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Category Archives: Business

5 Elements of a Good BYOD Enterprise Program

Employees are increasingly using their own devices as the mobile workforce grows in importance. A Computing Technology Industry Association study found that 84 percent of professionals surveyed use their smartphones for work, but only 22 percent of their companies had a formal mobility policy. The upshot of this mobile shift is that corporate networks will be increasingly vulnerable, unless these devices are reined in with a BYOD enterprise program.

If your company lacks a mobility policy, consider incorporating the following five elements into your BYOD program to save time and money.

1. Include clear, written rules

Eliminating risky end user behavior through clear BYOD policies saves IT expenses right off the bat. Some of the most salient points to cover in writing include:

  • Prohibited devices, such as jailbroken phones
  • Blacklisted applications
  • Procedures for lost or stolen devices, including the possibility of wiping out all data on a device
  • Privacy disclosures, such as what personal information the enterprise has access to on a device

Some of these issues, like whether the company can legally wipe out data on a device they do not own, should be cleared with your human resources and legal departments to minimize the risk of lawsuits.

2. Make sure it’s formally presented

It is not enough to have employees sign off that they have read the policies – formal classroom or online training is recommended to ensure comprehension and compliance – especially for less tech-savvy workers who might not understand that seemingly innocent actions can expose the company to risks.

3. Ensure that it’s scalable and flexible

Make sure your security software can be painlessly installed on new devices. Cloud-based services do this particularly well and are typically available on a per-user subscription model, which saves money by protecting only what is needed at any given time.

Also, consider exceptions to rules, such as allowing peer-to-peer networking programs for certain users who might benefit from these tools. Otherwise, employees may risk bypassing your security protocols in order to use forbidden applications.

4. Secure against the greatest number of threats possible

Risky behavior such as opening email attachments from strangers or visiting dubious sites on BYOD devices should be addressed in the written policies and further safeguarded via antivirus software.

There are other exploits to be aware of, which might not be as obvious, such as fake antivirus scanners that users might innocently install, and social engineering (or phishing) threats. A good endpoint protection program will keep employees up-to-date on these lesser-known attack vectors and continually inform them on how to best protect their devices. This does not require much expense but does involve staying abreast of threats and implementing a solid communication plan.

5. Allow for remote monitoring and control

You have to have a degree of oversight over which BYOD devices are accessing your corporate systems. This is where a third-party mobile device management tool (MDM) can pay valuable dividends. MDM services provide benefits such as malware blocking, policy enforcement, logging, encryption and remote wiping, all from a single, centralized platform.

In summary, leveraging the benefits of BYOD while minimizing potential pitfalls is a tightrope act, but the BYOD trend can’t be ignored. Each business must strive to develop a program to protect its systems and data from breaches, while allowing workers the freedom and convenience they seek.

The Benefits of Outsourcing Your IT

Just a few short years ago, the image of an IT department for small and medium businesses was one of Dilbert-looking technicians noodling around with Cat 5 cable and speaking in a blend of Klingon and Robot. In other words, IT seemed completely remote, complicated and inaccessible to most employees. Additionally, each new hardware and software deployment, including installing malware protection, could take weeks to manually implement across the enterprise, and rarely went smoothly.

One solution – outsourced IT – has found greater acceptance in the past few years as its benefits have become more tangible to even small businesses. It is estimated that globally, 74 percent of companies use some form of outsourced IT solution, up 25 percent from 2009.

Cost savings

Moving IT off-site can save an SMB thousands of dollars per year. As most business decisions are predicated on the bottom line, this is often the main driver in the decision to migrate. Areas of savings include:

Reducing hardware expenses. Servers, storage, cabling, cooling, and datacenter square footage expense can now be on a cloud vendor’s dime, not yours.

No salary or benefits expenses for IT employees.

Potential tax savings by converting capital expenditures (servers), that depreciate slowly over time, to a monthly cost which can potentially be deducted in the current tax year.

The latest software versions – hassle-free

Outsourcing IT means software, including malware protection for endpoints, can be updated automatically by the provider. This obviates the need for a local tech to run around taking workstations offline for upgrades.

Furthermore, updating software not only unlocks newer features, but also closes exploits in older versions that might allow hacker penetration. So it’sworth exploring any platform that can make this process painless and automatic, such as a cloud service.

Focus on your business, not technical issues

Anyone who survived working in Corporate America from the 1980s onwards is familiar with the spectacle and lost productivity that accompanies the proverbial “system going down.”

When outsourcing IT to the cloud, this nightmare occurs less often as data is often distributed redundantly across many servers that are monitored constantly, leading to greater stability and uptime, and less worrying about IT matters.

Improved security

Reputable outsourced IT providers are dead serious about security against malware, zero-day hacks and other intrusions and constantly monitor and update their protection schemes.

For most SMBs, outsourcing will provide a more frequent and secure back-up solution than their existing IT setups. Furthermore, as the data is kept off-site, it is well- protected from a local catastrophe, such as a fire or flooding.

No new employees to manage when scaling up

Scalability is easy with outsourced IT – simply contact the vendor for more storage, memory and processors as needed. There is no longer any need for job postings, interviews, expensive training, personality clashes, worker’s compensation or other common HR issues and liabilities just to get tech personnel to handle the increased operations.

Instead, you can focus your payroll budget on production or sales staff that directly drive revenue.

How to move to the cloud

Prior to outsourcing your IT, draw up a migration plan. Then study the stability and security reputation of outsourcing providers before trusting them with your mission-critical data. Malware protection is increasingly important, so discuss solutions with each candidate to explore what steps they take in the event of a breach.

How To Save Time And Reduce Your Investment

Trojans, worms and spyware sound like elements straight from a summer blockbuster, but the kind of action/adventure they provide on your PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets make them more like a horror movie.

By deploying effective endpoint security, you can help prevent attacks and keep your users safe from viruses and other malware, such as spear phishing and advanced persistent threats. Today’s  state-of-the-art endpoint securityhas come a long way from its early roots in “antivirus” and has morphed into a complex suite of sophisticated protections against modern threats.

Keeping users safe

In an ideal world, users would be perfectly security conscious. These mythical users wouldn’t:

  • Click on suspicious links.
  • Open file attachments emailed by criminals pretending to be their friends.
  • Respond to phishing messages that appear to be from a bank.
  • Disable software updates because warnings and reboots are annoying.
  • Disable a security product because it slows down their PC.
  • Install free software from an untrustworthy developer, because their friend liked it on Facebook.

Sadly, our world is less than ideal. Much, much less: A recent report said that 86 percent of U.S. businesses surveyed had lost sensitive data during the previous year.

User awareness training helps, but it isn’t sufficient. That’s why your endpoints need securing. Doing so helps prevent your users from accidentally exposing sensitive business information, such as your  banking credentials, secret-sauce recipes or future product plans.

Save time and money on endpoint security

Your challenge is to protect your users while minimizing costs: How do you save time and money, while keeping your company safe?

Look for a modern endpoint security solution – not one thrown together from an old antivirus program and a fresh coat of paint.

How can you tell?

A start-of-the-art solution does the following:

  • Works intelligently in the background, without bogging down the user’s computer
  • Scans for malware in seconds, not hours
  • Uses a reliable, built-from-the-ground-up cloud security service to identify malware, not a huge signature file that’s quickly out-of-date
  • Works intelligently while offline, reconnecting with the cloud service to check changes made while disconnected
  • Fixes infected PCs, if necessary, by rolling back the computer’s state to a known-good point
  • Automatically monitors untrusted software executions to prevent infection
  • Allows you to enforce certain policy settings, such as use of USB ports, and prevents users from disabling security features
  • Doesn’t fight with competing installed products, to allow you to test it safely

How does it reduce your investment?

A modern solution will reduce costs by being integrable, controllable and reliable. That means your operating costs are lower, and you won’t lose money from malware infections that only waste IT workers’ time and squander end-user productivity.

Purchase cost is, of course, a factor. However, in most analyses of total cost of ownership (TCO), operations and end-user productivity losses dwarf all other costs.

You have to first consider your budget realities, but it’s smart to benchmark yourself against what similar companies spend. There are free security solutions, but they don’t provide the control or sophistication to minimize your TCO.

Don’t Be Fooled

Keeping your company safe requires more than a warmed-over, 10-year-old anti-virus product. You need a state-of-the-art endpoint protection solution to safeguard your organization, in addition to user awareness, enforced policies and proper patch management.

7 Inexpensive Gifts Your Employees Will Love

Travel charging kit

For employees who are always on the go, this travel charging kit is a thoughtful and practical gift. With this kit, you can charge three devices via USB ports using one outlet or an auto cigarette lighter, and all of the parts are easily organized in the included travel pouch.

Desktop storage shelf

Give employees the gift of organization with this handy bamboo desktop storage shelf. It features six different compartments for various office supplies and is designed to fit over a computer keyboard to maximize desk space.

Phone dock and cord wrap

Anyone who keeps a spare phone charger at the office knows how easy it is to lose it among all the other clutter stashed away in a desk drawer. With a MonkeyOh cord wrap and smartphone dock, your employees’ charging cables will be easily accessible and ready to use — and their workstations will look a little neater, too.

City map coasters

Do you and your employees love the city you work in? Show some pride for your company’s home base with these wooden map coasters. Packaged in a set of four, each coaster features a hand-designed section of your city’s map. They’re currently available for Baltimore, Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Los Angeles, Manhattan, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego and San Francisco.

Sport performance headphones

The other item every fitness lover needs is a solid pair of headphones. Gel caps ensure that sweat and movement won’t knock these earbuds out of place during high-intensity workouts. Even if your staff members aren’t hitting the gym every day, they’re sure to appreciate the high-quality sound.

Bluetooth tracking tag

Have your employees ever been late to work because they misplaced their keys at home? Make that excuse a thing of the past with a Bluetooth tracking tag. When you sync the keychain with your mobile device, you can quickly locate the tag through a downloadable app. An “alert” button on the tag makes it work both ways in case you have your keys but lost your phone.

Clock photo frame

When your staff is counting down the minutes at the end of the workday, this gift lets them watch the clock while reminding them who they’ll see when they get home. This battery-powered atomic clock displays the time, date, day, temperature and your employee’s favorite 2 1/4″ by 2 1/4″ photo.

6 Great Home-Based Business Ideas

Business plan service

If you’ve got business expertise already, you can help other entrepreneurs launch and maintain their own businesses by offering your services as a business plan consultant and writer. Help your clients figure out their ideas, goals and finances for their businesses and put them all in one organized business roadmap. You can also help conduct market research for your clients, so they can determine how successful their businesses can really be, or if they need to make changes or go in another direction before wrapping up their business plans.

Electronics recycling

Even though consumers are constantly upgrading their phones, tablets, laptops and other electronic devices, a lot of people still don’t understand how important it is to recycle their old electronics. According toDoSomething.org, 20 million to 50 million metric tons of e-waste are disposed of worldwide each year, and only 12.5 percent of e-waste is recycled. Allow people to drop off their unwanted electronics at your home, or go mobile and offer a pickup service. In addition, you could help your customers back up their files and clear sensitive information from their devices as well.

Handmade seller

Do you have a knack for knitting, jewelry making or creating other small crafts? If you can produce a large quantity of items in a short amount of time, consider selling your goods to the public. In just minutes, you can set up anonline store and start promoting your business.

Web/graphic designer

Have you ever been turned off by a business’s generic-looking website layout or logo? If you have a good eye for design, you can launch a service to create attractive, easy-to-use websites for small businesses. You can put your skills to good use for business owners who want to take their online presence to the next level. Build up a portfolio of work with smaller freelance jobs, then create your own website to show it off and bring in a steady stream of clients.

Software trainer

If you’re proficient in a highly specialized software, you can get paid to pass your knowledge on to amateurs and professionals looking to expand their skill sets. Technical manuals are available for programs like QuickBooks and Final Cut Pro, but these are often expensive and difficult for the average user to get through. Schedule small group workshops or private sessions, and charge by the hour for a full tutorial of the program. Patience and a great personality are a must.

Green consultant

Consumers want to buy from companies that are making efforts to turn their operations “green,” or eco-friendly. In fact, research has shown that consumers are willing to pay more for green products. Big companies often have whole staffs and outside consulting firms dedicated to that cause. Small business owners don’t have those kinds of resources, but many would still like to find ways to be more environmentally friendly and energy efficient. A home-based green consulting business allows you to travel locally to meet with clients, review their environmental impact and make recommendations on how they can cut their energy use, waste and costs. There’s no need for an office outside the house for this business.

7 Crafty Culinary Businesses

Opaque, a restaurant in California, promises to change your view of going out to eat by wining and dining you in the dark. And yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like—you eat your meal in a pitch black dining room.

When you arrive at Opaque, customers look through the menu in a lighted lounge and order food. The restaurant’s staff will then check coats and bags, and lead you to your seat. According to the restaurant’s website, Opaque is staffed by blind and visually impaired servers who have been specially trained to serve food in the dark.

Dining in the dark may seem like a strange concept, but according to Opaque’s website, it’s all about having a more in-depth sensory experience with your food. Opaque has multiple locations in California.

The food truck trend has hit its stride. Popular trucks in major cities have long lines of eager customers waiting outside on their lunch breaks. But Drive Change, a hybrid profit/nonprofit organization, is taking food trucks to a new, socially-responsible level by giving back to the community.

The organization hires, trains and mentors formerly incarcerated young adults, and the food trucks serve as a form of transitional employment with the ultimate goal of preparing these young people to go back to school or start full-time employment.

Drive Change currently operates only one food truck, located in New York and called Snowday. It farm-fresh foods prepared in their kitchen in Brooklyn and served at the truck. Drive Change plans to open more food trucks in the future, and each truck “employs and empowers 24 young people per year.” All food truck sales go back into the organization’s re-entry program to help more former inmates get on the right track.

Back to the Roots was started by two college students who were inspired by something they learned in a class: You can grow mushrooms using recycled coffee grounds. Co-founders Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez wrote of their experience, “After watching hours of how-to videos and turning our fraternity kitchen into a big science experiment, we eventually decided to give up our corporate job offers to instead become full-time mushroom farmers.”

In an effort to get people more connected with their food, Back to the Roots created an easy, 10-day grow-your-own organic-mushroom kit. Their organic mushroom farm comes in a small box (the mushrooms grow right out of the box) and simply requires watering twice a day.

The company also sells a “garden in a can” product that makes growing organic herbs at home even easier, a self-sufficient water-garden aquarium (the fish feed the plants and the plants keep the water clean), and ready-to-eat organic cereals.

Do you love cheese? Bet you don’t like it as much as Sarah “The Cheese Lady” Kaufmann, who makes her living as a traveling cheese sculptor.

She creates cheddar-cheese carvings for grocery stores, sporting events, festivals, photo shoots, and any other business or event that needs a giant hunk of cheese. Kaufmann has carved everything from a scene of the first moon landing to the Chicago skyline.

Though she makes most of her money carving cheese, Kaufmann also hosts seminars, where she informs audiences about the art and traditions of cheese making.

Want a little wine to go with that cheese sculpture? If you still haven’t found your favorite go-to bottle, Tasting Room can help.

Tasting Room is a wine club subscription, but unlike similar services that send you whichever bottles they want, this service allows you to taste various wines to find the ones you like before you buy, so that you only get shipments of wine you know you’ll enjoy.

How does it work? When you sign up, you’ll receive a tasting kit complete with six different wines in special mini bottles. Simply log in to your Tasting Room account and follow the instructions; the site will generate a “wine profile” for you that tells you more about the types of wine you like, such as where they come from and what foods pair well with them. After that, you’ll receive shipments of wines you like (and if you get one you hate, just tell them and they’ll replace it or give you a refund).

J&D’s Foods makes a huge variety of edible products — mayonnaise, popcorn, croutons — and all of these products have one thing in common: They taste like bacon.

Founded in 2007, J&D’s was started by two friends whose mutual love of bacon led them to the logical conclusion that everything in life should taste like this savory meat product.

They started by creating a bacon-flavored salt that could be added to nearly any food to lend it that distinct, cured-meat flavor. Since then, J&D’s has expanded its offerings to include much weirder products, such as bacon-flavored lip balm and sunscreen and, of course, its highly popular Mmmvelopes (that’s right: bacon-flavored envelopes) though they are currently out of production.

What do you give to those who have recently lost a loved one? You’re probably thinking flowers. But although flowers are pretty, they’re ultimately useless to mourners. This is why David Storke, a former funeral director from Virginia, founded MealGifts.

Storke’s company delivers family-style meals to grievers all over the United States. So, if you want to send a little comfort food to someone far away, there’s no need to cook and ship your famous lasagna. Whether it’s a full pot roast or some vegetable stir-fry, MealGifts delivers all the goodness of a home-cooked meal without requiring any of the home cooking.

7 Handmade Business Ideas

3D printed figures and art

With the advent of cheap, quality 3D printers, so to has a class of 3D artisans arisen. Whether it’s cartoon or video game characters or decorative works of art, 3D printers represent a new medium that allow artists to try new things and that shoppers will love.

Custom clothing

Got a sewing machine, or even just a needle and thread? You can create custom clothing items for customers who want shirts, skirts, dresses or even baby items. Places like JoAnn Fabric and Craft Stores sell everything you need to get started, from the fabrics themselves to sewing equipment and patterns. You can also track down free patterns online for some basic items.

Knitting and crocheting

Handmade scarves, hats and blankets are big sellers in the online marketplace. Wholesale yarn is relatively inexpensive, and depending on how quickly you can knit, you’ll be able to build up your inventory and spend more time marketing your store. Once you’ve mastered the basics of this art, you can move on to designing your own unique, colorful patterns. Don’t know how to knit or crochet? Sites like KnittingHelp.com are readily available to teach you.

Baked goods

If you frequently find yourself whipping up a batch of cookies to stave off boredom, why not get paid for it by opening a bakery? Find desserts that you can replicate perfectly every time, and accept orders online to deliver or ship to local areas. This is a great business to run in your spare time, as you can fill orders during evenings and weekends. The best part about being in the baked goods business? You’ll never find any shortage of volunteers to help you eat your mistakes.

Bags

Handmade bags can be made out of a variety of materials. Using recycled fabrics and other materials from around your home, create bags and purses in different sizes, styles and colors to appeal to a wide customer base.

Jams and preserves

There are few foods that are easier to hand-make and package in large quantities than jam. With access to a steady supply of high-quality fruits and mason jars, you can go into the jam-making business in no time. First, build a repertoire of tried-and-true jam recipes. Then create branded labels and sell your goods online or at local fairs, farmers markets and events.

Bath and cleaning products

Hair products, lotions, soaps and cleansers can all be made using natural ingredients you already have in your pantry. Sure, anyone can find a recipe for a sugar scrub or vinegar-based cleaning solution and do it themselves, but if you package and sell them in sets, your customers can have those all-natural products at their fingertips without having to use their own time and resources.

Guide and Tips to Start a Food Truck Business

Most food truck businesses start out with a dream and an idea, but that will get you only so far. Your biggest initial expense will be the actual food truck. You may be able to find a used truck suitable for your business for around $25,000, but most experts say you should expect to spend about $80,000 on a truck. You can, of course, easily spend much more. Expenses for truck retrofitting and altering need to be considered in your budget. Food cart or trailer options are less. If you choose a franchise option, you can likely get around this part of the investment at first. You may also find leasing options available.

Other startup costs to consider include:

  • Permits, licensing and insurance (business and vehicle): $500 – $1,000
  • Inventory (food and supplies): $1,000+
  • Payment processing: hardware, processing agreement, mobile data plan: $400+
  • Commissary fees (professional kitchen rental for prep work): varies ($400+ per month)
  • Truck appearance: paint, wraps, lighting and such (varies)
  • Propane and or generator costs: fuel (varies)

Unless you already have startup funds, acquiring funding may be your biggest challenge. Your first goal should be to put together a bulletproof business plan. Youꞌll also have more success if you have good personal and business credit. Most truck financing options will require good credit, a down payment and possibly even collateral. If you already own a restaurant with a successful history, you should be able to acquire funding and decent rates.

If traditional financing is not an option for you, youꞌll have to get creative to cover startup costs. But you may have to start out small. Here are some ways to start your business with minimal funding:

  1. Talk with someone who already owns a food truck and negotiate a lease or a rental agreement.
  2. Start with a low-cost, used cart or trailer.
  3. Start selling at a farmers market, art fair booth or pop-up.
  4. Talk to a successful restaurant owner about running a food truck for the ownerꞌs business.
  5. If your truck idea includes providing a public service or a benefit to your community, you may be able to obtain sponsors.
  6. If you are already contracted with a payment processor, you may qualify for a processing advance loan. This type of loan is paid back by fees added to your regular processing fees.

These are the things that actual food truck owners say are their biggest challenges.

Time ─ Some think food truck workers just work a few hours a day. That is far from the truth. You have to consider shopping time, prep work, marketing, event booking, cleaning, truck maintenance, accounting and tax obligations, and more. Most say it has to be a labor of love, with an emphasis on labor. You may have to work holidays and weekends ─ and you may need to work every day.

Competition and Market ─ Some may say food truck owners help each other out; others say it is cut-throat competitive. Some report that events may have long waiting lists. A city can support only so many taco trucks or coffee carts. You’ll want to carefully research your market to increase your chance of success.

Ordinances and Zoning ─ Many find, after they get into business, that they are limited by where they can park and for how long they can park. And every area is different. So, if you travel, you’ll need to know what the rules are in the areas you intend to sell in. Some events, parks and recreation centers may have their own rules and charge you for parking and selling in their space.

While researching this topic, we found quite a few helpful tips and ideas. Here are a few.

  • If you plan to have your truck parked in one specific spot on a regular basis, see if you can negotiate with local businesses to use their power, either by paying them directly or by trade. Some, for example, offer a certain number of free meals in exchange for using their power. This can greatly save you in propane and generator use.
  • Post your social media information on your truck and regularly post to your social media pages, especially if your truck moves around. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are good platforms to start with and they are all free.
  • You may save money at first by hiring a crew to work in your truck. It makes mathematical sense to pay someone $10 an hour to work in your truck rather than giving up your $30-an-hour job. Especially if you are choosing a franchise option.
  • Work on a food truck for a few days or weeks. By doing this you can learn the pace and process. And it may help you decide if it is the right type of business for you or not.
  • Though not as fun as creating your own product, you may be able to save money by purchasing prepared food items to avoid commissary costs. For example, by buying in bulk from your local Costco or Samꞌs Club.
  • Some have found success by operating a mobile-catering business rather than a traditional food truck business. You can better plan your hours, you know how many youꞌll be serving and you know how much youꞌll be paid. You can also charge a deposit, and you should.
  • Negotiate with a local restaurant about using their facilities instead of a costly commissary.
  • You may benefit from selling during nonstandard meal times, such as late at night near entertainment venues.
  • Find a good mentor. Consult with someone who has been successful in your industry and learn as much as you can from them.

7 Business Ideas Poised for Success

 Women’s health platform

Aspiring women entrepreneurs looking to make a difference are now in a better position than ever to launch businesses that help other women. An online store that focuses on women’s health needs, or another platform that connects women with important resources and products, could be a great framework for a successful and meaningful business.

Box subscription services

Box subscription services are popping up everywhere in the food, beauty and even pet product sectors, ready to deliver goods right to your door each month. One of the consumer perks is the idea that these subscription boxes are carefully curated just for them based on their likes and interests, and each month, the boxes’ contents are a surprise.

Health clubs for millennials

Health and fitness services are being rebranded to become trendier and more sociable. Opening a health club or gym targeted specifically to millennials could be a great way to capitalize on the fitness trend, especially if you focus on creating a strong, fun and engaging social media presence to really connect with young members and potential customers.

Software training

If you’re proficient in a highly specialized software, you can get paid to pass your knowledge on to amateurs and professionals looking to expand their skill sets. Technical manuals are available for programs like QuickBooks and Final Cut Pro, but these are often expensive and difficult for the average user to get through. Schedule small group workshops or private sessions, and charge by the hour for a full tutorial of the program. The best part about this gig is that it can be done part time.

Food truck

Want to start a food business? A truck is a much less expensive investment than a brick-and-mortar restaurant, and according to Mobi Munchfounder Josh Tang, the failure rate for food trucks is just 10 to 20 percent (as opposed to 60 to 90 percent for restaurants). With the right equipment and some great recipes, you can have your mobile eatery up and running in no time.

Freelancing

Companies are increasingly turning to freelance and contract workers to fill the skill gaps in their staff. It’s not hard to imagine that you could build a whole company around providing freelance services of one sort or another. Some freelance gigs pay by the project and others pay hourly, and the rates can vary greatly. But as you gain more experience, your earning potential will soar.

Translation services

There’s no denying the global marketplace is growing. All that cross-cultural communication is creating an increasing need for translators. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the hiring of interpreters and translators is projected to grow by 46 percent by 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. This means it’s a big business opportunity for entrepreneurs who can bring foreign-language speakers together with businesses in need.

How to build an alliance against

 Public-company managers are quick to bemoan the pressures they face to emphasize short-term financial performance at the expense of long-term value creation. Depending on the day, they point the finger at a range of culprits, including market pressure, economic uncertainty, and investors. But it’s time managers took a harder look at themselves and the tools they have to build alliances against the corrosive effects of corporate short-termism.

It is true that short-term investors and their proxies, sell-side analysts, are the most visible participants on quarterly earnings calls and in contacting companies for the insights upon which they trade. The pace and volume of those trades may often dominate a company’s daily trading activity. But it’s worth recalling that short-term investors are usually a minority of a company’s shareholders. Overall, they own only around 25 percent of shares held by US companies (Exhibit 1). In fact, seven in ten shares of US companies are owned by longer-term investors: individuals, index funds, and more sophisticated long-term investors.

As prior McKinsey analysis has shown, this last group, also known asintrinsic investors, has an outsize influence on a company’s share price over time. With their deep understanding of a company’s intrinsic value and their willingness to make large investments, they often see even bad news, in the short term, as an opportunity to increase their holdings of a company whose strategy and management they support. That gives companies more room than many managers realize to make decisions that create long-term value—even at the risk of short-term volatility. This also benefits all long-term shareholders by keeping share prices in line with a company’s intrinsic value and preventing prices from falling too far out of line, relative to the company’s peers.

Executives need to understand intrinsic investors better. To begin an ongoing dialogue, McKinsey and the Aspen Institute Business & Society Program1convened a group of public-company CFOs and intrinsic investors in late 2014 to discuss their mutual interests. The following year, as discussions continued, we also surveyed and interviewed intrinsic investors, with an average holding period of six years. Our interpretation of these discussions and survey results does not necessarily reflect the views of every participant. But the consensus of the group was that all public-company CEOs, CFOs, and corporate boards should be doing what they can to attract and retain a critical mass of intrinsic investors in order to blunt the effects of short-termism and best support a strategy of long-term value creation.

Our research indicates that four initiatives seem to resonate with intrinsic investors and could prove useful for managers eager to achieve this goal. They include pursuing long-term value creation even at the expense of short-term earnings, proactively structuring investor communications, resisting artificial efforts to meet earnings targets, and rethinking management’s approach to quarterly earnings calls.