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Labor and Inventory Shortages During the Recovery

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

With relaxed social distance requirements, business owners have seen many pandemic challenges flip-flop. Suddenly, proprietors cope with stir-crazy patrons chomping at the bits to leave the isolation of shelter-in-place requirements. Many establishments have rarely seen demand increase so rapidly. Unfortunately for business owners, many low-wage jobs remain unfulfilled, and inventory has run dry.

Everyone is playing catch-up and vying or the same inventory and talents.  It is very competitive.

How can businesses compensate for shortages in labor and inventory? As expanded unemployment continues, many workers still opt to collect rather than rejoin the workforce. Adding to the labor shortage, months of quarantine have led to some product shortages. However, during this period of demand exceeding supply, various strategies can manage white-hot growth even with a skeleton crew.

Expanded roles may compensate for vacancies. Efficient use of entry-level workers need not confine them to boring, unstimulating daily routines.  Increased workload may necessitate diversified job descriptions. Many new employees have usable education or expertise outside their entry-level job descriptions. Further training may help businesses fill needs for diverse roles while helping employees reach their potential. As icing on the cake, such opportunities for professional development may lead to fruitful relationships long-term.

It also makes sense to look and think out of the box when recruiting new employees.  Many potential employees welcome working remotely and with today’s technology and a good work ethic, this can and does work.  It is important to many as they reevaluate their quality of life.

Additionally, consider hiring Veterans.  They are disciplined and have an extraordinary work ethic.  Additionally, there are significant tax credits from $2,400 to $9,600 on many hires depending on the specifics.  You should also consider hiring members of the National Guard and Reserve who can be activated but make outstanding hires.

As demand rises, inventory may run tight. In such a case, consider streamlined use of resources. Technological developments may help. Some managers automate inventory management with algorithms that predicts when and how much product to buy. Several apps utilize various such algorithms.  Quickbooks Desktop Enterprise, Paragon SMB, Katana, and Brightpearl may provide valuable tools. Careful accounting for inflow and outflow of inventory minimizes shrinkage and ensures optimum resource use.

After the COVID debacle, many people just want to get out. Some business owners have noticed the increase in demand over the past few months. Sixteen months of “stay-in-place” orders” have left people starved for entertainment, dining, and even the presence of others. During those sixteen months, a worldwide economic hiatus let the “consumerist well” run dry for many product-thirsty consumers. Production slowed, and workers stayed at home. Buyers stayed in place. The recent surge in demand presents an invaluable opportunity for business owners as well as their employees. During this recovery period, everyone can gain from professional development opportunities as well as the chance to streamline business processes.

While demand does exceed supply, consider the opportunities for business development in the meantime. We all want good service and high-quality products. Additionally, challenges keep proprietors on edge. This window provides a golden opportunity to ensure the wheels are greased as the machinery of your business going forward.

In short, relaxation of COVID-era restrictions provides priceless opportunities for both small business owners and their workers. Beforehand, many larger companies did not know how to utilize every lot of inventory, or each one of their employees. However, technological innovations have provided the tools to create better companies. The recovery from COVID can provide the impetus. Each of the two can lead to business processes that improve life not only for consumers, but for business owners and their employees as well.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hopes that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here:

https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/

 

The COVID-19 pandemic was life changing in so many ways quickly and drastically transforming the way we all worked, learned, and socialized. As 2021 continues to march forward and states relax their COVID guidelines and closures, employers today are increasingly wanting to keep virtual options open for workplace training, even as their business doors reopen, and their offices fill back up.

This is true for education both training-centered for the company or to help employees stay competitive in their field by rounding out their skills.

Why is virtual training such a great investment for any company? Below are some compelling and persuasive reasons why education and training online should continue to be the new normal as we move forward post pandemic.

1.) Outstanding Training that is Not Location Limited: 

Training programs are now more accessible because Small Business Owners are not limited to any specific location. Not only can your employees learn wherever they are based, but they are also able to learn from qualified instructors anywhere in the world.

Scheduling is more flexible, and your employees’ needs are more easily met.   Additionally, more can be learned from a broader range of subjects and teachers. Your employees can now gain valuable training with the best instructors regardless matter where anyone is located.

2.) Expands your Resources:

Learning online expands the scope of your company’s digital resources. Digital learning platforms make more information available, in multiple different formats, that are accessible whenever and wherever it is convenient for the learner. They also foster a better collaborative environment, and this promotes the overall welfare of both the company and their employees.

3.) Keeps Employees Competitive in Your Field:

Your employees will do a better job for your company if they are continually improving and refining their skills. They need to stay on top of the latest trends, practices, systems, and technologies being used in your company’s field. Providing learning opportunities for your employees boosts your own company, as well as enhances their career opportunities and makes them feel more connected to you for providing skill enhancing opportunities. Training is part of almost every professional career.  Another benefit to your Small Veteran Owned Business is that your happy, incentivized, employees that are allowed to grow and because of their continued training, education and growth, they tend to stay.

As a Small Veteran Owned Business, there are few investments that are better to make than investing in the education of your employees. Allowing them to enhance their skill set, at a time of their choosing, and in any location that is comfortable for them will not only boost the likelihood of them actually attending the courses, but their overall satisfaction as an employee of yours.  Their higher levels of skill and knowledge will directly benefit your business. Virtual learning has dramatically shifted what and how we all learn.  It is certainly a change for the better.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hopes that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Don’t forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here:

https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/

Most business owners say that they lack free time or even the time to do much more than work. They tend to work almost non-stop.   This is because their passion for their business is what had led them to success. However, working yourself to death is not a good thing to do.  It is so important to have balance and all work, and no play is unhealthy and can burn you out.   It is critical that you take control of your schedule and get some much needed down time.  Sometime scheduling your downtime just as you schedule an important meeting can be important and ensure that you have this balance. Below are three ideas to help you better manage your time and schedule.

1.) Say no… and mean it!

Most business owners find it difficult to turn down projects or opportunities that may prove valuable at some later date. They often end up overloading their schedules and stressing themselves out.

When asked to do anything, you should step back and consider if the proposition is providing real value to you or your business. Will the opportunity be beneficial both in terms of time spent on it and yield the desired result? Occasionally you may just take on a project because it seems like fun, or you like the person asking you to do it. Make sure that you take a few minutes to analyze any new opportunity or request in order to make an educated decision on whether it is worth your attention. If it is not, say no and mean it.

2.) Delegate!

Many business owners are overwhelmed with tasks; whether it is stocking shelves, answering calls or emails, managing payroll, heading to bank, or the multitude of other day-to-day tasks that need to be done. Even if you do not have employees, you can (and should) still be delegating tasks to others to help free up some of your time. Start with your staff and employees and then ask other people that you trust outside of the business (family or friends) who are able to assist with some of the more minor tasks on your list.

3.) Work-Life Blending…

As a Small Business Owner,you most likely already know that you cannot completely separate your personal life from your work life. This is not a bad thing. Instead of a work-life balance, most have a work-life blend that can be incredibly beneficial to the business and the business owner as long as it is managed properly. Learn when to focus on the business and when to focus on your personal life. Make sure to prioritize as needed and take time off to completely disconnect occasionally for goodness’s sake!

Managing your valuable time as a Small Veteran Business Owner will always be a constant challenge.  However, with a concerted, strategic effort, you can better schedule your business and life.  This will provide you more free time and help you stay passionate and energized to grow your business.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hopes that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Don’t forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here:

https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/

Using Backlinks to Direct Traffic to Your Website

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

How can a Veteran Business Owner lure a casual onlooker into a strong, mutually beneficial partnership? The Age of the Internet has brought the concept of “Search Engine Optimization” also known as “SEO”.  Backlinks are one of the best strategies for establishing SEO within your niche.

The Concept of Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization,” or SEO, increases the likelihood of a website’s appearance in an Internet search. One common strategy involves the use of backlinks, which connects the site to other related pages. Site administrators use various tactics to link to other websites.

Foundations of SEO

Authority, Content, Structure, Useability

First, websites must command authority and retain credibility. Respectable content should maintain internal coherence, as well as factual verifiability. Trust in a website’s content precedes optimal search engine optimization. Posting foolish content could make your website irrelevant. Subsequently, the website could disappear into the back pages of internet searches.

Second, visibility is key. Many websites for small businesses may specialize in a certain niche. Veteran Business Owners need to sync with others in their niche. Building enthusiasm within the same field encourages backlinks. Build excitement among others within your business’s niche, and they will link to your website.

Third, consider the structure of the website. Veteran Business Owners should design sites with attractive layouts. Otherwise, Google searchers will simply dismiss the site as not only hard-to-use, but unprofessional.  Understanding themes in web-building applications like WordPress could facilitate the process of user-friendly website construction.

Fourth, consider the technical aspects, the website should be fast, crawlable, and secure. A slow website could frustrate casual users. Additionally, wise users understand the importance of security. Finally, the search engine’s bots could ignore the website absent content that remains in sync with your industry.

Steps to Build Backlinks: Strategies for Building Enthusiasm

  1. Analysis

Key words are important for backlinks. Some basic phrases can optimize web search results. For example, many potential customers use the phrase “near me” to find local businesses. These phrases are crucial to lift your business to the top of the list in web search results.

  1. Development

Your website can develop to any level of complexity and sophistication. Just ensure your content remains in-sync with the needs of customers. The more useful the information, the greater the trust with potential clients.

However, always consider user-friendliness. A “busy” or confusing website merely alienates viewers. Again, understanding “themes” in WordPress or other web-building websites may keep websites simple and interesting.

  1. Publication

Business owners should use care with use of “key words” in maximizing SEO. Overuse of general stock-phrases may garner hits without engagement. “Key words” should generally target the relevant industry. Google Keyword Planner may help with directing traffic specifically to spark a sale or partnership.

  1. Marketing

Social media shares do not hurt a brand. Feel free to use them. However, backlinks and key words remain the best ways to spread the word.

  1. Maintenance

Always monitor engagement with your site. Google Analytics is one tool to ensure healthy traffic to your website.

Other aps such as SEMRUSH, Magestic, Moz, or Ahrefs offer both free and paid services to ensure your website’s ongoing health.

Strategies to Avoid

Search engine companies are on to most shady backlink tactics. Starting in 2012, Google launched the Penguin algorithm to their search engine. The Penguin algorithm can detect, with uncanny accuracy, attempts to buy or fabricate backlinks to raise a website in a list of search results. Such attempts are not worth anyone’s time.

Strategies to Recommend

Consider your competition. Also consider the “buzzwords” in your industry. Do not forget your niche in the local economy. Ultimately, Veteran Business Owners should consider their marketing efforts as genuine engagement with real human beings, not screens or bots. Hence, we obtain backlinks, and move toward optimal SEO.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hopes that this article has been helpful.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Don’t forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here:

https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/

 

Questions to Ask Before Starting a New Business

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Many Americans are evaluating their lives and how they make their livings. Driven by factors such as safety, job security, life purpose, future goals, and work-life balance, the COVID-19 pandemic has led a lot more people to question whether now is the right time to start their own business.

Do you dream of creating your own product line? Setting your own hours? Being your own boss? Starting your own business can really help you take control of your life and work, take charge, add flexibility, learn new experiences, connect better with peers, and broaden yourself as a person.

Business owners are not special super humans.   They are normal people who have big ideas and work very hard to turn their ideas into reality. Every business owner is different but there are a few key traits that they all seem to have in common. To help you decide if starting a business is right for you, below are some basic questions to ask yourself before making the leap.

1.) Can you make important decisions quickly?

Problems arise all the time in business, and it is very important that the business owner can respond to them quickly, decisively, and with a clear head. You will also need to be able to handle any consequences that may occur after the problem has been resolved. Being a business owner, requires you to have confidence under pressure but not arrogance. You need to be able to be part of the team you build, have confidence in each other’s skills, accept that mistakes will happen, and be able to learn from those mistakes to move forward. If you struggle to make effective decisions quickly, owning a business will be more difficult for you.

2.) Do you have energy? 

Running a business is a lot of work. You need to have a high level of energy and excited to grow your brand. If you are the type of person who is constantly seeking after-work hobbies, weekend projects, and other activities, you may have the energy to start a new business.

3.) Are you creative?

Creativity is a key aspect of owning a business.  It is important to have the ability to think out of the box. As the owner, you will be required to constantly come up with new ideas.   These new ideas may include but not be limited to new product ideas, lead generating strategies, marketing thoughts, revenue boosting activities, improving the company culture, and more. If you are usually bursting with new ideas, a business is a great way for you to share those ideas with the rest of the world.

4.) Do you like to solve problems?

A business owner is basically a full-time problem solver. As we touched on in point #1, problems constantly arise in business. These problems should be viewed as opportunities and challenges rather than setbacks. As the owner, you cannot afford to be easily discouraged by setbacks or bad news. You need to be able to push forward and continue working hard. So, if you love solving problems and are not easily discouraged, business ownership could be for you.  VAMBOA wishes you great success.

Regardless of how you answered the above questions, we hope that you can see that business ownership is not out of your reach if it is something you are interested in. If you are even slightly creative, energetic, and love to solve problems plus you have a great idea for a business, now is one of the best times to get started.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hopes that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Don’t forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here:

https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/

 

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