Big Data, Though a Trite Term, Helps in 6 Types of Analytics

Do you enjoy business jargon? Do your eyes glaze over when you hear terms such as visionary, think outside the box, paradigm shift, pre revenue, enterprise, and big data?

Don’t know about you, but trite terms in business – so-called buzz words – are annoying. And when you’ve been around a long time, the number of buzz words is quite long. It only adds to the agitation.

My personal pet peeve is the term, big data. Like many words in business jargon, it’s become meaningless.

But as shown in the following video, water researchers successfully use big data in a collaboration with IBM.

Based on the most-popular Biz Coach timeless articles since 2009 and the myriad of issues that cause CEOs to sleep at night, it’s worth noting top-performing companies have six significant ways to make use of analytics.

They include:

1. Management and human resources – Analytics in human resources are becoming more and more paramount. Professionals in human resources could use more respect in the C-suite.

To silence critics and to garner praise for helping their companies to profits, obviously, it’s in the best interest of HR professionals  to focus on self improvement and growing with the times.

From recruiting the right profile of employees to employee engagement, HR professionals enhance business profits by using the strategies and metrics.

2. Decision-making in finance and marketing  – Improvements in technology and the forces created by the new economy in which business profits are more difficult to attain, analytics are increasingly important.

Gone are the days are manually dealing with figures on the balance sheet. Businesses have to be alert to monitor their tax liabilities. They’re learning to creatively manage cash flow and learning ways to increase their pricing power.

It’s no longer possible to run a simple radio or TV campaign and expect strong results. The marketplace is more dynamic and competitive, and there are so many options to attract customers. There are critical essentials to develop the best marketing formula.

3. Efficiencies in operations and supply chains – Companies have to develop operations checklists and new systems whether it’s for managing inventory costs or using lean principles.

Whether fears arise from the prospect of tornadoes to regional politics, companies are increasingly using analytics to determine how to protect supply chains.

4. Enhancing customer experiences – Businesses want to improve. Many know they’re losing more profits than they know because they inconvenience customers. Such negative customer perceptions result in lost opportunities in revenue growth, tarnished branding and smaller profit margins.

They’re constantly struggling to learn why they’re high maintenance to customers. This entails learning to improve customer-service processes to focus more on customer needs.

5. Innovation and new products – Businesses learn opportunities for growth by studying customer behavior. To achieve lofty goals, certainly innovation is the key in our new economy. To become a top innovator, it’s an inside job.  To participate in turbo-charging the economy, it’s vital to continually evaluate your organization and strategize for success.

In essence, it also means capitalizing on business intelligence.

6. Company value vs. technology threats – Corporate executives see new strategic risks as a result of technological changes — from big data and cloud computing to social media. Their strategic-management focus has evolved with technology.

So executives are learning to target the five technology threats to company value.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related articles:

Risk Management – Making Best Decisions, Using Right Tactics — To prevent a crisis from interfering with the continuity of your business, you must strategically plan to manage any potential risks. That means avoiding the classic mistakes routinely made by companies, and making the right decisions for proactive measures to minimize any dangers.

Internet Shoppers Demand 3 Cs – Customer Experience Study — Success in e-commerce is increasingly challenging for retailers that want to dominate in brand preference, customer loyalty and word-of-mouth advertising. That’s because consumers want more and more in the three Cs — channels, choices and convenience.

Why Your Customers Stay or Leave – Insights from Study — Despite all the emphasis on speed in customer service, it’s not the salient factor in keeping customers happy. A study confirms that the power of emotion is most important, according to a published report.

8 Top Entrepreneurs Share How They Get Ideas — How can you get inspiration for outstanding business ideas? Not sure? Well, eight top innovators — alumni from the Stanford Graduate School of Business — have their favorite techniques. In the post, 8 Different Ways to Get Great Ideas, they share how they achieve creativity.

“In God we trust. All others must bring data.”

-W. Edwards Deming


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Research Before You Buy a Franchise, You Must Know 5 Principles

Indeed, there are some good companies from which to buy a franchise, and some not so good.

The franchisor must be a successful brand, respect on Wall Street if it’s a public company, and have a great game plan for the individual franchisees in their local markets. But that’s not all.

You want happy results from your online research and ultimate investment, and not be hit with a negative surprise. So do your research before buying a franchise.

woman coffee research-315006_1280The franchisor should be exemplary in seven categories:

— A great business plan

— Strong financials

— Effective operations/business processes

— Excellent branding

— Cutting-edge technology

— A healthy reputation

— Superb leadership, talent and human resources approach

But considering the seven categories is only a first step before buying a franchise.

You still need to double-check all information and be keenly aware of five principles.

The five principles:

1. Buying a franchise doesn’t make you a partner 

Despite any implications, when you buy a franchise you’re still a customer of the company. It’s not a partnership. You will have to buy products from the franchisor. You’re not protected from failure of the company.

On the other hand, it’s true franchisees generally do better than organic startups. The failure rate of franchisees is better than startup companies.

Other than franchisor shortcomings, franchisees generally fail when they’re under-financed, the economy goes south, when they don’t adhere to the franchisors’ game plans for local marketing, or for dysfunction in operations or in customer service.

2. Your goal is different from the company’s 

To be sure, you as a franchisee and the franchisor want to be successful. However, aside from branding, the two of you have different goals.

You want a turnkey business, and you’re responsible for the customer service to consumers.

The franchisor wants to grow by selling franchises to people who want a turnkey business, and to continually sell products to you.

Long term, it’s also possible that the franchisor’s has an exit strategy — it might be planning to grow the company so it can become an attractive target to sell out to an investment company or competitor. Either is likely to be OK for your future.

3. Understand the differences in your personal interactions

As a franchisee, you likely will not have a continuous relationship with the person who sells you the franchise. You likely are buying from an independent agent or brokerage firm. This means you won’t see that person again.

If you’re negotiating with an actual sales representative of the company, perhaps you will still be dealing with the person. However, your dealings will evolve into a different type of relationship.

4. Verify all ROI claims 

Be wary of any return-on-investment claims made by the company. Any claims by the franchisor must be substantiated — a requirement of the Federal Trade Commission.

So be careful about the paperwork. Get all claims in writing. If they’re not provided to you, walk away from the deal.

5. Learn the FDD protections

Know the legalities — what the franchisor gets from you and what the company will do for you. All of this is covered in the FDD, the Franchise Disclosure Document.

During discussions before you buy the franchise, study the UFOC, which is the Uniform Franchise Offering Circular. The UFOC contains important information that needs your due consideration.

From the Coach’s Corner, editor’s picks for entrepreneurship articles:

Financial Tips for Taking the Plunge to Buy a Business — So you’ve decided to take the plunge in buying a business. Congratulations. I salute such bravery. Owning a business represents one of America’s great fundamentals — our free-enterprise system. You’ll have multiple financing options.

7 Basic Questions to Ask Before Buying a Business — Depending on your situation, there are beneficial reasons for buying a business. It works for a person lacking business-ownership experience as well as for a veteran business owner.

11 Tips to Safely Walk the Entrepreneurial Tightrope — For successful small firms, strong cash flow doesn’t just happen. Advertising firms to tech startups have a system. They plan and implement with precision. You, too, will stay afloat by being proactive using these strategies.

10  Scholarly Solutions for Selling More Products — Part one of a three-part series: How to grow your small business. Small business owners face more predators than ever, which makes decision-making about growth seem very challenging.

When there’s No Cash, 8 Tips to Organically Grow Your Business — Organically growing a business is lot like organic farming. Organic farmers pay attention to the signs of nature as a planting guide. They use rich sources of organic matter to build and maintain soil fertility. If you’re like many entrepreneurs, it probably makes sense to grow organically. You might not have another choice.

“We’re trying to be that franchise that year-in and year-out is competing for a championship.”

-Drew Brees


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Minimizing Liability and Managing an OSHA Inspection

Government is making it harder and harder to run a business. Many business owners dread government’s voluminous regulations, including from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Founded in 1971, the agency has great power. Admittedly, government oversight is warranted for worker safety.

However, some of OSHA’s actions have been abusive for political gain, according to published reports. (See: GOP Rep: Obama’s OSHA is Targeting Non-Union Shops.)

Photo from the article: Union representatives join federal government safety inspectors on site visits to non-union businesses

OSHA is allowing union organizers from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to accompany OSHA inspectors to at least one unsuspecting non-union business.

In an interview with Fox news host Greta Van Susteren, Brent Southwell, CEO of Professional Janitorial Service, declared SEIU organizers surprisingly accompanied OSHA to the business on three occasions. 

Prior to the three visits, the company had not been cited with OSHA complaints. 

Mr. Southwell told Ms. Van Susteren:

We have no problem with OSHA coming in. Our problem is when they bring in the union representatives to try to intimidate us and basically using government agencies to try to force us to become union.

Ms. Van Susteren asked for comment from OSHA and the SEIU. SEIU declined to comment.

She published OSHA’s response:

In a written statement, OSHA saying in part allowing non-employee third party representative to accompany OSHA inspectors on walk around inspections is not a new OSHA policy. OSHA’s long-standing regulations interpreting the law the states that representative can be a third party if that third party representative is necessary to conduct a thorough investigation. 

In checking Google News — there are more than 10 thousand search results for OSHA. 

An IndustryWeek article, “Exploring the Limits of OSHA’s Inspection Authority: A Precursor to Exercising Your Rights,” caught my eye. It was written by an attorney, Michael Rubin, at Goldberg Segalla LLP 

What are your rights if you get a surprise visit from an CSHO (compliance safety and health officer)? 

Not to oversimplify, and I urge you to read the full article, here are excerpts from what Mr. Rubin wrote:

To Consent or Not to Consent

In most cases, the CSHO will arrive without a warrant. Since the CSHO is dependent on your consent for the inspection to proceed, this provides an opportunity (prior to consenting) to negotiate a reasonable scope and reasonable conditions for the inspection. If you succeed in this regard, it would usually be advisable to consent. Indeed, if you don’t consent, you risk the loss of any potential “good will” that could have otherwise been created during the process and also lose control over the scope of the inspection.

In addition, it may be a signal to OSHA that you have something to hide.

Importantly, an employer has the right to request that the inspection not proceed until a specific employer representative appears at the site.

Maximizing the Utility of the Opening Conference

The first stage of an OSHA investigation is the opening conference. At the opening conference, the CSHO is required to explain why the employer is being inspected, including whether it is a programmed or unprogrammed inspection. Unprogrammed inspections are usually of a higher priority and may be triggered by imminent dangers, catastrophes, fatal accidents, complaints, or referrals. If the inspection is due to an employee complaint, the CSHO is obligated to provide the employer with a copy of any written complaint (without the name of the complaining employee). The CSHO is also required to describe the intended scope and duration of the inspection.

Notably, Section 8 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act states that inspections must be conducted in a “reasonable manner” during “regular working hours.” In so keeping, you have the right to insist that a reasonable scope and protocol be established for the inspection.

Requests for Documents

With respect to any additional document requests, an employer has the right to (and should) request that the requests be put in writing and all be directed to a single management representative. This management representative should be the same person to provide the records to the CSHO. This is important and serves to manage and control the inspection.

Of course, any privileged documents should not be produced. Also, copies should be kept of everything produced.

Employer Involvement in the Walkaround

The walkaround is the actual inspection. During this phase, the CSHO will walk the site, gather evidence, and seek to identify potential safety and/or health hazards in the workplace. The CSHO is authorized during this phase to take photographs, videos, and measurements; collect environmental samples; and employ other reasonable investigative techniques. Importantly, both an employer representative and an employee representative have the right to accompany the CSHO at all times during the walkaround and duplicate any investigations conducted by the CSHO, including taking side-by-side photographs, videos, measurements, and samples. This should be done.

Notably, when an employer identifies an operation or condition as a trade secret or confidential business information, OSHA is required to treat it as such and keep the information confidential.

Restrictions on Employee Interviews

Although the CSHO is entitled to interview your employees as part of any inspection, there are certain restrictions–employees are not “fair game” to the extent you may think. First, a notable distinction exists between hourly employees and those in management. Although the CSHO may interview hourly employees privately (and may insist on doing so), an employer representative has a right to participate in all management interviews, in part because any admissions made by management may be attributed to, and used against, the employer.

In addition, hourly employees do have the right to request that a personal attorney or union representative be present during their interview. If honored by the CSHO, this would negate any private interview of the hourly employee.

Again, these are only excerpts. You are urged to read the full article. It explains OSHA’s inspection authority and your rights.

Mr. Rubin is special counsel in the OSHA and Worksite Safety Practice Group at the law firm Goldberg Segalla. He is co-editor of Goldberg Segalla’s OSHA: Legal Developments and Defense Strategies blog. He may be reached at

From the Coach’s Corner, more information on dealing with the government:

HR Tips to Avoid Legal Hassles with Immigration and Customs Enforcement — Employers have been having problems with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE served 3,004 notices of inspection (NOI) in fiscal 2012.

Tips on Understanding the Mindset of IRS Auditors — An IRS audit is enough to make you tense with cold sweat in the palms of your hands. More businesspeople have complained to me about the mean-spirited treatment at the hands of IRS agents than any other federal agency. Worse, the agents’ frequent lack of common sense is shocking.

Government Warns Business in Ruling Against Costco on Social Media Policy — Many companies encourage their employees to promote their offerings and services on social media. But beware, it was bound to happen: The trend has caught the attention of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which can dictate your social media policy.

Agency Provides Help for Small Business to Cope with Federal Government — Most small businesspeople are weary from overzealous government. A federal agency is doing something about it.

Don’t let Minimum Wage Mandates Ruin Your Business — Your cash flow, credit access, pricing and profit margins are all directly or indirectly at-risk with the proposed mandates to increase the minimum wage. Workers should be paid well, if they’re good performers.

“Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

-George Washington


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

How Companies Get Creative in Customer Service for Great PR

As you no doubt know, it’s increasingly competitive and costly to attract customers. It’s also a challenge to hang onto to customers while adding more for your business growth.

Typically, consumers react favorably to marketing after receiving five positive messages. Conversely, they will cease buying from your company if they have five or fewer unfavorable experiences.

Such customers start buying from your competitors 70 percent of the time if they feel taken for granted.

woman-257623_1280Most unhappy customers won’t give you feedback.

They’ll simply shop elsewhere.

Worse, many will launch a complaint campaign — they’ll go out of their way to complain about your company on social media and to their friends and relatives indefinitely.

Therefore, exemplary performance and delivery become paramount.

A very informative blog, 5 Businesses That Leave You With No Excuses, on Website Magazine highlighted five companies that are excelling in providing a positive customer experience.

Not only did writer Ilan Nass list the companies, the post included the companies’ logos — a PR dream come true.

The article might also serve as an inspiration for you.

Here are excerpts:

 Olive Garden

Olive Garden is now partnering with MyGym to provide free babysitting while their customers enjoy a child-free date night. This offer requires that you make a reservation and provide proof that you ate at Olive Garden (like a receipt) when you pick up your child after dinner. 

LA Fitness

By offering on the spot babysitting during the majority of the gym’s open hours, LA Fitness removes the excuse of not working out because of lack of childcare. Childcare services are always free and will keep your child busy, happy and entertained.

The story is all too familiar. Customers can upload pictures from a camera or smartphone and store all the images in online photo albums. These albums can be shared via email or social media and customers can also order a variety of products containing those pictures. Not only does offer several sales on prints and photo products, they also have free offers occasionally. 


VistaPrint offers a variety of printed products for your business: business cards, banners, t-shirts, magnets and more. Not only does VistaPrint offer easy-to-use software with templates and pre-made designs, but they also provide exceptionally low prices and high-quality goods.


Groupon partners with various companies throughout the United States to offer great deals for the purpose of bringing in more business and making their name more widely known…The offers are organized by city and present deals of up to 95 percent off! Whether it be a custom framing special or discounted month membership at that barre studio down the street, Groupon makes sure you’re in the know. How do you keep your customers updated?

Not to be disagreeable, my only caution with the enjoyable post is with the Groupon mention. Groupon hurts restaurant owners in two ways.

Heavily discounted deals means customers will tip your employees less, which means you’ll lose valuable food servers. Such daily deal sites cost you in profits. Nor will such customers be loyal, repeat patrons.

From the Coach’s Corner, for better customer loyalty and revenue, here are valuable tips:

Strategies for Maximum Customer Loyalty, Profits — Customer retention is important for profits in good times and bad. Here are customer-retention tips, and social-networking tips from a B2B sales pro.

Energize Your Customer-Loyalty Program with 6 Steps — The quickest way for established businesses to optimize revenue is to have a stellar customer-loyalty program — there are six steps you can take for repeat sales and referrals. If you’re not a great steward of your current book of business, it’s futile to look for new customers.

Internet Shoppers Demand 3 Cs – Customer Experience Study — Success in e-commerce is increasingly challenging for retailers that want to dominate in brand preference, customer loyalty and word-of-mouth advertising. That’s because consumers want more and more in the three Cs — channels, choices and convenience.

Why Companies Are High Maintenance to Customers (but Don’t Know It) – Businesses are losing more than they know because they inconvenience customers. Such negative customer perceptions result in lost opportunities in revenue growth, tarnished branding and smaller profit margins, according to a study.

“Make a customer, not a sale.”

-Katherine Barchetti


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

How Will Journalists Act After Obama’s Supreme Slap at the 1st Amendment?

Updated March 1, 2015 –

A controversial study of the news media by the Federal Communications Commission has been put on hold. Many Republican lawmakers, media groups — and this business portal — complained that the study was a disingenuous attempt to influence journalists in their news coverage — a threat to freedom of the press, which is protected by the 1st Amendment in the U.S. Constitution.

In fact, this portal pointed out it was a dangerous big brother precedent — it was also an attempt to influence news coverage to favor Democrats in the 2014 elections.

constitution_1_of_4_630The controversial study is just the latest of outrageous Obama Administration actions, such as the Justice Department’s unconstitutional seizure of some Associated Press telephone records and for monitoring Fox News reporter James Rosen’s e-mails and phones; the IRS targeting Obama’s political adversaries, and the administration’s cover up of in the Benghazi attacks.

As it is, the mainstream media has proverbially been an administration lap dog by failing to accurately report the countless failures of Obama policies.

The FCC disingenuously called the “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs.”

All media operations have a Web site so this meant 100 percent monitoring of news coverage with a veiled threat of government control and intimidation.

An agency commissioner, Ajit Pai, had warned in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece that researchers will “grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run.”

He also cited the survey as a threat to the freedom of the press. It’s also a threat to American citizens in our democracy.

“The American people, for their part, disagree about what they want to watch,” wrote Commissioner Pai, who was appointed in May 2012 by President Obama. “But everyone should agree on this: The government has no place pressuring media organizations into covering certain stories.”

Commissioner Pai is right. The FCC is comprised of five commissioners — three Democrats and two Republicans. So the threat is real.

Newspapers have been immune from the heavy hand of government except in cross-media ownerships in certain markets. Newspapers aren’t regulated by the FCC, but broadcast operations are. Radio and TV stations must apply to renew their federal licenses every eight years.

For conscientious, hardworking journalists, the FCC survey was a euphemism for a draconian threat to the Constitution and First Amendment by the immense, sinister machinery of government.

To be polite, it’s also a disingenuous political power grab in an election year — in which the Obama Administration is likely to lose support in Congress over ObamaCare failures and other policies.

Intrusive monitoring

According to published accounts, survey questions include:

– What is the news philosophy of the station?

– Who else in your market provides news?

– Who are your main competitors?

– How much news does your station air every day?

– Is the news produced in-house or is it provided by an outside source?

– Do you employ news people?

– How many reporters and editors do you employ?

-Do you have any reporters or editors assigned to topic “beats”? If so, how many and what are the beats?

– Who decides which stories are covered?

– How much influence do you have in deciding which stories to cover?

– How much influence do reporters and anchors have in deciding which stories to cover?

– How much does community input influence news coverage decisions?

– How do you define critical information that the community needs?

– How do you ensure the community gets this critical information?

– Have you ever suggested coverage of what you consider a story with critical information for your customers (viewers, listeners, readers) that was rejected by management? If so, can you give an example? What was the reason given for the decision? Why do you disagree?

The Obama Administration’s attempt to put monitors in newsrooms is outrageous and unacceptable — it represents an insulting challenge to both journalists and Americans, alike, who relish freedom from government control and propaganda.

Can anyone say “big brother is watching?” Throughout both terms of the Obama Administration, most journalists have behaved like lap dogs instead of asking the right questions about the administration and its motives.

From the Coach’s Corner, editor’s picks for additional reading:

Obama’s Broken Promise for Transparent Government – Study — New questions emerge about President Obama’s promise for open government — in the aftermath of the creepy behavior of Obama Administration officials in the IRS scandal, the snooping on journalists, and the changing stories about their roles in denying aid to four Americans who were killed at Benghazi. 

Canadian Study – U.S. States Plummet in Economic Freedom — If you or your business has unwarranted problems with any level of government – from ObamaCare and the IRS to local zoning ordinances – your economic freedom is being trampled. Further, there’s a connection between the arrogant trampling of our economic freedom and our unhealthy economic climate.

7 Capitalism Principles for Economic Growth, Prosperity — Employers are discouraged from hiring largely because of uncertainty created by public policies. That includes uncertainty – created by ObamaCare – in costs and taxes. Add to them, policies leading to tepid growth in U.S. gross domestic product. Of course, global concerns include the European Union economic crisis, China’s banking and housing headaches. 

What Would Abraham Lincoln Say Today? — Memorial Day is a holiday to remember the armed forces’ men and women and why they died to protect our freedoms. What Honest Abe would say today.   It’s been well documented that Abraham Lincoln is the political idol of President Barack Obama. 

“Well, all I know is what I read in the papers.”

-Will Rogers 


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

2013 Year-in-Review: Most-Popular Biz Coaching Topics

Judging by reader preferences in 2013, businesses were on tight budgets because the most-popular topic featured five free tools to run and market a business. It was No. 1 for five months.

Other popular topics dealt with customer relationship management and search-engine optimization; the differences between leaders and managers; how to deal with an abusive boss; and financial-turnaround tips for struggling businesses.

Compared to reader preferences in recent years, the 2013 trends were a lot different. (More on that below in the “Coach’s Corner.”)

Here are 2013’s most-read articles:

January – First impressions are important in business, but it’s possible to create favorable impressions on tight budgets.

Readers from startups and established companies, alike in January, favored 5 Free Tools to Operate, Market Your Business.

February – Difficult economic conditions have exacerbated the woes facing many businesses.

But business success is possible for companies suffering through red ink.

No. 1 February was Step-by-Step Solutions for a Company Turnaround.

March – the most read article was 5 Free Tools to Operate, Market Your Business.

April 5 Free Tools to Operate, Market Your Business.

May 5 Free Tools to Operate, Market Your Business.

June – 5 Free Tools to Operate, Market Your Business.

July – While it’s desirable to take steps for Internet prominence en route to higher sales. But the No. 1 article, CRM and SEO Strategies for Higher Sales, warned against taking shortcuts. It explained the necessity for building brand equity brick by brick with customer relationship management, which works best with search-engine optimization.  

AugustCRM and SEO Strategies for Higher Sales.

September – It’s true managers can display leadership qualities.

Conversely, leaders can be good managers.

The salient distinction boils down to how professionals inspire their staffs and other stakeholders.

In citing a role model, the legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, the most-read article was 10 Key Differences between Leaders and Managers.

October 10 Key Differences between Leaders and Managers.

November – Organizations achieve success when well-managed, and employees are treated well. Apparently, many professionals don’t feel they’re treated well. The dominant topic was How To Deal With An Oppressive Employer.

December How To Deal With An Oppressive Employer.

Thank you for visiting The Biz Coach in 2013. Please continue to visit and feel free to suggest topics here. May you have a happy and prosperous New Year!

From the Coach’s Corner, reader preferences changed in 2013 from previous years:

For example, in 2012, strategies for human resources departments dominated in reader preferences in eight out of the 12 months.  (See: 2012’s most-read Biz Coach articles.)

In 2011, the most-read articles dealt with career development, marketing and WIFI security. (See: 2011′s most-read Biz Coach articles.)

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”

-Dale Carnegie


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Your Career: 10 Tips for Writing Better Business E-mails

Do you want to be a standout as a business e-mail writer? To enhance your career, it’s important to write effective e-mails and memos.

You don’t have to be an English major to write effectively.

This article is designed to cover the most salient points of better e-mail writing. You are encouraged to research any of the following topics if you need a further explanation.

cyber imagerymajestic www.freedigitalphotos.netUse these basic tips:

1. Review your goal. What do you want to accomplish? Your writing should be focused. If you want someone to act, you need a call for action.

2. Don’t leave the recipients guessing. Summarize your objective in the first paragraph. Include the topic in the subject line. In this way, busy persons will know instantly why you’re writing to them.

3. Use an economy of words. Most memos and e-mails will be read and more easily understood if you keep them short.  Don’t use unnecessary words. In most sentences you can avoid the use of the word “that.”

Ideal content is a maximum of three short paragraphs — no more than two or three sentences each. If it’s a complex subject, include an attachment.

An example to use an economy of words: Instead of writing “our appointment that we scheduled for January 2nd,” simply write “our January 2nd appointment.”

4. Limit your use of prepositions. Regarding point No. 3 on wordiness, know that prepositions aren’t always necessary. A preposition begins prepositional phrases. It links nouns, phrases and pronouns to other words in a sentence to introduce the preposition’s object.

Don’t insert prepositions following a verb, for example, “where did he go to?” It’s correct to write “where did he go?”

Also, never end a sentence with a preposition, such as “the car has been lost track of.” It’s correct to write “lost track of the car.” Again, prepositions are correctly used in prepositional phrases.

5. Be specific in your adjectives and descriptions. Avoid using vague words or phrases, such as “that is incredible.” Your reader might get the wrong impression.

For example, by using the phrase “that is incredible,” do you mean “that is outstanding” or “that is undesirable?”

6. When plausible, come across as dynamic as possible. Use active verbs. Try to avoid using past tense, such as “she believed” instead of “she believes.”

7. Be authentic in your writing. Avoid using the latest buzz phrases just to be ostentatious or hip.

Over the last several generations in business, succeeding generations have used different phrases as glittering generalities to describe the same concepts. That doesn’t mean, however, you should “dumb down” your writing. A good vocabulary is to be respected.

8. Show maturity by not using exclamation points. They should be rarely, if ever, used in business communications.

9. Be careful in your use of punctuation marks in quotations. For example, commas and periods should be inserted outside the quotation mark. (In case you’re wondering, this portal’s articles are written in journalistic style, which is why punctuations are inside the quotes.)

10. Review your writing before sending an e-mail. Read your content out loud to catch errors. Other than typos, the most frequent errors are missing words.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more writing tips:

25 Best Practices for Better Business Writing — If you want to accelerate your career or turbo-charge your business, one of your priorities should be good communication. Good writing is necessary in a myriad of ways, including letters, advertising copy and presentations. 

11 Best Practices to Profit from Writing a Business White Paper — When you’re writing a case study for a client or you’re commissioned to write a white paper – there are best practices — then, there are only attempts at shameless promotion of a biased idea.  

Rock in Your Marketing Messages with 5 Writing Tips — In this digital age of consumer overload, words are powerful – if they’re used strategically. The challenge is to help your prospective customers quickly understand your message.  

Secrets for Attracting, Keeping Readers on Your Blog — Content marketing is a valuable tool, but only if you observe best practices in substance and style – writing the most intriguing headlines and most relevant copy.  

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”

-Mark Twain


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic at

Why Many Media Organizations Are Unsafe for Women — HR Study

One would think the news media would be a safe workplace. But for many women, it isn’t. Nearly two-thirds of female journalists worldwide responding to a study say they’ve faced abuse, harassment and threats in the workplace.

The 2013 global study — conducted by the International News Safety Institute (INSI) and the International Women’s Media Foundation — reveals about 64 percent of respondents say they face such hazards.

Most of the threatening behavior was from bosses or co-workers. Regarding sexual harassment: 45 percent from co-workers and 28 percent from their bosses.

“When we talk about safety for the media, we often think in terms of staying safe in war zones, civil unrest and environmental disasters, but how often do we think of the office as a hostile environment?” said INSI Director Hannah Storm in a press release.

Hannah Storm (LinkedIn)

“What this ground-breaking survey shows is that women journalists are often at risk in their own work places as well: targeted by their colleagues, and because they are let down by the very people they should be able to trust, the violence and harassment they face goes widely unreported and therefore unpunished,” she added.

Some 875 women participated in the study.

Here is the geographical breakdown:

— Africa (12.69 percent/111)

— Arab states (5.37 percent/47)

— Asia and Pacific (28.69 percent/251)

— The Commonwealth of Independent States (1.171 percent/15)

— Europe (19.43 percent/170)

— Latin/South America (11.20 percent/98)

— North America (21.60 percent/189)

Age-wise, some 41 percent were between 25 and 34.

More than 82 percent of them were reporters.

Workplaces where the dangers lurked: 

— Newspapers – About 49 percent

— Magazines – 23 percent

— Television – 21 percent

— Radio – 16 percent

A lesson for all companies: More than 400 of the women said their companies failed to prepare them for dealing with harassment.

In addition, my sense is that news organizations need to make harassment training mandatory.

The preceding data is just a snapshot. For the voluminous details, see the study.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are HR management tips:

 HR Tips — So Your Recruiting Enhances Diversity, Not Sexism — Can we agree that a diverse workplace leads to innovation, problem-solving and enhanced enterprise communication? And, as you know, inequality is unlawful. Why then are there so many companies that unknowingly, perhaps, promote sexism? 

How to avoid EEOC Discrimination Suits — Here are six tips for micro-companies and 13 strategies for larger organizations to avoid EEOC migraines.

Human Resources: 4 Reasons Why New Managers Fail — Best practices guarantee success for new managers. Not to over-simplify, but there are often four reasons why new managers are unsuccessful – ineffective communication, failure to develop trusting relationships, weak results, and a failure to delegate. 

Why Companies Fall into the Management Lawsuit Trap — News headlines continue to show there are a myriad of ways managers set themselves for lawsuits. Small and many big companies are ripe for EEOC complaints.  

10 Tips on Responding to EEOC Complaints — Despite all the court cases, warnings and complaints filed at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a study shows big companies are guilty of favoritism in their promotion practices. 

“In a fascist shift, reporters start to face more and more harassment, and they have to be more and more courageous simply in order to do their jobs.”

-Naomi Wolf


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Security Expert Warns about Using App that Emails Money

A service by a company called Square Inc. will allow you to e-mail money to your friends free-of-charge.

But a nationally recognized IT security expert, Stan Stahl, Ph.D., says the concept is fraught with danger.

More on Dr. Stahl’s warning later, as he explains how easily you could lose your money.

Stan Stahl, Ph.D. —

The app, Square Cash, is available for Android and Apple users, according to Walt Mossberg’s  review in The Wall Street Journal (The Money Is in the Email).

You’ll be able to e-mail cash right from your debit card to your friend’s. You can send up to $2,500 a week in either one or multiple e-mails, and you don’t have to login or use a password — just your e-mail on a computer, smartphone or tablet.

“There are other services that allow you to send money from one person to another digitally, Mr. Mossberg wrote. “You can do it via PayPal, or via a newer service called Venmo, which PayPal is in the process of acquiring. But I believe Square is simpler and more private.”

He was satisfied with his test drives of the app:

“I tested Square Cash, sending and receiving money in amounts ranging from $10 to over $1,000, with eight people, and it worked rapidly and flawlessly,” he wrote. “I can recommend it for anyone who needs to pay a small debt, give a cash gift, split a bill, or send cash quickly and easily.”

Mr. Mossberg’s caveat

“If fraud is suspected, the company says it can and will reverse the fund transfer. Still, digital services do get hacked, and email can be manipulated by thieves,” Mr. Mossberg warned. “The service notifies you via email or text that it appears you have sent money, which gives you a chance to cancel a transaction that didn’t come from you or was a mistake.

So, if you don’t trust Square to defeat such things, you shouldn’t use Square Cash.”

Security expert responds

Dr. Stahl, with a stellar record as a security expert, sees potential danger.

“This happens without exploiting any vulnerabilities in Square Cash,” he warns. “It exploits other vulnerabilities in the ‘ecosystem’.”

Dr. Stahl explains how it’s possible to steal money from a Square Cash user (based on The Wall Street Journal account):

  1. A cybercriminal installs malware on victim’s mobile device (it’s easy if on an Android; harder if an iPad. On the victim’s workstation, it’s easy to do.)
  2. Malware emails a debit transfer of $1,000 to a Gmail/Yahoo/MSN email account created for the purpose, by using a money mule with a bank account as the recipient.
  3. Square Cash sends a confirmation email to the user; but the malware intercepts the confirmation email and replies positively.
  4. Square Cash moves the money to a mule’s account in accordance with instructions, which have been confirmed.
  5. The mule cashes out and sends the proceeds to the cybercriminal.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more security tips:

Surprise — Cyber Criminals Chew up Apple Products, too — For years in terms of security, Windows has been considered inferior to Macs. But no longer thanks to malware security epidemics. 

BYOD, Mobile-Banking Warnings about Security Prove Prophetic — Not to be gauche, but in 2009 you saw the Internet security warning here first – mobile banking is so risky an IT security guru said don’t do it. The warning was prophetic. 

Tips For Internet Security to Prepare you for New Cyber Attacks — According to a Web security study in 2013, Internet attacks have been impacting businesses, with the majority of them reporting significant effects in the form of increased help desk time, reduced employee productivity and disruption of business activities. 

Tips to Prevent Hacking of Your Bluetooth — Bluetooth technology, of course, allows you freedom when talking on your cell phone. But you’ll lose other freedoms if you don’t prevent scammers from exploiting your system via a trend called “bluebugging.” 

4 Tips to Defend Against Hackers When Traveling Overseas — The finger-pointing continues over the sources of cyber attacks on the U.S., including the media sites of The New York Times and Wall Street Journal. 

“It’s always better to assume the worst.”

-Bruce Schneier


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional.Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Internet Shoppers Demand 3 Cs – Customer Experience Study

Success in e-commerce is increasingly challenging for retailers that want to dominate in brand preference, customer loyalty and word-of-mouth advertising.

That’s because consumers want more and more in the three Cs — channels, choices and convenience.

In a 2013 global study of commissioned by United Parcel Service, research firm comScore discovered seven key developments in online shopping preferences of consumers:

ID-10098648 stockimages1. More information at the start of the online experience

2. More options during checkout and delivery

3. More channels for interacting with their favorite retailers

4. A seamless returns process

5. Free shipping

6. Social access

7. Mobile access

“From mobile apps to social media platforms, today’s consumers value – and even expect – services to work together across the entire shopping continuum from pre-purchase to post-purchase,” said Nicolas Dorget, vice president of customer solutions, UPS Canada.

“With more and more device options for staying connected to their favorite brands, retailers have a growing number of touch points through which to reach consumers,” said Susan Engleson, senior director at comScore. “Retailers that customize shopping experiences so that these experiences align with how customers use different devices and platforms have a real opportunity to build brand loyalty and drive sales.”


Shoppers demonstrated a preference for retailers that deliver an integrated and value-added experience across all channels, including in-store, online and via mobile devices.

  • The single most important factor, cited by 65 percent of respondents, was the ability to buy online and make returns in-store, while the second most important factor is availability of in-store pickup (49 percent).
  • Nearly 30 percent of shoppers want to be able to purchase in-store with their mobile device and want a mobile application for their smartphones.
  • Nearly half of consumers using a retailer’s mobile app are less likely to comparison shop when using an app versus a browser.


Shoppers also indicated that they want more control over their online shopping experience.  Having access to multiple options with regards to shipping and delivery policies was proven to lead to a decrease in cart abandonment upon checkout.

  • Nearly 90 percent of online shoppers indicated they have placed items in their shopping carts and left the site without making a purchase.
  • Online consumers indicated that communicating shipping costs and delivery times early in the online shopping experience can help alleviate cart abandonment.
  • More than three quarters of online shoppers said they have added items to their shopping carts in order to qualify for free shipping, suggesting that retailers’ minimum spending thresholds for free shipping are effective at inducing consumers to spend more.


Simple return policies drive satisfaction and repeat business, according to the study; therefore, having a seamless returns process is essential.

  • Nearly 50 percent have returned a product purchased online.
  • Sixty-five percent of consumers will shop more with a retailer if they offer a hassle-free returns policy.

The global study is based on a survey of more than 14,000 frequent online shoppers in the U.S., Europe (Belgium, Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy and the UK), Asia (China, Hong Kong, Singapore), Australia, Mexico and Canada. Click on this animated map to learn more about each region.

From the Coach’s Corner, read more about marketing:

Marketing – Why Visual Content Works on Facebook, but Hashtags Don’t – Ninety-eight percent of top brands have a Facebook fan page, but Facebook’s hashtags don’t enhance engagement with consumers. That’s one of two salient conclusions from an analysis of top-brand experiences from marketing on Facebook. 

Why Companies Are High Maintenance to Customers (but Don’t Know It) – Businesses are losing more than they know because they inconvenience customers. Such negative customer perceptions result in lost opportunities in revenue growth, tarnished branding and smaller profit margins, according to a study. 

Insights – Why Marketers Should Show Moderation in Digital Communication – Businesses will decrease their chances for customer loyalty and repeat business if they don’t act with more self-control in digital marketing, according to a study. 

“The web is the ultimate customer-empowering environment. He or she who clicks the mouse gets to decide everything. It is so easy to go elsewhere; all the competitors in the world are but a mouseclick away.”

-Jakob Nielsen


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Photo courtesy of stockimages at

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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.