Translating Software Needs from a Large Business to Small Businesses

A lot of business owners start their companies after spending time in a larger company. For some, like Mark Cuban, that work is at the corporate level. For others, like Jeff Bezos, it might be at the franchise level, flipping burgers and selling French fries. Regardless of where the entrepreneur sits on the company ladder, these experiences serve as an education; aspiring business owners get to see how tasks are distributed, what is prioritized, and how revenue is handled.

As a result of time spent at a large company, some small business owners may begin their own journeys with certain assumptions. For example, they might have been an employee who was paid bi-weekly, and they assume that’s the best option. But small and large businesses have differing needs, and translating certain resources from a large corporation to a burgeoning independent business isn’t always straightforward.

Enter: software tools. Business owners with experiences in larger companies can grow used to certain platforms. From HR software and time-keeping tools to employee benefits and retirement programs, a lot of small business owners start their ventures with a list of platforms with which they are comfortable. Unfortunately, this is one of the details that doesn’t translate well from a large business to a smaller environment. This detail is extremely important, considering recent trends in small business entrepreneurship.

Let’s first dissect large business software needs. These businesses can often afford to spend a lot of money on a premium software tool. The more employees you have, the more sense it makes to spend extra for efficiency. This is especially true for payroll support. These software tools also often integrate other aspects of a business to provide the users with an “all-in-one” experience. For example, a company might rely on a program like Gusto because it can combine Human Resources tasks with payroll management. These companies spend more, and, as a result, they can rely on more comprehensive programs.

However, just because these software tools work well for large businesses does not mean that they translate to small business needs. Smaller businesses need to be selective in what they let software platforms handle. There are software tools available with specific small business needs in mind. They consider everything from smaller budgets to necessary features. Some companies even have a modular approach to reduce costs for the user. For example, Advanced Micro Solutions, which provides payroll software for accountants, among others, starts users with a central platform, then allows them to choose software modules to fit their needs. This means the small business won’t end up paying for more features than what they’ll actually use.

The bottom line: Don’t try to replicate your experience at a large company with your small business, especially when it comes to software. Doing this can set you, and your company, up for failure. Instead, look for tools and resources more tailored to your specific business. It’s okay to maintain a large company mindset – just don’t compromise your potential by purchasing big business tools before you need them.

Leaving a Large Company: What You Need to Know

When it comes to job changes, many people expect to move on from smaller businesses. The thought is, you may start with a small company or startup, but inevitably you will move onto the big leagues. Still, that is not always the case or even what is best for your career. If you are in the process of leaving a large company for a startup, there are a few things that you should do beforehand.

1. Consider your options.

There is a risk when it comes to leaving a big business. Larger companies and corporations provide a sense of job security. Make sure to weigh the risk of leaving that stability for any unknown scenario. A new business is liable to fail for any number of reasons. These reasons can include poor location, lack of capital, or tough competition. If your heart is set on joining a startup, look at different ones and assess their business plans and methods for dealing with hard times.

2. Speak with the startup hiring manager.

It is always advisable to speak with the hiring manager or owner before you take any next steps. Make sure that you are guaranteed a position with the startup. If you are taking a chance on an up-and-coming company, you will want to minimize the risks as much as possible.

3. Understand the weight of your daily decisions.

Large companies can make employees feel more secure in their decisions. Unlike startups, your decisions for a big corporation will not necessarily have an enormous – or any – ripple effect on the viability of the business. Focus your energy in part on trusting your judgments so you can make these decisions with purpose.

4. Adjust to waterfall budgeting.

Budgeting can be vastly different at large companies versus at startups. Large companies tend to have annual budgets. Alternatively, startups can budget on an ongoing basis or incrementally depending on the company’s present standing. It can take some time for a startup to establish a locked down budgeting process. However, the early stages can give you the opportunity to have budgeting conversations in a quick, straightforward manner.

There are plenty of useful skills that large company employees can bring to startups. Even so, there are skills that can prove detrimental in the startup environment. Knowing the difference between the two will help to solidify your future success at a smaller company.

How to Transition from a Small Office to a Large Company

Starting a new job can be equal parts exciting and overwhelming. Many times, new jobs can involve a blank slate. A blank slate may mean a new city, a new title, or a new specified field. While these factors can be appealing, they can also be intimidating.

It is even more intimidating for employees who leave a small office for a large company. That is why, when you decide to make a significant career move, it is crucial to know a few things. The first thing that you should know are the ways to navigate a transition into a larger company.

1. Embrace the move.

A professional change can feel overwhelming, but moving to a new and larger company is nuanced. People will likely find good parts of the company culture, as well as unlikable parts. You may find yourself worried about a larger company having a bad culture. It is important to consider that the company may possess more readily available learning and developmental resources.

2. Ask for help.

It is not inherently bad to ask for help when it is needed. In fact, knowing when it is appropriate to seek guidance can reveal your ability to problem-solve and willingness to accept advice. If you are struggling to adapt to a new company culture, consider speaking with your manager. Similarly, there is no shame in discussing with peers any tips on adjusting to a new workplace.

3. Look into training opportunities.

Employees in any field should research professional development opportunities. Exploring new training can expand your skill set and future marketability. Although you may have sought new training prior to your move, seeking additional hands-on experience is valued. It will also show your new employer that you are committed to personal and professional growth.

4. Work your way up the ladder.

Working for a large company or corporation can provide some flexibility. Learn if it is possible to request work on smaller projects from your manager. These projects may give you a chance to spearhead a smaller team for the first time. Do not disregard these smaller projects. Everyone has to start at the beginning at some point.

Every company move comes with its own set of challenges and learning curve. There is no need to let these factors discourage you. If you choose to lean into obstacles as they arise, many of your future career decisions may feel less overwhelming.

Agencies Power Big Companies

With startups and small companies, the norm is to hire good people, ask a lot of them, and hope for the best result. The upshot is that if they figure something out, they do so cheaply–often a must in the high-intensity world of startups–and thus the return on investment soars. The downside is that you often pay for what you get. Even if you bring on good talent, often talent is limited by these employees being used to operating in a big company, turning small dials for big gains and leveraging expensive tools to do things quickly. In an environment with not only no easy dials, but having to create the dials and having to manually work pieces that were automated at a previous company, startups often find these self-proclaimed mavens were supported by lots of institutional knowledge, foundational tailwind, and many other tools and insights that are often invisible. Such is the battles that startups face.

Hiring Agencies

Large companies hire and install agencies, even when they have a big enough full-time workforce for lots of reasons.

#1. Insuring/Ensuring Success.

Even if they have a crack team of analysts or marketing folks or developers, why not double down by having a second set of external eyes to make sure nothing gets missed?

#2. Agencies Are Very Specialized These Days.

While you might be a company that makes cars, but you still need international sales compliance, global advertising and PR strategies, and customer marketing. None of these are core competencies for car manufacturers, but they are absolultely critical to their success. And there are tons of agencies, big and small, throughout the world who specialize in each of these fields, such as Bond Brand Loyalty, who ONLY does customer marketing–meaning they only help you market to the customers you already have. They don’t find new customers. Now that’s special!

In this way, big companies leverage the knowledge and tactics of people who have been doing this at the highest level for years and have them teach their internal teams how to make this work.

#3. Agencies Inspire Confidence

First, they tend to know the field/industry better than internal employees because their judgment isn’t clouded by hating the competition. Second, having a big agency involved is essentially bringing on a partner that is charged with linking arms to help you be successful. When clients and partners know that a big firm like Accenture or Deloitte is attached, they know you are in very good company and can afford the best.

When you get into big name design and advertising companies, they tend to BE the cutting edge, so you have the opportunity to wow customers in a way that internal employees often fail to achieve, as good of people as they might be.

#4. Don’t Forget There Are Agencies of All Sizes

You might not be able to afford a McKinsey or a Deloitte, but there are tons of agencies that specialize in your needs, that aren’t as big, have fewer clients, and don’t charge as much. If you are a local hospital or small business, you likely don’t need all that firepower and can instead opt for a local boutique marketing and design agency or development shop, that are incredible and also affordable. When you aren’t competing against every company in the world or in multiple languages and countries, local excellence is good enough.

There Are, Of Course, Downsides

If you habe been an internal employee or an executive, you have no doubt come across many over-priced and under-working agencies. It is and can still be very common. You must put in safeguards to both insure that you are getting what you are paying for and also that you are not paying forever. Create a good contract. Give yourself plenty of outs if they don’t hold up their end. Scrutinize details and create accountability. If you can do that, then agencies know then that they have to perform. While that should just come standard, it isn’t, unfortunately.

Up and Coming Company: Steris

The S&P 500 is a stock market index that measures the value of the stocks of the 500 largest corporations in the U.S. It reports the risks and returns of the biggest companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq Composite and is something investors use as a benchmark of the overall market and compare other investments against it. Recently included into the S&P 500 is an up and coming company called Steris.

Steris is a company that supplies disinfectants, sterilizers and related services to health-care facilities. Their mission is to help their customers create a healthier and safer world by providing innovative healthcare and life science products and services around the globe. They have become a worldwide leader in infection prevention and sterilization, effectively fulfilling their promise, following the 2014 acquisition of Synergy Health, a U.K. based company, giving them a vast European footprint that was added to their North American presence.

The services that Steris offers and the products they design and manufacture help in minimizing their impact on the environment when customers use them. They pursue sustainable strategies throughout the company and are focused on becoming a lean organization. Steris has only about 12,000 employees working every day to support their mission which was inspired by their customers’ effort to create a healthier and safer world. They aim to make a difference by providing a world-class product and service solutions. Work that is rewarding for their people and profitable for their shareholders.

In fact, the company has a strong revenue model due to 75 percent of their sales being recurring sales. Accounting for half of their annual sales are consumables and infection prevention equipment. Another 30 percent of their sales comes from equipment maintenance services. The final 20 percent of their sales stem from selling surgical tables and lights. Because of the ever-looming coronavirus, global demand for disinfectants and sterilizers has continued to rise. Already the leader in this space, Steris is well positioned to continue to thrive with unmatched scale and capabilities.

Up and Coming Company: Activision Blizzard

The video game industry has been a very large and competitive one for over 40 years. In that time, some companies have continued to grow due to their innovation and ability to provide fun and exciting games to their customers. One company that has continued to be a leader in the industry has been Activision Blizzard.

Activision Blizzard is a very successful video game company that was formed in 2008. However, the history of the company dates back to 1991 when Bobby Kotick and a group of investors acquired a failing video game company. By 1997, they had made the company profitable and then started to develop some of the most innovative games in the 1990s and 2000s. This has included a variety of popular lines including Call of Duty and Guitar Hero, both of which have developed an international presence and following.

In 2008, the company completed a merger and stock sale that has resulted in the firm and structure that is still around today. It is not a publicly traded company that has more than $7.5 billion in annual revenue and nearly $2 billion in net income. Much of this is due to the great product launches of further Call of Duty games and online play, the Warcraft, series and even Candy Crush, which is one of the most popular online games and apps in the world.

Going forward, Activision Blizzard will continue to strive to be an innovative company that will benefit both video games and shareholders of the firm. Activision Blizzard was one of the first to acknowledge the popularity and demand for online and social gaming. They are looking to continue to develop this space, which includes the recent release of the Warzone add-on, which is already immensely popular.

Additionally, Activision Blizzard is going to expand its mobile gaming, A mobile devices become more powerful and easier to control, there is a lot more potential for these games. One of the most anticipated titles is Diablo Immortal.

How Big Corporations are Going to Fare During the Looming Recession

The spread of COVID-19 has resulted in an economic downturn that may last for several months. While the specific impact of a potential recession won’t be known for months or years to come, some general predictions can be made based on what we already know about the coronavirus. Let’s take a closer look at which industries may be the hardest hit, which will likely come through unscathed and which may struggle to survive.

The Travel Industry Could Look Very Different

Executives representing a number of airline companies say that they may not be able to survive without a government bailout. In addition, cruise lines and other companies in the travel industry are also going to be significantly impacted by the upcoming recession. This is because travel has literally come to a halt in many large cities and countries throughout the world.

Retailers Could See an Uptick In 2020

If you have been watching the news recently, you know that toilet paper is one of the most popular items in the United States and throughout the world. Regardless of how much money people have, they will still need to buy food, cleaning supplies and other essential items to survive.

Amazon has recently announced plans to hire 100,000 workers while Walmart has planned to hire 150,000 new workers. These individuals will be asked to clean stores, work in warehouses and deliver goods to people who opt to have items sent directly to their homes. Local grocery stores will also likely survive the recession as they mostly carry items that people need.

Government Spending Should Increase

The president has invoked the Defense Production Act, which allows the federal government to tell companies what they should be making. While businesses aren’t necessarily mandated to meet production targets set by federal agencies, the government can provide incentives to do so.

In the near future, medical supplies such as masks and ventilators are going to be in high demand. Therefore, companies that make those products will likely see an uptick in their revenues. The same is likely to occur for organizations that are searching for a vaccine that will prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Self-Employed May Be Alright

Self-employed individuals are used to working at home, and they are also used to getting creative when it comes to finding work. Therefore, they may stand a greater chance of finding work or to take actions that will help them get through the upcoming crisis. There is also a chance that the recession will provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to create new products or offer services that will be in higher demand as the recession unfolds.

The upcoming recession will likely result in significant job losses and corporate bankruptcies. It may also change how the government approaches issues such as providing a universal basic income and paid leave. However, it is important to note that regardless of how bad recessions get, they will not last forever. Therefore, it is important for everyone to take steps to help them get ready for the next bull market.

Best Blue-Chip Stocks to Buy Right Now

2020 has proven to be one of the most challenging and volatile years in stock market history. This year, there are many economic challenges that the world will face. However, there are still companies that could succeed during this volatility. There are several blue-chip stocks to buy right now that could be a great addition to your portfolio.

Johnson and Johnson
Johnson and Johnson (JNJ) has been in business for over 130 years and continues to be a staple of the economy. The company produces a range of consumer products, medical equipment, and pharmaceuticals. With the amount of uncertainty in the healthcare industry, all of these products are bound to be in demand in the future as well.

Netflix (NFLX) has been one of the top technology stocks for the past decade and the trend is bound to continue. This stock has fared very well compare to the market during the recent drop in price. This trend is expected to continue as more people choose to spend time inside, which should increase the subscriber base for the company.

Berkshire Hathaway
During these uncertain times, investing with a seasoned professional is a great option. Through both BRK.A and BRK.B you can invest directly alongside Warren Buffet’s investment fund. Berkshire Hathaway has a proven track record of taking advantage of all market cycles to earn a good return on investment. This was proven following the 2008 recession when the fund earned great returns for investors.

Alibaba (BABA), which is commonly referred to as the Amazon of China, has been a very successful company for years. Investors that started with the company following its IPO a few years ago would be pleased with their investment returns. Going forward, Alibaba will continue to offer a lot of return potential as they offer a wide range of products through their online shipping model. They are also continuing to expand into other markets and product areas as well.

Big-Company Response to Coronavirus: Industrial Support in the Works

In this trying time of a pandemic, the economy is plummeting to the ground as supplies become scarce and lives are taken by the Coronavirus. The threat has sent the entire nation into an emergency, has canceled schools across the country, and has forced many state governments to limit their transportation to business-only while in the middle of this crisis. However, whilst amidst this fearful time, while many of the nation’s people have turned to a more primal mindset of “Do what is necessary to survive” many others such as business owners have stepped up to the plate to give back, and those efforts are shown through the many different types of aid they give to the citizens during this time of need.

Since Coronavirus is a sickness that attacks the respiratory system, and mainly the youthful and elderly, there is a sense of urgency to getting help to these immune-weakened citizens in the best way possible. This is often through ventilators as they fall into pneumonia and respiratory failure. However, with the national case count of 9000 and growing, there has been a shortage of this life-saving technology. Thankfully producers are pushing overtime to get as many out as quickly as possible to try and lower the causality rate of this illness. While there is wonderful news, this only helps the sick. What about the families that are desperately trying to keep from falling ill?

Those who have not yet fallen ill to the virus to the point they need that type of assistance, find themselves of food, essential daily items, and cleaning supplies. After news spread about a possible quarantine, everyone who had the funds went out to gather as much as they could to last a couple of months, leaving others without. Thankfully other big-name companies are helping through funding and heavier production of those materials as well.

Will this be enough to help the community rise above this crisis? It’s unclear but it is a start.

Planogram Technology Still a Defining Force in Age of E-Commerce

In the early phases of e-commerce, people saw the Internet has a way to expand their choices and find the best price on big-ticket items—while still routinely going to the store for the daily essentials. As time goes on, this paradigm seems to be reversing itself. People are increasingly buying basic household items through Amazon, while going to a brick-and-mortar store for their big-ticket items so they can see the products and services for themselves before making a final decision. With increased convenience and choices come increased expectations for the value offered by products and services. Making the wrong decision for one’s phone, TV, gaming platform, car, or bigger pieces of furniture can be a regret that one must live with for years. And so, people are more motivated to visit a brick-and-mortar store for these and other items.

As such, many of today’s Big Companies have transformed more of their floor space from inventory displays to showroom floors and an interactive customer experience, while also offering many or all of their products through delivery from their distribution centers. Newer planogram and inventory management technologies allowed these retailers to analyze the dynamic effects associated with adopting an integrated approach to their retail sales model and how to best use their in-store inventory and assets.

Data Reporting and Planogram Compliance

Planogram technology—even in its traditional role of modeling the placement of retail products on shelves to maximize sales—is still as important as ever. More so. In addition to floor planning and range planning software that have been around for years, today’s retail industry is using more powerful data technologies for analyzing the performance of individual products within product categories as well as niche categories within broader categories. Which products benefit most from being featured on particular shelves? Which products hardly benefit at all from being on the retail floor? What products don’t benefit directly from being featured but which increase overall sales through related products? Take a look at this example of category management software to get a glimpse into the types of nested product information that can be reported on an easily viewable dashboard display.

To be sure, it’s not just about the data collection and mining. It’s also the data reporting and actionable intelligence. Especially when it comes to planogram compliance. Image recognition software can be used to create automated reports for planogram compliance. Store associates will know when store shelves or retail displays need attention. Visual merchandising managers can track planogram compliance remotely. Supply chain managers will know when products are under- or over-performing. Even newer planogram and merchandising technologies are turning the cameras around and using facial recognition software to measure customers’ eye movement across the shelves to optimize sales and inventory management.

Competition and Integration

Too often, today’s retail sector is described as the unstoppable march of e-commerce capturing an ever-increasing market share. But this isn’t really reflected in the data anymore. Even as some legacy retail brands go bankrupt in the rise of e-commerce, brick-and-mortar sales have stabilized and been positive for many years now, increasingly in lockstep with e-commerce sales trends.

The competition has also spurred plenty of innovation along the way. Price-matching guarantees seem so commonplace today that it’s easy to forget how relatively new they are. Digital Commerce 360 offers this reminder that it was only in 2012 that Best Buy’s newly minted CEO, Hubert Joly, made a price-matching guarantee policy one of his very first actions. “Customers who entered the store to personally try out the product felt empowered to buy on the spot—thanks to the guarantee. Further, he carved out showroom space for big brands, including Apple, Microsoft and Samsung so vendors could interact with customers.”

More and more, e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail stores are evolving together. Recent trends show momentum toward a more complete integration of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail. More traditional retailers than ever have a robust e-commerce operation, while Amazon has shown increasing commitment to, and value in, establishing brick-and-mortar stores.

Planogram Tech Finding Applications in More Sectors

Beyond its role as a defining force in retail, planogram and merchandising technology are demonstrating their value in other sectors of the economy. For healthcare, for real estate, for hospital and entertainment venues, merchandising and other display strategies help these industries get more value from their available space. Even as many shopping malls are struggling to survive, commercial real estate prices have surged over the last several years, putting additional pressure on companies to optimize and monetize their space.