Category Archives: Global Biz

Inspiration: 16 Surprising Statistics About Small Business [INFOGRAPHIC]

statistics

Inspiration: The 21 Golden Rules of Entrepreneurship

Jason Nazar, co-founder and CEO of Docstoc, revisits his undergrad alma-matta to tell about his journey as an entrepreneur and talk about his philosophy of the 21 Golden Rules of Entrepreneurship.

The Domestic Production Comeback

As potential business trends are identified for 2013, one of the ones that stands out is the return of domestic production. Will we start seeing “Made in USA” stamped on our goods again? Let’s take a look.

In September 2012, PricewaterhouseCoopers report alluded to a “renaissance” in U.S. manufacturing stemming from factors like more affordable labor, higher shipping costs and a better financial climate–and the fact that “re-shoring” (returning production stateside) could mitigate $2.2 billion in losses from supply-chain disruptions in 2011.

Another factor is innovation of the startup kind. One of the biggest examples, Tesla Motors, focuses on how things have gotten more efficient in the light of economic downturns. What was originally filed as a lower priority has turned into companies trimming the fat on production and distribution.

As some retailers and startups are either heavily represented or exclusively active online, keeping production in the US can give them a home court advantage. What might have taken an extra day or two to travel from an overseas supplier can now be sent straight out the door.

Perhaps the biggest indicator that domestic production is making a comeback is the growth and sustaining power of local businesses. People have been making a living off Etsy stores and “local” businesses have a strong appeal because they are local.

While all these things factor in bringing more production stateside, will it bring more jobs? Maybe not as many as you would hope. Robots tend to keep the prices down and so far haven’t formed any unions.

What do you think? Is there a future for “Made in USA?” If so, is it coming this year or will we have to wait to see much of a difference?

Let us know below!

The History of Black Friday

Remember when all the deals on that Friday after Thanksgiving were called “Day After Thanksgiving” sales?

Black Friday has changed over the years. The term, meaning businesses go from “in the red” to “in the black”, originated in Philadelphia in the 60’s, but spread throughout the US in the 70’s. The Philadelphia police coined the term to describe the out of control atmosphere of the crowds, but the term has now been used as a term of tentative endearment. Black Friday is the official kickoff of the Christmas shopping season. While the day has often been the benchmark for deals and spending sprees, it wasn’t until the 00’s that stores crept from 6:00AM openings to 5:00AM or 4:00AM. The ’10’s became the first time that stores opened at 12:00AM. It’s described as the busiest shopping day of the year, known for aggressive crowds and mob mentality.

Black Friday has inspired a sort of fandom of its own. There are the ones who brave the crowd every year and see waiting in line as a kind of tradition with store schedules and maps while others hunt for their deals whenever they want to find one.

In 2005, a Shop.org press release coined the phrase Cyber Monday for the online deals that flood e-commerce sites the Monday after Thanksgiving. Consumers spent $1.028 Billion online on Cyber Monday, the highest spending day of 2010 according to ComScore.

In 2010, small businesses launched a counterpart to Black Friday called Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday encourages shopping at brick and mortar establishments as opposed to the big box retail and department stores that benefit from Black Friday. American Express conceived of the holiday and promoted it across social media. Small Business Saturday isn’t limited to the Saturday after Thanksgiving. There are a few Small Business Saturdays throughout the year, often popping up as trends on Twitter when they occur.

The weekend after Thanksgiving launches the holiday shopping season.

Share your deals and Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday stories in the comments!

This is my baby…Facebook!

Here’s a trivia question to pull out at your next cocktail party, “Which website generates the most traffic?”  Unless you’re chatting with a social media fiend, your friend will most likely guess Google.  Wrong.  Facebook not only generates more traffic than Google, but accounts for 50% of the mobile internet traffic in the UK.  If you’re unsure of the effect social media has on your business, Erik Qualman will convince you with his mind-blowing video.  Of all the astounding facts Qualman shares in the video and on his website these are our favorites:

  • If Facebook was a country it would be the 3rd largest nation in the World.  Hmm wonder what the national anthem would be?
  • How long have you been reading this blog, 1 minute?  Well, in the past 1 minute 60 people joined LinkedIn.
  • There must be a lot of smart shoppers out there because Groupon will reach $1 billion in sales in less time than any company before it.
  • Don’t even try to read everything on Wikipedia.  If Wikipedia was a book it would take you 123 years to read the whole thing.
  • Looking for baby names?  In Egypt newborns have been named “Facebook.”
  • If you’re not worried about monitoring what social media users say about your business, you might be in big trouble.  90% of people trust their peers for recommendations (compared to 14% of people who trust paid advertising.)
  • You may have seen in commercials that 1 out of 5 relationships begins online, but Facebook is blamed for 1 out of 5 divorces.

If you haven’t jumped on the social media bandwagon yet, it’s past time to join the 93% of marketers using it.  Qualman will convince you that social media is a tool that can make or break your business.  So update that Facebook page, tweet at your followers, and maybe be the first to name your child LinkedIn!

24/7 Wall St. Predicts 10 Brands You Won’t See in 2013

Growing up I remember visiting Blockbuster to stock up on videos every weekend.  Just today I drove by the former Blockbuster building, now vacant and boarded up.  24/7 Wall St. correctly forecasted the demise of Blockbuster two years ago in their annual list of 10 brands they expect to disappear.

Every year 24/7 Wall St. predicts well-known brands they believe will not survive the coming 18 months.  These predictions are based on: an increased cost of production, a decrease in sales and significant losses, the brand’s parent company admitting to a possible closing, bankruptcy, loss of customers, dwindling market share, and the sale of a company.

Last week 24/7 Wall St. announced their list of the 10 brands to disappear in 2012:

  1. Sony Pictures –Formidable competition from Apple, Nintendo and Microsoft face Sony Pictures and revenue has recently dropped 15%.  24/7 Wall St. predicts Sony Pictures will sell its assets and cease to exist by the end of 2012. 
  2. A & W – A&W, founded in 1919, may soon no longer be a fast food option.  Parent company Yum! Brands, also the owner of KFC, has had the company on sale since January.  The 322 outlets in the US cannot compete with huge fast food chains like McDonalds. 
  3. Saab – Formerly owned by GM, Saab’s difficulties lie in being too middle ground.  The cars cannot compete with the prices of inexpensive brands, the design of high-end sports cars, and the variety offered by large car brands.  The outlook for Saab is dim with the new owner, Spyker, running out of money and less than 50, 000 cars a year sold.  
  4. American Apparel – This clothing brand, which reached revenue of $545 million dollars in 2008, reported a first quarter net sales of $116.1 million dollars this year.  Lack of financing is a major problem for American Apparel, which cannot compete with large, well-funded clothing stores. 
  5. Sears – Last quarter Sears Holdings, the parent company of Sears and Kmart, reported a whopping net loss of $170 million.  24/7 Wall Street predicts Sears Holdings will merge Sears and K Mart and keep the Kmart brand, which earns more. 
  6. Sony Ericcson – Sony Ericcson, once one of the best earning handset producers, cannot compete with the increasingly popular smart phones.  Since 2008 Sony Ericcson’s sales have fallen by 54 million units.
  7. Kellogg’s Corn Pops – The crispy and sweet cereal’s sales have fallen 18% over the past year due, much in part, to an increase in health awareness and private label cereal sales.  Not only is Kellogg’s having trouble selling Corn Pops, but also a spike in the price of corn has made them more expensive to produce.  Kellogg’s Corn Pops may be one box you won’t find in the cereal aisle in 2013.
  8. MySpace – Who doesn’t have a Facebook page?  A better question might be who does have a MySpace page anymore?  With the MySpace brand dying out parent company News Corp has had the website for sale since February and alluded that they may close MySpace if they do not have a buyer.
  9. Nokia – 24/7 Wall St. declares, “Nokia is dead. Shareholders are just waiting for an undertaker.”    Although Nokia still had a market share of 25% last quarter, its market share in the same quarter last year was almost 31%.  Nearly everyone expects a larger company will take over Nokia in the near future.  The most likely buyers of Nokia are HTC, Microsoft, Samsung and LG Electronics.
  10. Soap Opera Digest – This once popular newsstand regular now has a small annual circulation of 500,000.  With the cancellation of many popular soaps and the excess of fan information online, by 2013 you are not likely to see Soap Opera Digest while waiting in line at the grocery store. 

Are you disappointed or surprised to see any of the above 10 companies on the list of brands to disappear in 2012?  24/7 Wall St. has misjudged some brands such as Kia and BP, which are still very visible and alive.  Over the next 18 months keep an eye on these names and see if they disappear or survive.

“The Declaration of Innovation”

With Independence Day and the 235th birthday of the United States right around the corner, it seems appropriate to celebrate a trait we Americans pride ourselves on…innovation.  For over 200 years many American businesses have eclipsed those abroad by delivering novel ideas and products.

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) hopes to further stimulate American innovation by advocating legislation that would encourage innovation and return it to “to its rightful place at the center of America’s economic policy.”

CEA’s efforts include the publication of a book, The Comeback: How Innovation will Restore the American Dream by CEO Gary Shapiro, and the launch of “The Declaration of Innovation.”  At http://declareinnovation.com you are prompted to “add your John Hancock” and support policies to boost innovation in America.  Currently there are more than 132, 000 signatures supporting CEA’s movement.

The legendary American dream promises anyone with enough dedication and hard work the chance to do and be whatever they imagine.  Have you been inspired by the American dream?  This concept has encouraged many to create and produce the backbones of the American economy: the Wright brothers and the plane, Edison and the light bulb, Bell and the telephone, and Ford and the assembly line to name a few.

CEA argues that we need to rediscover innovation to grow our economy and obtain the American dream.  It is worth your time to visit “The Declaration of Innovation” site and read CEA’s argument.  Decide for yourself if the United States is beginning to lose sight of one of the characteristics that made us a superpower.

Slogan Week: Think Different

This week, Biz Television takes a look at its favorite slogans.

A slogan is a memorable motto or phrase used in a political, commercial, religious and other context as a repetitive expression of an idea or purpose.

Slogans play an important role in advertising. They linger in one’s mind even when the advertisement is long gone. A slogan needs to stick in your head even when the ad is gone.

Today’s slogan: Think different (Apple)

A play on the IBM “Think” slogan, “Think different” was created for Apple Computer in 1997 by the Los Angeles office of advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day. It was used in a famous commercial, several print advertisements and a number of TV promos for Apple products. Apple’s use of the slogan was discontinued with the start of the Apple Switch ad campaign in 2002.

What makes it such a great slogan? While Apple seems to be the definition of trendy, in 1997 it wasn’t. Before the iPhone, before the iPod, Apple was the other guy. PC’s and Microsoft dominated the market. The “Think different” slogan was a layered message.

First, explore your originality, don’t submit to conformity. The Apple posters showed great thinkers and unique personalities to portray their message.

Second, and most important, think of a different kind of computer.

Two words make an amazing slogan and “Think different” is the shortest slogan on our list.

Coffee prices ready to rise

The fuel that powers the American economy is soaring. And, I’m not talking about oil.

Bad news sent coffee futures soaring 44% since June, and companies such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Green Mountain and Maxwell House are passing on those costs. Bad weather in South America threatens crops. Brazil and Vietnam consider hoarding their stocks. U.S. stockpiles are reportedly at 10-year lows (who ever thought of a coffee stockpile?).

Bagged coffee by Millstone, Folgers, and Dunkin’ Donuts are already 10% more expensive. The three brands’ parent company, J.M. Smucker, cited “sustained increases in green coffee costs” in announcing the price hike last month.

Kraft Foods raised prices of Maxwell House Coffee and Yuban coffee products by about 9% last month as well, about 5 cents to 30 cents per pound of ground coffee and an increase of 2.5 cents per ounce for instant coffee.

Single-serve K-cups – sold as Tully’s Coffee, Timothy’s Coffee, Newman’s Own Organics, Caribou Coffee and other Green Mountain Coffee brands – will see prices rise 10% to 15%, starting Oct. 11. Sales of the brewing system and K-cups make up about 86% of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc.’s business.

Recall of the Week: Ferrari

Giving the phrase “these cars are hot” a whole new meaning, Ferrari is recalling its new 458 Italia model after several vehicles were reported to have burst into flames.

The luxury supercar is being recalled in order to make modifications to the wheelhouse assembly.

Which begs the question: “Did your car just spontaneously burst into flame?”

“Why, yes, it did.”

“Rough day.”

“Yep.”

“In rare instances the heat shield could become deformed, bringing it too close to the exhaust system and igniting,” a Ferrari spokesperson said.

Ferrari is recalling all its 458 Italia vehicles after five fires were reported in California, Switzerland, China and France.

Deliveries of the car in the U.S. began this summer. It has a 4.5-liter 8-cylinder engine, 7-speed automatic transmission, 570 horsepower and has a base price around $230,000.

Ferrari said the company is asking owners of the cars produced before July 2010 to bring them in to have the glue replaced with mechanical fasteners.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a statement saying Ferrari’s Italian headquarters had told its North American division about the recall. NHTSA warned that if the adhesive ignites it could “render the vehicle inoperable and possibly result in a crash.”

The NHTSA statement said 303 vehicles are being recalled, and owners could be eligible for reimbursement for if they spent money on repairs related to the problem before the recall was announced.

I’m sure all of those car owners read this blog.

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