Delivering the Goods…

semi-truck on highwayIf you have been following the news from England, you have been aware of the fiasco that Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) had to deal with there. Beginning on February 14th, 2018, and continuing for more than a week, KFC was unable to get chicken to their 900-plus stores in the UK and over 800 of them had to close. KFC became a target of ridicule and while funny to outsiders, the problem was critical for the company. Most of the KFC locations are owned as franchises by independent owners, who have fewer resources than KFC’s parent company, and were severely impacted by the crisis.

KFC has to be given credit for not making excuses, but rather using cheeky public relations to show its humiliation and poke fun at itself.

KFC has issued a high-profile humorous apology for its chicken shortages in the UK.  The fast-food chain used a full-page ad in British newspapers to apologize for shutting down hundreds of restaurants this week because it ran out of chicken. The bright red advertisement showed an empty bucket with the chain’s initials scrambled to say “FCK” on it, alongside an apology. “A chicken restaurant without any chicken. It’s not ideal. Huge apologies to our customers, especially those who traveled out of their way to find we were closed,” the ad said. (Source – CNN Money)  Continue reading here.


Speaking of Business Blog by Dr. Philip R. Geist, Area Director, Florida SBDC at UNF


Tips for growing your business…

grain image

If you want to find out how to grow your business, one of the best ways is to study the people who literally do that on a 24/7 basis, 365 days a year – farmers! Their best practices will revel many tips that can be applied to any business. Here are some of the key ones…

  • A successful business must be sustainable – From farmers’ points of view that not only includes agricultural practices to maintain productivity of the land, but also general business practices that apply to all types of businesses. Among these are:
    • Maintaining equipment on a regular schedule so that it will be operational for many years after it has been paid for. Your profit margin will automatically go up because you will no longer have interest and payment expenses. As an example, Certified Grocers in Ocala, Florida, was a grocery distributor incorporated on April 15 1948 that operated until it was sold in 1993. During those years it maintained a fleet of trucks that were tens of years old and had several million miles on them. Maintained is the key word… parts were replaced on schedule before they caused a break down; trucks were repainted and renewed inside and out every few years. The result was a paid-for fleet that looked and operated like new, which contributed to a higher than average profit margin.
    • Maintaining excellent customer service. A successful business must be able to sustain its customers as well. As it is easier to sell additional items to an existing customer than attract a new one, you should focus on customer needs and wants as time changes. Farms have added organic products, ready-to-consume items (like juices, jams, and salsas), and entire new ranges of items to their business. Recognizing that customers won’t eat beef, chicken, pork, or fish all the time, many small farms have diversified to carry more than one type of protein. Some previously strictly livestock farms have also begun growing and marketing produce.  Continue reading here.


Speaking of Business Blog by Dr. Philip R. Geist, Area Director, Florida SBDC at UNF


Think like a crow; Act like a squirrel…

squirrelAfter watching a number of “cute wildlife” videos on YouTube, it occurred to me that both crows and squirrels have characteristic behavior, that if adapted by business owners, could increase the performance of their businesses. Business owners should think like a crow and act like a squirrel in order to increase the performance of their business.

Crows have long been known to show intelligence. Aesop, a storyteller generally believed to have lived in Greece between 620 and 564 BCE is credited with the story of the crow and the pitcher. Historians suggest that the first written recording of the story was in the first century CE and it was included in an anthology of works collected by Phillippus of Thessalonica that exists to this day.

The fable involves a thirsty crow that found a pitcher with a small amount of water at the bottom. As the neck of the pitcher was too long and too narrow for the crow to reach into it, the crow picked up small pebbles and dropped them into the pitcher until the water had risen to the top of the neck, where the crow could reach it and drink. Crows are a member of the family corvidae, commonly called corvids. Corvids have a total brain to body mass ratio equal to that of great apes, and only slightly less than that of humans. Many scientific experiments have proven the intelligence of crows, and it has been documented in casual, entertainment-focused videos as well. Among the characteristics demonstrated by crows that could benefit business owners are: Continue reading here.


Speaking of Business Blog by Dr. Philip R. Geist, Area Director, Florida SBDC at UNF

Tax Reform Law: Topics of Special Interest for Individuals

House with Paper Chain FamilyRepeal of the ACA Penalty for Individuals

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires individuals to pay a penalty if they aren’t covered by a health plan that provides at least minimum essential coverage. That penalty is also known as the “shared responsibility payment.” Unless an exception applies, the penalty is imposed for any month that an individual doesn’t have minimum essential coverage in effect.

The new tax law permanently repeals the ACA penalty for individuals for months beginning in 2019. But the penalty is still in force for all of 2018. The new tax law doesn’t change the ACA mandate for employers, however.  Continue reading here.

Brought to you by Brent Ross, CPA, Ross Hughes & Associates, CPAs, PLLC & SBRN Member



FSBDC at UNF Success Stories – Emergency Bridge Loans

Interview with Marco Tran, I-Tech Personnel Services in Jacksonville

In the latter part of this year, Hurricane Irma brought quite the impact to Florida’s First Coast, but there is a silver lining – the Florida SBDC was able to assist local small businesses, like I-Tech Personnel Services, in obtaining Emergency Bridge Loans to help “bridge the gap” between the disaster and long-term recovery resources.

Please provide a brief description of your business:  A full-service staffing company established in 1998.

What type of damage occurred?  Roof was destroyed by Hurricane Irma

How helpful was the Bridge Loan?  Very much, it helped us to maintain pay for our employees

How helpful was the SBDC?  Very helpful, we got help very fast!

Click Here for a look at some stories from around the state!

Why Your Team Is Failing

Today’s educational system, from Kindergarten through college, puts a focus on team work. However, while you may learn who gets their work done versus who is counting on everyone else to get an “A” grade, your scholastic team experience probably did little to prepare you for business teamwork.

When you think about it, every business relies on the performance of teams, yet few companies ensure their employees have the tools necessary to be cohesive and successful. Many leaders have trouble identifying how effective their teams are, especially when they are meeting goals. However, just because your group is achieving desired results doesn’t mean they are as productive as they could be.

Take the pulse of your team by answering a few questions, True or False:

  • Team members receive a great deal of feedback regarding their performance
  • Morale is high and there are few complaints
  • Team members communicate openly, dealing with conflict professionally and productively
  • Communication occurs regularly, not just during meetings
  • Everyone on the team recognizes and appreciates what we do and why
  • Team members feel valued, and value each other

Continue reading here.

by Karen Nutter, CBK Coaching & SBRN Member

Ups and Downs, and Keeping Your Balance

Ideas for blogs can come from interesting associations. I was wondering what I should write my next blog about while bicycling this weekend as the weather in Florida has finally become cooler and less humid. After discarding several ideas, I associated bicycling with cycles and decided to write about the various cycles that affect business. Cycles in general are like positive sine waves; they rise to a peak and then return to their starting point. Most have a shape resembling a bell curve, some are sharper, more erratic, and rise and fall quickly like an EKG signal. Although their behavior may vary, they all follow the principle of rising, peaking, and falling. Among the many cycles that have an impact on your business are the following: continue reading here.


Speaking of Business Blog by Dr. Philip R. Geist, Florida SBDC at UNF

Falling Leaves; Rising Sales…

Fall is in the air; it’s a bit cooler and the humidity is lower. Fall is also the time that sales increase as holiday gift buying begins, vacationers escaping cool weather come to Florida, and the “Snowbirds” return. For both retail and service businesses fall is the beginning of the “money making season.” Several factors boost sales in fall: Halloween activities, Thanksgiving, the busiest travel holiday of the year… and we are one of the destinations for visitors with money to spend! This year, as a result of hurricanes, spending will increase across many business sectors as properties are rebuilt, furnishings are replaced, and new vehicles are purchased to replace those damaged by the storms.

Service businesses in particular need to know the demographics of their customers, especially if they are snowbirds. Snowbirds tend to be retirees in a 50-80+ year old market segment with a larger concentration around the higher ages. While it is dangerous to make generalized assumptions, snowbirds are less likely to respond to social media, use apps on their smart phone (the 70+ segment may not have them), and are more likely to rely on print media and direct mail. Those with hearing loss will need your sales staff to speak slowly and clearly, and spend more time explaining the scope of your service and the expected outcomes. Continue reading here.


Speaking of Business Blog by Dr. Philip R. Geist, Florida SBDC at UNF

Dotting the “I’s” and Crossing the “T’s”

Hurricane Irma has come and gone in Florida, and the recovery is underway. While physical and economic damages vary widely from county to county, all 67 counties in Florida have been impacted in some way by the storm. For most, the damage has ended, but some that have rivers are still flooding as water works its way downstream. Some businesses had no losses, many had an economic loss from being closed before, during, and after the storm until power was restored, roads opened, and customers returned. In the harder hit counties, businesses suffered physical as well as economic losses and will have a longer recovery period.

Unfortunately, Florida’s location and geography mean that other storms will affect the state in the future. There are some lessons learned from Hurricane Irma that businesses can apply to be more resilient and have a shorter recovery time when the next storm hits. Here are some items to consider: Continue reading here.

Speaking of Business Blog by Dr. Philip R. Geist, Florida SBDC at UNF

How to Respond to a Data Breach

You may have read that hackers broke into the Equifax database and stole personal information tied to 143 million people.  The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people.  There is no reason to think that data is not for sale to criminals who can use it to open new lines of credit or file phony tax refund requests in peoples’ names.  Click here to read more:

by Bill Hart, Retirement Strategies, Inc. & SBRN Member


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