Tag Archives: Risk Management

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Report: CEO pay increases 1,000% over past 40 years

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What can small businesses make of booming CEO pay? First, we look at the numbers. Lawrence Mishel and Julia Wolfe of the Washington, D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute dove deep into the data on compensation trends in the U.S. over the past 40 years. What they found is that those at the commanding heights of the economy are enjoying larger slices of the pie, unlike everybody else.

According to Mishel and Wolfe, “From 1978 to 2018, CEO compensation grew by 1,007.5% (940.3% under the options-realized measure), far outstripping S&P stock market growth (706.7%) and the wage growth of very high earners (339.2%). In contrast, wages for the typical worker grew by just 11.9%.”

Main Street is not feeling the love, which a recent opinion poll of 500 small business owners across the U.S. reflects. They support an economic issue prominent in the 2020 presidential election.

According to the poll, which Morning Consult conducted: “Nearly two-thirds of small business owners support increasing taxes on the wealthy: 64% of small businesses support increasing taxes on the wealthy (42% strongly support it). Fifty-three percent say increasing taxes on the wealthy would not hurt small businesses. Of those polled 76% said their annual income was $100,000 or less.”

That small business sentiment to tax the wealthy at higher rates matches a policy recommendation of the EPI’s Mishel and Wolfe. They write the following:

“The economy would suffer no harm if CEOs were paid less (or taxed more). We need to enact policy solutions that would both reduce incentives for CEOs to extract economic concessions and limit their ability to do so. Such policies could include reinstating higher marginal income tax rates at the very top; setting corporate tax rates higher for firms that have higher ratios of CEO-to-worker compensation; establishing a luxury tax on compensation such that for every dollar in compensation over a set cap, a firm must pay a dollar in taxes.”

The CEOs enjoying the booming pay trends of the past four decades do not need a weatherperson to see this wind of higher taxes on them blowing.

Take the Business Roundtable. It released a statement titled “Redefines the Purpose of a Corporation to Promote ‘An Economy That Serves All Americans.’” This is of course an admission that the economy has failed in this respect. The word tax does not appear in the BR statement.

“The American dream is alive, but fraying,” said Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Chairman of Business Roundtable, in a statement.

“Major employers are investing in their workers and communities because they know it is the only way to be successful over the long term. These modernized principles reflect the business community’s unwavering commitment to continue to push for an economy that serves all Americans.”

It is worth noting that JPMorgan Chase and Co. on Dimon’s watch was a major recipient of taxpayer dollars when Uncle Sam stepped in to rescue the big bank from failing over a decade ago.

That was not a miracle of the marketplace. Rather the bailout of Dimon’s employer was a conscious tax policy decision of the federal government. Oh, and he kept his job. That is nice work if you can get it.

The Morning Consult opinion poll shows small business preferences for tax policy to improve their enterprise. Consider this:

“Respondents said their first choice is making the first $25,000 in profit for a small business tax free. The second choice no doubt has broad appeal among the American populace of “simplifying the tax code.”

Other tax policy preferences range from “relief on payroll taxes” to “equalizing the tax savings rate created by the law between small and large businesses and expand it to include entrepreneurs in all fields” and lastly “doubling the startup tax deduction for small business.”

It will be interesting to see which tax policy proposals to help small business get traction in the forthcoming presidential election season.

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Infographic: The future of work

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Office culture has grown and evolved over the years. Today, employees look for workplaces that value work-life balance, support their health and well-being, and offer flexibility and perks. Furthermore, a majority of employers plan to implement workplace culture initiatives to boost employees’ engagement in health.

Check out this infographic, which dives into the psychology of productivity, how workplace culture impacts your business, and how to attract and retain the best talent.

Infographic courtesy NowSourcing

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Research: One way to boost organic shares on social media

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Most marketers don’t count on social shares much! That’s because from 2015 to 2017, social sharing dropped by half, according to BuzzSumo data.

Yet, there is an outlier: original, authoritative content. Publications like The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, and The Economist actually saw a substantial increase in the number of their social shares.

For marketers, publishing original research was their ticket to capitalize on the above trend. For the most part, it seemed to work. BuzzSumo, for example, saw more than 13,000 more social interactions when it published its analysis of over 100 million headlines.

Other marketers agreed. Publishing original research drove website traffic, social shares, media coverage, leads, and backlinks to their site. Plus, 94% agreed that their research elevated their brand’s authority in their industry, according to a 2019 study.

Perhaps that’s why the majority of marketers said that publishing original research either exceeded or met the majority of their expectations.

Despite this major opportunity for brands, only 39% of marketers have published original research in the last 12 months. That’s an 8% drop compared to 2018.

What gives? Well, this year, 9% more B2B marketers took the survey. They’re more likely than B2C marketers to use this tactic, so that could account for the difference.

Or it could be the time investment. 30% of marketers said their research, from strategy to final publication, took at least a month while 28% noted it took at least three months. Original research can do wonders for your brand and marketing, but it is a substantial time investment.

There are three other significant factors holding marketers back from conducting original research. 41 % don’t believe they could easily get a budget to fund it, 38 % worry they don’t have the necessary buy-in, and 31% feel like they don’t know how to execute research.

Sharing the above statistics may get you closer to the buy-in you need, and often, once you have buy-in, the budget follows shortly after.

With that said, let’s zero in on tips that can empower you to do your own original research:

Don’t overthink it. Your research can be as simple as sending a survey! That’s how 65% of marketers approach their research.

Before you start, focus on drafting survey questions that will tell a strong story. Then, when distributing the survey, be sure to disqualify people from taking it if they don’t meet the criteria. 39 % of marketers make this mistake, which could be a doozy when you publish the survey methodology. 66% do that, which boosts the credibility of their results.

Think outside your organization. If a survey seems too overwhelming, opt for the second most popular type of original research. Analyze data from third-party sources. That way, you don’t need to execute the research yourself. You can zero in on mining the insights.

You aren’t in it alone! 70% of marketers collaborate with others when working on their own research. Most often, that means asking others to promote the research, but asking industry influencers for quotes and partnering with other organizations to increase the number of survey respondents are two other popular tactics.

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Employers are using severance packages to protect their brands

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The employee experience has typically included the recruitment and hiring process, onboarding, and how workers are treated on a day-to-day basis. However, the employee experience has now evolved to also include how companies handle severance and workforce transition.

According to a recent report, 44% of all companies surveyed now offer some form of severance benefits to all employees, not just senior managers. These are some of the trends pertaining severance and transition.

Why severance is growing in popularity

What’s fueling this growing trend? “The No. 1 reason given by the companies surveyed was the need to project an ‘employee-first’ culture,” says Emily Elder, senior manager of practice development at RiseSmart, a global outplacement and career development firm.

Elder says companies want to protect the employer brand in order to attract and retain top talent. “83% of HR workers said they had difficulty recruiting suitable job candidates in the past 12 months.”

So, companies who want to protect their brand want to ensure they’re taking care of employees at every stage of the employment cycle, and this includes how they handle separation.

“Recent employee engagement trends and the expectation by employees that companies will take care of them is another impetus behind the trend to offer severance to more employees,” Elder says.

The top severance elements

So, which elements of severance matter the most? Obviously, continuation of salary is important. But next to that, both employees and employers consider health to be the benefit that requires the most attention.

“Also rising in importance are retirement benefits and retirement planning services,” Elder explains. “In response to the changing workforce and a large number of mature-age workers continuing in their careers, a fifth of the companies that we engaged in our study view some retirement benefits or retirement planning assistance as a top severance element to consider revising.”

Other benefits that employers give serious consideration to include the payout of bonuses and commissions, outplacement, and life insurance.

Redeployment programs

In lieu of letting employees go, some companies are turning to redeploying employees. “The cost of onboarding new workers is rising, and employers are becoming increasingly adaptive and creative in tackling the war for talent,” Elder says.

Companies have critical roles that need to be filled and they’re looking at career development combined with redeployment programs to move internal candidates within their organizations.

It can take a considerable amount of time for new hires to get up to speed, and until their performance reaches the desired levels, companies can experience a significant decline in the quality and quantity of work.

“Redeployment can alleviate much of this headache by incorporating an internal hiring component into a company’s talent acquisition strategy,” Elder explains. “Of course, this doesn’t mean that a company will stop external hiring, but rather will devote energy toward hiring internally; promoting regularly; allowing workers to learn and train for more exciting positions; and encouraging managers to look for talent in adjacent departments before looking externally.”

Matching employees with open internal positions as an alternative to separation helps both parties. “Redeployment capitalizes on current employees’ institutional knowledge, cultural awareness, and commitment to the organization’s mission,” says Colleen Torell, J.D., vice president of Keystone Associates, a Boston-based career transition company.

“From the employee’s perspective, they feel valued; some marquee-name corporations move employees among functions and business lines according to defined strategic plans as a way to infuse new ideas and a fresh perspective.”

Alumni employees

When employees do leave, they can have a significant impact on an employee’s brand — either positively or negatively.

“Since former employees have special insight into operations and personalities at their previous companies, it’s important to part ways as amicably as possible,” Elder warns. Social media allows anyone to share their severance experience with the world, and this can have a detrimental effect on an organization.

“We’ve all seen Twitter campaigns throw companies like Uber and United Airlines into chaos and reputation-renewal mode,” Elder says. Websites like Glassdoor also create opportunities for current and former employees to rate their companies, often providing specific details.

“Outgoing employees are less likely to tweet or leave negative reviews online if they are given support to find a new job through outplacement services in combination with a few weeks or months of salary, healthcare, and other benefits while they’re out of work.”

Some companies are also making former employees their brand ambassadors. “This is most common with older workers who prefer a diminished role but still want to contribute,” Elder says.

Regardless of your specific strategy, it’s wise to create an “employee-first” culture from the time employees walk in your door until they walk back out of it.

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Infographic: Could universal basic income work?

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A universal basic income means different things to different people, and presidential candidate Andrew Yang has once again brought the concept to the forefront.

Many people say that it could alleviate poverty or mitigate the financial fallout from the next Industrial Revolution, in which artificial intelligence and robots could displace a large percentage of the workforce.

Is it time to give this idea some serious thought? Or is it better left to the annals of history? Learn all about universal basic income from the infographic below.

Infographic courtesy NowSourcing

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If you’re struggling, beckon ‘flow’ instead

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Most of us know that sense of resistance when we’re just not feeling it and really need to get something done (or think we do).

For me, it may be tackling my taxes, plowing through the piles on my desk, or trying to come up with an idea for an article. Even when I like what I’m about to embark upon, sometimes getting started or back into it is just not happening.

Expertstell us to start with the hardest thing first; break it down into small, manageable steps; do the most important item during your optimal work time, not in the middle of your circadian slump; and create a space where you won’t be barraged, because one interruption sucks away 23 minutes and 15 seconds of our time; set a timer; create a reward system, and so on.

David Allen, with his “Getting Things Done” methodology, boosts productivity by managing thoughts and actions instead of time. Martin Seligman, the positive psychology pioneer, provides scientific evidence for prioritizing doing what produces happiness and a meaningful life.

All these strategies have merit. For now, though, let’s explore how examining our resistance and altering our attitude can help us get going.

Notice how you’re feeling. Tired? In pain? Out of sorts? Tend to that issue first, even if only for five minutes.

Stop, regroup, rest. Begin this tiny break believing you will come out of it refreshed and with renewed perspective.

Acknowledge your difficulty in getting started. Ask yourself, is this truly something that you must get done?

Is it in alignment with your purpose? Does it further your drop-dead goals? If not, redesign, dump, or delegate it.

Maybe there’s a word or phrase that charges you up and “rah-rahs” you forth. Lately, I’ve been playing with the word MUSE: Magic Unfolds Soulfully and Easily.

Somewhere along the way, I also learned to flip FEAR into: Faith Evokes Amazing Results. Repeat, repeat, repeat. What works for you? Find out and use it.

I’m not simply preaching Pollyanna positivity here; our intentions do influence our outcomes. I’ve been dealing recently with a rather negative person trying to complete a project only she and I can do at this particular time.

Each meeting I enter expecting the best (it is a practice!); she comes already convinced of the worst. Guess who’s getting the results we are aiming for?

By shape-shifting our struggling and trying into a more beckoning and coaxing mode, we can move into a state of unfolding and flow coined by Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It becomes less about us and more about the process — some might even say “divine order.”

Each of our “to do’s” are then of real value and accomplished with less effort and more ease. This creates a self-perpetuating cycle — we experience relief as we release and let go. Operating in the “flow,” we become energized, momentum takes over and, voila, it’s happening!

Even so, at each milestone, celebrate your progress. Keep that carrot dangling out there!

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Travel2020: Hilton’s study looks at the lives of millennial business travelers

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Hilton Hotels & Resorts has given a good look at today’s up-and-coming professional to determine the likes and dislikes of meetings attendees in the 23- to 35-year-old age range. The recent survey revealed that, while young business travelers prefer a buzzing social environment and in-person interactions during regular work hours, they would rather spend their evenings on their own.

The findings focused on what truly influences and shapes young professionals’ experience on the road, including their preferences in dining, workspaces and how they blend personal interests with professional requirements.

The research identified that 84% of young business travelers say that they cherish their alone time during business trips, and nearly three-fourths (73%) report that they have a better experience when they spend downtime on their own. When asked how this group prefers to spend their free time, results included:

  • Eating at local restaurants (69%)
  • Exploring the city and/or neighborhood (59%)
  • Sleeping or relaxing (56%)
  • Working out (35%)
  • Attending a happy hour (38%) or unwinding at the lobby/hotel bar (32%)

Last year’s survey results saw 81% of respondents believing that they can get more done in-person. Findings also underscore how their workspace — whether that’s a formal meeting room or multifunctional common space — plays a key role in spurring creativity, encouraging collaboration and ultimately contributing to positive outcomes.

Key findings include:

  • Bustling Environment: Almost two-thirds of respondents (63%) are more inspired in a busy, social environment when they are working alone/independently.
  • Natural Light: 92% prefer natural light/windows in a meeting space.
  • Colorful Spaces: 80% prefer a colorful meeting space with elements inspired by their surroundings.
  • Intuitive Technology: 82% prefer a meeting space with advanced, intuitive technology beyond Wi-Fi.

“We’ve all had over-scheduled business trips — with meetings from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and social obligations the rest of the evening — and the result is pure exhaustion. We applaud this next generation of travelers for highlighting a tension point many of us have dealt with for years,” said Vera Manoukian, senior vice president and global head, Hilton Hotels & Resorts.

Hilton’s Conrad New York hotel. (Image: Ilene Perlman)

Despite these pain points, responses showed overwhelmingly positive feelings towards traveling for work. 75 % of young professionals in the U.S. see business travel as a major work perk, with 65% considering it a status symbol. Other results underscored:

  • Time to Travel: More than half of respondents (56%) say that they create reasons to travel for business.
  • Career Deal Breaker: 39% go so far as to say they wouldn’t take a job that didn’t allow them to travel for business.
  • Real Life Relationships: 81% say they get more done while meeting face-to-face and 75% have made friends while traveling for work.

Findings also illuminated other sources of tension and challenges for today’s new business travelers:

  • Road Warrior Weight: 65% admit that they regularly pack workout gear, but end up not using it; 44 % have gained weight due to traveling for business.
  • ‘Charge It’ Confusion: 43% often misunderstand what can be expensed and end up owing their company money.
  • Sunday Scares: 38% start to feel stressed and can’t enjoy the weekend when anticipating business travel the next week.
  • Wardrobe Woes: 36% are stressed by trying to pack the right clothes for any situation.
  • Bleisure Blues: 69% wish they could extend their trip for leisure, but 46% admit they feel guilty about doing so — 44% even worry it makes them look bad in the eyes of senior leadership.

Hilton addresses some of these concerns with such programs as:

  • Five Feet to Fitness, the in-room wellness concept brings more than 11 different fitness equipment and accessory options into the guest room itself.
  • Herb N’ Kitchen, Hilton’s modern in-room delivery service and casual dining concept serves up healthy grab & go options.
  • Stay the Course menu packages, including “Yoga and Yogurt,” which offers yoga classes followed by a gourmet yogurt bar; or the “Cut & Create” salad, an interactive dining experience that lets attendees customize their meal from a unique, custom-made wood display of fresh greens and accoutrements.

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3 steps to get back to that new employee feeling

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New employees show up eager, optimistic and open. The blank slate of opportunity at a new job, often combined with the joy of leaving an old job, can be quite inspiring.

However, even those among us who truly enjoy our positions tend to face waning enthusiasm every now and again. And the eagerness with which we looked at new opportunities or the bring-it-on attitude with which we faced problems may be even harder to come by.

Instead of losing touch with them altogether, take these steps to get back to that new employee feeling.

Step 1: Get outside the box

The first and most challenging thing we need to do is check our experience at the door and take action. Enthusiasm is contagious; find something or someone that inspires enthusiasm and go get it.

Some steps may sound too easy, like watch a TED Talk or hit a networking seminar; our ego steps in, reminds us that we do not need to watch Simon Sinek again or learn the latest management trend. But we do.

Regardless of whether the content is new, doing something with the intent to spark our enthusiasm is new. The act of admitting our lackluster attitude and taking a step to addressing it sets us up for success. It is as easy as going to lunch with an enthusiastic colleague and asking her questions about her approach, attitude and inspiration.

Step 2: Embrace jargon

Oh, how I curse the latest hashtags and inspirational phrases written on canvas! However, they exist and persist for a reason: they resonate.

The idea of a simple phrase, explanation or quote that can explain, reframe or motivate is impactful. Take a few minutes to scroll through Demotivators, inspirational quotes or thought pieces until something sticks. Then, write it down on a Post-it and put it somewhere visible.

One of a few things may happen. It may serve as a serendipitous reminder, an annoying nag, or a fresh perspective. In any case, it will get our brains thinking in another direction. Sometimes that is all we need to refresh our attitude.

Step 3: None of the above

Perhaps our malaise is too pervasive for simple steps in a different direction. In that case, it can be helpful to fully embrace our apathy.

Specifically, like Step 1 above, if we are aware of our apathy and are at least thinking about changing it, we are already facing the right direction. Thus, calling out our disinterest blatantly and honestly can help us get our arms around how big and deep it may go.

Try finding someone else who is articulately cynical, whether a co-worker or online writer. Then, determine whether we are laughing with or at their observations; or how far away we are still from finding the humor in the situation.

Decide whether we believe this morose outlook will end or if we will be permanently afflicted. And again, do it all boldly. By posing severe, extreme questions to ourselves, we can determine whether we are facing a truly dire situation or not.

The bottom line is that we can channel that new employee approach whether we are in our second job in six years or 20 years; we just have to decide and try.

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Steps to help close the divisions in our society

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According to Forbes magazine, hate crimes in 30 major cities rose by 9% across the U.S. in 2018. Most of the victims were black, Jewish, LGBT or immigrants. This is serious and not only impacts us in our communities but also in the workplace.

Racist rhetoric is on the rise, along with the perpetuation of stereotypes and bullying based on religion, skin color, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

What impacts the community impacts the workplace. If people are afraid of being verbally or physically attacked outside of work, they can’t be productive at work. If people buy into stereotypes about different groups, they will exclude them and prevent employees from those groups from succeeding.

Imagine coming to work and feeling left out because of who you are; afraid of being attacked; or being the target of jokes about your background, religion, race, etc.

We are becoming more divided, more fearful and afraid to leave the comfort zone of people “like ourselves.”

We have to ask ourselves, “What kind of world do we want to live in?” What kind of workplace do we want? And how we want to live?

I’m not going to delve into the systemic and historical reasons for the increase in hate in this article. I want to address what we can do as individuals, co-workers and neighbors to make a difference.

It’s easier to fear and hate what we don’t know. It’s easier to hate, fear and harm people who are different by dehumanizing them. When we have meaningful conversations with people who are different, we see their humanity. When we see someone else’s humanity, no matter how different they are from us, we become more empathetic. We’re no longer afraid and we don’t hate.

I’ve participated in and facilitated dialogues amongst groups of people who were different from each other. I belonged to a Palestinian-Jewish dialogue group where we had a saying, “an enemy is someone whose story you haven’t heard yet.”

Often, both Palestinians and Jews came into the groups not knowing what to expect. They had not been exposed to each other and all they knew and believed were the negative stories they had heard from families, governments and the media.

During the first meetings, people expressed fears and beliefs as well as the desire to overcome those fears and think differently about each other. They had to be willing to let go of bias that they had developed about each other through the years and adopt a mindset of curiosity. Lasting friendships and even business relationships developed as we continued to meet.

As I read the news, it seems that in some ways we are a country divided, but I also know we don’t have to be. If you believe that it’s important to live, work and collaborate together, there are actions we can all take.

If you want your organization, community and world to be successful, and prevent or eliminate divisions based on demographic differences, there are actions you can take that will make a big difference.

1. List the different groups that live or work around you. Then, notice any visceral reactions you have about those groups, and/or beliefs you have about people from those groups.

2. Think back to when you first began to have those beliefs. Where did those beliefs come from? Was it from people who are like you, your parents, friends, neighbors, or depictions in the media?

3. Ask yourself these questions: Is it possible those beliefs may be wrong? What can I do to test those beliefs?

4. Seek out stories about individuals from those groups. As you read or hear their story, change the way you see them. Be open to people different than you as real human beings instead of amorphous groups.

5.Find ways to interact with people who are different than you and imagine seeing the world through their eyes and experiences.

6. Allow yourself to let go of stereotypes, old beliefs and dehumanizing thoughts about people who are different than you.

I know we can all change if we want to stop being afraid and open ourselves to see people in a different way.

A woman shared that after listening to my podcast, “Everyday Conversations on Race,” she realized that she had been living with bias, fears and stereotypes about different groups that weren’t true. She had never spoken to a gay person, and she had never had a meaningful conversation with a black person.

When she heard people tell their stories, it made her want to know more and was open to letting for of her beliefs based on no contact and just believing negative stereotypes. I told her she could ask me anything and I would help her understand.

We continue to talk, and I stay willing to answer questions. While before she had believed every negative generalization about LGBT, black and Latinx people, she no longer does, and her curiosity grows.

We should never accept the myth that we are too divided to come together. We all have the power to get to know other people, and to take a small action every day to close racial and other artificial divide. We do have the power to decide how we want to live in this world and the kind of environment in which we want to live.

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Compete on others’ weaknesses, not their strengths

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A successful company has likely carved out a niche for itself by establishing itself as the go-to company for particular products and/or services.

When your niche is responsible for your success, why would your company abandon that winning strategy to compete against other companies’ strengths? After all, you’re successful because you’ve focused on filling the void left by others’ weaknesses and deficiencies.

A chain of hardware stores that owes its success to its niche of providing personal customer service, advice, and DIY knowledge has recently considered competing against big online stores to deliver products in one day. Does that make sense to abandon your core competency and spend inordinate money to expand in an area that another has already locked up?

An online retail outfit might be able to ship out goods in one day, either free or for a nominal charge because they’re not spending a huge amount of money on experienced personnel to deliver personal service, advice and knowledge.

An online store cannot walk a do-it-yourselfer through the process of choosing between PVC and ABS piping for his project; whether this hardware or that is also needed; if caulking perhaps does the job as a quick fix. How could they, for that matter?

On the phone you can’t put tools in someone’s hands and point out the differences as you’re looking at them; the customer can’t bring his broken part to an online retailer and show them what’s going on and ask how to fix.

Since that online store cannot offer personal advice, they’ve decided to compete in an area that physical retail outlets can’t, which is fast and free delivery. In other words, they’re capitalizing on this competitor’s weakness.

You don’t see an online retailer spending millions of dollars to implement some sort of real-time interactive video where customers can snap a photo of their project and the broken pieces, and then get a knowledgeable expert to review these photos and give advice in a chat video session. It doesn’t make financial sense. Yet I do see the little retailers trying to conversely compete against the big guys in an expensive and ultimately self-defeating way.

A particular cosmetics line is known for its strong and diverse inventory of budget-priced beauty products. A small startup cosmetics line would be hard-pressed to compete against this competitor’s strength because they wouldn’t have the sources and distribution to supply even cheaper products.

They would be better positioned to carve out a niche in the vegan/organic subsector of cosmetics, which the large cosmetics line ignores and which might be hard for a consumer to find. It could be profitable to target customers who want to use healthy products for skin and the environment.

Again, it’s a matter of competing against another’s weakness, not their strengths.

And there’s my own personal example. I run a small, boutique travel agency. I learned decades ago that a small operation like mine cannot compete against the mega-agencies who employ hundreds of people in a call center, who will spend 10 minutes or less typing keywords to generate a computer quote to everywhere in the world.

That wasn’t and isn’t my business model. Not only am I not interested in booking the world — just the destinations that excite me — but I also offer what the mega-agencies cannot: real knowledge and expertise in the destinations I do serve since I visit those destinations all the time.

The mega-agencies are fast and perceived to be cheap (perception is another article) — let them be successful in that arena. I can successfully compete against them in the areas where they’re weak and deficient: customization and insider knowledge.

There is no wisdom in advising someone: “fill the same need everyone else is filling and probably filling it better than you ever could.” The adage is, “find a need and fill it.” And that unmet need is your competitor’s weakness and your potential strength.

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