The Power of 5G and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Watch our recent webinar exploring the power of 5G.

Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband is in the process of being deployed globally, and it's already here in Cleveland, but what exactly is it? Why is it so important?

In a recent webinar, experts from Verizon discussed everything from the differences between 4G and 5G, as well as some use cases that show the power of 5G for manufacturing, healthcare, and more. We'll also touch on Verizon's local footprint, our corporate social responsibility approach and our investment in Northeast Ohio.

Watch the recording below:

 
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  • Next up: The Reality of Reopening: Keeping Your Business Secure
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  • The Reality of Reopening: Keeping Your Business Secure

    As you reopen your business, how do you keep yourself, your employees, and your customers safe and secure—especially with everyone wearing face masks?

    We are living in a crazy time. As a small business owner, you dealt with being closed for months due to the pandemic, wondering when—or even if—you could reopen your small business.

    Now the question is: as you reopen your business, how do you keep yourself, your employees, and your customers safe and secure—especially with everyone wearing face masks?

    Here is a list of tips and suggestions, many of which are especially relevant if you have a retail operation or deal with the public.

    • If possible, keep your doors locked. If you can install a buzzer or other type of controlled entry system, do so.
    • Consider hiring a guard to stand at the front door to help with limiting the number of customers coming in at one time, reducing the chance of shoplifting or theft, and enforcing any additional safety concerns you may have. They also help in blocking an easy exit to stop a potential theft.
    • If you are a retail establishment, you can limit the number of items a shopper can hold or take at one time.

    RELATED: Tips for Safely Reopening Your Business After the Coronavirus Shutdown

    • You have the right to ask a customer to temporarily remove or pull down their face mask to check their identification.
    • If you have video security, try to capture faces while their mask is temporarily off.
    • While your customers will be wearing masks, remember that a criminal will generally use more than just a face mask. Their intent is to hide their identity as much as possible. Be wary of anyone coming in fully disguising themselves.
    • If you do not already have video surveillance equipment, this may be good time to install it, both inside and outside of your business. It is an important and useful security tool.
    • If you deal in expensive merchandise, such as jewelry, you will also want to make sure to limit how much merchandise can be handled by a customer.
    • Social distancing can also be an issue. There are numerous ways to accomplish this, including using boxes or other vessels to hand items through plexiglass or another barrier. Put distancing lines on the floor. Use information signage all around the establishment.
    • Try to implement touchless ways to have customers pay, including no cash options such as touch screens or self -swipe credit card readers. Not dealing with cash will also help to reduce the risk of theft.

    RELATED: Read more by Tim Dimoff

    • Watch out for criminals who may be waiting nearby, possibly in a car, watching the store.
    • All curbside pickup of any merchandise or pre-ordered items should be paid for in advance by credit card.
    • Use two employees during curbside delivery. One to check the area and handle the door while the other takes the items to the car.
    • Pickup should be by appointment only. Always take a description of the car and the license plate number when making their appointment.
    • Curbside pickup should only be done in a designated area. Keep this area close to the front of the store and visible from inside the store. Let customers know where to go when they make the pickup appointment and use directional signage if possible.
    • Let the local police know that your store is reopening and inform them of your curbside pickup plans. 

    Never attempt to physically stop anyone trying to run off with items. Call the police. If you have followed the above advice, you will have video and personal information that can help in an investigation.


    Timothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues. He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University. Contact him at info@sacsconsulting.com

     
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  • Next up: The Value of Long-Term Contracts
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  • The Value of Long-Term Contracts

    Learn how longer-term energy contracts of 36 or more months can help relieve budget headaches.

    Budgeting, especially budgeting for energy spend, can be tricky to say the least. There are so many variables that go into determining energy pricing that coming up with a number to put on your budget often turns into a maddening exercise for many small businesses.

    We’ve mentioned this before, but devising an accurate estimate of exactly how much your energy expenses will be on an annual basis is a critical part of your budget planning. But what’s the best way to stay on top of your energy spend (which, by the way, is likely one of the biggest expenses your business faces.)

    RELATED: Read success stories of companies that have had success in managing their energy expenses

    With energy markets currently in backwardation—meaning contracts in 2019 are below 2018 prices—many owners are seeing an ideal hedging opportunity for electric and natural gas. One way to keep your energy costs budget-friendly is to lock in long-term energy contracts that are 36-plus months long. Why does the COSE Energy Team recommend such long contracts? Easy. It’s because long-term certainty on a historically volatile budget item is of most importance to small business owners.

    That said, we recognize that longer-term products might not be the right fit for your individual goals, objectives and needs. That’s why we’re always willing to work with you, our pool of suppliers and the consulting team at OnDemand Energy to help devise a plan that works best for your situation. We are always closely monitoring the current state of affairs with our consulting partner OnDemand Energy to ensure rate stability as well as a broad array of energy choices for our members.

    RELATED: Learn more about the COSE Energy Team’s partnership with OnDemand Energy

    One call to COSE’s Energy Team handles both your natural gas and electric issues. You can reach the Team by dialing 216-592-2205 or via email at energy@cose.org.

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  • Next up: The Vision Gap
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  • The Vision Gap

    Leaders eat, sleep, and drink their business. It's a constant flow of thoughts, challenges, and opportunities. New insights and strategies are constantly popping off in their head like fireworks - often happening so fast it's hard to really take it all in. Their vision of what their business is and where it is going is constantly being defined deeper with more detail.  Great leaders have a clear vision because it is key to driving a business towards success.  It’s not just that point in the horizon you are aimed for, but also all the details of exactly how you are going to get there.

    Leaders eat, sleep, and drink their business.

    It's a constant flow of thoughts, challenges, and opportunities. New insights and strategies are constantly popping off in their head like fireworks - often happening so fast it's hard to really take it all in.

    Their vision of what their business is and where it is going is constantly being defined deeper with more detail.  Great leaders have a clear vision because it is key to driving a business towards success.  It’s not just that point in the horizon you are aimed for, but also all the details of exactly how you are going to get there.

    The problem is that most leaders are terrible at articulating and communicating that vision. Months of mental dialog and chicken scratch turns into a series of meetings and one-on-one conversations that exist to unsuccessfully shovel it all into the minds of the team. 

    The leader sees the spot on the horizon and how to get there, but the rest of the company are all headed in slightly different directions and taking different routes.  But what's potentially worse than the team being completely misaligned is the company's brand and messaging becoming convoluted as well. 

    Prospects and customers have to be hammered about who the company is, why they are different and what they do because what’s in the leader's head doesn’t match what's on paper.

    This gap between the true vision and the articulated vision is The Vision Gap.

    It's the space between the team, customers, prospects, and what a business truly is. A Vision Gap manifests itself in a business in a number of ways:

    • An unengaged team
    • A misaligned team where not everyone is on the same page
    • People working on the wrong things
    • Having the wrong people on the bus and a challenged culture
    • Inconsistent marketing messages that aren’t effective
    • A sales team that struggles to close deals

    By not defining a vision in a way that articulates it correctly and clearly to an internal team and the outside world, stagnation sets in because the team isn’t performing their best and the outside world is confused.

    Bridging the Vision Gap can be one of the most important and powerful strategies for top-line growth and increased profitability.

    We built the Envision and Captivate programs to help companies bridge that gap and create a foundation to scale. 

    Check out our seminar this month that explores more on The Vision Gap - the process of bridging your vision to impact employees, customers and prospects.  

    Learn more at insivia.com

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  • Next up: Three Steps to Furnishing Your Office in a Rush and on Budget ­— and Making it Awesome
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  • Three Steps to Furnishing Your Office in a Rush and on Budget ­— and Making it Awesome

    Imagine this: You’re the office manager for a company with 50 employees. You come into the office one Monday morning to a note that reads, “We have a training class starting next Monday. Please have the new training room set up and ready to go.” What?!? Deep breaths. You can do this.

    Our team at Workspace Interiors deals with scenarios like this every day. In fact, we’ve done it enough times to know that we can help you keep calm and furnish on — and be the hero in your office.

    Now comes the time to break things down, so we can make this happen. Below are things to think about in order to dot the i’s and cross the t’s without breaking a sweat.

    1. Confirm the specs.

    How many people does the space need to accommodate? What seating arrangement is preferred? What A/V and technology elements do you need? Once you have outlined the must-haves, you can begin to slice and dice the budget.

    2. Establish your budget — and how much wiggle room you have.

    We’ve all been there: being asked to do something great with a seemingly impossible budget. It helps to know where the guardrails are. Is the first budget you were given the bottom line or is there wiggle room? If so, how much?

    3. Set your due date and work backward to schedule interim tasks.

    First things first: Order the hardware — office furniture, plus computers if needed. Prior to delivery and installation, you can complete other work that may need to be done. Think about whether the following need to be addressed:

    - Painting

    -Electrical

    -Carpeting

    -Phone lines and internet access

    -Projectors, screens or whiteboards

    -A solid speaker phone

    -TV or monitor

    -Frosted glass

    -Coat hooks

    Although we specialize in office furnishings, we also offer project management services, so we can assist with as much of the project as you need. Because we are a division of Office Depot®, we can be your white-glove one-stop shop and connect you to our technology or office supplies division to make sure that everything else you need is lined up...fast.

    Make Carol from Workspace Interiors at your first call at 440-452-3199. She can help with office space planning and can confirm on the spot which furnishings are available in a rush — plus we’re nationwide. You may be surprised by the selection of sleek styles that are available.

    If your rush project isn’t a training room but instead requires desks for a new employee or a group of employees, you may want to think about other options like sit-stand desks. A design trend in workspaces is flexibility in general. Desks that can be reconfigured on the fly have obvious benefits.

    Whether you need desks, a training room or a conference room, let us help you through your next workspace furnishing emergency. You’ll be glad you did.

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  • Next up: Tips and Strategies to Retain Employees
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  • Tips and Strategies to Retain Employees

    It’s one thing to attract the employee to your company and then hire them. It’s another to then keep that employee for the long-term if you don’t have retention strategies in place to keep them.

    It’s one thing to attract the employee to your company and then hire them. It’s another to then keep that employee for the long-term if you don’t have retention strategies in place to keep them.

    When you find yourself someone that you feel like fits the company and shows that they are willing to give you optimal output for the company and its customers, it’s time to start thinking about ways to you can keep that person around for the long-term.

    Tip #1

    Performance. The benefit of having measurable objectives for employees is fairly obvious to most business owners and managers, but this perception usually stops short of relating performance metrics to employee retention. Study after study confirms that people have a deep desire to feel they're succeeding and that their talents and capabilities are being used in a way that makes a difference to the business. When people sense their actions are fulfilling this desire, they begin to develop a sense of belonging and a feeling that your company is their company.

    Performance should be rewarded not with gift cards or a company car, but with projects that can give the employee opportunities to work with others. They should be given high-level priority pieces to be viewed as an investment.

    Tip # 2

    Communication. The second essential element in a retention strategy is communication, specifically a communications process that's structured to inform, emphasize and reaffirm to employees that their workplace contributions are having an impact. Since we're dealing very directly with how employees feel about their performance, the company and their work environment, the question becomes, "How do you know how they feel about these matters?"

    Seems simple right? Tell the employee that they are important to the organization, but ask them how they feel too. It needs to be a two-way street. It’s one thing to tell them how much they mean to the organization, but give them no clear path as to how they fit or where they can go. Just keep that in mind when communicating things.

    Tip # 3

    Loyalty. The third element in a successful employee retention strategy is employee loyalty. True loyalty is not an enforced requirement but an earned response to the trust, respect and commitment shown to the individuals in your company. When you demonstrate loyalty to your employees, they'll reciprocate with commitment and loyalty to your business. Remember that people don't begin their employment with you as loyal employees, but will develop loyalty over time as they're trusted, respected and appreciated by you.

    What does loyalty do for the life of a company? It’s maybe the best way to create a culture of trust that your employees will go the extra mile for the company without even being asked. When there’s an opening for a position that requires maybe a year more experience than someone at the organization, it’s probably best to look internally only and give it to the employee that’s given you everything they have. It’s a win for you, the customers and this person can grow with the organization. Save the new hires for the entry-level positions so the current employees can train them and bring them into the organization the way they were.

    Tip #4

    Competitive advantage. The fourth and final element in your strategy to retain employees has to do with your competitive advantage. While that may seem odd at first, think about it: People want to work for a winner. What sets your company apart from your competition? How are you--and as a result, your employees--making a difference in your industry, in your community, and for your customers? Take the time to identify and inform your clients and your employees about your unique competitive advantage. If your product is similar to others in the marketplace, your service can be what distinguishes you (and probably should in any case). People want to be with a winner...and that includes employees.

    Apply these tips as soon as you can if you haven’t done so already. They are important to keep your organization vibrant and employer of choice within the competitive IT industry in Northeast Ohio.

    Reference: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/76456

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