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Is Bad Weather Good for Business?

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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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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 |

Marketing & Merchandising: Know the Difference and How to Use Both

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BY FRANK J. RICH

We are a nation of commercial enterprises learning to do better what we have always done. If we accept the view for the moment, the idea that not much has changed but the method in the doing, we quickly trace two paths to form a growth perspective. In one, the idea is a cautious reminder to those who hope for the best in commerce; perhaps willing efforts to “help shoppers find what they are looking for, what they need.” The logic may fail the practiced in this math, but compels even they to question the obvious while observing shoppers’ daily walk. (more…)

January 10, 2014 |

How to Succeed in Business…

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BY FRANK J. RICH

Award-winning 1960s Broadway musical “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” may have been a satire, but the words make perfect sense. “Trying” is how to succeed in business. And the effort is more sweat today than in recent history. The current seven-year cycle—the average length of economic cycles in America—finds key verticals still struggling to regain lost customers. Employment, retail and real estate remain weak, while only the auto segment may be in recovery.

Consumption is the fulcrum issue, and while investors are driving new highs in equity markets, Wall Street is shedding jobs, and consumer spending is slow as more net disposable income (NDI) goes to savings, 4.9%, according to Bloomberg News. What can small business America do? (more…)

January 9, 2014 |

It’s You!

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By Frank J. Rich

Where would life be without the Internet? How well would we make it to work, or to the trash can outside each day if we didn’t put our feet into shoes? How many lives have been saved, crises averted, schedules met, assurances made, friends connected, products and services found, etc., because of the proverbial “hip cricket” on our person? Desk or desktop, sedan or SUV, train or bus, boat or rail—all are tools we choose to make life more workable, more livable, more productive, more enjoyable, and more promise-filled. The one thing common to all is you, the user of tools, perhaps itself, the greatest tool of all. (more…)

December 27, 2013 |

Now is the Time

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ROI
By Frank J. Rich

Voting season is over. Candidates are now the elected. The future is at hand. And everything about tomorrow begins today. Yet, what of the polling season in us, in the human condition, where everything about tomorrow happens today?

Shall I do this or that, go here or there, develop this skill or that, apprentice first or learn as I go, follow him or her, live fast or slow? Unpacked, it’s all the same question. How will we do what we do? (more…)

December 9, 2013 |
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