The Business Brief
Your Concierge Counsel
A Better Book for Better Business
I’d been considering writing a book for the last couple of years about what I know best. Plus, well, I wasn’t getting any younger. This is why I’m proud to announce that my new book, “Your Concierge Counsel,”will be out shortly. As a tried-and-true small-business owner with years of specialized experience in the field, I wanted to share my experience about the nuances and importance of small-business systems. Systems are what keeps your world turning as a small-business operator, from owners to employees. Systems are the reason you are able to successfully continue your profitable operations by utilizing repeatable processes that can occur with or without your direct intervention. Simply put, systems are the glue that holds business together and keeps us from driving ourselves mad with the daily operations. Think about the way McDonald's operates. That is an example of a highly efficient and universally popular system model. That's how they can hire high school kids — who know nothing about the restaurant business — and have them pick up the manual and follow it step by step. Our concern as small- business owners should be developing the best possible systems to implement in order to reach a McDonald’s level of efficiency and profitability. Creating effective business systems is the only way to attain results that are consistent, measurable, and ultimately beneficial to our customers and clients. These are your key assets, the infrastructure that
holds up your commercial house. These and many others are the topics I choose to tackle in my new book. It’s time to buckle down and seriously take a look at how your systems are harming or benefiting your business as a whole. A failure to document your business-specific systems is a recipe for failure almost every time — you can’t simply rely on dumb luck to stumble upon a million-dollar idea. Business takes precise repetition in the most profitable and marketable ways possible. You are going to constantly be challenged in business. That’s why these systems need to be analyzed and updated constantly to keep up with shifting times and industries. Moving forward, even the way you document these systems should be evaluated. Make sure you have them in writing, in a place where you will easily be able to locate and revisit them whenever necessary. Nobody knows your business better than you. That’s why — unfortunately, for some of our readers who may be more passive in their business operations — we advise you to write your system operations yourself . But you’re not entirely alone. We're able to provide you with a general outline to follow that may make realizing the best systems for your company a whole lot easier. It is these subtle differences between businesses that can spell disaster or triumph. They are what ultimately set us apart. That’s why my new book is a collection of what you need to know about the
importance of systems and processes. By taking the time to read my book, you will be able to better identify what your strengths and passions are in business and how they can be utilized to set your company apart. Until then, feel free to reach out to us at Generations Law Group for all your business law needs — we’re always ready to help. Call now at (208) 401- 9300, or visit our website any time at GenLawGroup.Com for more information on how to secure your copy of “Your Concierge Counsel.”
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MEETING YOUR CUSTOMERS WHERE THEY ARE 3 Guerrilla Marketing Tactics to Grow Your Business
Getting fired is a horrible experience. Losing a job is hard on an employee, and terminating an employee can create a whole mess of grief for a company. In a 2018 article for Harvard Business Review, Investopedia CEO David Siegel laid out his strategy to avoid the troubles of termination by offering a more considerate approach to firing: transparent separation. In a transparent separation, when underperforming employees are informed that their tenure with the company is coming to an end, they are given a time frame to look for a new job before their last day. Employees are asked to keep the arrangement confidential and are expected to maintain job performance. Siegel states that employees who abuse the goodwill of transparent separation should be let go immediately. Transparent separation is a wild departure from the traditional termination playbook, but Siegel insists that the strategy offers some incredible benefits, such as the following: • Departing employees avoid the struggle of trying to find a new job while unemployed. • There’s reduced legal risk that the company might be sued by an angry employee. • Managers are not cast in an adversarial role for abrupt firings. • The company has time to find a suitable replacement, resulting in a smoother transition. • Remaining employees feel more comfortable when they don’t have to worry about “disappearing” overnight. Even with all these positives, Siegel notes that transparent separation may not be the best course of action for every employee termination. For example, if the soon-to-be-ex- employee is a manager whose toxic behavior is harming the work environment, they need to be shown the door immediately. Siegel claims that in two-thirds of cases, transparent separations offered the best outcome both for the company and the former employee. Is Transparent Separation Right for Your Company? TIME TO SAY GOODBYE There are potential drawbacks to transparent separation. Opponents to this strategy note the potential damage a disgruntled employee can cause after being told they are losing their job. Some employees may even prefer to collect severance and leave so they can fully focus on the job search. Is transparent separation the answer to all your termination woes? The jury’s still out; there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to any business problem. What works great for one company might not be best for another. But if you think the pros outweigh the cons, transparent separation might be worth considering the next time your company has to say goodbye.
Guerrilla marketing strategies, with their low-cost methods and innovative approaches to advertising, can be the key to growing both large and small businesses. Here are three examples of guerrilla advertising that, with enough creativity and boldness, you can use to maximize business growth.
LEAVE NO SURFACE UNTOUCHED AND NO MEDIUM UNUSED.
Ambient marketing is one of the more common guerrilla marketing strategies, and it is a great way to raise local awareness for your brand. It involves advertising in unusual spaces with unusual methods. A recent example of this is how Taco Bell announced their presence in London in 2018. They created the illusion that Big Ben was ringing by mixing its sound with Taco Bell’s signature bell sound. They played it on speakers attached to rickshaws, which were driven around the city. While this is certainly a more elaborate example, ambient marketing can be as easy as using more unconventional surfaces, like sidewalks and drinking glasses, to market your product — so long as it is creative enough to make a potential customer take notice. ENGAGE INTERNET USERS WHERE THEY ARE. The marketing strategy that used to be known as “word- of-mouth,” “network marketing,” or “creating a buzz,” is now known as “viral marketing” on the internet. This is not a new concept in and of itself, but it can be made even more effective with some creativity. Major fast-food chain Wendy’s utilizes this strategy with their Twitter account. Their account takes on a personality, as opposed to just being a place to make announcements, which works well in their quest to get away from the cynical idea of the soulless, profit-mongering corporation. Having an online presence that engages people where they are, instead of making posts and waiting for potential customers to happen upon them, can help your business stand out online. FORM REAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH CUSTOMERS. This tactic, sometimes known as a grassroots movement, has many different facets. However, the goal is to ultimately win a customer’s business by engaging with them on a more personal level. This approach often involves using the internet to ask supporters of your business to repost or retweet material from your social media pages. You can also encourage your employees to engage with real people in places where your target demographic likes to spend their time. The goal is to foster genuine relationships with customers that make them feel cared for by your company and eager to keep coming back.
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The Booming Subscription-Service Business
Recurring Subscription Satisfaction for Businesses and Consumers
In today’s economy, the demand for accessible and customized goods and services is steadily increasing, and companies are responding by bringing their business to the comfort of your home. With recurring payments, deliveries, and an ever-changing selection of products, pioneers like Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Dollar Shave Club are redefining what a modern transaction looks like. From movies and pop culture memorabilia to contacts and glasses, there is a reasonably priced subscription service destined to cut out the middleman for most industries today, and the numbers show that the companies developing this market have no intention of slowing down. The subscription-service industry is booming all over the globe. According to a long-term survey conducted by McKinley and Company, the e-commerce market has grown by more than 100 percent per year in each of the past five years, grossing $2.6 billion in 2016 alone. We’re all familiar with Netflix and Hulu, but subscription-box services, like
Blue Apron and Birchbox, have been growing in popularity in recent years. These companies provide subscribers with a new box of products — from groceries and cosmetics to potted plants — on a monthly, bi-monthly, or weekly basis. The impact is widespread, with 15 percent of online shoppers saying they’ve subscribed to an e-commerce service over the past year. The numbers are even higher for entertainment services; 46 percent of the survey’s respondents subscribed to a streaming platform like Netflix. The priority for most customers is the ability to customize. Over half of all subscription services are built based on the pillars of curation and customization. And while some consumers buy subscriptions just for convenience, the majority sign up to be able to customize their products to their needs and preferences.
Whether you want graphic tees, hair-loss products, or healthy meals, there’s a subscription service for you.
HAVE A Laugh
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412 E. Parkcenter Blvd. Suite 210 Boise, ID 83706 (208) 401-9300 www.genlawgroup.com
Inside This Edition
A Look at My New Book on Small Business
A Better Approach to Firing?
Maximizing Creativity and Cost- Effectiveness in Your Business Take a Look at the Subscription- Service Market
Have a Laugh
Can You Trust Alexa?
The Privacy Compromise Amazon Listens to You — What Does That Really Mean?
Millions of homes across the globe have some version of Amazon’s Echo digital assistant. There’s the standard Echo, the Echo Dot, Echo Plus, Echo Show, and Echo Spot. Echo has even been integrated into refrigerators, microwaves, and other appliances. It seems like the lineup gets larger every year. But are we putting too much trust in these digital assistants? We all know these devices are listening. Echo recognizes its name, whether you call it Alexa, Amazon, Echo, or Computer, as a “wake word.” Once it’s “awake,” it will answer any question you ask it. But what does it hear beyond what you ask it directly? This is a question that has security and privacy experts concerned. Major companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook thrive on the data they collect. Facebook is worth as much as it is because of its monetized user data, and a huge portion of Facebook’s business model involves selling its users’ data to other companies. It comes down to this: If an online service is free, you are the product. With the Echo, once you speak the “wake word” (usually “Alexa”), everything you say is shared with Amazon. The company uses this data for several things. For one, it compiles user data to make Alexa’s responses better. But it also uses your data to target products to you that you’ll be more likely to buy, preferably through Amazon.
The effect is similar to using your browser to shop on Amazon or using an Amazon-branded credit card. Everything you do on their website and everything you buy with an Amazon card is tracked: the company builds a profile for you and your likes. The same can be said for Google and Facebook. The bottom line is that if you are concerned about your privacy and want complete control, you will want to keep digital assistants like Echo out of your home. Every time you fire up Amazon, Facebook, or Google — or use their service or app — you are being tracked. This might mean location tracking, your shopping preferences, the posts you read, etc. That’s part of the deal: It’s free, and you give up your privacy in exchange. You consent to have your personal data mined. When it comes to the Echo, Amazon explicitly states they do not sell your data to third parties. The company says they only use this data internally; they say it’s secure — and so far, that’s technically true. But there have been reports of “malfunctions.” If you do have a digital home assistant like the Echo or you use these kinds of services on your smartphone, you can set your privacy and security options pretty much however you want. In the end, you do have some control over your privacy with a digital assistant, but as long as one of them is in your home, that control — and your privacy — will never be at 100 percent.
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