How And Why The Right Visuals Can Attract Attention To A Crisis

A picture, as the saying goes, is worth 1,000 words. And the right pictures have the potential to generate more attention and interest about crisis situations than words alone ever could.

People can immediately grasp a story or message that is being told by a picture, illustration, video or other visuals. And, given their increasingly shorter attention spans, many people often don’t want to read about a crisis when a picture or short video on social media or a television newscast is all they think they need.

Christen Costa, CEO of Gadget Review, noted that, “Study after study has shown that humans respond far better to visuals than text alone. You can tell your story in text and have it ignored, misinterpreted, or used against you. Images are harder for people to ignore or willfully misinterpret.  It’s important that the images you use are heavily vetted, however. You need to test them internally to be sure you’re saying exactly what you want to say.”

Challenges

The challenge for business leaders who are managing a crisis for their companies and organizations is to find the best visuals to help show or tell their side of the story in an appropriate and attention-getting way.

Of course, if you don’t provide visuals for a crisis, don’t be surprised when news organizations or people on social media find and post their own. And news outlets, of course, can find the visuals that best illustrates the crisis — but which you might prefer not be seen for whatever reason.

Coronavirus Crisis

Last Tuesday, ABC News reported that, “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers paid tribute to the more than 676,000 Americans who have died from Covid-19, [by] visiting a memorial on the National Mall that displays hundreds of thousands of small, white flags, one for each life lost.

“As we look at this work of art and see it fluttering in the breeze,” Pelosi said, “it really is an interpretation of the lives of these people waving to us to remember.” The lawmakers walked silently among the rows of flags, trails that stretch more than 3.8 miles, according to ABC News.

Climate Crisis

Earlier this week, motorists passing by the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC might have seen what appeared to be a submerged house near the Jefferson Memorial. According to Washingtonian.com, “Constructed out of wood and floating on pontoons, the hollow house was a warning from climate activists with Extinction Rebellion DC of what the city might face should unchecked climate change continue to contribute to rising sea levels.”

As is often the case with attention-getting visuals, more people likely saw news coverage or the YouTube video of the submerged “house” than saw the visual in-person.

Gun Violence

In 2018, to call attention to the number of children that were killed since the Sandy Hook school shooting, 7,000 pairs of empty shoes were displayed outside the U.S. Capitol.

CNN reported that, “The global advocacy group Avaaz [had] been collecting donated pairs of shoes for two weeks and early Tuesday morning lined them up one by one, 18 inches apart, in roughly 80 rows on the Capitol lawn, as Congress continues to sort through a debate over gun violence and school safety.

“Shoes are individual. They’re so personal. There are ballet slippers here and roller skates. These are kids,” said Nell Greenberg, the campaign director for Avaaz.”

‘The Power Of A Visual Image’

Baruch Labunski, CEO of marketing agency Rank Secure, said, “I’m a marketing expert, but you don’t have to be one to be one to understand the power of a visual image.

“When businesses are communicating with the public during a crisis, optics—both figurative and literal — are everything. Companies in crisis need to project a stable, consistent image that’s coherent with their brand. And in cases of transgressions or when a company is correcting a mistake, a visual image that reflects an amended ideology may be appropriate and effective,” he noted.

Advice For Business Leaders

“Here’s my cautionary advice,” Lubunski said. “Be authentic. Putting pictures of trees on a plastic water bottle doesn’t make your company environmentally friendly. Putting minorities on stage at an event while your entire C-suite is white doesn’t make you genuinely diverse.

“Make sure the visual images you choose reflect the actual values of your company. If you need to make amends, do it for real, rather than just for show,” he advised.

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

I am a crisis management/communication expert, consultant, and author of the award-winning Crisis Ahead: 101 Ways to Prepare for and Bounce Back from Disasters, Scandals,

Source: How And Why The Right Visuals Can Attract Attention To A Crisis

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Related Contents:

How Organizations and Individuals Can Manage Crisis

The alumni of the prestigious Harvard Business School noted that the COVID-19 pandemic forced governments worldwide to make a choice between life, death and economy. He spoke at the NIM’s Management Day lecture in Lagos.

Quoting the World Economic Forum, 2020, Adeshina said an aggregate loss of the health and economic crises is estimated at $9 trillion between 2020 and 2021. He warned that the world needs to de-escalate crisis to avert a humanitarian disaster.

He said: “Crisis is an unstable event or series of events that can emanate from an individual, group, corporate and the government, which can cause disruption in normal business operations, economic, social, reputation and political damage in the society. It threatens to have calamitous human and developmental consequences.”

Nigeria, he said, was facing its worst economic crisis, with over 82.9 million persons classified as poor by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its Nigerian Living Standards Survey (NLSS) Report, May 2020.

This, the Institute of Bankers’ Fellow noted, amounts to 40.1 per cent of the population. “Nigeria, since its last economic recession in 2016-2017, has witnessed a collapse in the price of crude oil, volatile movement in the exchange rate, rising inflation and food prices, dwindling Foreign Direct Investment,  increasing unemployment, reduced public confidence in the government, Northern region unrest coupled with the Global pandemic; amongst others,” he said.

Adeshina, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), stated that businesses must be prepared for a crisis, because “it is a matter of when and not if.  “A crisis should not be perceived as a threat to avoid, rather the focus should be when it comes, how prepared is the organisation to handle it? If a crisis is well managed, it reduces the damage and impact on an organisation and enables the organisation to recover quickly.”

He was of the view that a credible crisis management framework was critical to help maintain confidence in the people, system and government and it minimises risks. “Proper and quick crisis management is critical for public relations and reputation. Since crises come in several forms, it is recommended that organisations should have in place a crisis management plan,” he said.

He lamented the increasing ‘unmodellable’ behaviours, especially at top-most leadership levels. Adeshina, an investment banker for over three decades, blamed the dwindling economy on the inability of governments to curb the high rate of people living below the poverty line.

Citing the recent #EndSARS protest, he said it was a pointer to the end of bad governance and a wake-up call to those in leadership positions to begin to institutionalize good governance. “Attention should be given to the business continuity, cost management, productivity, and implementing safety measures, however, innovation-led growth should not be totally ignored,” he said.

By Brown Chimezie

Source: How organisations, individuals can manage crisis, by expert

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Related Sources:

Argenti, P. (2002, December).  Crisis communication:  Lessons from 9/11.  Harvard Business Review, 80(12), 103-109. This article provides insights into working with employees during a crisis.  The information is derived from interviews with managers about their responses to the 9/11 tragedies.

Arpan, L.M., & Roskos-Ewoldsen, D.R. (2005). Stealing thunder: An analysis of the effects of proactive disclosure of crisis information. Public Relations Review 31(3), 425-433.
This article discusses an experiment that studies the idea of stealing thunder.  Stealing thunder is when an organization releases information about a crisis before the news media or others release the information.  The results found that stealing thunder results in higher credibility ratings for a company than allowing others to report the crisis information first.  This is additional evidence to support the notion of being quick in a crisis and telling the organization’s side of the story.

Augustine, N. R. (1995, November/December). Managing the crisis you tried to prevent. Harvard Business Review, 73(6), 147-158. This article centers on the six stages of a crisis:  avoiding the crisis, preparing to management the crisis, recognizing the crisis, containing the crisis, resolving the crisis, and profiting from the crisis.  The article reinforces the need to have a crisis management plan and to test both the crisis management plan and team through exercises.  It also reinforces the need to learn (profit) from the crisis.

Barton, L. (2001). Crisis in organizations II (2nd ed.). Cincinnati, OH: College Divisions South-Western. This is a very practice-oriented book that provides a number of useful insights into crisis management.  There is a strong emphasis on the role of communication and public relations/affairs in the crisis management process and the need to speak with one voice.  The book provides excellent information on crisis management plans (a template is in Appendix D pp. 225-262); the composition of crisis management teams (pp. 14-17); the need for exercises (pp.  207-221); and the need to communicate with employees (pp. 86-101).

Benoit, W. L. (1995). Accounts, excuses, and apologies: A theory of image restoration. Albany: State University of New York Press. This book has a scholarly focus on image restoration not crisis manage.  However, his discussion of image restoration strategies is very thorough (pp. 63-96).  These strategies have been used as reputation repair strategies after a crisis.

Benoit, W. L. (1997). Image repair discourse and crisis communication. Public Relations Review, 23(2), 177-180. The article is based on his book Accounts, excuses, and apologies: A theory of image restoration and provides a review of image restoration strategies.  The image restoration strategies are reputation repair strategies that can be used after a crisis.  It is a quicker and easiest to use resource than the book.

Business”>http://www.nfib.com/object/3783593.html.”>Business Roundtable’s Post-9/11 crisis communication toolkit. (2002). Retrieved April 24, 2006, from http://www.nfib.com/object/3783593.html.
This is a very user-friendly PDF files that takes a person through the crisis management process.  There is helpful information on web-based communication (pp. 73-82) including “dark sites” and the use of Intranet and e-mail to keep employees informed.  There is an explanation of templates, what are called holding statements or fill-in-the-blank media statements including a sample statement (pp. 28-29).  It also provides information of the crisis management plan (pp. 21-32), structure of the crisis management team (pp. 33-40) and types of exercises (pp. 89-93) including mock press conferences.

Carney, A., & Jorden, A. (1993, August). Prepare for business-related crises. Public Relations Journal 49, 34-35.
This article emphasize the need for a message strategy during crisis communication.  Developing and sharing a strategy helps an organization to speak with one voice during the crisis.

Cohen, J. R.  (1999).  Advising clients to apologize.  S. California Law Review, 72, 1009-131.
This article examines expressions of concern and full apologies from a legal perspective.  He notes that California, Massachusetts, and Florida have laws that prevent expressions of concern from being used as evidence against someone in a court case.  The evidence from court cases suggests that expressions of concern are helpful because they help to reduce the amount of damages sought and the number of claims filed.

Coombs, W. T. (1995). Choosing the right words: The development of guidelines for the selection of the “appropriate” crisis response strategies. Management Communication Quarterly, 8, 447-476.
This article is the foundation for Situational Crisis Communication Theory.  It uses a decision tree to guide the selection of crisis response strategies.  The guidelines are based on matching the response to nature of the crisis situation.  A number of studies have tested the guidelines in the decision tree and found them to be reliable.

Coombs, W. T. (2004a). Impact of past crises on current crisis communications: Insights from situational crisis communication theory. Journal of Business Communication, 41, 265-289.
This article documents that past crises intensify the reputational threat to a current crisis.  Since the news media reminds people of past crises, it is common for organizations in crisis to face past crises as well.  Crisis managers need to adjust their reputation repair strategies if there are past crises-crisis managers will need to use more accommodative strategies than they normally would.  Accidents are a good example.  Past accidents indicate a pattern of problems so people will view the organization as much more responsible for the crisis than if the accident were isolated.  Greater responsibility means the crisis is more of a threat to the reputation and the organization must focus the response more on addressing victim concerns.

Coombs, W. T. (2004b).  Structuring crisis discourse knowledge: The West Pharmaceutics case.  Public Relations Review, 30, 467-474.
This article is a case analysis of the West Pharmaceutical 2003 explosion at its Kinston, NC facility.  The case documents the extensive use of the Internet to keep employees and other stakeholders informed.  It also develops a list of crisis communication standards based on SCCT.  The crisis communication standards offer suggestions for how crisis managers can match their crisis response to the nature of the crisis situation.

Coombs, W. T. (2006). Code red in the boardroom: Crisis management as organizational DNA. Westport, CN: Praeger.
This is a book written for a practitioner audience.  The book focuses on how to respond to three common types of crises:  attacks on an organization (pp. 13-26), accidents (pp. 27-44), and management misbehavior pp. (45-64).  There are also detailed discussions of how crisis management plans must be a living document (pp. 77-90), different types of exercises for crisis management (pp. 84-87), and samples of specific elements of a crisis management plan in Appendix A (pp. 103-109).

Coombs, W. T. (2007a).  Ongoing crisis communication:  Planning, Managing, and responding (2nd ed.).  Los Angeles:  Sage. This book is designed to teach students and managers about the crisis management process.  There is a detailed discussion of spokesperson training pp. (78-87) and a discussion of the traits and skills crisis team members need to posses to be effective during a crisis (pp. 66-77).  The book emphasizes the value of follow-up information and updates (pp. 147-148) along with the learning from the crisis (pp. 152-162).  There is also a discussion of the utility of mass notification systems during a crisis (pp. 97-98).

Coombs, W. T. (2007b).  Protecting organization reputations during a crisis:The development and application of situational crisis communication theory.  Corporate Reputation Review, 10, 1-14.
This article provides a summary of research conducted on and lessons learned from Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT).  The article includes a discussion how the research can go beyond reputation to include behavioral intentions such as purchase intention and negative word-of-mouth.  The information in the article is based on experimental studies rather than case studies.

Coombs, W. T., & Holladay, S. J. (1996). Communication and attributions in a crisis: An experimental study of crisis communication. Journal of Public Relations Research, 8(4), 279-295. This article uses an experimental design to document the negative effect of crises on an organization’s reputation.  The research also establishes that the type of reputation repair strategies managers use does make a difference on perceptions of the organization.  An important finding is proof that the more an organization is held responsible for the crisis, the more accommodative a reputation repair strategy must be in order to be effective/protect the organization’s reputation.

Coombs, W. T. and Holladay, S. J.  (2001).  An extended examination of the crisis
situation: A fusion of the relational management and symbolic approaches.  Journal of Public Relations Research, 13, 321-340.

This study reports on an experiment designed to test how prior reputation influenced the attributions of crisis responsibility.  The study found that an unfavorable prior reputation had the biggest effect.  People rated an organization as having much greater responsibility for a crisis when the prior reputation was negative than if the prior reputation was neutral or positive.  Similar results were found for the effects of prior reputation on the post-crisis reputation.

Coombs, W. T., & Holladay, S. J. (2002). Helping crisis managers protect reputational assets: Initial tests of the situational crisis communication theory. Management Communication Quarterly, 16, 165-186. This article begins to map how stakeholders respond to some very common crises.  Using the level of responsibility for a crisis that people attribute to an organization, the research found that common crises can be categorized into one of three groups:  victim cluster has minimal attributions of crisis responsibility (natural disasters, rumors, workplace violence, and tampering), accidental cluster has low attributions of crisis responsibility (technical-error product harm and accidents), and preventable cluster has strong attributions of crisis responsibility (human-error product harm and accidents, management misconduct, and organizational misdeeds).  The article recommends different crisis response strategies depending upon the attributions of crisis responsibility.

Coombs, W. T. & Holladay, S. J. (2006).  Halo or reputational capital:  Reputation and crisis management.  Journal of Communication Management, 10(2), 123-137.
This article examines if and when a favorable pre-crisis reputation can protect an organization with a halo effect.  The halo effect says that strong positive feelings will allow people to overlook a negative event-it can shield an organization from reputational damage during a crisis.  The study found that only in a very specific situation does a halo effect occur.  In most crises, the reputation is damaged suggesting reputational capital is a better way to view a strong, positive pre-crisis reputation.  An organization accumulates reputational capital by positively engaging publics.  A crisis causes an organization to loss some reputational capital.  The more pre-crisis reputational capital, the stronger the reputation will be after the crisis and the easier it should be to repair.

Corporate Leadership Council. (2003). Crisis management strategies. Retrieved September 12, 2006, from http://www.executiveboard.com/EXBD/Images/PDF/Crisis%20Management%20Strategies.pdf. [Now available here]
This online PDF file summarizes key crisis management insights from the Corporate Leadership Council.  The topics include the value and elements of a crisis management plan (pp 1-3), structure of a crisis management team (pp. 4-6), communicating with employees (pp. 7-9), using web sites including “dark sites” (p. 7), using pre-packaged information/templates (p. 7), and the value of employee assistance programs (p. 10).  The file is an excellent overview to key elements of crisis management with an emphasis on using new technology.

Dean, D. H.  (2004.  Consumer reaction to negative publicity: Effects of corporate reputation, response, and responsibility for a crisis event.  Journal of Business Communication, 41, 192-211.
This article reports an experimental study that included a comparison how people reacted to expressions of concern verses no expression of concern.  Post-crisis reputations were stronger when an organization provided an expression of concern.

Dilenschneider, R. L. (2000). The corporate communications bible: Everything you need to know to become a public relations expert. Beverly Hills: New Millennium. This book has a strong chapter of crisis communication (pp. 120-142).  It emphasizes how a crisis is a threat to an organization’s reputation and the need to be strategic with the communications response.

Downing, J. R. (2003).  American Airlines’ use of mediated employee channels after the 9/11 attacks.  Public Relations Review, 30, 37-48.
This article reviews how American Airlines used its Intranet, web sites, and reservation system to keep employees informed after 9/11.  The article also comments on the use of employee assistance programs after a traumatic event.  Recommendations include using all available channels to inform employees during and after a crisis as well as recommending organizations “gray out” color from their web sites to reflect the somber nature of the situation.

Fearn-Banks, K. (2001). Crisis communications: A casebook approach (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. This book is more a textbook for students using case studies.  Chapter 2 (pp. 18-33) has a useful discussion of elements of the crisis communication plan, a subset of the crisis management plan.  Chapter 4 has some tips on media relations (pp. 63-71).

Hearit, K. M. (1994, Summer). Apologies and public relations crises at Chrysler, Toshiba, and Volvo. Public Relations Review, 20(2), 113-125.
This article provides a strong rationale for the value of quick but accurate crisis response.  The focus is on how a quick response helps an organization to control the crisis situation.

Hearit, K. M. (2006).  Crisis management by apology:  Corporate response to
allegations of wrongdoing.  Mahwah, NJ:  Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

This book is a detailed, scholarly treatment of apologies that has direct application to crisis management.  Chapter 1 helps to explain the different ways the term
apology is used and concentrates on how it should be treated as a public acceptance of responsibility (pp. 1-18).  Chapter 3 details the legal and liability issues involved when an organization chooses to use an apology.

Kellerman, B. (2006, April). When should a leader apologize and when not? Harvard Business Review, 84(4), 73-81. This article defines an apology as accepting responsibility for a crisis and expressing regret.  The value of apologies is highlighted along with suggestions for when an apology is appropriate and inappropriate.  An apology should be used when it will serve an important purpose, the crisis has serious consequences, and the cost of an apology will be lower than the cost of being silent.

Klein, J. & Dawar, N. (2004).  Corporate social responsibility and consumers’ attributions of brand evaluations in product-harm crisis.  International Journal of Marketing, 21, 203-217.
This article reports on an experimental study that compared how prior information about corporate social responsibility (a dimension of prior reputation) affected attributions of crisis responsibility.  People attribute much greater responsibility to the negative corporate social responsibility condition than to the neutral or positive conditions.  There was no difference between the attributions in the positive and neutral conditions.

Lackluster online PR no aid in crisis response. (2002). PR News. Retrieved April 20, 2006, from http://web.lexis-nexis.com/universe
This short article notes how journalists and other interested parties are using web sites during crises to collect information.  The article highlights the value of having a “dark site” ready before a crisis.  A sample of various criteria for a crisis web are discussed by reviewing Tyco’s web site as a case study.

Lerbinger, O. (1997). The crisis manager: Facing risk and responsibility. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
This book centers on seven types of crises:  natural, technological, confrontation, malevolence, skewed management values, deception, and management misconduct.  There is a strong focus on the role of media relations in crisis management (pp. 27-29 and pp. 31-34).

Mitroff, I. I., Harrington, K., & Gai, E. (1996, September). Thinking about the unthinkable. Across the Board, 33(8), 44-48.
This article reinforces the value of creating and training crisis management teams by having them conduct various types of exercises.

Sonnenfeld, S. (1994, July/August).  Media policy–What media policy?  Harvard Business Review, 72(4), 18-19.
This is a short article that discusses the need for spokesperson training prior to a crisis.

Sturges, D. L. (1994).  Communicating through crisis: A strategy for organizational survival, Management Communication Quarterly, 7, 297-316.
This article emphasizes how communication needs shift during a crisis.  The first need is for instructing information, the information that tells people how to protect themselves physically from a crisis.  The next need is adjusting information, the information that helps people to cope psychologically with the crisis.  The initial crisis response demands a focus on instructing and adjusting information.  The third and final type of communication is reputation repair.  Reputation repair is only used once the instructing and adjusting information have been provided.

Taylor, M., & Kent, M. L. (2007).  Taxonomy of mediated crisis responses.  Public Relations Review, 33, 140-146.
This article summarizes the best practices for using the Internet during a crisis and advocates more organizations should be using the Internet, especially web sites, during a crisis. The six best practices are:  (1) include all your tradition media relations materials on your web site; (2) try to make use of the interactive nature of the Internet for your crisis web content; (3) provide detailed and clear information on web sites during for a product recall; (4) tell your side of the story on the crisis web site including quotations from managers; (5) when necessary, create different web pages for different stakeholders tailored to their interests in the crisis; and (6) work with government agencies including hyperlinks to relevant government agency web sites.

Tyler, L. (1997). Liability means never being able to say you’re sorry: Corporate guilt, legal constraints, and defensiveness in corporate communication. Management Communication Quarterly, 11(1), 51-73.
This article discusses the legal constraints that prevent apologies during a crisis.  It is a hard look at the choices crisis managers must make between addressing victims in a particular way and financial constraints.  The article is a reminder that crisis management occurs within the larger context of organizational operations and is subject to financial constraints.

Ulmer, R. R., Sellnow, T. L., & Seeger, M. W. (2006). Effective crisis communication: Moving from crisis to opportunity. Thousand Oaks: Sage.This book is mix of lessons and case studies.  Many of the cases focus on large scale crises or what some would call disasters.  Large scale crises/disasters are unique because they require multiple agency coordination and are often managed by government agencies.  Chapter 12 (pp. 177-187) on renewal as a reputation repair strategy after a crisis in unique and informative.  Renewal focuses on optimism and an emphasis on moving to some new and better state after the crisis.  Not all organizations can engage in renewal after a crisis.  Renewal requires that an organization have performed ethically before the crisis and have had strong stakeholder relationships before the crisis.

For Small Businesses, Recovery from COVID Could Take Years

Latresa McLawhorn Ryan knows well the havoc that COVID has reaped upon small businesses of color in the Atlanta area and believes the effects of COVID are likely to hang over these businesses for some time. She also knows that small businesses of color can bounce back if they get the right kind of assistance.

“We’ve lost a lot of businesses, some that were really anchors in their community,” said McLawhorn Ryan, executive director of the Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative, a nonprofit organization of community investors, advocates, and activists that supports Black-owned firms. She added that the casualties have included yoga studios, restaurants, and other businesses that rely on high traffic and face-to-face interaction. “It will take three to five years, depending on the sector, for businesses to recover from the impact of COVID.”

Because small businesses of color are an important driver of employment and asset building in their communities, the COVID-related business failures send a message throughout the community that perhaps it is more vulnerable to market forces, McLawhorn Ryan added.

The Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta and Kansas City published a recovery guide in late 2020 to offer strategies that can help small businesses of color bounce back from the COVID crisis. The guide begins by discussing the state of small businesses of color before the COVID-19 pandemic, placing these firms’ challenges into historical context.

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Entrepreneur-In-Residence Scott Shigeoka talks with economic experts and small business owners about overcoming hardships and their message of hope for recovery after COVID-19. Robert Brown, Sr. Director of Business Analytics at GoDaddy, breaks down Venture Forward, a multi-year study looking at the impact of micro and small businesses on the American economy. Resources for Small Businesses: Venture Forward study: https://www.godaddy.com/ventureforward Up-to-date info on COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov

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A second section provides recommendations for communities looking to assist small businesses of color in the areas of credit and capital, education and training, policy, and community support. The final section shares tools for communities to develop an entrepreneurship network focused on small businesses of color.

Atlanta Fed president Raphael Bostic led a January 14 panel discussion with Southeast community leaders discussing ways to support small businesses. The webinar focused on the need to establish networks that can deliver resources and coaching.

Issue number 1 is funding

Janelle Williams, a senior adviser in the Atlanta Fed’s Community and Economic Development group who wrote the recovery guide with two Kansas City Fed advisers, said businesses owned by nonwhites face especially daunting challenges to regain their footing, with access to funding and credit topping the list.

“There are still structural barriers that limit small businesses of color from securing the capitalization needed to sustain and scale their businesses in a valuable way,” she said.

Much of the funds approved by U.S. lawmakers last year under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to help businesses preserve employment did not reach the smallest companies and many firms owned by people of color. For example, a Federal Reserve Bank of New York analysis found that PPP loans were given to just 20 percent of eligible companies in states with the highest densities of Black-owned firms. In Fulton County, Georgia—which includes the city of Atlanta—a total of 20.8 percent of businesses received loans from the program. In Florida’s Miami-Dade County, just 15 percent of eligible firms obtained PPP funds.

In mid-January, a third round of PPP loans opened. Small business owners of color are hopeful that more funds will reach them this time. A portion of the $284 billion approved for small businesses in the December 2020 COVID relief legislation was set aside for firms with 10 or fewer employees and lenders that cater to underserved communities, including minority-owned banks and community development financial institutions.

Small businesses of color face barriers that make it harder to gain access to capital. They often lack relationships with traditional banks and access to social networks that could help them learn about and apply for available loans. Most entrepreneurs of color don’t have family wealth that could be used to start a business.

Other factors hinder the success of nonwhite small businesses. Williams noted research showing that in the six southeastern states that are part of the Atlanta Fed’s coverage area, small businesses of color are overrepresented in sectors such as food services and retail that have been particularly vulnerable during the pandemic because of required lockdowns, social distancing guidelines, and lower demand for goods and services.

“There is a need for a broader conversation around addressing barriers to entry for small businesses of color that seek to access higher-growth industries that are moderately insulated from market pressures,” Williams said.

Different approaches to financing

The tougher path to viability that small businesses of color face has been well documented. A 2017 report from Prosperity Now, a public policy nonprofit group, notes that deep and persistent patterns of racial discrimination against business owners of color have resulted in greater loan denials and higher interest rates for loans they do obtain. Those financing outcomes result in lower profit margins and limit the opportunities for businesses of color to build thriving enterprises.

The Reserve Banks’ recovery guide notes that the needs of small businesses of color call for financing methods that are nimbler and more accessible to help level the playing field. Those could include interest-free loans, loans with rates that start low and gradually rise, deferred payments and longer repayment time frames, and flexible underwriting terms. Many community organizations consulted in developing the recovery guide “shared that grants, forgivable loans, and patient equity capital will be needed” to help these businesses spring back, the report states.

Williams said the pandemic has challenged the funders that support small businesses of color to think about the kinds of financial assistance that would be meaningful and to understand that some types of aid may not help. “Small businesses of color already are debt averse, so asking them to incur additional debt is a challenge, especially when many rely on their personal income to stay afloat,” she said.

To address these issues, community stakeholders have begun to embrace alternate financing solutions, Williams said. She noted that philanthropic groups were offering program-related investments that provide capital at lower interest rates, while community development financial institutions were introducing funding products that include opportunities for credit enhancement.

The Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative launched a COVID relief fund last year that has provided money to at least 65 small businesses and 18 nonprofits, mainly located in the northwest, southwest, and southeast parts of metro Atlanta where residents’ health and personal income both suffered acutely. The program offers loans that include flexible terms, a six-month grace period, and 30 months of repayment. Through three rounds of grants and two rounds of loans to date, the nonprofit group has dispersed about $800,000 to Black-owned businesses, McLawhorn Ryan said.

The grants and loans have helped in many ways. One restaurant, for example, used a loan from the nonprofit to acquire a food truck that enabled it to sell in different communities and expand its customer base, she said.

“All of our loans were accompanied by specific technical assistance—it helps to have capital, but it also helps to have access to expertise to help think through how to get to the next stage or how to manage cash flow,” McLawhorn Ryan noted.

McLawhorn Ryan said it’s important for funding partners to keep offering funding and general support that will enable small businesses of color to recover and advance to the next phases of development, and she cautioned against a return to business as usual over the next few years.

“This is a new economy, and therefore it requires a new perspective,” McLawhorn Ryan said. “If we are intentional about creating inclusive products, inclusive opportunities for businesses to thrive and survive during this time, we have to be dedicated to the tools that are needed to create a truly equitable environment.”

Staff writer for Economy Matters

 

Source: For Small Businesses, Recovery from COVID Could Take Years – Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

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More Contents:

Financial Well-Being: Highlights from the Fed’s Report

July 20, 2020

The Federal Reserve regularly assesses Americans’ financial situation. This Economy Matters article summarizes the Fed’s latest snapshot and looks at how the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic affected people’s finances.

Small Businesses Feel Pressure from COVID-19 Pandemic, Fed Research Shows

June 12, 2020

Nearly all firms have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic, but small firms have been hit the hardest. A recent Federal Reserve study surveyed small businesses about business conditions and expectations, and this Economy Matters article looks at the results.

Homebuilders, Brokers Expect Lower Sales and Construction, Atlanta Fed Poll Shows

June 11, 2020

Residential real estate, long a bulwark of the southeastern economy, has been dampened by COVID-19. This Economy Matters article examines recent poll results to view the pandemic’s impact on the industry.

Assessing the Regional Impact of COVID-19 on Southeastern Employment

May 27, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has profoundly affected employment. This Economy Matters article introduces the Atlanta Fed’s updated state-level Jobs Calculator, using it to show possible future scenarios, including what it would take to return to pre-pandemic employment numbers.

“You Can Build the Infrastructure from Zero”: A Conversation about Digital Adoption in Emerging Economies

March 26, 2020

Much has been written about the digital revolution’s impact on developed economies, but what about developing and emerging economies? The Economy Matters podcast features an Atlanta Fed economist who discusses his research into the question. podcast

“These Local Problems Do Have Some National Solutions”: A Conversation about Inequality

February 27, 2020

In this special episode of the Economy Matters podcast, Atlanta Fed president Raphael Bostic talks with researcher Anthony Orlando about income inequality and how a seemingly national problem can have solutions that begin close to home. podcast

Wings over America: A Conversation with Author James Fallows

January 2, 2020

In this special episode of the Economy Matters podcast, Atlanta Fed president Raphael Bostic talks with author James Fallows about Our Town, his book that attempts to deepen our understanding of American social, regional, and cultural diversity. podcast

Diplomats: U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to Bring Certainty

December 26, 2019

Trade negotiations always require patience and persistence, and the pending deal among the United States, Canada, and Mexico was no different. An Economy Matters story presents the perspectives of Mexico’s and Canada’s diplomats.

Why the Big Fuss about Little Dots?

December 5, 2019

The insights of the members of the Federal Open Market Committee go into formulating the “dot plot,” a visual depiction of how they see the future path of the fed funds rate. This Economy Matters article explains what the dot plot is—and isn’t.

Delving Into a (Venture) Capital Idea

November 20, 2019

Venture capital is always on the lookout for the Next Big Thing. Economy Matters looks at the research of an Atlanta Fed economist who furthers our understanding of the important role venture capital plays in the U.S. economy.

“They’re Really Punching above Their Own Weight”: Venture Capital and Firm Growth

November 19, 2019

What role does venture capital play in finding and nurturing the Next Big Thing? The Economy Matters podcast tries to answer that question by talking to an Atlanta Fed economist about venture capital’s impact on firm growth and employment. podcast

“Get to Know Your Workforce”: Discussing the Benefits Cliff

November 7, 2019

In this special episode of the Economy Matters podcast, Meghan Cummings of the Women’s Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation talks with Atlanta Fed research director Dave Altig about the benefits cliff and ways employers can make the workplace more accommodating to lower-wage employees. podcast

Talking Trade and Other Things China with Economist Tao Zha

October 10, 2019

China and its economy—the world’s second largest, after only the United States—have become staples of the daily news cycle. Economy Matters spoke to an Atlanta Fed economist about Chinese trade, economic growth, the unrest in Hong Kong, and more.

Atlanta Fed Research Explores Impact of Teen Driver License Programs on Labor Participation

September 26, 2019

Restricting teens’ ability to drive has had measurable improvements on accident rates, but the restrictions have also impeded their ability to participate in the labor force. An Economy Matters article looks at Atlanta Fed research into the impact of teen driving restrictions.

Round and Round: The Basics of the Business Cycle

September 17, 2019

What ignites an economic expansion? What brings one to a halt? The answer: it depends. Economy Matters looks at the business cycle and why its behavior is inherently challenging to predict.

The Economics of Aging and the Frailty Index

September 3, 2019

Gaining a better understanding of people’s health is key to fashioning policies that serve them better as they age and become more frail. Economy Matters examines Atlanta Fed research into the frailty index, a tool that helps assess individuals’ well-being.

“What Are Businesses Reacting To?” A Conversation about Uncertainty

August 28, 2019

The Economy Matters podcast talks to an Atlanta Fed economist about his survey to measure business uncertainty. podcast

“We Do Find a Meaningful Impact”: Novice Driver Restrictions and the Labor Force

July 25, 2019

States have grown increasingly strict about novice teenage drivers. The Economy Matters podcast talks to an Atlanta Fed economist about the impact of stricter policies on teen labor force participation. podcast

Examining the Effects of Cashless Stores

June 19, 2019

Economy Matters looks at research into the impact on consumers (especially the unbanked or underbanked) of businesses’ refusal to accept cash.

Over the Cliff’s Edge? Incentives Hurting Low-Wage Workers

June 13, 2019

Some workers are forced to choose between a pay raise and the loss of a crucial form of public assistance. Economy Matters looks at the vexing phenomenon known as the “benefits cliff” and how to reduce its challenge.

“A Puzzle That Everyone Wants to Solve”: Discussing the Price-Rent Ratio

May 30, 2019

Sometimes an area’s rents increase faster than house prices. But sometimes they don’t. This episode of the Economy Matters podcast discusses the price-rent ratio and what it indicates about housing markets. podcast

Red State, Blue State: Examining the Tax Law’s Spending Effects

May 9, 2019

The 2017 tax law implemented extensive changes to people’s deductions, but the law’s impact varied widely among states. Economy Matters looks at some conclusions based on recent research from the Atlanta Fed.

Speaking Publicly on Privacy: A Conversation about Digital Privacy

April 2, 2019

Safeguarding personal data is a challenge in our digital era. In this special episode of the Economy Matters podcast, Atlanta Fed president Raphael Bostic speaks with Heinz College professor Alessandro Acquisti about the field of privacy economics. podcast

Under Pressure: The Pluses and Minuses of a Hot Economy

March 28, 2019

Does economic history hold any lessons about an economy in a sustained period of full employment? Atlanta Fed economist Julie Hotchkiss discusses her recent research into the question on this episode of the Economy Matters podcast. podcast

Brazil’s Economy, Emerging from Turmoil, Looks to Future

March 14, 2019

Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy and an important U.S. trading partner, is feeling optimistic about its economic future after years of sluggish growth and uncertainty. Economy Matters presents some expert views of the country’s prospects.

Millennials’ Spending Preferences: All That Different?

March 12, 2019

The popular perception of millennials is that their habits differ markedly from those of older generations. But Economy Matters looks at recent survey data and learns that—at least in terms of how they spend money—they’re not very different after all.

New Survey Aims to Sharpen Understanding of Uncertainty

January 24, 2019

If one thing is certain, it’s that the Atlanta Fed is measuring uncertainty. Economy Matters discusses the Survey of Business Uncertainty, which recently made its debut.

Atlanta Fed Economist Researches a “High-Pressure” Economy

January 17, 2019

When the unemployment rate becomes very low, is it beneficial to try to keep it there? An Atlanta Fed economist looked into the question, and Economy Matters discusses her research.

Untangling the Complex Causes of Inequality

December 4, 2018

Arriving at answers about economic inequality requires research from a variety of perspectives because isolating the relevant factors behind it is a formidable challenge. Some top researchers recently visited the Atlanta Fed to discuss their work on the matter.

Piecing Together the Wage Puzzle

November 29, 2018

Wages and their movements offer an important perspective on the macroeconomy. A new episode of the Economy Matters podcast features an Atlanta Fed economist discussing his observations on recent trends. podcast

A Conversation about the Role of Subprime Loans in the Home Price Boom

November 1, 2018

What relationship did the growth of subprime loans have to booming house prices last decade? The Economy Matters podcast talks to two Atlanta Fed economists who researched the question. podcast

“It’s a Really Dramatic Change”: A Discussion of the Economics of Food

October 12, 2018

How our food is sourced has changed dramatically over time. In this Economy Matters podcast episode, Atlanta Fed president Raphael Bostic talks with Purdue University professor Jayson Lusk about food production and economics and their impact on people’s lives. podcast

Tan cerca y, sin embargo, tan lejos

August 14, 2018

A relação dos EUA com Cuba tem sido tensa por dácadas, mas continua a evoluir. A revista EconomyMatters discute algumas das recentes mudanças e quais poderão ser seus impactos econômicos.

Tão Perto, e Ainda Tão Longe?

August 14, 2018

A relação dos EUA com Cuba tem sido tensa por dácadas, mas continua a evoluir. A revista EconomyMatters discute algumas das recentes mudanças e quais poderão ser seus impactos econômicos.

So Close, Yet So Far?

August 14, 2018

The U.S. relationship with Cuba has been a fraught one for decades, but it continues to evolve. Economy Matters discusses some of the recent changes and what their economic impact might be.

Where We Live: Social Capital and Migration

June 28, 2018

What factors go into where people choose to live? What makes some places more attractive than others? The Economy Matters podcast talks to an Atlanta Fed economist about new research into these questions. podcast

The Myth of Rising Home Prices

June 19, 2018

In the run-up to the housing crisis, Atlanta Fed economist Kris Gerardi and his Fed colleagues were seeing an alarming increase in mortgage defaults. This Economy Matters story looks at Gerardi’s research in the housing market, before the crisis and now.

Immigration in the United States: A Historical Perspective

May 24, 2018

In this special episode of the Economy Matters podcast, economic historian Ran Abramitzky discusses ways he has tried to measure the economic effects of immigration. podcast

The Challenge of Predicting Tariffs’ Impact

May 15, 2018

Tariffs have largely fallen into disuse, which complicates a study of their economic effects. Economy Matters looks at how tariffs and their implementation have evolved over decades.

Seeing the Workforce through the Lens of Economics

April 12, 2018

For economists, examining the job market is like looking through a kaleidoscope: many perspectives are available. In this Economy Matters story, Atlanta Fed economist John Robertson discusses some of the ways he views the labor market and some of the tools he has helped develop to improve that view.

A Hemispheric Perspective: Exploring the Atlanta Fed’s Americas Center

February 28, 2018

Economies throughout the Americas are tightly linked, and understanding those linkages is vitally important. Economy Matters looks at the work of the Atlanta Fed’s Americas Center, which furthers our understanding of these relationships.

Atlanta Fed Economist Delivers Housing Finance Expertise

February 8, 2018

Before the U.S. housing market grabbed the headlines, Atlanta Fed economist Scott Frame devoted himself to intensely studying it. Economy Matters looks at Frame’s work and what led him to his professional path.

Atlanta Fed Surveyor Constantly Refines His Craft

January 30, 2018

Taking the pulse of businesses and attempting to divine the future from the findings is an exacting business. In this Economy Matters article, the Atlanta Fed’s director of surveys discusses the craft of constructing useful surveys.

Student Loan Borrowers Face Tough Choices

January 26, 2018

Budgeting is rarely easy, and decisions, especially for young adults, can have lifetime implications. Economy Matters looks at the choices involved in saving for retirement while paying off student loans.

Estudiantes que solicitan préstamos estudiantiles enfrentan decisiones difíciles

January 26, 2018

Los presupuestos rara vez son fáciles, y las decisiones, especialmente para los adultos jóvenes, pueden tener implicaciones de por vida. Economy Matters analiza las opciones de ahorro para la jubilación mientras paga los préstamos estudiantiles.

In Pursuit of Imperfection: An Economist Builds a Better Model

December 19, 2017

Understanding an increasingly complex economy requires increasingly powerful tools. Economy Matters looks at the research of Atlanta Fed economist Nikolay Gospodinov, who is committed to supplying them.

In through the Out Door (and Back In): A Discussion of Industry Regulation

November 29, 2017

Industry regulators often return to work in the industries they had overseen. This episode of the Economy Matters podcast talks to an economist about approaches that have been successful (or not so successful) in remedying the revolving door. podcast

Putting a Price on Unemployment

October 26, 2017

When unemployment hits, how do you quantify its impact? Economy Matters looks at some research.

A Discussion of Unemployment’s Impact on Family Welfare

October 26, 2017

What is the cost of rising unemployment to a family? The Economy Matters podcast talks to an Atlanta Fed economist about her new research that seeks to find out. podcast

What’s Going On with the Labor Force Participation Rate?

October 10, 2017

Who’s working, who’s not, and why? This episode of the Economy Matters podcast delves into recent trends in the U.S. labor force participation rate.  podcast

Atlanta Fed Economist Explores the Future of Finance

September 7, 2017

Economy Matters: Is the financial supermarket poised to go mainstream?

The Economics of Health Insurance

August 31, 2017

What is the financial impact of losing health care insurance? Economy Matters looks at the fallout in Tennessee.

The Economic Impact on Individuals of Losing Public Health Insurance

August 29, 2017

What is the financial consequence to people when they lose public health insurance? An episode of the Economy Matters podcast looks at new Atlanta Fed research that attempts to quantify the effects. podcast

Taking the Pulse of Firm Optimism

July 31, 2017

This Economy Matters podcast looks at southeastern firm optimism during the presidential transition. podcast

Economists Untangling Complex Insurance Issues

June 22, 2017

About half of Americans over 50 will stay in a nursing home at some point. Yet only about 10 percent of those over 65 have long-term care insurance. Atlanta Fed economists are researching this and other puzzles in U.S. health insurance.

An Eye on the Future: A Discussion about the Long-term Care Insurance Market

June 22, 2017

The Economy Matters podcast talks to Atlanta Fed economists about the long-term care insurance market. podcast

The Wherefores and Whys of Wages

May 24, 2017

After an extended period of relative stagnation, wages have been showing signs of growth. This episode of the Economy Matters podcast discusses recent wage trends and how the Atlanta Fed views wage behavior. podcast

Atlanta Fed Research Examines Debt’s Effects on Health

March 7, 2017

Everyone knows that money woes can prey on one’s mind. But what about on one’s health? Economy Matters looks at recent Atlanta Fed research that explores the impact of delinquent debt on mortality.

Travel Blooms in Cuba as U.S. Relations Thaw, but Obstacles Remain

March 2, 2017

Once off limits to U.S. tourists for decades, Cuba is now luring growing numbers of American visitors. But a number of questions loom, and the answers to them will determine if this growth will continue. Economy Matters looks at the perspective of Cuba experts to learn more.

A Conversation about the Health Effects of Delinquent Debt

March 2, 2017

It’s no surprise that carrying unmanageable debt is stressful. But can it also bring adverse health effects? The Economy Matters podcast features an Atlanta Fed economist who looked into the question. podcast

An Eventful Decade: Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart Looks Back at His Tenure

February 3, 2017

After a decade at the helm of the Atlanta Fed, Dennis Lockhart is preparing to step down as president and CEO. In this Economy Matters podcast episode, Lockhart looks back at his time leading the Bank. podcast

To Fail or Not to Fail? A Discussion of Banking’s “Too Big to Fail” Problem

January 5, 2017

The problem of financial institutions whose distress would be large enough to imperil the larger economy has vexed policymakers for decades. The Economy Matters podcast looks at some of the challenges involved in solving too big to fail. podcast

A Healthy Labor Market Still Includes Many Puzzles

December 8, 2016

Today’s labor market poses numerous questions for economists. Economy Matters looks at some of these questions and considers the good news they portend, as well as the not-so-good news.

Immigration, Offshoring, and Their Effects on U.S. Wages

December 1, 2016

When low-skill immigrants arrive in the United States, and middle-skill jobs are offshored, how are wages affected? An episode of the Economy Matters podcast looks at research into the question. podcast

​Examining China’s Economy: A Conversation with Atlanta Fed Researchers

September 22, 2016

The Chinese economy—the world’s second largest—is of broad interest to economists and many others, and efforts to better understand it are numerous. This episode of the Economy Matters podcast talks to Atlanta Fed economists who have worked to provide clearer data about China’s economy.

Trade Dynamics and China, Part 3: How Do the United States and China Compare?

September 20, 2016

This final article in a three-part series in Economy Matters looks at trade flows between China and the rest of the world, comparing them with the trade flows of the United States. How have these patterns changed over time and across what types of goods?

Dinámica Comercial y China, Parte 3: Una comparación entre Estados Unidos y China

September 20, 2016

Este último artículo de una serie de tres partes publicado en Economy Matters aborda el flujo comercial entre China y otros países del resto del mundo, y lo compara con el flujo comercial de Estados Unidos. ¿De qué manera han cambiado estos patrones comerciales a través del tiempo y con respecto a los tipos de bienes?

A Dinâmica Comercial e a China, 3a Parte: Como Comparar os Estados Unidos e a China?

September 20, 2016

Este último artigo de uma série de três da Economy Matters examina os fluxos comerciais entre a China e o resto do mundo comparando-os aos fluxos comerciais dos Estados Unidos. Como esses padrões de comércio mudaram ao longo do tempo e entre quais tipos de mercadorias?

Economistas do FED de Atlanta Investigam os Mistérios da Economia Chinesa

September 8, 2016

A China é a segunda maior economia do mundo, mas ainda é desafiador entender totalmente sua economia. Uma equipe de economistas do FED de Atlanta está trabalhando para abreviar esse desafio. Economy Matters conversou recentemente com a equipe sobre este trabalho.

Atlanta Fed Economists Probe Mysteries of Chinese Economy

September 8, 2016

China’s growing economy has increasing influence on the economy of the United States. Economy Matters talks to some Atlanta Fed economists who are working to better understand China’s economic data.

Economistas de la Fed de Atlanta investigan misterios de la economía de China

September 8, 2016

China es la segunda mayor economía del mundo pero entender su economía es un desafío. Un equipo de economistas de la Fed de Atlanta está trabajando para dilucidar este desafío. Economy Matters conversó recientemente con ellos acerca de su trabajo.

Are Lemons Sold First? A Discussion of the Mortgage Market

August 18, 2016

The housing crisis made clear that not all mortgage bonds are equally good investments. But what can we learn today from how mortgages are offered for sale as investments? The Economy Matters podcast talks to an Atlanta Fed economist to find out.

Coming to Our Census: A Look at the Atlanta Fed’s Research Data Center

July 21, 2016

The Atlanta Fed is home to a Research Data Center (RDC), which gives qualified researchers access to data available in few other places. In this Economy Matters podcast episode, Julie Hotchkiss, director of the Atlanta RDC, discusses how the facility enables research that otherwise would not be possible.

Part Chart, Part Science: The Evolution of Economic Indicators

July 14, 2016

Just as the economy has evolved over many decades, so too have the ways economic activity is measured. What was once perhaps a key metric might now be only a marginally useful vestige in an economist’s toolbox. Economy Matters looks at some newer tools and how they help assess the economy.

Small Businesses Look to Alternative Funding Sources

June 16, 2016

​Many options are available these days for financing a small business, and this story looks at some of them.

Keeping Up with the Gazelles, Part 5: For Gazelle Founders, Hiring Goes beyond the Resume

June 16, 2016

All businesses seek the right hires, but for a small business, having the right employees is arguably even more crucial. The fifth and final installment of Economy Matters‘ Gazelle Project talked to some founders of gazelles—or fast-growing small businesses—about the role of hiring in establishing and building a business.

ECONversations Explores Aging’s Impact on the Economy

May 26, 2016

​The number of Americans 65 and older will increase by 66 percent over the next two decades. This article offers highlights of a recent ECONversations webcast in which two Atlanta Fed research economists discussed the economic and fiscal implications.

Senior Housing Industry Aging Gracefully

May 26, 2016

The surge in the population of older Americans is fueling the growth of “senior living facilities” to house this population. Economy Matters looks at this nascent industry.

Dinámica del Comercio y China, Parte 2: El Mundo – Espanõl

May 2, 2016

¿Cuánto importa y exporta China en los mercados globales y que tipos de bienes intercambia? La segunda entrega de una serie de tres partes de Economy Matters describe el comercio entre China y el resto del mundo en las últimas décadas.

Trade Dynamics and China, Part 2: The World

May 2, 2016

How much does China import and export globally and what types of goods are exchanged? Economy Matters charts China-world trade over the past few decades in the second of a three-part series.

A Dinâmica Comercial e a China, 2ª Parte: O Mundo – Português

May 2, 2016

Quanto a China importa e exporta globalmente, e que tipos de mercadorias são comercializadas? A segunda parte da série de três artigos da Economy Matters faz um mapa da participação chinesa no mercado mundial nas últimas décadas.

German Central Banker Says Euro Economy Gradually Recovering

April 19, 2016

The European Central Bank loosened monetary policy to boost the euro area economy. But that brings economic risk, said a German central banker at a recent luncheon at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Economy Matters offers highlights of his presentation.

Health Care Sector Projected to Expand

April 14, 2016

Medical demands of the increasingly aging population will boost the health care and social assistance sector, contributing substantially to the U.S. labor market. This Economy Matters article investigates where the jobs will be and looks at the balance between aging patients and an aging workforce.

Where Have All the Teen Workers Gone?

April 7, 2016

If you remember the job you held as a teenager, you might be part of a dwindling group. Fewer teens are entering the labor force today, and Economy Matters looks at some of the factors behind the decline.

The State of the States: Uneven Recovery and Tough First Quarters

March 18, 2016

How have states fared since the end of the recession? This Economy Matters article looks at state-level GDP data to find out.

Among Ugly Houses, Ours Is Prettiest

March 17, 2016

​ Soon after the release of Michael Lewis’s book The Big Short, some Fed economists wrote an analysis of the book for the Atlanta Fed’s Real Estate Research blog. Read about them here.

Keeping Up with the Gazelles, Part 4: Social Capital—The Battle Cry of the Gazelle

March 10, 2016

Founders of small businesses always have a vision for what they want to achieve, but they don’t always have all the answers. Economy Matters talked to some founders of gazelles—or fast-growing small businesses—about the role of mentors in establishing and building a business.

A Brighter Picture: Measuring Regional Variation in Labor Utilization

February 23, 2016

By some calculations, labor resource utilization rates across the United States still have not returned to prerecession levels. But according to this story in Economy Matters, the Atlanta Fed’s ZPOP measure paints a brighter picture.

Taking the Temperature of Real Estate

February 18, 2016

Regionally, the real estate sector has been important to the economy and has acted as a bellwether for other sectors, such as employment. In the new episode, two Atlanta Fed experts discuss real estate—and whether we’re in a new bubble.

Ask the Expert: An Interview with Stephen Kay

February 11, 2016

With the U.S. labor force aging and baby boomers moving into retirement, pensions have garnered much attention in recent years. Economy Matters spoke with an Atlanta Fed pension expert about the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Economists’ Views of The Big Short

February 4, 2016

​ Soon after the release of Michael Lewis’s book The Big Short, some Fed economists wrote an analysis of the book for the Atlanta Fed’s Real Estate Research blog. Read about them here.

U.S. and China Trade by the Numbers

February 4, 2016

​ Just as every picture tells a story, numbers can also be quite telling. Economy Matters has selected a few interesting integers about the trade relationship between the United States and China.

A Dinâmica Comercial e a China, 1ª Parte: Os Estados Unidos – Português

January 28, 2016

Quão atrelado ao desempenho econômico da China está o desempenho da economia dos EUA e o desempenho das economias em todo o mundo? Esta primeira parte de uma série de três artigos da Economy Matters lança uma luz sobre essa questão.

Trade Dynamics and China, Part 1: The United States

January 28, 2016

How tied up in China’s economic performance is the performance of the U.S. economy and the performance of economies around the world? This first installment of a three-part series in Economy Matters sheds some light on this issue.

Dinámica del Comercio Internacional y China, Parte 1: Los Estados Unidos – Espanõl

January 28, 2016

Cuál es el grado de asociación de la actividad económica en China y el desempeño de la economía Estados Unidos y del resto del mundo? Esta primera entrega de una serie de tres partes en Economy Matters arroja algo de luz sobre esta cuestión.

Lockhart: Economy Achieving Liftoff Conditions

January 14, 2016

In a recent speech, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart observed a number of improving economic barometers. Can a monetary policymaking move be far behind? Economy Matters summarizes his remarks.

Expecting Solid Growth, Lockhart Focusing on Inflation

January 14, 2016

Setting monetary policy requires an understanding of current conditions, but it also takes into account how policy changes reverberate down the road. Economy Matterslooks at recent remarks by Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart about considerations that go into the policymaking process.

Going Inside GDPNow

January 14, 2016

Since its 2014 debut, the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow tool has compiled an impressive track record in estimating changes in the gross domestic product. In this episode, Atlanta Fed economist Pat Higgins, the creator of GDPNow, discusses the tool, how it works, and some of the challenges involved in measuring the economy.

Keeping Up with the Gazelles, Part 3: Financing the Herd

December 23, 2015

Founders of small businesses face innumerable challenges, chief among them financing. Economy Matters talked to some founders of gazelles–or fast-growing small businesses–about how they financed their endeavors and how financing affected their business strategies.

Of Cars and Capital Flows: Mexican Central Bank Leader Discusses Auto Production, Global Challenges

December 17, 2015

Mexico, one of the largest trading partners of the United States, has been experiencing significant economic changes. A representative of Mexico’s central bank recently visited the Atlanta Fed to discuss some of them, and Economy Matters recaps his remarks.

A Story in Charts: Who Works for Minimum Wage?

November 12, 2015

Most minimum wage workers work part-time. This week, Economy Matters tells a story of minimum wage workers in a series of charts.

Keeping Up with the Gazelles, Part 2: Why Gazelle Founders Set Sail

November 12, 2015

There are as many reasons for founding a business as there are businesses. Economy Matters talked to some founders of gazelles, or fast-growing small businesses, to learn their reasons for setting out on their own.

The Death of a Reserve Currency

November 12, 2015

The Dutch bank florin—the dominant currency in Europe during much of the 17th and 18th centuries—lost its reserve currency status during the period 1781–92. In this Economy Matters podcast, Atlanta Fed economist Will Roberds talks about the rise and fall of the currency and what lessons it holds for today’s central bankers.

Atlanta Fed’s Hotchkiss: Don’t Be Overly Alarmed by Shrinking Labor Force

November 5, 2015

Some economists have been fretting about the declining labor force participation rate. But how big a source of concern should it really be? Economy Matters looks at a recent examination of some trends to draw conclusions.

The Relationship between the Minimum Wage and Rates of Youth Drinking and Driving

October 15, 2015

If a young person gets a raise at work, could the extra money lead to increased reckless behavior such as drinking and driving? A new Economy Matters podcast discusses Atlanta Fed research into the question.

Atlanta Fed President Lockhart’s Economic Narrative Considers the Long View

October 15, 2015

Setting monetary policy requires an understanding of current conditions, but it also takes into account how policy changes reverberate down the road. Economy Matters looks at recent remarks by Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart about considerations that go into the policymaking process.

Tools for the Armchair Economist: Taking the Pulse of GDP

October 1, 2015

Gross domestic product, or GDP, is an important measure of the economy’s health. However, official figures are released with a delay, posing challenges in gauging current conditions. Economy Matters explores the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model, which provides several real-time forecasts each month.

Gender Equality Is Smart Economics, Expert Says

October 1, 2015

Economists often base decisions on efficiency, but does this sort of decision making consider its gender impact? Economy Matters sat in on a recent talk by an academic who discussed the question.

What History Can Teach Us about E-Money

October 1, 2015

Could government-issued and privately issued electronic money coexist? Based on the 1914 to 1934 experience in the United States, the answer is yes, according to an Atlanta Fed working paper. Economy Matters summarizes the paper.

A Story in Five Charts: Who Works Part-Time?

September 24, 2015

More than three-quarters of all part-time workers in the United States choose to work fewer hours. The remaining quarter are involuntary. Economy Matters tells you who the part-timers are and their reasons for working part-time.

Keeping Up with the Gazelles, Part 1: Is the Herd Thinning?

September 17, 2015

Young, high-growth companies—sometimes known as gazelles—have traditionally been an important source of job creation, but the number of U.S. start-ups is in long-term decline. Economy Matters looks at the impact a diminishing herd of gazelles could have on the employment market.

Tools for the Armchair Economist: What’s Your Number?

September 17, 2015

Track your own personalized level of inflation with myCPI, a new calculator from the Atlanta Fed that tailors the U.S. inflation measure to individual circumstances. Economy Matters introduces this tool for the “armchair economist.”

The Government’s Conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

September 17, 2015

When the U.S. housing market swooned in 2008, the housing agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac became distressed and entered into a government conservatorship that was intended to be temporary. In this Economy Matters podcast, Atlanta Fed economist Scott Frame discusses the circumstances leading to the ongoing conservatorship.

How Was Steve Jobs Unlike Mark Twain? A Conversation with Economist David Galenson

September 10, 2015

Conceptually creative people do dramatic things, while experimentally creative people just keep working away, eventually accomplishing great things. Economist David Galenson posits two types of creativity, and argues for more research.

Tools for the Armchair Economist: Atlanta Fed Adds Wage Growth Tracker

September 3, 2015

Healthy wage growth has been an important missing ingredient in an otherwise strengthening economy. But recently, the Wage Growth Tracker, a new tool from the Atlanta Fed, showed a sharp rise in wages. Economy Matters introduces this tool for the “armchair economist.”

Ask the Economist

September 3, 2015

Atlanta Fed research director Dave Altig recently sat down with Economy Matters to discuss productivity, technological innovation, and the reasons he feels optimistic about the future of the U.S. economy.

Getting to the FOMC

August 20, 2015

All eyes have been on the Federal Open Market Committee as the central bank’s main policymaking body considers when to raise the federal funds rate for the first time since 2008.

The ABCs of the FOMC: Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart Discusses the Policymaking Process

August 20, 2015

Not many people get the opportunity to sit in on a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee. But in this debut Economy Matters podcast, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart, a voting member of the FOMC, takes us behind the scenes, describing how participants conduct deliberations, reach consensus, and cast votes on setting national monetary policy.

Wage Growth Is Intertwined with the Fed’s Dual Mandate

August 20, 2015

Wage growth matters to the Fed. Wages and broader labor costs are crucial to both components of the central bank’s dual mandate: price stability and maximum employment.

How Much Can Monetary Policy Do?

August 20, 2015

Through 2014, a range of indicators suggested that the underutilization of labor market resources gradually diminished. But how much labor market slack remains?

The Smallest of Small Firms: How Are They Financed?

August 20, 2015

Every business has to start somewhere, and most start with one employee. New Atlanta Fed research—summarized in this Economy Matters article—looks into how these firms—known as nonemployers—obtain financing.

What Is Management 3.0 & Why You Should Pay Attention To Energize Your Teams

What Is Management 3.0 and Why You Should Pay Attention to Energize Your Teams

Jurgen Appelo is a software engineer, trainer, entrepreneur, author, speaker and traveler, who has been driving agility in companies. One of his works, Management 3.0 , condenses a team management methodology so that they can survive amid chaos and fragility.

This model, based on Edgar Morin’s so-called complexity theory, is based on the notion that a system – a company, a government, a project – is not feasible to analyze as a mere sum of its component parts; rather, it is the relationships and interactions that give it meaning and momentum. To graph this, imagine a network, with interlocking threads connecting each component. These threads are the facts, actions, decisions, and interactions that make up the world.

That is why management has been seen for several years as a system of networks and people, of dynamic relationships, and not only about areas or departments, profits and processes. It is a living system, not machines that systematically replicate the same result.

Principles for energizing and developing talent

In its 3.0 model, Appelo shares several principles that serve to support the work of leaders and teams in today’s changing world. Here are some of them:

1. Energize people

To achieve this, it is necessary to know what it is that motivates them and that is part of their life purpose: the more consistent it is with the purpose of the organization, there will be a greater individual commitment and team cooperation. For the psychologist and professor Edward Deci, there are two types of motivations:

  • Extrinsic: stimuli that are provided from outside the person (for example, a performance bonus, constant congratulations from the leader, etc.).
  • Intrinsic: those stimuli that are internal and relevant to the person, even when it is not their primary goal (for example, a project in charge). However, if you find a meaning, a why in what you do, you connect better and there is your own reward.

Author Daniel Pink offers a similar look at intrinsic motivation in his book “Drive”, where he affirms that most people are moved more by this type of impulse than by extrinsic. In other words, in the end and in essence, people care more about satisfaction than external rewards, although they should not be lacking, and he explains that there are three factors that new management leaders need to take into account to boost talent: mastery -the desire of each one to be better in what is important to him-, autonomy -the impulse to guide his own life-; let me mention self-leadership-; and purpose – intention to serve something greater than ourselves.

2. Empower teams

To achieve this, the author of Management 3.0 points out that it is entirely possible for each team to organize itself, if it has the confidence of the leaders.

At this point, it is essential that those who lead people focus on doing their job and not on micro-management and that teams participate in collective decisions on relevant issues. In addition, it is necessary for everyone to understand that they are part of a joint system, and not the mere sum of individualities, and that the knowledge of market needs is not in the hands of a single person, but that there is a broader perspective of their needs.

To empower, there are four lines of action that are strategic to generate relationships of trust:

  • Let the leader trust his team.
  • Let the team trust their leader.
  • Let team members trust each other.
  • Let the leader trust himself.

3. Development of skills

We already know that it is difficult for any company to achieve results if its members are not trained; and the leaders are responsible for enabling the conditions for this process to take place. Some ways are:

  • Leading by example: living what is preached.
  • Promote self-learning: appreciate personal maturing time.
  • Coaching and mentoring: as transversal support and support tools throughout the organization.
  • Training and certification: to raise standards against the competition.
  • Collaborative learning: internal development, where everyone learns from each other.
  • Learning from error: doing retrospectives and tests in controlled environments.
  • Measure the results: feedback in the shortest possible cycles; use of keeping metrics on information radiators; indicators agreed between those who participate.
  • Smaller teams: the author recommends no more than 10 to 12 people.

4. Improve everything and observe the team environment

It is key in the management 3.0 model to focus on real continuous improvement, for which it is necessary to facilitate change processes and model the natural resistance that may appear.

Some suggestions for leaders are to observe the team environment, what they need, and let it be known that you are available; find cracks or faults and go to their roots to promote solutions that the team implements; define clear and specific goals and have great communication skills, a key factor of every good manager.

Also, incentivize defining small victories or milestones that energize people; review achievements and not just failures; and it is also essential to recognize people.

The implementation of this leadership style implies a cultural change in companies that is not necessarily rapid, although it can be agile, if you have the conviction and vision to carry it out.

Ultimately, it depends on each company how far they want to go and on each leader, how much they want their teams to develop. Two questions that only they can answer.

By:

Source: What Is Management 3.0 and Why You Should Pay Attention to Energize Your Teams

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Many teams use Mind Maps to explore certain topics. Similarly you can use Personal Maps to explore your team itself. Personal Maps facilitate team collaboration and bonding in a rather distant world. With this video, you will learn how to use Personal Maps to break down the barriers of cubicles and longer distances, and then you may even learn how silly you were when you thought you had nothing in common! Here you can learn more about this Management 3.0 Workout: https://management30.com/product/work… Here’s a trick, instead of presenting your own, spark conversations by presenting each other! What are you waiting for? Try this 7-minute exercise out and tell us below how it went!
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As Pandemic Fatigue Sets In at Work, Employers Try to Help

People are tired. Between a global pandemic, economic crisis, social unrest, & political upheaval, the past year has been physically and emotionally draining for just about everyone, and perhaps most for essential workers.

Across industries, workers struggling with pandemic fatigue are facing burnout more than ever. For leaders, keeping these employees engaged and motivated is a challenge in itself. While some leaders are turning to incentives like gift cards and cash to help support employees, others are taking a softer approach, investing in relationships and focusing on workplace communication.

Money Talks

When the pandemic began, the hospitality industry fell off a cliff, says Liz Neumark, founder and CEO of Great Performances, a catering company in New York City. She knew keeping everyone employed would be difficult until her business could find another source of revenue apart from events, which eventually came in the form of preparing meals for essential workers and people unable to quarantine at home. While some of her employees, such as those in sales or event production, saw salary reductions, chefs, kitchen staff, and other employees making food for essential workers kept their full salaries and got help with transportation as well.  

The founders of P. Terry’s, an Austin, Texas-based fast-food restaurant chain, give employees gift cards and cash to help pay for groceries and offer them interest-free loans. They also incentivize employees to participate in community and civic causes, including paying hourly wages for volunteer work.

Justin Spannuth, chief operating officer of Unique Snacks, a sixth-generation, family-operated hard pretzel maker in Reading, Pennsylvania, increased hourly wages by $2 for all 85 of his employees. The company also hired additional temporary employees to provide a backup workforce. Spannuth says the move helped persuade employees with possible symptoms to stay at home by easing the guilt that employees can have about not coming in and potentially increasing the workload on their colleagues. 

“The last thing we wanted our employees to do was get worn out from working too many hours and then have their immune system compromised because of it,” says Spannuth.

Helping Employees Connect

Andrea Ahern, vice president of Mid Florida Material Handling, a material handling company in Orlando, Florida, says it was difficult to keep morale up when the business was clearly struggling; employees were uncertain about the company’s future, and their own. To help ease the stress, the company held a wide array of picnic-style meals in the company’s parking lot. It was a light distraction that still followed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Now, she says, morale has started to rise.

“With the release of the vaccine and the so-called ‘light at the end of the tunnel,’ we’re starting to see the industry get a lift in activity, and associates feel good when they know their jobs aren’t at risk. However, it wasn’t always this way.”

These kinds of events can, of course, also take place virtually. Company leaders across industries are encouraging staff to treat Zoom as a virtual water cooler. But while casual online gatherings after work can help colleagues maintain friendly relationships, they can also contribute to “Zoom fatigue”–the drained feeling that comes after a long day of video calls, which often require more concentration than in-person meetings.

Matt McCambridge, co-founder and CEO of Eden Health, a primary/collaborative care practice based in New York, says while his teams hold regular virtual water coolers, they switch it up. For example, the company hosted an interactive “dueling pianos” virtual event over the holidays, as well as a magic show. 

Better Communication From the Top

Communicating support work-life balance at a time when many people are remote and facing trauma is critical. Neumark notes that when her catering company was pivoting and in the process of providing hundreds, if not thousands, of meals, the team was relying mostly on sheer adrenaline. Months later, now that the novelty is gone and fatigue has fully set in, the boundaries she set are crucial.

One rule, for example, is weekends off, unless there’s an urgent, unavoidable request. “The weeks are still so intense, and people need their private time right now,” says Neumark.

It’s essential that leaders understand the issues their employees may be facing and not try to gloss over them, says Dr. Benjamin F. Miller, a psychologist and chief strategy officer of Well Being Trust, a foundation aimed at advancing mental and social health. “When your boss is pretending that everything is OK, it doesn’t create a conducive work environment for someone to talk about having a bad day,” says Miller. That’s one reason virtual water coolers often fail, he notes. While they’re great at getting people together, there’s little benefit if people can’t speak openly and honestly.

It’s also OK to tell employees that you, as a leader, are not having an easy time. Showing vulnerability doesn’t show weakness, Miller adds. You’re setting an example that shows that it’s OK to be honest and acknowledge that not everyone is not having the best time. If you aren’t aware that someone is in a crisis, he says, you may lose the opportunity to reach out to that person and help.

By Brit Morse@britnmorse

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ZDoggMD

Cases rising, news orgs banging the drums of doom, yet Americans seem to be throwing up their hands. Here’s what’s up with #pandemicfatigue​, LIVE. Transcript, audio podcast, and more: https://zdoggmd.com/pandemic-fatigue-…​ Your support keeps this content independent and awesome, so join the Supporter Tribe to get exclusive videos, live discussions, and other crazy perks: YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/zdoggmd/…​ Facebook: http://facebook.com/becomesupporter/z…​ Patreon: http://patreon.com/zdoggmd​ PayPal: https://www.paypal.me/zdoggmd​ Merch! https://supportertribe4lyfe.com/​ (Facebook and YouTube supporters get 25% off) Website: https://ZDoggMD.com​ Podcast: https://ZDoggMD.com/podcasts​ Facebook: http://facebook.com/zdoggmd​ Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gD8_D1​ Twitter: http://twitter.com/zdoggmd​ Instagram: http://instagram.com/zdoggmd

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COVID-19: FG To Roll Out Rapid Diagnostic Test-Kits In Abuja nigerianewspapersonline.net – January 12[…] Speaking on COVID19 fatigue, he said that while Nigerians may all be tired and fed up, the virus was taking advantage of th […]0

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3 Ways To Be An Authentically Empathetic Brand

The pandemic has shown us that brands and leaders acting with empathy, authenticity and transparency have an edge. From the media attention and cultural significance Zoom garnered by supporting K-12 schools to Starbucks expanding mental health benefits to its employees and their families, consumers are taking notice. In fact, DoSomethingStrategic has been researching Gen Z’s response to brands throughout the COVID-19 crisis and found that even young people are paying attention to how companies treat employees, partners and communities — and they reward or punish said companies with their wallets.

According to a recent poll, Americans believe it is now more critical than ever that brands “demonstrate empathetic qualities and take action to maintain customer loyalty and support.”

Empathetic leaders, cultures and brands enjoy higher levels of innovation, collaboration, loyalty, positive word of mouth and, per my experience and research, profitability and market valuation. The results prove that empathy is not just good for society; it’s great for business.

Leaders are starting to get it. But how can they ensure this empathy comes across as authentic and engaging to customers? After all, we’ve all been burned by companies that say they care about customers when the reality is quite different.

To be believable, effective branding must start from the inside out. Here are three ways to ensure your brand — as a leader or as a company — walks the talk and avoids what I call the dreaded “empathy veneer.”

1. Move Beyond Social Memes

Marketing can’t solve all your reputation issues. It simply communicates the truth of your real story. Involve every department in the conversation: HR, product, customer service. Who are we? Why are we here? Who do we serve? What are we about? Align on your mission and values, and audit your policies and practices to back up your claims. If you have not “operationalized” this value, no one will believe in it. For example, if your company is taking an empathetic stance on racial injustice, posting nice thoughts on social media is not enough. Your company must change its hiring practices, recruiting policies and pay structures to make customers believe you are the real deal.

2. Hire For Emotional Intelligence

A brand is merely a collection of actions performed by people. If you truly want to be an empathetic brand, you must hire the right people to live it out. This means going beyond the resume and assessing emotional intelligence. Ask tough questions to get to who people really are: How did they get past a disagreement with a colleague? What do they do to ensure their team members feel seen, heard and valued? How do they handle negative feedback? How have they gone “off script” to solve a customer’s problem? You can always teach technical skills but it’s harder to teach someone to be creative or collaborative in a clutch moment.

3. Leverage Accountability and Rewards

If you want your organization to have an empathetic culture, you have to make that the criteria for success. This means acknowledging, rewarding and modeling the behaviors you seek through performance evaluations or bonus discussions. Others will see that this is how success happens at your company, and they will understand this is what is expected. Employees are not dumb. If you’re constantly rewarding people who blatantly ignore core values, refuse to listen or disrespect colleagues, you send a clear message that your words mean nothing.

Your company can’t simply make empty marketing promises if your internal processes don’t align to external gestures. Branding starts from the inside out.

It’s not merely about projecting an empathetic brand. Walk your talk across the entire customer experience. If you do that, customers will see you as authentic and engaging, whether they’re interacting with your company in person or online.

By: Maria Ross , Founder, Red Slice

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Flying Canvas Productions

There are 3 components you must have to market with empathy. But first, you must understand what empathy really is: a personal identification between story and audience. It’s not enough to create video content. Customers demand stories. Therefore, brands have to be storytellers. This video guides you through the requirements of empathetic marketing, while steering clear of the pitfalls of misusing it. https://flyingcanvasproductions.com/e…​ Flying Canvas is more than a video production company. We’re story-makers. We’re an artisan video marketing studio for the digital brands and agencies, who want to rise to the modern customer’s demands. https://flyingcanvasproductions.com

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To Recognize Risks Earlier, Invest in Analytics

You’ve probably heard business leaders justify their flat-footedness in a crisis by claiming that every organization is flying blind in times of deep uncertainty. But in fact some leaders know precisely where they’re going. They understand what’s required to chart a course through market turbulence, and they’ve built organizations with keen situational awareness.

When it comes to developing the ability to figure out where things are heading and respond nimbly to a changing environment, nothing is more important than analytics. Unfortunately, in recent years analytics (also known as data mining or business intelligence) has become the unloved stepchild of data sciences, overshadowed by machine learning and statistics. Those two disciplines layer mathematical sophistication on top of a foundation of human intuition, creating an appealing illusion of objectivity and deft steering. Ironically, of the three, analytics is the most essential competency for navigating crises.

Solutions based on AI and machine learning hum along well during stable times but fall apart when disaster strikes. These technologies automate tasks by extracting patterns from data and turning them into instructions. Such models can quickly become obsolete when the inputs to the system change. Analytics, in contrast, alerts you when the rules of the game are changing. Without that kind of a warning, automation solutions can quickly go off the rails, leaving you exposed to exogenous shocks.

Statistics has a similar shortcoming during a crisis. Statisticians help decision-makers get rigorous answers. But what if they’re asking the wrong questions? While statistical skills are required to test hypotheses, analysts have the acumen to come up with the right hypotheses in the first place. To attempt statistics without analytics, you’d need great confidence in your assumptions—the kind of confidence that’s foolhardy when a crisis pulls the rug out from under you.

Analysts thrive in ambiguity. Their talent is exploration, which makes them particularly good at foreseeing and responding to crises. By searching internal and external data sources for critical information, analysts keep a finger on the pulse of what’s going on. They scan the horizon for trends and formulate questions about what’s behind them. Their job is to inspire executives with thought-provoking yet qualified possibilities. Once the highest-priority hypotheses have been short-listed by leaders, then it’s time to call in a statistician to pressure-test them and separate true insights from red herrings.

During good times, leading organizations build analytics capabilities to strengthen their ability to innovate. Analysts’ ability to find clues to such things as shifting consumer tastes can help firms take advantage of opportunities before less-savvy competitors do. When the going gets tough, however, what looked like a nice-to-have innovation booster turns into a must-have safety net. To be sure, some events are impossible to see in advance—the true black swans—but addressing their fallout is a game best played with open eyes.

Unfortunately, it’s very hard to cobble together a mature analytics department on short notice. The technical skills that allow analysts to guzzle data with lightning speed merely increase the mass of information they encounter. Spotting a gem in it takes something more. Without domain knowledge, business acumen, and strong intuition about the practical value of discoveries—as well as the communication skills to convey them to decision-makers effectively—analysts will struggle to be useful. It takes time for them to learn to judge what’s important in addition to what’s interesting. You can’t expect them to be an instant solution to charting a course through your latest crisis. Instead, see them as an investment in your future nimbleness.

It also takes time to secure access to the promising data sources analysts need. Ideally, business leaders won’t wait for a big disruption to begin building relationships with data vendors, industry partners, and data collection specialists. Bear in mind that in the face of an extreme shock, your historical data sources may become obsolete. If your understanding of the past fails to give you a useful window on tomorrow’s world—perhaps because a pandemic has changed everything—it doesn’t matter how good your information was yesterday. You need new information. After the 2008 financial crash, for example, banks around the world recognized that there might be an advantage to analyzing nontraditional signals of creditworthiness, such as data from supermarket loyalty cards, but not all players were equally positioned to get access to them.

Additionally, your internal data stores may require special processing before analysts can mine them, so it’s worth thinking about hiring supporting data engineers. If analytics is the discipline of making data useful, then data engineering is the discipline of making data usable; it provides behind-the-scenes infrastructure that makes machine logs and colossal data stores compatible with analytics tool kits.

When I began speaking at conferences about the importance of analytics, I found that convincing an audience of its value was the easy part. The mood changed when I explained the catch: Analytics is a time investment. You can’t count on getting something useful out of every foray into a data set. To succeed at exploration, your organization needs a culture of no-strings-attached analytics. As the leader, you are responsible for setting the scope (which data sources should be looked at) and the time frame (“You have two weeks to explore this database”). Then you must ensure that analysts aren’t punished for coming back empty-handed.

During an extreme shock, your historical data sources may become obsolete. Then it doesn’t matter how good your information was yesterday. You need new information.

Once business leaders accept that analytics represents an investment that may not immediately pay off, I hit the next stumbling block: the perception that only a large and technologically sophisticated company such as Alphabet can afford it. This is nonsense. In my experience you’re more likely to find analytics thriving in start-ups than at well-established behemoths.

Start-ups naturally invest in analytics as they try to navigate a new market, with several generalists taking on a share of the exploratory work. Then as the venture grows, the culture changes. Workers are trusted less and made more accountable for return on their efforts, and overzealous management stifles opportunities for analytics to thrive. Analysts hired into this culture rarely get to enjoy the most interesting part of their work—exploration—and instead serve as human search engines and dashboard janitors. Many quit out of frustration as their potential is squandered.

Creating a culture where analytics flourishes takes thoughtful leadership. As organizations grow toward incumbency, only the most visionary will have the courage to nurture a true analytics department and make sure that business leaders have access to it and are influenced by it. Industries that have been burned by a previous crisis — banking is a good example — are especially likely to invest in analytics and apply it to risk management.

Becoming a leader in analytics takes a commitment to trust your analysts and give them space to do their work. Their job, after all, will be to reveal threats that you never even imagined should be on your radar. That sort of work can’t be managed with a stopwatch and a checklist.

Crises such as a pandemic—when no one has the answers, and uncertainty is high—remind us of the importance of asking the right questions. Analytics gives firms an edge in learning and adapting. When the world is suddenly upended, those who can learn the fastest are best positioned to succeed. Smart companies will invest in analytics today to get ahead of whatever is coming tomorrow.

By: Cassie Kozyrkov

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6 Natural Remedies for When You’re Stressed About Work or Life

Let’s be honest: This is a tough time to be a business owner. Since March, the world has turned upside down. Your office is likely closed, revenue is disrupted if not massively down, business travel is mostly non-existent, keeping workers on staff is an issue, the future is uncertain — and let’s not even get started with the SBA Payroll Protection Program and other stimulus measures.

If stress is getting the best of you, here are six natural remedies that might help. As always, do your research and talk to your doctors about introducing supplements. 

1. Rhodiola Rosea

You may not have heard about this herb, but rhodiola rosea has been used by people in Scandinavia, Russia and China for years as a way to reduce fatigue and boost energy. Research has shown that among its other effects, rhodiola rosea boosts the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of the nervous system that slows down our mental and physical processes. 

For most people who use it, this herb helps combat anxiety nicely. But it isn’t for everyone; some people actually report the opposite effect, with it increasing anxiety and irritability.When you give it a try, monitor your moods closely and ask those you live with to do the same. 

2. L-Theanine

One reason that some people drink tea is because it reportedly gives a boost without the buzz and anxiety that sometimes comes with drinking coffee. They can thank L-theanine for that, a compound in many teas that promotes focus and calmness. Studies have shown that L-theanine does more than just reduce anxiety, too; it seems to improve verbal fluency, executive function and sleep.

Tea is a common way to get a little L-theanine in your diet to reduce stress. But if you’re not a tea drinker — or like a bit too much sugar in your tea like me — you also can get this compound in supplement form.

3. CBD oil

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is getting a lot of attention lately. Part of that attention comes from the fact that CBD is a natural extract from cannabis, the same plant that produces marijuana. Most of the attention, however, comes from the fact that this non-hallucinogenic part of the cannabis plant has a load of health benefits — including anxiety relief.

CBD targets the endocannabinoid system, the part of the body that is responsible for the feelings of relaxation and exhilaration after a strenuous workout. So just like a runner’s high, CBD brings a sustained calmness and focus that can be a major counterbalance to stress.https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Best yet, you can get this stress reliever in gummy bear form. “We sell CBD oil in a variety of forms, but the gummy bears might be the most popular,” laughs David Levitt, co-founder of CBD gummy maker bioMD+.

4.Omega-3 fatty acids

Your brain is very susceptible to inflammation, which causes anxiety and stress. One of the main drivers of inflammation are omega-6 fatty acids, which are found in cheap vegetable oils and refined carbs. A natural way to offset this is by consuming omega-3 fatty acids, which act as an anti-inflammatory agent in your brain and counteract the effects of omega-6 fatty acids. 

Omega-3s are naturally present in fish oil, so if you need a break from the stress of running a business right now, consider upping the amount of mackerel, salmon, herring or oysters you consume. If you want to avoid fish breath, consider adding omega-3 oil as a supplement. Make sure you get omega-3 supplements that come from fish oil, however, not vegetable sources. Although vegetable-based omega-3 supplements do work and are an option for vegetarians and vegans, a Harvard study showed that they aren’t nearly as effective as the fish-based variety.

5. Essential oils

Because you’re likely now working from home, another method to try for reducing anxiety is the use of essential oils while you work. There’s an entire industry built around using aromas and essential oils to relax and cut down on stress.

If you’re overwhelmed by the selection of oils out there, focus on lavender, chamomile and cedar wood, all of which are known to reduce heart rate, ease tension in the body, promote relaxation and improve sleep. You can smell these oils, burn them, diffuse them or even dab them on your skin when your stress levels start to feel like they’re getting a bit high.

6. Vitamin D

D is for de-stressing. As humans, we’ve evolved to expect a lot of sunlight. But when we work inside, we often suffer from a vitamin D deficiency that can lead to anxiety and stress. Turns out the stress you’ve been feeling the past few months might have to do with spending too much time indoors, not just the current state of the world. 

Vitamin D supplements can help, but there is some research that suggests they might not work as well as you think. A better way to get more vitamin D is the old-fashioned habit of going outside and taking a walk. You not only get a little exercise, which helps with anxiety, but also exposure to those valuable sun rays that naturally give you the vitamin D your body craves. 

You can’t really get rid of the stress from running a business during these times, but you can manage your anxiety with natural remedies. So carry on, but don’t forget to handle your stress.

Jt Ripton Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

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More Than 50 Thousand SMEs Receive Loans To Sustain Their Businesses During The Pandemic

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

  • More than 50,000 SMEs have received working capital loans, with an average of 125,000 pesos each. And each venture has requested, on average, up to 2.5 credits.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 15 thousand small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) found an option in Mercado Pago to keep their businesses running and 7 out of 10 who applied for a loan did so through Mercado Crédito.

The foregoing, according to a survey of 1,160 SMEs nationwide conducted by Trendsity, at the request of Mercado Pago. According to the survey, most of the resources obtained through Mercado Crédito allowed these business units to increase inventories (51%) and use it as working capital, which includes equipment and operating expenses, among others (46%).

So far, more than 50,000 SMEs have received working capital loans, with an average of 125,000 pesos each. And each venture has requested, on average, up to 2.5 credits.

“As part of the economic reactivation, credit has become essential to encourage the economic development of entrepreneurs. For that reason, we increase our offer every month and have placed more than 3,500 million pesos among SMEs so that they can get ahead in this difficult time, “said Jonathan Sarmina, director of Mercado Crédito México.

More online payments to keep trading

“50% of the SMEs that joined Mercado Pago do not have a physical store, so 65% of them chose to reinforce online sales and 55% to offer more payment options,” said Sergio Dueñas, director of Payment Market.

Among the payment methods preferred by SMEs, the Payment Link stands out (82%), followed by the payment through Mercado Pago with its own website (72%); the Point Blue card terminal (62%) and QR code payments in (49%).

He explained that, according to the results of the study, 92% of those consulted understand that offering a greater number of payment options allows them to reach more potential customers and the same percentage declares that they will continue to use Mercado Pago in a world without a pandemic.

By:Entrepreneur en Español

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3 Things I’ve Learned from Billionaires About Coping With the COVID-19 Health Crisis

The COVID-19 global health crisis poses a multitude of challenges for every entrepreneur. Experts in some economies predict that in the coming recession, up to 40 percent of all businesses could cease to exist. Virtually every business owner is affected by the crisis this way or another and many feel a deep need for orientation in this difficult time.

In every walk of life, you always should learn from the best people in your area. Being an entrepreneur myself, I spent the last seven years travelling the world and interviewing some of the best entrepreneurs on the planet. I met over three dozen self-made billionaires on a mission to find out what in their personalities made them so extremely successful in business, to learn their thinking patterns and business strategies.

I published the results of my research in the book “The Billion Dollar Secret” and founded with half a dozen billionaires the 10 Digit Impact Group, a global platform for 10 digit individuals to exchange thoughts, experiences, and co-ordinate their international philanthropic activities to have a positive impact on the lives of billions of people.

Here is how billionaires approach the COVID-19 crisis and the three steps they take to thrive nevertheless:

1. Stabilize your business.

The first rule in business is: Don’t go broke! Also, in the crisis, the first and most important goal is to stay in business.

The COVID-19 crisis shows up in its first phase as a liquidity crisis. For business owners, it’s critical to keep liquidity. You don’t want to be in a situation where you are forced to sell your assets. To achieve that, you need to be flexible and quickly adapt to changing conditions. Innovation and the use of new technologies can help you achieve that.

In hard times, it is wise to reduce your dependency on financial institutions. Many billionaires have no debt in their companies or they want to reach zero debt soon.

No business can exist without customers. In a deep recession like this one, it’s not enough to think only about the financial condition of your company. You also have to think about the financial condition of your customers. You want them to survive so your company can survive. Sometimes you need to give them better business terms, give them more time to pay the obligations, temporarily waive the interest or even forgo part of the debt. It may be painful in the short term but it may save your company in the long term.

2. Prepare for opportunities.

Cash is king! It sounds like a slogan but there is no other time when these words are more true than now. Every crisis is an opportunity and there are many opportunities to come in this crisis. There will be assets in different areas to be had cheaply, be it real estate or companies. To take advantage of these opportunities, you need cash.

Billionaires have prepared for it by selling some of their non-essential, non-strategic assets and currently keep unusually large amounts of cash so they can invest with a discount at a later point in time.

3. Invest during max panic.

When everybody thinks in one direction, don’t be surprised when the situation develops in the opposite direction. When everybody runs for the hills, that’s when you should take a contrarian view and go against the crowd. You will always find opportunities there where somebody loses liquidity and has to sell.

Billionaires expect real estate and the stock market to go down in price even further in the coming months and years. When the panic in the market caused by the fears about the second wave and potential second lockdown reaches its maximum, that’s when the opportunities will outweigh the risk. 

That’s when you should look for potential acquisition targets in your industry or expand your activities to new markets using your cash stash.

By: Rafael Badziag / Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Emotional health can be challenging during this COVID-19 crisis. Dr. Molly Gardner explains what you can do to stay emotionally healthy, plus what you should do if you need behavioral health support during this time. Connect with a specialist: https://bit.ly/2QOgYmn COVID-19 information for patient families: https://bit.ly/2WJAc0d 4 ways to stay connected with family and friends: https://bit.ly/2UFASRp What parents need to know about Coronavirus: https://bit.ly/2UDZYAo Talking with your kids about coronavirus: https://bit.ly/2WNVSrO

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