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As Businesses Reopen, a Good Plan and Flexibility are Key

reopen

As Businesses Reopen, a Good Plan and Flexibility are Key

With the economy trying to overcome the effects of COVID-19 and the nation’s political unrest, business leaders face a challenge like never before as stores and offices reopen and try to lure back customers and clients.

“Even before our current crisis, it’s always been important for businesses to respond to unanticipated changes in the market that threatened their product or business model,” says Adam Witty, the ForbesBooks co-author of Authority Marketing: Your Blueprint to Build Thought Leadership That Grows Business, Attracts Opportunity, and Makes Competition Irrelevant.

“Now, a willingness to adapt to changing consumer habits and ways of doing business will be more important than ever. One big challenge will be that businesses need to have a plan as they work to return their operations to normal, but they also need to remain flexible and willing to change that plan as the circumstances around them change.”

At the same time, all of this will need to be done while following CDC guidelines and taking into account the concerns of employees and customers, says Witty, who also is the founder and CEO of Advantage|ForbesBooks (www.advantagefamily.com).

“I’m a big believer in making decisions based on facts and data,” he says. “But if you don’t stay on top of what has been a very fluid situation, you could end up making decisions based on information that is already outdated.”

Going forward, Witty says, businesses need to:

Play the long game. It’s easy to get into a “survive-the-week” mindset, and certainly businesses need to make some things happen now to see them through the crisis. But as they ride out the difficulties in the short-term, Witty says, they also need to create a plan that will help them prosper over the long haul.

Be ready for the worst, hope for the best. With 41 million people who want to work out of work, the path back to normal will not be easy, and most people are predicting the recession will continue at least into early 2021. “Some businesses aren’t going to be able to reopen at all, and that includes big retail chains and local mom-and-pop stores,” Witty says. “That’s going to have a ripple effect in the economy.” So, as much as everyone may hope for a quick turnaround, it’s still best to make your plans based on the idea that the economic downturn will last a long while, he says.

Stay optimistic. These are the most challenging circumstances any business has faced in at least the last 50 years, Witty says. Despite that, business leaders and their employees can’t let gloom rule their feelings and emotions. “When you’re going through tough times,” he says, “it’s better to have an optimistic attitude than a pessimistic attitude.”

“As a businessperson, my hope is that we’ve already seen the bottom, and that each month going forward the economy will get better,” Witty says. “With that said, there is no playbook for this. But the businesses where leaders and employees all work together, plan carefully, and try to keep a positive attitude are the ones most likely to emerge in good shape when this is over.”

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Adam Witty, co-author with Rusty Shelton of Authority Marketing: Your Blueprint to Build Thought Leadership That Grows Business, Attracts Opportunity, and Makes Competition Irrelevant, is the CEO of Advantage|ForbesBooks (www.advantagefamily.com). Witty started Advantage in 2005 in a spare bedroom of his home. The company helps busy professionals become the authority in their field through publishing and marketing. In 2016, Advantage launched a partnership with Forbes to create ForbesBooks, a business book publisher for top business leaders. Witty is the author of seven books, and is also a sought-after speaker, teacher and consultant on marketing and business growth techniques for entrepreneurs and authors. He has been featured in The Wall Street JournalInvestors Business Daily and USA Today, and has appeared on ABC and Fox.

local

“BUY LOCAL” WOULD EVEN SPOIL FARMERS MARKETS

The Locavore’s Dilemma

I live in Madison, Wisconsin, home of the exceedingly vibrant and sort-of-famous Dane County Farmers’ Market. Every Wednesday and Saturday, thousands of people—myself included—descend on downtown Madison to peruse and purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, meats, cheeses, canned jams and pickles, arts and crafts, and even artisanal soaps. The city prides itself on its loyalty to local farmers and merchants.

Yet what at first blush seems a quintessential expedition of “buy local” greatness isn’t actually local at all. The Dane County Farmers’ Market belies its titular jurisdictional limits. Purveyors arrive in the wee hours of the morning from all corners of the state. Take, for instance, the Door County Fruit Markets company, which sells apricots, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries. They hail from Door County, a three-hour drive across the state from Dane County. There’s also Canopy Gardens, producers of four varieties of salsa, whose home base is in the north central part of the state, separated from Madison by no fewer than six county lines. These are but two of many examples. Indeed, only a modest percentage of the venders come from within Dane County.

And then there are the buyers. Young people, old people, families, and businesses drive from all over Wisconsin to pick out the perfect tomato or to sample some of Stella’s famous cheese bread. Neighbors from Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois likewise frequent the market. (Don’t forget, either, about the innumerable inputs that go into the farming process — tractors, irrigation systems, gasoline, the farmer’s morning coffee, and so on — that originate beyond the county boundary.)

 

The market’s popularity, variety, energy owe themselves to trade and to quality—not to locality.

 

If the Dane County Farmers’ Market were truly limited to local, its vivacity would be severely diminished. Plump, juicy cherries from three-hour-away Door County? Forget it. Salsa from Canopy Gardens? Sorry, they’re not “local.” Thankfully, we all recognize this as absurd. And we all recognize that drawing the line at the county is arbitrary. The market’s popularity, variety, energy owe themselves to trade and to quality—not to locality.

Foodstuffs—and in particular, produce—present fertile ground for undue emphasis on “buy local.” Often, the farmers relatively close to us will be able to provide higher quality produce, simply because of the short transportation time between harvest and market. Of course, soil and climate also influence quality, and nearby corn might be better than corn from a half a world away. Then again, though, you don’t hear anyone in Wisconsin championing local bananas.

Buy Best

The farmers’ market anecdote illustrates the crucial distinction between “buy local” and “buy best.” At first glance, the distinction appears merely semantic. Buying local because local is the best makes complete sense economically and socially. But buying local for the sake of buying local presents a philosophy steeped in isolation that falls dangerously close to tribalism. It advocates the contraction of trade and flies in the face of two centuries of liberalization and globalization of the economy.

 

Like the county line, the national boundary is completely arbitrary from an economic perspective.

 

Liberal, global trade has led to the vastest prosperity the world has ever seen. Adam Smith once wrote, “In every country it always is and must be the interest of the great body of the people to buy whatever they want of those who sell it cheapest.” The less trade is restricted between individuals and across borders, the more “the body of people” can “buy whatever they want” the “cheapest.” In the 240 years since, increased trade and globalization has corresponded with a never-before-seen rise in prosperity. As society becomes more integrated, its members can leverage the division of labor, leading to lower prices, better goods and services, and a higher standard of living for everyone. It’s true that free trade and globalization make the rich richer. But they also make the poor richer. Trade provides cell phones to people in developing countries. It increases wages. It fosters international peace. As I have written before here and here, trade has made our modern lives what they are.

So it is one thing to personally live according the “buy local” rhetoric, boxing yourself in with higher prices and lower quality. But is quite another thing when the “buy local” rhetoric becomes enacted in law. The obvious harms that would befall a county-only farmers’ market are the same exact harms that policies of protectionism inflict upon nations and their residents. Like the county line, the national boundary is completely arbitrary from an economic perspective. National protectionism is simply “buy local” on a larger scale.

The original article can be accessed at FEE.org.

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Joseph S. Diedrich is a student at the University of Wisconsin.

This article originally appeared on TradeVistas.org. Republished with permission.

business

4 Things Everybody Gets Wrong When Starting a Business in China

Starting a business is a brave and bold move. It requires effort and you may even have to sacrifice an average of 70 hours a week, for probably the next 2-3 years, in order to get the thing running smoothly. This, in essence, is what most startups fail to recognize and understand. Some say success doesn’t come overnight and to some extent this holds water. So, if you are looking to open a new chapter in life and start a business, here are some problems faced by startups that are considered wrong when starting a business.

1. Business Name

This is a mandatory requirement and if you have in the past had another startup, you know this is required. So, for those starting up a new business, or for those venturing into this world for the first time, a Business Name is necessary. Once you have registered a Business Name, you may go a step ahead to getting a logo for your new business as well as acquiring a domain name. All these three should be unique and not like any other registered business. This will be the trademark of your business and if in doubt over the name, logo or domain selected, there are sites that can help you know if the one you select or create has already been taken. By failing to do so, you may end up registering using either a business that closed or one that never took off, eventually bringing confusion to prospective customers when simply searching for your business.

2. Business Plan

This is another necessary requirement. Failing to have an established business plan is like planning to fail. One thing that a new start-up again may confuse is a Business Plan and a Business Structure. These are two different things. First, doing some research and deciding whether to be a Sole Proprietor, venture into a Partnership or register a Company, should be the first step into knowing what business plan to have. Once you have decided on the type of business, you can then lay down the plan. Contained in a Business Plan are aspects of funding as well as what type of business venture to undertake. It will also entail how you plan on spending, so as not to over or underspend.

3. Business Structure

A business structure is different from the Business Plan. While new startups confuse this, they eventually lack a management scheme and gradually finish to poor management. So, a Business Structure is what entails what every employee in the business is to do. From the executives, accountants, superintendents, junior staff to all other working employees. When deciding on what structure to have, it is advised to seek the knowledge of professionals and experts in the field as such, professionals such as lawyers, accountants, and even some businessmen may help you understand and decide on the best business structure for your business.

4. Business Location

This is a vital element. For those looking to register a business in China, failing to understand the laws of the land could lead to problems. Again, this is among the biggest problems faced by startups. You will need to understand laws relating to taxes, registering the business as well as the many different laws within the country. So, the laws in different countries are different, and to avoid problems during startup, it is similarly advised to seek the counsel of those experienced in the field or do thorough research.

5. Nature of The Business

While you will be required to state the Nature of The Business when registering it, it is an essential aspect in determining how things will be run and what is to be done. In other words, this is a sure way to set yourself apart from other ventures depending on the type of business you carry on. Note that, this is also an aspect in the Business Plan, and because of that it should be a well-researched type of business to avoid huge competition. Though competition is good, you will need to offer something new to the Nature of the Business so as to keep the light on.

So, considering this factor carefully and staying in line with them, you will be on the way to having a fruitful business and even though it may take time, it is worth the wait. It is also recommended to do more research over the matter of opening a business to have enough knowledge when you do so.

small business

Small Businesses: Here’s How They Impact Communities

Every small business owner knows how important it is to have the support of their community. Luckily events such as Small Business Saturdays help bring small businesses and their local shoppers together in order to benefit the community as a whole. This survey put together by OnDeck, a small business loan provider, looks at small business customers to learn a little bit more about how they support small businesses AND also how the small businesses they
support helps the community in return.

why small businesses are important

ondeck second annual small business community impact survey

why small businesses are important

ondeck small business community impact survey