Archive for the ‘Studies, surveys, reports’ Category
Wednesday, August 7th, 2013
The Great Recession made a deep impression on Generation Y (those age 24-35) and Baby Boomer entrepreneurs (those age 48-70), according to the American Express OPEN Ages Survey.
The study, which revisits an analysis first conducted in 2007, reexamines post-recession opinions and finds that the younger generation’s first economic downturn has made them more risk averse (just 56% say they like taking risks, down from 72% in 2007), while Boomer entrepreneurs’ appetite for risk remained unchanged (54% vs. 53% in 2007).
Factors ranging from the reality of living at home to being saddled with more student loans, has translated into fewer Generation Y’s launching new businesses straight out of school (16% vs. 28% in 2007), perhaps choosing to get other work experience instead. As a result, they are also less likely to be interested in serial entrepreneurship (44% vs. 59% in 2007).
Some benefits from economic turbulence
Surprisingly, enduring economic turbulence has uncovered some benefits. Eight-in-ten entrepreneurs from both generations (81% Gen Y and 80% Baby Boomers) attribute managing their businesses through the recession as the reason they became better entrepreneurs.
In the process, they have become more creative in their marketing (50% Gen Y; 40% of Baby Boomers) and improved their financial management (83%; 77% of Baby Boomers). Over the last three years, Gen Y-owned small businesses found opportunity despite the recession, having experienced 24% revenue growth, compared to revenue growth of just 10% experienced by Baby Boomers.
“Resilience is a trait shared by both generations of entrepreneurs,” said Susan Sobbott, president American Express OPEN. “Younger business owners channeled their passion through innovative thinking and thrived in the face of adversity while older entrepreneurs relied on experience to weather the storm and find a better life balance.”
In contrast to the younger generation, Baby Boomers have been impacted by several economic downturns and have become more prepared to weather marketplace volatility and the recent climate has made them more optimistic. Less than half say growth is the top priority for their businesses (47% vs. 66% of Gen Y). This time around, Boomers are more at ease, achieving better work-life balance: working an hour less per day (9 hours per day vs. 10 in 2007), cutting back on caffeine (2 beverages per day, down from 3 in 2007) and making fun a priority in their businesses (73% up from 66% in 2007).
Passion Plays Important Role in Success of Gen Y
The generations diverge on a host of issues, but none is more seminal than what motivated them to start their businesses. The primary reason Gen Y became entrepreneurs was to do something they are passionate about (26%). For Baby Boomers, it was a tie between being their own boss and making money (each 28%). With passion as their motivation, Gen Y entrepreneurs are focusing on activities that will grow their businesses. Gen Y small business owners who were motivated by passion to start their businesses are more likely to:
- Have experienced higher revenue growth over the last three years (37%) than Gen Y overall (24%) or Baby Boomers overall (10%)
- Have a social media presence for their business (89%) than Gen Y overall (79%) or Baby Boomers over all (59%)
- Offer customers rewards or discounts for their repeat business (65%) compared to Gen Y overall (56%) or Baby Boomers overall (32%)
- Have a business mentor (52%) compared to Gen Y overall (41%) or Baby Boomers overall (23%)
Despite Difficult Times, Entrepreneurship Still Rewarding for Gen Y and Boomers
While the recession may have been a bigger challenge for Gen Y, both generations are less optimistic about the U.S. economy over the next year than they were in 2007. However, Gen Y actually has a slightly rosier outlook (53%, down from 64%) than Baby Boomers (50%, down from 62%). And more entrepreneurs from both generations say they are “somewhat happy” with their lives rising 16 percentage points for both Gen Y and Boomers. Both groups agree that their satisfaction is fueled most by their relationships with their family and friends (74% for Baby Boomers and 72% for Gen Y.). However when asked what else fuels their enthusiasm, Gen Y say doing what they are passionate about is the next most influential factor (56%) while Baby Boomers claim their independence is responsible for their happiness (64%).
Generations at Odds on Value of Social Media Relationships
Social media has created a technology divide between the generations. Generation Y entrepreneurs are much more likely to use technology to market their business (81%) compared to Baby Boomers (61%). Since 2007 the impact of technology on running a business has meant more entrepreneurs have:
- Established a company presence on a social networking site (51% of Gen Y, up from 19%; 30% of Boomers, up from 11%)
- Established a relationship to sell products online (33% of Gen Y, up from 19%; 23% of Boomers, up from 17%)
- Started a blog discussing their business (23% of Gen Y, up from 8%; 6% of Boomers, up from 1%)
While both generations use social media for their businesses (79% of Gen Y and 63% of Baby Boomers), their preferred tools and the value they find in using these media channels vary greatly:
- Gen Y entrepreneurs place a higher value on social media than the Baby Boomers.
- Half of Gen Y (50%) believes business relationships made through social media are as valuable as traditional business relationships.
- For Baby Boomers, it’s only slightly more than one-third (34%).
- Four-in-ten (41%) Baby Boomers believe business relationships made through social media are less valuable than “real/actual” business relationships.
Additional findings from the OPEN Ages Survey, including fact sheets by gender, are available upon request.
Friday, August 2nd, 2013
Most retailers are expecting their upcoming holiday revenue to grow more than 10 percent, according to a survey by Baynote, a leading provider of personalized customer experience solutions;
Results from its inaugural 2013 Holiday Predictions Survey, conducted in partnership with the e-tailing group, found that retailers are cautiously optimistic, with 60% forecasting growth in excess of 10 percent for 2013 holiday season revenue, in line with industry forecasts.
Not surprisingly, retailers expect mobile to play an increased role in driving sales with minimal contributions from social media. The study surveyed 77 U.S. retailers with annual revenue ranging from less than $20 million to more than $5 billion.
For detailed analysis of the data and to view the associated infographic, visit: http://www.baynote.com/infographic/retail-perspectives-holiday-2013.
Retailers are cautiously optimistic this holiday season:
- Thirty-eight percent of respondents project an 11 to 20 percent year-over-year increase in sales, with 22 percent predicting an increase of 21 percent or more.
- The majority expect a slow start to the season with increased momentum throughout late November and December.
- Respondents predict that online will continue to steal market share from retail stores as the season progresses, but mobile’s influence will drive renewed store interest for omni-channel retailers.
Mobile will drive significant revenue while social continues to underwhelm:
- Fifty-three percent of respondents expect mobile transactions to account for a significant part of holiday revenue.
- Thirty-eight percent believe mobile will drive renewed in-store interest that will lead to increased revenue.
- Mobile’s momentum heading into the holiday season is in stark contrast to social media, which 84 percent of respondents see as having little or no impact on sales.
“The survey demonstrates that retailers are expecting to benefit from mobile investments made in the weeks and months leading up to the holiday season,” according to Darnell.
“By using mobile as a tool to drive discovery, in-store purchases and overall customer experience, retailers will increase customer connectivity and be able to provide information and incentives that will encourage customers to complete transactions and engage with the brand post-sale.”
Strategically timed promotions will lead to a promotion-centric season:
- Retailers plan to offer promotions, such as flash sales, buy-one-get-one free offers and free shipping, at selective times throughout the holiday season.
- Thirty percent of retailers will begin promotions prior to October 1; over 40 percent of retailers will wait until early November.
“While retailers have expressed cautious optimism for the 2013 holiday season, that optimism hinges on the ability to drive sales through strategically timed promotions in the fourth quarter,” said Lauren Freedman, president, e-tailing group. “Retailers have made aggressive yet realistic goals for the season, and as a result, all eyes will be on bottom-line performance.”
Focus on consumer experience is driving investment in SEO/SEM and eCommerce platforms:
- Forty-six percent of retailers continue to make significant investments in SEO and SEM technology.
- Nearly all retailers are investing in enhanced home, category and landing pages while 77 percent invest in enhanced site search capabilities.
- Eighty-one percent of retailers have dedicated resources to upgrade eCommerce platforms in anticipation of the season.
“Retailers are serious about customer experience this year,” said Darnell. “The data shows retailers recognize that next-generation eCommerce platforms with capabilities to drive a truly personalized and relevant experience will empower merchandisers to achieve increased engagement, revenue and ultimately lifetime value from improved relationships with customers.”
Thursday, August 1st, 2013
A majority of technology companies are underinsured and exposed to hidden risks that could ruin their business.
The Stratton Agency cites five key risks they can address to protect their business.
“Not all insurance policies are alike,” according to James Marek of the Stratton Agency. “Insurance that’s not tailored to the needs of a technology company may not provide the protection that’s needed. Understanding the hidden risks that tech companies face can help ensure that your business is adequately protected.”
The two business insurance policies needed most by tech companies to protect their business are a business owner’s or general liability (GL) policy, and an errors & omissions (E&O) policy. GL covers property damage and personal injury, while E&O protects the company against claims that its technology does not work as advertised or does not meet required specifications.
Tech businesses are often required by their customers to have GL coverage, but they frequently lack E&O coverage, even though tech companies are typically at great risk of being sued.
Even with both policies in place, tech businesses still face many hidden risks. Owners and managers can better protect their tech business by understanding the following five risks and working with their agent to close any gaps in coverage:
1. Lack of disaster planning. A lawsuit or a natural disaster can put you out of business, unless you have the right insurance coverage. Most businesses don’t. According to recent studies, 60% of U.S. companies are underinsured. That’s a big reason why 60% of companies that experience a catastrophic event never reopen for business.
Every business needs to be protected against potential disasters, but especially tech companies, which typically have a higher exposure, because of investments in computer equipment, and the associated high cost to recreate or restore lost data.
To reduce your risk, meet with your insurance agent to review your coverage, identify any gaps and ensure that you are covered in case of a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or tornado.
Your agent can also help you develop a business continuity plan. Disasters strike without warning, so it’s important to be prepared before a disaster takes place. Include remote locations, key vendors and suppliers in your plan.
2. Tech insurance exclusions. GL policies often exclude claims arising from software and programming. Likewise, E&O policies often exclude information security breaches and copyright infringement on computer code.
Check to make certain your Insurance includes this coverage. Your GL policy should also include coverage for professional services, bodily injury, property damage, and personal and advertising injury arising from software or programming. Your E&O policy should include coverage for information security, breach of warranties and representation, virus transmission, and copyright infringement of software code.
Be certain you have an insurance agent who understands the risks, including emerging risks, facing tech companies, and has expertise in building programs for tech companies.
Choose an insurer with products specific to tech companies like yours. Special coverage may be available for sectors such as information technology, electronics manufacturing and telecommunications.
3. Cyber liability confusion. Cyber incidents are increasingly common, with nearly half of all companies having experienced a data breach. Cyber incidents may also include contamination from viruses or malware, theft of laptops or mobile devices, denial of service attacks, insider abuse and negligence.
The probability of a tech company experiencing a cyber incident is high, yet only one business in 10 has cyber liability coverage.
For comprehensive coverage, you will need to add cyber liability coverage to both your GL and your E&O policies.
4. Security measures based only on cyber crime. Tech companies and security consultants often focus on increasing network security to reduce risk. While network security is important, training employees about data security costs less, may be just as important and is often overlooked.
Cyber crime attracts most of the attention, but an even greater number of data breaches are caused unintentionally by employees and contractors.
5. Vague claim reporting policies. For a professional liability claim to be covered, it typically must be reported within either 60 or 90 days, depending on how the policy is written.
However, some insurers start the reporting period before a lawsuit is even filed. A heated discussion or the threat of a lawsuit may be enough to trigger the reporting period, even if management is unaware that it took place.
Vague policies can put your claim at risk, so make certain your insurer has clear reporting procedures. Some policies don’t begin the reporting period until the company is notified that a lawsuit has been filed. The policy should also define who must report the claim and what duties that person has when informing the insurer.
You may also consider adding an extended reporting period to your policy.
Finally, as an integral member of your risk management team, your attorney should review all contracts to ensure they do not run counter to your liability policy. If you enter into a contract that is at odds with your liability policy, your claim may not be covered and your policy may not be renewed.
For more information about hidden risks faced by tech companies, please contact the Stratton Agency or visitwww.strattonagency.com.
Friday, July 26th, 2013
Do startup company incubators really work? The rapid growth of New York City’s innovation economy has been fueled by three Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly)-operated incubators that generated $251 million in economic activity since 2009, created more than 900 jobs and contributed $31.4 million in local, state and federal tax revenue, according to a report released today marking the fourth anniversary of NYU-Poly’s public-private incubator initiative.
By 2015, they are projected to nearly triple their economic output to $719 million, 2,500 jobs and $92 million in tax revenue.
All of this is good should offer cannon fodder to those starting or developing new incubator or accelerator programs nationally. We see successful startups emerging from those we’ve covered in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions as well as those on the West Coast and Southwest.
Many smaller cities, such as Durham, NC, are revitalizing their local downtown economies with startup hubs.
The economic impact study was conducted by Dr. Jill Kickul, director of the NYU Stern School of Business Program in Social Entrepreneurship. It surveyed all 102 startups that have been in the incubators, or “innovation centers.”
Clean Tech Entrepreneur Center in development
In 2009, NYU-Poly launched the Varick Street Incubator in Manhattan’s Hudson Square neighborhood, in partnership with New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and Trinity Real Estate. It also housed a second innovation center, the New York City Accelerator for a Clean and Renewable Economy (NYC ACRE), supported by the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) and focused on clean-tech and clean-energy startups. In 2012, NYU-Poly opened the DUMBO Incubator in Brooklyn, in partnership with NYCEDC and Two Trees Management.
Last month, NYU-Poly and NYCEDC announced plans to develop and operate the Clean Technology Entrepreneur Center (NYC CTEC) in partnership with Forest City Ratner Companies to support innovators focused on solving urban challenges of sustainability, energy, and resilience.
“Since 1854, Poly has served to incubate knowledge in Brooklyn, but we established formal incubators only a few years ago. Within these few short years, NYU-Poly’s incubators have transformed innovation and technology into real economic development throughout the city,” said Dr. Katepalli Sreenivasan, president of NYU-Poly. “This unique partnership between a strong engineering and technology institution of higher learning, government and the private sector has proven to be a powerful cultural and educational driver, as well. We look forward to strengthening these ties further.”
“This study demonstrates the unique contribution and economic impact that NYU-Poly incubators have had in providing the resources and environment to support the next generation of successful entrepreneurs with high-quality mentorships and access to funders and strategic partnerships,” said study author Kickul.
The study also found:
- 35 companies have graduated to larger spaces in New York
- 5 have been acquired by larger entities for more than $50 million
- Salaries paid by graduating companies average $72,000
- 84% of respondents rated the NYU-Poly incubator experience as important or very important for their success, citing unique access to talent, networking opportunity, and the price and quality of the spaces.
”NYCEDC and NYU-Poly have partnered to create a nurturing environment for start-up businesses around the City, including partnering to open the Varick Street Incubator, the first in the growing number of City-sponsored incubators, as well as the DUMBO Incubator and NYC CTEC in Brooklyn,” said NYCEDC Executive Director Kyle Kimball. “Since first launching the program in 2009, these projects have positively impacted New York City, and we look forward to seeing them further contribute to the City’s rapidly transforming and growing innovation economy.”
“NYSERDA’s public/private partnership with NYU-Poly and its cleantech incubator, NYC ACRE, have been extraordinarily successful. Since NYSERDA began funding NYC ACRE in 2009, the 20 current and former tenant companies have created a total of 116 new jobs and raised a total of $32.3 million in investment,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., NYSERDA president and CEO, updating NYC ACRE’s significant growth since the survey was conducted.
“It’s organizations like NYU-Poly that are helping the state meet Governor Cuomo’s goals of growing our cleantech economy through innovation while at the same time reducing our energy use.”
The economic impact study was conducted between October 2012 and January 2013. The study team surveyed all 102 startups that have been in the incubators, met with 24 current tenants and 11 graduated companies, analyzed available data and applied standard economic formulae to determine the economic activity generated by the NYU-Poly incubators. The full report and more information about NYU-Poly’s innovation centers are available at http://www.poly.edu/business/incubators.
Thursday, July 25th, 2013
Things are changing in the digital world as tech companies jostle each other for top position. IBM has bumped Microsoft out of the top spot in the Booz & Co. second annual ranking of the world’s top 50 Information and Communications Technology (ICT) companies that provide the building blocks to increasingly digital businesses.
Oracle held fast at #2, while IBM leapfrogged from #3 to claim the top spot, fuelled by its strong product and service portfolio and global presence.
“This volatility is not surprising given the vast changes sweeping this sector.
These companies are being forced to rapidly transform their business models, product portfolios, service offerings and global footprints in order to stay one step ahead of their clients’ needs in the evolving digital world.. Add to this financial pressures in an uncertain economy, and the fact that boundaries are gone and more players are competing for overlapping, converged markets, and it’s no wonder new winners are emerging,” says Richard Bhanap, partner at Booz & Company.
- Software and Internet companies and hardware and infrastructure providers are dominating the ICT industry, claiming the majority of spots in the top 20
- Integrated solution models are continuing to gain ground over IT services, especially those IT service providers with more traditional outsourcing and managed services businesses
- Several software and Internet businesses are making big advances, including SAP, which jumped three spots, to #4, Google, which moved up to #8, and Amazon, which debuted in the top 50 for the first time at #13, driven by its rapidly growing cloud services business
- Dell and HCL took the biggest falls, each dropping five spots, to #20 and #18, respectively
Market going through dynamic change
“This market is going through dynamic changes; primarily because so many companies are expanding and reshaping their portfolios and pushing for global scale and reach at the same time. As a result, many smaller IT service providers are under pressure, being acquired or disappearing completely. On the other hand, ‘digital first’ players like Amazon are coming in with integrated solutions or compelling cloud offerings. We will see even more convergence in the future, and the winners will be those who can build integrated solution ecosystems around an innovative software or hardware core,” says Richard Bhanap.
- This year’s Global ICT 50 companies took in total revenues of US$2.07 trillion, a 3 percent increase over the prior year’sUS$2.01 trillion, and a slight slowdown in growth compared to the previous year. Average margins remained steady at 15 percent. Software and Internet companies (e.g., Adobe, Google, Microsoft, SAP) and offshore IT service companies (e.g., TCS, Infosys, HCL, Cognizant) were the only two groups to achieve double-digit revenue growth for the fifth straight year
- The same two groups saw stagnating to declining EBIT margins, albeit on a very healthy >20% level, which suggests early signs of business model maturity and increasing competition
- Hardware and infrastructure companies claimed the middle ground in financial performance, achieving continuous margin improvement and stable growth over the past five years
- Global IT service providers and telecom companies were the weakest performers and the only groups whose growth and profitability remained almost flat in 2013, although they did manage to stabilise their margins
Google ranks number one among MBA students asked to name ideal employers.
In addition to assessing financial performance, portfolio strength, go-to-market footprint, and innovation and branding for company rankings, the study also identifies six business models to create value in the ICT industry. This analysis reveals that players that base their value creation approach on innovation (like Apple and Google), global sourcing (such as Infosys), and digitisation models (including SAP) are the most successful financially, followed by large market consolidators such as Oracle.
Read the full study here.
Thursday, July 18th, 2013
Angel investment round sizes are trending upward to a median of $680 per deal, according to the Q1 2013 Halo Report from – The Angel Resource Institute (ARI), Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and CB Insights. Pre-money valuations remain stable at $2.5 million, the report says.
The sectors getting funding remain concentrated in Internet, healthcare and mobile, with 72% of completed Q1 deals in these categories.
While we’ve reported another trend – increasing syndication of angel investment deals across wider geographics to fund larger deals – the report says 81 percent of deals over the last 12 months were done in the angel groups’ home states.
We should also note that the Angel Capital Association warns that if new US Securities and Exchange Commission rules on verifying angel investor status go into effect, it could have a chilling effect on the angel investment community.
US angel investment continues to be dispersed nationwide, and in the first quarter entrepreneurs in the Southwest region of the country received a slightly larger share of dollars than startups in California, for the first time.
Most Active Angel Groups
Based on total deals, the most active angel groups in Q1 are (alphabetic order) Alliance of Angels, Desert Angels, Golden Seeds, New York Angels, Sand Hill Angels and St. Louis Arch Angels.
Angel group investment deals are more evenly distributed across the US than in years past. Seventy-three percent of angel group deals are now done outside California and New England, although 30% of dollars are invested in these regions.
The Southwest region edged out California for the first time, with 18.1% share of angel group dollars. Year over year, companies in the Great Plains region and New York saw the largest increase in angel group deals. Declines of equal proportion are in New England and the Southeast over the same time period.
Thursday, July 11th, 2013
Ninety percent of mid-market IT managers surveyed by Evolve IP say cloud computing is the future model for IT.
“The survey data reflects what we see in our business every day,” said Guy Fardone, general manager and chief operating officer of Evolve IP. “Most businesses already have at least one hosted service running but in some organizations not everyone is in complete alignment regarding putting multiple services in the cloud. Executives want the cost and disaster avoidance benefits while security, privacy and compliance are typical initial concerns brought up by the managers responsible for implementation.”
The survey of more than 1,100 individuals involved with IT at mid-Market companies in North America revealed insight into cloud adoption trends as well as current cloud deployment. For a full synopsis and analysis of results, a complimentary white paper, “Cloud of Dreams – Adoption of the Cloud by North American Mid-Market Businesses,” can be downloaded at www.evolveip.net/Cloud-Survey.
Evolve IP created this infographic illustrating the survey results:
Wednesday, July 10th, 2013
While digital advertising ranks second only to TV now and is critical to any comprehensive marketing effort, many advertising and marketing pros apparently don’t understand digital ad costs nearly as well as they do TV.
Tarrytown, NY-based SQAD, which reports and forecasts real cost advertising data, conducted a survey of ad and marketing pros that revealed a majority (58%) could correctly identify the prime-time TV show with the higherst 30-second ad price (American Idol), but three quarters could not identify the website category with the highest cost per thousand in 2012 (Finance/insurance/investment).
Most of those polled thought the Entertainment category had the highest CPM, but it actually is less than half the CPM of the Finance/insurance/investment category at an average of $9.50 vs. $22. The Finance/Insurance and Investment category features notable sites such as CNNMoney, Bloomberg.com, Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal.
“We are finding that many ad buyers are still in the dark about how much they should be paying for display ads, despite the proliferation of online advertising over the past decade. The opposite is true with broadcast advertising,” said Neil Klar, CEO of SQAD.
There is a solution to this, SQAD suggests.
“The industry needs to make display ad costs more transparent so advertisers can make the right the marketing decisions.”
Friday, June 14th, 2013
A growing number of U.S. workers are creating a second source of income by starting their own businesses while also working a full or part-time job, a trend known as “moonlighting.”
Analysis by e-commerce platform Bigcommerce.com over a three-month period this year found an unusually large amount of activity being logged by “indie” online retailers outside of regular office hours.
Bigcommerce sampled nearly 20,000 of its U.S. stores and found that roughly 30-35 percent of all activity took place between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. CT, with a surprisingly large amount occurring after midnight.
Looking at various segments of time throughout a given workday, the data shows that at noon – the peak time for activity on Bigcommerce stores – nearly 80 percent of online retailers were found to be working on their stores.
At midnight, there were still more than 49 percent actively working. At 3 p.m., nearly half of online retailers were working, with 25 percent still burning the midnight oil at3 a.m.
Regionally, the breakdown of moonlighting Americans paints an interesting picture of the state of the U.S. job market:
- The data found that 33 percent – the largest group of moonlighters – are based in Southern states (with Florida, Georgia and Texas having the highest concentration in the region).
- 27 percent are based on the West Coast (led by Arizona, Colorado and California).
- 24 percent of the U.S. moonlighters are in the Northeast (led by New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.).
- 15 percent are located in the Midwest U.S. (led by Michigan, Illinois and Ohio).
“The data paints a new picture of the modern day entrepreneur,” said Bigcommerce co-founder and co-CEO, Eddie Machaalani.
“Through daily conversations with our clients and monitoring this trend over recent years, we understand that many of these small business owners are pulling long hours to run their business and work a full or part-time job on top of that, but these numbers provide us with hard stats and evidence.”
What’s causing this change?
Machaalani believes this change in behavior can be attributed to either longer hours being worked by business owners, or a greater number who prefer to work late because they are busy during the day, an indicator that they have another job.
So are more Americans sticking to their day jobs and becoming budding entrepreneurs on the side? That is an interesting question considering a recent study by the U.S. Labor Department. Their data showed that fewer Americans are quitting their jobs and more are staying in the same job longer – 53% held the same job for at least five years. Bigcommerce on the other hand, is seeing things differently.
“Opening an e-commerce business is relatively easy in today’s marketplace,” explained Machaalani. “These days, all you need is a few minutes, a credit card and an Internet connection to get a fully operational online store up and running. These passionate entrepreneurs show that it’s possible to start and grow your own business while also maintaining an additional source of income.”
Friday, June 14th, 2013
Money isn’t the only motivator.
Employees are more motivated by recognition and virtual rewards compared to financial incentives, and this number is on the rise, according to research by Make Their Day, an employee motivation firm.
A similar survey was performed by Make Their Day in 2007, in which 57 percent of respondents reported that their meaningful recognition had no dollar value—today, that number has jumped to 70 percent.
“The value of non-tangible recognition is clearly identified in our findings,” said Cindy Ventrice, author of Make Their Day! Employee Recognition That Works. ”Workplace technology today, such as gamification, provides many new opportunities for non-tangible recognition. With nearly one-fifth of meaningful recognition being delivered virtually, it is clear that these methods can be effective.”
Independent report corroborates the research
This research corroborates a recent independent report released by McKinsey & Company that revealed praise, attention from leaders, and opportunities to lead projects were more effective motivators than performance-based cash rewards, increase in base pay, or stock options (Motivating People: Getting Behind Money, 2009.)
In the report, Martin Dewhurst, Matthew Gurthridge andElizabeth Mohr note that companies around the world are cutting back on financial incentive programs, but few have used other ways of inspiring talent. The McKinsey report recommends looking at non-financial incentive programs for this purpose.
“The results of the study align to what we’ve seen across our customers deploying gamification solutions for workplace engagement, as well as numerous reports over the last few years on the changing face of what motivates employees today” said Ken Comee, CEO, Badgeville.
“Workers of all ages, especially the rising millennial population, are motivated by real-time feedback, fun, engaging work environments, and status-based recognition over tangible rewards. Gamification programs powered by Badgeville have empowered hundreds of companies to reward employees for the right behaviors, showcase their reputation and enhance employee motivation across their workforce.”
Friday, June 14th, 2013
New research finds that Millennial women, surprisingly, have little interest or desire to assume a top leadership position.
Here at the TechJournal we’ve seen a lot of reports looking at the digital habits, the work preferences, and the general attitudes of millennials, but this is something different. We suspect it may be partly due to their young age and may change as they progress through their careers.
A recent survey commissioned by Zeno Group, the award-winning global public relations firm, finds that only fifteen percent of 1,000 Millennial women said they would want to be the number one leader of a large or prominent organization. Of these women, 92% are confident they are on the right track to attain that role and two-thirds (66%) think it will take them less than six years to do so.
A prominent theme emerging from the research is the extent to which millennial women are unwilling to make the personal sacrifices they believe are inextricably linked to their ability to climb the corporate ladder.
- Forty-nine percent say the sacrifices women leaders have to make aren’t worth it, and nine in ten agree that women leaders have to make more sacrifices than their male counterparts
- More than three-quarters of women surveyed (76%) are concerned about their ability to achieve a balance between personal and professional goals
- Less than half of the women (46%) are willing to sacrifice aspects of their personal life to achieve professional goals
- Diving deeper into the data, a strong majority (59%) of millennial moms agree that the sacrifices women leaders make are not worth it in contrast to 40% of those without children share that point of view
Is Work a new “four-letter word?”
“This new data shows we must get smarter and more creative in the recruiting and retention of top Millennial talent,” said Siegel. “We don’t want W-O-R-K becoming the new four-letter word for this generation.”
The survey also found that Millennial women truly value mentorship. However, surprisingly, less than 60% of these Millennials have mentors. Women who have a mentor are much more likely to believe they are on track to achieve their professional goal than women who don’t have a mentor (82% vs. 60%).
“The findings send a clear signal that we cannot operate business as usual,” said Barby K. Siegel, CEO of Zeno Group and mother of two teenage daughters. “We need to think about doing things differently when helping Millennial women develop their careers and weigh the sacrifices that may or may not be required. We do not want to risk losing this talented generation of professionals.”
Millennial Women with Children vs. Without Children
Not surprisingly, the Zeno survey unveiled different attitudes when comparing millennial women who have children with those who do not:
- Millennial moms are six times more likely than millennial women without children to say that their career is not that important to them (26% versus 4%)
- Millennial moms are three times more likely than millennial women without children to say that an inability to balance professional goals with being a parent is what is most likely to keep them from achieving their professional goals (35% vs. 11%)
Stay-at-Home vs. Working Millennial Moms
- The study also revealed a difference in perspectives between stay-at-home versus working millennial moms, however, both agree that having a family takes a toll on achieving professional goals. Three-quarters of working moms agree that they’ve had to make personal sacrifices to get ahead (74%), but over half say that the sacrifices that women leaders have to make are not worth it (52%).
- Almost one-third of working moms indicate that the inability to balance professional goals with being a parent would hold them back from attaining their ultimate professional role (30%).
- Almost one-quarter of stay-at-home moms say that the inability to afford child-care or elder-care (22%) could potentially keep them from attaining the professional role they ultimately desire.
The market research firm Edelman Berland conducted this online survey of 1,000 American women ages 21 to 33 who were graduates of a four year college or university was conducted May 14, 2013 – May 17, 2013. The margin of error is +/- 3% (at a 95% confidence level). Percentages may not add up to 100 percent due to rounding.
For more information, please contact Danny Cohn, Danny.Cohn@Zenogroup.com
Friday, June 14th, 2013
Companies are using multiple channels through which they interact with customers and taking steps to amplify the voice of the customer (VOC) within their organizations, according to a new study produced by SOCAP International, the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals, and COPC Inc.
“In conducting this survey, we wanted to explore if and how America’s brand name companies are achieving multichannel integration with respect to customer care and whether this process is changing over time,” said SOCAP President and CEO Matthew D’Uva.
Key among survey findings:
- Over half of the respondents use at least 6 channels, which were evenly distributed between real-time interactions and deferred transactions;
- Over 84% of respondents offer self-service options to their customer base, a 20 percent increase over 2011 survey results;
- Over half of the organizations indicate they are using multiple channels for self-service options. The most common option is interactive voice response;
- Almost 70 percent of organizations report that they have changed how they do business with their customers as a result of mobile technology. The biggest change, over 50%, report an increase in mobile phone apps and integrated websites;
- The ownership of multichannel integration is shared between Consumer Affairs (45%) and Marketing (42%) with Customer Care being the third most utilized support group;
- There has been little change from 2011 to 2013 in the integration of tools across channels. This suggests that as multichannel integration increased the need to integrate the data did not follow suit;
- Over 95% of respondent have at least a moderate interest in the VoC to make changes to improve products or services;
- 76% of organizations use “Post Sales” to interact with customers and approximately 70% of respondents use customer satisfaction in some capacity to measure the overall customer experience;
- Only about 17% of respondent indicate they are measuring and tracking any ROI on VoC initiatives.
The web-based survey, conducted between March-May 2013 is based on the responses of 46 companies representing six industries. Consumer packaged goods companies constituted 52% of respondents.
The summary findings of the study are available at http://bit.ly/SOCAP-2013-Benchmarking.
Friday, June 14th, 2013
Despite a weak economy, the European e-commerce market edged out the U.S. in terms of 2012 e-retailing growth with online sales totaling $302.20 billion, up 16.62% from $260.41 billion in 2011, says the U.K.-based Centre for Retail Research.
In comparison, e-commerce in the U.S. grew year over year 15.9% to $225.54 billion from $194.61 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The 500 leading e-retailers in Europe did even better, collectively increasing their web sales 17.0% to $122.74 billion from $104.89 billion, according to Internet Retailer’s just-released 2013 Europe 500 guide, which ranks the 500 leading merchants in Europe based on their annual web sales.
“Despite its fragmented nature, the European e-commerce market is bigger than the U.S. market and is growing at roughly the same speed,” says Jack Love, Internet Retailer chairman and chief executive officer.
“It’s quite an amazing achievement, since they’ve not had the benefit of a growing overall economy like we’ve had here in the U.S. And since the European e-commerce market is so decentralized—there are no pan-European operators like the e-retailers that sell across America—that’s a shining beacon of opportunity for major players to emerge and grab market share.”
Thursday, June 13th, 2013
Industry-wide improvement is necessary in B2B websites, which are generally not providing satisfactory customer experiences, says ForeSee. Those who don’t may lose customers, and those who improve will also boost their business.
Overall, the average customer satisfaction with B2B websites is at 64 on ForeSee’s 100-point scale, representing the industry measurement against which B2B companies can measure their own online customer satisfaction, according to ForeSee’s annual Business-to-Business (B2B) Benchmark that reports on customer satisfaction trends.
With ForeSee’s methodology, scores of 80 and higher are classified as “highly satisfied,” while scores of 69 and lower are considered “less satisfied.”
The B2B industry average score of 64 indicates that business customers are generally less satisfied with the online experiences that B2Bs provide and that industry-wide improvement is critical.
Across the Spectrum
As a pioneer in customer experience analytics, ForeSee’s technology is founded on a scientific methodology that has demonstrated a strong relationship between customer satisfaction and a company’s financial future. Essentially, when customer satisfaction is scientifically measured, it can be used to predict key outcomes such as future purchase, recommendations and loyalty.
While customer satisfaction with B2B companies improved from 62 to 64 since last measured in June 2012, the industry continues to lag behind Business-to-Customer (B2C) companies by nine percent in terms of satisfaction.
Satisfaction scores for individual B2B companies included in the benchmark range from a low of 26 to a high of 86. This dynamic range in satisfaction illustrates that some companies are performing at an extremely high level and are being rewarded by their customers with a higher likelihood to recommend and return again, while lower-scoring companies are running the risk of alienating not only their existing customer base but future prospects as well.
Predicting Future Behavior
ForeSee’s benchmark provides insights into the value of a highly satisfied customer (those who rated their satisfaction at 80 or higher) by comparing their likely future behaviors to those of less-satisfied customers (with satisfaction below 70). This comparison illustrates the impact that customer satisfaction with B2B experiences can have on a company’s future success.
Based on likelihood scores, highly satisfied customers report being:
- 67% more likely than less-satisfied customers to return to the site, which means higher frequency of interaction, improved engagement and increased share of mind and wallet.
- 79% more likely to purchase next time, which means increased sales.
- 133% more likely to recommend the company, which means more business and increased loyalty.
The ForeSee B2B benchmark includes customer satisfaction scores for companies including Cummins, Eaton, Emerson Network Power, Gale-Cengage, HNI Enterprise, MSC Industrial Supply, Praxair, ProQuest and Scholastic.
“Looking at the industry average score, there is clearly some work to be done in the B2B space, but it’s important to acknowledge that many organizations are ahead of the game and are providing their customers with a highly satisfactory experience,” said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee.
“Those who are lagging should answer the charge, take steps to focus on what elements are most important to customers and make improvements that will have the greatest impact on improving the customer experience.”
Thursday, June 13th, 2013
When it comes to providing excellent customer service, big is definitely not better, according to the majority of respondents who participated in a new survey by credit card comparison and financial education site CreditDonkey.com.
In almost all customer-satisfaction categories, consumers are more content with the efforts of small businesses than those of big companies.
However, better service does not trump lower prices. Just over 52 percent of respondents are more likely choose a lower price over better service – a choice that tends to fall in the favor of larger businesses that can take advantage of economies of scale.
We suspect, however, that small businesses often provide a more personal level of customer service on a local level – even if they are relatively under-staffed.
A Wake-up call for companies
“The survey results should serve as a wake-up call for companies of every size,” said CreditDonkey founder Charles Tran. “In this high-tech, fast-paced era, people want companies to respond to their concerns and questions with personalized service. Over 80% of our respondents said they have not bought something because they weren’t happy with the customer service they were getting.”
While 94.3 percent of respondents said their customer service experiences with small companies meets or exceeds expectations, the rate of satisfaction fell to 64.1 percent when respondents were asked about their experiences with big businesses.
Personally, bad company service means we dump the company. We stopped doing business with two firms this year because of inadequate company service. Not only that, we posted negative comments to our own and the company’s social media outlets. If even a few people do that, it can have serious consequences for any business.
Consumers also said that small businesses do a better job than big businesses of:
- Anticipating their needs: 71 percent to 41.8 percent
- Anticipating their problems: 63.9 percent to 33.8 percent
- Consistently saying “thank you”: 96.9 percent to 80.8 percent
- Following up: 68 percent to 30.5 percent
However, big business did outperform small business in one category. By 74.2 percent to 65.5 percent, big companies are more likely to solicit feedback than small enterprises.
From May 24, 2013 to May 30, 2013 CreditDonkey polled more than 1,000 Americans, age 18 and over, for their views about customer service and customer satisfaction. To view the responses to the Customer Service and Satisfaction Survey, visithttp://www.creditdonkey.com/customer-service-2013.html
Thursday, June 13th, 2013
Do you think the financial forecasts used to evaluate M&A deals are accurate? Many executives don’t.
Only one-quarter of executives are very confident in the accuracy of the financial forecasts they use to support Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) deal decisions, according to Deloitte’s fourth annual Corporate Development survey.
This finding demonstrates the high level of uncertainty in predicting M&A deal success in the current environment and may help explain the disconnect between heightened expectations for M&A market growth earlier this year and the lackluster deal activity that has persisted.
Forecasting quality is critical
The survey, which assesses how companies are managing strategic transactions, found that 75 percent of respondents believe they could improve the accuracy of their deal analyses but lack a crisp understanding of exactly how to correct their course. In fact, 43 percent of respondents are not able to detect any pattern in their forecasting errors and only one-fifth have M&A business case forecasts that are consistently accurate.
“Forecasting quality is a critical component of M&A success,” said Chris Ruggeri, principal, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP and leader of its M&A practice. “While accuracy is important, deal teams should strive to generate useful insights that can be used to inform judgment about a deal and to develop mitigation plans or contingent deal structures that respond to potential variances in the forecast.”
The Corporate Development survey results show little change in the expected uptick of deal activity among respondents. Nearly half of respondents this year (49 percent) anticipated an increase in deal activity. In 2012 the figure was similar at 46 percent. Furthermore, when placed into a broader economic context, it is anticipated that M&A activity will likely remain at current levels.
“The relatively stable year-over-year survey findings suggest that the anticipated deal activity will likely remain at its present pace unless something changes,” said Ruggeri. “Potential catalysts for increased activity include a surge in corporate earnings, a higher pace of economic growth, or more regulatory certainty in industries including financial services and health care.”
Social media use in M&A deal-making
For the first time, the survey also explored the use of social media in M&A deal-making. One-third (34 percent) of respondents reported already using social media for M&A. More than half (56 percent) of executives believed that social media could play the greatest role in identifying targets, and 30 percent cited social media’s role in due diligence.
Social media use in M&A is anticipated to grow as companies continue to look for opportunities to gain competitive advantages and as regulators, such as the SEC, begin to allow dissemination of public company press releases and other market-moving information via social media.
“Social media is the new frontier in the M&A space. As companies try to gain competitive advantages, we think they may increasingly use social media platforms to collect information, draw insights and ultimately identify new targets,” said Marco Sguazzin, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP.
Additional survey findings:
- M&A Decision Process Three-quarters (75 percent) of companies reported having a clearly-defined M&A decision process, but only 19 percent rated the efficiency of the approval process as excellent. However, companies that complete more deals were more likely to have a well-defined decision process and to consider its efficiency as excellent.
- Corporate Venture Funds Roughly one-fifth (19 percent) of companies reported already having a corporate venture fund, and almost half (47 percent) of executives expected the number of corporate venture funds in their industry to increase over the next two to three years, citing access to technology, new product innovation, and new market entry as the key benefits driving the growth of such funds.
- Data Analytics Forty-one percent of companies reported using technology-driven analytics in M&A, either as a core component (12 percent) or in select areas (29 percent), and another 17 percent said their companies are considering it. The most frequent uses in the context of M&A were to analyze customers and markets of target companies (52 percent), evaluate the potential synergies of a deal (29 percent), and assess the target’s workforce and compensation schemes (24 percent). “Data analytics” refers to the practice of using data to drive business strategy and performance.
Wednesday, June 12th, 2013
According to a recent survey conducted by Intermec (NYSE:IN), transport and logistics companies around the world believe that arming their mobile workforce with new technology could cut both their pick-up times by 30% and delivery times by 29%, savings which could be crucial in boosting operational efficiency levels and meeting customer demands.
These are the principal findings of a survey by Intermec, which surveyed managers of transport and logistics firms in six countries around the world during April 2013.
“Investing the time to review current processes may seem to be a daunting task, but the benefits show this is more than worthwhile,” said Jeff Sibio, Intermec Industry Marketing Director for Transport and Logistics.
The study finds that 38% of US organizations view operational efficiency as the area of most strategic importance for their business.
Same-day delivery demanded
More than three quarters (77%) of organizations across UK, US, Germany, France, Australia and New Zealand say their customers now demand same-day delivery services, and 92% of companies claim that meeting these expectations is placing significant challenges on their business to adjust.
Most feel that customer demand can best be made through automating key processes in the pick-up and delivery areas, and adopting new technology for drivers such as GPS, mobile and broadband communications. Companies anticipate that by adopting these technologies, the time taken for each pick-up and delivery can be cut by 2.68 and 2.41 minutes respectively1, providing a significant boost to the efficiency of the mobile worker.
Automate to innovate
- The survey respondents believe broadband mobile communications (60%), integrated vehicle telematics (44%) and RFID (38%) offer the most promising return on investment to their organization.
- The efficiency gains from new technology could extend to back office staff as well. The survey respondents report that they are receiving 6,677 calls per day from customers asking for order status updates.
- By providing proactive shipment updates, a process enabled by location-based and mobile technologies, these same companies believe they could eliminate 24% of these calls immediately.
- This equates to 1,602 calls per working day, a time saving that could then be used to better serve a wider range of customers.
The need to re-engineer
- 44% of companies feel that process re-engineering is the most effective means of improving operational efficiency levels.
- Overall, transport and logistics managers feel that a process re-engineering effort can improve efficiency levels by over 13%.
- Yet despite this, over a third (39%) have failed to complete a process re-engineering effort in the last year.
- Of these, nearly three quarters (72%) have not evaluated their existing processes for at least two years.
“Customer expectations in the industry are growing higher each day, putting increasing pressure on mobile workers to meet tighter deadlines,” said Sibio. “Our survey shows that the use of technology not only reduces call and pick up times for workers, it also offers customers the chance to make fewer calls.”
For more information, visit www.intermec.com
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