Core Inflation Slows to 0.1 Percent in August

The core inflation rate slowed to 0.1 percent in August, its lowest rate since April. This brought the year-over-year inflation rate in the core index to 2.2 percent. A 1.9 percent jump in energy prices brought the overall rate to 0.2 percent in August and 2.7 percent over the last year.

Core Inflation Slows to 0.1 Percent in August

Core Inflation

Inflation was well contained in almost all areas of the core except shelter. The core index excluding shelter actually fell by 0.1 percent in August. This index is up by just 1.3 percent over the last year and shows no evidence of any acceleration over the last five years.

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Sexism Battling Strategies For Millennials

Over the last several decades, women have made strides in the corporate world, in many cases launching their own enterprises and some taking the helm at Fortune 500 companies.

Sexism Battling Strategies For Millennials

Sexism

Despite such progress, sexism remains a significant hurdle in business, says Phuong Uyen Tran, a Vietnamese business executive and author of Competing with Giants: How One Family-Owned Company Took on the Multinationals and Won (www.competingwithgiants.net).
“Sexist attitudes are certainly well entrenched in Asia,” says Tran, who is deputy CEO of THP Beverage Group, the leading Vietnamese beverage company founded by her father.

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Bob Carter to Headline AIADA’s 49th Annual Meeting

The American International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA) announced on September 10, 2018, that Bob Carter, Executive Vice President of Sales at Toyota Motor North America, will provide keynote remarks during the association’s 49th Annual Meeting and Luncheon on January 27, 2019 in San Francisco. During the meeting, AIADA’s dealer members and other industry leaders will unite to discuss how dealers can maintain their leadership in the U.S. auto industry.

Bob Carter to Headline AIADA’s 49th Annual Meeting

Bob Carter

“Bob Carter understands our industry better than most and will provide his take on the challenges dealers face and what they must do in the years ahead to protect and build their businesses,” said AIADA President and CEO Cody Lusk. “Dealers who attend will benefit from his experience and forward-thinking that is needed to move our industry ahead in the future.”

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Andrew Wilhelmy In Business Growth Funding

First Business Growth Funding, a division of First Business Capital Corp. and a member of First Business Financial Services, Inc. (Nasdaq: FBIZ) is pleased to announce that Andrew Wilhelmy was hired as Vice President – Business Development Officer.

Andrew Wilhelmy In Business Growth Funding

Andrew Wilhelmy

Andrew brings a wealth of experience to his role, previously serving as Vice President of the Intermountain West at a nationwide asset-based lending firm. Andrew also owned his own factoring firm, Titan Business Capital, and his prior experience also includes senior-level positions in commercial banking and lending, as well as a financial advisor.

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Investment Opportunities for Small Businesses

The Q3 MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index (Index) released today indicates that the majority (69.7 percent) of small business owners have a positive outlook about their company and the small business environment in the United States. Their optimism continues to increase and overall business health is up one point from last quarter. The optimistic outlook, the current economic climate, and recent legislative reforms are creating a stronger environment for small business owners to grow their businesses.

Investment Opportunities for Small Businesses

Investment

“Small business owners continue to tell us that they are confident in the national small business environment, and, just as encouraging, most have confidence in their local environments as well,” said Jessica Moser, senior vice president for Small Business Solutions at MetLife. “This bodes well for the U.S. economy, as small businesses are consistently an engine for growth all across the country: purchasing equipment and inventory, paying taxes, and employing ever-increasing numbers of individuals.”
This is the sixth consecutive quarter the Index has risen and year over year the Index score has increased by 7.4 points. The rise in optimism reflects a rebound in national economic outlook and denotes the highest levels in the history of the survey.
Amid the general optimism, access to capital is strong. However, that access differs across all small businesses. Less than one-quarter (23 percent) of small businesses report that it is hard to obtain financing, but opinions vary based on recent experience with the financing process. Those having sought financing in the last year are twice as likely (41 percent) to report that getting access to credit is difficult than those that have not tried (20 percent). Businesses that have applied for credit at some point in the past, rather than in just the past year, were more likely to say it is easy to obtain financing (70 percent) rather than difficult (24 percent).
“After the 2008 financial crisis there was a decline in small businesses’ access to capital. Recently, Congress took steps to make it easier for small businesses to get capital,” said Tom Sullivan, U.S. Chamber vice president of small business policy. “We are moving in the right direction, but more policies that ease small businesses’ access to financing need to occur to ensure this vital sector of our economy continues to grow, create jobs, and positively impact communities across the country.” 
Small businesses that report to be in good health and those that stated they were not in good health were equally likely to have sought financing in the past year. The 71 percent of small business owners who say their operation is in good health indicate it was easy to obtain financing or credit, while only 40 percent of those in not good health indicate the same. Businesses in not good health are more likely to receive only a partial amount (41 percent) or be rejected altogether (25 percent), than those in good health (10 percent and 8 percent, respectively).
The longer a small business has been in operation, the more likely it is to receive the full amount of financing. Three-quarters (75 percent) of businesses in operation for more than 20 years received the full asking amount versus two-thirds (66 percent) of companies with 11 to 20 years in operation, and just half (51 percent) of those in operation for less than 10 years.
The overall optimistic outlook and current economic conditions have influenced small businesses’ reasons to secure financing. Nearly half (44 percent) of small businesses that applied for financing in the last 12 months are more likely to say they plan to increase investment in their business in the next year than those who have not applied for financing (21 percent). Additional motivators were to buy new equipment (27 percent), keep up with increased local competition (22 percent), expand/upgrade facilities, (20 percent), or buy inventory (9 percent). Only 11 percent of business owners said the financing was necessary to keep the business afloat.

Training Your Sales Team Like A Sports Team

Sales people face lots of competition and rejection. Quotas are a monthly scoreboard and the pressure to produce is part of the territory.

Training Your Sales Team Like A Sports Team

Training

It’s not surprising, given those challenging aspects of selling, that industry pros see parallels with sports. And those similarities include the need for good coaching to help a sales team learn how to be more successful. An article in Forbes reported that many frustrated sales people who quit listed a lack of coaches and mentors as one of the top reasons they bolted.

“As a sales leader, you will often find your people looking to you for wisdom, direction, and reassurance,” says Lance Tyson, President and CEO of Tyson Group (www.tysongroup.com), and author of Selling is an Away Game: Close Business and Compete in a Complex World. “Therefore, you need a coaching process that takes time to build up the people who make up your talent pool. You need to look beyond what they can do today and help them realize what’s possible tomorrow.”

Tyson, whose clients include the sales departments of numerous professional sports and entertainment franchises, says that improvement in sales teams starts with how effectively sales managers coach their teams while emphasizing a competitive mindset.

Tyson can discuss ways sales leaders can do a better job of coaching their sales people individually and collectively, and as a result lead their teams toward reaching sales goals on a regular basis.

Discussion topics

 – In your experiences of training sales leaders and sales staffs, what is the biggest obstacle you usually see between them and success?
– Are people born with most of the essential sales qualities, or can they be acquired through training and coaching?
 -How does a sales manager best help a sales person stay engaged and positive during a down period?
– Do you see too many sales managers neglecting their teams, doing little coaching due to time constraints, or generally adopting a sink-or-swim mentality toward their sales people?
– If a sales leader really wants to help his team improve, what are the first couple of things he or she should do in coming up with a coaching process and overall strategy?
– Do salespeople focus too much on the product and not enough on the customer – i.e., being too worried about knowing the product inside-out and not listening to the customers’ needs?

Business worth Billion-Dollar from Rice & Chopsticks

When the United States left Vietnam in 1975, it left behind a nation wracked with inflation, corruption and an identity crisis. The country staggered through the 1980s as a socialist-capitalist country – it tried socialism first, then modified it with capitalism.

Business worth Billion-Dollar from Rice & Chopsticks

Business

For the families that lived through the early post-American years in Vietnam, it was one crisis after another. Yet one family not only survived and thrived, it built one of the largest businesses in Southeast Asia from scratch.

“My father started out with nothing more than two rice bowls and four chopsticks,” says Phuong Uyen Tran in her new book Competing with Giants, published by Forbes.

The company grew so large that Coca Cola wanted to buy it for more than $2 billion.

“He persevered because he had tenacity and placed his trust in his core values and people – his business associates, employees and customers.”

Her father, Tran Qui Thanh, is chairman and CEO of the beverage company Tan Hiep Phat (THP). He turned down the offer from Coca Cola. Thanh’s company now supplies beverages, including herbal and green teas, sports and energy drinks, soya milk and purified water across Vietnam plus 16 other countries, including China and Australia. It is Vietnam’s largest family-owned manufacturer in the “Fast Moving Consumer Goods” category, employing more than 5,000 staff members nationwide.

“It is never easy to compete with giants,” says Phuong, “let alone face them down.” But her family legacy is a story that proves David can indeed compete with (and even outperform) Goliath. Watching her father turn down a sum of money most could never dream to see was an event that shaped Tran’s entire philosophy from that day forward.

What has Phuong learned from the family values her father always applies in business?

5 Family Values to Business Success:

-Create an authentic local product. Authentic local products are hard to beat. That is because locals can beat the big guys in four critical areas – product, price, promotion and place.
-Govern growth. Many companies on an upward trajectory just assume that their success will always continue. The best companies prepare for the inevitable ups and downs of business by growing slowly and methodically.
Motivate employees and foster community spirit. As companies get bigger, they must focus on how their employees work with each other, as well as senior management and customers.
Adhere to standards. The best companies embrace standards rather than try to find ways to cut corners. Her company adopted international standards for her products even though they were not forced to do so.
Take responsibility. The ultimate responsibility lies with each person at the business, regardless of if it is the owner, manager or employee.
Whether you start with rice bowls or owning the entire rice factory, scaling a business requires strategy, discipline and good old fashion family values.

Ross Geller ‘s couch Revelation By Spareroom

For most people moving can be pretty stressful. The first hurdle is transporting everything to your new place, the next is actually getting it into the apartment. For many this is the most stressful bit – will the couch, bookcase or refrigerator fit in the building and through the front door? That’s why Ross Geller, a classic episode of Friends still resonates so strongly with the public today, has become a popular meme and even been voted the best Friends moment ever*. It is, of course, the one where Ross attempts to maneuver a new couch up a stairwell while repeatedly yelling ‘PIVOT!’, only to get stuck, cut the couch in half and return it to the store.

Was ‘pivot!’ the cause of all their problems? Could Ross, Rachel and Chandler have successfully moved the couch up the stairwell by adopting a different method? Roommate site SpareRoom turned – or was that pivoted? – to mathematics to answer that question. And crucially, while Ross was actually correct to order ‘pivot!’ it was a subsequent lack of ‘tilt’ that ultimately led to the couch getting stuck.

Indeed, by analyzing the iconic scene in meticulous detail and estimating the dimensions of the stairs and the couch (which included running a staggering 10,000 simulations based on different measurements) SpareRoom and data science consultant Caroline Zunckel PhD have produced an equation and methodology explaining how Ross could have moved the couch into his apartment – if he only thought to tilt it at precise points on the stairwell. 

Featuring in-depth workings and diagrams, the mathematical solution would have saved Ross hundreds of dollars. The findings might even come in useful for real-life roommates in a similar situations to Ross**, if they’re mathematically-inclined, that is!

A simplified illustration of the Friends solution can be viewed here: https://blog.spareroom.com/2018/08/13/friends-news-ross-wrong-pivot-scene/

The killer equation Ross needed to get his couch around the corner and up the stairs:

Angle of vertical tilt (T) = 44.15064 -11.94274xWS (Width of the Stairwell) + 8.69119xWC (Width of the Couch) + 3.65961xLC (Length of the Couch)

The Friends solution

Step 1: First Ross should have measured the width of the stairs (WS), and the width (WC) and length (LC) of the couch.

Step 2: Ross then should have used the equation to find out the minimum angle (T) that the couch would need to be tilted upwards to move around the 90-degree corner of the stairwell.

Step 3: After carrying the couch to the corner Ross, Rachel and Chandler reach a point where they can’t move any more. When this happens Ross, Rachel and Chandler should have rested the couch against the corner.

Step 4: Here the friends should have tilted the couch vertically towards the ceiling until the angle between the stairs and the base of the couch was greater than or equal to T. At this point the vertical length of the couch would be smaller than the horizontal length and they should have been able to successfully pivot the couch round the corner without it getting stuck. 

Step 5: Once round the corner Ross, Rachel and Chandler should have moved the couch back to its original orientation and the carried it up to the apartment.

Caroline Zunckel commented: “By applying Pythagoras’ theorem to the estimated measurements of Ross’s sofa in a vertical position and dimensions of the stairwell, I was able to establish that it would have been possible for Ross to get the sofa up the stairwell and into the apartment without resorting to the extreme measure of chopping it in half. It’s quite simple really!”

Matt Hutchinson, Communications Director at SpareRoom, said: “We know moving new furniture into an apartment can be challenging. Ross isn’t the only one to end up with his couch stuck in a stairwell or corridor. Although the research contains some headache-inducing math, the solution for Ross is pretty simple: ‘pivot’ and ‘tilt’ – and take a little time to measure up before you buy any furniture. That, or, hire in the professionals!”

To help roommates move their furniture a little more successfully than Ross did, removal and furniture company LiveFeather has provided top tips on what to look out for:

1)    Measure twice, move once

The old carpenters’ saying, “measure twice, cut once” isn’t just for making furniture, it’s for moving it too. Always break out that tape measure before you break a sweat; your unscuffed walls will thank you.

2)    Get pieces that come in pieces

As annoying and headache-inducing as it might be to put furniture together (I’m still wondering where that last screw for my bed goes), it does mean that it’s easier to move around.

3)    Don’t buy everything all at once

Once you’re in a new apartment, it can be tempting to go out and get every single piece of furniture you need all at once. The only problem is, furniture always takes longer to assemble than you think, so if you’d don’t get everything done, you could be stuck with no bed, no couch, and half a dresser. Borrow the air mattress your mom says is “definitely worth keeping” and build your space in stages.

4)    Make sure your building is cool with it

Depending on what kind of space you have, your building might have very strict rules on moving large items in and out. Booking elevators in advance, getting certificates of insurance, and other nit-picky rules could be in your lease agreement, which you definitely read all the way through, right?

– ENDS –

For more information or to request the full report written by Caroline Zunckel please contact spareroom@cowpr.com or 020 7234 9150

Notes to Editor: 

*The PIVOT! scene on the staircase was voted the favourite Friends moment by thousands of fans last year on www.comedycentral.co.uk 

**The mathematical solution developed was based on running 10,000 random simulations with differing combinations of the estimated width of Ross’s stairwell passage, and the width and length of his couch. While the general principle can potentially be useful in real-life situations, it is still an approximation based on the scene seen in Friends.

“Yelp! Of Blockchain” – $1.4M for Review Industry

Review.Network, a blockchain startup improving the review and market research industries that has been referred to as “the Yelp! Of Blockchain”, announced on August 14, 2018, that is has secured $1.4 million (USD) in Seed Funding.

The funding, which includes investments from private investors, is being used to help grow the team and further the development of the platform. The company, which amassed 100,000 beta users in just five days and boasts a team with deep experience in tech, academia and financing, is also announcing that it will have an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) on Sept. 1, 2018. 

“Worldwide, consumers often form opinions and make decisions — like where to eat, sleep, drink, play and even work — based on online reviews,” said Filip Karaicic, CEO and Co-Founder of Review Network.  “However, as it stands today, there are two major problems with the review industry – efficacy and transparency. Reports and data have proven people are more inclined to leave reviews when there is a negative experience, which means there is not an accurate representation of all experiences; and that many reviews are often fake. However, thanks to distributed ledger and AI [artificial intelligence] technologies, we have figured out a way to incentivize reviews – positive and negative – and ensure their accuracy. We also figured out a way to allow brands to tap into our validated reviewer base for market research. This funding, which we’re thrilled to announce, validates our approach and will help us develop this event even faster.”

Review Network’s platform, which is outlined in great detail in the company’s whitepaper, improves the efficacy and transparency in two basic ways. First, they have a well-designed token economics system that provides monetary incentives to those who contribute in a way that benefits the community as a whole and punishes those who do not. Second, the platform has a decentralized community consensus system in which the community self regulates. For example, when someone writes a review, it is then validated by chosen community members (either at random, by reputation, by blind auction, or even depending on the size of their stake in the system).

The network will also allow companies to directly interact with people providing reviews for the most straightforward and accurate market research. The platform, which will work across all industries (restaurant, hotels, etc.), will launch in Beta in Q4 this year. At that time it will be made available to its 100,000 Beta users, who signed up in less than five days. 

Review Network has already amassed a team of over 30 very qualified staffers and advisors, including Robert Golladay, former head of IBM’s digital business automation business in Europe; Reinhard Fellmann, Ph.D., a former investment banker at Morgan Stanley and Lecturer at The London School of Economics and Political Science; and Ivan Bjelajac, a former Director at GoDaddy (EU).

The company is currently in presale and will launch an ICO on Sept. 1, 2018. It is currently in talks with OKEx, Huobi, Cryptopia, Bitfinex, Bittrex, Kraken, Poloniex, Bibox, Bcex and hitBTC, to be listed on their exchanges.

“Yelp! Of Blockchain” $1.4M for Review Industry

EPA And Oregon Partner To Monitor Air Quality

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $314,375 to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to support air monitoring programs. The grant will help ODEQ maintain the state’s monitoring network for hazardous air pollutants. The state’s program also helps reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants and enforcement of air regulations within the state. 

EPA

“EPA and our regulatory partners at the state and local level have taken significant steps to dramatically reduce hazardous air pollutants and provide important health protections,” said EPA Regional Administrator Chris Hladick. “This grant helps further protect our communities and gives us a better understanding of the air pollution sources that may be affecting Oregon’s local air quality.”

“EPA’s grant will support our ability to make science-based decisions, which is the cornerstone of our work and critical for advancing healthy communities and economic progress in Oregon,” said ODEQ Director Richard Whitman. “Our progress is most effectively achieved with support from our federal partners and work with local communities to meet regulatory standards.”

There are currently 187 hazardous air pollutants, or air toxics, regulated under the Clean Air Act that have been associated with a wide variety of adverse health effects, including cancer and neurological effects. These air toxics are emitted from multiple sources, including major stationary, area, and mobile sources, resulting in community exposure to these pollutants.

The National Air Toxics Trends Station program was developed to fulfill the need for long-term hazardous air pollutants monitoring data of consistent quality. These sites are part of a 27-site national network of air pollution monitoring stations. The primary purpose of the network is tracking trends in ambient air pollutant levels to help measure progress toward reducing emissions and health risks.

ODEQ is currently operating two of these National Air Toxics Trends monitoring sites in Oregon. One station is in La Grande (a rural site) and the other is in Portland (an urban site). EPA grant funding supports the activities of ODEQ in the operation of these two sites. EPA has provided grant funding to support DEQ’s air quality monitoring program for more than a decade.

Background
 
EPA’s most recent air trends report highlights that, between 1970 and 2017, the combined emissions of six key pollutants dropped by 73 percent, while the U.S. economy grew more than three times. A closer look at more recent progress shows that between 1990 and 2017, average concentrations of harmful air pollutants decreased significantly across our nation:
 
Sulfur dioxide (1-hour) ↓ 88 percent
Lead (3-month average) ↓80 percent
Carbon monoxide (8-hour) ↓ 77 percent
Nitrogen dioxide (annual) ↓ 56 percent
Fine Particulate Matter (24-hour) ↓ 40 percent
Coarse Particulate Matter (24-hour) ↓ 34 percent and
Ground-level ozone (8-hour) ↓ 22 percent
 
The report includes interactive graphics that enable citizens, policymakers, and stakeholders to view and download detailed information by pollutant, geographic location, and year. Explore the report and download graphics and data here: U.S. Air Trends Report.
 
The Clean Air Act was established to lower levels of six common pollutants — particles, ozone, lead, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide — and toxic pollutants. Data of actual conditions is key to state and local clean air programs and areas reaching attainment.
 
The progress of the Clean Air Act reflects efforts by state, local governments, business, non-profit and non-government organizations, and EPA. EPA continues to work with states, local governments, tribes, and citizens – to further improve air quality for all Americans.