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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How To Prevent a Chimney Fire

It has been a very cold year so far, especially for us in Southern California. Plus, we’ve had more storms recently than over the last few years combined! All of that together may make you think about putting a few logs in the fireplace and lighting it up. Nothing is as cheerful and cozy as a fire on a chilly day.

But before you put a match to those logs, please review these tips on how to prevent a chimney fire. A chimney fire can burn a home to the ground, cause people to lose their lives, and are mostly due to lack of chimney care and maintenance. Continue Reading →

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President’s Day

HERE ARE 7 FUN FACTS ABOUT OUR FIRST PRESIDENT

The history of President’s Day dates back to the year 1800, following the death of George Washington in 1799. The measure was signed into law 1870 by President Rutherford B. Hayes. It was the first holiday to celebrate the life of an individual American. But here are some facts you might not have heard. Continue Reading →

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Chili on a Chilly Day

WHAT ARE THE BEST SIDE DISHES FOR CHILI?

When the weather is chilly and it’s National Chili Day . . . well, you know what’s coming up for dinner. It’s one of America’s favorite comfort foods. But the heat of chili has to have balance with the side dishes. You can easily transform a simple pot of chili into a total dinner fit for a star. Here are some of the “back up singers” to get you started.

Where are we starting? Cornbread of course: Skillet corn bread with cheddar and scallions. Try not to fix these next suggestions:

  1. Jalapeño-Goat Cheese Grilled stuffed Mini Peppers: Easy and yummy Recipe Link
  2. Macaroni and Cheese in Acorn Squash Bowls: Mac and Cheese for Vegans Recipe Link
  3. Buttermilk blue cheese Mashed Potatoes: Irresistible!  Recipe Link
  4. Bacon Cheddar Biscuits: These will go quickly. Recipe Link
  5. Smokey Barbecued Corn: Recipe Link
  6. Mango Guacamole: Sweet and Spicy Recipe Link

You can find the more recipes here: Wow Recipes

 

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Your Home Fire Extinguisher: How to Inspect It and Why

Do you have a fire extinguisher in your home, ideally by the kitchen? If not, you should, as it’s something most people don’t think about until they are in need of one. And even if you have one, it’s no good to you if it’s not in working order.

This is why you need to inspect your home fire extinguisher regularly, to ensure it works when you need it most. Continue Reading →

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