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How to Drive a Stake Through Shareholders Hearts

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Recently, I received an email from a reader of an article of mine who thanked me for being an Evangelist of Ethonomics.  Evangelist of Ethonomics? I thought, hmmmm. . .  is that what I am? Sounds like a 60s kind of guru, a cross between John Maynard Keynes and Aristotle.

According to Wikipedia, Ethonomics goes down as the “provisional name for the discipline of formally mapping and defining the prioritization of values within value systems.”

Okay, it’s about values and when you look at values you make choices; you prioritize. No real help here. I needed to dig deeper for a definition that would characterize what this means to business.

I found the answer was in the February 2009 issue of Fast Company magazine:

“The end of the modern financial system as we know it has cleared the way for an era of ethical economics, or ‘Ethonomics.’ We live in a world that’s resource-constrained but ingenuity-rich. So an upstart generation of entrepreneurs–and innovators within the world’s biggest companies–are founding businesses that are good for the world as well as the bottom line. They are practicing social change through urban revitalization, sustainable agriculture, green IT, alternative energy and online community-powered investing. Any business that claims to be truly sustainable and innovative should be increasingly efficient with energy and natural resources, transparent and accountable, and good on balance for people and other living things. Ethonomics is a hybrid of technology, design, and social responsibility.”

After reading this, I was feeling pretty good about being an Evangelist for Ethonomics. Ethical economics boils down to making business decisions that are balanced between the quests for profit and being a responsible member of our Earth-community.

Before we have a heyday painting this concept totally “green” and arguing the facts and theories about global warming and environmental stewardship, let’s focus on the part that’s all about doing what’s good, on balance, for people.

Social responsibility means we all have an obligation to do what’s right for society even as we advance our businesses and ourselves. Ethonomics infers this is something we must do. 

For most of us still employed, greater than half of our waking hours each day are spent on the job. That is an enormous portion of one’s life. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could insist that those hours were rewarding and fulfilling and not be full of drama and fear. Think of the productivity we could generate if every morning we couldn’t wait to get to work and make a difference.  Under the promise of Ethonomics, this might just be possible.

After all, our “recovery” is not going to return us to where we were two years ago but will be a journey to a new place with new values, forged from the bitter reality of financial hardship.  If we’re lucky, our destination might be a place where businesses are run to benefit all persons who have a “stake” in its success.

A company forms its culture from the behavior and attitude of its employees. But, most traditional hiring decisions are based in part on how the individual will fit in, instead of on how he or she will contribute. A healthy company celebrates diversity – not only of race, ethnicity, and other preferences – by allowing itself to morph and evolve with the employment of those who bring differences as well as similarities.

Every person in a company is a symbol of the brand promise – what the company stands for. Each person can deliver it or deny it to customers. The true identity of a company is not in the product or service it provides but in the men and women, who proudly design it, make it, and deliver it, and, stand by it.

Who would deny that any company’s greatest asset is its people? A thriving company has to have great people – a micro-society undergoing constant change to be better. Every interaction among the players modifies the company operation if only a little. A healthy company is on a journey, continually in flux, searching for momentum towards its mission while maintaining and adjusting its values.

But, occasionally, there’s a bump in the road that causes a knee jerk reaction. The emotional and financial casualties of the current recession have caused companies to reprioritize their values.  Massive layoffs resulted in quick attempts to preserve equity – an ugly rationale to justify the firings. 

Somewhere in our recent past, we accepted the premise that success means earning more, spending more, acquiring more, and leveraging more – no matter what the consequences. We cheered on business as though a blood sport. We convinced ourselves it was a good thing when the bottom line increased shareholder equity. 

We bought into the premise that a good company always shaves expenses at every opportunity to bring more value to its shareholders even if the company’s most important asset – its employees – suffered.

There are only two basic ways to increase net operating income (which ultimately trickles down to shareholder equity on the balance sheet) – increasing revenue or decreasing expenses. It’s a teeter-totter balancing act. One grows a business; the other diminishes it. So when sales are down, you cut expenses. But span of time enters into this calculation as well. You can’t sustain cutting indefinitely; you can’t cut your way to success.

When you cut expenses such as personnel, you might be all right short term. But sooner or later, the cuts will start to erode product quality and customer service. Customers start to notice longer delivery times, endless telephone call waits, errors in billing, and the absence of caring, knowledgeable people – where did they go? All for a temporary bump in shareholder value.

A shareholder does three things – buys and sells stock, and votes at the annual meeting. It’s very American to buy stock in the hopes of increasing one’s wealth, but it’s only a passive activity to the stock issuer. Investors do not care about the value-systems of companies in which they invest.  Their sole objective is financial profit.

Corporate officers are too beholden to Wall Street and the coterie of analysts who bray about the economic woes or fortunes of a company directly to its owners. Of course there is a fiduciary responsibility of officers to act in the best interest of the owners, but “best interest” is open for interpretation. Since the stunning collapse of Enron and others, the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act has essentially punished the many for the sins of the few. Public companies are trapped into worrying more about compliance than about doing great things with great people. Executives cower in fear that they might overpromise when making forward-looking statements and be held personally liable.

What if the leaders of these companies had hunkered down when the recession started and looked to their employees for innovative ways to stem the bleeding? I’m suggesting that a little less desperation for the bottom line might have saved jobs, lessened the spooking of the American people, prevented some of the subsequent decline in consumer spending, and helped the credit markets rebound quicker. Sadly, the reality is in good times, employees are valuable; in bad times, they’re expendable. Few companies leverage the innovation potential of their employees.

In spite of our American tradition of competitiveness, social responsibility may suggest that no one should win if someone has to lose.  Should shareholders of a company’s stock benefit from a lay-off?  In the new post-recession economy, we must find a way to do what’s right for society, to give back, even if it means making a little less profit.

There is talk of a “jobless recovery.” One CEO I recently talked with told me it will be difficult to increase hiring when “we were so successful maintaining with the survivors.”  I don’t believe businesses can do anything more than just survive without an entrepreneurial plan for growth that absolutely requires putting America back to work. If hiring started increasing tomorrow, it would start media frenzy. Every bit of favorable news about our economy is contagious. It builds consumer confidence and is the tonic to get people spending again. Where there is demand for products and services, you need supply. To get supply, you need workers. To thrive, you need innovation. To innovate, you need motivated workers.

The only qualification to be a shareholder is you must own a share of stock. To be a stakeholder, you must have a stake in the future of your company and what it becomes – that’s both owners and employees alike.  Let’s make it clear that we no longer want to just survive.  We want to thrive. Let’s look forward to being active stakeholders in this New Era of Ethonomics that’s just visible on the horizon and welcome our new Age of Innovation into the workplace.

Perhaps, as we rebuild, we will find the courage as leaders to leverage this stakeholder equity and promote engagement that can really allow great people to do great things – to soar on the upward spiral.

Remember, it all starts with us!

Continued success,

John A. Lee, MA MBA

Laguna Beach, CA

[email protected]

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How to Create an Email Marketing Campaign Your Audience Will Love

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4 Reasons to Discover the Value of Email Marketing

Whether you sell a product or service, work from a home office or a corporate one, starting an email campaign can be incredibly beneficial.

Sending consistent newsletters to your followers gives you the ability to develop a “Know, Like and Trust” relationship with them that will dramatically increase your brand visibility and market reach.

Yet many business owners and entrepreneurs pass up this golden opportunity to build relationships and increase sales. Are you one of them?

In this week’s blog, I’m going to share some reasons why your small business should create an email marketing campaign and offer some tips to help you increase open rates.

What is the Value of Email Marketing?

Let’s start with 4 reasons why your small business should send out a newsletter.

1. It reminds people that you’re there. As much as you’d like it to happen, your customers aren’t sitting at their computer daydreaming about your brand. Sending them relevant content can keep you top-of-mind among your target audience.

2. You can get truly personal. For example, greeting someone by their first name, or even using data on their past purchases to suggest complementary products or services can be hugely beneficial. In fact, open rates for personalized emails average 18.8% compared to 13.1% without personalization.

3. It boosts your website traffic. Links within your newsletter drive traffic to your website and social media platforms, which means increased brand awareness, leads and sales.

4. It’s cost-effective advertising. By using a service like Constant Contact to create newsletters, you can quite easily design a newsletter to send to thousands of people. From segmenting your audience to managing unlimited marketing campaigns and lists, you can do a lot within a platform like Constant Contact.

See our recommended newsletter providers for more info. And remember while it may be tempting to use a newsletter template, hiring a professional web designer to create a unique one that reflects your brand is better for your customers.

*****

Read: How to Target Your Ideal Clients with Digital Newsletters

Regardless of the size of your business, eNewsletters are an efficient way to reach current and potential clients and to easily measure the results of your efforts.

But before you send out newsletters for digital marketing purposes, you need to make sure you’re targeting the right people with the right messages. Here are 5 ways to get started.

Read more on our website.

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4 Email Basics to Increase Open Rates

Your open rate is the percentage of the total number of subscribers who opened your newsletter.

While open rates vary by industry, stats show the average is about 17.80%. So if you want to get that number even higher, here are 4 things you need to do when you create an email marketing campaign:

1. Determine your goals.

Like any page on your website, your newsletter needs to serve a purpose. Here are a few common goals for Digital Newsletters:

â— To drive traffic to your website

â— To increase brand awareness

â— To build your authority in your industry

â— To increase leads and/or sales

â— To promote a product, service or event

Like I mentioned in my last blog, you need a compelling CTA. What do you want your visitors to do on a particular page? Each page on your site should have a call to action that encourages your potential customers to do something.

2. Craft a compelling subject line.

The subject line is the first thing anyone sees, and it’s what encourages people to open your eNewsletter. It should be short and attention-grabbing, telling your audience what to expect when they open the email.

Obviously, you can’t cover every topic within your newsletter in the subject line. Focus on the meatiest, most important message you want your target audience to receive.

3. Give people a reason to sign up.

With so many messages flooding your customers’ inboxes, it’s hard to cut through the noise. Instead of just saying “sign up for my newsletter,” offer your website visitors a discount, free content download or something else enticing.

It’s also essential to remember the purpose of sending your eNewsletter is to inform, engage and entertain your audience. It’s NOT a place to drive a pushy sell. If you do that, expect to see your newsletter subscribers drop off.

4. Learn from your data.

It’s not enough to just send out email newsletters with the content that you think your target audience wants to see. To ensure the value of email marketing, you need to measure your efforts.

You need to look at your eNewsletter metrics to see:

â— Who’s opening your emails

â— What links people are clicking on

â— Who’s unsubscribing

Once you have some numbers around your emails, you can tailor them better to meet your audience’s needs.

***

You can’t argue with the value of email marketing! Sending out consistent newsletters is one of the most effective marketing tools for your business and can grow your brand visibility and sales big time.

If you don’t feel like starting an email campaign is the best use of your time or energy, find a professional marketing team like us who can handle the writing, marketing, and technical components. It’s the ideal way to increase open rates, leads and sales even more!

To your business success,

Susan

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Project Manager Career Profile

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Education and certification with project management (PM) emerging as one of the fastest-growing fields in the country, many professionals are exploring a project manager career path. The PMI® studies paint a very bright picture for those who plan on carving out a career.

Jobs and salaries are on the rise a recent PMI report indicates that 25% of companies that have reduced their headcounts in other specialties will still be hiring project managers, while an Anderson Economic Group study predicted that approximately 1.2 million PM jobs will need to be filled each year through 2016.

The availability of open positions is just part of the appeal; the substantial salaries are another enticement. Payscale.com reports that it managers typically earn between $74,299 and $103,710 a year. PMI’s annual salary survey indicates that those with industry certification – such as the PMP® designation – earn upwards of $100,000 annually.

Career opportunities and potential earnings are two of the most important factors that individuals must consider before choosing a profession.

A place in every industry professionals possess skills that can be used in virtually any industry – from information technology to consumer goods to business services. This career mobility ensures that one can readily find work, even if their current industry is affected by an economic downturn or cyclical demand.

Skills required for a PM career before entering into management, you need to ask yourself whether or not you have a passion and aptitude for this type of work. If you’re up to the challenge overseeing the contributions of a diverse team and managing the expectations of key stakeholders, this may be the position for you. The profession requires strong communication and organizational skills, the ability to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously and an understanding of the functional roles of departments throughout the organization.

Training and education the first step in becoming a manager is to get the right education. You don’t necessarily need a PM degree, but you do need to have specialized training. Industry certification will give you an even greater edge in securing the best positions.

When evaluating your training options, consider what will make your resume stand apart from the competition. A credential from an accredited university shows that you are serious about your career path. The good news is that with the widespread availability of online programs, location is no longer a limitation.

Embark on your career path. Project management training and industry certification can help professionals land their first position. Over time, successful project managers will be assigned projects of increasing size and complexity. Those who prove themselves on the job and demonstrate a commitment to continuous learning have excellent advancement potential. Take the first steps toward a career today, and you’ll be on your way toward a wealth of job opportunities, a lucrative salary and genuine long-term career satisfaction.

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Violating NY Move Over Law May Result in License Suspension

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Last year, New York troopers gave out 16,000 tickets for violating VTL 1144-a. More tickets can be expected this year with the newly amended New York Move Over Law extending the obligation to amber lights such as construction vehicles and tow trucks now in effect.

One obvious result of enforcement of VTL 1144-a is rapid accumulation of points on the driver record; and this can unknowingly lead to a suspension of driving privileges.

On January 1, 2011, New York began enforcing its original Move Over Law. The law mandates that drivers use caution to avoid an accident when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped or standing on the shoulder of a road with its emergency lights flashing. In a multi-lane highway, a driver must slow down and move over to create a safe distance for the emergency vehicle. In a single lane road, VTL 1144-a requires motorists to slow down and exercise caution.

The newly expanded New York Move Over Law effective January 1, 2012 applies the same caution requirements to tow trucks, HELP trucks and any vehicles being used in the construction or maintenance of roadways.

Tow truck operators and highway construction workers have almost unanimously voiced their support for the new New York Move Over Law. Tow truck drivers express concern about having to watch their backs while working and that oftentimes it can be quite frightening on the road.

Motorists violating the amended New York Move Over Law face a fine of up to $275 plus court surcharge and a possible jail sentence of up to 15 days. Violators may also have three points tacked onto their driving record.

Three points on a driving record is not significant…unless the driver has already been issued a couple of speeding tickets. Eleven points for traffic violations in 18 months may result in the New York Department of Motor Vehicles suspending your driver’s license – usually for 31 days.

Let’s take an example:

Last year, you received a speeding ticket for driving 72 mph in a 55-mph zone. This is 4 points on your driving record. A few months later, you were issued a ticket for rolling through a stop sign – 2 points. While driving on the New York Thruway, you were ticketed for talking on your cell phone while driving — another 3 points. At this point you have amassed 9 points on your driving record in 18 months.

If you are convicted for violating VTL 1144-a, then you may lose your driving privileges for month as well as a hefty fine.

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Parents of Teen Drivers and Liability in Illinois

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According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 350,000 U.S. teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 were treated in emergency departments for injuries resulting from automobile accidents in 2008. While young people aged 15-24 make up only 14% of the U.S. population, they account for 30% of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males and 28% among females.

Parties to an accident may try to hold parents responsible for damage caused by their teenage driver. Some parents may be held accountable for their child’s actions while driving or may risk loss of insurance coverage, depending on the situation.

Graduated Driver Licensing

In Illinois, teen drivers must pass through phases before they can obtain an unrestricted driver’s license. The stages include:

  • Permit phase: Teens are eligible to obtain an instruction permit beginning at age 15 and must have a written consent from their parent or legal guardian
  • Initial licensing phase: Drivers aged 16 and 17 may obtain an initial license provided that they have complied with all the terms required as a permitted driver
  • Full licensing phase: Drivers who have completed the permit and initial license requirements may apply for a full license between the ages of 18 and 20

Additional conditions apply to drivers with an instruction permit or initial license, which include nighttime curfews, education and training requirements. Teenage drivers are prohibited from cell phone use while driving, except in the case of emergency calls.

Insurance Requirements

Illinois drivers are required to have liability coverage, which is divided as follows:

  • Bodily injury: Illinois law requires drivers to have bodily injury coverage of at least $20,000 per person per accident and $40,000 total per accident.
  • Property damage: Illinois drivers must have property damage coverage of at least $15,000 per accident.

Teenagers must have the same minimum coverage as adult drivers but parents may consider purchasing additional coverage given the high incidence of accidents for new drivers. Drivers in Illinois can purchase uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to cover their injuries and damages if the person who causes the accident does not have sufficient insurance. Uninsured and underinsured coverag e is extremely inexpensive. As low as $20 per year for $300,000 in coverage. Parents of teens are urged to purchase the highest limits allowed by their insurance company.

Parental Liability

Under Illinois law, parents may be held liable under an agency theory for their child’s negligent driving if the child was engaged in doing the parents’ business at the time of the accident. That is, parents are not responsible if they merely allow the child to use the car for his or her own purposes but will be held accountable if the child is on a family errand.

What constitutes the parents’ business is determined on a case-by-case basis, based on the facts of any particular situation. Examples of errands the court has deemed to be family business include when the child was going to the store for groceries or picking up her shoes from the shoe repair shop. Because parents have an obligation to feed and clothe their children, when a child drives a family vehicle with permission and for the purpose of assisting with these obligations, the court finds that the child is on a family errand.

When the teen uses the car purely for his or her own purposes and pleasure, the parents will not be held liable.

In addition, parents should consider their insurance policy provisions. Insurers may exclude certain acts from coverage. For example, an insurance company may refuse to provide coverage for illegal activities, such as if a parent were to supply their child with alcohol and then allow the child to drive. Expenses incurred in any resulting accident would need to be paid out of pocket by the parent and child.

Parents of teenage drivers may have questions about their obligations and liabilities. An attorney can offer guidance to parents who may be wondering what they need to do if their teenage driver was in an accident. A lawyer can assess the situation and advise whether the other party may try to sue the teen, the parent or both.

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5 Tips to Choose the Best Courier Service

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Are you looking for a good courier service? Have you had bad experience with your previous provider? If so, we may help. If you are a business owner, choosing the best service provider may have a great impact on the productivity and efficiency of your business. So, if you want to boost the efficiency and productivity of your enterprise, we suggest that you choose the right courier service based on the 5 tips given in this article. Read on.

Immediate Availability

The first thing that you want to keep in mind that the service you choose should be available at all times. This is to make sure that the package will be picked up and delivered in time. You don’t want a service that won’t provide the services it claims or one that is not reputable.

Weight and size Limitations

Secondly, you need to find out what the weight and size limitations are for the packages the company can deliver. This won’t be a big deal for a law firm that delivers files back and forth; however, it can be a very important consideration for a good furniture retailer.

Proof of Delivery

You don’t want to hire a provider that won’t deliver your packages and shipments to the destination on time. In other words, you may want to use a courier service that will give you a proof of delivery. This way you can easily check if your package has been delivered or not.

Aside from this, tracking will be more useful if you have been thinking of sending goods through a courier that needs several days to get the package delivered. On the other hand, if the courier takes a few hours for delivery, you won’t benefit a lot form the tracking service. You can ask the company as to how you can get the proof of delivery. Usually, you can get the proof via email, phone, fax or the company website.

Cost and the Value

Your next step is to take into account the fees and costs of the courier service. Keep in mind that the lowest cost should not be a factor that your hiring decision should be based on. However, if you know that the inexpensive service that you are considering provides all the services you need, then you go ahead and try out the service.

Insurance

Again, this factor is very important if you are looking for a good service. If your shipment or package doesn’t get delivered to the given address and the goods are very valuable or confidential, then make sure you choose a service that is insured. Insurance will give you peace of mind that your goods are secure and that you can file a claim in case your package gets lost or damaged during transit.

Long story short, if you have been looking for a good service provider, we suggest that you take into account these factors first. This will ensure that you will get the best service provider for your money.

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Sure Bet, You Can Make It to Pinnacle Sports Betting

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You must have heard of Pinnacle Sports betting empire that has grown large due to its massive offering of bets online on different sports and online casino games. But, since it has voluntarily exited from the United States in 2007, you can still make bets with World Sports Exchange (WSEX) based in the country.

Now, get your computers ready to go online and resume enjoying online gaming especially on popular sports. You need to register online and create your own password. The main factor that makes this online gaming facility attractive is its ability to provide the best odds. It offers a unique “reduced margin pricing model”. Unlike other online gaming organizations that offers the standard -110 or equivalent to $1.91, this pioneering online gaming organization popularly known as Pinnacle undercuts the standard rate to -105/-104 or the equivalent of $1.95/$1.96 on head-on-head match ups and spreads.

Through the WSEX, anyone can still make bets online for their chosen sports such as basketball, baseball, hockey, football, rugby, tennis, golf, cricket, and soccer. The Pinnacle Sports Worldwide based in Curacao also operates online sports gambling review and other online sports books. These resources can help you to be updated with the latest trends and information about teams and players and trading of players. They also include statistics on all sports from games played to individual player stats to future game odds.

One can never get lost in the online systems that Pinnacle Sports betting offers to all its worldwide customers. These online systems are upgraded for efficient user-friendly purpose. Hence, if you are a newcomer, you can never go wrong by browsing through and navigating across its webpages. The statistics are on updated regularly and transcribed in plain language for easy understanding. For example, you can go online on live NBA and place your bets as game is progressing.

Handicaps between teams playing are displayed to give you “intelligent guesses” and estimates that are based on history and predictions. There are money lines and total points for you to rely on so that you can make a smart decision how much money to place as a bet and for what game. The only thing is you have to open an account and make sure that you fund your account so that you would not be embarrassed placing a bet without an account funded well for the bet.

Pinnacle Sports betting systems are still favored by many Americans and other nationalities because of its prestige to be part of the giant network of online sports betting. It is important that you are also knowledgeable about the terminologies used in the sport that you have chosen to play. There are helpful aids for you to go in case you are stuck with something. There is the customer support services online and there are theoretical sources to use like the online sports books. One exciting feature about this worldwide online sports betting facility is the instant payment that you get through your account when the results of the game come out. You bet that you will love this.

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