Insight News

Mar 02nd


DEED awards funding for entrepreneurial loans

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has awarded $4.5 million under its Emerging Entrepreneurs Fund to support micro-enterprises and small businesses in the state.

The money was awarded to 13 Minnesota nonprofit organizations, which typically will distribute loans to businesses with fewer than 50 workers.
The majority of the businesses receiving loans through the program will be owned and operated by women or members of minority groups, or they will be located in areas identified by DEED as economically distressed. The criteria for determining if a region is economically distressed include population loss, higher than statewide average unemployment rates and lower than statewide median household incomes.


Are you part of the digital revolution?

You know this already, but I’m going to share it with you anyway – there’s a digital revolution going on!  Now when I say “revolution” I’m not talking about the overthrowing the government kind – but I am talking about a “sudden, complete or marked change in something.” And if you personally haven’t experienced this through digital technology in the last few years, I’d like to know where you’ve been living. I’m not going to say it’s someplace cliché-ish like under a rock – but I’m going to guess it’s some place pretty darn close, because even my 71-year old mom has gotten with the program. She does everything from filing taxes online to scolding us kids via a Facebook post. So yes, that’s revolutionary in my mind. But even I didn’t realize how pervasively digital technology has shaken things up until I saw Nielsen’s recently released U.S. Digital Consumer Report. And my, my, my.  What  a difference a decade makes.


Promotions are not always good

Nico is about to lose his job.  He does not realize it, but his company set him up to fail, and he drank the Kool-Aid. He was the best account exec in the firm, and he had been there the longest, so when it came time to hire a Sales Manager, he was first in line. He accepted the promotion and it has been all downhill from there. How can this be?

Some of the best employees are graduates from the College of Common Sense. Who should play drums in the band? The person who plays drums. Who should manage the sales team? The person the sales team turns to with questions, concerns and new ideas. Managers are born, not made.  They are the people who quietly nudge others in the right direction, with or without the manager title.


General Mills named "Most Reputable Company in America"

General Mills named

General Mills was named in Forbes on April 4, 2012 as “The Most Reputable Company in America,” recognizing the company’s strong global reputation.

Reputation Institute, in partnership with Forbes Media, released findings from their 2012 U.S. RepTrak™ Pulse, a study that measures the reputations of the 150 largest U.S. public companies. General Mills ranked No. 1 in the study, and saw its RepTrak score surge by 5.6 points this year.

“We sometimes refer to reputation as the immediate feeling that people have about a company when they hear the company’s name,” Anthony Johndrow, managing partner at Reputation Institute, told Forbes. “That feeling is based on both rational and emotional underlying causes, and influences how you act in support of that company as well as your purchasing decisions.”


The tragic travesty in trade and transactions

The positive demonstrations of support for the family of Trayvon Martin following his tragic death, and the nationwide evidence of unified response (hoodies everywhere!) in the call for justice are inspiring signs of a renewed spirit among African Americans and others committed to correcting the obvious inequities exposed in the wake of this travesty.
Clearly, nothing we encounter in the world of business can be equated to the senseless slaying of this young man, but as Dr. King taught us in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, "... injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere..."


Minnesota company victimized by identity theft

A Twin Cities business has seen their company name – and the registered address of their business – stolen by offshore scammers, who in turn have defrauded several consumers out of tens of thousands of dollars. The consumers, all owners of timeshare property in Mexico, were led to believe their timeshare properties were being sold, when in fact there were no buyers and they were instead being bilked for large sums of money. The legitimate metro business in question – formerly known as Events Etc. – has since dropped that name and are not associated with the timeshare scam. The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) has given the entity currently operating as Events Etc. an F rating due to a pattern of customer complaints and problematic business practices.


What it takes to succeed

Sweat?  Sacrifice?  Compromise?  What is the real secret to success?  Theories abound, but the answer is probably all of the above.  According to those who know, success seems to be a combination of many factors, with sweat, sacrifice and compromise heading up the list.

Success requires sweat.  Two kinds:  the perspiration of day after day of hard work and the sweaty palms of fear, anxiety and worry.  Thanks to air conditioned offices and good morning hygiene, most people don’t leave their work stations literally sweating at the end of the day.  However, the satisfied feeling of having invested a whole day’s time and attention and energy to a project or assignment has the same effect as a long run or heavy lifting; there is pain and relief at the same time, a sort of natural high because you’ve accomplished something. 

Those sweaty palms are actually another sign of success.  Anxiety is a healthy emotion that leads people to double check their work, think carefully through plans and ask better questions.  Total confidence is totally useless.  The only certainties in life are supposed to be death and taxes, and these days even death is something that can be reversed.  Assuming you know less than you should, that nervous feeling can lead you to discover new, better information.  Anxiety channeled into motivation separates those who want to succeed from those who do.

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