Archive | March, 2019

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month

Image by Harut Movsisyan from Pixabay

This month of April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, and we’d like to share some information about this disease and let you know ways to help.

First of all, there is no cure for Parkinson’s Disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that affects neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra. Parkinson’s rarely happens over night, but rather with symptoms that generally develop slowly over the years. Also, each person can have a different set of symptoms and progression due to the diversity of the disease. Continue Reading →

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Why is Assault the Most Common Workplace Injury for Women?

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

When we think of workplace injuries, thoughts of falling off ladders, slipping on a wet floor, or tripping down stairs as the most common. But what if we told you that 70 percent of all non-fatal injuries that cause days off work were ones that women suffered, and that they are due to assault? It’s a sad and true statistic, according to analysis by the National Safety Council. Continue Reading →

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Spring Clean, Marie Kondo-Style

Image by Steve Adcock from Pixabay

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you’ve heard of Marie Kondo. She’s the Japanese author and professional organizer who wrote the bestseller, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”. You may have heard book lovers railing against her 30-book maximum and her love of folding.

Now that we’re past the time change, it’s starting to feel like spring. So why not do some spring cleaning around the house? You may not want to go full Marie Kondo, but doing some decluttering is always cathartic. Donate some of those clothes and toys to charities—do you have nice business clothes you don’t wear any more? Search out a shop that focuses on giving clothes to low-income people looking for jobs, like Working Wardrobes in Irvine.

We’ve rounded up the top five tips from Marie Kondo’s book, and if you start obsessively folding every piece of clothing in your house, seek professional help.

Tip #1: Have you usually looked at decluttering as a room-by-room task? Kondo says to tackle categories, since objects like book can travel to another room and not get dealt with. Start with clothing, she suggests, as it’s the least emotionally sensitive category in a person’s life—books are next on the list, with old photographs coming further down the line.

Tip #2: Have a little respect for your clothes. Are they all mashed together in your closet? Are sweaters balled up in the back of a drawer? Kondo’s idea that your clothes have feelings may be a bit wacky, but if you think about it, taking care of your clothes while they are stored in closets and drawers will make them last longer, if not “happy”.

Tip #3: Put blinders on and focus on the task at hand, no matter how tempting it is to open that box of old letters or the high school yearbook you didn’t know you still had. Also, it might be a good idea to have the kids out of the house with your other half or a babysitter, as they are highly distracting creatures who will probably help “reclutter”.

Tip #4: Gather every piece of clothing and put it in a big pile. Don’t listen to music or get on the phone with a friend; again, Kondo’s theory is based on focus. Give yourself the permission to let go of those clothes you really don’t wear: the shirt you got on sale that just didn’t fit right but was such a good bargain; that dress that looked good in the changing room but you’re not brave enough to wear out; and again, those business clothes you’re not wearing at the moment. Kondo promises you’ll feel amazing when you see the bags of clothing going to a better home.

Tip #5: Folding! Everybody is Kondo Folding right now. Her technique is simple but effective, allowing you to see everything in your drawers at once and hard to mess up when you pull one piece out. She also uses clean shoe boxes for smaller items, like scarves or socks.

Are you ready to get started? Maybe wait until the weekend to give yourself the time. We don’t recommend starting today; your boss might not be so understanding that you missed work to sort and fold your entire closet. Happy spring cleaning!

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What is taking root?

Small business trends for spring and summer.

Businesses will further adapt to the modern customer.
When customers have more choices than ever, they lean towards businesses that provide a fast, seamless and personalized experience. A small startup that offers better service can take the lead against a large legacy company. This is true for all types of business whether you’re buying a hot dog or financing a house. 

The human touch is still important.
Technology will undoubtedly continue to improve, but AI and predictive analytics will not replace the human when creating the customer experience. AI will fill some gaps and create opportunities, but we have a few years before it’s a true game-changer. Think of AI as augmented intelligence – it adds to the human, giving more information, great insights, but not replace the human. (Hard to believe we’re at this juncture.)

Authentic relationships will win when paired against technology.
Relationships continue to drive commerce so people will find more ways to connect in person and build the trust that’s necessary to have a winning relationship. Establishing several different pathways to talk to clients and get to know them. You’ll only learn so much by algorithms. 

Marketing will continue to grow more personalized.
The trend is for marketing to be increasingly personal. Stock images, generic campaigns, and impersonal calls to action aren’t going to cut it. You’ll have to provide a continuous window into the culture of your business. This means real photos, and high-value personalized content. 

The modern workplace: Businesses will prioritize employee happiness.
“Businesses [will be] focusing on employee engagement and happiness. Because unemployment is at historic lows, keeping employees engaged and happy is critical to retaining good people. Keeping them happier at work … boosts productivity 10 to 25 percent.” – Scott Crabtree, Chief Happiness Officer at Happy Brain Science.

Evaluate your customer service flow and create new processes to give your customer the best possible experience. They are the roots of your success.

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Plant the seeds.

Isolated shot of hemp seeds on white background

What projects are you putting off? Tips to stop procrastination:

  1. Didn’t your mother say to clean your room? That holds true for your office space as well. If your physical environment is distracting, you’re likely to be distracted. Let’s channel some order and tranquility, giving your head space room to create.
  2. Get Dressed. Even though 43 percent of us are working remotely (according to Gallup) that doesn’t mean that PJ’s are the trend in office attire. Pull yourself together.
  3. Prioritize your tasks. Note the times and create a workday list showing reasonable completion times. As you complete the tasks create rewards – like a run or walk. (And take your dog with you.) 
  4. Stuck on a writing assignment? Just deal with some headlines first. A quick brainstorm of possible subject headlines rolls the project into stage two. Or call a friend to help you brainstorm. Bringing in new ideas generally gets a project moving to a better place.
  5. And . . . some degree of procrastination is good for creativity. Organizational psychologist, Adam Grant, did a study in which they found that there’s a sweet spot somewhere between finishing a project as soon as possible and waiting until the very last minute. “It’s only when you’re told that you’re going to be working on this problem, and then you start procrastinating, but the task is still active in the back of your mind, that you start to incubate,” he said. “Procrastination gives you time to consider divergent ideas, to think in nonlinear ways, to make unexpected leaps.” 
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Grow Something

Looking to start a new business?

Here’s what you need to get started.

Perhaps a hobby has planted a seed. You have knowledge and passion about something, and you can see a gap in the marketplace where your idea would fit in perfectly. You want to turn this into a business. 

Where do you start? Here’s a quick step-by-step guide.

1. Refine your idea. Do a quick search for existing companies in your industry of choice. Learn more following those that are doing well. How can you improve on their ideas? You’ll need to do it better or faster or a little differently that would attract consumers. This is the start of your business plan.

2. The business plan. Ask yourself the right questions? Who are you selling to? What is the intended result? Really look at your demographics and get as much insight as you can. The business plan is directional, and you can find templates on line that helps you start.

3. Money. Assessing finances is key. Every product or service has a price and you need to figure out what that price will be and how you will pay for it. Are you planning on leaving your current job? Most business fail due to lack of resources. Simply put, businesses run out of money before they turn a profit. There are a variety of ways to fund, from a traditional bank loan to crowd-funding. Reviewing your numbers with a CPA is a good idea.

4. Determine your legal business structure. The legal structure of your company will determine how you file your taxes to defining your personal liability if something goes wrong. 

Ultimately, it is up to you, the owner, to access your current needs and future goals. Review the different structures and consult your CPA and insurance broker for added information.

5. Get insurance. Having the right insurance is an important step before you officially launch. Difficulties can occur on day one, including property damage, theft or even a customer lawsuit. If you plan on having employees, you will, at minimum need worker’s compensation and unemployment insurance. Depending on your location an industry other types of coverage may be needed, but most small businesses are advised to purchase general liability (GL) insurance or a business owner’s policy. GL will cover property damage, bodily injury and personal injury to yourself or a third party.

Feel like sowing the seeds? Let’s get started and next month we’ll cover the next five steps, including registration; building your team, choosing vendors, branding/advertising, and the launch.

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The Reason for So Many Traffic Fatalities

Image by WikimediaImages on Pixabay

Once again, for the third year in a row, traffic fatalities reached an estimated 40,000. Those statistics are for 2018, according to the latest report from the National Safety Council (NSC).

That’s only roughly one percent lower than the road deaths from 2017, down only 231. But from 2014, it’s actually a 14 percent increase, the NSC reports. Continue Reading →

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