Clients are incredibly important part of business; their relationship makes your company what it is. It’s important to be thoughtful when choosing gifts for them.
“A thoughtful gift and accompanying personal note provides a way to show your appreciation for your client in a powerfully human way,” said David Sturt, executive vice president of marketing and business development for O.C. Tanner, an employee recognition and corporate gifting firm. “It highlights the significance of the personal relationship itself, rather than on the day-to-day transactions of products and services. It elevates the relationship.”
Thoughtful gifts also have a natural reciprocal quality to them. When someone is appreciative of you, it elicits a natural response to see the things you appreciate about them, Sturt added.
Whether it’s a holiday greeting or a token of gratitude, here are 3 gifts for your business clients that fit any budget.
Halloween is a full-time business. The holiday has grown into a multi-billion dollar annual industry, and while many companies are happy to simply seize on the marketing opportunity, these 5 companies have built their entire business around the season of spirits.
“You have 60 minutes to escape the room. There is 1 hungry zombie chained to the wall. Every 5 minutes a buzzer sounds & the chain is released another foot from the wall!” That’s the description of Room Escape Adventure’s zombie-themed escape room. You’ll have to gather the clues and solve the puzzle if you want to avoid being eaten by the undead.
Three Muses Clothing has been selling women’s Halloween costumes and accessories online since 2005. Four years later, owner Candy Keane opened a retail boutique in Florida to sell her one-of-a-kind sexy (but not NC-17) outfits year-round. In addition to carrying popular costume brands like Leg Avenue, Three Muses also sells handmade items from local artists.
This online store features made-in-the-USA items and vintage collectibles from Halloween past. Vintage Halloween sells party supplies, ornaments, clothing and accessories, stationery and other products related to the holiday. While the Arizona-based retailer sells throughout the year, special sales and giveaways are reserved for October.
Larry Kirschner owned and operated several haunted houses in the 1980s and ’90s before founding HauntWorld, the largest global database for Halloween resources and activities. Part discussion board and part directory, HauntWorld’s website and magazine allows members of the haunted house industry to connect and share their insights, while haunt seekers can locate attractions like haunted houses and trails in their area.
For more than a decade, The Horror Dome has been providing animatronics, props, masks and costumes for homeowners and Halloween attractions. The online retailer’s products have been featured on TLC, “Mythbusters,” Jay Leno, and even in the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park.
Job and pay growth slowed in August, returning to a more modest pace that clouds the prospects for an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve later this month.
Employers added 151,000 jobs last month, the government said Friday. That is still a healthy number but lower than the 180,000 that analysts were expecting on average and down sharply from revised gains of 271,000 jobs in June and 275,000 in July.
Job gains in those prior two months came after very sluggish hiring in the spring and were not expected to be sustained. Fed and other economists have said about 100,000 to 125,000 new jobs a month are needed to keep pace with the population and labor force growth, and hold the unemployment rate steady.
The nation’s jobless rate in August remained at 4.9% for the third straight month. Forecasters were looking for it to drop to 4.8%.
Fed Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen last week seemed to be preparing markets for the central bank’s first rate increase since December, citing the nation’s “continued solid performance” in the labor market. But some analysts said the Labor Department report was not strong enough to push Fed policymakers to raise the benchmark interest rate at the conclusion of their two-day meeting on Sept. 21.
“I don’t think it tips the balance toward a rate hike,” said Kevin Logan, chief U.S. economist at HSBC Bank in New York.
Most experts now don’t see a modest Fed rate increase until after election day Nov. 8, at its December meeting at the earliest, but others said the report was not so bad as to cause a rethink by Yellen or the Fed.
The latest job growth “is simply not slow enough to derail a rate hike,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York.
Nor was the jobs report weak enough to help Republican candidate Donald Trump, although that didn’t stop him from issuing a statement shortly after its release and highlighting the shortcomings.
“Over a third [of the August gains] are low-paying service jobs in sectors such as retail and restaurants that won’t support a family, pay for a home or put children through college,” said Trump senior economic advisor David Malpass.
About 44,000, or 29%, of the jobs added last month were in retail and the hotel and restaurant sectors, which pay on average $13 to $15 an hour. Most of the new jobs last month were in higher-wage professional services and financial businesses and other sectors where the pay is more mixed, such as health and education services. Manufacturing and construction industries shed jobs, however.
There was no immediate comment from Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, but Donna Brazile, the Democratic National Committee’s interim chair, said: “Today’s strong jobs report is further proof that Democratic leadership in the White House is the right choice to keep our economy growing.”
The economy is now in its eighth year of growth since the Great Recession, but it has been slow by historical standards. And one clear disappointment has been on the pay front. August was another letdown.
Average hourly earnings of all private-sector workers rose just three cents last month from July, to $25.73. That was up 2.4 % from a year earlier, but the weakest showing since March and down from an annual pace of 2.7% in July.
Economists have been waiting for a bigger, sturdier pickup in earnings as the job market has tightened, but the smaller-than-expected gains suggest there are many more jobless workers than the 7.85 million people on the official unemployment rolls. A long-running trend of low productivity growth and more recently, weakening corporate profits are not helping, either.
Labor Secretary Thomas Perez acknowledged that the slow wage gains have been “a big part of the angst that people feel.” Saying that “we need to put more money into people’s pockets,” he argued for an increase in the federal minimum wage, which has been stuck at $7.25 since July 2009, and substantial increases in infrastructure spending that could support higher-paying jobs.
Including the August numbers, job growth this year has slowed to an average of 181,500 a month, from 229,000 last year and 251,000 in 2014. But in an interview Friday, Perez said that was to be expected after more than six years of solid job growth in which the private sector has added some 15 million jobs.
“This economy continues to be remarkably resilient,” he said.
Still, U.S. economic growth has been particularly lackluster in the prior three quarters, with gross domestic product expanding at an annual increase of around 1%. And with the economy nearing so-called full employment — which experts regard as an unemployment rate of 4.5% to 5% — job growth was bound to decelerate after several years of solid gains.
GDP growth in the current third quarter is expected to show a big pickup, to around 3% annualized, thanks mostly to hearty consumer spending, the biggest driver of the American economy. Low gas prices have helped.
Nationally, the average retail price for regular gas was $2.24 a gallon on Monday, the lowest price a week before Labor Day since 2004, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Nonetheless, growth has been restrained by soft business investment and declining exports, reflecting weak global trade, a strong dollar and a sluggish energy industry. That has hurt employment in manufacturing and supporting sectors such as the temporary-help sector.
Reports of unruly passengers disrupting airline flights soared almost 17 per cent around the world last year, with incidents like verbally abusing or refusing to obey cabin crew occurring on one out of every 1,205 flights.
Some 10,854 plane rage incidents were reported to the International Air Transport Association by airlines in 2015, up from 9,316 incidents the year before.
This equates to one incident for every 1,205 flights, compared with one incident for every 1,282 flights in 2014.
IATA said planes were also forced to make emergency landings because escalating conflicts put passengers at risk.
The statistics were released on the sidelines of a United Nations aviation assembly in Montreal with industry officials estimating the cost of diverting a long-haul flight to remove an unruly passenger at $200,000.
In one incident in the United States, a man on a Southwest Airlines Co flight to San Francisco started a fight with a woman in front of him after she reclined her seat.
Witnesses said the woman claimed the man tried to choke her before the plane was forced back to Los Angeles airport and the rest of the passengers delayed for five hours.
“The kind of behaviours that … might be acceptable on the ground take on a completely different complexion when you’re in the air,” IATA spokesman Tom Colehan said.
Two years ago Virgin Australia was forced to deny one of its planes had been hijacked after a drunk and unruly passenger tried to enter the cockpit as a plane flew from Brisbane to Bali.
And last year Chinese police detained 25 angry plane passengers on a China Eastern flight who opened three emergency exit doors before take-off after their flight was delayed by snow.
Passengers aren’t the only ones who can cause problems in the air.
Korean Air executive Cho Hyun-Ah was jailed and forced to resign after raging at a flight attendant for serving macadamia nuts in a bag instead of a plate.
Cho was vice president in charge of in-flight service and lambasted the chief steward over the behaviour of his cabin crew before ordering the plane back to the gate so he could be ejected.
Mr Colehan said “frustrations with journey” including long security lines could be triggers.
“I don’t think anybody knows exactly the reason driving the rise,” he said. “Perhaps it’s just reflective of societal changes where anti-social behaviour is more prevalent and perhaps more accepted.”
Alcohol or drug intoxication was identified by IATA as a factor in 23 per cent of the cases.
Mr Colehan said airlines want airport bar operators and ground handlers to alert them about unruly passengers before they reach the gate so carriers can decide whether they may cause a disturbance at 35,000 feet.
“For bar operators and restaurateurs, we’re also saying to them — look, you also have a responsibility to make sure … you’re not promoting binge drinking,” he said.
U.S. health insurer Aetna Inc said it would offer some customers discounts on Apple Inc’s smartwatch, marking the first deal made by the tech giant with an insurer for its devices.
Aetna, which has about 23 million members in the United States, will also give away the Apple Watch for free to its nearly 50,000 employees, Aetna said in a statement on Tuesday.
The deal could help Apple boost the appeal of its Watch to potential customers as the company looks to target health and fitness conscious users with its new device.
Aetna will discount a significant portion of the cost, and will offer users monthly payment options to pay off the remaining amount.
The discounts on the devices will vary for customers, according to Aetna spokesman Ethan Slavin.
However, reaction to the second edition of the Apple Watch has been muted since its launch earlier this month with the device likely to remain a niche offering, according to some analysts.
Apple shipped 1.6 million units of the original Apple Watch, in the second quarter, down by 56.7 percent from last year, according to research firm IDC.
In comparison, Fitbit Inc shipped 5.7 million units in that period.
Aetna is also developing health applications for Apple’s devices that will remind users to take their medications, order refills for prescriptions and message or call their doctor.
The applications, which will use Apple Wallet to allow customers to pay their bills, will be available early next year. (Reporting by Narottam Medhora and Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)
Workplace harassment comes in many forms. It can happen online or in person, and be verbal, physical or sexual in nature.
Regardless of its incarnation, abusive behavior creates a toxic work environment, but many workers feel uncomfortable reporting harassment to their bosses or HR managers.
“If you are being harassed or think you may be but are too scared to go forward, educating yourself on the facts is a great way to gain confidence to stand up for yourself,” said Becca Garvin, executive HR recruiter at Find Great People International. “The sooner you act on it, the easier it will be to put an end to it.”
Broaching the subject at work is understandably nerve-wracking. This nervousness is a normal feeling, said Brian McClusky, human resources director at InkHouse PR.”Nervousness is probably the main reason employees don’t bring these issues forward,” he told Business News Daily. “If they are not comfortable addressing the issue with their harasser [there are some instances when it may not be safe to do so], HR is a neutral, safe, third-party resource.”Employees should be reassured that their issue will be taken seriously, addressed quickly and thoroughly, and with as much discretion as possible,” he added.
Understanding what is happening to you may help when approaching the issue. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, offensive conduct may include, but is not limited to, offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance.Harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including, but not limited to, the following:
- The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, an agent of the employer, a co-worker or a nonemployee.
- The victim does not have to be the person harassed, but can be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
- Unlawful harassment may occur without economic injury to, or discharge of, the victim.
There are millions of kinds of small businesses out there serving a wide variety of niche markets. If you can think of it, there’s probably someone who’s making a profit from it.
Whether they’re providing socks that come in threes, cuddle sessions or a mobile wedding chapel, these 3 companies prove that you can be successful running any type of business, even if it isn’t exactly conventional.
1. Sometimes you need the comfort of another person. There’s nothing like a good hug or a solid cuddle, but what if you don’t have the option of an embracing partner? This is where Cuddle Party comes in.
According to the company’s website, Cuddle Party is a “playful social event designed for adults to explore communication, boundaries, and affection.” These events are safe spaces where attendees can go to meet and talk to new people as well as to practice consent and asking for what they want, and yes, to just cuddle. Cuddling with strangers may sound like a strange concept, but there’s value in their mission to teach boundaries, consent, affection, communication and non-sexual touch. The company, which was founded in 2004, is actually a federally recognized non-profit education organization.
2. A mystery marketplace Interested in something new but aren’t sure of what you want to get? SomethingStore can help. This retailer gives customers who love surprises the opportunity to purchase a brand new (never-used or refurbished) mystery item, or a “something” for $10.
According to the company’s website, “your ‘something’ may be a cool shiny gadget, rare book, party game, handmade necklace, reverse clock, box of gourmet chocolates, portable table tennis set, and so on. Anything goes, so long as it’s legal to trade in the United States and is worth at least $10. The company has sold more than 200,000 somethings since its inception in 2007.
3. If you’re having trouble getting your message across to someone, you can deliver it in the form of a potato with the help of Potato Parcel
According to the site, you can compose “all kinds of fun messages” in 15 words, including those with more colorful language. The company vets hateful, harmful, or threatening messages and will not process orders with messages that have wording like this, so keep your potato messages fun when using this service. Once you send it, the recipient will be delivered a package containing your Potato Parcel.
The recent scandal that rocked Wells Fargo is nothing new. Stories of corporate malfeasance often end with civil settlements paid to the U.S. Department of Justice. But how is potential future business impacted when a company is caught with its hand in the cookie jar? New research from the University of Notre Dame suggests what you might already expect: unethical behavior is immensely damaging to a business’s future prospects.
A research paper published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, “Do It Well and Do It Right: Impact of Service Climate and Ethical Climate on Business Performance and the Boundary Conditions,” examined the intersection between the quality of service a business offers and its adherence to ethical mores by looking into conditions at nearly 200 movie theaters. The findings reveal that quality service and an ethical business plan are essential for long-term business success.
“Both high-quality service and low unethical behaviors are important to predicting business unit performance,” Kaifeng Jiang, the lead author of the study and assistant professor of management at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, told Business News Daily. “This is especially so when the market is very competitive, because then the customers have a lot of options and could … switch to another product or service provider.”
Through their analysis of the theaters, the researchers determined that a higher quality of service more positively impacted operations when ethical adherence was also high. Conversely, when unethical behavior was commonplace, a high quality of service had a much-diminished impact on the success of business operations.
“While carmakers and banks strive to provide superior customer service, their unethical conduct and the resultant fines inevitably jeopardize customer trust and diminish long-run financial returns,” co-author Jasmine Hu, assistant professor of management at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, said in a statement.
The authors cited several key takeaways from their research that could help business owners and managers achieve both high-quality service and a culture of consistently ethical behavior:
- Service excellence is a necessary, but insufficient, condition for success.
- Build service and ethical climates that operate in tandem to guide service and ethical behaviors [among employees] without supervision.
- Take corrective actions before unethical behaviors occur, by periodically measuring employee perceptions of your company’s ethical climate.
- Service and ethical behaviors are most essential within turbulent or competitive markets, with competitive intensity being the most important.
IBM has been known for its forays into artificial intelligence and cloud computing. Now, the technology provider is moving deeper into financial consulting with the acquisition of a prominent — and at times controversial — Washington firm.
The company said on Thursday that it was buying the Promontory Financial Group. The financial terms were not disclosed.
Founded by Eugene A. Ludwig, a former top banking regulator and a law school friend of former President Bill Clinton, Promontory became one of the top financial consulting firms to emerge after the global financial crisis of 2008. Its employees, including many former financial regulators from around the world, advised banks on regulatory matters.
But the firm has drawn scrutiny because of the coziness of its ties to the banks it advises when it is meant to provide objective analyses of banks’ problems. Last year, Promontory settled an investigation by New York State’s financial regulator into its work for the British bank Standard Chartered.
In a statement, IBM said that Promontory and its 600 employees around the world would mesh with its own offerings, including its Watson artificial intelligence platform. In particular, Promontory is expected to help train Watson, with the goal of aiding IBM’s financial clients on managing their regulatory obligations and potentially reducing the costs of doing so.
“What Watson is doing to transform oncology by working with the world’s leading oncologists, we will now do for regulation, risk and compliance,” Bridget van Kralingen, a senior vice president for IBM’s industry platforms team, said in a statement. “This initial offering of Watson Financial Services is emblematic of the transformative cloud-based solutions that IBM Industry Platforms will bring to clients.”
“We believe the future of business and regulation will be driven by the need for advanced technology alongside deep subject-matter expertise,” Mr. Ludwig said in a statement.
1. Consumer rewards programs are popular among retailers, and e-commerce site EcoPlum is no exception. With every purchase, customers earn “EcoChipz,” which are redeemable for either rewards or a donation to environmental causes. Each product sold also carries a third-party green certification or an equivalent eco label. In addition to selling sustainably sourced products, EcoPlum produces educational content, such as monthly columns by industry experts, local green business listings, recycling information, eco-tips, and book and video recommendations.Another retailer selling eco-friendly items is Eco Carmel, a Carmel, California-based home and garden store that serves as a local hub for products, services and advice on green living. Owner Kristi Reimers sells eco-friendly home products ranging from nontoxic paint to cutting boards made from sustainably grown wood. Reimers also uses her knowledge of eco-friendly materials to help local businesses and homeowners find ways to incorporate renewable or recycled resources into their remodeling projects.
2. You might not think of construction as being very sustainable, but some companies are now providing recycled materials for use in projects like infrastructure repair. Axion, for example, with its eco-friendly products, hopes to change the way companies think about rebuilding America’s infrastructure. The company’s railroad ties and pilings are made from recycled plastic from consumer and industrial uses, rather than non-sustainable materials like steel and concrete. Axion is currently working with major partners, like Long Island Rail Road, to improve infrastructure safely and sustainably in the United States.
Author and motivational speaker Charlie “Tremendous” Jones once said, “You’ll be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”
It’s one of my favorite quotes, and applies to my own personal experience. I’ve had some amazing mentors, from the CEO of Avon to Fortune 500 execs, a governor, and various venture capitalists. Yet a substantial amount of my leadership philosophy is gleaned from reading great authors, or everyday people I’ve met along the way — including a lot of incredible teammates.
Authentic coachability really requires extreme effort by the leader to be on the receiving end of it — from anyone in the organization. I’ve found coachability among the most vital attributes in an organization, culturally and individually. Too often, executives get defensive, and this unwillingness to be challenged simply cascades downward. To me, there are few things more inspiring towards the effort of personal development than hearing the CEO say, “You know what? You’re right, I’ve got to get better at that.”
Do the right thing. My commencement speaker for my undergrad program was Mitch Daniels (who later became a mentor). At the time Mitch was a pharmaceutical exec, and later became Governor of Indiana. After he spoke, I asked him, “What’s the single best piece of advice you could give me as I start out my career? He answered, “This is easy. With every decision, first always do the right thing.”
Leverage your intuition. Years ago I worked for Stuart Ochiltree, former CEO of Avon. He pulled me aside at my six-month review and provided one observation: “You question your intuition too often. You’ve got great intuition but you have to allow yourself to trust it.” It was, perhaps, the best advice I’ve ever received. Using data is vital with many business decisions, but there are many times when you simply have to call it — and that’s where intuition comes into play.
Be the pacesetter. A major part of the temperature and tenacity of an organization is set by the CEO. At another early point in my career I was the VP of sales and marketing at a NYC-based startup, working for a terrific CEO, Stephen Haimowitz. More often than not, our days ended well past midnight, yet I can’t ever remember leaving the office before him. He set the pace for that entire company, and created an obsessive focus on delighting customers, which permeated —and inspired — all of us.
Ask the right questions. My first stint as a president was in my late 20s, and in year two I was prepping for due diligence on an overseas acquisition. Prior to leaving, I called my mentor and board member Paul Rohner, former CFO and treasurer of Searle (now part of Pfizer). He asked me, “Are you ready?” I replied confidently that I had four pages of questions, at which point he abruptly cut me off and said, “You don’t need four pages of questions! I’m asking if you have the right four questions.” With the combination of a fast organizational pace, limitless opportunities, and many people, thinking about the right questions is essential to success.