Dell Technologies
BMS-center-logo
 

By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

Who knew? Labor and supply shortages are creating havoc and cursing small businesses now more than ever, especially in the wake of reopening. Behemoths such as Amazon and Walmart have their safety nets. Smaller establishments must struggle with what they have. As a result, gaps in service plague the reputations and growth of their smaller counterparts.

Unfortunately for Veteran Business Owners, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 8.1 million job openings at the end of March, a new record. The pandemic only exacerbated a preexisting trend, and the reasons vary. 

Suggestions have included a lack of training opportunities, supercharged unemployment benefits, a mismatched skill set, and fear due to the pandemic for many. Whatever the cause, a shortage of qualified workers has left employers in the lurch despite a continuously shrinking workforce.

Gaps in service are a result, often leaving angry customers. This anger often shows up online. These days, an online presence can make or break a company. Angry reviews can pose real threats to a struggling business.

The trend nowadays is for buyers overwhelmingly to check their business’ online presence. How can business owners minimize angry diatribes on forums such as Yelp, Bing, Google My Business, and Facebook? Small employers are finding themselves trapped between the rock of the labor shortage and the hard place of customer satisfaction. The best short-term fix is better communication.

Business owners should build trust with their client base. Patrons should understand that they can work with the management of a company. These kinds of positive working relationships best protect smaller businesses from online reputational issues, which may leave business owners feeling helpless in their marketing efforts. Good working relationships often rest on a foundation of good communication, one of the variables that managers may control in this economic environment.

Methods of communication may vary. Updating profiles on relevant online business platforms is an easy first step. The business’s profiles on the above online platforms should provide up-to-date hours and terms of service. When possible, these sites should also include explanations for any changes in these terms. Additionally, a business owner should address any negative reviews directly as soon as possible.

Some verbal strategies can improve the outcome of discussions with a dissatisfied customer. For example, first, the person in charge should remain calm during a confrontation. Second, active listening can demonstrate that the manager understands the grievance.  Active listening methods generally emphasize engagement in the discussion. In other words, managers should not remain passive targets in these matters. One such technique may involve rephrasing the complaints in a manner that demonstrates a genuine understanding of the customer’s issues with their service. 

Finally, management should demonstrate their understanding of the weight of the problem and if possible, let the customer know the relevant steps for resolving such issues in the future.

Early communication with dissatisfied customers may prevent escalation or even an angry Yelp review. Overall, the goal is a synergy between the needs of the client and the capacities of the owner. During these novel times, business owners should engage any necessary communication techniques to achieve a meeting of the minds that leaves all parties satisfied and at peace.

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/ 

Labor and Inventory Shortages During the Recovery

Share this Article:
Share Article on Facebook Share Article on Linked In Share Article on Twitter

 

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/

 

Post-Pandemic Opportunities

Share this Article:
Share Article on Facebook Share Article on Linked In Share Article on Twitter

By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

  • The Pandemic is the Time to Snag Deals for your Business:

Sadly, many businesses will fail during the pandemic. Inventory from these businesses may spread far and wide across the market. Bargain hunters can rejoice. Like a phoenix arising from its ashes, new businesses can feed on the detritus from this economic event.

The pandemic has slowed or even shut down sectors of the economy. This downtime can provide opportunities to adapt to changes to come. Failing businesses from this past cycle may provide starter kits for new endeavors going forward. A veteran business owner may have discovered a recipe they can sell online. Perhaps a restaurant has failed and must unload cooking equipment. A budding home entrepreneur can make a deal to each party’s mutual benefit.

Looking for a cheap forklift for your new warehouse? Google it, or check MachineryTrader.com.

Paradoxically, dire economic circumstances provide opportunities to adapt and flourish in a new environment. As the marketplace changes, feel free to take advantage. The pandemic has spilled cheap equipment and inventory widely across the economy. Efficient use of these resources helps everyone.

  • Opportunities to Adapt to New Paradigms:

On a related note, consider the nature of new businesses post-pandemic. The “downtime” from this economic shutdown may provide opportunities to consider new directions moving forward. Especially notable, experimentation with “at-home work” has called the traditional workplace into question. Furthermore, the pandemic has accelerated the digitalization of economic life.

Shares of companies such as Zoom and Netflix ballooned after March of 2020. Consider the topography of the economy in years to come. What about the next time consumers must “shelter in place?” What companies will support these new demands as further crises occur? What companies will support these companies?

With the Pandemic, we are seeing shifts in company operations. COVID-19 forced

experimentation into new workplace paradigms. Few could have expected such a rapid shift to a work-from-home model.

The spark of inspiration can strike like a bolt of lightening upon consideration of the new economic landscape that faces us.

  • Opportunities to Acquire Businesses:

Great opportunities abound for the purchase of smaller businesses.  With these sales come all the attendant intellectual property, networks, logos, and attendant goodwill.

An entrepreneur with a new idea may find diverse reasons to purchase a company in this market. The brilliant idea of the next new business owner may have a near-doppelganger elsewhere. A similar business may have filled a similar niche that became obsolete.

One classic example may be a brick-and-mortar music store that lost its market share with the rise of online streaming. It would be a shame to waste the resources of that business as they become less successful in a shifting economy. Sometimes, in everyone’s interest is the optimal use of that company’s resources. Mergers and sales may preserve the dynamism of these venues. Many such businesses are ready for changes in management in the wake of the pandemic.

The Bottom Line:

The pandemic has affected some profound developments in the economy, and accelerated others. Such is the nature of economic change. In everyone’s interest is a dynamic, conscientious engagement with these changes. Whether exploring new ideas or re-purposing older resources, veteran entrepreneurs can look forward to endless opportunities in the years to come.

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

Covid 19 Business Resources by State

Share this Article:
Share Article on Facebook Share Article on Linked In Share Article on Twitter

 

By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

Various local resources supplement private and public nationwide programs. Like their counterparts, these programs may come from the government, nonprofits, and private corporations. Many states have go-to websites that collect available information about resources available to small businesses during the pandemic. Additionally, the SBA offers special programs designated states where gaps in service continue.

We hope this article will provide a valuable guide for you.

Alabama

Altogether: https://altogetheralabama.org/

Alaska

Alaska Small Business Development Center COVID-19 Resource Center:  https:// aksbdc.org

Arizona

Arizona Together: arizonatogether.org

Arkansas

Resources for Arkansas include the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (asbtdc.org) and the Arkansas Quick Action Loan Program (arkansasedc.com).

California

California provides various websites to guide business owners through the pandemic. These sites tend to be city-based. Among them are the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workplace Development (owed.org), Sacramento COVID Relief (sacramentocovidrelief.org), and Los Angeles offers ewddlacity.com. This site provides information on microloans.

Colorado

Colorado offers one useful resource for the entire state: choosecolorado.com. The other is specific to the Denver area: denvergov.org. Both include useful information about coronavirus.

Connecticut

Connecticut provides one site that provides COVID-19 information for the entire state (portal.ct.gov). COVID-19 information figures prominently on this general government site.  Inquiries about further resources can be sent to DECD.COVID19@ct.gov.

Delaware

Delaware has a government site that can help (Delaware.gov). In addition, the Hospitality Emergency Loan Program (HELP) has been set up to help businesses within that industry. Useful websites are www.delbiz.com and de.gov/coronavirus.

Florida

The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program sometimes lends between $50,000 to $100,000. Loans are interest free for one year. Afterward, interest rates rise to 12%. See deorsera.force.com for more information.

Georgia

Invest Atlanta has created the Business Continuity Loan Fund (BCLF). Their website is investatlanta.com.

Hawaii and Idaho

Business owners in Hawaii are referred to the Small Business Administration (sba.gov). The SBA offers businesses in designated states and programs special loans to those affected by the virus.

Illinois

A local resource for Chicago is the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund. See Chicago.gov for more information.

Indiana

The Indiana Small Business Development Center should provide COVID-19 guidance. (isbdc.org.)

Iowa

The Iowa Small Business Development Center (iowasbdc.org) is a good resource.

Kansas

Gotopeka.com is a great local resource for the Topeka area of Kansas. Go Topeka recently announced up to $2 million for business workers in Topeka and Shawnee County.

Kentucky

The Kentucky Small Business Development Center is a great resource. Ksbdc.org provides extensive referrals for COVID-19 relief as well as other small business concerns.

Louisiana

The go-to website for Louisiana small business owners is LED (Louisiana Economic Development) at opporetunitylouisiana.com.

Maine

Maine.gov provides extensive information on both federal and state resources for small businesses during the pandemic.

Maryland

The Maryland Department of Commerce (commerce.maryland.gov) has been emphasizing COVID resources on its website.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts businesses can find useful information at mass.gov, another state government site emphasizes coronavirus relief.

Michigan

The state government has provided its own grants and loans to small businesses affected by COVID-19. See michiganbusiness.org for more information.

Minnesota

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce provides updates about COVID-19 resources. See MNchamber.com.

Mississippi and Missouri

Refer to sba.gov for relevant programs. The SBA offers businesses in designated states and programs special loans to those affected by the virus.

Montana

The state government programs for are on dli.mt.gov.

Nebraska

The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry has a “Coronavirus Toolkit for Businesses & Industry): nechamber.com.

Nevada

Nevada is another state where the SBA is the best resource. The SBA offers businesses in designated states and programs special loans to those affected by the virus.

New Hampshire

Small business owners can find help at the NH Department of Business and Economic Affairs, nheconomy.com, The Small Business Development Center of New Hampshire (nhsbdc.org) also provides resources tailored to New Hampshire.

New Jersey

New Jersey offers a special waiver to stay open in case of any lockdown situations. A waiver can be submitted to the business.nj.gov team.

New Mexico

New Mexico is another state where small business owners are referred to the Small Business Administration (sba.gov). The SBA offers businesses in designated states and programs special loans to those affected by the virus.

New York

The New York City Small Business Continuity Fund provides loans for businesses with fewer than 100 employees.

New York offers various programs. The New York City Employee Retention Grant Program offers grants that cover 40% of payroll expenses for up to two months for select businesses. Their website is www1.nyc.gov.

The New York Small Business Development Centers offer counseling, training, and research. (nysbdc.org).

Entrepreneurship Assistance Centers are a great resource for smaller New York communities. (esd.ny.gov).

Community Development Financial Institutions throughout New York can provide various resources. (esd.ny.gov).

North Carolina

The go-to resource in North Carolina is the North Carolina Business Relief Resource Guild at dpnc.com.

North Dakota

The Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce has created this page as a go-to page for small businesses: ndchamber.com. The North Dakota Development Fund also provides loans as needed. (ndresponse.gov).

Ohio

Refer to sba.gov for relevant programs. The SBA offers businesses in designated states and programs special loans to those affected by the virus.

Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Department of commerce has a go-to page for small business owners affected by the pandemic. This page is okcommerce.gov.

Oregon

Various local resources in Oregon address coronavirus concerns. These include the Beaverton Emergency Business Assistance Program (beavertonoregaon.gov), the website for Hillsboro, Oregon (hillsboro-oregon.gov), and the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, which provides information to Portland-area residence at apano.org.

Pennsylvania

Several government and private resources in Pennsylvania offer coronavirus relief. The Wolf Administration has announced another round of state funding. See dced.pa.gov for details.

The Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority’s Small Business First Fund offers a list of resources for Pennsylvania resources during the pandemic, according to governor.pa.gov.

Comcast seeks to offer to make Xfinity Wifi free to needy customers. See corporate.comcast.com for details.

PECO, a power company, has provided resources for customers during the crisis. See peco.com for details.

Other resources include the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, at dced.pa.gov, and the Philadelphia COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund at phila.gov.

Rhode Island

Business owners in Rhode Island are referred to the Small Business Administration (sba.gov). The SBA offers businesses in designated states and programs special loans to those affected by the virus.

South Carolina

The South Carolina Department of Commerce provides relevant information. See sccommerce.com.

South Dakota

The government site for coronavirus relief in South Dakota is dlr.sd.gov.

Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development is the go-to resource for coronavirus relief. See tn.gov for details.

Texas

The Texas Economic Development Department provides information on coronavirus relief for small government. See gov.texas.gov.

Utah

the Salt Lake City Emergency Loan Program offers zero interest loans to small businesses. See slc.gov for details.

Vermont

The Virginia government resource for coronavirus relief for small business is the Agency of Commerce and Community Development COVID-19 Resource Center. See accd.vermont.gov.

Virginia

The Virginia Chamber of Commerce provides diverse coronavirus resources. See vachamber.com for details.

A nonprofit group, the Virginia 30 Day Fund, is another resource for companies in Virginia. The goal of this organization is to save as many Virginia jobs as possible pending federal relief. Their website is va30dayfund.com.

Washington

The Seattle Office of Economic Development Grants Program offers grants to businesses affected by the pandemic who make 80% or less of the area’s median, five or fewer employees, and have a physical location. The same office will provide help with utilities as well. Their address is durkan.seattle.gov.

Also, the Washington Small Business Development Center provides a “Business Resiliency Toolkit” that provides resources for Washington area small businesses during the pandemic. See wsbc.org.

Amazon is one private business that will provide aid to small businesses. They are creating a $5 million Small Business Relief Fund to provide cash grants as needed to Seattle small businesses. See aboutamazon.com.

Washington D. C.

The Greater Washington Community Foundation provides a COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. See thecommunityfoundation.org.

Also see wdcep.com for resources courtesy of the Washington DC Economic Partnership.

West Virginia

The go-to website for small business resources in West Virginia is nfib.com. This website is run by the local branch of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB).

Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, the Small Business 20/20 program provides grants to community development financial institutions, which in tern will award grants up to $20,000 to existing loan clients. Their web site is wedc.org.

See their website for this and other programs related to COVID-19.

Wyoming

The go-to resource in Wyoming is the Wyoming SBDC. Their website is wyomingsbdc.org. “Check for COVID-19 Resources and Strategic Advising.”

 

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

 

By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

 

  • Learn the Practice of Mindfulness:

Mindfulness is a state of awareness. Through mindfulness, we focus on the task at hand. Regardless of  how simple the task, practitioners absorb themselves into every detail. Whether cleaning, preparing food, listening to music, or simply being, a mindful person lets go and concentrates on the moment

Running a small business may keep an owner in a constant state of distraction. Small business owners are inevitably busy multitaskers. However, in our routine we may carve out moments to melt into our surroundings and concentrate on the now. Hence, our down-time can become our time to relax and de-stress, rather than ruminate on what we cannot control.

  • Meditate:

Related to mindfulness is meditation. Time and place are the main distinctions. Business owners can set aside time each day for simple meditation. Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere.

Meditation can involve a methodology unique to the practitioner. Some write their feelings and thoughts on paper before the session. Afterward, many practitioners feel secure and tranquil to concentrate on emptying their thoughts. After the act of writing, the task of mentally working through burdensome responsibilities has already been done.    We strongly recommend checking out The David Lynch Foundation Meditation programs for Veterans.   There are also other excellent programs.

  • Practice Gratitude:

Always stay mindful of the positives in life. Whether great people, a fulfilling career path, or whatever blessings may grace you, the practice of gratitude adorns every setback with a silver lining. Gratitude helps maintain perspective, reminding the practitioner that better times loom ahead. Also, recognizing the positive is known to reduce stress and anxiety.

Many people keep gratitude journals and write down a certain number of things they are thankful for every night. Others write down their blessings and post them in a place where they will see them each day. We should refresh our sense of gratitude regularly. Gratitude gives us hope and perspective for the challenges facing us.

  • Use your Support System:

The pandemic has disrupted everyone’s personal interactions. Fortunately, nothing can take away our strongest supports.

Networking with peers helps many business owners. Other small business owners and associates may provide a source of meaningful interaction. Shared experiences can provide bonding.  Furthermore, peer groups can provide opportunities to exchange information. The resulting sense of meaning can help anyone who must plow through adversity.

Also, never forget friends and family. Despite the isolation of the pandemic, this generation has online resources to help remain connected. Finally, always practice gratitude for those who support you every day.

  • Relinquish Control when Necessary:

Stress tends to burden the most responsible people. Often, we feel that only we can do everything right, and achieve perfection according to our standards. Unfortunately, no one can attain perfection. Circumstances can foil the most well-laid plans, and we cannot always do a thing about it.   The Pandemic has certainly made this clear and that so much is out of our control.

Stay aware of priorities. Successful business owners recognize what they can and must control. Sometimes, the winds of change shift, and carry some of your goals with them. Proprietors should have the flexibility to adapt when necessary.

  • Delegate:

The need for control can overwhelm the most well-adjusted business proprietor. There is one good strategy to reduce the pressure of responsibility: delegate.

Business owners can exercise self-awareness by recognizing those tasks they may not enjoy or do well. Making a list may provide insight into those processes we can best assign to someone else. Consider who on your team may have a different skill base. Also consider routes for contracting out the most dread-inducing tasks. Thusly are built the most efficient organizations.

  • Remember You are Not Alone:

Innumerable strategies may alleviate stress during these difficult times. The pandemic is nothing if not unifying. We must all bear some of the same burdens for slogging through these difficult times. While in the end each of us bears different types of burdens, in the end self-care and kindness to ourselves will help us survive.

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

 

ibmpos_blurgb