Insight News

Sunday
Dec 21st

Business

Strengthening support to minority-owned firms

Supporting the growth and global competitiveness of minority-owned businesses is a priority for the Department of Commerce and the Obama administration.

And we’re making good on that priority. Last year, the Department’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) registered the best annual performance in its 41-year history. It assisted minority-owned businesses in gaining access to nearly $4 billion in contracts and capital, supporting the creation of nearly 6,000 much-needed jobs. Over the last three years, our network of 39 MBDA Business Centers, has been largely responsible for generating $10 billion in contracts and capital while helping to create and save nearly 20,000 jobs.

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Tough Choices

Tough Choices

 

Left or right?  Big Mac or Chalupa?  Snooze or not snooze?  Daily life is all choices.  Generally, people navigate without agonizing over decisions they’ve made or even that they did make a decision.  But occasionally, people are faced with red light situations: stop-and-think choices that will impact the direction of one (or many) lives.

While marriage, genetic testing for diseases and some spending decisions rank pretty high on the impact scale, our focus here is career planning, so we’ll keep our conversation around that.  Which brings to mind the first rule in career planning decision making:  this is not a genetic test, marriage or purchase of a Lamborghini.  A career planning mistake is rarely catastrophic.  When deciding where to go next in your career, keep your perspective in check.
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Human tragedy plus triumph equals ratings magic

I am always fascinated by the impact of human emotions on our consumer behavior – whether those emotions are inspired by tragedy or triumph.  Two television broadcasts made ratings history recently, one because of a tragedy and one because of a triumph:  the 54th Annual Grammy Awards on CBS and the contest between the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks, February 10, on ESPN.

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Career Planning: From here to outstanding

Career Planning:  From here to outstanding

 

Poet, activist, novelist and playwright Langston Hughes said, “I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go.”  For a jazz poet and innovator like Hughes, there were surely any number of places he wished to go, and went.  He invites us to go, also.  The key phrase being, “… if you really want to go.”

Wanting to go further – in a career, in a relationship, in any ambition – is common.  Who doesn’t want to improve?  Who doesn’t want to tackle new challenges and grasp the satisfaction of hard work rewarded?  And yet, people remain in want mode and only in hindsight recognize the opportunities they’ve let slide by.
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Protecting data – Does your business know what to do?

Protecting data – Does your business know what to do?

 

In times of escalating privacy and data breaches, customers expect every business — large or small — to take the necessary precautions to protect their sensitive personal information. The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) advises business owners to proactively address customer anxiety and take steps to both prevent and prepare for a security breach. The BBB has endorsed the Online Trust Alliance’s (OTA) Data Protection and Breach Readiness Guide, recently updated for 2012

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Low Ball Offer: Negotiating to get what you’re worth

Low Ball Offer: Negotiating to get what you’re worth

 

Newly engaged, and with her fiancé stationed halfway across the country in the Army, Sola wanted nothing more than to get out of Minnesota and get her life’s next chapter underway.  She consulted me for some resume help and my strongest message fell on deaf ears:  Don’t quit your job yet, I told her.  She sent out her resume, interviewed twice and promptly gave two weeks’ notice to quit her job.

You’ve shot yourself in the foot, I told her.  She gave notice on her apartment and started packing.  Sometimes people make mistakes.  Sometimes, so do I.  Sola was confident.  She knew there was a demand for her skills and she knew where she wanted to be.  My experience says that finding a job is easier when you have a job, and negotiating a better salary is easier when you have a salary.  Sola didn’t follow my direction, but she didn’t let me down, either.
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Navigating the funeral process

 Navigating the funeral process

At an average cost of $7,000, funerals are one of the more expensive purchases consumers ever make. During such an emotionally-charged time, it can be easy to spend more than might be necessary. The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) offers the following advice for navigating the funeral process.

Most funeral providers offer a variety of package plans that include products and services that are most commonly sold. However, it’s important to remember that no package is obligatory and it’s important to take the time, even though the time to make these decisions may be short, to find the individual products and services that best serve the needs of you and your loved ones. The “Funeral Rule,” enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, requires funeral directors to give you itemized prices in person and, if asked, over the phone.

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