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How Downtime Forced by Coronavirus Could Be An Entrepreneurial Opportunity

coronavirus

How Downtime Forced by Coronavirus Could Be An Entrepreneurial Opportunity

For would-be entrepreneurs who have longed to turn a side hustle into their main hustle, the shutdown created by the coronavirus may have provided that long-awaited opportunity.

Often, a lack of time is one of the major reasons people give for not starting their own businesses. But these days – with everyone urged to stay home and outside activities limited – those newfound extra hours could be invested in taking steps toward creating that business, says Shravan Parsi, CEO and founder of American Ventures, a commercial real estate company, and ForbesBooks author of The Science of the Deal: The DNA of Multifamily and Commercial Real Estate Investing (www.scienceofthedeal.com).

“It definitely takes effort, energy, and a willingness to step out there, but the rewards can be great,” Parsi says.

Parsi was a full-time pharmaceutical research scientist working 9 to 5 and dabbling in real estate on the side when he realized his regular job was hampering his real estate deals because he wasn’t available to talk with people or show a house during the day. Eventually, he bid farewell to his old career and launched his new one in commercial real estate.

Parsi has a few tips for those who long to shake loose from their current careers and venture into something that drives their passions:

Be bold and flexible. A willingness to take chances and adapt to changing circumstances is critical. Even in seventh grade in his native India, ambition boiled in Parsi. He realized that to become the kind of global leader he aspired to be, he would need to know English. So, he transferred to an English school. “My parents supported my decision even though they knew it would be challenging,” he says.

Be interested in everything and observe closely. You never know when opportunities to expand your knowledge – and be inspired by new ideas – will present themselves. Parsi says he learned this lesson at age 14. His father was a doctor who himself invested in real estate as a passive investment and was having a two-story house built – one story for the family and one as a rental. “He pointed out that I had time to kill over summer vacation and recommended I watch the process,” Parsi says. “So my brother and I watched the construction and supervised the contractors. It left a strong impression on me.”

Pivot when necessary. Life doesn’t always go as planned – as the coronavirus has shown – so you need to be prepared to change direction, Parsi says. As an example, Parsi originally planned to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a doctor. But admission to medical school in India is highly competitive and he missed the cutoff criteria by one-tenth of a point. That’s when he pivoted and became a pharmaceutical scientist instead.

Learn how to sell anything. At different periods in his life, Parsi worked in a cell phone store, sold Amway products, and sold nutritional supplements. Those experiences weren’t always the best, he acknowledges, but he did gain something from them. “I realized that if I can sell the products and a story and recruit others, then I can sell anything,” Parsi says. “Selling is a pivotal skill most entrepreneurs must have.”

Anyone who is inspired to get their entrepreneurial drive moving during the current downtime should not completely throw caution to the wind, Parsi says.

“I did not quit my pharmaceutical job right away,” he says. “I had an objective to stay in that job until the real estate income was twice the value of my salary. When I hit that objective – when real estate was no longer a side hustle – I decided it made sense to invest more time in real estate than the scientific position.”

Now American Ventures is a successful multifamily and commercial real estate investment firm with a proven track record.

“Never settle for less,” Parsi says.

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Shravan Parsi, CEO and founder of American Ventures, a commercial real estate company, is author of The Science of the Deal: The DNA of Multifamily and Commercial Real Estate Investing (www.scienceofthedeal.com). Parsi is an entrepreneur and innovator with a background in the diverse fields of real estate investing and pharmaceutical research. He has been involved in Texas real estate since 2003. Born in India, Parsi developed a life-long interest in business and investing from watching his father, a medical doctor, invest in real estate. Parsi has acquired several apartment complexes in aggregate of over 4000 units  and several commercial properties by co-investing with private equity groups, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and accredited investors.

cordero

SUPER MARIO: CORDERO HELPED SHAPE PORT OF LONG BEACH’S PIONEERING GREEN PORT POLICY YEARS BEFORE HE BECAME EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Mario Cordero was an attorney in Long Beach, defending industries and municipalities in workers’ compensation cases when he went to lunch with a local elected official. This was in the early 2000s when environmental issues were hot topics in a city that, by population, ranks second in Los Angeles County, seventh in California and 39th in the nation.

“He asked me if I’d be interested in being appointed to the harbor commission,” recalls Cordero of his lunch partner, who was referring to the City of Long Beach’s port authority. “I said of course I would. When you are talking about the port authority, that’s the pinnacle of civic involvement.”

But Cordero could not help but wonder … why him?

“At the time, port authority appointees had backgrounds either politically or as a developer or financier or someone in that circle, or as a community or environmental advocate who is a strong fundraiser,” he says. “I didn’t come under any of those classifications. So I asked, ‘Would the mayor consider me when I don’t have the history of those people who have been propelled to the port authority before?’ He said the mayor was looking for a different mindset, someone who was more sensitive to the concerns of the community and the environmental agenda.”

Cordero accepted the appointment and was sworn onto the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners in July 2003, going on to serve as vice president and president during his eight-year stint. The Los Angeles native is now beginning what will this year be his 17th year as a maritime leader, not only locally and nationally but internationally, as he resigned from the harbor commission in 2011 to join the Federal Maritime Commission, the U.S. government agency responsible for regulating the nation’s international ocean transportation for the benefit of exporters, importers and the American consumer and fostering a fair, efficient and reliable international ocean transportation system, while protecting the public from unfair and deceptive practices.

Cordero, who became executive director of the Port of Long Beach in May 2017, now leads a Harbor Department staff of more than 500 and oversees a budget that was $982 million for the 2019 fiscal year.

The crowning jewel of his career (so far) is arguably the nationally recognized, globally influential Green Port Policy, which outlines a sustainable ethic for all port operations, mandating that trade growth run parallel with environmental stewardship. Cordero began working on the initiative in late 2004, while still on the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners. “We rolled it out,” he says, “and the rest is history.”

Cordero, who was appointed vice-chairman of the Board for the American Association of Port Authorities in October 2018, outlined his port’s strong 2019—despite a dip in exports due to the U.S.-China trade war—and the progress of sustainability efforts during his Jan. 23 State of the Port address at the Long Beach Convention Center. Last year, the Port of Long Beach moved 8.1 million shipping containers or its highest total ever. An $870 million project in the pipeline to improve the port’s rail yard will have more containers hauled by trains instead of trucks, he noted. “Rail is a big part of our green future,” Cordero told the audience. “For the American exporter, my message to you is this: Our rail will move your cargo faster and more efficiently, and we are on track to make it even better for you in the years ahead.”

He also highlighted the Clean Air Action Plan that the ports of Long Beach and neighboring Los Angeles, which together form the largest port complex in the nation, implemented in 2017. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050. “We all know climate change is a major global effort, and a global threat,” Cordero told the crowd. “We need to transition to sustainable low-carbon, and the Port of Long Beach will do its part. Our challenge is not just to reduce carbon emissions. It’s to eliminate them altogether. … Yes, we face great challenges, but this port of the future is meeting that challenge. With our many projects, we’re planting seeds so this region continues to thrive.”

Over the phone a week after his State of the Port address, Cordero credited his time on the Harbor Commission with helping to bring about his port’s revolutionary change. “That was the game-changer with me to be part of the port authority,” he says. “I started during a time when there was a real contentious relationship with environmental groups and neighborhood groups who questioned the impacts of having such a great port. Their primary concerns were the harmful emissions that came from those operations and congestion on the highways, streets and so forth. As a result, then-mayor Beverly O’Neill appointed me to the Harbor Commission, and one of my mandates was to bring different thinking to the commission, one that is more sensitive to the concerns of the neighborhood and communities, especially when it came to the environmental issues coming before us.”

Cordero helped usher in the Green Port Policy that the port formalized in January 2005, sealing his reputation as a leader who can bring together different stakeholders or constituencies when it came to economic and environmental sustainability. “Our motto was Grow Green,” he notes. “Back then, in 2004-’05, a lot of naysayers in the industry felt that if you try to do both, it will negatively impact business operations. Looking back, that of course, as I thought then, was not to be the case.” The League of California Cities bestowed Cordero an environmental award in 2007 (the same year the Mexican-American Bar Association named him Attorney of the Year). And still, after two decades of operating under the Green Port Policy, the Port of Long Beach ranks second in the U.S. when it comes to container moves. (The Port of Los Angeles is No. 1.) “It’s not only Grow Green, but we are also a growth leader,” Cordero says. “We eventually laid out a model for ports around the world.”

Some of those ports in the U.S. would not mind cutting into Long Beach’s trade action. “We recognize that we have to have a competitive edge in terms of competing with other gateways in the U.S. lobbying for a piece of the Asian-Transpacific cargo moves,” concedes Cordero, who during his early days in the industry became “intrigued” by “the whole issue of commerce and international trade.” He plunged into examining globalization, especially as it related to economic partnerships with Asian countries. His self-education, coupled with the port’s economic and environmental successes, led to President Barack Obama appointing Cordero to the Federal Maritime Commission, which he chaired from April 2013 to January 2017.

The FMC experience “gave me context into the high levels of Washington, D.C.,” he says. “That leadership really put the Port of Long Beach on the national front. I am very proud of that history.” It was forged by Cordero’s ability to get local residents, environmentalists, union workers, terminal operators, cargo owners, international shipping companies, transportation entities and government regulators to all buy in to the port’s vision when it came to what had previously been viewed as polar opposites: trade growth and environmental sustainability. “We had to educate the community about the importance of international trade, not only as a job producer, but every household is a beneficiary of international trade,” Cordero says. “And number two, the Port of Long Beach was serious about exploring ways we can further sustainable development.”

He points with pride to “a tremendous monetary investment” the port has made to mitigate air and water pollution. “We moved forward to introduce and put in place shore power, which is also known as cold ironing,” he says. “An investment in excess of $180 million resulted in international vessels coming to port and hooking up to the electrical infrastructure as opposed to burning bunker fuel, or what they call hoteling. The way it [previously] looked at the port was that the vessels were emitting black smoke while they were here. Not much more changed dynamically until, on the international front and the state level, the implementation of standards requiring environmentally friendly fuels and the getting away from the common use of bunker fuel, which was the worst kind to use as far as the diesel infrastructure.”

Cordero is pleased with where the port is in terms of achieving the goals of the Green Port Policy. Referring to the marketing spin that makes a supposedly green entity sound more focused on sustainability than it really is, Cordero conceded, “Many thought in the environmental community, and I don’t blame them, that we were just greenwashing here. Obviously, we did more than greenwashing. … Mitigating harmful emissions—we’ve done that. In 10 years we have reduced particulate matter 88 percent, noxious emissions 57 percent, and we’ve reduced sock emissions at a level of 97 percent. Those are astounding numbers in terms of what we did.”

In the same breath, he acknowledges the port must do more as it tries to meet the bold goals of zero emissions in cargo handling by 2030 and zero emissions from trucks by 2035. “There are 18,300 trucks registered at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. There can be anywhere from 14 to 16 truck moves a day. Our goal is to not be satisfied in reducing emissions and diesel emissions until we get to zero, so by 2035 trucks will be running on electric batteries or fuel-cell technology.”

That is why Cordero is not ready to pop the cork on the bubbly just yet. “I am satisfied at this point in terms of what this port and this city have been able to do, but ultimately we must meet our current quest of going zero emissions,” he says. “That is something we will celebrate in the future.”

It’s all pretty heady stuff when you consider Cordero “was not even thinking about being on the Harbor Commission until I had that lunch. … I love to speak to students assessing what careers they are looking at. Number one, I tell them to give 110 percent at the job they are doing. Second, I say you never know what door is going to open.”

purpose

Putting Purpose Above Profit: 3 Steps to Drive Long-Term Results in Times of Uncertainty

Purpose, by its nature, is defined as the reason for existing and goes beyond making money. It is about people coming together to make an impact in something they believe in with the trust that revenue and growth will follow, rather than as an end in itself. To be a  ‘purpose-driven’ organization, companies need to stand for something and look to positively impact society. “Innovation cannot advance in a positive direction,” Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce recently said, “unless it’s grounded in genuine and continued efforts to lift up all of humanity.”

Here are 3 steps to re-capture your purpose to drive long-term results in these uncertain times:

Go back to your WHY.

Now, more than ever, companies need to revisit and return to their purpose /  WHY / core values. During hard times, leadership is forced to make quick and tough decisions. By going back to their purpose, each choice can be tied to the long-term vision of the company and help avoid costly short-term/knee-jerk decisions. “So many businesses are lost right now. At BirdEye we are focused on navigating these uncharted waters by focusing on our core values  – customer obsession, family spirit, world-class and innovation.” said President & COO, Dave Lehman “Purpose-driven results are measured by the impact we have on our customers and partners. That way, we can all get through this together.”

Connect employees with a vision they can believe in and embrace.

As leaders quickly pivot a company’s direction and change priorities, the stories and reasons behind the change matters. When teams and individual contributors understand how their roles fit into the company’s WHY, everyone feels part of a greater good and can own the company’s key messages. Executives can’t be connected with every customer directly, so it’s critical to empower employees with a foundation to go and expand the brand. Research by Bain & Company shows that if a satisfied employee’s productivity level is 100% and an engaged employee’s level is 144%, the productivity level of an employee that is truly inspired by the company’s purpose is an impressive 225%.

Show empathy and advise with humility.

Emotionally connect with your customers and focus on how they are managing in this time of great uncertainty. Ask the personal questions and be willing to spend time sharing your personal stories first. Selling in this environment is about doubling down on fixing their problems and addressing their concerns rather than pushing your products or services. In these unprecedented times, authentically connecting and helping your customers is the only way to drive business. For example, IKEA wants “to create a better everyday life for the many people” and Southwest Airlines strives to “‘connect people to what’s most important in their lives.”  In essence, a company should be selling their vision and aligning their purpose with their customers. Human beings need to feel connected. People will remember how we act today more than any product or service they buy from us.

Businesses that embrace the idea of purpose and profit being intertwined are companies that will drive innovation and achieve long-term success. Leadership needs to communicate more than ever that we are in this together, reinforcing that the company is truly a community that shares the same core values.

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JANEL DYAN is a well-regarded executive brand strategist and expert on how to build a story to achieve brand alignment for both company and leadership success. She founded Janel Dyan, Inc. (JD) in 2014, which provides transformative brand strategy and style consultation to high-visibility clients across various industries. Her work has been seen by millions through public experiences at Fortune 500 companies, the United Nations, and the World Economic Forums, among others. Dyan also runs Beyond Us, which provides opportunities to build confidence in women through a platform for sharing clothes with other women who are ready to take the next step in their professional lives. Dyan resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two sons. Her book Story. Style. Brand.: Why Corporate Results Are a Matter of Personal Style, is available now.

covid-19

What Employees Are Expensing During the COVID-19 Outbreak

As the situation surrounding COVID-19 has progressed, more travel restrictions and social distancing practices are being implemented every day. More and more companies are implementing work-from-home policies to adapt to the changing situation.

We’ve been tracking the data since the beginning of the crisis to help your company ensure employee health and safety and make essential decisions around expenses.

Here are a few of the most significant changes we’ve seen.

COVID-19 expenses haven’t shown any sign of slowing down

In our last blog, we noted that COVID-19 expenses skyrocketed, and we expected them to fall as trip cancelations began to taper off. However, these expenses have shown no sign of slowing down. COVID–19–related expenses have doubled from the week ending March 7 to the week ending March 14, with trip cancelation and work-from-home expenses being the primary causes.

Number of claims

Submitted expenses vary by industry

Although changes to travel plans and cancelations still make up over half of all COVID-19-related expense claims overall, the trends change when you look at specific industries.

In the finance and software industries, half of the expenses are related to travel cancelations, and the other half are work-from-home expenses.

In the consumer goods, manufacturing, and pharmaceutical industries, masks still make up 15 to 20% of expenses but are otherwise in the low single digits in other industries.

The growth in expenses also varies by industry.

Work-from-home charges have increased dramatically; masks have fallen

Work from home expenses have grown the most, increasing 3.5x since last week. These charges are mainly related to “remote office setup” or “supplies for remote work,” and include accessories like printers, ink, headphones, and HDMI cables.

In our own workforce, we’ve noticed that everyone has a different set-up at home, ranging from at-home offices to sitting with their spouse at the dining room table or even sitting in bed with their laptops. It’s essential to employee productivity and ergonomics to help everyone make the best of whatever space they have.

Mask expenses have fallen – there was a peak in mid-February, then another dip, and a second peak at the end of February.

What does this data mean for my company’s expense policy?

We hope this data can help you consider the appropriate response to COVID-19 in your organization and how you can best support your employees. It’s clear from the above data that work-from-home expenses are increasingly common, and will likely continue to increase over the next few weeks as more companies continue to close their offices temporarily. We’ve also noticed that several companies have created specific expense types to track COVID-19 spending more closely. Others have created expense categories for their accounts payable departments to pay temporary workers more quickly in times of uncertainty.

If you’re unsure of what you should allow in your expense policy in response to the current climate, we’ve outlined some best practices on work-from-home expense policies from our peers and customers. In the meantime, we hope you and your company are taking the necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of your employees during this unsettling time.

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Anant Kale is a CEO at AppZen, the world’s leading solution for automated expense report audits that leverages artificial intelligence to audit 100% of expense reports, invoices, and contacts in seconds.

response

Global Trade Magazine Launches COVID C.A.R.E. Business Response Program

Global Trade Magazine is ramping up efforts in supporting global businesses by utilizing a new set of tools found in its technology toolbox. Companies capable of adapting their technology through the crisis are doing so at a record pace as leading automotive giants are now churning out respirators instead of automobiles while whiskey producers scramble to make hand sanitizer to help meet demand. Global Trade Magazine is doing the same thing for global businesses and their customer base.

“Responding to global business leader and customer questions and concerns will be more critical than ever now. Doing so effectively is a monumental task for many global trade players, yet doing so will be the difference in businesses keeping their operations moving and laying off hundreds or even thousands. We’ve re-engineered our Artificial Intelligence product to meet customer demands,” stated Eric Kleinsorge, CEO and Publisher of Global Trade Magazine.

The Global Trade COVID C.A.R.E. (Coronavirus Automated Response Effort) Local Response Program takes a unique approach in supporting global businesses and their efforts in responding to customer concerns by utilizing AI response systems. This integrated system Records, Responds, Alerts, Prioritizes and Completes requests from customers that need information and answers from global businesses in the global trade community. Instead of fearing this change, the Global Trade Mag team linked arms and stepped up to the challenge. From receiving requests and concerns to automated feedback, request prioritization, and system follow-ups, the Global Trade Response Program offers an integrated system of checks and balances that captures every request from every customer.

“We have been in the business of helping global companies communicate with their customers and now it’s our turn to help these businesses communicate and update these customers,” Kleinsorge concluded.

To request information on how this program can help your business, please click here or call (469) 778-2606.

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About GSLI/Global Trade Magazine

Global Site Location Industries (GSLI) is the parent company of Global Trade Magazine and was founded in 1994 by Eric Kleinsorge with a very specific goal in mind: grow local and global communities while bringing business projects to life through strategic economic development partnerships and customer management strategies. He is recognized in over 110 articles as an industry expert and has conducted interviews with well-known figures including George W. Bush, Colin Powell, Jay Leno, Jerry Jones, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Dell, and many more.

Not only do the companies support community and global branding, but we bring company goals to life through a tailored approach to attracting sustainable businesses and customer partnerships. We take pride in our reputation as an expert in assisting expanding and relocating companies partner with the world’s finest companies. For more than 20 years, GSLI has been the premier partner of choice for companies– both big and small, looking to create a solid economic and customer foundation primed for growth and success.

freight forwarders

20 FOR 2020: THE TOP 20 CITIES FOR FREIGHT FORWARDERS

Even domestic shipping can be complicated. That’s why freight forwarders exist—they handle much of the complex paperwork and hassle needed to move cargo across borders. For freight forwarders, some cities are definitely better than others.

To find out the best cities for freight forwarders, we asked Carlo De Atouguia, the chief operating officer of Western Overseas Corporation. For more than four decades, Western Overseas has provided freight forwarding, customs brokerage, warehousing, distribution, cargo insurance, and e-commerce services to small and large companies across the globe.

Atouguia zeroed in on a common theme to come up with the top 20 cities for freight forwarders. “These cities are key because they are integral gateway cities for both ocean and air,” he explains. “I believe it is an advantage having representation in these cities because it allows you to develop a personal business relationship with the major players in all facets of the freight forwarding supply chain in that city. These business relationships are key when negotiating spot rates, late cut-offs, drayage and expedited handling on cargo arrival.

“The other key factor is the sheer number of carriers and cargo flights available in a particular city,” he continues. “The more options you have, the better you’re able to service your customers’ freight forwarding needs.”

ATLANTA, GEORGIA

Air cargo and mail moving through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has been steadily climbing for the past few years, from more than 624,000 metric tons in 2015 to a little over 704,000 metric tons in 2018, according to Statista. Which is why it wasn’t a shock that Georgia’s $40.6 billion worth of exports in 2018 was the highest in that state’s history. In fact, exports in Georgia have grown by 71 percent over the last decade, according to U.S. Census data. It’s no wonder there are more than 20 freight forwarders in the Atlanta area.

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND

In the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore, 15 ship-to-shore gantry cranes move about 900,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) every year, according to 2018 figures from the U.S. Department of Transportation. It’s also one of the most diverse ports in the U.S., with the six public marine terminals handling autos, roll-on/roll-off, containers, forest products and project cargo. The 11 million tons of cargo that moved through the port this past year was a new record, and the nearly 2.9 million tons of cargo the port handled in between April and June of 2019 also set a new second quarter record.

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

The Port of Charleston is ranked ninth in the U.S. in terms of cargo value, according to the South Carolina Ports Authority. That translated into $72.7 billion worth of imports and exports in 2018. The port’s cranes handled 2.2 million TEUs that year. Thirteen of the world’s biggest container companies tie up there. While the port can already accommodate most post-Panamax vessels, efforts are under way to deepen the harbor from 45 to 52 feet. That’s why it wasn’t surprising when the port authority revealed in November 2019 that Charleston had doubled its cargo volume over the last decade.

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is ranked sixth in the nation and seventh in the world in terms of the number of passengers and volume of cargo handled, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation. More than 60 freight forwarders, customs brokers and international service providers use CLT’s Air Cargo Center, which has 570,000 square feet of available space and 2.2 million square feet of aircraft ramp space. The CLT also links to the Norfolk Southern and CSX rail lines. It processed 128,000 tons of cargo in 2015.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

Since the 19th century, Chicago has been a railway and ocean hub for commerce. Even today, a quarter of all rail freight in the U.S. passes through the Chicago rail yards. (It’s also the only gateway in the U.S. where six of the seven major railroads can interchange traffic.) An amazing 30 percent of all consumers in North America live within a one-day truck ride from Chicago. But in terms of cargo value, the Windy City is the top international air gateway in the U.S., with about 2 million metric tons of cargo moving through O’Hare International Airport every year, all worth more than $200 billion, according to Chicago’s Department of Aviation.

CINCINNATI, OHIO

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), which provides non-stop service to 38 of the top 40 U.S. markets, moved 1.2 million tons of cargo in 2018 and is the eighth largest cargo airport in the U.S., according to the CVG airport authority. For the past three years, it’s been the fastest-growing cargo airport in the U.S. It’s also the location for one of DHL’s three “global super hubs,” from which it serves 220 nations. Amazon also has plans to build a $1.5 billion hub at CVG, which will support more than 100 Prime Air freighters.

DALLAS, TEXAS

Because many of the warehouses and distribution centers that stand between international suppliers of goods like China and retail outlets are located in Texas, Dallas is perfectly located to serve as a freight hub for the rest of the nation, according to a 2018 FreightWaves e-newsletter article. Indeed, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport considers itself “the nexus of Latin America-Asia transit freight.” More than 900,000 tons of cargo moved through the airport in fiscal year 2018. According to the DFW Airport Authority, 55 percent of it was domestic and 45 percent was international.

HOUSTON, TEXAS

The Port of Houston is one of the most heavily used water gateways in the country. According to the port authority, in 2017 it ranked first in the nation in terms of foreign waterborne tonnage (173 million short tons), second in total foreign and domestic waterborne tonnage (260 million short tons) and third in overall value of foreign cargo. It’s also the largest Gulf Coast container port, handling nearly 70 percent of all container traffic in that region. A little more than a million containers (imports and exports) moved through the port in 2001; today, that number stands at nearly 2.5 million.

LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA

Long Beach has one of the busiest seaports in the world. The Port of Long Beach says its 68 Post-Panamax gantry cranes move around 7.5 million TEUs every year, all valued at close to $200 billion. That translates into 82.3 million metric tons of cargo moved in/out on more than 2,000 vessel calls. It’s the second busiest port in the U.S., and the 21st busiest container cargo port in the world. All told, the port accounts for a third of loaded containers moving through all California ports. About 90 percent of the shipments moving through the port are part of trade with East Asia.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

Let’s start with the fact that the Port of Los Angeles has been the top container port in the U.S. since 2000. In 2018, its 83 gantry cranes handled 9.5 million TEUs—the highest number ever moved by a port in the western hemisphere—making it one of the busiest ports in the world. Then there’s Los Angeles International Airport, the world’s fourth busiest, which handled nearly 2.5 million tons of cargo in 2018. According to Los Angeles World Airports, FedEx is the dominant airfreight carrier at LAX, carrying nearly 16 percent of the freight that moves through the airport.

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY

Situated on the Ohio River, Louisville is well placed to handle all sorts of cargo traffic. In fact, Jefferson Riverport is one of the few inland ports in the U.S. that connects to three railroads: CSX, Norfolk Southern and Paducah & Louisville. The city is also, as the State of Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is fond of pointing out, about a day’s truck drive away from 65 percent of the U.S. population. What’s more, Louisville International Airport is home to the UPS shipping hub—the world’s largest fully automated package-handling facility. One hundred thirty aircraft move through it each day, and it processes a remarkable 1.5 million packages daily.

MIAMI, FLORIDA

In 2018, Miami International Airport ranked fourth in the nation in terms of both total cargo and total freight, and No. 1 in international freight, according to the Miami-Dade Aviation Department. That year, 2.31 million tons of freight moved through the airport, nearly three percent higher than the previous year. At the same time, a thousand cargo ships docked at the Port of Miami—the East Coast’s closest deepwater container port to the Panama Canal—carrying 1.1 million TEUs worth around $27 billion. Nearly half the TEU imports to Miami came from Asia, while 70 percent of the exports went to Latin America, according to the Miami Port Authority.

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

Primarily due to FedEx, Memphis International Airport is the top international gateway in the U.S. by weight and the No. 2 cargo airport in the world. In 2016, 11.9 million short tons of cargo moved through the airport, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. FedEx accounts for a reported 99 percent of the cargo moving through Memphis International Airport, which carries out 450 combined arrivals and departures every day. Memphis is also home to the fifth largest inland port in the U.S., which is very close to the airport and lies at the juncture of major north-south and east-west interstate highways, as well as that of five major railroads.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

The only container port in Louisiana, the Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) has six gantry cranes that can handle 840,000 TEUs a year. Containers make up about 60 percent of the cargo handled at the port, according to the Port NOLA authority. The port also ties into the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, offering daily intermodal service to Memphis, Chicago, Toronto and Montreal. Regular container-on-barge service also connects the port to Memphis and Baton Rouge.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK

The Port of New York and New Jersey handled 41.3 million metric tons of general cargo worth more than $188 billion in 2018, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Put another way, the port handled 52 percent of all the unloaded and loaded TEUs on the North Atlantic. Add this to the 1.4 million tons of cargo that moved through JFK International Airport in 2018, and you can see why New York City holds such importance in the world of freight.

NORFOLK, VIRGINIA

Situated two and a half hours from the open sea, the Port of Norfolk’s 22 Suez-class cranes moved 2.7 million TEUs in 2017, according to the port authority. It’s also so rail-friendly, with two class 1 railroads operating on-dock, that 37 percent of all cargo moving in and out of the port comes by rail—the largest percentage of any East Coast port. Norfolk International Airport also operates one of the most efficient cargo operations in Virginia, moving 30,000 tons of air cargo every year. FedEx, Mountain Air and UPS all use Norfolk International extensively.

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

For Philadelphia, location is everything. The city is about a day’s drive from nearly half the nation’s population, as well as six of the eight largest U.S. markets. There are also 400 distribution centers located within Philadelphia’s immediate vicinity. PhilaPort can handle cargo carriers holding 12,200 TEUs. The CSX and Norfolk Southern railroads both serve the port. In 2016, Philadelphia International Airport handled about 427,000 tons of cargo, and is home to nearly 40 freight forwarders. The airport sits next to I-95, which runs from Maine to Florida, and is close to both the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the New Jersey Turnpike.

PORTLAND, OREGON

The Port of Portland, the largest in Oregon, handles about 11 million tons of cargo every year, according to the port authority. The port can move containers, autos, breakbulk and drybulk. There are on-dock rail connections throughout the port, and BNSF Railway ties the container terminal directly to Seattle/Tacoma. Portland International Airport, located 12 miles from downtown Portland, is centered in the Columbia River Industrial Corridor. Eight cargo carriers use PDX, including UPS, FedEx and DHL. There are 47 freight forwarders serving the Portland area.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

About 488,000 tons of cargo moved through San Francisco International Airport in 2018. Nine cargo carriers operate out of the airport, serving destinations all over the world. Additionally, the Port of San Francisco’s five deepwater berths can accommodate a wide variety of container and bulk carriers. In all, 1.4 million tons of cargo moved through the port in 2017, according to the San Francisco Port Authority.

SAVANNAH, GEORGIA

The Port of Savannah bills itself as the largest single container terminal in North America, and it is the second-largest container exporter in the U.S. (13.3 million tons). Two class 1 railroads serve its nine deepwater berths, which operate 27 container cranes. In 2018, the port handled 4.4 million TEUs, a new record for the port. Its major satellite facilities include warehouses and distribution centers for Target, IKEA and Heineken USA. Savannah Hilton Head International Airport handled a further 8,600 tons of cargo during 2018.

ustr

USTR Considers 301 Tariff Exemption Requests for COVID 19 Medical Supplies

As the country faces the global health crisis caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, recent announcements by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) signal the possibility of some relief from special tariffs on imports from China. Since July 2018, as reported previously here, the Trump Administration has imposed tariffs under Section 301(b) of the Trade Act of 1974 on nearly all U.S. imports of Chinese goods, including medical supplies that are now in high demand because of the outbreak.

USTR based the tariffs on its findings in an investigation of China’s acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation. There have been four rounds of tariffs, broadening the scope of products that are affected. With each round, USTR allowed requests for exclusion of particular products that are not adequately available in the United States.  Prior to the most recent announcements, the opportunity to request exclusions from any or all of the four lists had lapsed, but USTR continued to consider whether to grant requests that had already been filed but remained outstanding.

National priorities have changed as the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States has worsened, increasing the need for medical supplies. On March 25, USTR published a notice of the opportunity to request additional exclusions for products expected to be helpful in responding to the crisis.

Requests can be made through the online portal regulations.gov, but the window closes June 25, 2020, unless extended. Requests “specifically must identify the particular product of concern and explain precisely how the product relates to the response to the COVID-19 outbreak. For example, the comment may address whether a product is directly used to treat COVID-19 or to limit the outbreak, and/or whether the product is used in the production of needed medical-care products.” Decisions will be made on a rolling basis. Any responses to exclusion requests should be submitted within three business days after a request is posted.

In addition, USTR states that it has been prioritizing, in consultation with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the processing of previously filed exclusion requests “addressed to medical-related products related to the U.S. response to COVID-19,” granting approximately 200 separate exclusions on March 10, 2020, March 16, 2020, and March 17, 2020. Products excluded in this manner have included medical masks and other personal protective products.

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By Matthew R. Nicely, Joanne E. Osendarp, Eric S. Parnes, Dean A. Pinkert and Julia K. Eppard at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP

strawberry

EU Strawberry Market Reached $3.8B and Is Set To Continue Moderate Growth

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘EU – Strawberries – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The revenue of the strawberry market in the European Union amounted to $3.8B in 2018, rising by 1.9% against the previous year. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price). The market value increased at an average annual rate of +2.1% from 2007 to 2018; the trend pattern remained consistent, with only minor fluctuations over the period under review. Strawberry consumption peaked in 2018 and is expected to retain its growth in the near future.

Consumption By Country

The countries with the highest volumes of strawberry consumption in 2018 were Germany (233K tonnes), Poland (203K tonnes) and the UK (183K tonnes), together comprising 51% of total consumption. Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, Romania, Greece, Portugal, Austria and Sweden lagged somewhat behind, together comprising a further 39%.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of strawberry consumption, amongst the main consuming countries, was attained by Greece, while strawberry consumption for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, Germany ($819M), the UK ($792M) and Italy ($360M) were the countries with the highest levels of market value in 2018, together comprising 52% of the total market. Poland, France, Spain, Romania, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, Portugal and Greece lagged somewhat behind, together comprising a further 36%.

The countries with the highest levels of strawberry per capita consumption in 2018 were Poland (5,315 kg per 1000 persons), Belgium (2,900 kg per 1000 persons) and Germany (2,844 kg per 1000 persons).

Market Forecast to 2030

Driven by increasing demand for strawberry in the European Union, the market is expected to continue an upward consumption trend over the next decade. Market performance is forecast to retain its current trend pattern, expanding with an anticipated CAGR of +1.1% for the period from 2018 to 2030, which is projected to bring the market volume to 1.4M tonnes by the end of 2030.

Production in the EU

In 2018, approx. 1.3M tonnes of strawberries were produced in the European Union; standing approx. at the previous year. The total output volume increased at an average annual rate of +1.6% over the period from 2007 to 2018; the trend pattern remained relatively stable, with somewhat noticeable fluctuations in certain years. In 2015, strawberry production reached its peak volume of 1.4M tonnes but from 2016 to 2018 it failed to regain its momentum. The general positive trend in terms of strawberry output was largely conditioned by a mild expansion of the harvested area and measured growth in yield figures.

Production By Country

The countries with the highest volumes of strawberry production in 2018 were Spain (345K tonnes), Poland (196K tonnes) and Germany (142K tonnes), together accounting for 54% of total production. The UK, Italy, the Netherlands and Greece lagged somewhat behind, together comprising a further 29%.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of strawberry production, amongst the main producing countries, was attained by Greece, while strawberry production for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Harvested Area

In 2018, approx. 103K ha of strawberries were harvested in the European Union; reducing by -1.7% against the previous year. Over the period under review, the strawberry harvested area continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2013 with an increase of 9.6% against the previous year. In that year, the strawberry harvested area attained its peak level of 111K ha. From 2014 to 2018, the growth of the strawberry harvested area failed to regain its momentum.

Yield

The average strawberry yield stood at 12 tonne per ha in 2018, flattening at the previous year. The yield figure increased at an average annual rate of +2.1% from 2007 to 2018; the trend pattern remained relatively stable, with only minor fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period.

Exports in the EU

In 2018, the amount of strawberries exported in the European Union totaled 476K tonnes, coming down by -3.8% against the previous year. The total export volume increased at an average annual rate of +2.3% from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded over the period under review. Over the period under review, strawberry exports reached their maximum at 515K tonnes in 2014; however, from 2015 to 2018, exports remained at a lower figure. In value terms, strawberry exports totaled $1.3B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018.

Exports by Country

Spain represented the main exporter of strawberries exported in the European Union, with the volume of exports amounting to 279K tonnes, which was approx. 59% of total exports in 2018. The Netherlands (70K tonnes) ranks second in terms of the total exports with a 15% share, followed by Belgium (9.5%) and Greece (6.2%). Italy (14K tonnes), Germany (12K tonnes) and France (11K tonnes) followed a long way behind the leaders.

Exports from Spain increased at an average annual rate of +2.7% from 2007 to 2018. At the same time, Greece (+19.9%), the Netherlands (+6.2%) and Belgium (+1.3%) displayed positive paces of growth. Moreover, Greece emerged as the fastest-growing exporter exported in the European Union, with a CAGR of +19.9% from 2007-2018. Germany experienced a relatively flat trend pattern with regard to strawberry exports. By contrast, Italy (-2.2%) and France (-7.2%) illustrated a downward trend over the same period. From 2007 to 2018, the share of Spain, the Netherlands and Greece increased by +15%, +7.1% and +5.3% percentage points, while France (-2.8 p.p.) saw their share reduced. The shares of the other countries remained relatively stable throughout the analyzed period.

In value terms, Spain ($694M) remains the largest strawberry supplier in the European Union, comprising 52% of total strawberry exports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by the Netherlands ($261M), with a 19% share of total exports. It was followed by Belgium, with a 13% share.

Export Prices by Country

The strawberry export price in the European Union stood at $2,810 per tonne in 2018, picking up by 2.9% against the previous year. In general, the strawberry export price continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. Over the period under review, the export prices for strawberries attained their peak figure at $3,298 per tonne in 2011; however, from 2012 to 2018, export prices remained at a lower figure.

There were significant differences in the average prices amongst the major exporting countries. In 2018, the country with the highest price was Belgium ($4,000 per tonne), while Greece ($1,385 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by France, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Imports in the EU

In 2018, the amount of strawberries imported in the European Union stood at 428K tonnes, falling by -8.1% against the previous year. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2012 when imports increased by 13% against the previous year. In that year, strawberry imports attained their peak of 471K tonnes. From 2013 to 2018, the volume of strawberry imports remained at a lower figure. In value terms, strawberry imports amounted to $1.3B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018.

Imports by Country

In 2018, Germany (103K tonnes), distantly followed by the UK (52K tonnes), France (47K tonnes), Italy (36K tonnes), Belgium (35K tonnes), the Netherlands (27K tonnes) and Portugal (20K tonnes) were the largest importers of strawberries, together mixing up 75% of total imports. The following importers – Spain (15K tonnes), Austria (14K tonnes), Poland (13K tonnes), the Czech Republic (13K tonnes) and Sweden (7.6K tonnes) – together made up 15% of total imports.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of imports, amongst the main importing countries, was attained by Poland, while imports for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the largest strawberry importing markets in the European Union were Germany ($281M), the UK ($204M) and France ($173M), together accounting for 49% of total imports. These countries were followed by Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic, which together accounted for a further 41%.

Import Prices by Country

In 2018, the strawberry import price in the European Union amounted to $3,141 per tonne, picking up by 12% against the previous year. Over the last decade, it increased at an average annual rate of +2.1%.

Prices varied noticeably by the country of destination; the country with the highest price was Sweden ($4,036 per tonne), while Portugal ($2,113 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Austria, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

transportation

Top 10 Transportation Trends to Watch for in 2020

A lot has been happening in the global transport sector over the last decade. In 2019 alone, we saw several cities in Europe ban diesel cars and adopt electric transit buses. Technology-enabled mobility grew tremendously well in the past year and the passenger transportation scene evolved in a big way. Transport experts, city planners, and technology futurists are all curious to see what happens in 2020 and beyond. That is why we have compiled a 10-point prediction of the trends that might define transportation in 2020.

1. Scooters will not be “cool” anymore

Scooters were the coolest kid in the transportation sector until last year when they were officially adopted into the mainstream. They are fast transitioning from the controversial transportation tool that used to turn heads and draw admiration and hate in equal measure, to a convenient transportation tool that anyone can ride. People will be riding them to work, tourists will be using them for sightseeing, and pedestrians will not be too concerned about the now uncontroversial vehicles.

2. Continued adoption of IoT

Web-enabled smart devices are taking over the world, and the transport sector won’t be spared. 2020 will be the year when data sensors, processors, and transmitters will join the mainstream. The Internet of Things (IoT) eco-system will necessitate that all cars and trucks be fitted with sensors and communication hardware that will enable them to communicate with each other in real-time. IoT will also make it easier for vehicles to identify pedestrians and cyclists, preventing potential accidents.

3. Growth of MaaS

Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) will grow exponentially in 2020 and beyond. This technology will make the most of Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) in optimizing traffic management in cities.

4. The continued growth of autonomous driving

Autonomous cars are becoming a reality now after having been dismissed by many transport stakeholders as a pipe dream about a decade ago. In 2020, we can expect autonomous technology and self-driving cars to continue gaining ground in the transport industries. More car manufacturers and tech companies will keep manufacturing more functional, secure, and sophisticated autonomous cars. This technology will be claiming its place as the future of mobility within the next decade.

5. More adoption of battery-powered transportation

Battery-powered transportation is becoming a mainstream thing now. We are already seeing an upsurge in the adoption of the electric bike in the US and Europe. These bikes are making it effortless to bike and exercise, and that means they will continue finding favor in the eyes of many working citizens. City planners will also be trying to leverage these bikes because they can be a great alternative to cars. They will significantly reduce traffic congestion in our cities.

6. We could start seeing e-school buses

The “vehicle-to-grid” concept (V2G) will be integrated into school transportation in the form of e-school buses. School buses, in the literal sense, are used less than a third of the time regular public transport buses are used. Because of that significantly low mileage, it is easier to test mobile batteries on school buses before we can eventually have electric buses in the mainstream.

7. Use of AI in transportation

AI will be complementing IoT in making our roads safer and lesser congested. On top of increase passenger safety, this technology will help minimize carbon emission on our roads and at the same time make transportation affordable and profitable.

8. Mobility on Demand (MOD) will be “high in demand”

Mobility will be redefined in 2020 and beyond. Instead of having to endure the heavy burden of car ownership (maintenance costs, fuel cost fluctuations, and hefty insurance covers), people will be opting for MOD. This is where you order for a car through a mobile app whenever you need a ride as opposed to owning a car that you use less than a quarter of your day.

9. Shared mobility as well

Shared or smart mobility will also be high in demand. Cities will have to rethink their transportation preferences in this smart era. One prediction that is likely to pass in this regard is that cities will try to improve shared mobility by combining multiple modes of transport, say, bikes, PSVs, and private cars, in order to come up with a more integrated system.

10. Continued integration of clean transportation technology

Transportation companies will keep trying to cut down on emissions by reducing oil usage. That will be achieved through the adoption of transportation tools such as self-driving drones.

Conclusion

The global transportation sector is going through many changes in 2020 and the last decade, all with the aim of making passenger and cargo transportation cheaper, safer, and more efficient. The 10 trends predicted in this article will shape the transportation environment going forward. Of course, there will be many more potential changes, some of which are not yet predictable.

quarantine

Surviving and Thriving in Quarantine: 3 Ways Businesses Can Turn Time into Opportunity

At this point, the story is global – businesses in communities around our country and world have shuttered, many at the direction of local, state or national governments as we battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

But grim as the picture may be today, millions of small business owners around the country need to grapple not just with the challenge of what to do while their operations are closed, but how to prepare for what lies on the other side of this crisis as the world emerges from quarantine and returns to the business.

In pursuit of a silver lining during this trying time, below are three opportunities to turn a quarantine shutdown on its head and help build businesses stronger than ever before.

Explore creative new ways to deliver your product or service – I’ve watched with fascination as many creative businesses have found ways to continue operating through a quarantine. Novel ways to deliver everything from orchestral music to personal training and therapy/addiction treatment have made the rounds as viral social media videos or popular articles. A similar solution may not be realistic for all businesses, but particularly if you deliver personal services (as opposed to hard goods and products that require in-person consumption), taking the time to invest in and perfect your digital delivery right now could pay benefits down the road.

Imagine a local personal trainer that works via in-person training sessions exclusively. These weeks (or months) may force their training sessions with existing clientele to video-conference, but if that trainer is intentional about streamlining their online offering they’ll be able to tap into a national (or international!) new customer base during and even after the quarantine ends.

Embrace any opportunity to explore an alternative delivery method for your businesses’ product or service, and you may reap benefits down the road.

-Take the time to complete bigger tasks you’ve been pushing off – there are some projects that are just hard to do when you are engaged in the full-time business of helping customers and producing a product each day. Large manufacturing facilities at companies like GE, Ford, Boeing, and more understand this as a fact of life – they proactively schedule dedicated plant-shutdown weeks where assembly lines stop completely to create space for large projects that wouldn’t be possible during normal operation.

Businesses of all sizes suddenly have this opportunity. What can you accomplish during your ‘plant shutdown’? Well, for ideas – there are physical changes (rearranging a showroom, gym, or restaurant seating arrangement to allow more functional usage), periodic maintenance (steam your carpets, paint your walls, organize your warehouse) and business tooling/service improvements you can make. Are you paying too much for your website, your payment solution, or your inventory management tools? Not all of these projects require significant investment, and it’s likely that some leg work today could save you money down the road.

Time and elbow grease could upgrade your physical space. Building a beautiful, more flexible site on Squarespace or Wix could reap benefits as customers experience your online storefront for months or years. Explore whether you’re using the best payments solution. What other tools do you use to run your business that you could evaluate right now?

Most businesses get one chance to make these decisions as you start operation, and the switching cost is very high once you’re locked in -mostly because change requires closing your business for some period. The quarantine might have forced the closure – take advantage!

-Build your skills – In my decade of experience working with small businesses (small ecommerce merchants with eBay, cash-flow solutions with Kabbage, and I currently work with Drum, focusing on providing new ways for businesses to market themselves), I’ve learned people start and operate businesses because they believe in their core mission, not because they’re a magical jack-of-all-trades superhuman.

Retailers sell things they love to produce and curate. Restaurateurs create amazing dining experiences. Contractors are able to bring remodels and renovations to life. In an ideal world, entrepreneurs should spend as much of their mental and physical energy on the thing they’re really good at and leave the other elements of a business to others.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the reality that most business owners live with. There’s always more work to be done than there are hands to do it, and any business owner wears multiple hats – you can’t offload everything. I’m sure there’s a hat every business owner wears that doesn’t fit so well.

If your poorly-fitting hat is marketing-related, maybe a few weeks of couch time is great for pouring over free marketing tutorials (courtesy of LinkedIn Learning/Lynda.com). If you struggle with keeping your financials straight and organized, maybe this is a great time to dive headfirst into QuickBooks resources. Even better – leverage the collective power of the internet (particularly Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook) to find a subject matter expert. You may find a similarly stir-crazy professional with knowledge you’re looking to develop that’s willing to provide some free/low-cost advice or trade some consulting hours for business services or products.

There are no easy answers – we’re all going to muddle through the next weeks and months together. But business owners are resilient, and they’re resourceful – I’m sure there is no shortage of brilliant ideas floating around. See what these suggestions could do for you, then pay it forward – share your own ideas, whether on social media or directly with your contacts.

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Eric Nalbone is the Head of Marketing for Drum, a company building new ways for businesses to leverage the power of customer and community referrals. He has previously led Marketing for Bellhops, a tech-enabled moving company headquartered in Chattanooga, TN, and held a variety of roles with Kabbage, eBay, and General Electric. Eric resides in Atlanta, GA with his wife and three dogs.