The Blog - Where Business Collides with Human Nature

Hiring Older Adults – Risky or Beneficial?

Considering there is a growing abundance of ‘older people’, does dementia, Alzheimer’s, arthritis and other health issues increase risks when hiring them? Is it worth the risk?

According to the CDC, only 21.6% of people over 65 say their health is fair or poor which leaves a majority with average, good or excellent health.

Does the experience, wisdom and maturity they bring outweigh the risk of potential health issues? Sandra has a few thoughts!

Topics: Hiring Recruiting Leadership Management

Is Online Shopping Really Better than a Brick-and-Mortar Experience?

The rise of the internet makes it easier than ever for people to get the things they want or need simply by going to a website and placing an order — often receiving their merchandise the next day or even in a matter of hours. However, despite the convenience of the on-demand economy, I was curious about whether buying things online is genuinely better than shopping for stuff in a store.

I am an avid shopper and split my time between buying things in stores and online. Not long ago, I needed to buy some specific items and thought the circumstances presented perfect opportunities to figure out the best way to shop.

I decided to pay attention to my experiences with both options and use the outcomes to determine which one I preferred. The news coverage of how many brick-and-mortar stores are shutting down was another factor that sparked my curiosity. Do online stores spell doom for physical stores in all or most cases? Let's find out based on my shopping spree.

Topics: Marketing Ideas Customer Service Business Trends

The Twelve Most Effective Business Models Explained with Coffee Metaphors (Infographic)

If you have a great business idea, selecting a profitable business model is essential to future success. Your business model explains what product or service your company plans to sell and it outline your company’s blueprint for making profit. Business models also identify how you will market your product or service, how much it will cost to run your business, and much more.

A majority of business startups fail in the first four years – in fact, of all the small businesses started in 2011, only 4% made it into the second year – so it’s important that you pick the business model that sets your company up for success.

How to Pick a Business Model

When you are selecting a business model, keep in mind that the best model allows you to fulfill customer and client needs at a reasonable cost, while still aligning with your core company values and objectives.

Here are 3 good questions to ask yourself in the planning stages:

  1. Value: Have you thought of a unique value proposition that makes your product or service valuable? How are you different from your competitors?

  2. Target Market: Who will you be marketing your product or service to? Are there enough people in this market to sustain your business and do they have a need for this?

  3. Costs: How much will your product or service cost to create? Does it have the chance to be profitable? Can it be scalable?

These are questions you should ask yourself in the early stages of writing your business plan. You don’t want to waste your time writing up a plan only to discover later that profitability is not an option.

Topics: Start a Business Business Planning

A Big Surprise for the New Entrepreneur

Congratulations on your decision to go into business for yourself! (Or maybe you are an idea away.) Not everyone has what it takes to follow their dream. Entrepreneurs are unique individuals. You have likely spent hours, months, even years planning.

You feel SO prepared.

Topics: Planning Entrepreneurship Entrepreneur

Empowering People to More #Tell&Show

People are not 'getting it'. You talk, teach, sell and hope someone will take action... but they continue on with the same habits.

Students, employees, peers, prospects, customers, the boss, patients, your children (and even your parents). They are stuck in old unhelpful paradigms because they don't know enough, or they are unwilling.

IMPORTANT: There are people who think they know everything! If this is the case, watch the video at the end of this article: "How to Train People Who Know Everything" by Arthur Carmazzi

To make a a difference, to move people to a better reality, we rely on the common term: "Show & Tell."

But I am thinking it shouldn’t be referred to as "Show & Tell"’.
It should be called "Tell & Show".

"Tell" someone the goal, the how, the plan.
Then model the behavior – "Show" them with real activities. (aka demonstrate)

Topics: Selling Video Marketing Training Personal Development Learning Empowering

No Time to Study, Have to Work (Unhappy at Work and Trapped)

This survey says 71% of employees are dissatisfied and looking for a new employer. What might seem apparent as an easy fix would be to improve the skills and knowledge, to be more “hirable”.

Working and taking classes simultaneously should be simple enough. Cut out a little TV, hide the Xbox, stay healthy, ignore home maintenance for a while and get a study buddy. Do not tell the boss about any interest in self-improvement, taking classes and the commitment to study… the boss would likely not appreciate your goal of “escaping” from the company. (Or so you tell yourself)

Full time students have a similar issue but in reverse. It seems the whole day is taken up by classes and studying. How would anyone have the time to also be an intern, have a job or even do volunteer work in an industry of interest?  (Some like to drive an Uber or Lyft with flexible hours, but that too takes time.)

No time to study --- have to work.
or
No time to work --- have to study.

If you think it is time to get out of the trap, improve your skills and do not expect magical handouts, get ready to invest in studying. (And maybe for a few letters behind your name.)

If you are a student and see the writing on the wall of the future trap you too will fall into, get ready to immerse yourself into work that gives you experience.

Whether you are a professional or a student, leadership development, becoming a PhD, a journeyman electrician, or an amazing insightful awesome consultant... it takes more than just showing up.

This infographic may be helpful.

"Working and Studying Together, Can it be Done?"

Topics: Education Career Support Study Self-Improvement Infographic

9 Fundamentals for Increasing Ecommerce Conversion Rates

Average ecommerce conversion rates are only 2 to 3% across all sectors and devices, which means the vast majority of shoppers are leaving without making a purchase. Each of these empty-handed departures provides an opportunity for savvy marketers and business owners to substantially increase revenue.

For instance, for a business with 10,000 daily visitors and an average conversion rate of 2.5%, increasing conversions 0.5 points to 3.0% would generate an extra 50 orders a day. With an assumed average order value (AOV) of $100 those additional orders result in $5K of added daily revenue, or more than $1.8M annually.

A marginal increase from 2.5% to 3.0% may not seem worthwhile to pursue, but the aggregate effect over the course of a year can be astonishing. While larger companies benefit most from increases in conversion rates due to scale, businesses of all sizes can profit from incrementally improving conversion rates over time.

Regardless of how much traffic your site receives or what your AOV is, these elements are fundamental to increasing ecommerce conversion rates:

Topics: Conversion Ecommerce

Should a Guest Author First be a Subscriber to My Blog?

As far as the subscriber issue "Should a guest author first be a subscriber to be considered?" I get many unsolicited article submissions from people who are not regular readers of my blog. It is very annoying. I wish more would subscribe to my newsletter, rather than dropping by with a guest post and leaving (especially if it's not useful to my audience). But that's not usually how it works.

More often than not, I get emails with article submissions and proposals from people who barely read my blog.

Topics: Business Blogging Guest Blogging

A Few Thoughts About Christmas (Holiday) Emails

You may celebrate Christmas or you may celebrate for many other reasons in December. Saying "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" is your choice and as it comes from the heart, you make someone's day. 

Christmas (Holiday) cards in the snail mail can be a delight. They can be artistic, thoughtful, relevant, and include photos to show 'the latest' status.  I love those pop-ups cards!  It takes time to lick a stamp, an envelope and manage to get them in the mail. In our new world of digital, a Christmas card in the mail is more valuable than ever. (Not everyone agrees though, as you will read here.)

Then email became the mechanism of choice. Anyone can send out an image with a few words to millions of people, in an instant, at a very low cost.  And so companies small and large do just that.  The Christmas (Holiday) card email is a task and the staff checks it off as done.

Some will pay to use a tool like eCards2go but it takes more work and more cash. Jacquielawson.com has been around since 2000 and brings some unique creativity to holiday (Christmas) cards but again, it is difficult to click one button to send to many. 

Fortunately, stock photo websites have a plethora of Christmas (Holiday) images. You can get generic greeting images or an unusual photo to bring a smile.

To help consider the how and why of Christmas holiday emails, here are a few notes and resources.

Topics: Guerrilla Marketing Email Marketing

Playground Lessons Not to Follow in Business Negotiations

We were all taught basic playground etiquette growing up. These life-lessons aimed to keep us out of trouble and provided us with some basic rules about respect and how to resolve conflict.

However, when it comes to achieving business success, playground lessons don’t always apply. Negotiation skills, such as those taught in the best negotiation skills training, must now replace the old playground tactics. While you can still maintain friends in business, as you could at school, it is smart to prioritize the best negotiation strategy while considering consequences and foreseeing outcomes.

Here are five playground lessons that do not apply when negotiating -- and the new counter-lessons you can use to ensure negotiation success.

Topics: Sales Business Culture Negotiation

Say Goodbye to Time Famine with These Schedule Hacks

Do you ever feel like there aren't enough hours in the day and you don't have enough time to finish everything? If you do, you're not alone. It even has a name that started showing up in scientific studies around the turn of the century: time famine.

What is time famine, and what can you do to hack your schedule and find more time in your day?

Topics: Time Management Productivity Personal Development

Need More Time? Increase Productivity with IFTTT and Zapier

Almost every everyone carries a cell phone in his/her pocket. When one speaks of cellphones, the conversation turns immediately to mobile applications. Amongst the clutter of many apps, products, and services, it is often difficult to keep on top of things. The more options there are to choose, the harder it is to manage.

What if your email client could organize your emails in folders without having to do it manually? What if you could get a notification every time your competitor made a change on their website? What if you could track all hashtags related to your business? Thanks to automation services like IFTTT and Zapier, you can do all this.

Topics: Free Software apps Productivity