Advantages Await Minority Businesses

There are a number of advantages for small minority owned businesses. Historically, minority businesses had disadvantages which could stem from access to capital to access to markets. As cultural changes have happened, minority business may actually have an advantage in some arenas.

The first and often most obvious advantage a minority business enterprise (MBE) may have is in pursuing government business. The federal government has a number of programs that are in place to favor a MBE. However, the federal government does not have strictly minority programs, they do as a practical matter assistance for small disadvantaged businesses. These are programs like the SBA 8(a) and SBA HUBZone. State and local governments may also have preference programs for minority owned businesses. These are worth checking out and seeing if a business qualifies, as state and local government may be easier to beginning selling to than to the federal agencies.

Another advantage that a minority owned business may have is getting sales from large corporations. The Fortune 500 have been making greater efforts to do business with small, local, and minority businesses. The business buzzword that flies around in these circles is diversity. Large businesses see the benefits of purchasing from a diverse vendor base. They also recognize that there are advantages from purchasing locally for their goods and services. To achieve this diversity they send their buyers and purchasers to minority events to avail themselves to small businesses. So, this provides a nice advantage for a minority business to have a name and face to assist inside the company.

The last major advantage minority small businesses enjoy is that they have a built-in market with other minority small businesses. It is just good karma for a MBE to do business with other MBE’s. Even if another business is a business to consumer type of enterprise, minority owners should still do business with them for their consumer needs. It also is good mojo to speak well of and help promote other minority enterprises. After all, when one is wanting people to work with them because they are a minority, they should be seeking to do business with minority businesses also. What comes around, goes around.

Things have been changing for minority enterprises and will continue. The future should look bright as people begin to realize that minority markets are huge. Part of getting to those markets is doing business with minority businesses. Meanwhile, MBE’s should enjoy its advantages in doing business with governments, the Fortune 500, and other MBE’s.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Starting a House Cleaning Business: Five Steps to Take

Any list of popular startup businesses includes residential cleaning business franchises and independent operations. Many people are interested in starting a house cleaning business, but their reasons may be based on simple misconceptions. If you’re thinking of starting a cleaning business, here are five things you may not know, but should.

Business Licenses

Some people imagine themselves buying some cleaning supplies and putting up an ad, offering their cleaning services for a fee. Once upon a time, it may have been that easy, but these days, there’s a good chance using that strategy to start a business will run afoul your community’s laws. In most places, you need to apply for (and pay for) a license to do business in the city or town. While that may seem like an infringement on your liberty and an unnecessary annoyance, there are a number of important advantages to holding a business license.

Insurance

No one likes the idea of paying insurance premiums, but if you’re going into people’s homes to clean them, having insurance is more than a formality. There are insurance policies designed specifically to cover your new cleaning business for the most common risks associated with the profession. Accidents happen, so it’s nice to know that if you accidentally knock over and break a $500 vase in someone’s apartment, your insurance will pick up at least part of the cost.

Bonding

Often, people have never heard of bonding – other than bail bonds, that is. In the context of starting a business, bonding is a particular type of insurance. It essentially makes a guarantee to your customers that you and your employees will not steal from them. Being bonded tells your customers that you are a responsible business owner, and guarantees them that if you or your employee does steal, they will be reimbursed for their loss.

Customer Relationship Management

CRM is a business buzzword, but it’s one definitely worth noting. One of the major advantages of running a house cleaning business is that you get repeat business – week after week after week. As long as you treat your customers right, a new client often means gaining a customer for life. The art of treating your customers right is called “customer relationship management.” Understanding how to treat your customers well will help you retain clients and grow your business.

Good Recordkeeping

It’s not enough to do a great job cleaning houses. You also need to keep accurate business records so you know exactly where your money is coming from and where it is going. If you don’t know where you’re spending your money, it’s hard to figure out where you can trim expenses and maximize revenue.

These are just five of the hundreds of things you should know about running a business before you start your own house cleaning business. One of the best things you can do to ensure the success of your new cleaning business is to take a course on how to start residential cleaning business companies. You’ll learn everything you need to know about your business, from choosing the right cleaning products to dealing with difficult employees. That’s a recipe for success!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Buzz On – Why You Should Not Be Cynical of IT Buzzwords

If there’s one thing computer science students complain about, it’s Business and IT buzzwords. For a very fastidious technical person who understands the details and history of things, buzzwords are an absolute perversion.

They hype stuff up to sound new when they have often been around for most of the history of computing/business.

They are ill-defined, and meaningless.

They come with an air of pretension, used by self-important people trying to sound bigger than they are: acts of sheer vacuosity.

They are utterly pointless, just saying what could be said in simpler traditional terms.

But in business, they are vital.

IT buzzwords

“Push technology”, “Peer to peer”, “Web 2.0″, “The Cloud”, “HTML 5″

Let’s dissect the terms above:

Back in the days of Internet Explorer 4, “Push technology” was going to be huge. News would be delivered direct to the desktop so that you would not need to go to websites to find your information. It didn’t take off, but along the line came RSS, which fulfilled the same goal and is now a very widespread technology that can be taken for granted.

“Peer to peer” (P2P) was going to be huge, we’d all be sharing all our files through peer to peer networks, traditional web servers would no longer be necessary. It didn’t happen, and now peer to peer technology is pretty much reserved for BitTorrent. YouTube is the antithesis of P2P, with videos all hosted and served from Google’s network in a glorious centralisation of content.

“Web 2.0″ was a term nobody quite understood, but thankfully now nobody uses it. Instead we use “AJAX”, “crowdsourcing” and “Social Media” as three separate terms. “Social Media” is hardly a new thing, it dates all the way to the BBS’s of the 80′s, and Usenet.

“The Cloud” is in many ways a reinvention of having “mainframes” and “terminals” like we did before the PC took off. The old free web hosting services like Geocities were essentially the same as our fancy new cloud hosting environments. Most web hosts have just renamed their virtual server hosting services to “cloud hosting”.

“HTML 5″ really annoys people, including me to some extent. It is technically a specification for the mark-up language of web pages, but marketers use it as a catch-all term for a whole range of different technologies (such as CSS3), many of which were in development long before anyone decided to make a new version of HTML. However, the W3C now encourages it’s use as a catch-all. Developers just need to be able to switch between the literal specification and it’s use as a broader marketing term.
It is well understood that there is a “circle of technology” in computing. Old concepts are continuously recycled as new, expressed in different ways. You can see why technical people get rather agitated, given that they see constantly people getting excited about what they know to be foolishness.

Up to this point, I am sounding like the nerd, but now I will show you why business people must never think in this way.

Technical people understand details, it’s their job. But regular people need something new and exciting to jump on to. They need to have complex innovations simplified for them. They need simple ways to compare different complex technologies.

It may be misguided, it may be non-optimal and wasteful, it may be disorganised and chaotic, and it may be in conflict with the actual technical details, but it is always going to happen. At the end of the day, technology is mostly bought by regular people, and those regular people need to be subjected to marketing (both to explain a product to them, and to persuade them to buy it).

It’s really important that companies latch on to new terms as they come up. On a basic level people need an exciting, simple pitch that is aligned to the contemporary vocabulary. It’s a key sales and marketing thing.

However, I want to make a wider point, because it’s not just about sales and marketing. IT Buzzwords provide a rallying cry for an industry to focus on a particular area. It creates bursts of focused innovation. Even if it starts with something superficial, a lot of great engineers end up jumping on the bandwagon, and a lot of investment money flows, and stuff comes out of it that is far more than the original idea deserved. It is a lightning rod for the real innovation we all care about.

If you are in business, you have to see that IT Buzzwords need to be embraced. Make sure your business integrates the correct terminology into your product language and your marketing, and make sure you align yourself to benefit from the innovations that will come out of it all. You need to be prepared to throw away good marketing materials and an established lexicon. You have to be prepared to rewrite your roadmap suddenly when you see a particular area of buzz developing. It can be painful.

A word of caution though…

if you are running a business this does not mean that you should just copy everybody else. You need to embrace the buzz, but you need to ensure that your own business model is not a copy-cat model.

You need to find the balance between aligning yourself with a market and blazing your own trail. Bear in mind that somebody out there is creating the buzzwords in the first place, and if you are the one to do it then you have a real advantage.

Business buzzwords

“Synergy”, “Mindshare”, “Mission Critical”, “Holistic”, “Monetize”

A lot of people criticise business buzzwords, but I think it is pure ignorance personally. Sure, they get abused by some people, but the truth is that every industry has a set of terminology. The last section of “IT buzzwords” focused on the very ephemeral ones, but you would not blame IT people for using terms like “motherboard”, “modem”, or “memory” would you?

At the end of the day, language helps us express ourselves. It’s true that in every day life non-business people effectively convey without buzzwords the kinds of things business people convey with them, but if you are a professional you need a standard language that works as an effective shorthand, and these buzzwords do that.

Take “synergy” as an example: surely it is better to be able to say “I think our companies have synergy” than it is to have to say “I think our companies are compatible due to the way each of our differentiations can fit together to produce a mutually-desirable result”.

In summary: don’t be a nerd or a hypocrite. Business and IT Buzzwords exist for good reason, and work as a catalyst for productivity and innovation. Any one in business should learn to embrace them.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Ease Up on the Business Buzzwords Please

Have you ever started a new job in a new industry and got completely overwhelmed by the business buzzwords or business jargon being used and you had no idea what they were talking about? Believe me, you are not alone in this. When I started in my first management role, my last role was that of a small time cleaning contract business owner. Everyone around me was using management jargon as well as all the buzzwords that comes with the telecommunications industry. I was so lost, confused and frustrated until I got the hang of it and knew what everyone was on about. However, after awhile, it all becomes a verbal sludge of terms and basically meaningless phrases all designed to keep everyone in line. It’s time to ease up.

A recent article I read suggests that even various government departments have started to use the business vocabulary. Bureaucrats are using cutting edge consultancies, mission statements, key performance indicators, customer focus and the list of terms goes on. The meaningless management speak has gone mad in Australia and dare I say in most other parts of the world too. A new book called Bendable Learning written by Don Watson says that business buzzwords have become so meaningless that businesses as diverse as a knackery to a high end lingerie shop can use the same meaningless words. He also suggests that part of the function of business buzzwords is to..”give people no escape. It forces everyone to comply with whatever management decides is going to be the prevailing culture of the organization. It is a dead language that works as an anesthetic to prevent you from questioning anything”. Interesting idea isn’t it? How many times have you sat in a business meeting and were bored out of your mind when someone was using business buzzwords to excess? Countless I’m sure.

In management and every other profession, there are certain business phrases that you have to use but what we’re talking about here are those people who use these terms to look intelligent and who make themselves out to know what they’re talking about. One of my favorite activities at the countless management meetings I have sat in on was to try and disarm someone who was just blurting out these words and get them to put it into plain English. If they’re just using business buzzwords to look intelligent you will catch them out and hopefully they will stop doing it. I used to say, “oh, so you mean…”.

Before you go into a meeting to present that next report read it out aloud and if it sounds like utter rubbish, then it probably is. Use plain English.You really wont impress anyone by using hyped up business buzzwords. More likely you will put them to sleep. You want to stir your audience to action, not anesthetize them. And in case you think that managers or even CEO’s who sit in on these meetings are impressed if you use these terms, think again. They are after all just men and women who are good at their jobs but they too like to listen to a presentation or read a report without being bombarded with all those business buzzwords of the day.

You can’t escape the terminology and phrases you might have in your particular industry but you can control how they are used. The old expression does apply that too much of anything is no good for you. If you overuse business buzzwords, you will start talking like that at home or when you are out with friends because it becomes part of who you are. There’s nothing worse than going into a chicken shop and asking for a ‘value added bird’, meaning you want the chicken that’s marinated in soy and garlic sauce.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7

Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7
My Dad repaired most of our shoes believe it or not, I can hardly believe it myself now. With 7 pairs of shoes always needing repairs I think he was quite clever to learn how to “Keep us in shoe Leather” to coin a phrase!

He bought several different sizes of cast iron cobbler’s “lasts”. Last, the old English “Laest” meaning footprint. Lasts were holding devices shaped like a human foot. I have no idea where he would have bought the shoe leather. Only that it was a beautiful creamy, shiny colour and the smell was lovely.

But I do remember our shoes turned upside down on and fitted into these lasts, my Dad cutting the leather around the shape of the shoe, and then hammering nails, into the leather shape. Sometimes we’d feel one or 2 of those nails poking through the insides of our shoes, but our dad always fixed it.

Hiking and Swimming Galas
Dad was a very outdoorsy type, unlike my mother, who was probably too busy indoors. She also enjoyed the peace and quiet when he took us off for the day!

Anyway, he often took us hiking in the mountains where we’d have a picnic of sandwiches and flasks of tea. And more often than not we went by steam train.

We loved poking our heads out of the window until our eyes hurt like mad from a blast of soot blowing back from the engine. But sore, bloodshot eyes never dampened our enthusiasm.

Dad was an avid swimmer and water polo player, and he used to take us to swimming galas, as they were called back then. He often took part in these galas. And again we always travelled by steam train.

Rowing Over To Ireland’s Eye
That’s what we did back then, we had to go by rowboat, the only way to get to Ireland’s eye, which is 15 minutes from mainland Howth. From there we could see Malahide, Lambay Island and Howth Head of course. These days you can take a Round Trip Cruise on a small cruise ship!

But we thoroughly enjoyed rowing and once there we couldn’t wait to climb the rocks, and have a swim. We picnicked and watched the friendly seals doing their thing and showing off.

Not to mention all kinds of birdlife including the Puffin.The Martello Tower was also interesting but a bit dangerous to attempt entering. I’m getting lost in the past as I write, and have to drag myself back to the present.

Fun Outings with The camera Club
Dad was also a very keen amateur photographer, and was a member of a camera Club. There were many Sunday photography outings and along with us came other kids of the members of the club.

And we always had great fun while the adults busied themselves taking photos of everything and anything, it seemed to us. Dad was so serious about his photography that he set up a dark room where he developed and printed his photographs.

All black and white at the time. He and his camera club entered many of their favourites in exhibitions throughout Europe. I’m quite proud to say that many cups and medals were won by Dad. They have been shared amongst all his grandchildren which I find quite special.

He liked taking portraits of us kids too, mostly when we were in a state of untidiness, usually during play. Dad always preferred the natural look of messy hair and clothes in the photos of his children.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Comments Off

What Are The Greatest Changes In Shopping In Your Lifetime

What are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime? So asked my 9 year old grandson.

As I thought of the question the local Green Grocer came to mind. Because that is what the greatest change in shopping in my lifetime is.

That was the first place to start with the question of what are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime.

Our local green grocer was the most important change in shopping in my lifetime. Beside him was our butcher, a hairdresser and a chemist.

Looking back, we were well catered for as we had quite a few in our suburb. And yes, the greatest changes in shopping in my lifetime were with the small family owned businesses.

Entertainment While Shopping Has Changed
Buying butter was an entertainment in itself.
My sister and I often had to go to a favourite family grocer close by. We were always polite as we asked for a pound or two of butter and other small items.

Out came a big block of wet butter wrapped in grease-proof paper. Brought from the back of the shop, placed on a huge counter top and included two grooved pates.

That was a big change in our shopping in my lifetime… you don’t come across butter bashing nowadays.

Our old friendly Mr. Mahon with the moustache, would cut a square of butter. Lift it to another piece of greaseproof paper with his pates. On it went to the weighing scales, a bit sliced off or added here and there.

Our old grocer would then bash it with gusto, turning it over and over. Upside down and sideways it went, so that it had grooves from the pates, splashes going everywhere, including our faces.

My sister and I thought this was great fun and it always cracked us up. We loved it, as we loved Mahon’s, on the corner, our very favourite grocery shop.

Grocery Shopping
Further afield, we often had to go to another of my mother’s favourite, not so local, green grocer’s. Mr. McKessie, ( spelt phonetically) would take our list, gather the groceries and put them all in a big cardboard box.

And because we were good customers he always delivered them to our house free of charge. But he wasn’t nearly as much fun as old Mr. Mahon. Even so, he was a nice man.

All Things Fresh
So there were very many common services such as home deliveries like:

• Farm eggs

• Fresh vegetables

• Cow’s milk

• Freshly baked bread

• Coal for our open fires

Delivery Services
A man used to come to our house a couple of times a week with farm fresh eggs.

Another used to come every day with fresh vegetables, although my father loved growing his own.

Our milk, topped with beautiful cream, was delivered to our doorstep every single morning.

Unbelievably, come think of it now, our bread came to us in a huge van driven by our “bread-man” named Jerry who became a family friend.

My parents always invited Jerry and his wife to their parties, and there were many during the summer months. Kids and adults all thoroughly enjoyed these times. Alcohol was never included, my parents were teetotallers. Lemonade was a treat, with home made sandwiches and cakes.

The coal-man was another who delivered bags of coal for our open fires. I can still see his sooty face under his tweed cap but I can’t remember his name. We knew them all by name but most of them escape me now.

Mr. Higgins, a service man from the Hoover Company always came to our house to replace our old vacuum cleaner with an updated model.

Our insurance company even sent a man to collect the weekly premium.

People then only paid for their shopping with cash. This in itself has been a huge change in shopping in my lifetime.

In some department stores there was a system whereby the money from the cash registers was transported in a small cylinder on a moving wire track to the central office.

Some Of The Bigger Changes
Some of the bigger changes in shopping were the opening of supermarkets.

• Supermarkets replaced many individual smaller grocery shops. Cash and bank cheques have given way to credit and key cards.

• Internet shopping… the latest trend, but in many minds, doing more harm, to book shops.

• Not many written shopping lists, because mobile phones have taken over.

On a more optimistic note, I hear that book shops are popular again after a decline.

Personal Service Has Most Definitely Changed
So, no one really has to leave home, to purchase almost anything, technology makes it so easy to do online.
And we have a much bigger range of products now, to choose from, and credit cards have given us the greatest ease of payment.

We have longer shopping hours, and weekend shopping. But we have lost the personal service that we oldies had taken for granted and also appreciated.

Because of their frenetic lifestyles, I have heard people say they find shopping very stressful, that is grocery shopping. I’m sure it is when you have to dash home and cook dinner after a days work. I often think there has to be a better, less stressful way.

My mother had the best of both worlds, in the services she had at her disposal. With a full time job looking after 9 people, 7 children plus her and my dad, she was very lucky. Lucky too that she did not have 2 jobs.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

The results of this past election proved once again that the Democrats had a golden opportunity to capitalize on the failings of the Trump Presidency but, fell short of a nation wide mandate. A mandate to seize the gauntlet of the progressive movement that Senator Sanders through down a little over four years ago. The opportunities were there from the very beginning even before this pandemic struck. In their failing to educate the public of the consequences of continued Congressional gridlock, conservatism, and what National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation would do led to the results that are playing out today.. More Congressional gridlock, more conservatism and more suffering of millions of Americans are the direct consequences of the Democrats failure to communicate and educate the public. Educate the public that a progressive agenda is necessary to pull the United States out of this Pandemic, and restore this nations health and vitality.

It was the DNC’s intent in this election to only focus on the Trump Administration. They failed to grasp the urgency of the times. They also failed to communicate with the public about the dire conditions millions have been and still are facing even before the Pandemic. The billions of dollars funneled into campaign coffers should have been used to educate the voting public that creating a unified coalition would bring sweeping reforms that are so desperately needed. The reality of what transpired in a year and a half of political campaigning those billions of dollars only created more animosity and division polarizing one extreme over another.

One can remember back in 1992 Ross Perot used his own funds to go on national TV to educate the public on the dire ramifications of not addressing our national debt. That same approach should have been used during this election cycle. By using the medium of television to communicate and educate the public is the most effective way in communicating and educating the public. Had the Biden campaign and the DNC used their resources in this way the results we ae seeing today would have not created the potential for more gridlock in our government. The opportunity was there to educate the public of safety protocols during the siege of this pandemic and how National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation provides the necessary progressive reforms that will propel the United States out of the abyss of debt and restore our economy. Restoring our economy so that every American will have the means and the availability of financial and economic security.

The failure of the Democratic party since 2016 has been recruiting a Presidential Candidate who many felt was questionable and more conservative signals that the results of today has not met with the desired results the Democratic party wanted. Then again? By not fully communicating and not educating the public on the merits of a unified progressive platform has left the United States transfixed in our greatest divides since the Civil War. This writers support of Senator Bernie Sanders is well documented. Since 2015 he has laid the groundwork for progressive reforms. He also has the foundations on which these reforms can deliver the goods as they say. But, what did the DNC do, they purposely went out of their way to engineer a candidate who was more in tune with the status-quo of the DNC. They failed to communicate to the public in educating all of us on the ways our lives would be better served with a progressive agenda that was the benchmark of Senators Sanders Presidential campaign and his Our Revolution movement. And this is way there is still really no progress in creating a less toxic environment in Washington and around the country.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off