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Now and Then

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

ROI
BY FRANK J. RICH

There is growing evidence that the recent downturn did permanent damage. Indeed, the measure of recovery and a close examination of fundamental growth elements by the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) suggests the term given to this one— The Great Recession—is an apt description.

The U.S. economy has done more than “slow and recover,” the typical cycle lasting an average of 7-years; it has fundamentally changed. The prevailing view has always been that the U.S. economy will gain back what was lost in a recession, but this time is different, as many economists and academics believe we will not regain what was lost in this latest downturn, giving rise to the view that the recession changed the economy at its root. (more…)

March 17, 2014 |

It’s True

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

ROI
BY FRANK J. RICH

People are funny. Some, children especially, are even funnier. We’re quirky, independent, gregarious, taciturn, heady, engaging, phlegmatic… . You get the idea. And not coincidentally, we’re ever changing. Once you get to know us we do something totally unexpected. That’s the good and the bad news.

From time in memoriam we defy stereotypical definitions, and spurn virtually all attempts by others to pigeonhole us, at least completely. How else might we extend the next generation of our infinite personalities if not allowed to change, to grow, to be different from what we were before, except, perhaps, to our mothers? (more…)

March 10, 2014 |

All In?

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

ROI
BY FRANK J. RICH

Americans are risk takers. If anything, they are no less the cowboys of yesteryear but for the tools of their trade. The “guts and glory” motivation remains.

Much of this column speaks to risk, perhaps because it is so fundamental to business, the root of ROI columns. The landscape of principles and best practices is littered with potholes, missteps that cause course changes and interruptions. Preparation is the pole vault, and courage its energy. Little productive happens without them. (more…)

February 28, 2014 |

Shoppers Never Stop Shopping

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

ROI
BY FRANK J. RICH

Consumers are a vital part of every economy. Consumption gives life to commerce as none other can. The force of it at the retail level (USA) accounted for $4.7 trillion in 2013 of a $17 trillion economy (GDP). That amounts to roughly 25 percent of the world’s GDP. And, 71 percent of the US economy is given over to consumer spending on durable and non-durable goods, and services. A shopper is more than the stereotypical character depicted in the movie Shopaholic. S/he is in search of the things they need, some they want, and many that have formed a habit in them, such as vitamin supplements. On the obverse side of this coin is the supplier of goods and services: the retailers, manufacturers, and service providers that satisfy the hungry giant called consumption. (more…)

February 18, 2014 |

Is Bad Weather Good for Business?

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ROI
BY FRANK J. RICH

If you live in the Northeast you’re having it; that is, bad weather. If you are among the few who drove to work in it, you couldn’t help but notice that stores everywhere were closed. It’s hard to “do business” if the lights are out, the door is closed, and nobody is in the store to greet you.

That said, Main Street might be a little different from companies whose customers are anything but local. Those that make it to work at such companies are actually more productive, which definitely serves growth. According to research done by a group at Harvard Business School, there is now evidence that what appears to be good reason to feel anxious about lost business may be quite the opposite. This team of professors found that productivity actually improved during bad weather days, after studying thousands at a Tokyo bank over two years. (more…)

February 7, 2014 |

Failing Smart

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ROI
BY FRANK J. RICH

Enterprise models often emphasize quick results. Why? The market moves more quickly today than ever, technology forces disruptive change, and innovations are increasingly more destructive (in the short term) than productive. Even the hint of technology advancement (for its effect on the use model) is often enough to stall sales of it. Yet, to effect a market with a new product idea or advancement takes an average of two years. It’s much the same to establish a new business of most any kind. How, then, do we manage the uncertain task of delivering new products to market and new enterprises of promise? (more…)

January 17, 2014 |

Simply, Smartly

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ROI
BY FRANK J. RICH

A new TV series presents a bionic man more given to rationality than physicality. Lee Majors, the original bionic man, would find this new fellow an insurmountable foe. Josh Holloway’s character, a high-tech intelligence operative, has been fitted with a computer in his brain that has both an appetite for data and the processing power to use and recall them. That coupled with his human instincts and analog senses prepare a unique blend of the old and new, in bionic terms at least. (more…)

January 10, 2014 |
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