4 Reasons Your Business Might Need a Consultant

Managing a business comes with great responsibility, and CEOs can often feel like the responsibility of a whole company is resting firmly on their shoulders. There are times when a consultant can help carry some of that weight, whether that’s launching and marketing a new product or progressing your business through a specific stage of development.

Business consulting

But consultants can help businesses in many ways and do so much more than just lending a strong and steady hand. Here are four reasons your company might need one.

1. You need specific skills

Often as a CEO, you’ll need someone for your business with a set of specific skills.…



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The Company’s New Revenue Generating Strategy Took Unexpected Forms

Product Placement Business Cartoon

My kids hate commercials.

I mean, I hated them growing up, but there was no escape so you just put up with them. But my kids HATE commercials.

I think they’re so used to any and all content available on-demand when, where and how they want it, mostly ad-free, that when they have to put up with advertising they get really frustrated.

So one day my daughter was ranting about a local hardware commercial that kept interrupting her Hulu cooking show (I won’t spring for the no-commercial option) and the idea of inserting a commercial into another everyday setting occurred to me and this cartoon popped out.

I don’t know if this is what’s coming, but if it is, it’s going to drive my kids bananas.

Side note — I just noticed that the cat I drew on the Kitty Winks bag is, in fact, not winking. Sorry.

This article, "The Company’s New Revenue Generating Strategy Took Unexpected Forms" was first published on Small Business Trends



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The Company’s New Revenue Generating Strategy Took Unexpected Forms

Product Placement Business Cartoon

My kids hate commercials.

I mean, I hated them growing up, but there was no escape so you just put up with them. But my kids HATE commercials.

I think they’re so used to any and all content available on-demand when, where and how they want it, mostly ad-free, that when they have to put up with advertising they get really frustrated.

So one day my daughter was ranting about a local hardware commercial that kept interrupting her Hulu cooking show (I won’t spring for the no-commercial option) and the idea of inserting a commercial into another everyday setting occurred to me and this cartoon popped out.

I don’t know if this is what’s coming, but if it is, it’s going to drive my kids bananas.

Side note — I just noticed that the cat I drew on the Kitty Winks bag is, in fact, not winking. Sorry.

This article, "The Company’s New Revenue Generating Strategy Took Unexpected Forms" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Thousands of Restaurants May Close Nationwide Due to Minimum Wage Laws, Expert Says

Minimum Wage Hikes Hitting Restaurants Hard Restaurants, Some May Be Forced to Close

Restaurants are under increasing pressure from minimum wage hikes to pay workers more and pass off costs in higher prices for customers, Fox Business reports.

Eighteen states raised their minimum wage at the start of the year, forcing thousands of restaurants to adapt to rising labor costs. However, patrons will only absorb so much of the cost.

“When we increase in prices … we see guest count go down,” “Restaurant Stakeout” host and CEO of Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse Willie Degel told FOX Business. “The consumer is not willing to pay for the experience then.”

Minimum Wage Hikes Hitting Restaurants

Degel predicted a dark future for the restaurant industry if labor costs keep increasing.

“I think you’re going to see thousands of restaurants close their doors,” Willie Degel told FOX Business. “Fine dining is going to go by the wayside.”

Some restaurants are downsizing staff to keep their doors open. Red Robin announced last week that it will cut all busboy positions from its 570 stores nationwide. The chain hopes to save $8 million to help pay for the minimum wage hikes that hit many states where the chain operates, The New York Post reports.

Wages and benefits are ramping up across most industries without the prodding of minimum wage laws. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent for the last three months of 2017, slightly below what the federal reserve considers normal, between 4.3 and 5 percent.

The low unemployment rate has created a hyper-competitive labor market with businesses competing to attract skilled workers through higher pay and better benefits. Some construction companies are struggling to fill positions while offering six-figure salaries.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Thousands of Restaurants May Close Nationwide Due to Minimum Wage Laws, Expert Says" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

Thousands of Restaurants May Close Nationwide Due to Minimum Wage Laws, Expert Says

Minimum Wage Hikes Hitting Restaurants Hard Restaurants, Some May Be Forced to Close

Restaurants are under increasing pressure from minimum wage hikes to pay workers more and pass off costs in higher prices for customers, Fox Business reports.

Eighteen states raised their minimum wage at the start of the year, forcing thousands of restaurants to adapt to rising labor costs. However, patrons will only absorb so much of the cost.

“When we increase in prices … we see guest count go down,” “Restaurant Stakeout” host and CEO of Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse Willie Degel told FOX Business. “The consumer is not willing to pay for the experience then.”

Minimum Wage Hikes Hitting Restaurants

Degel predicted a dark future for the restaurant industry if labor costs keep increasing.

“I think you’re going to see thousands of restaurants close their doors,” Willie Degel told FOX Business. “Fine dining is going to go by the wayside.”

Some restaurants are downsizing staff to keep their doors open. Red Robin announced last week that it will cut all busboy positions from its 570 stores nationwide. The chain hopes to save $8 million to help pay for the minimum wage hikes that hit many states where the chain operates, The New York Post reports.

Wages and benefits are ramping up across most industries without the prodding of minimum wage laws. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent for the last three months of 2017, slightly below what the federal reserve considers normal, between 4.3 and 5 percent.

The low unemployment rate has created a hyper-competitive labor market with businesses competing to attract skilled workers through higher pay and better benefits. Some construction companies are struggling to fill positions while offering six-figure salaries.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Thousands of Restaurants May Close Nationwide Due to Minimum Wage Laws, Expert Says" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Innovative materials from bamboo are helping a new industry to sprout

A bamboo spider rides high

FANNING out from the sodden delta of the Yangtze, and southward to the flanks of the Nanling mountains, over 6m hectares of emerald bamboo groves—one-fifth of the world’s reserves—flourish in China. Giant pandas nibble the softest shoots. Around 40bn pairs of disposable chopsticks are made from bamboo twigs annually in China, for use with everyday meals. Steel scaffolding is still often shunned for bamboo on skyscrapers under construction in even the ritziest parts of Hong Kong. The history of the grass is colourful, too. Before paper, Chinese wrote on bamboo slips; they used bamboo tubes for irrigation, and later stuffed them with gunpowder to ignite muskets.

Yet for all its importance and abundance bamboo is “China’s forgotten plant”, says Martin Tam, an expert in Hong Kong. To demonstrate its potential, he greets visitors with a can of bamboo juice, proffers a bamboo business card, and gestures to a bamboo armchair near his desk. He...



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Should SEOs & Content Marketers Play to the Social Networks' "Stay-On-Our-Site" Algorithms? - Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

Increasingly, social networks are tweaking their algorithms to favor content that remains on their site, rather than send users to an outside source. This spells trouble for those trying to drive traffic and visitors to external pages, but what's an SEO or content marketer to do? Do you swim with the current, putting all your efforts toward placating the social network algos, or do you go against it and continue to promote your own content? This edition of Whiteboard Friday goes into detail on the pros and cons of each approach, then gives Rand's recommendations on how to balance your efforts going forward.

Should SEOs and content marketers play to the social networks "stay-on-our-site" algorithms?

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we're chatting about whether SEOs and content marketers, for that matter, should play to what the social networks are developing in their visibility and engagement algorithms, or whether we should say, "No. You know what? Forget about what you guys are doing. We're going to try and do things on social networks that benefit us." I'll show you what I'm talking about.

Facebook

If you're using Facebook and you're posting content to it, Facebook generally tends to frown upon and lower the average visibility and ability of content to reach its audience on Facebook if it includes an external link. So, on average, posts that include an external link will fare more poorly in Facebooks' news feed algorithm than on-site content, exclusively content that lives on Facebook.

For example, if you see this video promoted on Facebook.com/Moz or Facebook.com/RandFishkin, it will do more poorly than if Moz and I had promoted a Facebook native video of Whiteboard Friday. But we don't want that. We want people to come visit our site and subscribe to Whiteboard Friday here and not stay on Facebook where we only reach 1 out of every 50 or 100 people who might subscribe to our page.

So it's clearly in our interest to do this, but Facebook wants to keep you on Facebook's website, because then they can do the most advertising and targeting to you and get the most time on site from you. That's their business, right?

Twitter

The same thing is true of Twitter. So it tends to be the case that links off Twitter fare more poorly. Now, I am not 100% sure in Twitter's case whether this is algorithmic or user-driven. I suspect it's a little of both, that Twitter will promote or make most visible to you when you log in to Twitter the posts that have been made or the tweets that have been made that are self-contained. They live entirely on Twitter. They might contain a bunch of different stuff, a poll or images or be a thread. But links off Twitter will be dampened.

Instagram

The same thing is true on Instagram. Well, on Instagram, they're kind of the worst. They don't allow links at all. The only thing you can do is a link in profile. More engaging content on Instagram, as of just a couple weeks ago, more engaging content equals higher placement in the feed. In fact, Instagram has now just come out and said that they will show you content posts from people you're not following but that they think will be engaging to you, which gives influential Instagram accounts that get lots of engagement an additional benefit, but kind of hurts everyone else that you're normally following on the network.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn, LinkedIn's algorithm includes extra visibility in the feed for self-contained post content, which is why you see a lot of these posts of, "Oh, here's all the crazy amounts of work I did and what my experience was like building this or doing that." If it's a self-contained, sort of blog post-style content in LinkedIn that does not link out, it will do much better than posts that contain an external link, which LinkedIn sort of dampens in their visibility algorithm for their feed.

Play to the algos?

So all of these sites have these components of their algorithm that basically reward you if you are willing to play to their algos, meaning you keep all of the content on their sites and platform, their stuff, not yours. You essentially play to what they're trying to achieve, which is more time on site for them, more engagement for them, less people going away to other places. You refuse or you don't link out, so no external linking to other places. You maintain sort of what I call a high signal to noise ratio, so that rather than sharing all the things you might want to share, you only share posts that you can count on having relatively high engagement.

That track record is something that sticks with you on most of these networks. Facebook, for example, if I have posts that do well, many in a row, I will get more visibility for my next one. If my last couple of posts have performed poorly on Facebook, my next one will be dampened. You sort of get a string or get on a roll with these networks. Same thing is true on Twitter, by the way.

$#@! the algos, serve your own site?

Or you say, "Forget you" to the algorithms and serve your own site instead, which means you use the networks to tease content, like, "Here's this exciting, interesting thing. If you want the whole story or you want to watch full video or see all the graphs and charts or whatever it is, you need to come to our website where we host the full content." You link externally so that you're driving traffic back to the properties that you own and control, and you have to be willing to promote some potentially promotional content, in order to earn value from these social networks, even if that means slightly lower engagement or less of that get-on-a-roll reputation.

My recommendation

The recommendation that I have for SEOs and content marketers is I think we need to balance this. But if I had to, I would tilt it in favor of your site. Social networks, I know it doesn't seem this way, but social networks come and go in popularity, and they change the way that they work. So investing very heavily in Facebook six or seven years ago might have made a ton of sense for a business. Today, a lot of those investments have been shown to have very little impact, because instead of reaching 20 or 30 out of 100 of your followers, you're reaching 1 or 2. So you've lost an order of magnitude of reach on there. The same thing has been true generally on Twitter, on LinkedIn, and on Instagram. So I really urge you to tilt slightly to your own site.

Owned channels are your website, your email, where you have the email addresses of the people there. I would rather have an email or a loyal visitor or an RSS subscriber than I would 100 times as many Twitter followers, because the engagement you can get and the value that you can get as a business or as an organization is just much higher.

Just don't ignore how these algorithms work. If you can, I would urge you to sometimes get on those rolls so that you can grow your awareness and reach by playing to these algorithms.

So, essentially, while I'm urging you to tilt slightly this way, I'm also suggesting that occasionally you should use what you know about how these algorithms work in order to grow and accelerate your growth of followers and reach on these networks so that you can then get more benefit of driving those people back to your site. You've got to play both sides, I think, today in order to have success with the social networks' current reach and visibility algorithms.

All right, everyone, look forward to your comments. We'll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com


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