Watching all the events unfold in the last week, has been unprecedented like I have ever seen in my life. The chaos and violence that took place in Washington DC, was unfounded and should have never happened. Freedom of speech in America is so vital to our existence as a nation, however, there are just a few bad apples that like to ruin it for the rest of us.

In the previous days, there have been leaders, groups, and other individuals who have had their social media profiles suspended or even removed. We have also seen a mixture of communication apps recently become suspended. Why is this happening?

The reality is that freedom of speech and censorship is not happening although many think it is. Each of these platforms has a certain set of rules defined, which is known as the Terms of Service (TOS). When you sign up a social media platform, you agree to the TOS set forth. Furthermore, if any of these rules change, the TOS has a line that states you will agree to accept them by continuing to use the platform.

Let me be frank - having a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or other social media account is not your right. It is a privilege from the respective company to use the respective social media platform.

While you go out and utilize these platforms to communicate with your friends and family, you also utilize these platforms to promote your company, its products, or services, and help grow your business. In a day that we are seeing these large corporations really come down on billions of people and how they share their messages and what content they share, you as the business owner must realize that you must be cautious on how you communicate as an individual.

For example, many of you do not have a separate account for Facebook business pages. You have it linked to your main profile. It is my recommendation, that you have all your business pages with separate email addresses or a secondary account. In the case that you choose to speak your voice, and the platform decides to suspend or delete your account, you will lose access to your business page, respective groups, and all other content that was tied to your name. This could even mean access to your advertisement account.

As a firm belief that freedom of speech is a God-given right, God has given us the agency to choose our decisions, communicate them appropriately, or dictate such actions. Thus, we must all remember that when a company is selected for their respective product or service, you agree to their terms and conditions.

Just as if you were a small retail business, and you had a specific refund or exchange policy, that is your TOS as it pertains to refunds or exchanges. The difference with social media, is that their terms of service is related around what is being communicated and what is the content.

As we start to see many people evolve to other platforms that are up-and-coming, it comes to mind from my mother, who told me when I was a child, “ if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all” and “ choose your words wisely; others will judge what you say.” These social media platforms are powerful tools for business. I know the growth potential that individuals and their businesses can gain by using them.

I ask you to think about the quotes from my mother as you go upon posting on your personal pages in which are tied to your business pages. You are in control of your destination and business successes. You reap what you sow.

#socialmedia #contentmanagement #content #freedomofspeech #business #smallbusiness #consulting #socialmediause #termsofservice #censorship #rights #motivation #personalgrowth #bradleytrede

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As we look back on 2020, it was a year that had many unprecedented situations that occurred. From an election that had vocal feelings on both sides, police brutality by a few bad apples, and a pandemic that killed many. The year 2020 is a year that I hope we do not see actions like in the rest of our lives. Many people suffered economic and employment losses.

As I continued to work through the pandemic professionally, watching the family business have prosperity, writing a book that is taking forever, and continued to focus on the better things in life with friends, family, and work on my relationship with God, I realized many of you are still suffering from such a horrible time.

The other night I was lying in my recliner, and fell asleep, and a nightmare that was dreamt upon from my childhood for some reason landed in my nightly dreams. This nightmare was a nightmare with a mission. It was based around a time where I was in me early teens, being selfish with the unwillingness to help my best friend. I dreamt something happened to him and he was killed in an accident, and I felt like a failure all because I chose not to help. Being young and not understanding the purpose of dreams and nightmares; there was a purpose intended.

Why was this nightmare in my mind again? I cannot think of a friend where I have a situation like this in my current time. Yet, the vision was clear. So many people are suffering from all types of hardships due to the activities in 2020. Albert Schweitzer, a theologist, remarked, “The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.”

As someone who is quite spiritual, I found some Bible verses that also tell the same story.. “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.”

Matthew 23:11

“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”

1 John 3:18

"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another."

Galatians 5:13

Between the Bible and Schweitzer and the nightmare, I read this as 2021 needs to be my mission to serve others. So how will I do so?

I realize many are already self-sufficient and do not need help, while others are unemployed or underemployed. Perhaps, some have taken a new position and lack the necessary skills to succeed while others are still unemployed and could use some resume, interview coaching, or simple software skills.

There are many resources online and while some are free, many are not. Many services require a monthly subscription, a one-time fee, and others expect something financial in return for services rendered. There are coaching services that I do collect a fee for, but I think there are areas that I could offer some help with at no cost. Over the course of the next couple weeks, I am going to provide some training on evenings and weekends on various topics. What do I expect in return? Maybe a thank you, but nothing financial. I want to see you all succeed in 2021.

More details and a website to follow for signups.

I wish everyone an amazing 2021 and I look forward to serving you.

#goals #NY2021 #personalgrowth #giveback #newyears #serveothers #respect #careers

For nearly 15 years, I have helped businesses small and large elevate their earnings by developing business strategies that drive opportunity. This week, I have had the opportunity to help an individual who has a premium lighting store in Utah. He has kindly asked me to refrain from using his name or business but will allow me to share his experience. For this purpose, I will use the name Charles.

Charles was recommended to us from another client. He indicated that for the last two months, his sales have continued to drop. Roughly about 6 months ago, he did a nominal increase across the board to offer an increased wage and add medical benefits for his staff. While the increase was very modest, he continued to have sales. During the outbreak of COVID19, he was able to continue to drive sales by selling selective popular products on a website along with limited store hours.

However, shortly after business returning to normal hours of operation, he noticed sales were great and immediately took a nosedive. His regular customers were nowhere to be found.

As with every client, I provide an intake form for the client to fill out and return to us. I also ask for additional exhibits to be provided. After receiving these items, I immediately knew the reason why people were not shopping at his store. However, to confirm my findings, I asked him to send a survey to only people who consecutively opened emails. One of the questions included:

  • To maintain a high level of safety amongst staff and customers, would you be open to a surcharge of 8% against your total check to provide our guests with Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) If no, please indicate why:

The purpose of this question was because one of the exhibits was a receipt. Charles was adding an 8% surcharge for PPE.

The next morning after the survey was sent, results were quickly arriving. 3,200 emails were sent out. 950 emails accessed the survey and provided responses, which tells me that the customers loved his business and were actively engaged with him. The 30% open rate is great. However, looking at the specific question every time, everyone selected “no.” Furthermore, some customers indicated that they were not shopping at his store because they felt that in addition to a sales tax, an extra 8% was too much to pay.

I agreed. The average ticket price was $750. For a $1,000 order, $80 was added for PPE. Now, we all know a single pair of gloves, a disposable face cover, and a squirt of hand sanitizer doesn’t add up to $80.

Charles and I had a conversation for about 20 minutes to wrap up our findings over a PPE surcharge. He is losing customers because he is placing a surcharge on every sale for 8% to cover the expenses to provide face masks, plastic gloves, and hand sanitizer at the door.

As I indicated, if you operate a business in which customers come in and you have public restrooms, you already have an expense that is related to toilet paper, soap, paper towels, etc. The point being is that you must absorb this cost. At the end of the year, this is a business expense, which can be written off. If you and your employees are utilizing the same items that you are putting out for your staff, then it becomes a business expense.

I realize that managing a business has a lot of direct and indirect costs that may eat up

your margins. It is especially important to take an annual review of everything cost related and see if there are ways to save money. Charging your customer for your costs is not the best way.

If you would like some help with this task, reach out to us and one of our consultants can help you review your cost strategies and come up with some ways to streamline your expenses.

Remember, your customer is looking at everything. The customer experience is from when they enter the door (or website) and until the sale is generated and the customer leaves. Surcharges, shipping costs, and other related costs are just as important as traffic flow, signs, prices, etc.

#costs #expenses #budgeting #retailsales #retail #surcharge #PPE #customerengagement

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