jerryking + small_business   387

How small business can still make waves online - The Globe and Mail
August 8, 2019 | Special to the Globea and Mail | by Kim McLaughlin
small_business 
august 2019 by jerryking
How Small Companies Can Get Big, Fast
Apr 10, 2014, 07:00am
How Small Companies Can Get Big, Fast

Michael Skok

What’s in it For Them?

One mistake small companies make when they get the chance to approach a larger company is that they make the conversation about them, the little guy. They begin by asking how the large company can help them sell their product or service when it should be the other way around. The best way to make a partnership pitch is by approaching a company and telling them what you’re going to do for them.

So flip all the points above and ask yourself how you’ll pitch to your potential partner to ensure this is a must-have partnership for them.

Usually, one of the key benefits a large company will want to realize is competitive advantage from faster time-to-market and more nimble development. Start there and figure out how you can build out things like opportunities to increase average revenue per user or ARPU for them. But be prepared to prove it and don’t rush it. Like any relationship it needs to be two way.
Gulliver_strategies  large_companies  minimum_viable_products  partnerships  product-market_fit  serving_others  small_business  value_propositions 
december 2018 by jerryking
The opportunities left behind when innovation shakes up old industries
November 28, 2018 | The Globe and Mail | GUY NICHOLSON.

early meetings and phone calls were casual conversations with a couple of landscape photographers who specialize in golf.

The very nature of their business had changed fundamentally...After the Internet disrupted print magazines and media, they recast themselves as digital marketers, selling online rights to images created with high-tech arrays of digital cameras, drones and processing software. But even while embracing technology to take their work to new artistic heights, there were dramatically fewer places left for golfers to come across this art in print......Had their little corner of publishing been so thoroughly disrupted and abandoned that it now had more demand than supply? .....Technological innovation can be extremely disruptive and painful – and in the digital era, capable of changing entire industries seemingly overnight. But when creative destruction puts good things in peril, slivers of opportunity can emerge. After the masses and the smart money have flocked to newer technologies, formerly ultra-competitive spaces can be left wide open for innovation – abandoned fields for small businesses, start-ups and niche players to occupy.

It helps to offer a level of quality or service the bigger players consider uneconomical. Look at the travel industry, which has been thoroughly remade under waves of innovation: cellphones, digital cameras, GPS, Google Maps. Between internet comparison shopping and Airbnb, travel agents could have gone the way of the traveller’s cheque. But in the wake of all that disruption, tiny bespoke agencies specializing in advice, unique experiences, complicated itineraries and group travel have re-emerged to offer services too niche for the big digital players.....Similar things are happening in industries such as gaming, where video games have cleared the way for board-game cafes, and vinyl music, which survived the onslaught of MP3s and streaming music on the strength of nostalgia, millennial fascination and sound quality. As the rest of the industry moved into digital, neighbourhood record stores and small manufacturers picked up the pieces, catering to an enthusiastic subset of music buyers.

“We were growing very rapidly, not because vinyl was growing, but because a lot of pressing plants were going out of business,” Ton Vermeulen, a Dutch DJ and artist manager who bought a former Sony record plant in 1998, told Toronto journalist David Sax in his 2016 book The Revenge of Analog. Vinyl is back in the mainstream, but its disruption cleared the field for smaller players.

Abandoned fields aren’t for everyone. Building a business around an off-trend service or product can be a tough slog (jck: hard work)for fledgling businesses and entrepreneurs, and risky. In the case of the golf photographers, two dozen artists signed up to create a high-end subscription magazine. It’s beautiful, but with two years of work riding on a four-week Kickstarter campaign, there’s no guarantee this particular field will prove to have been worth reclaiming.

Of course, risk has always been part of small business. But a market waiting to be served – that’s a precious thing. As long as there is disruption, it will create opportunities for small businesses to reoccupy abandoned fields
abandoned_fields  analog  bespoke  books  counterintuitive  creative_destruction  David_Sax  digital_artifacts  digital_cameras  disruption  hard_work  high-risk  high-touch  innovation  Kickstarter  new_businesses  niches  off-trends  opportunities  photography  print_journalism  small_business  start_ups  structural_decline  travel_agents 
december 2018 by jerryking
Amazon encourages entrepreneurs to build logistics network | Financial Times
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Amazon  Amazon_Prime  last_mile  Fedex  UPS  USPS  entrepreneur  logistics  shippers  speed  small_business  e-commerce  delivery  delivery_networks  delivery_times  delivery_services 
june 2018 by jerryking
‘You’re Stupid If You Don’t Get Scared’: When Amazon Goes From Partner to Rival - WSJ
By Jay Greene and Laura Stevens
June 1, 2018

The data weapon
One Amazon weapon is data. In retail, Amazon gathered consumer data to learn what sold well, which helped it create its own branded goods while making tailored sales pitches with its familiar “you may also like” offer. Data helped Amazon know where to start its own delivery services to cut costs, an alternative to using United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp.

“In many ways, Amazon is nothing except a data company,” said James Thomson, a former Amazon manager who advises brands that work with the company. “And they use that data to inform all the decisions they make.”

In web services, data across the broader platform, along with customer requests, inform the company’s decisions to move into new businesses, said former Amazon executives.

That gives Amazon a valuable window into changes in how corporations in the 21st century are using cloud computing to replace their own data centers. Today’s corporations frequently want a one-stop shop for services rather than trying to stitch them together. A food-services firm, say, might want to better track data it collects from its restaurants, so it would rent computing space from Amazon and use a data service offered by a software company on Amazon’s platform to better analyze what customers order. A small business might use an Amazon partner’s online services for password and sign-on functions, along with other business-management programs.
21st._century  Amazon  AWS  brands  cloud_computing  contra-Amazon  coopetition  data  data_centers  data_collection  data_driven  delivery_services  fear  new_businesses  one-stop_shop  partnerships  platforms  private_labels  rivalries  small_business  strengths  tools  unfair_advantages 
june 2018 by jerryking
India’s Biggest Competitors to Walmart and Amazon? Mom and Pop - WSJ
By Eric Bellman and Vibhuti Agarwal | Photographs by Smita Sharma for The Wall Street Journal
May 28, 2018 9:00 a.m. ET
Amazon  bricks-and-mortar  convenience_stores  e-commerce  family_business  India  local  mom-and-pop  retailers  Wal-Mart  small_business 
may 2018 by jerryking
The spreadsheet maker who created Scotland’s flying unicorn
Mure Dickie in Edinburgh and Madhumita Murgia in London NOVEMBER 25, 2016.

Entrepreneur's belief pays off with GBP1.4 bn China buyout
travel  Scotland  small_business  mergers_&_acquisitions  M&A  software_developers  buyouts 
may 2018 by jerryking
Despite Amazon effect, not all mom and pops in trouble on Main St.
Chris Morris, special to CNBC.com Published 8:53 AM ET Fri, 11 Aug 2017

With so many major retailers struggling to stay afloat, it'd be easy to think smaller, mom-and-pop stores are doing even worse, or might be largely fading away. The recent demise of retail giants, however, has left a brick-and-mortar vacuum for local stores to fill.

And many experts say it might be best to stay small. Being a micro-sized business certainly isn't protection against big-box retailers or online competitors, but being a small business that's an integral part of a local community can help build a loyal customer base.

"The vast majority of mom-and-pop businesses are either neighborhood retail businesses or small service businesses," says Leonard Schlesinger, Baker Foundation professor at the Harvard Business School. "As neighborhood businesses, they play a significant role in neighborhood stabilization, [providing convenience for people living close by]."
Amazon  big-box  mom-and-pop  retailers  e-commerce  ethnic_communities  convenience_stores  local  customer_loyalty  small_business  department_stores  neighbourhoods 
january 2018 by jerryking
How Clinton Could Knock Trump Out - The New York Times
Thomas L. Friedman AUG. 3, 2016
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growth  Tom_Friedman  Campaign_2016  Hillary_Clinton  small_business 
august 2016 by jerryking
Africans were pioneers in business in Guyana
January 12, 2010 | Stabroek News | F. Skinner.

Africans are the pioneers of the majority of business trends and innovations in Guyana, but there is hardly any tangible proof of this. Their ideas were worked and developed only to change hands with no royalties attached. ...Mr King identified many problems/obstacles facing the African businessman. He pointed out that if an Indian is a barber his son and even grandson are destined to be barbers. Next, the lack of other rich African businessmen to turn to for support – financial or business advice – when the banks and your competitors gang up against you.....He discussed the proposition with his closest friends and was asked, “What you gon do wid all that property?” He admitted that it was not that his friends were deliberately giving him bad advice, it was that they simply did not know and he was no different. He regretted the missed opportunity because a few years later one year’s rental of a small section on the ground floor would have paid for the entire property at the time....They ran into financial problems and got some assistance from the government, which was not enough. Which African organization could they have turned to for financial assistance? The same can be said about another three who had the stone quarry....All the persons mentioned were out there with their shoulders to the wheel. There are reasons for their failures. We must identify these reasons and address them as a community. Glaring though is the lack of a support system in the community.
We must accept that we must generate wealth and not just depend on education, a salaried job or a government. We must be able to be trustworthy to each other. We must stop this individualist approach to business. One ‘pointer’ can’t sweep. Our foreparents trusted each other enough to form co-ops and bought land.
Afro-Guyanese  small_business  history  '70s  entrepreneurship  letters_to_the_editor  Guyanese  trailblazers  trustworthiness  advice  pioneers  missed_opportunities  regrets  support_systems  challenges  wealth_creation  failure  post-mortems  disunity 
june 2016 by jerryking
Little metrics can make a big difference (and here’s how to use them) - The Globe and Mail
BRIAN SCUDAMORE
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jun. 09, 2016

small businesses can concentrate on collecting different metrics that have an impressive impact on the bottom line. I call it little data. It’s easier to collect and it’s a great way to take the pulse of your company on a day-to-day basis.

Here’s how to find the little data that matters, so you can make impactful changes to your business without spending a fortune.

Sweat the small stuff

Looking at traditional metrics – sales revenue, cost of customer acquisition and overhead – is important, but it’s also worth tracking intangible elements that don’t make it onto a spreadsheet.

I like to look around the office and focus on the energy – is there a buzz or are people bored? – or I’ll look at notes from exit interviews to see who is leaving the company and why. Keeping this little data in mind has enabled us to make important changes to our culture when we need to.

External feedback is powerful, too. Whenever I’m in a new city, the first thing I ask my taxi driver is, “Who would you call if you needed your junk removed?” I’m not just making conversation or trying to name-drop one of our brands – I’m doing my own survey to see if our marketing efforts are sticking....you can’t run your business on anecdotes, focus on key numbers that provide meaningful insight and measure them consistently.... communicating these benchmarks, everyone in the company can understand and can react quickly to fluctuations.

Our key metrics are call volume, website traffic, and jobs completed. We also work on our “customer wow factor” by looking at our Net Promoter Score (NPS), asking every customer how likely they are to recommend our services to a friend.[aka delighting customers]
anecdotal  Brian_Scudamore  consistency  delighting_customers  feedback  Got_Junk?  Haier  insights  massive_data_sets  measurements  metrics  NPS  small_business  small_data  Wal-Mart  UPS 
june 2016 by jerryking
Getting past ageism and back to work after a late job loss - The Globe and Mail
CAMILLA CORNELL
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015

.................networking with your own contacts first. “The people who know you understand your talents and what you’re capable of,” he says. “It’s much better than being just another résumé on a desk, where the manager thinks, ‘Oh my gosh, he has 30 years’ experience. He’s probably deader than a doornail.’”.....don’t rule out employment with smaller companies. “The jobs have greater scope, so they’re interesting,” he says. “And because they have greater scope, those companies need to hire people who are experienced. They can’t hire a young buck because he won’t be able to handle everything that needs to happen in that job.”.......The key message for mature job-seekers, says Mr. Richter: Don’t lose faith. “Keep trying and be secure in the fact that you do have a good track record and a well-developed set of skills,” he says. “You do have something to contribute.”..
aging  retirement  Second_Acts  entrepreneurship  ageism  midlife  Managing_Your_Career  job_search  small_business  networking 
may 2016 by jerryking
The Choices That Led Small Business Owners to Wealth - The New York Times
FEB. 12, 2016 | NYT | By PAUL SULLIVAN

have to make decisions to professionalize the business, put systems in place and have a plan that allows them to do longer-term planning. Those decisions can make the difference between being a small-business owner and a business executive with significant wealth....“There is no bright-line test when a company gets to a certain size or age to do these things,” said Kevin M. Harris, head of the family business group at Northern Trust. “It is based on where the company wants to go.”

Determining which decisions were the ones that made the difference is sometimes not an easy task, and the stories that are retold are often the ones that turned out well. Yet it is worth considering what can go wrong.

Entrepreneurs who failed to find success were often resistant to change
small_business  wealth_creation  decision_making  entrepreneur  risk-taking  mindsets  JCK  thinking_tragically  Northern_Trust  owners  private_banking  choices  internal_systems  professionalization  high_net_worth 
february 2016 by jerryking
Small Food Brands, Big Successes - The New York Times
AUG. 24, 2015 | NYT | By STEPHANIE STROM.

New companies are flourishing, encroaching on market share and gaining national distribution as shoppers reach for products that tout themselves as novel, local, rarefied or containing better ingredients.

Total sales are still dominated by big brands, but the investment bank Jefferies reports that the brands lost market share in 42 of 54 categories, from baby food to yogurt, over the last five years as new products gained. Think of Chobani yogurt, which went from no sales to more than $1 billion in revenue in less than five years.
food  brands  start_ups  small_business  niches  boutiques  condiments  entrepreneurship  Chobani  emotional_connections 
august 2015 by jerryking
Why the human cloud can do your work better than you can - The Globe and Mail
IVOR TOSSELL
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014

Nav Dhunay is offering oil-wells-as-a-service.

PumpWell puts small remote-monitoring and control units next to pumpjacks, the iconic bobbing horse-heads that pump oil from wells. “That in itself is not disruptive or extremely exciting,” says Dhunay. “But it’s more than just an automation controller.” What sets PumpWell apart is what they’re really selling: people. Instead of just offering a technological tool that lets oil-well owners keep an eye on their pumps, PumpWell has hired a team of its own oil-production engineers, and it sells their time to small and mid-sized firms on a subscription basis. “We’re combining the outsourcing model of IT, and tying it into the oil and gas industry,” says Dhunay.....Dhunay is a start-up entrepreneur who found himself heading up PumpWell in Calgary after stints in Silicon Valley. As he explains it, the logic is simple: Labour costs are sky-high in the oil sector. A seasoned production engineer can run you upward of $200,000 a year, and then there’s the overhead of having him running around oil fields in a truck, checking on things.

PumpWell can use its remote networks to keep oil engineers out of the field, run analytics on monitoring data to promote preventative maintenance, and increase the number of pumps each engineer can monitor. The company’s top-tier plan offers to monitor a pump for $12,000 a year. Today, PumpWell looks after 600 wells and, Dhunay says, it’s revenue-positive. “Our industrial engineers can manage upward of 150 to 200 wells per person. Traditionally, production engineers are handling 30 to 40.”

It’s not the only company that’s using cloud technology to take outsourcing services into new realms. Across the country, in Cambridge, Ontario, a cybersecurity company is applying much the same model to an entirely different business. ESentire specializes in securing the networks of mid-sized companies with critical intellectual property, like financial services and legal firms.
SaaS  oil_industry  Outsourcing  remote_monitoring  cyber_security  small_business  SMEs  subscriptions  cloud_computing  top-tier 
july 2015 by jerryking
The Value of Bad Data - The Experts - WSJ
Apr 22, 2015 | WSJ | by Alexandra Samuel--technology researcher and the author of “Work Smarter with Social Media.”
*** Can I apply the idea of negative space towards evolving a dataset?

What do you do when you don’t have access to a large data set?...even without access to big data, you can still use some of the tools of data-driven decision-making to make all the other choices that arise in your day-to-day work.

Adopting and adapting the tools of quantitative analysis is crucial, because we often face decisions that can’t be guided by a large data set. Maybe you’re the founder of a small company, and you don’t yet have enough customers or transactions to provide a statistically significant sample size. Perhaps you’re working on a challenge for which you have no common data set, like evaluating the performance of different employees whose work has been tracked in different ways. Or maybe you’re facing a problem that feels like it can’t be quantified, like assessing the fit between your services and the needs of different potential clients.

None of these scenarios offers you the kind of big data that would make a data scientist happy. But you can still dig into your data scientist’s toolbox, and use a quasi-quantitative approach to get some of the benefits of statistical analysis… even in the absence of statistically valid data.
massive_data_sets  data  data_driven  small_business  data_scientists  books  hustle  statistics  quantitative  small_data  data_quality 
july 2015 by jerryking
How Can Big Food Compete Against Fresher Rivals? - WSJ
By ANNIE GASPARRO
Updated July 12, 2015 1

it is a two-part problem. No. 1, the consumer and competitive marketplace is definitely shifting. For example, quality has evolved beyond just good ingredients, preparation and packaging. Basic quality is a given now; many consumers are looking for something extra: less mass-produced, natural, local.

No. 2, iconic food companies and their mature brands are not responding effectively. Large, established food companies and their brands are being managed as portfolios of revenue and profit streams with a short-term financial orientation, and not as companies that produce food products. Small companies, on the other hand, are being created and managed by people with a food orientation and passion.
CPG  Kraft  emotional_connections  Nestlé  Coca-Cola  food  Pepsi  Big_Food  trends  Kellogg  passions  gourmet  foodies  decreasing_returns_to_scale  shifting_tastes  small_business  SMB 
july 2015 by jerryking
Why growth hacking is a foreign concept to many business owners - The Globe and Mail
MIA PEARSON
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, May. 21 2015,

Quite simply, growth hacking is about focusing your energy in the right areas, being creative and using a combination of analytical thinking, social metrics and long-term thinking to power low-cost innovation....“The most successful businesses are always trying to find scalable and repeatable methods for growth, and their marketing strategies and tactics are rooted in data and technology,”...Use data analytics Markus Frind, CEO of PlentyOfFish and a speaker at Traction Conf, describes growth hacking for him as “applying data to marketing to achieve growth, via virality.”

Mr. Frind started his company in 2003 and grew it into one of the largest online dating sites in the world. With more than 100 million users and $100-million in revenue, he knows what he’s talking about. And luckily, Google Analytics is available to everyone.

For Mr. Frind, growth hacking boils down to a combination of “SEO, split-testing and understanding the virality of the users.” He believes understanding that made it “easy to see what was working and what wasn’t.”

By understanding where traffic is coming from and why people are seeking you out, you have a stronger understanding of your consumer – and you’re incredibly short-sighted if you don’t think your consumer defines your brand. This is a significant piece of the puzzle for growing a business.
analytics  customer_insights  effectiveness  growth_hacking  innovation  long-term  marketing  repeatability  SEO  short-sightedness  small_business  virality 
june 2015 by jerryking
Demise of Big Box Retailing in Canada
Arlene Dickinson
The demise of so many big box retailers in Canada leaves a real opportunity for entrepreneurs to fill the markets evolving needs. I believe that the future of bricks and mortar retai...
entrepreneur  opportunities  women  big-box  retailers  customer_experience  small_business  angels  from notes
march 2015 by jerryking
Riders on the economic storm: Practical thinking for small business Riders on the economic storm: Practical thinking for small business | None | Nu U Consulting
24/06/09

Jonathan Weber writes in Slate’s The Big Money: Making Payroll feature in a piece titled, “Know When to Fold”: “Failure is not something an entrepreneur can give in to very readily. A certain level of blind optimism—even in the face of long odds—is often necessary to build a successful product or company. If you, as the business owner, don't believe, you can be pretty sure your employees, customers, and shareholders won't, either… don't give in easily if you feel the passion… Sometimes you have to take the view that failure simply isn't an option.”
tips  economic_downturn  small_business  strategies  networking  value_propositions 
march 2015 by jerryking
Hunting the gazelle - The Globe and Mail
SEAN WISE
Globe and Mail Update
Published Friday, Dec. 07 200
gazelles  start_ups  small_business  high-growth 
february 2015 by jerryking
Why Small Businesses Are Starting to Win Again - The New Yorker
JANUARY 24, 2015
Small Is Bountiful
BY TIM WU

Farmers who sell, say, organic or free-range foods, cannot hope to compete based on price. Instead, they try to create consumers who won’t eat chicken produced by big companies for moral, health, or aesthetic reasons...The true-differentiation strategy seems to work best when scale, despite its efficiencies, also introduces blind spots in areas such as customer service, flavor, curation, or other intangibles not entirely consistent with mass production and standardization. Where getting big begins to hurt the product, small can be bountiful.

=====================================
it is a two-part problem. No. 1, the consumer and competitive marketplace is definitely shifting. For example, quality has evolved beyond just good ingredients, preparation and packaging. Basic quality is a given now; many consumers are looking for something extra: less mass-produced, natural, local.

No. 2, iconic food companies and their mature brands are not responding effectively. Large, established food companies and their brands are being managed as portfolios of revenue and profit streams with a short-term financial orientation, and not as companies that produce food products. Small companies, on the other hand, are being created and managed by people with a food orientation and passion.
small_business  size  scaling  Tim_Wu  Peter_Drucker  differentiation  trends  breweries  beers  craftsmanship  artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  revenge_effects  blind_spots  personal_values  market_segmentation  mass_production  decreasing_returns_to_scale  aesthetics  eco-friendly  creating_demand 
january 2015 by jerryking
If you want to be big in 2015, think big - The Globe and Mail
DAVID CICCARELLI
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jan. 01 2015

Thought leadership builds your brand and raises your profile in arenas you may not be able to enter otherwise. Write about what you know and make yourself available to speak about your topic.

Add value by sharing your knowledge and empowering others to succeed. Contributing to the greater discussion will gain more impressions for your brand. To paraphrase the late motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, helping others get what they want will help you to get what you want.
preparation  growth  small_business  thought_leadership  serving_others  organizational_culture  chutzpah  large_companies  individual_initiative  thinking_big 
january 2015 by jerryking
Big Firms Fill Funding Gap - The CFO Report - WSJ
April 22, 2014, 2:38 AM ET
Big Firms Fill Funding Gap
Article
Comments
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By EMILY CHASAN
large_companies  small_business  funding  alternative_lending 
november 2014 by jerryking
The Price of Bad Pricing - NYTimes.com
By Jay Goltz
July 6, 2011

pricing is more complicated. You may say you want to offer the best price. But what does that mean? The lowest price for the customer? The price that will provide the best value for the customer? The price that will result in the highest profit for your company? The price that will result in the most sales for your company?

It can get even more complicated. To figure out the relationship between the price you charge and the profitability that results, you have to do some cost accounting. For instance, if you are manufacturing a product, you have to take into consideration reject rates, machine maintenance, insurance, rent, utilities and inventory carrying costs, just to name a few expenses. Maybe you own an auto parts store that specializes in carrying parts for older cars. You pride yourself on having the alternator for almost every car built since 1960. Surely that would suggest that you could charge a premium. But how much? What is the carrying cost of your huge inventory?
small_business  pricing  running_a_business 
november 2014 by jerryking
Makers and Breakers - NYTimes.com
NOV. 8, 2014 | NYT | Thomas L. Friedman.

This is a great time to be a maker, an innovator, a starter-upper. Thanks to the Internet, you can raise capital, sell goods or services and discover collaborators and customers globally more easily than ever. This is a great time to make things. But it is also a great time to break things, thanks to the Internet. If you want to break something or someone, or break into somewhere that is encrypted, and collaborate with other bad guys, you can recruit and operate today with less money, greater ease and greater reach than ever before. This is a great time to be a breaker. That’s why the balance of power between makers and breakers will shape our world every bit as much as the one between America, Russia and China.
Tom_Friedman  entrepreneurship  hackers  Cleveland  innovation  start_ups  immigrants  rogue_actors  supply_chains  globalization  lean  small_business  microproducers  Israeli 
november 2014 by jerryking
Why I Do All My Recruiting Through LinkedIn - NYTimes.com
AUGUST 19, 2014 | NYT |By REBEKAH CAMPBELL.

How, in a sea of people, can I find my ideal candidate?

In the past, I would have posted job ads on all the appropriate websites and braced for a flood of applications....the problem was that the best candidates all had good positions and were not reading job advertisements. Somehow, I had to find these people and convince them to take a risk by joining our start-up. The only solution seemed to be to hire a recruiter and, as a cash-strapped small business, we just couldn’t afford to shell out a recruitment fee of 20 percent of the candidate’s annual salary....sign up to LinkedIn’s Recruiter service. For $2,200 per quarter, I can run detailed searches on exactly the type of candidates I’m looking for and then approach them en masse.
LinkedIn  recruiting  talent_management  talent  cash-strapped  howto  small_business  running_a_business 
august 2014 by jerryking
Forget the CV, data decide careers - FT.com
July 9, 2014 | FT |By Tim Smedley.

The human touch of job interviews is under threat from technology, writes Tim Smedley, but can new techniques be applied to top-level recruitment?

I no longer look at somebody's CV to determine if we will interview them or not," declares Teri Morse, who oversees the recruitment of 30,000 people each year at Xerox Services. Instead, her team analyses personal data to determine the fate of job candidates.

She is not alone. "Big data" and complex algorithms are increasingly taking decisions out of the hands of individual interviewers - a trend that has far-reaching consequences for job seekers and recruiters alike.

The company whose name has become a synonym for photocopy has turned into one that helps others outsource everyday business processes, from accounting to human resources. It recently teamed up with Evolv, which uses data sets of past behaviour to predict everything from salesmanship to loyalty.

For Xerox this means putting prospective candidates for the company's 55,000 call-centre positions through a screening test that covers a wide range of questions. Evolv then lays separate data it has mined on what causes employees to leave their call-centre jobs over the candidates' responses to predict which of them will stick around and which will further exacerbate the already high churn rate call centres tend to suffer.

The results are surprising. Some are quirky: employees who are members of one or two social networks were found to stay in their job for longer than those who belonged to four or more social networks (Xerox recruitment drives at gaming conventions were subsequently cancelled). Some findings, however, were much more fundamental: prior work experience in a similar role was not found to be a predictor of success.

"It actually opens up doors for people who would never have gotten to interview based on their CV," says Ms Morse. Some managers initially questioned why new recruits were appearing without any prior relevant experience. As time went on, attrition rates in some call centres fell by 20 per cent and managers no longer quibbled. "I don't know why this works," admits Ms Morse, "I just know it works."

Organisations have long held large amounts of data. From financial accounts to staff time sheets, the movement from paper to computer made it easier to understand and analyse. As computing power increased exponentially, so did data storage. The floppy disk of the 1990s could store barely more than one megabyte of data; today a 16 gigabyte USB flash drive costs less than a fiver ($8).

It is simple, then, to see how recruiters arrive at a point where crunching data could replace the human touch of job interviews. Research by NewVantage Partners, the technology consultants, found that 85 per cent of Fortune 1000 executives in 2013 had a big data initiative planned or in progress, with almost half using big data operationally.

HR services provider Ceridian is one of many companies hoping to tap into the potential of big data for employers. "From an HR and recruitment perspective, big data enables you to analyse volumes of data that in the past were hard to access and understand," explains David Woodward, chief product and innovation officer at Ceridian UK.

This includes "applying the data you hold about your employees and how they've performed, to see the causal links between the characteristics of the hire that you took in versus those that stayed with you and became successful employees. Drawing those links can better inform your decisions in the hiring process."

Data sets need not rely on internal data, however. The greatest source of big data is the internet, which is easy for both FTSE 100 and smaller companies to access.

"Social media data now gives us the ability to 'listen' to the business," says Zahir Ladhani, vice-president at IBM Smarter Workforce. "You can look at what customers are saying about your business, what employees are saying, and what you yourself are saying - cull all that data together and you can understand the impact.

"Most recruitment organisations now use social media and job-site data," says Mr Ladhani. "We looked at an organisation which had very specialised, very hard to find skill sets. When we analysed the data of the top performers in that job family, we found out that they all hung out at a very unique, niche social media site. Once we tapped into that database, boom!"

Ceridian, too, has worked with companies to "effectively scan the internet to see what jobs are being posted through the various job boards, in what parts of the country," says Mr Woodward. "If you're looking to open a particular facility in a part of the country, for example, you'll be able to see whether there's already a high demand for particular types of skills."

Experts appear split on whether the specialisation required for executive recruitment lends itself to big data.

"I hire 30,000 call-centre people on an annual basis - we don't hire that many executives," says Ms Morse, adding "there's not enough volume". However Mr Ladhani disagrees, believing that over time the data set an organisation holds on senior management hires would become statistically valid.

As more companies start to analyse their employee data to make hiring decisions, could recruitment finally become more of a science than an art?

"The potential is clearly much greater now than ever before to crunch very large volumes of data and draw conclusions from that which can make better decisions," says Mr Woodward. "The methods and computing power being used in weather forecasting 10 years ago are now available to us all . . . who knows where this may go."

It is a trend worth considering - to get your next job, perfecting your CV could well be less important than having carefully considered the footprint you leave in cyberspace.

Case study Demographic drilling-down helps LV=recast recruitment ads

Kevin Hough, head of recruiting at insurance firm LV=, was a pioneer of big data before he had heard the term.

A year ago, the question of where best to target the firm's recruitment advertising provided an innovative answer. LV= looked up the postcodes at which its current staff lived and organised the findings by the employee's level of seniority, explains Mr Hough. "Using software called Geo-Maps, which works similarly to Google Maps, we could zoom in and out of clusters of our people to see where they are willing to travel from to get to work."

Next, the insurer looked at the locations from which candidates were applying and compared those with the postcodes of current staff. It also looked at the locations and interests of its followers on social media sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn. The analysis included their interests, stated sexual orientation, ethnicity and gender.

This allowed the firm to create a profile of its typical, successful candidate, also taking into consideration their age and location.

"What was really interesting was the reach some of our advertising was having and, more importantly, some of the gaps," Mr Hough says.

The analysis, which took little investment or expertise, has allowed LV= to redesign its recruitment advertising.

"Sometimes, with all the clever systems that people have in organisations, you can be blinded to the simple, raw data that is there," says Mr Hough.

Next, LV= will add performance review data, taking the analysis to a higher level. He explains that this piece of work will ask who of the group recruited a year before is still there.

"It will help shape not only how we attract people, but will even start to shape some of the roles themselves," he says.

Tim Smedley

By Tim Smedley
analytics  call_centres  Ceridian  data  data_driven  data_storage  Evolv  executive_management  FTSE_100  hard_to_find  hiring  internal_data  job_boards  Managing_Your_Career  massive_data_sets  personal_data  predictive_analytics  recruiting  résumés  small_business  social_media  unstructured_data  Xerox 
july 2014 by jerryking
Finding Ways to Use Big Data to Help Small Shops - NYTimes.com
JULY 9, 2014 | NYT | By JOHN GROSSMANN.

A wealth of information that some call big data is becoming increasingly available to small businesses. Such information was once available only to big corporations with vast computing power and deep information technology departments — and more recently to online start-up companies with data-mining capabilities.

In 2010, just 1.7 percent of small businesses were using business intelligence software, according to a survey of companies with fewer than 100 employees conducted by IDC, whose analysts provide information technology advice to businesses small and large. By last year, 9.2 percent had adopted such tools, reported Ray Boggs, a small-business market analyst at IDC, citing easier-to-use products and lower prices as prime drivers of the increase.
massive_data_sets  small_business  business_intelligence 
july 2014 by jerryking
He’s the Cash Man, oh yeah – and he wants a ‘mini-me’ - The Globe and Mail
BRYAN BORZYKOWSKI
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Jun. 04 2014
small_business  jewellery 
june 2014 by jerryking
Why businesses should automate their marketing efforts - The Globe and Mail
CHRIS THIERRY AND ROBERT AL-JAAR
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, May. 07 2014
small_business  automation  marketing 
may 2014 by jerryking
Can’t Get a Bank Loan? The Alternatives Are Expanding - NYTimes.com
By AMY CORTESE MARCH 5, 2014

Alternative lending has filled a gap left by risk-averse banks: big banks approved less than a fifth of all requests for small-business loans they received in January, while small banks approved about half of such requests, according to a survey by Biz2Credit, an online platform that matches businesses and lenders. And that does not reflect the businesses that are too discouraged to apply. By embracing technology to make small-business lending more efficient and profitable, the alternative lenders have opened opportunities for businesses....The first wave of tech-based alternative lenders — companies like OnDeck and Kabbage, which opened in 2007 and 2011 — used innovative software and data metrics, including social media interactions and Yelp reviews, to assess the health of a business. OnDeck alone has underwritten more than $900 million in loans. And Kabbage, which targets online merchants, lent $200 million in 2013.
small_business  Freshbooks  alternative_lenders  midprime  Kabbage  Dealstruck  banks  banking  innovation  start_ups  fin-tech 
march 2014 by jerryking
Kabbage s Fresh Idea for Small Business Finance - American Banker Magazine Article
Glen Fest
JUN 1, 2013

For the past three years, Atlanta-based Kabbage has used social media analytics in part to quantify a borrower's propensity to repay. The underlying logic, says chairman and co-founder Marc Gorlin, is that a small business actively promoting itself or receiving customer attention through these channels is a better risk candidate than a less socially savvy merchant even with a similar credit score and product line....Whereas a bank would require extensive and audited financial data, says Scott Thompson, the former PayPal president and Yahoo! ex-CEO who was recently appointed to Kabbage's board, Kabbage "offers up this very simple signup flow," where the application and approval process can take less than seven minutes.

"What they've done is they've assembled a richer set of data, they have better technology, better science, better attributes, and are looking at better signals to try to attempt to get a current understanding of what your small business is," Thompson says.
massive_data_sets  data  data_driven  Kabbage  unstructured_data  social_media  social_data  online_banking  small_business  Facebook  Twitter 
february 2014 by jerryking
Starting a McKinsey for Small Businesses - NYTimes.com
December 17, 2013, 7:00 am 4 Comments
Starting a McKinsey for Small Businesses
By EILENE ZIMMERMAN
running_a_business  small_business  management_consulting 
december 2013 by jerryking
More Data Can Mean Less Guessing About the Economy - NYTimes.com
By STEVE LOHR
Published: September 7, 2013

measurement shortfall in the small-business sector, and a series of other information gaps in the economy, may be overcome by what experts say is an emerging data revolution — Big Data, in the current catchphrase. The ever-expanding universe of digital signals of behavior, from browsing and buying on the Web to cellphone location data, is grist for potential breakthroughs in economic measurement. It could produce more accurate forecasting and more informed policy-making — more science and less guesswork.... THE economics profession is gearing up to exploit new sources of digital data. In a recent paper, “The Data Revolution and Economic Analysis,” two Stanford economists, Liran Einav and Jonathan Levin, concluded that “there is little doubt, at least in our minds, that over the next decades ‘big data’ will change the landscape of economic policy and economic research.”

At Intuit, the small-business data portray a sector that was “hurt much more than big business by the recession and its recovery has been far worse,” says Ms. Woodward, the economic consultant. Over the last three and a half years, payroll employment for all companies has increased 6.9 percent, while small-business employment has risen far less, just 1.9 percent. Hiring among the small companies, though still sluggish, has inched ahead in the last three months.
data  Steve_Lohr  massive_data_sets  Intuit  information_sources  small_business  measurements  Freshbooks  economy  Erik_Brynjolfsson  economics  indicators  real-time  forecasting  economic_data  information_gaps  signals  economists  data_driven 
september 2013 by jerryking
Manage from a Single Piece of Paper
January/February 2007 | Business Owner | Anonymous.

Great managers know exactly where their company based on four or five key indicators. Gary Sutton, legendary turnaround expert and author of The Six Month Fix, urges all business owners to manage from a single piece of paper. Sutton suggests they monitor information that looks ahead, such as: inbound calls/responses by source, orders received by product or product line, returns or warranty claims, total gross profits, payroll expense and accounts receivable. In addition, include a breakdown of costs by expense category. Next add liquidity data, inventory data, and data more upstream in the sales cycle, such as cash on hand and credit available. Have this information delivered to your desk once a week, and you will be empowered with the information needed to do your job. Here as some data sheet items: breakeven point, and performance of each profit engine.
metrics  small_business  running_a_business  KPIs  dashboards  start_ups  data  books  data_driven  indicators  forward_looking  owners  simplicity 
september 2013 by jerryking
She wants to clean up the oil sands, in a non-toxic fashion - The Globe and Mail
Jun. 26 2013 | Globe and Mail | MARJO JOHNE.

Marlene Luck, president of Northern Canadian Supplies Ltd. in Fort McMurray, Alta., has big plans for her business, which sells environmentally friendly cleaning supplies and equipment, and safety work gear such as fire resistant clothing and hard hats, to schools, hospitals and seniors residences.

Since its launch eight years ago, Northern Canadian Supplies, which has eight employees and $616,000 in annual revenue, has expanded into Saskatchewan and British Columbia and has built warehouses in five Canadian cities. Its product catalogue is now 1,700 pages thick and includes brands from global giants such as Procter & Gamble and 3M.
aboriginals  small_business  green  consumer_goods  women  environmentally_friendly  P&G  3M  non-toxic  oil_sands  environmental_services 
june 2013 by jerryking
N.S. tech firm’s future lies in harsh climates -
Jun. 26 2013 | The Globe and Mail | by MARJO JOHNE

Published Wednesday, Jun. 26 2013

. For two years, the Dartmouth, N.S., company has been providing wireless gas-flux measurement systems to researchers and energy resource development companies.

In layman’s terms, that means they sell devices that measure gas – in particular, carbon dioxide – in the atmosphere and trapped in soil.

This information helps environmental researchers, policy makers and oil and gas companies measure CO2 and develop strategies for improving safety and environmental standards
small_business  CO2  tools  Nova_Scotia 
june 2013 by jerryking
Drinkable water – from livestock manure
Jun. 26 2013 | - The Globe and Mail | MARJO JOHNE.

The company builds and installs systems that treat hog and cow manure, separating solids and phosphorus, extracting and concentrating ammonium and, finally, discharging water that’s clean enough to drink.
pork  agriculture  farming  livestock  wastewater-treatment  small_business  manure  cattle 
june 2013 by jerryking
Canadian manufacturer fights hard for piece of Chinese market
| WSJ | Ben Dolven

It's easy to get the impression China's manufacturing boom involves making just about everything. For an illustration, meet Ron Ball. He makes escalator handrails, Ben Dolven r...
China  small_business  Canadian  manufacturers  from notes
june 2013 by jerryking
Startup city: Berlin as tech magnet - The Globe and Mail
MICHAEL MARRAY


FRANKFURT, GERMANY — Special to The Globe and Mail

Published
Thursday, May. 30 2013
start_ups  Germany  Mittelstand  Soundcloud  Berlin  small_business 
june 2013 by jerryking
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