Top News Stories for the Week of NOVEMBER 29, 2023

    Weekly top 5 signals of change you need to know about to future proof your small business


    1. Retirement or Not?


    Summary:  As a giant portion of our population reaches retirement age, how can it not have an impact on business?  Let’s take a look at some of the issues – and possible solutions related to retirement:

    My take:  A diverse workforce is good for employees and good for the bottom line, so consider recruiting older employees or retaining them and having them help train or mentor your newer/younger employees.  The concept of retirement (big party, pension plan, gold watch) is rapidly fading away, and with it, the motivation to retire.  We are going to see a huge shift in the way we all work – with more remote options, more automation, more flexible hours and new ways to educate, recruit and retain employees of all ages.  Be open to all of this as you work to grow your small business.


    1. Diversity


    Summary:  Speaking of workforces with age-diversity, a few stories regarding other diversity issues in the workforce also popped up recently.

    My take:  I can’t possibly recommend any solutions to our current situation relating to diversity (or anti-diversity??).  But I can tell you that these stories are a sign that something is going on.  I aim to remain optimistic that we will figure out a way to support and recognize the value of a diverse workforce (including age groups).  The first step is looking beyond your own personal (and typically un-diverse) connections when finding new hires.


    1. Layoff and Job Trends


    Summary: Are more layoffs coming for Big Tech (and big biz in general)?  What’s going on with the big companies that could have an impact on your small business and the pool of available hires?

    My take:  Layoffs work very differently for small businesses from my experience.  First, the owner takes a cut in pay.  Then sometimes the employees will do the same so that no one has to get laid off.  No matter the job, every layoff is personal because you know every employee personally. And as far as growing or shrinking job titles – consider your business and the services you deliver.  Are they on the list of services that are growing or shrinking?  Have you embraced AI yet?  Make sure your business is future-proof, not just the job titles.  When in doubt, just change all the job titles to “analyst” and away from “clerk” and that will surely do the trick!


    1. Data Privacy


    Summary:  We all spend much of our time online these days, but how careful are you to protect your privacy and that of your business and employees from cybercriminals? 




    • Somewhat related – Amazon One was introduced this summer – a “palm recognition service for identification, payment, and loyalty membership” that is already being implemented at some Whole Foods stores and Starbucks locations. It’s also been introduced at Lumen Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks, so fans can “get their food and drinks during a timeout as quickly as possible.”  Will we trade privacy for convenience?  Apparently so.


    My take:  Do you care if everyone who works with and for you knows everything about you?  It sometimes feels as if we are fast approaching a world like that, where your credit score along with your social media ranking/# friends is another data point for all to know.  Pretty sure that was at least one if not more episodes of Black Mirror!  Not to mention a science fiction book or two I’ve read. 


    1. What does happiness cost?


    Summary:   How much money would make you happy?  The answer might be different for a business owner than for an employee, but apparently the answer is ALSO different by generations.  A recent survey “found that the average person needs $1.2 million in the bank to be happy” and that millennials would like a $525,000 annual salary to be happy, while Gen Z only wants $128k and Gen X wants $130k to be happy.  What’s with those millennials??

    In their support, “many studies have found a link between income and happiness, both in terms of day-to-day mood and longer-term life satisfaction.  Having more money would help many people afford necessities, and on average, richer people report being happier.”  Another study asked how much of a pay raise was needed to be happy, and everyone wanted just a little more than they made.  Your salary is $65,000 a year, then you’d like $95,000 to be happy.  Current salary is $250,o00?  Then you’d like $350,000 to be happy.  On average, “Americans said that to be happy, they would need almost a 50% raise”, as compared to the expected average pay raise for 2024 of 3.9%. 

    Perhaps that is why so many people are unhappy at work?  They haven’t seen their 50% raise?  Interviews with employees show that people are more unhappy, stressed and disengaged than ever lately.  The main sources of discontent “range from inflation, which is erasing much of recent pay gains, to the still-unsettled nature of the workday” with remote and hybrid work being figured out still post-pandemic.

    My take:  It seems highly unlikely that anyone will get a 50% raise anytime soon – but you know who has the best potential to increase earnings?  Futures-focused small business owners who pay attention to trends in the world around them and take advantage of them!  Way to go!


    Bonus Story

    How bold are your promises to your customers?  I bet this story has them all beat! 

    Over 100 cabins on a “Life at Seat Cruises” business have been reserved for a three year cruise.  These customers have sold their homes and their belongings in anticipation of a three year voyage that was initially supposed to start on November 1, then November 11, then November 30.  But on November 17, the cruise company told them all that the cruise was off.  Not only that, but the company actually has NO SHIP!  Apparently, they couldn’t afford to buy the ship and outfit it but didn’t want to admit it.  The company says they are “extremely sorry for the inconvenience.”  Wow!


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