Tag Archives: Market Trends

Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste

Time and time again, we have witnessed corporate empires come crashing down. On a high from peak performance, many of these companies were resistant to change their historically successful practices with their “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” or “we’ve always done it this way” mindsets. The things that got them to the top eventually led to their downfall. Instead of proactively preparing for an inevitably changing environment, firms often find themselves behind the innovation curve because they have relied on their organizational inertia from past wins. 2020 has been a year full of thrivers and survivors, but it has looked a little different than other times of financial uncertainty.

Instead of a shifting of industries on the power curve like during the global financial crisis when electronics, utilities, and financial services fell off their historical peaks, we are instead seeing a further widening of the performance gap between industries. According to an article published in July by McKinsey & Company, the six most profitable industries have seen $275 billion a year added to their expected economic profit pool; the six least profitable industries have lost an estimated $373 billion. Companies that did well before the pandemic are proving to be resilient.

The thrivers have taken an adaptive and innovative approach to business and include the following industries: pharmaceuticals, software, technology hardware, and media. After releasing last quarter’s earnings, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said, “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.” The survivors, many on the verge of bankruptcy, are not doing well. This is a trend that existed, but only proved to accelerate with the onset of COVID-19.

The fastest companies to adapt to the new norm have been and will continue to be the quickest winners taking advantage of opportunity during this crisis. Manufacturers of personal hygiene-related products are increasing production. An exponential increase in demand for pharmaceuticals has these companies reinventing their production processes as well. The potential of the telehealth industry is being realized as nearly half of all physicians are treating patients virtually, up from 18% in 2018. Automation through robotics has created an interesting angle for companies through the mere fact that robots cannot get sick like human employees. E-commerce companies have spent money on adapting infrastructure and capacity as they receive more of the traditional brick-and-mortar retail market. Tech-heavy firms have further adapted their ecosystems.

Even companies in traditionally slow-adapting industries have made changes. Restaurants have increased their delivery and take-out volumes, putting together special packages that entice customers to pick up. Multi-family, specifically apartment complexes, have gotten creative with their marketing to get leases signed. Universities have been pressured to express the importance of their value to not only current, but prospective students, as the online education market was already expected to triple in growth from 2015 to 2025. With interest rates reaching record lows, an increase in buyers and homeowners looking to refinance are shaping an attractive future for the real estate market. Implementation of new technology into these industries is paramount to the future of these firms.

These industries, high in reliance on the demand of consumers, also need to realize the importance of relationships with those who make them money, the customers. They can get the most out of their marketing by implementing CRM systems, such as Zoho or Salesforce, to methodically target and follow up with prospects. Businesses need to reallocate resources to parts of their business that have the most growth potential in the future.

To the companies that have waited for some clarity from the fallout of this pandemic, you need to realize that doing nothing is doing something (although we would not recommend that). Companies that move early in a crisis and get ahead of competition often maintain this lead for years. Lao Tzu is credited with saying, “The wise man is the one who knows what he does not know.” There is always room for improvement and no proven right answer as times are constantly changing. Without staying ahead of trends or at least educating yourself about them, your practices will soon be outdated.

It is clear given the current state of the world that changes need to be made to your business; do not waste any more time. Transformational leaders do not let a good crisis go to waste. What are you willing to do to take advantage of the pandemic’s opportunities?

If you need assistance, we have a variety of bundles to help you start a company, scale a company, or simply perfect your marketing and CRM implementation. Check out our 10K to 10X Video bundle, 10K to 10X 2020 bundle, 90 day MVP package, or reach out to WIMS Consulting to see how we can add value to your business.

WIMS Consulting Logo Blue

The WIMS Consulting 2020 Rebrand

There is just something about transition, a new decade (even though January 1st seems like it was already another decade ago), and a new mission to undergo a massive scaling of one’s company that requires a bit of a shakeup. Huge transformative shifts force all involved to level up and evolve for the better. They demand a heightened sense of commitment to excellence and discipline.

As they say, the things that got you here will rarely get you there.

The first 6 years of WIMS Consulting have been great, the company has grown double digits every single year (with 2 years at triple), and despite the state of the market, this year is already on track to achieve exponential growth compared to last year (in fact it economy appears to be helping it along even more as companies go all-in on digital). That said, I have still been playing too small and remain far from where I want the company to be yet. It is time to ramp things way up and kick things up another notch.

A rebrand is often mostly symbolic, it is a way to re-engineer how you would like the public to see and perceive your company, and to re-calibrate the first impression for those that do not know you yet. It also allows you to set the tone for current and future employees, partners, and clients. It is an opportunity to recommit and reestablish your values of who you are and who you aspire to be.

Up until this point we have been far from perfect and have certainly underdone some growing pains along the way. As difficult as it is to admit, not every single client project has exceeded expectations for one reason or another. On the flip side plenty of them have gone really well too. Regardless of which side the responsibility lies solely with us for better or worse. Moving forward, that level of accountability and transparency must be the standard. A rebrand is a way to draw a line in the sand, a demarcation to demonstrate that whatever happened before going forward this is the way we will do business no matter what.

Now for a little background and insight on the creative. The spartan warrior is a deeply personal symbol to me since I was young. For one, I grew up attending a school called Milton Hershey (from kindergarten to graduation), and it was our mascot. We learned about their culture and their values (mostly the romanticized and positive version, not as much of the negatives side of it).

Then when I watched the movie 300, wow what an impact it made. To see a group of soldiers, and a King no less, willingly sacrifice themselves with such honor and grace for the good of their tribe, it really stuck with me. I know it was embellished a bit as all movies are, but that didn’t take away from the impression it left.

Between Milton Hershey and the culture resonating so much throughout my life I even got a tattoo of the spartan helmet. For those reasons and others, it sounded like a great place to start when considering what I wanted my company to look like.

Fortunately, when leveraging history to inspire the future you can learn from, and remove, the negatives in order to improve upon an ideal, allowing you to adopt the things that translate. Further, WIMS Consulting is not adopting ALL their values after all (for one we are very much capitalists). “The word “spartan” means self-restrained, simple, frugal, and austere” plus they were clearly pretty violent and brutal. So again, it is not exactly a direct comparison.

The positive side, such as their discipline, commitment, team-oriented collaboration and community are things you build a company around. Others include being strategic, thoughtful, well organized, and assertive. They were creative in their approach to problem solving. The soldiers in their army were only as strong as the person standing next to them and the collective unit as a whole. They tempered the potentially corrosive nature of outsized individual egos. They played offense and defense equally well. They had an unwavering obligation to do whatever necessary to achieve a desired outcome.

Now THAT is what I want the WIMS Consulting cultural values to represent and embody. I want the company to uphold its commitment and dedication to its community (clients, employees, and partners) to that standard of excellence every single day and in every single project and task. This is the mindset required that will subsequently lead to producing outstanding work and deliverables for our clients. It certainly won’t be easy, but nothing worth doing really is.

Hopefully, we nailed that impression and give this perception with the logo and throughout the supplemental components of the branding. More importantly however, is that we maintain the standards and values in a clear and tangible way. Stay tuned for more, but I would love to hear what you think so far!

WIMS Consulting Logo Blue     WIMS Consulting Logo Gold

Charlotte 2020

Charlotte 2020: Grow Your Business in the QC

If you live or do business in Greater Charlotte then you already know there’s a whole lot to be excited about in 2020 and beyond. The opportunities here are incredible, the city and state of NC in general are growing at a crazy fast pace and receiving all sorts of recognition nationally in “Best Places to Do Business” type articles. You can see for yourself (here, here, and here). Figuring out where to get plugged in or get more involved can be overwhelming, so I wanted to give you a few quick initial steps (4 to be exact) to take in the new year to kick things off, and I’ll elaborate and expand on this further throughout Q1.

Whether you’re new here, haven’t arrived yet, grew up here, or have been here for years now I highly recommend investing your time getting to know other professionals who are doing big things in business. Networking here has led to a substantial ROI for me and my businesses and I can’t encourage it enough. There are tons of organizations and resources with which to leverage at various price points and time commitments based on you and your company’s needs.

Personally, I’ve been involved in various capacities at board and committee levels with the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance (formerly the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce). I’d highly recommend it as a great place to start and get involved. However, to be fully transparent, after merging with the region’s economic development entity the organization’s mission and day-to-day focus are shifting pretty substantially.  Rather than solely focusing on greater Charlotte, The Alliance now has 15 counties across both NC and SC in its purview. Needless to say, that while it’s a positive shift overall that provides incredible opportunity, the scope and reach has shifted dramatically. Serving that wide an area comes with new challenges as well however, so clearly the day-to-day operations needed to change with it.

While I still very much intend to remain involved as a member and hopefully more, it would be a disservice to you if I didn’t say the new mission has simultaneously left a pretty sizable void for those with a more narrow focus of making an impact in greater Charlotte and don’t have the resources to have a target market that expansive. Again, yet another opportunity

This is where the Charlotte Business Group comes in. (Full disclosure: I recently joined the board in 2019 because I knew this transition was happening and wanted to prepare accordingly.) There are still a ton of business professionals who just have the capacity to focus on Greater Charlotte (it’s hard enough covering the Lake Norman to Rock Hill/Fort Mill area as it is, let alone a dozen plus other counties). So we decided to step in and do just that. We’re providing networking opportunities with our mixers, educational opportunities with our panel discussions, and we recently launched a membership program to be able to ramp up additional opportunities in the community (as well as with more focus on fostering referrals and connections but much more to come as the year rolls on). The focus will remain greater Charlotte, but everyone who wants to do business here is more than welcome to get involved. If you and your organization wants to align with that mission please reach out to me to set up a membership or sponsorship and we’ll get you plugged in.

Next up is another really non-negotiable if you’re serious about Charlotte. You need the Charlotte Business Journal in your life, by way of subscription (print and digital), attending their events, and you NEED the Book of Lists.

Charlotte Inno (formerly Start Charlotte) with their newsletter and PitchBreakfast events among others are also truly invaluable. Whether you want to learn about local start up success and origin stories, or see what other events are coming up on the horizon (they host many incredible ones themselves as well) you at least need to sign up for the newsletter and take it from there.

 

We’ll leave it here for now, as that’s 4 invaluable steps that you need to take in the new year if you haven’t already. But I’ll be adding much more with respect to the specific Charlotte focus moving forward (including a non-profit edition). Would love to hear your feedback on what organizations you’re involved with, what you’d recommend and to continue the conversation as it’s one that’s a major priority for me.

Salesforce Heads North

In June 2019 Salesforce announced that it would be purchasing Tableau in a deal worth over $15.7 billion. This deal will allow San Francisco based Salesforce to expand its presence in Seattle creating a second headquarters in Seattle, home of Tableau, like what Seattle-based Amazon did with its HQ2 competition last year. I was in the Seattle area on vacation as the news broke and was able to read local newspapers on this deal from the local perspective which went beyond the financial terms of the agreement.

This deal represents the second largest acquisition in the history of the state of Washington and shows the power of the technology sector in the Pacific Northwest and willingness of companies to expand beyond Silicon Valley (Romano, Seattle Times). With a presence of 1,000 employees already in Seattle, Salesforce is familiar with the business climate in Washington. Moving forward this acquisition is not an outlier and additional companies in the cloud computing space will look to expand their operations and establish additional offices beyond their initial headquarters.

This trend poses the opportunity for companies to benefit from the strengths of different metropolitan areas while also increasing the expectations the residents of these cities have of these companies to become stewards of the community and provide jobs to locals. This deal will change the entire landscape and power dynamics in the CRM and Business Intelligence world. This deal seems to represent a move by Salesforce to invest in research and development through the purchase of Tableau which may signal slowing internal innovation (Moorehead, Forbes). This deal comes after Salesforce paid $300 million to integrate the companies non-profit arm, Salesforce.org, into the companies for-profit side (Salesforce Press Release). This deal will have a substantial impact to the overall company and could create anywhere from $150 to $200 million this Fiscal Year depending on when the deal closes. These strategic changes show how Salesforce is moving beyond CRM and taking the potentially risky decision of incorporating its non-profit wing into its for-profit business. Although Salesforce has been on the leading edge of philanthropic causes with rising housing prices and inequality in the San Francisco Bay area and Seattle areas Salesforce will be held accountable and pushed to create more equitable growth as their operations expand.

Seattle is a city that has long struggled with homelessness and affordable housing. While the city is the thirteenth largest city it has the third largest homeless population. Driving through Seattle and talking with locals on my recent trip to the city I heard and saw homeless camps and the stories of how homelessness and affordability is an issue impacting suburbs across the Seattle area with camps in view of I-5.

While Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has led his company to be a leader of philanthropic efforts and combating homelessness, he is entering a new arena in Seattle (Romano, Seattle Times). Long a leader in giving back Salesforce pledges 1% of profits, products, and employee time to philanthropic efforts. Marc and Lynne Benioff have signed the Giving Pledge and are leading advocates in the San Francisco area working to combat homelessness. Lynne Benioff cofounded a program in 2011 to provide shelters for families around San Francisco. Tableau also has taken on a philanthropic approach as well and pledged $100 million in grants and technology to global health and equality organizations (Romano, Seattle Times).

This merger has just occurred, but challenges persist moving forward. Benioff says that Tableau will operate independent of Salesforce and affirmed that this is a merger of two equals. This is rarely the case in mergers as power dynamics and even the slightest of differences can cause division between leaders in the merged companies. Time will tell how this deal will be remembered but one thing is certain which is that this will not be the last big software deal of the year.

 

Links

Image from: Romano, Benjamin. “Why Salesforce is shelling out $15.7 billion in stock for Seattle’s Tableau, in one of the NW’s largest acquisitions?” Seattle Times. https://www.seattletimes.com/business/technology/salesforce-buying-seattle-based-tableau-for-15-7-billion-in-stock-one-of-the-northwests-largest-acquisitions/.

 

Moorehead, Patrick. “Salesforce.com’s Tableau Acquisition: Admitting Organic Innovation Failure?” Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickmoorhead/2019/06/18/salesforces-tableau-acquisition-admitting-organic-innovation-failure/.

 

Salesforce Press Releases. “Salesforce and Salesforce.org Combine to Drive Greater Philanthropic Impact and Success for Social Good Organizations.” https://investor.salesforce.com/press-releases/press-release-details/2019/Salesforce-and-Salesforceorg-Combine-to-Drive-Greater-Philanthropic-Impact-and-Success-for-Social-Good-Organizations/default.aspx.

Marketing Sales Automation Tech Stack

The Best Marketing and Sales Automation Tech Stack for B2B Businesses

Just about every company in America would publicly emphasize that they’re committed to revenue growth (this is more important than ever now). Yet simultaneously its common to try to cut corners and get cheap when it comes time to invest in tried and true resources that help them realize that goal. Further, these resources will easily pay for themselves and more by leading to significant ROI both monetarily and via efficiencies.

In 2019 I can’t believe companies still need to be convinced that they need things like CRM programs and marketing automation but here we are.

And let’s get one thing out of the way before going any further. No, having a free HubSpot account doesn’t count as investing in a CRM program. It may be slightly better than a Google Spreadsheet (yes some solely use that as their “CRM”) but it’s still a lame attempt at best (that’s not to knock them, they have a fine platform if you’re willing to pay the fees to upgrade it).

Fortunately, there is an upside whether you have a CRM and marketing automation system or not. Regardless if you have none, a poor/dysfunctional one, or even one that’s working decently well, now is a great time to make it even better. Take the time, make the investment, and ensure it’s a priority to get dialed in and implemented now to lead to massive dividends later.

Anything worth doing is worth doing right, so I’ve put together a list of the best tech stack in the game to work synergistically and seamlessly whether you’re a solo entrepreneur or a $100 million company with hundreds of employees.

To set the ground rules this piece is predominantly focused on marketing and sales automation. There are plenty of additional angles to take to assist with ERP, HR/recruiting, etc. (if there’s interest I’ll gladly do a follow up post). Also, there are a variety of effective approaches and platforms to pull this off so in some cases I’ll include secondary and tertiary options. If your favorite tool is omitted it doesn’t mean I’m not a fan, just trying to make this easier in a world with a vast amount of options to avoid analysis paralysis. I’m not going to let that be your excuse not to take action and execute.

Ok here we go.

Communication

This is obvious, but your base starts with communication, so email, mobile device, etc. Personally, my preference is overwhelmingly an Outlook and iOS base. However, Gmail/Google Suite or Android are just fine. I use both Outlook/Gmail and both accounts are connected/integrated with my CRM. If you’re working in teams, adding Slack to the mix is worthwhile as well. Price: $5-$10 per user per month.

CRM

This is really the major component that ties everything together and is the key to making everything else in your business work. If you’ve read anything I’ve written about CRM’s you know my #1 preference right now is Zoho One. It does so freaking much for your company for the price that it’s absurd. Their tagline is: “The Operating System for Your Business” and it’s 100% true. There are literally 40 applications that go along with it that could easily eliminate much of what you’re using right now. But if you love your other platforms and want to keep them it also integrates with them all.

A few steps allows you to sync and keep track of all your communication with clients and prospects, ensure you follow up with leads who fill out contact forms or simply visit your website (yes it includes a heat map and website analytics) and so much more. I also use it for project management.

Almost on equal footing (albeit it comes with a much higher price tag) is Salesforce, followed by HubSpot. These are both great platforms, they just cost a whole lot more to license and don’t come with the extra bells and whistles that Zoho One does. Price: $30-$40 per user per month.

Social Media

This section will be brief, your company has got to have at least the following accounts: LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. If you want to add others to the mix more power to you, but this is the base. I use Zoho to manage, automate, and track my posting (which is included) but you could easily use Hootsuite too. Price: Free (Zoho) – $30 per user per month for Hootsuite.

Email Marketing

Another quick section: you need to be incorporating email campaigns into your marketing activities. Email isn’t dead, that’s a lie (neither is direct mail, but that’s for another time). This is one where you could get away with Zoho to manage it, yet I stubbornly have stuck with MailChimp. I love the platform, the company, and what it stands for and have remained loyal. You can start with a free account for under 2,000 contacts, I have more in my list, so I pay a monthly fee (the fee staggers based on your amount of contacts). Constant Contact is a fine option too. Both integrate with Zoho. Price: Free (Zoho) – $30 per month and up for MailChimp.

Contract/Proposal Management

If your company is like mine, you crank out a lot of proposals and contracts on a regular basis. While we customize each one there is still plenty of overlap and recurring content that we leverage often. Standardizing as much as possible with templates creates a HUGE advantage. It allows us to crank out much more in less time. Business is a numbers game, i.e. more activity leads to more volume, which leads to more sales and revenue. So being able to get more proposals and contracts out in a timelier fashion is going to make a tangible impact on your business alone. For this I use/recommend IntellyDoc. Adding this to your tech stack is going to make a major impact on your business. Price: Free (Freemium Model) – $150+ per month depending on your company’s situation.

Payment Processing

Not that your company is closing all this new business you’ve got to collect, right? I have an account set up with PayPal, Square, Stripe, Venmo, Zelle, Coinbase, and Gold Money to collect fees from clients. I recommend having them all nothing else in your business matters if you don’t collect the fees you charge. They all connect to your bank, which should connect to your bookkeeping platform, which then connects back to the CRM to tie in deal flow tracking and to assist with financial forecasting, etc. Price: Free aside from a percentage per transaction.

Bookkeeping

QuickBooks gets all the love, but I’ve been using Wave and it’s really great too (you’re probably sick of hearing this by now but Zoho has an application that comes with your Zoho One account too). QB integrates with Zoho, Wave doesn’t which is a minor annoyance, but I created a work flow to work around that.

Other recommendations:

Scheduling: Acuity is awesome to assist with scheduling meetings, demos, calls, etc. by allowing folks to see open times on your calendar and book appointments. They have a freemium model.

Ecommerce: Shopify.

Mobile Insights from Deloitte

A Deloitte perspective entitled Failure to Launch outlines the steps to follow to build mobile applications which employees will want to use. This insight shows the importance of mobile technology in today’s world as well as the attention of consumers and business partners as they shift to the screens of mobile devices. An aspect of mobile applications which is also vital but does not always receive as much attention is the importance of developing applications for internal use.

 

The focus of this Deloitte writeup is to outline some steps to follow to improve the effectiveness and use of enterprise mobile apps for employees use. With many different applications and projects to juggle daily it is becoming harder for companies to unveil and implement internal tools for employees. The key to successfully unveiling an application internally should mirror an external product release and be strategically aligned with the mission of growth for your organization. These steps should serve as a guide to review not only new app development but also a benchmark for all internal processes and the perfect opportunity to take the time to invest time and resources into improving those processes. Internal processes are not the most exciting aspect of running a successful project but are critical to the success of specific projects and the sustained success of an organization.

 

The system below should be a guideline and not a hard set of rules to stick to. Leaders and decisions makers within an organization should take the time to fully analyze multiple data points and conduct informational interviews with members of their teams to collect the relevant facts and information from their industry and company. This wide amount of information will allow the greatest amount of data available to make a well thought out decision while also bringing together stakeholders through the entire process from idea generation to implementation.

 

Seven steps are laid out to build and successfully launch enterprise mobile apps:

  1. Strategy and Value: Have a clear goal behind what you are undergoing which can easily be conveyed and understood to those who are hearing about your idea for the first time.
  2. User input: Gather information beginning with idea generation and continuing through implementation from a broad range of potential end users.
  3. App Development: During the development process have steps in place to provide feedback and convey this to your team.
  4. Distribution: Announce the launch of the app and make it known to all parties who may be interested in finding more about the specific app launch and your company in general.
  5. User Support: After the release keep contact with your team and continue to gather feedback from them. When issues arise provide a way for them to easily find the answers to questions and develop a culture where workers interact and shape the future of products in a proactive environment.
  6. Supporting organization: Reinforce the practices in your organization though best practices and foster a tech and mobile friendly company culture.
  7. Continuous Optimization: Never stop gathering feedback and look to stay ahead of the game to be an industry leader with a robust internal team.

 

These strategies were formulated for enterprise mobile apps but the tips should be used to foster change in creating a workplace culture where design, creativity, and innovation propel your company and projects forward as an industry leader.

 

Source

“7 steps to building mobile apps employees will really use.” Deloitte. https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/technology/articles/deloitte-digital-mobile-enterprise.html.

Managing Stakeholders in the Technological Age

Over the past week Microsoft has been in the headlines after a group of employees sent a letter to company leaders protesting a contract with the US Army. This story has received major media attention from Wired to NPR who are taking an interest in this case and how a tricky relationship exists between technology companies and the government.

 

The contract in questions was awarded in November 2018 and represents the first time Microsoft products, in this case HoloLens headsets, would be used in actual combat operations. This worried Microsoft employees who did not want the products they work on to be used in combat operations and is another statement of concern voiced by technology workers in the US against contracts with the US government.

 

The Wired article included an excerpt of a statement Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella gave standing by the contract and highlighted the importance he sees in continuing to work with the government and military.

 

“Monday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella rebuffed the plea. “We made a principled decision that we’re not going to withhold technology from institutions that we have elected in democracies to protect the freedoms we enjoy,” Nadella told CNN Business at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.”

 

As companies look to provide more advanced technological offerings workers increasingly find themselves working on projects where they do not know how the end user will utilize the product and in some cases who the end user is. Workers walk a fine line here and as companies provide more advanced technology to public and private sector clients an upfront policy on how to address who their clients are and be transparent about how relevant stakeholders might react to different projects.

 

Companies cannot sit idle but must be proactive and work with all stakeholders to ensure everyone is on the same page and have a channel of dealing with complaints internally before too much disruption occurs. As technology solutions become more advanced and integrated into all aspects of life difficult questions of who has access to technology and when technology goes too far will become increasingly more prevalent. As issues arise dialogue is needed from all parties to workout what steps are needed moving forward and when to move away from a project. An additional factor complicating issues surrounding technology is that as new forms of technology become available and trends change the norms of technology shift very fast.

 

To succeed, an organization must take the time to set aside a block of time and address where technology can fit in with their organization and under what circumstances do technology and privacy go too far. A strong organization will be able to move through this time but if transparent conversations are not had by leaders from across the organization internal conflict possess the threat of making disagreements public and damaging the reputation and name of an organization. As with any advancement both progress and new challenges will arise causing leaders to make new types of decisions about who can access information, what projects the organization works on, and what types of organizations a specific organization forms strategic alliances and partnerships with.

 

The issues raised by Microsoft employees will not go away neither will the opinions of varying stakeholders who take different stands to improve their own position within organizations. As more stakeholders enter the conversation more ideas are generated but at the same time more safeguards and guidelines are needed to limit internal strife and the possibility that different sides take a hard position which could reduce the efficiency of an organization. This is an era that goes beyond making a right or wrong choice but is centered on making a choice that leaders can stand by and defend while not alienating stakeholders to the point of rebellion. This is bound to play out in additional companies and increasingly be brought up in the legal system.

Resources from the Charlotte Alliance

The Charlotte Alliance

 

The Charlotte Alliance provides information on their website on a range of meaningful sources. This includes Data and Reports, Charlotte Regional facts, talent development, public policy positions, and a schedule of events providing valuable information to those interested in the business climate in the Charlotte region.

 

The website also provides links to recent expansion and investment projects around the Charlotte area. The information on the website shows how the Charlotte Alliance is a resource for the community which takes the time and effort to create a better Charlotte bringing the regions leaders together. This advocacy and collaboration is shown across a range of industries including some targeted industries which are important to the identity of the Charlotte business community.

 

Some highlighted industries include healthcare, information technology, and financial services. Through the advocacy and work of the Alliance the Charlotte region is displayed as a place of economic collaboration and innovation on the national and international stage with a diverse and knowledgeable workforce.

 

Target Industries

 

The Charlotte Alliance has a team that is dedicated to highlighting the unique business community in Charlotte placing a spotlight on some specific target industries. This information paints the picture of a region with a talented and diverse workforce that is ready to drive growth into the future. These industries include Financial Services/Fintech, Advanced Manufacturing, Healthcare, Information Technology, and Logistics benefit from a well-trained workforce and the presence of area universities and college who have relationships with major area employers.

 

By focusing on these industries which are expected to be of high growth and demand as the economy changes over the coming decades the Alliance has placed the Charlotte region in a good position to grow and gain momentum. These industries will attract interest and investment in the highlighted industries along with adjacent and support companies.

 

Financial Services/Fintech

 

The first image of Charlotte for many people is of the towers of Uptown and a city full of bankers who moved to the area from the Northeast and Midwest. Many of the largest employers in Charlotte are rooted in the financial services industry. Charlotte is seeing new players in the growing Fintech sector grow and invest in the area including AvidXchange and Lending Tree. These new companies along with the established banking community including Bank of America and Wells Fargo mean that some of the top financial services talent in the world reside in and around Charlotte.

 

Healthcare

 

The Charlotte region is increasingly being recognized regionally, nationally, and internationally as a healthcare center with access to some of the nation’s best talent and facilities. The healthcare industry in the Charlotte region is diverse and includes hospitals, research, and biotech manufacturing. With many schools offering degrees related to the healthcare industry the region boosts a strong talent pool to fill healthcare positions at companies including Novant Health and Atrium Health which are two of the region’s largest employers.

 

Information Technology

 

The technology sector is an increasingly important aspect of the Charlotte region combining the talent of transplants to the region, recent college graduates, and seasoned tech professionals. As companies increasingly seek out ways to incorporate better data into their decision-making processes tech companies are seeing some of the biggest growth among any industry. In Charlotte, the presence of some of the largest financial and healthcare companies means companies can use the innovation of established companies to work on projects. These companies are able to access the dynamic talent pool and provide innovative specialized technological services. Top area employers in the sector include consulting firms like Accenture and Deloitte and financial services companies including AvidXchange and Lending Tree.

 

Concluding Thoughts

The tourism campaign for the city of Charlotte is Charlotte’s Got A Lot which could also serve as the slogan for the economic development in this area. Charlotte and surrounding counties have a highly skilled talent pool with knowledge in a vast range of industries including financial services, healthcare, and technology/analytics. The Charlotte Regional Business Alliance works to foster and develop the relationships between company leaders, public officials, and companies interested in relocating to Charlotte to foster collaboration and showcase the vibrant and diverse economic activity across the region.

 

Accounting Industry Trends

 

The accounting industry is being disrupted by a range of technologies including machine learning, Artificial Intelligence, and the blockchain. The sources below highlight trends across marketing, human resources, and cybersecurity with implications across the accounting and financial services industry.

Major changes are coming to the workplace as technological disruptions alter where work is done, the speed of workflow, and the role of the employee within the mission of the firm. These new trends are shaping the core principles of work across all industries including how workplace meetings are run, how financial transactions are handled, and change the necessary skills sets a competitive workforce has. From webinars to speakers at industry conferences blockchain technology is a disruptive technology which continually is discussed.

The chart below, from Robert Half, highlights survey results from over 2,000 financial leaders on blockchain technology and how it will shape the financial services industry.

The results from this survey show how finance leaders have a range of thoughts on how cryptocurrencies and the blockchain will affect the overall industry. Only 13% of those surveyed believe that cryptocurrencies will not be common while 50% believed that cryptocurrencies will either be Somewhat Common or Very Common. Since most of these finance leaders believe that cryptocurrencies will have some impact on their business they are planning for a future where cryptocurrencies shape strategic decisions across the firm. Some ways that companies are addressing the growth of cryptocurrencies include training staff on cryptocurrencies, increase investment in specialized accounting including forensics accounting, and increased cross-departmental collaborations. These changes can be met through focusing on internal growth and development while also seeking outside partners to increase marketing, business development, and employees training.

The accounting industry is at an exciting place. The last decade has seen some of the most drastic changes improving the efficiency of the industry. Some technological advances include the growth of blockchain technology and machine learning. Industry leaders are making investments in training their workforce, increasing their marketing presence through digital campaigns and brand journalism. Through partnering with marketing firms and investing internally on training and retaining top talent, accounting firms can position their brand favorably in the industry while growing their service offerings.

Building Personal Growth and Development

The New Year is well underway and here in Charlotte the past week actually feels like winter. The warm Spring-like weather that started the year is a fleeting memory. The beginning of the year is a good time to think warm thoughts of a beach somewhere or the fact that spring is coming. It is also a good time to think about some goals and steps to make 2019 a more productive year.

I am sure many of you have seen your fair share of articles on life hacks and ways to increase productivity to make 2019 the best year of your life on social media, another blog, or an online publication. I think the best way to move through these articles is to focus on some smaller changes that can be made to improve your outlook on life, productivity, and health. I might suggest you check out “Your Future Self”, Fast Company’s series on improvements that can be made, some simple and others more time intensive to improve your life.

These articles are worth exploring since they include topics that are relevant to growth across professional and personal skills. For the entrepreneurial spirit, might I suggest reading “Your 12-month guide to building your side hustle this year” by Lindsay Tigar. Tigar uses this article to highlight some specific monthly calls to action over the next 12 months from building your side hustle. For example, January begins the year long journey with a period of Self-Assessment. The beginning of the year should serve as a time to outline and consider what exactly having a side hustle means for you and how it will affect your loved ones, taxes, and full-time job. Having a side hustle is hard work but by following some self-evaluation during the first three months of the year this will help build the foundation for a new side hustle or improve your existing strategy before heading into April and Q2 with an improved idea and the right attitude to succeed.

The final article, “How to redesign your days to give you back a few extra hours every week” by Elizabeth Grace Saunders outlines what steps to take to get more out of your time during 2019. While this sounds like a lofty concept, the steps to follow are quite simple. Saunders breaks down how to gain time into these categories quitting something, limiting something, pausing something, delegating something, adding something. I have chosen to limit my time on social media while filling that time with the addition of re-reading some of my favorite books to get a new perspective on them. I urge you to take a step back and see if there is an aspect of your life where you could add, delegate, limit, or pause tasks to make your overall week more rewarding and fulfilling.

As 2019 is already two weeks old which is hard to believe. In this New Year, taking a few minutes each day to focus on personal or professional development can reap many benefits. Instead of trying to stick to rigid resolutions see if making a few small changes will help improve your mindfulness and productivity going forward.

Reading List:

Tigar, Lindsay, “Your 12-month guide to building your side hustle this year” Fast Company. Retrieved 14 January 2019 from https://www.fastcompany.com/90279105/your-12-month-guide-to-building-your-side-hustle-this-year.  

Sounders, Elizabeth Grace, “How to redesign your days to give you back a few extra hours every week” Fast Company. Retrieved 14 January 2019 fromhttps://www.fastcompany.com/90280742/how-to-redesign-your-days-to-give-you-back-a-few-extra-hours-every-week.

“Your Future Self” Fast Company. Retrieved 14 January 2019 from https://www.fastcompany.com/section/your-future-self.

-Craig Oliver

WIMS, Inc.