Thursday, November 8, 2018

Veterans, Small Businesses & NJSBDC: Natural Allies
The American labor pool grows by more than 200,000 highly trained, seasoned and vetted men and women each year. Small business owners would do well for themselves if they focused on that figure.
That’s the number of officers, non-commissioned officers and enlisted servicemen and women who are annually discharged from the American armed forces and join civilian life.
For many if not all of them, the transition from a regimented lifestyle to one that is unregulated can be filled with confusion if not downright difficulties.
The new civilians are eagerly looking to start or resume their lives and professions or find employment in fields of endeavor that many not have existed when they enlisted. Other veterans may be interested in launching their own businesses amid a spider web of laws, rules and regulations. While employers are not sure how to select from so many potential new employees.
What’s the business community supposed to do?
In order to help veterans and employers cope with this puzzling but potentially mutually beneficial circumstance, the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers (NJSBDC) and the SBDC at Kean University in Union, NJ, yesterday organized a remarkable daylong workshop for former servicemen and women ahead of Veterans Day next Sunday. Speakers and panelists offered a wide range of guidance and ideas on how veterans can prepare themselves for securing education and gainful employment or launching their own enterprises.

The event, called Mission: Veterans Entrepreneurs, coincided with Veterans Small Business Week November 5-9.
According to David Margulies, regional director of NJSBDC at Kean University, the first consideration in convening this program was to let all the veterans know that the Small Business Development Center is here to help them get into business.
On the other side of the coin, Margulies continued, “When talking about hiring veterans, small businesses should understand that they are hiring dedicated people. People who know how to give orders and people who know how to take orders. They are really hard workers. They can advance corporations as well.”
Margulies also pointed out that veterans have been taught how to respond to and overcome the unexpected.
“As entrepreneurs, veterans bring to the table their background and training that has taught them to deal with all types of circumstances and in business a lot of things come at you from left field and they know how to handle things like that,” he said.
Keynoter Harris Jay Kline, US Air Force brigadier general-retired and CEO of HJK Consulting, echoed Margulies’ thoughts about the session’s essential mission.
Kline believes it was meant to “really awaken employers and businesses to the value of hiring veterans.”
He said men and women who served in the American armed forces received a high degree of training that can benefit any type of small business.
“This program also served the purpose of helping veterans transition to the civilian world because the skills that they honed in the military are useful but they are not necessarily educated in how to translate those skills,” Kline said.
Elaborating on the skillsets that veterans bring to small businesses, Kline listed “a sense of responsibility, a sense of duty, a sense of being on time, a degree of character and by that I mean integrity and honesty that is very rare in today’s world. Veterans know how to get the job done. If you can’t do it from A to B, sometimes to need to go from A to W to Q to get it done but they’ll get it done. And that’s what they can bring to the small business – success.”
Noting a shortcoming, Kline expressed his regret that veterans lack of awareness about the strengths and skills that they bring to small businesses.
“We’re trying to help veterans understand that their skills are marketable and could help businesses. Organizations like this are working to enlighten veterans about that and employers about the veterans’ success characteristics,” he said.
Kimberly Walker, owner of Germ Blasters Management Solutions in Sicklerville, NJ, and a US Army veteran, said the greatest insight of the session that she came upon was the leadership dividend.
“The importance of being a leader, which is part of the military training that I received,” Walker observed.
She praised the great speakers, great panels, and great amount of information and resources that she can now tap into.
“Today, I found out how to get information from an angel investor, find a manufacturer for my inventions. And this all took place in three hours,” she said.
She repeated the lament heard from other attendees that veterans are not fully aware of the support and assistance that is available to them.
“I don’t think that veterans are aware of these trends that are available especially in New Jersey. I found out about this session by chance, searching on the Internet. There should be a broader awareness of these programs among veterans so that they can take advantage of all the benefits that are offered.” Walter pointed out.
John Menture, an Army veteran from Haslet, NJ, was also impressed by the large amount of practical information that he received about services for disabled veterans businesses.
“We are now going to proceed with the people that we met and learn how we can open a much needed veterans home and halfway house,” he pointed out.
Army veteran Donald Colley, who operates the Arborland Veterans Foundation, expressed personal relief that the session showed him that he isn’t alone and support can be attained.
“I learned that I am not a lone and that there is support if I only stick out my hand. I wasn’t specifically looking for support. I was invited to be here and since I’ve been here I received new directions for my life and business,” Colley said.
He said he learned about available financing for small businesses and disabled veterans businesses, and that anytime he really needs help, all he has to do is reach out and ask.
“There is a goldmine of information for veterans if only they would look for it. And that’s what I want to do with my foundation. If you don’t have the knowledge about the resources, then you’re lost,” Colley vigorously said.
One obvious takeaway from this workshop is that veterans have personal and work qualities that small businesses need.
Another one for veterans and small businesses is that they have a natural interdependent relationship and can help each other achieve their goals. NJSBDC consultants across the state are available to them at no cost for advice on a range of business and financing issues.
As Margulies said, “I hope veterans know that they can visit us one on one, for free, and that’s what we do. They are welcome to take advantage of our service.”
Small business that reach out to veterans should notify local and state officials, the New Jersey State Veterans Chamber of Commerce, the NJSBDC, veterans groups and the news media of their plans. By promoting this sound business strategy, they can inspire other small businesses to follow suit.
Send me your successful experiences with hiring veterans and I’ll share your achievements with others in cyberspace.
I’d also like to invite you to visit my Thought Leadership website:              
If you’re looking for advice on recruiting, company handbooks and other human resources topics, I’d like to suggest to you this worthwhile website:
Scroll through my blog to read about more ways to promote yourselves and boost your outreach.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Effective Small Business Outreach – Hispanic Style
We had the pleasure of attending the Annual Convention and Business Expo 2018 organized by the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey at The Palisadium in Cliffside Park, NJ, on Friday, October 12.
Without a doubt, it was a well-organized and successful event. It was filled to capacity with enthusiastic and upbeat Hispanic American business entrepreneurs and vendors ready to learn, network and do business. Always ready consultants from the banking community as well as federal and state agencies, such as the Small Business Administration and the New Jersey Business Action Center, were also on hand to provide information and advice.
It was a great place to boost your outreach.
The warm and friendly atmosphere, abetted by the aroma of spicy, exotic, vibrant, delicious, fresh and fun Hispanic cuisine, was conducive to building long-term business and interpersonal relationships. Indeed, it was the place to launch commercial interests for Hispanic American business people as well as non-Hispanic ones.
The event attracted 956 business people and more than 100 vendors.
The message of the expo was that the Hispanic American community is vibrant and eager to grow its business, according to John C. Leon, member of the board of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey and government relations strategies chair.
“We have a large cross-section of businesses involved and the chamber serves as the catalyst to bring these businesses together to express their services and to collaborate and provide them with opportunities to grow their businesses,” Leon told us.
With the exhibit hall and aisles teeming with entrepreneurs looking for these new opportunities, Leon indicated that was proof enough of the event’s success and the chamber’s ability to service its constituents’ needs.
“If you provide service, the members recognize it, appreciate it and respond. They want to be part of the chamber. Success breeds success,” Leon explained. “The better the chamber performs, the more others want to partake. It’s a self-fulfilling prophesy in doing a good job for members. The growth is a result of the good word that goes out from the interaction. It is beneficial to all stakeholders.”
Hispanic small businesses today are in need of financing resources and the chamber steps up to the plate to satisfy this need as well, he said.
“The chamber is involved in bringing various lenders and grant programs to the forefront so that small businesses that don’t have that knowledge and information can learn about them and take advantage in order to grow their businesses,” Leon said.
Undoubtedly, a well-honed success formula.
¡Buen trabajo!

Getting the most out of a Trade Show
The attendees and exhibitors at the Annual Convention and Business Expo 2018 of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey did not just happen to come together at The Palisadium and had a successful and fun event. A lot of planning went into such a beneficial outcome.
Trade shows – like conferences – are not for the squeamish. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, getting the most out of any business gathering is a challenge. It’s one thing to go home with a stack of notes and takeaways; it’s another thing entirely to leave with fresh relationships, meaningful connections and the likelihood of profitable business.
Attending a trade show can be an excellent marketing and sales opportunity for your business, whether you are an entrepreneur or you are representing the company for which you work.
Yes, the art and science of successful trade shows is in the people. You pound the carpeted aisles, shake hands and talk, talk and talk.
Planning a successful trade show requires organization, creativity and resilience. Before you attend any event, know why you’re attending. Attendees and exhibitors must be very well acquainted with the topic or theme of the show and the potential sea of humanity that will flood the aisles and booths.
The easiest way to start is to include in your planning your customers, contacts, acquaintances and known prospects. You not only  want to let them know that you’re going to be at the show, but also market the show itself to entice them to attend if they weren’t already planning to. While it may be the trade show organizers’ job to get people to attend, it’s your task to ensure you’ll see as many potential clients, colleagues and vendors as possible. You can also plan to contact the show’s registered attendees.
In addition to event logistics, pre-show campaign planning is key. Exhibitors, are you launching a new product or services around the same time as the event? Attendees, are you looking for new products or services or just planning to understand the exhibitors?
Be active on social media. Take advantage of your Facebook and Twitter networks to announce your impending presence and suggest your availability for meetings. You can start the buzz.
Post photos from the event to your social channels before, during and after the event. This not only promotes you and your company but also your sphere of business associates. If you’re an exhibitor, invite attendees to stop by your booth to enter a contest, pick up a giveaway or watch a demo. Make sure to include your booth number and event hashtag so attendees can easily find you.
Don’t overlook emails and start preparing them for the trade show four to six weeks before the event. You will want to inform your audience of your attendance at the trade show and use email as a platform to announce any important news, teasers and opportunities to meet the team. Email campaigns, such as Constant Contact, are great because they’re cheap and easy to execute. You can also get a sense of how much engagement your email is getting by tracking open rates and click-through rates.
Direct mail may be seen as a thing of the past, but it’s still an effective way to reach people about an upcoming event. Industry experts recommend postcards as one of the most effective direct mail assets, especially postcards printed in unique shapes, colors and designs. The goal here is to make sure your company, products, and sales message are in people’s minds before the show even starts, so they can make a note to visit your booth.
As an attendee, develop a plan of which exhibitors you want to visit and then organize your list into two parts – “must see” and “want to see” companies. Decide how much time you want to spend at the show and then at each booth. Allow extra time for browsing, distractions, waiting in lines and simple meeting and greeting.
There are really three ways to spend time at a tradeshow: seeking out vendors on your list, attending seminars, or wandering to see what you discover. It’s a good idea to make time for all three, but know which one you’re most interested in. Is your main goal to grasp speakers’ knowledge? Or, are you more interested in finding new vendors on the floor?
Next, make a plan of attack for reaching all of the exhibitors on the list you made. Insider tip: if you want to have the booth’s full attention, try to hit it on the second day – if the event lasts more than one day. The first tends to be hectic and if you wait until the end, you risk missing the vendors – some pack up and leave early.
It’s a good idea to visit some vendors you already know. Say hello, reconnect and see what new projects they’re working on. This gives you the opportunity to verify that you’re still in business, they’re still the best fit for your business and builds a relationship by connecting face to face periodically.
Look everywhere for networking opportunities with industry thought leaders. Get invited to exhibitors’ hospitality suites and cocktail parties. At workshops introduce yourself to people around you and hand out/collect business cards. Hook up with new contacts at mealtimes for added information
Yes, you’re most likely there for business purposes, but social events are excellent places to network. You can meet other people working in your industry and collect recommendations from them of who to seek out at the trade show during the day. Sometimes guest speakers will also attend the social events of a show, which gives you the opportunity to gain insight from them you wouldn’t have in a large lecture.
After the event, go through the dozens and dozens of business cards that you’ve collected and be prepared to follow-up after the show with emails. Remind them of your visit and chat. Express your gratitude for the opportunity to talk and network, ask for additional information and suggest establishing stronger relationships.
Send me your successful trade show experiences and I’ll share your achievements with others in cyberspace.
Scroll through my blog to read about more ways to promote yourselves and boost your outreach.
I’d also like to invite you to visit my Thought Leadership website:
If you’re looking for advice on recruiting, company handbooks and other human resources topics, I’d like to suggest to you this interesting website:

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Sustainability and Foodservice: Steps to Consider
Sustainability is without a doubt one of the most visible buzzwords in society today.
It seems as if you can’t pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV news without hearing something about sustainability, the ecology, the environment or climate change.
Yes, sustainability has many direct benefits for the ecology, society and planet Earth. It also has direct benefits for all businesses. As I have pointed out in the past, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development at the UN anticipates that the SDG windfall could be as high as $12 trillion a year in the course of the next 12 years.
Consumers, especially educated and affluent millennials, are very fond of sustainability and are prone to do business with companies that are visibly sustainable across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals principles.
The New Jersey Small Business Development Centers devoted the August edition of its The Small Business Voice to sustainability and the New Jersey Sustainable Business Registry. Business owners interviewed confirmed that one of the reasons for embarking on the path to sustainability was that millennials’ keenness for sustainability will help grow their sales.
Due to the current near universal focus on sustainability, industries and companies are investing time and money to develop their own sustainable course of action. To embark on this path, businesses don’t need an all-or-nothing approach. The way in which it was conceived and has developed over the past couple years, taking into account 17 principles, allows businesses to adopt partial, simple steps on their way to full sustainability.
What’s important is that each business share with its community, marketplace, officials, vendors and consumers that it is on the way to sustainability. Share the news.
Consequently, these are exciting and challenging times for interested businesses and information abounds for companies in all commercial sectors to participate in this quest.
I’d like to focus on some sustainable suggestions for restaurants. This foodservice sector is ripe for sustainability because of its food focus. Recycling, composting, eliminating kitchen waste and equipment & supplies selections are just a few points to be considered.
There are 18,337 restaurants of all sizes in New Jersey, according to New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association and all of them can start this beneficial trek by fulfilling a few easy requirements to be included in the Sustainable Business Registry. All of them quality as small businesses and each accepted eatery will receive an appropriate decal that will announce to patrons and the community that it is “green.”
The writers of a special article on restaurants and sustainability recently prepared by Georgia-Pacific Professional (GP PRO), a National Restaurant Association member, pointed out:
“While there is huge interest in sustainability from both consumers and restaurant operators, it can also be an investment and an ongoing commitment. Fortunately, everything doesn’t need to happen at once, and not everything you do has to come at a premium price.
“Sustainability can be as simple as rethinking how you deliver your food, package your leftovers, handle your food waste, or dispense products to your guests. The key is committing to an actionable approach that suits your business, aligns with customer sensitivities and allows employees to buy in.”
The article proposed five tips for restaurant operators to get started improving sustainability.
1.                  Identify your sustainability values. Ground your efforts in a consideration of why you’re committing to sustainability in the first place. Sustainability is a reflection of management’s brand values. Your restaurant will be identified with sustainability.
2.                  Listen to your guests. “There remains a gap between what operators believe their consumers want and what they actually want,” says Boyd Andrews, director of sustainability for Georgia-Pacific Professional (GP PRO), citing GP PRO research that looks at what foodservice customers want in terms of sustainability, and what restaurant operators offer. “The more operators focus on their values and pay attention to feedback from their consumers, the more successful they’ll be.” There is also statistical proof that consumers will patronize your restaurant more if you’re sustainable.
3.                  Commit to an actionable approach. Andrews recommends starting small and on the things that are most visible to guests. “Food is the reason customers come into the restaurant,” he says, “so most operators are already looking at practical approaches involving food and food waste.” He also points out other ways operators can communicate their values. Controlled dispensing of napkins, or one-at-a-time towel dispensers in your restroom, tells customers you care about both hygiene and waste reduction. It can communicate what you’re doing without having to say anything.
4.                  Be authentic. “Be crisp and authentic in how you communicate what you’re doing and why you’re doing it,” advises Andrews. This can be as simple as the way you describe your menu offerings. The words you choose tie your restaurant to being part of your community and part of the solution – and can even demonstrate community leadership. In other words, share your initiative and promote your sustainability.
5.                  Keep learning. New options for restaurant sustainability are emerging constantly, notes Andrews. But if you’re not looking for them, you won’t learn. “It’s really important to engage with your suppliers and learn about the exciting new offerings coming on the market,” he says. “Ask them about food and foodservice packaging that may have great sustainability stories in terms of production or end of life.” Operators can also ask the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers’ consultants for advice and become part of the Sustainable Business Directory.
For further information about the organizations cited here, visit their websites:
·         NJSBDC:
·         NJ Sustainable Business Registry:
·         National Restaurant Association:
·         New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association:
·         Georgia-Pacific Professional (GP PRO):
My next blog will look at sustainable restaurant packaging supplies.
If you’d like to access the sustainability edition of The Small Business Voice, click on this link:
Send me your sustainable success stories and I’ll share your achievements with others in cyberspace.
Scroll through my blog to read about more ways to promote yourselves and boost your outreach.
I’d also like to invite you to visit my Thought Leadership website:
If you’re looking for advice on recruiting, company handbooks and other human resources topics, I’d like to suggest to you this interesting website:

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Biz Owners, Don’t Bite off More than You can Chew
Sure it’s your company. You established it and developed its mission. You know it better than anyone. You hired all of the employees. You know the products and services. You know the vendors and customers.
You open the door in the morning and close it in the evening.
You are the jack of all trades bar none.
But does it benefit your company when you do everything by yourself? Or by doing so have you placed your firm in a precarious position. Do you really have to devote all of your time to all issues pertaining to your business?
Realistically, regardless of how much you’d like to, you can’t tear yourself apart or tend to everything simultaneously. You aren’t an octopus.
Here’s some advice about one vital business task. Recently, I came across a concise opinion on the web about what it means to be a successful manager of social media outreach that perfectly dovetails with my writings on the subject. As you’re heard, social media is a great marketing tool.
Liz Alton wrote for Twitter Business that improving customer experience is a key concern for companies and social media managers are on the forefront of bringing customers an outstanding brand experience.
Alton cited an observation in Harvard Business Review: “Our research across hundreds of brands in dozens of categories shows that the most effective way to maximize customer value is to move beyond mere customer satisfaction and connect with customers at an emotional level.”
Success in social media means creating a community of likeminded individuals and companies, and developing a mutually beneficial conversation among all participants. The key is not to sell a product of a particular size for a specific price point. That comes later. The key is build a microcosm of people that are interested in you, your company and your ideas.
Your social media goal is to transform your company and its chief executive into a thought leader – the go-to-person on all questions pertaining to your product/service and industry. Social media managers, with a variety of analytics at their disposal, bring focus on that mission and analyze its success.
Alton suggests these strategies to build an outstanding brand experience by focusing on building those all-important conversations:
1. Ask questions
2. Respond to follower content
3. Use Twitter Polls
4. Host Tweet chats
5. Know your brand’s story, customers, and goals
6. Recognize that timeliness matters
7. Have a clear customer experience strategy
8. Always ask for feedback
“Social media managers are on the front lines of delivering their customers a great experience on Twitter. Work to understand your audience and your company’s objectives — and then focus on content, engagement strategies, and analytics feedback to help make that vision a reality,” she wrote.
Another social media analyst, Jeff Bullas, writing about “10 Essential Skills a Social Media Manager Needs to Have on Their Resume” on Linked In, noted that a decade ago social media wasn’t a profession and it didn’t even enjoy a job description. It barely had a definition. Facebook and social media marketing elicited perplexed expressions.
“Fast forward a decade and every organization must have a social media manager, whether full time or part time,” Bullas wrote.
Truer words couldn’t have been written about the comprehensive nature of social media and its effectiveness as well as the responsibility of being a social media manager. The job of being a social media manager requires 24/7 attention to the cyber venue to ensure that your audience, customers and other interested parties are given every opportunity to learn about what you’re doing. Tepid dedication to social media can have damaging results. So where will a business owner find another set of 24 hours?
Twitter is an incredible tool that can provide your brand, your small business or your civic organization with a voice and personality. Twitter can also work to turn you, the small businessperson – the owner, into a thought leader about what is happening in your industry and your sphere of interest. The benefit of such a distinction is that you will become the go-to-person for answers and advice on what’s happening.
To be successful in tweeting, you will have to develop your personality and a unique style. That’s what makes the difference and can increase your Twitter followers and turn tweeting into a successful marketing tool for you and your company. As a small business owner, your social media activity should engage the world in the conversation that you initiate.
As the leader of your organization, you are goal driven, growth driven or mission driven. You focus on the bigger picture of promoting your company, product, service, NGO or issue. Consequently, you have to delegate the social media job responsibility to a trusted associate. Just as bookkeeping or human resources, social media management is a full-time or at least part-time task.
In addition to content, successful tweets should include a link to your website and other websites, blog posts, PDF documents, photographs or videos for greater impact. By doing so, you direct the readers’ attention to more information about the topic of your expertise.
However, you can’t wake up one morning and tell yourself “I’ll start tweeting today.” You have to be prepared with a plan and strategy about what you want to accomplish. Becoming a thought leader is a legitimate marketing goal for you as the proprietor. Making your company well known for its product or service is an equally legitimate marketing goal for your business. But as the business owner, you must remember not to overlook daily chores as you tweet.
You can’t build your business by keeping to yourself and you surely cannot have success on social media without virtually shaking hands. You have to get out of your niche and interact. You should tweet the same information several times a day with slight differences. You have to invite readers to join your conversation and you have to participate in conversations. You should also follow likeminded people, similar businesses and vendors, common industries, and supportive stakeholders, like their tweets and retweet their tweets. Their followers and readers may become your followers and readers. This builds your community and recognition in Twittersphere. If you don’t interact with the world, the world, your potential clients and prospective supporters will leave you by the side of the cyber-road.
The task is greater than one person and certainly greater than the business owner.
As Bullas noted, social media managers “need to be like a juggler at a circus and keep a lot of balls up in the air and make them all land safely. It requires skillsets which means managing many moving parts. Technical, analytical, creative with a bit of project management thrown in.”
Because tweeting and retweeting are never ending, managing the space is almost a 24/7 job. There’s always someone awake in Twittersphere – nearby or far away. It means monitoring, managing, updating and being inspired by the clients, advocates and other sources and addressing the issues raised.
Among the skills needed to do the job are:
1. Strategy planning
2. Tactics and execution – when to tweet or retweet
3. Community creation and management
4. Create content
5. Understand how content works on a social web
6. Optimizing content and technology
7. Creative mindset
8. Writing skills in a limited word count
9. Be on top of the latest digital marketing trends – which venue to use
10. Analytical skills – how to read SEO
11. Leadership and communication skills – internally and externally
It’s a major commitment and investment on the part of business and NGO management that should not be underestimated. Does the owner have the bandwidth for these tasks?
How will you tweet?
Join the conversation in cyberspace about boosting your business and outreach by using Twitter and social media and let me know your achievements. If you have examples of how you tweeted to boost outreach, let me know about it and I’ll help you spread the word about your success.
I’d also like to invite you to visit my Thought Leadership website:              
If you’re looking for advice on recruiting, company handbooks and other human resources topics, I’d like to suggest to you this interesting website:
Scroll down along the Boosting Your Outreach blogsite to read or reread older posts.

Friday, September 14, 2018

More Evidence that Sustainability Helps Your Bottom Line
Shortly after completing a sustainability project for the New Jersey Small Business Development Center and the New Jersey Sustainable Business Registry, I came across more statistics about how being sustainable can help small businesses save money — especially restaurants – the foundation of the country’s economy and the small business community.
According to an article in Foods Safety Magazine written by Marty Sieh, chief operations officer at ENGIE Insight, restaurants that implement sustainable practices can reduce costs by 30%. In a tight business environment, these reductions are boosted by increased traffic by consumers who are looking for sustainable and environmentally friendly foodservice venues.
For example, Sieh wrote: “More than 80% of the $10 billion annual energy bill for the commercial foodservice sector is spent on inefficient food cooking, holding, and storage equipment. According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2018 State of Restaurant Sustainability report, restaurants could be doing more to tackle energy efficiency, waste management, and water usage. For example, less than half of restaurants surveyed use US Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star-rated refrigerators or low flush toilets, and only 25% of restaurants use Energy Star-rated efficient dishwashers.”
While untapped technological efficiencies hurt the bottom line and the environment, the industry needs to do more than simply buy new equipment. Foodservice operations must also adopt new business models, utilize data collection, and evaluate their operations to holistically incorporate sustainability, he wrote.
“The ability to harness massive amounts of data from sophisticated control systems monitoring a variety of equipment brings new opportunities for companies to improve performance and mitigate risk. Beyond scarce resources and environmental consequences, more than half—55%—of consumers say they consider a restaurant’s food waste reduction efforts an important factor when they choose a restaurant,” he pointed out.
Indeed, statistics abound about consumers’ preference for businesses that are sustainable. Millennials are more inclined to spend their disposable dollars at retailers and restaurants that are recognizably sustainable. This means if your business is sustainable then tell the marketplace that it is.
Sieh wrote that as consumers and governments crack down on waste and recycling regulations, foodservice companies must implement programs that maximize efficient waste practices and stay in compliance.
“While certain regulations, such as municipalities banning plastic straws, have been making headlines over the last few months, they are slowly rolling out other legislation, including separating organic food waste from inorganic garbage. Companies looking to stay in compliance and avoid major fines must first understand their current waste makeup. By conducting waste audits—scientific studies of waste streams—businesses will understand the data associated with their waste profile, how food waste affects their hauling costs, and where the best diversion opportunities are. Understanding and utilizing this output helps foodservice providers adapt their business models to streamline waste practices and capitalize on their recycling and composting programs in a cost-effective manner,” he elaborated.
In many instances restaurants can incorporate simple changes to can have a major impact on the business as well as the environment, he wrote. It’s not necessary to stop everything and rebuild your business to become sustainable. Hospitality businesses and foodservice operations account for nearly 15% of commercial water use in the country. Sieh found that on the West Coast, Shari’s Cafe & Pies realized the dipper wells used to clean ice cream scoops were wasting 8 million gallons of water every year through data audits. As a result, Shari’s decided to switch from a perpetual flow of water to a heated demand-based system that reduced water usage by 35% and led to 15–18% savings on natural gas usage. Because equipment and building sensors are cheaper than they’ve ever been, and data monitoring and analytics are more advanced, restaurants can avoid massive losses in critical resources and capitalize their return on investment.
Furthermore, according to Energy Star, restaurants that invest strategically can cut utility costs up to 30% without sacrificing service, quality, or comfort.
“Restaurants, now more than ever, need to integrate sustainability and energy efficiency strategies into their business operations and corporate strategy. The road to sustainability is paved in data and without this foundational element restaurants cannot capitalize on all the opportunities these initiatives have to offer,” Sieh concluded.
The suggestions that Sieh cited in his article have applications beyond the foodservice industry. Eliminating waste, adjusting water consumption and improved energy management can help all businesses improve their bottom lines.
The August sustainability edition of The Small Business Voice that I referred to at the top of this blog focused on the benefits of joining the New Jersey Small Business Registry for expert no-cost consultation on how to convert your company into an efficient, sustainable business.
With information about the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which serve as a roadmap for businesses and municipalities on becoming sustainable, the issue also offers statistics on how businesses that are members of the registry have made a positive difference on the environment and their balance sheets.
Sustainability is not only a target for large businesses but small businesses, the corner retailer and restaurant, can also benefit from jumping on this global bandwagon.
As Deborah K. Smarth, chief operating officer and associate state director of the NJSBDC, wrote:
“The most successful sustainability strategies often start with simple, low-cost initiatives that even the smallest business can accomplish. There are real opportunities for small businesses to yield significant benefits from the adoption of basic environmental best practices.
“For businesses interested in sustainability, but not sure where to start, the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers (NJSBDC) offer pro bono sustainability consulting and technical assistance. Over the past two years small businesses across New Jersey have taken advantage of this no cost service to find ways to integrate environmentally friendly practices into their day to day operations. NJSDBC’s expert counselors work with business owners to identify ways to increase efficiency through energy conservation, waste reduction, pollution prevention, streamlined procurement and risk management. Businesses are provided a baseline assessment of their environmental footprint, and a series of recommendations on how to implement sustainable practices.”
Looked from another point of view, sustainability is a growth opportunity for small businesses.
The issue also presents sustainability success stories of these Garden State companies: Consolidated Packaging Group, Ridgefield Park; Seeds of Hope Community Development, Atlantic City; Adams Rental, Hamilton; Viridian Environmental Field Services, Upper Montclair; Classic Auto Body, Paterson; Hamilton Washery, Hamilton; and Atlantic Health System, Morristown, NJ.
It’s a lesson for all businesses and even non-profit organizations. As Prof. Jeffrey Hollender of New York University’s Stern School of Business observed in the issue: for businesses, sustainability is more than the ecology.
For further information about the organizations cited here, visit their websites:
NJ Sustainable Business Registry:
National Restaurant Association:
Send me your sustainable success stories and I’ll share your achievements with others in cyberspace.
Scroll through my blog to read about more ways to boost your outreach.
I’d also like to invite you to visit my Thought Leadership website:              
If you’re looking for advice on recruiting, company handbooks and other human resources topics, I’d like to suggest to you this interesting website:

Thursday, September 13, 2018

People are Leaving Facebook – Don’t Worry
You’ve probably heard that people are leaving Facebook. Don’t panic. That’s more of a problem for Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook stockholders than for you. Just run your business the way you have been running it.
Perhaps in the wake of Facebook’s calamity with Cambridge Analytica and then the whole Russian infiltration scandal, recent media reports state that young Americans are logging out of Facebook, upping their privacy, or deleting its phone app altogether.
Pew Research Center found that found that most adults questioned had limited their Facebook use or adjusted their privacy settings in the past year. The Center’s survey followed revelations that political consulting company Cambridge Analytica had scraped the personal information of approximately 87 million Facebook users for use in targeted advertising. Of the 4,594 Pew survey respondents, young adults were the most likely to unplug from platform, with 44% of Facebook users ages 18 to 29 saying they’d deleted the app from their phone, although the survey did not ask whether respondents had deleted their accounts, too.
The survey asked respondents whether, in the past year, they had either edited their Facebook privacy settings, taken a break from the platform for several weeks, or deleted the app from their phone.
The Pew survey was conducted from May 29 through June 11, two months after a Cambridge Analytica whistleblower first came forward to accuse the company of improperly amassing Facebook user data and converting the information into psychological profiles to use in targeted political ads. The fallout led Cambridge Analytica’s closure, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg giving a congressional testimony on the scandal.
Facebook’s oldest users were its most loyal, the survey found. Facebook users ages 65 above were the least likely to adjust their privacy options, with only 33% of respondents saying they’d tweaked the settings in the past year. Facebook users ages 18-49, meanwhile, had overwhelmingly moved for more private accounts, with 64% of respondents updating their settings.
Those younger users were most likely to purge Facebook from their phones, with 44% of respondents ages 18 to 29 saying they’d deleted the app. Once again, the oldest Facebook users remained plugged in, with only 12 percent removing the app from their phones.
Zuckerberg also announced that Facebook will adjust the news feed in order to make it more people friendly.
None of this should trouble small businesses that use Facebook as part of their diversified social media outreach campaign. If it’s your only outlet, then, yes, difficulties may be in store for you.
If you’ve been on Facebook for a while, then you should know which of your clients and vendors use this form of social media and certainly you must have been sharing information and observations among yourselves. Perhaps new individuals have already joined you.
If not, find a way to reach out to new customers and vendors in order to build a bigger online community – and that’s the whole purpose of social media. To build communities that share mutually-beneficial information.
Why isn’t this Facebook’s problem a troublesome development for small businesses?
Facebook is a social medium belongs in the category of a closed circle of like-minded people. People ask to join and the content is made available to them. Usually, companies and consumers familiar with your products, vendors and company ask to join. They want to be part of what you have to say. Consequently, this is your almost impenetrable castle. You’ve formed your own little world thanks to Mark Zuckerberg.
The sharing that you’re doing on Facebook is adequate exposure for most businesses. However, content should still be provided to the audience regularly. Touting the benefits of what you do will likely scare visitors away so it would be better if you discussed benefits and issues thereby turning the CEO or business owner into a thought leader. That status has greater merit in the marketplace than “my screws or paint is better than yours.”
Post information about your company or your CEO’s thoughts on industry growth a half a dozen times a week (at least once on the weekend) and then monitor your Insights.
Uploading visually appealing photos and graphics is a cinch thanks to Facebook’s easy-to-use interface and remember a photo is worth a thousand words. The browser-based program shows a grid of thumbnail-sized pictures while the user clicks a checkbox on the photos he or she wants to upload. I would suggest regular photo updates on your company’s work and relationship with vendors and clients to show the market and industry your commitment to satisfying customer needs.
Remember, social media drives word-of-mouth referrals. Potential customers can act as brand ambassadors on social media sites. This, in turn, can lead to more business for you. Potential employees follow this same principle.
A recent study by Market Force in Boulder, CO, found that “81% of US consumers are influenced by their friends’ social media posts, while a comparable 78% are influenced by vendors’ posts, suggesting that company-driven social media content is surprisingly powerful in driving purchase decisions.”
In other words, what goes around on Facebook, comes around.
Being active on social media for your business may be perceived as a free marketing tactic and it is. However, remember, it does take time, which as a small business owner, is at a premium. To keep from feeling overwhelmed, decide how much time you can dedicate to social media activities. Other ideas are to focus your social media time where your customers are spending their time or outsource and hire a social media consultant.
Here are a few ideas to bolster your social media efforts:
  • ·         Add a link to your social media pages in your email signature and website.
  • ·         Spell out the links in your advertising and marketing collateral.
  • ·         Add share buttons to your website or blog.
  • ·         Add your social media site addresses to your business cards.
  • ·         If you have a newsletter, add share buttons and links to your social media site.
  • ·         Post your newsletter articles on your social sites.
  • ·         Consider posting discounts or coupons.

Consider your activity on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter as a major part of your marketing strategy not a frivolous attempt of sharing selfies. The time you put into engaging with your customers online will pay off in more loyal customers and larger sales.
There will always be a tendency for the marketplace to adjust its members’ relationships with a product, vendor and social medium. But if you’ve built a strong, vibrant, supportive and mutually beneficial on-line community, then you will do well in cyberspace and in meeting your business goals.

Let me know how this works for you and I’ll share it with others in cyberspace.
Scroll through my blog to read about more ways to boost your outreach.
I’d also like to invite you to visit my Thought Leadership website:              
If you’re looking for advice on recruiting, creating company handbooks and other human resources topics, I’d like to suggest to you this interesting website:

Monday, June 4, 2018

It’s Time for Women’s Leadership
A few weeks ago I wrote about the business benefits of hiring and promoting women. Your small business will reap the benefits of doing so.
Additionally, you will display you sustainable colors by supporting SDG #5 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals – Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls.
Recently, New Jersey was the sight of the first Metro Women’s Leadership Summit that was filled with fascinating speakers from the worlds of business and politics and interesting women leaders who came to listen and share their observations.
I’d like to introduce to you my wife, Oksana Dlaboha of HR Tie Breaker, a participant, and share with you her thoughts on this historic event.

It’s time for women’s leadership.
An exceptional group of women decided that it’s high time for the metropolitan area to convene The Metro Women's Leadership Summit – an event that would generate awareness, an event where women (and a few righteous brothers) would gather to share the best of the best: ideas, practices, improvements, insights and concepts that make their businesses unique.
Such an event took place on Friday, June 1, at the Newark Airport Marriott Hotel.
On the home page of the summit website, the word “climbing” in the phrase “climbing the ladder” was crossed out with a red pen and replaced with the phrase “redefining the ladder,” which placed the emphasis on the ladder and perhaps destination rather than the climb. Interesting, isn’t it?
Carol Gabel, executive director of the Metro Women’s Leadership Summit and president of Seven Pearls, a risk management and small business development firm, explained that today’s women don’t climb the ladder, they are redefining it and describing their own path to success.
The keynote speakers at the summit were three powerful women in business and politics: New Jersey First Lady Tammy Snyder Murphy, Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver and Sandra Yancey, founder of eWomenNetwork. They gave us, participants, a lot of food for thought as we set out to redefine the ladder or our destination.
Oliver said leadership is the only ship that doesn’t return to port in a storm and described the key to business success is diversity and inclusion. At the end of her speech, Oliver recited a beautiful poem by Ruby Dee called “Calling All Women,” in which every line was more than powerful and had a direct relation to the event.  
Calling all women.
To steal away to our secret place.
Have a meeting face to face.
Look at the facts and determine our pace.
Calling all women.
Come help us start to bridge the gaps
Racial, cultural, or generation
We want some action and veneration.
We got to get together or die.
Now is the time for an evolution
Let’s all search and find a solution
For how we’ll make it to the next revolution.
Oliver set the tone, and in this atmosphere, all 100 speakers in more than 40 breakout sessions delivered a range of ideas and insights for all participants throughout the day. The Metro Summit was an event in which every participant had an opportunity to find her interest - from leadership advice to health topics, from business to personal, hearing new trends, and networking with interesting people.
It was truly a reunion of powerful women, whose ideas resounded in one loud and powerful voice.
It was definitely a time to applaud leadership, where creativity was encouraged, and it was really time when every woman received her own, just reward.
Can’t wait for the next summit.

As I had written, none of this means that you have to turn your company upside down. It means that you run your business in a responsible, inclusive manner with genuinely equal opportunities for every employee. And you will reap the benefits. Businesses that participate in the Sustainable Development Goals stand to experience an unbelievable windfall. The SDGs have the potential to unleash innovation, economic growth and development at an unprecedented scale and could be worth at least $12 trillion a year in market opportunities and generate up to 380 million new jobs by 2030.
Join the conversation in cyberspace about women’s empowerment, sustainability and boosting your outreach. If you have examples, let me know about it and I’ll help you spread the word about your success.
Scroll through my blog to read about more ways to boost your outreach.
I’d also like to invite you to visit my Thought Leadership website:              
If you’re looking for advice on recruiting, company handbooks and other human resources topics, I’d like to suggest to you this interesting website: