-consuming and expensive, and it can result in considerable operational upheaval.

But sometimes that’s exactly what your small business must do to ensure future success. How will you know it’s time to re-write your small business’s playbook? Here, three key signs:

1. Your growth is stagnant.

In a startup, momentum is everything. Growth provides the resources to continue to expand, beat the competition, improve quality and service, and increase efficiency through economies of scale.

Unfortunately, most small businesses can’t afford to simply plow additional funds into advertising in order to grow. Keeping customer acquisition costs down — and churn rate down as well — is key in the early stages for any bootstrapped startup.

In that case, growth might require jettisoning — or at the very least de-emphasizing — some products to focus on more profitable products. (See Steve Jobs when he returned to Apple in 1997.) That may require you to shift employees into new seats: sales, service, operations, etc.

Do this and the result might be a ripple effect of positives: Shifting employees provides opportunities for them to learn new skills, demonstrate new talents and learn about other functional areas. Moving a few employees into different roles can help re-energize and re-engage a number of other people.

Growth could also require introducing new products or services, especially when they complement existing offerings. Complementary offerings are a great way to re-engage existing customers as well as to bring in new customers who may then purchase other products or services.

In short: If your growth has stalled, what you planned to offer may not be sufficient. So how will you know what changes to make?

Ask your customers. They’ll tell you.

2. The needs of your “ideal” customer have changed.

Every business plan includes information on the target market: Demographics, interests, needs, pain points, etc. Over time, those needs can change (or maybe they never actually existed, at least on a sufficiently broad scale).

If you’re a tech company, evolving technologies can change the way customers interact with your service. If you’re in the restaurant business, today’s hot trend can be tomorrow’s outdated fad.

More likely, as your business has grown, so too has your infrastructure — meaning the level of one-on-one service you planned to provide is no longer necessary. (Or even desired.)

A great business plan lays out a blueprint for meeting customer needs and solving customer pain points. A great business constantly evolves to ensure those needs are met and those pains are eliminated.

Stay on top of metrics like return, service calls, churn rate, etc. to keep up with changing customer needs. Talk to your customers to find out how their needs may have changed.

Then revise your plan to make sure you provide not just what your plan says, but what customers really want and will pay to get.

3. You need full-time people in freelancer seats

Early on you may not have needed — or maybe couldn’t afford — to hire full-time people to perform certain functions. Wisely, you turned to freelancers. Freelancers are great for completing specific tasks, especially when sufficient expertise or specialized knowledge is a necessity.

The problem with freelancers is that they can only perform specific tasks. They can’t step into other roles. They can’t step into other functions. Because they aren’t a part of your company, they can’t learn and grow and develop with your company.

At some point it makes sense to hire a full-time employee. While they might not currently possess every drop of skill and experience they need to succeed in the role, when you hire people who are adaptable and eager to learn, they soon will.

And then they will help create an outstanding foundation upon which your company can grow.

By: Craig Bloem Founder and CEO, FreeLogoServices.com

Source: 3 Key Signs Your Startup’s Business Plan Needs to Change

275K subscribers
Tutorial starts at 1:20 Whether you’re starting a new business or just trying to get your existing business a bit more organized, writing a business plan is the perfect way to clearly outline how your business operates, declare goals, and set out a strategy to reach those goals. In this video you’ll learn about the six essential pages every business plan should have, what to record on each of those pages, and also how to write your business plan as quickly and easily as possible — even if you’re a complete beginner! 🔹 Download the FREE Six-Step Business Success Plan: https://www.gillianperkins.com/downlo… // WHAT TO WATCH NEXT Six Ways to Earn Six Figures Working from Home https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1i8x… How I (actually) Got My First Client Online https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AST3P… How I Created Multiple Streams of Income for Myself https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfaH_… How to Decide What Business to Start https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mid_A… // LINKS Learn more about Gillian and find resources to build your online business: https://www.gillianperkins.com Join our private Facebook group! https://www.facebook.com/groups/start… Follow Gillian on Instagram to get a BTS look at what it’s like to be a digital entrepreneur: https://www.instagram.com/gillianzper… // MAIL Gillian Perkins International P.O. Box 13573 Salem, OR 97309 NOTE: This description may contains affiliate links to products we enjoy using ourselves. Should you choose to use these links, this channel may earn affiliate commissions at no additional cost to you. We appreciate your support! KEYWORDS how to write a business plan, free business plan, do i need a business plan, #entrepreneurship, #gillianperkins, business plan how-to guide, business plan step by step, business plan tips ,gillian perkins, gillianperkins, do you need a business plan, How To Write a Business Plan To Start Your Own Business, how to write a business plan step by step, business plan for beginners, simple business plan, business 101, business plan template, business plan example, how to write a business plan for beginners

The Formula You Are Using To Determine How Much To Save For Retirement Is Broken

If you are trying to figure out how much money you need to save for retirement, there’s an easy rule of thumb that you can use: simply multiply your expected annual expenses in retirement by twenty-five.

For example, if you expect to spend $100,000 annually once you’re retired, you’ll want to have a $2.5 million portfolio saved up. If you’d like to play around with the numbers to estimate your own retirement needs, you can use this simple retirement calculator.

This retirement savings rule of thumb is based on the 1998 landmark study conducted by Carl Hubbard, Philip Cooley and Daniel Walz, in their seminal study known as the Trinity Study. They built on the 1994 work of William Bengen, who originally coined the ‘4% Rule’.

Today In: Money

The Trinity Study evaluated safe retirement withdrawal rates, and found that 4% was sufficient for the majority of retirees. A safe withdrawal rate simply refers to the amount of money that can be taken out of an account and allow you to reasonably expect the portfolio to not fail, or run out of money. In this case, the 4% withdrawal rate refers to the amount of money that will be withdrawn from the balance of the retirement portfolio in the first year of retirement. In subsequent years, the balance withdrawn will simply be an inflation adjusted number based on the total dollar amount withdrawn the year prior.

The Trinity Study has become so well-known, that it has been adopted by hopeful retirees from all walks of life, including those hoping to retire early. The FIRE movement (Financial Independence, Retire Early) is a lifestyle movement with the goal of allowing individuals to retire as early and quickly as possible.

However, one detail that the movement is getting wrong and completely missing, is the fact that the Trinity Study’s 4% rule of thumb was based on a 30 year retirement period. This time horizon was determined to be on the conservative end of retirements by the authors of the study. If you work until you’re 65, having a 30 year retirement seems pretty reasonable. I don’t think many would argue that living until the age of 95 is a short life by any means.

The problem arises due to the FIRE movement seeking a much longer retirement period. If you retire at 45 years old, you may need a portfolio that will survive another 45 to 50 years in order to avoid running out of money. In this case, making a judgement error could end up meaning re-entering the workforce at an advanced age. For this reason, relying on a 4% withdrawal rate is an extremely risky decision if you plan to retire early.

This begs the question of what a more appropriate withdrawal rate is if you plan to retire early. The answer is that it depends. In general, the study found that as the balance between stocks and bonds shifts towards equities, a portfolio is more likely to withstand the test of time. So inherently, your risk tolerance will need to be factored into the equation. If you are comfortable with 75%+ of your portfolio being in stocks (and stomaching the increased risk), you might be safe with a 3% withdrawal rate. If you prefer less volatile investments, a lower rate is more conservative.

This is bad news for a lot of you hoping to retire early.

For one, it would mean having to save an additional $833,000 if you hope to spend $100,000 annually like in the example above. Unless you are an exceptionally high earner, it’ll likely mean having to work for several additional years or having to continue to earn additional income even after retirement.

With the buzz surrounding the gig economy and the seemingly endless ‘side-hustle’ opportunities available, this seems like a surmountable hurdle. The deficit in retirement savings required also highlights the impact of having to save for retirement as efficiently as possible.

This means fully taking advantage of your 401(k), IRA, and other tax-advantaged accounts. It also means evaluating whether it makes sense to refinance your student loans or not. Avoiding credit card interest fees and other forms of high interest debt are a must. In addition, maximizing your earning potential will also help safeguard your nest egg from market turbulence and economic uncertainty.

Just as important, you’ll also want to avoid making costly investment mistakes. One that comes to mind is erroneously viewing your vehicle as a sound investment. Another pitfall is picking individual stocks in lieu of index funds or ETFs. To set yourself up for success, minimizing fees and diversifying your investments is the name of the game.

Does all of this mean that the 4% rule is futile and should be completely ignored? Absolutely not. The authors of the Trinity Study ran simulations to find what the safe withdrawal rate would be for varying time horizons. But at the end of the day, they were just that: simulations. Even if you only had an expected 15 year retirement and used a conservative withdrawal rate, there is always the chance that your portfolio could fail. The same is true in the opposite direction: there’s always the chance that a 4% withdrawal could be sufficient for a 50 year retirement.

The question you have to answer is whether you are comfortable taking that risk. I know I’m not.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

Camilo Maldonado is Co-Founder of The Finance Twins, a personal finance site showing you how to budgetinvestbanksave & refinance your student loans. He also runs Contacts Compare.

Source: The Formula You Are Using To Determine How Much To Save For Retirement Is Broken

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There are many financial gurus out there that tell you how much to save for retirement, but how did they come up with that number? Honestly they are all just using each others guesses, but as financial advisors we need to do better. While others guess that you should save 10, 12,15% for retirement we can actually figure out how much you should save…to the penny! The first thing we want to know is how much income are you looking for in retirement? Typically we say that you should aim to have 75% of your current income replaced for retirement. The reason is that social security and other savings may make up the difference. Today we will calculate how much a 30 year old couple should save for retirement given that they each have income of $50,ooo per year. We will adjust this to account for inflation and make some assumptions about their retirement age and life expectancy. After calculating this along with expected returns we can see that they need to save 11.9% of their income yearly to have 75% of their income in retirement. We love doing this for our clients and if you are considering a place for your retirement investments then we hope you will consider jazzWealth.com We’re an investing service that also helps you keep your dough straight. We’ll manage your retirement investments and, using NestEgg we can help you with every penny! —Ready to subscribe— https://www.youtube.com/jazzwealth?su… For more information visit: www.JazzWealth.com — Instagram @jazzWealth — Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JazzWealth/ — Twitter @jazzWealth Investment related questions 📧 Dustin@JazzWealth.com Business Affairs 📧Carolyn@JazzWealth.com

IRS Announces New Per Diem Rates For Taxpayers Who Travel For Business

Are you wondering about those updated per diem rates? The new per-diem numbers are now out, effective October 1, 2019. These numbers are to be used for per-diem allowances paid to any employee on or after October 1, 2019, for travel away from home. The new rates include those for the transportation industry; the rate for the incidental expenses; and the rates and list of high-cost localities for purposes of the high-low substantiation method.

I know, that sounds complicated. But it’s intended to keep things simple. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows the use of per diem (that’s Latin meaning “for each day” – remember, lawyers love Latin) rates to make reimbursements easier for employers and employees. Per diem rates are a fixed amount paid to employees to compensate for lodging, meals, and incidental expenses incurred when traveling on business rather than using actual expenses.

Here’s how it typically works: A per diem rate can be used by an employer to reimburse employees for combined lodging and meal costs, or meal costs alone. Per diem payments are not considered part of the employee’s wages for tax purposes so long as the payments are equal to, or less than the federal per diem rate, and the employee provides an expense report. If the employee doesn’t provide a complete expense report, the payments will be taxable to the employee. Similarly, any payments which are more than the per diem rate will also be taxable.

Today In: Money

The reimbursement piece is essential. Remember that for the 2019 tax year, unreimbursed job expenses are not deductible. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) eliminated unreimbursed job expenses and miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2% floor for the tax years 2018 through 2025. Those expenses include unreimbursed travel and mileage.

That also means that the business standard mileage rate (you’ll find the 2019 rate here) cannot be used to deduct unreimbursed employee travel expenses for the 2018 through 2025 tax years. The IRS has clarified, however, that members of a reserve component of the Armed Forces of the United States, state or local government officials paid on a fee basis, and certain performing artists may still deduct unreimbursed employee travel expenses as an adjustment to income on the front page of the 1040; in other words, those folks can continue to use the business standard mileage rate. For details, you can check out Notice 2018-42 (downloads as a PDF).

What about self-employed taxpayers? The good news is that they can still deduct business-related expenses. However, the per diem rates aren’t as useful for self-employed taxpayers because they can only use the per diem rates for meal costs. Realistically, that means that self-employed taxpayers must continue to keep excellent records and use exact numbers.

As of October 1, 2019, the special meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) per diem rates for taxpayers in the transportation industry are $66 for any locality of travel in the continental United States and $71 for any locality of travel outside the continental United States; those rates are slightly more than they were last year. The per diem rate for meals & incidental expenses (M&IE) includes all meals, room service, laundry, dry cleaning, and pressing of clothing, and fees and tips for persons who provide services, such as food servers and luggage handlers.

The rate for incidental expenses only is $5 per day, no matter the location. Incidental expenses include fees and tips paid at lodging, including porters and hotel staff. It’s worth noting that transportation between where you sleep or work and where you eat, as well as the mailing cost of filing travel vouchers and paying employer-sponsored charge card billings, are no longer included in incidental expenses. If you want to snag a break for those, and you use the per diem rates, you may request that your employer reimburse you.

That’s good advice across the board: If you previously deducted those unreimbursed job expenses and can no longer do so under the TCJA, ask your employer about potential reimbursements. Companies might not have considered the need for specific reimbursement policies before the new tax law, but would likely not want to lose a good employee over a few dollars – especially when those dollars are important to the employee.

Of course, since the cost of travel can vary depending on where – and when – you’re going, there are special rates for certain destinations. For purposes of the high-low substantiation method, the per diem rates are $297 for travel to any high-cost locality and $200 for travel to any other locality within the continental United States. The meals & incidental expenses only per diem for travel to those destinations is $71 for travel to a high-cost locality and $60 for travel to any other locality within the continental United States.

You can find the list of high-cost localities for all or part of the calendar year – including the applicable rates – in the most recent IRS notice. As you can imagine, high cost of living areas like San Francisco, Boston, New York City, and the District of Columbia continue to make the list. There are, however, a few noteworthy changes, including:

  • The following localities have been added to the list of high-cost localities: Mill Valley/San Rafael/Novato, California; Crested Butte/Gunnison, Colorado; Petoskey, Michigan; Big Sky/West Yellowstone/Gardiner, Montana; Carlsbad, New Mexico; Nashville, Tennessee; and Midland/Odessa, Texas.
  • The following localities have been removed from the list of high-cost localities: Los Angeles, California; San Diego, California; Duluth, Minnesota; Moab, Utah; and Virginia Beach, Virginia.
  • The following localities have changed the portion of the year in which they are high-cost localities (meaning that seasonal rates apply): Napa, California; Santa Barbara, California; Denver, Colorado; Vail, Colorado; Washington D.C., District of Columbia; Key West, Florida; Jekyll Island/Brunswick, Georgia; New York City, New York; Portland, Oregon; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Pecos, Texas; Vancouver, Washington; and Jackson/Pinedale, Wyoming.

You can find the entire high-cost localities list, together with other per diem information, in Notice 2019-55 (downloads as a PDF). To find the federal government per diem rates by locality name or zip code, head over to the General Services Administration (GSA) website.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

Years ago, I found myself sitting in law school in Moot Court wearing an oversized itchy blue suit. It was a horrible experience. In a desperate attempt to avoid anything like that in the future, I enrolled in a tax course. I loved it. I signed up for another. Before I knew it, in addition to my JD, I earned an LL.M Taxation. While at law school, I interned at the estates attorney division of the IRS. At IRS, I participated in the review and audit of federal estate tax returns. At one such audit, opposing counsel read my report, looked at his file and said, “Gentlemen, she’s exactly right.” I nearly fainted. It was a short jump from there to practicing, teaching, writing and breathing tax. Just like that, Taxgirl® was born.

Source: IRS Announces New Per Diem Rates For Taxpayers Who Travel For Business

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Per Diem is one of the largest tax deductions available to owner-operator truck drivers. Effective October 1, 2018, the daily rate was increased. In this video, we discuss Per Diem and how it will affect owner-operators.

Societal Impact: Moving From “Nice-To-Consider” To “Business Imperative”

Over the past few years, societal impact has been growing as an area of interest for businesses. Business leaders, myself included, have voiced the belief that businesses should have a purpose beyond profits, and uphold a responsibility to society and the environment.

Although this school of thought is sometimes met with skepticism from those who doubt the commitment of businesses to do good, there is new research suggesting that businesses are actually taking significant action to improve their impact on society and the environment.

According to a new report from Deloitte Global, societal impact has become the most important factor organizations use to evaluate their annual performances, outranking financial performance and employee satisfaction. These findings are based on a survey of more than 2,000 C-suite executives across 19 countries. This shows a shift, even just from last year’s survey report, in which executives expressed uncertainty about how they could influence the direction of Industry 4.0 and its impact on society.

What is driving this change? There is no one answer. Almost half of executives surveyed (46 percent) reported that their efforts have been motivated by the quest to create new revenue streams, and a similar percentage said that initiatives that have a positive societal impact are necessary for sustaining or growing their businesses. An organization’s cultures and policies were also cited as motivation (43 percent).

External pressure continues to be a major driver as well. According to Deloitte Global’s series of inclusive growth surveys, some of this drive comes more from public sentiment, which is increasingly influencing business leaders’ decisions related to societal impact by encouraging them to reevaluate their strategies.

Purpose in action

When it comes to societal impact, businesses are beginning to put actions behind their words. Seventy-three percent of surveyed CXOs report having changed or developed products or services in the past year to generate positive societal impact. What’s more, 53 percent say they successfully generated new revenue streams from these socially conscious offerings.

While some leaders have started to see profits from positive societal goods and services, there is disagreement over the question of whether initiatives meant to benefit society also benefit bottom lines. Fifty-two percent see societal initiatives as generally reducing profitability; 48 percent said that such initiatives boost the bottom line.

Despite these concerns, leaders report a commitment to initiatives that benefit society.  There’s probably a short term vs longer term element in this regarding the sustainability of business which may have influenced the answers.

Strategically integrated

Beyond products, services, and new revenue streams, leaders are integrating societal impact into their core strategies. Executives say they have been particularly effective preparing for the impact that Industry 4.0 solutions will have on society. They’re also building external partnerships and joint ventures, and strengthening ecosystem relationships to make a greater impact.

Whether driven by finding new sources of revenue, or the need to respond to external pressures, businesses across all industries seem to be moving towards improving their societal impact. It is heartening to see that leaders are incorporating these considerations into their strategies, as well as operations. When societal impact is seen to be an integral part of a business’s makeup, the most meaningful results can be achieved.

To learn more read, “Success Personified in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Four Leadership Personas for an Era of Change and Uncertainty.”

David Cruickshank was elected into the role of Chairman of Deloitte’s global organization, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, in June 2015 having served on its Global Board for eight years from 2007. Prior to this, he was Chairman of the UK member firm from 2007-2015. He is a Chartered Accountant and a graduate in business and economics from the University of Edinburgh. David is co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Partnering Against Corruption Initiative and a Board Member of the Social Progress Imperative.

Source: Societal Impact: Moving From “Nice-To-Consider” To “Business Imperative”

Today, many firms are active on social media, but not all of them are experiencing transformational change and return on investment. Why do some businesses succeed, while others fail? Join us for a fireside chat on why Social Business has become too important to delegate completely to a junior social marketing team and why going forward, CEOs, CMOs, management teams, and boards must personally own and drive Social Business strategy and re-architect traditional business models and client engagement models.

Fireside chat with Clara Shih, CEO and Co-Founder, Hearsay Social and Kristin Lemkau, CMO, JPMorgan Chase.

 

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