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Walmart Labs launches startups in the big box ecosystem

Walmart Labs is creating standalone companies that while serving the purpose of improving their sales, look like innovative startups at first glance.



walmart labs

walmart labs

Walmart Labs’ surprising products

Whatever Walmart is doing to stay on top of the chain-grocery-store industry, it’s working in most areas of the United States. But they’ve recently been working on some inventive social tools that should help them reach out to even more potential customers and help current customers stay better connected, which, in turn, will increase Walmart’s profits. Whether or not you like or dislike Walmart and similar stores, you will have to admit that Walmart has some pretty interesting ideas to set them apart. While all of their innovations serve the purposes of improving sales, the Lab reveals the incubator mentality sweeping the nation, even in the biggest big boxes of them all.

Goodies Co. – This service has been in Beta for a while, and now they’re ready to make it more public. Users can sign up to receive a box of goodies every month for $7 per month. These boxes are themed and give subscribers the opportunity to try new food that they may never have picked up otherwise. Walmart has set up an online community where Goodies Co. subscribers can review the products they’ve tried from the goody boxes each month and connect with others in the community. If a member liked something they were sent, they can order a full-sized version of it from the Goodies Co. website.

Shopycat – WalmartLabs has built something they call The Social Genome that can help them match consumers with products that would benefit them, based on consumer tweets and other social activity. As an example, Walmart describes someone tweeting about gourmet coffee brands. The Social Genome recognizes this as an opportunity to let that person know that a new gourmet coffee maker is on sale and that he should take advantage of the great deal. Or, a consumer may tweet that they love a certain movie. Then, Shopycat will contact friends of that person and let them know that their birthday is coming up and they recently tweeted about liking that movie. Then it will encourage the friend to buy it for them.

Polaris – Walmart wanted to make it easier for their customers to find what they need, both in the stores and on their phones—and at the same time. Polaris is ultimately a search engine that can help customers find more detailed information about products on their phones while they’re standing in front of the products in the stores, creating more confident Walmart customers.

Classrooms – This little service allows teachers from across the country to create lists of things they need and want for their classrooms. This informs parents and donators of exactly what that particular classroom is in need of. In these days when school budgets are nearly nonexistent, this has the potential to really help support education throughout the United States.

So what does all this mean to you? Well, if you’re a Walmart fan, then the above should make you happy. But if you’re not, there is still something you can learn—even if your company is relatively rock solid, there is always room for improvement. Walmart has taken many steps to amplify their social presence on the web. They’ve found ways to connect with customers, and this provides more ways for customer loyalty to develop and increase. It also goes to show that no matter how strong and stable you think your company is, there is always someone out there working on something to make themselves even stronger. Look for ways to connect with your customers on a more social level and they will respond.

Business News

Keep your company’s operations lean by following these proven strategies

(BUSINESS) Keeping your operations lean means more than saving money, it means accomplishing more in less time.



keeping operations lean

The past two years have been challenging, not just economically, but also politically and socially as well. While it would be nice to think that things are looking up, in reality, the problems never end. Taking a minimalist approach to your business, AKA keeping it lean, can help you weather the future to be more successful.

Here are some tips to help you trim the fat without putting profits above people.

Automate processes

Artificial intelligence frees up human resources. AI can manage many routine elements of your business, giving your team time to focus on important tasks that can’t be delegated to machines. This challenges your top performers to function at higher levels, which can only benefit your business.

Consider remote working

Whether you rent or own your property, it’s expensive to keep an office open. As we learned in the pandemic, many jobs can be done just as effectively from home as the workplace. Going remote can save you money, even if you help your team outfit their home office for safety and efficiency.

In today’s world, many are opting to completely shutter office doors, but you may be able to save money by using less space or renting out some of your office space.

Review your systems to find the fat

As your business grows (or downsizes), your systems need to change to fit how you work. Are there places where you can save money? If you’re ordering more, you may be able to ask vendors for discounts. Look for ways to bring down costs.

Talk to your team about where their workflow suffers and find solutions. An annual review through your budget with an eye on saving money can help you find those wasted dollars.

Find the balance

Operating lean doesn’t mean just saving money. It can also mean that you look at your time when deciding to pay for services. The point is to be as efficient as possible with your resources and systems, while maintaining customer service and safety. When you operate in a lean way, it sets your business up for success.

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Business News

How to apply to be on a Board of Directors

(BUSINESS) What do you need to think about and explore if you want to apply for a Board of Directors? Here’s a quick rundown of what, why, and when.



board of directors

What does a Board of Directors do? Investopedia explains “A board of directors (B of D) is an elected group of individuals that represent shareholders. The board is a governing body that typically meets at regular intervals to set policies for corporate management and oversight. Every public company must have a board of directors. Some private and nonprofit organizations also have a board of directors.”

It is time to have a diverse representation of thoughts, values and insights from intelligently minded people that can give you the intel you need to move forward – as they don’t have quite the same vested interests as you.

We have become the nation that works like a machine. Day in and day out we are consumed by our work (and have easy access to it with our smartphones). We do volunteer and participate in extra-curricular activities, but it’s possible that many of us have never understood or considered joining a Board of Directors. There’s a new wave of Gen Xers and Millennials that have plenty of years of life and work experience + insights that this might be the time to resurrect (or invigorate) interest.

Harvard Business Review shared a great article about identifying the FIVE key areas you would want to consider growing your knowledge if you want to join a board:

1. Financial – You need to be able to speak in numbers.
2. Strategic – You want to be able to speak to how to be strategic even if you know the numbers.
3. Relational – This is where communication is key – understanding what you want to share with others and what they are sharing with you. This is very different than being on the Operational side of things.
4. Role – You must be able to be clear and add value in your time allotted – and know where you especially add value from your skills, experiences and strengths.
5. Cultural – You must contribute the feeling that Executives can come forward to seek advice even if things aren’t going well and create that culture of collaboration.

As Charlotte Valeur, a Danish-born former investment banker who has chaired three international companies and now leads the UK’s Institute of Directors, says, “We need to help new participants from under-represented groups to develop the confidence of working on boards and to come to know that” – while boardroom capital does take effort to build – “this is not rocket science.

NOW! The time is now for all of us to get involved in helping to create a brighter future for organizations and businesses that we care about (including if they are our own business – you may want to create a Board of Directors).

The Harvard Business Review gave great explanations of the need to diversify those that have been on the Boards to continue to strive to better represent our population as a whole. Are you ready to take on this challenge? We need you.

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Business News

Average age of successful startup founders is 45, but stop stereotyping

(BUSINESS) Our culture glorifies (yet condemns?) startup founders as rich 20-somethings in hoodies, but some are a totally different type.



startup founders average age is 45

There’s a common misconception that startups are riddled with semi-nerdy, 20-something white dudes who do nothing but sip Nitro Brews and walk around the open office showing off the hoodie they wore yesterday. It turns out that it’s extremely rare that startup offices resemble The Social Network.

However, the academic backdrop for the real social network story (AKA Harvard), produced statistics that will serve to put the aforementioned misconception to rest. According to the Harvard Business Review, the average age of people who founded the highest-growth startups is 45. Say what?! A full-fledged adult?!

In fact, aside from the age category of 60 and over, ages 29 and younger were the smallest group of founders that are responsible for heading the highest-growth startups. I guess you can accomplish a lot when you’re not riding around the office on a scooter all day.

The study also found that older entrepreneurs are more likely to succeed. The probability of extreme startup success rises with age, at least until the late 50s. It was found that work experience plays an important role.

Many will argue, “Well, what about someone like Steve Jobs?” You could easily argue right back that it took Jobs until the age of 52 to create Apple’s most profitable product – the iPhone.

The study continues to answer questions like, why do Venture Capitalist investors bet on young founders? This goes back to the misconception at the start, and there’s a notion that youth is the key for successful entrepreneurship. Wrong.

There is also the idea that younger entrepreneurs are likely working with less financial options, so it may be common for them to take something from a VC at a lower price. As a result, they could be viewed as more of a bargain than older founders.

“The next step for researchers is to explore what exactly explains the advantage of middle-aged founders,” writes Pierre Azoulay, et al. “For example, is it due to greater access to financial resources, deeper social networks, or certain forms of experience? In the meantime, it appears that advancing age is a powerful feature, not a bug, for starting the most successful firms.”

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