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Twitter will now allow content creators to receive tips in the form of bitcoin from their followers and will launch a fund for users who are leaders in the audio chat rooms in Spaces, the company announced in a session with journalists.

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Convert followers to fans and fans to backgrounds

The microblogging social network wants to help content creators who contribute to public conversations through Super Follows, Tip Jar, and their hosts on Spaces.

What will this tool be like?

  • Super Follows : Twitter is testing Super Follows with a small group of creators on iOS, in the United States. This is a monthly subscription service so that creators can charge for an extra level of content, such as behind-the-scenes opinions or private conversations, so their followers can have more of the content they like.

  • Tips: O Tip Jar, as it is known in English, allows you to send and receive payments through third-party services. Since May, a small group of people in the United States have had access to Tips, but today the tool has already been deployed globally for iOS devices. They also added more Tipped payment services so that people can do it with Bitcoin by using Strike , a payments application built on the Bitcoin Lightning Network, which allows people to send and receive bitcoins for free and instantly.

  • New Spaces Host Program: Twitter announced that it will soon introduce a Spaces Host program designed to provide financial, technical and marketing support to emerging audio creators interested in creating recurring content on Spaces.

More ways to tweet

The social network that became famous for only allowing 140 characters per message also announced today that it will open up new ways to open a conversation, beyond its current 280 characters.



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When most people go home and park their car in their driveway, they’ll lock it for extra safety precautions so that no one can break in or steal anything.

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Twitter via @ijayt205

Usually not on the list of potential carjackers? Giant black bears.

This was the case for one woman in a video that has since gone viral on Twitter who found an unlikely guest sitting in the driver’s seat upon walking up to the front door of her car.

Related: Teenager Goes Viral After Fighting Off Giant Bear to Save Family Dogs

The clip, presumably taken from security footage at the woman’s home, shows the woman walking towards a black Lexus SUV in her driveway while carrying a picnic basket.

As she approaches the open door and peers inside, she jumps back and attempts to close the door shut in a frantic frenzy, trying to jam it shet several more times before bolting back to the house and dropping the basket, leaving a trail of apples behind over muffled screams.

As she runs away, the black bear can be seen leaping out of the front seat of the car and running in the opposite direction before turning around and walking slowly back in the driveway and towards the picnic basket.

The nearly unbelievable clip has been viewed over 4.7 million times and received over 31,500 retweets.

“She gave the bear the Lexus,” Twitter user @ijayt205, who posted the clip joked, alongside several crying laughing emojis.

“The fact she tried to trap him in HER car,” Twitter user @SomaKazima pointed out.

“The fact she was still screaming tho off camera and the bear wasn’t even chasing her,” Skeeter Jay said. “But she was OUTTA there.”

The woman in the video and the location of her home have not been publicly identified.

The video is reminiscent of another viral video from earlier this summer where a teenage girl fought off a bear that was trying to enter her home and attack her dogs.

It is estimated that there are around 40 bear attacks around the world each year, with 23 reported fatal attacks by black bears on humans from 2000-2016.

Related: Why the ‘Save Ralph’ short went viral



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Financial innovations and trends can often propel businesses forward in ways they never imagined. But it isn’t always easy to keep tabs on the ever-evolving world of finance, especially when you’re an entrepreneur already stretched thin.

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Join us for a free webinar, 10 Financial Trends Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know for 2022, presented by Oracle NetSuite and produced by Entrepreneur. We’ll hear from a pair of financial industry experts to uncover the financial tools and strategies every entrepreneur should be aware of when analyzing the full picture of their business.

Speakers include Jason Cherubini, CFO and partner at Dawn’s Light Media—producers of films such as Money Plane and Black Water—who will shed light on entrepreneurial financial mindsets and trends, and Daniel Gilham, CFP and managing director of advisor strategy at Farther—a digital family financial office—who will add insights on how to strategically protect your company and personal assets. The conversation will be curated by Dynamic Communication author Jill Schiefelbein.

Register Now

We’ll give you 10 considerations for your financial future, including:

  • Tax changes, capital gains, and what that means for you
  • Asset consolidation and strategies to be more efficient and financially effective
  • KPIs and understanding how they tie into your financial picture
  • Revenue strategies to keep your business on a recurring cycle
  • And more 

The 10 Financial Trends Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know for 2022 webinar will take place live on Tuesday, 10/26, at 12 p.m. EST | 9 a.m. PST.

Register Now

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The United States Government reported this Monday that it will allow entry to the country of travelers from the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) who are vaccinated with the full schedule from November.

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Frontera México – Estados Unidos.

According to the Expansión site, Jeff Zients, head of the response team against COVID-19 at the White House, announced that travelers must show proof of vaccination and a negative test carried out three days before entering the country.

Travel restrictions to the United States had been in effect and unchanged since March 2020.

These are the new measures to enter the United States

Starting in November, travelers entering the United States – whether they are residents returning to the country or business travelers – must present their vaccination certificate and a negative COVID test taken three days before entering.

If it is a resident who has not been vaccinated, you will need to submit a negative COVID-19 test one day before your return trip and another as soon as you arrive in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will issue an order for the airlines to collect the information of the passengers (telephone numbers and email address) to be in contact with the passenger in case of a case of COVID-19.

And Mexico and Canada?

For North American countries with land borders with the United States, the White House said it will extend restrictions on non-essential travel (such as tourism) until October 21.

The Ministry of Foreign Relations (SRE) of Mexico pointed out in its social networks since July 7 that the US government clarified that “neither the entry of travelers to its territory nor the eventual reopening of the common border are conditioned on the use of specific rates of vaccine “.

With information from EFE and Reuters.



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There will always be forces that throw your plans by the wayside and recalibrate — whether they take the form of political changes, a natural disaster, a cultural shift or a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. So for marketers, the question is not “How can we plan for the new normal?” but instead, “Why are you expecting one?”

While on a general level the phrase “new normal” just represents a desire to get back to times when we weren’t all constantly stressed out and life didn’t depend on being highly socially and politically aware, what it really represents is a desire for stagnancy. To be able to take a breather. But no matter what’s going on in the world, marketing has never been about taking a breather.

Our clients don’t hire us to create a “new normal”. They want to lead the pack in their industry and be positioned as movers and shakers. But with more competition and an increasing rate of media circulation, it’s getting harder and harder to be at the front of the curve.

There are a few techniques marketers should either adopt or dust off that can help place their clients at the front of the pack.

1. A heavier focus on social listening

Effectively, social listening is just an elevated version of the research you already do into your industry. It’s a bit like doing a competitive analysis, but of your audience instead of fellow industry members. What are customers saying about your brands versus the others? When they search for you, what terms do they use? How many mentions are you getting versus your closest competition? These and many more reasons why social listening is my most highly recommended technique that marketers should start adopting if they want to get to be cutting edge.

But think ahead: Once you’ve been actively social listening for a month or so and you have a good amount of data piled up, what should you do with it? Data is of no value if you collect it and let it sit there. Start incorporating it into your strategy discussions to help guide your campaign. If you were listening closely enough, you should be able to identify at least one key desire or pain point among your audience that your competitors aren’t addressing.

Related: 10 Marketing Strategies to Fuel Your Business Growth

2. Reputation is everything

The world is more connected than ever before and people have more outlets to make their voices heard. While this is a net positive for global communications, it does mean that brands have increasingly less armor against online outrages and bad reviews. For this reason, reputation and review management are going to be crucial services for marketers to add to their repertoire.

This is also where a strong competitive analysis and social listening techniques will do marketers a huge favor. The ability to know what successes or misfortunes your competitors are having is going to be the best navigator of your campaign. Emulate what similar businesses do well, but don’t shy away from highlighting the differences between you and your competition if one of them accidentally finds themselves at the mercy of an online mob.

Marketing is a full-contact sport. When you have the means to — ethically, of course — knock other players off the field, you should take it.

Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing

3. Build a community, then a campaign

A loyal fanbase can help a brand weather pretty much any storm unscathed, so channel a lot of your marketing efforts into fostering a community around your clients. Play to the audience in the first few weeks of your campaign. 

Engagement isn’t something that you have to pry out of your client’s audience — you just need to put more effort into asking questions. Audiences will see liking and sharing as a Herculean task if you’re not giving them anything to chew on, but they’ll gladly write you a novel in the comments of a Facebook post when given the right prompt.

Make sure that they feel like they’re part of a semi-exclusive club. If you don’t have a newsletter, start one. If you have one, start another one that’s only for the most devoted members of the brand. Hire influencers your audiences connect with and have them start making content for you.  

Marketers should realize that there isn’t going to be a new normal. Instead, marketers should use this time to get fully experimental with campaigns and see what kind of content hits the bullseye in the ever-evolving content cycle. With more competition and more content comes less of a chance that the tried-and-true methods of digital success will continue to hold up. In this way, as much as it might feel like constant chaos, we’re being given an opportunity: The world is clearing the board and saying, “Impress me.”

Related: 3 Reasons Marketing Is The New Sales

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I remember hearing a story as a child called the Farmer’s Donkey. One day, a farmer’s donkey fell into an abandoned well. The farmer, fond of his faithful animal, tried and tried to figure out a way to raise the donkey from the well. Tearfully, he decided the animal was impossible to retrieve and the well must be felled before other animals also slipped into the hole. He asked his neighbors to help him, and as the men grabbed shovels and began to throw dirt into the well, the donkey realized he had to save himself. As more and more shoveled dirt landed on the donkey’s back, he shook it off and took a step up. The farmer, realizing the donkey’s plan, encouraged the men to continue throwing dirt down the hole on top of the animal. Each time, the donkey would shake it off and take another step up. Eventually, the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted to the grateful farmer. 

Each person controls their future

Blaming someone or something for one’s circumstances is common in our society, perhaps because we continuously face circumstances that we cannot control.

The consequences of being a victim are heavy – hopelessness, anger, frustration, stress, and depression – and self-inflicted. But you don’t have to cede control of your life to your circumstances. Helen Keller overcame the limitations of being blind, deaf, and mute. Stephen Hawking became the world’s most famous physicist despite contracting amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at age 21. Oprah Winfrey’s childhood in a broken home did not stop her from becoming one of the first African American billionaires. Each person has the power and ability within to take control of their destiny and successfully realize their dreams.

The path to riches

If wealth is your goal, complaining will not add to your bank account. Attitude, associations and action are the ingredients necessary to acquire a significant net worth and are available to everyone, despite their beginnings or current circumstances. People who begin with little advantage can achieve great prosperity.

Rafael Badziag and Jack Canfield interviewed self-made billionaires around the world to learn the secrets of their success. Some credited a willingness to take intelligent risks. Some credited the self-determination spirit of “If it is to be, it’s up to me.” Others credited relentless self-improvement, ignoring naysayers and embracing an appetite for hard work.

Related: 5 Money Habits You Need to Adopt Today to Build Your Wealth

Associations

People tend to conform to common behaviors around them, even when they do not personally agree with the behavior. They justify their conformity by rationalizing it; if everyone else is choosing to do one thing, it is probably a good thing to do. A group of victims and complainers feed on each other. T. Harvey Eker, a self-made millionaire, notes that “Like attracts like. When you are complaining, you are actually attracting ‘nonsense’ into your life.” In other words, get rid of the complainers, the excuse-givers, and discontent and add people to your life that inspire and teach. Stay positive and immerse yourself with similar thinkers. If you go there in mind, you are much more likely to go there in real life, too.

Related: 3 Simple Words That Will Help You Build Wealth

Action

Newton’s first law of motion states that “An object at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by force.” In other words, changing your circumstances requires an infusion of personal energy, also known as work.

If wealth is your goal, your tasks include:

  • Selecting an occupation with the most significant exposure to financial success. Wall Street, finance and entrepreneurship are popular destinations to make large sums of money.
  • Developing the skills necessary to excel in the occupation. Aside from the required degrees (BBA or MBA), knowing the path and relationships of money flowing through a business is valuable. Understanding and managing risk is essential, as is familiarity with human behavior.
  • Identifying the proper mentors and associates. Successful people never stop learning or asking for information. Building on top of another’s experience is a map for your progress and a source of potential shortcuts.
  • Work your tail off. Winning the financial competition requires total dedication to achieving the goal, often involving long hours, weekend work and personal sacrifice of other activities. Remember that many are called to wealth, but few are chosen.

Being captain of one’s ship, whether sailing to the golden city of El Dorado or the paradise of Shangri-La, is a powerful motive to reject the limitations imposed by friends or society. Each person can rise above their circumstances: A poor man can become rich, a fool educated, or a woman elected to the Presidency of the United States. Our futures are determined by the choices we make, so make the right ones.

Related: 5 Long-term Strategies To Create Wealth

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So, you’re ready to negotiate with your VC, and you know this will be a zero-sum game. Every decision is a shift of risk, reward or control. You’ll need to be prepared to compromise on some things, but how do you decide what and when to give or hold firm? You should start by consulting with the experienced advisors in your corner, such as a quality founder-focused startup attorney, but that is only the first step. Enter the BATNA. 

What is a BATNA and why is it important?

The term BATNA refers to your “Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement.” As an example, say you’re negotiating with MoneyCo Funding Group. If negotiations break down, you must have a plan in place in the event that you or MoneyCo walk away.

Your negotiating position is fundamentally dependent on your willingness to walk away.  If you are presented with a set of terms and you are not willing to walk away (or be walked away from), then you have limited leverage. Yes, you can fake a willingness to walk away, but if that is tested, your position will be transparent, and this could negatively impact your long-term reputation.

Your BATNA is your backup option. It’s a plan detailing how your company will survive without any funding or support from the entity with which you are negotiating. This will change depending on the terms provided by the other party.

How to use your BATNA in negotiations

Your BATNA establishes your exit. But, it also dictates whether or not you should walk away from a negotiation.

If you are presented with a set of terms from MoneyCo (let’s call it term sheet X) better than your BATNA, you must decide how much you’re willing to push to improve term sheet X if you can’t afford to lose the initial offering. 

Carefully consider how hard you can reasonably push MoneyCo to improve term sheet X before they withdraw their offer. This will depend on your knowledge of MoneyCo’s past negotiations, their previous investments, your gut sense of the individuals involved, their level of interest in your company, and the strength of your BATNA.

Related: 8 Negotiating Tactics Every Successful Entrepreneur Has Mastered

Building your BATNA

To create an effective BATNA, you must understand how it compares to as many potential scenarios as possible. Establish a set of assumptions based on what is going on in the market and what you learn from your legal and financial advisors. A good advisory team will have great market awareness.

For example, let’s assume the following:

  • Without funding term sheet X from MoneyCo, the expected value of your startup in 5 years will be $20 million.

  • With funding on term sheet X from MoneyCo, the expected value of your startup in 5 years will be $40 million.

With these assumptions in mind, does the comparative startup value mean that your BATNA is worse than term sheet X? Not necessarily. Remember, you need to compare apples to apples.

Let’s say that without accepting MoneyCo’s funding, you would own 80% of your company.  This would place the expected value to you of the non-funding scenario at 80% of $20 million, which is $16 million.

Let’s say that a $40 million valuation on term sheet X with funding from MoneyCo requires a series of dilutive events wherein you would only own 30% of your company.  This would place the expected value to you of accepting funding at 30% of $40 million, which is $12 million.

In this scenario, your BATNA represents $16 million, while accepting term sheet X leads to an expected $12 million. This would make term sheet X not worth accepting. This is an oversimplification, but this is the framework from which you should consider a set of funding terms.

Related: 10 Tips to Negotiate Like a Boss

Improving your BATNA

Establishing and understanding your BATNA is important, but equally important is improving your BATNA. The stronger your BATNA, the stronger your negotiating position because, among other things, it gives you the freedom to walk away. Let’s explore some ways you can improve your BATNA.

Raise the Stakes

The most straightforward way to improve a BATNA is to have competing term sheets from different investors. Suppose that in addition to being offered term sheet X from MoneyCo, you are also offered term sheet Y from InvestorFund.  If Y is at least as good for you as X, then you have the leverage to push on MoneyCo. In a worst-case scenario, if MoneyCo won’t budge, you can accept Y from InvestorFund.

Relatedly, if MoneyCo knows it is competing with InvestorFund, it may sweeten its terms to get you to accept their investment. They know that your BATNA is high enough that you don’t need to accept their terms.

Plan Ahead

Another way to increase your BATNA is not to delay funding until you are desperate.  

Only form the BATNA from a position of strength. You should create your BATNA as early as you possibly can, and regularly update it based on your current situation.

Decide if you need to shoot for the moon, especially in terms of fundraising. If you think $20 million would be put to use and grow your company substantially, it’s conceivable you’ll find investors willing to invest in that range. But the terms might be terrible.

Alternatively, if you aren’t in the greatest position to raise a lot of money, what can you do with a small amount to get yourself in a better position to be in a better position? If you can grow your company enough with a small investment to ultimately be appealing enough for a larger investment, that initial small investment is a great way to improve your BATNA down the road.

In summary, build your BATNA as early in your company’s formation as possible. Continually update it and consider all your options, as well as market trends. Before going into any negotiation, make sure your BATNA is as strong as possible, and consult with your advisors. Approach all negotiations understanding how hard you are willing to push the other party based on how your BATNA compares to what they are offering. Work to strengthen your BATNA by seeking other investors, and planning for as many scenarios as you can.

The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. You should not act or refrain from acting based on any content included in this article without seeking legal or other professional advice.

Related: Why Young Professionals Don’t Negotiate Salary (and Why They Should)

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This story originally appeared on The Epoch Times

The number of American workers who filed for unemployment rose last week after touching a pandemic-era low in the prior week, with the spread of the Delta variant and supply chain issues weighing on the labor market recovery.

First-time filings for unemployment insurance—a proxy for layoffs—came in at 332,000 for the week ending Sept. 11, a rise of 20,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 310,000, the Labor Department said in a release (pdf). The consensus forecast cited by FXStreet was for 328,000 claims.

“On the face of it, it is disappointing but not entirely surprising to see a slight increase in new jobless claims given the toll taken by the Delta variant. Countering that somewhat is the decline in continuing claims to a fresh pandemic era low,” Bankrate senior economic analyst Mark Hamrick told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement.

Continuing claims, which run a week behind the headline number and represent people continuing to collect benefits after earlier making an initial filing, fell by 187,000 to 2,665,000, a pandemic-era low.

“The good news for American workers is that fresh job losses remain relatively muted. There’s strong demand for workers across a wide variety of sectors, lending to job and income security,” Hamrick said.

Job openings in the United States surged to a record high of 10.9 million on the last day of July, while hiring lagged that figure by more than 4 million, painting a picture of an economic recovery held back by businesses struggling to fill vacant positions. There are now 2.5 million more job openings than unemployed people in the United States, with the Labor Department’s most recent jobs report showing that the total number of unemployed edged down to 8.4 million in August while the unemployment rate edged down to 5.2 percent.

The jobless claims data comes as investors look to next week’s Federal Reserve policy meeting that could provide clues as to the timeline for the central bank to begin paring back its massive bond-buying program. Fed officials have been discussing when to start tapering the Fed’s $120 billion in monthly Treasury and mortgage security purchases, with the labor market recovery a key touchstone. While tapering is expected to start this year, the timing of the announcement, as well as the pace of the wind-down, hasn’t yet been settled.

Patrick Harker, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, told Nikkei in an interview on Sept. 13 that the disconnect between record-high job openings and the millions still unemployed is driven by a range of factors, including fears related to the outbreak.

“The supply issues are due to a myriad of factors, but first and foremost is people, whether they’re worried about their children or elder care, or they’re fearful to go back into the workplace or to get on mass transit in major cities to get to the workplace,” Harker said.

He told the outlet that he favors moving quickly toward a taper announcement.

“I am supportive of moving toward a tapering process sooner rather than later. When exactly that happens, the committee needs to decide. I would hope sometime this year we would be able to start the tapering process,” Harker said, referring to the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the Fed’s monetary policy setting body, which is scheduled to meet on Sept. 21-22. 

By Tom Ozimek

 

Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he’s ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: ‘Hit your target’ and ‘leave the best for last.’

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The household income of Americans fell last year as COVID-19-related lockdowns wrought havoc on the economy, according to new figures from the Census Bureau.

The median household income was $67,521 in 2020, a decrease of 2.9 percent from the 2019 median of $69,560 and the first significant decline since 2011, the Census said in its findings published Sept. 14 (pdf).

Household income includes money from wages or salaries, Social Security, public assistance or welfare payments, interest from savings or bonds, dividend from investments, veterans’ payments, or unemployment and workmen’s compensation, as well as among other sources.

Between 2019 and 2020, the real median earnings of all workers decreased by 1.2 percent from $42,065 to $41,535, while the real median earnings of full-time, year-round workers increased 6.9 percent from their 2019 estimate.

However, the total number of those who worked full-time, year-round, declined by 13.7 million between 2019 and 2020, signifying the largest year-to-year decline in the number of full-time, year-round workers since 1967.

The total number of people with earnings decreased by about 3 million.

Meanwhile, the official poverty rate rose from a 60-year low, to 11.4 percent from 10.5 percent in 2019, the first increase in poverty after five consecutive annual declines.

While the thresholds for meeting the official definition of poverty vary in size and composition, the weighted average poverty threshold for a family of four in 2020 was $26,496.

There were 37.2 million people in poverty last year, 3.3 million more than in 2019, signalling the massive economic strains the lockdowns placed on tens of millions of people who were left without work, particularly in marginalized communities.

However, government programs designed to help assist low-income families, such as stimulus checks and $600 weekly unemployment benefits, appear to have somewhat softened the blow.

The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), which includes many government assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), school lunches, housing assistance, stimulus payments, and refundable tax credits, declined by 2.6 percent to a rate of 9.1 percent, the lowest level since it began being measured in 2009.

“I think this really shows the importance of the social safety net,” said Liana Fox, chief of the poverty statistics branch in the Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division at the Census Bureau. “When we see differences in trends with the official poverty rate and the SPM … that’s really the impact of our tax system, that’s the impact of our non-cash benefits.”

Elsewhere, the Census Bureau found that the share of Americans without health insurance was at 8.6 percent last year, amounting to 28 million people. For people with health insurance coverage, 66.5 percent are on private insurance and 34.8 percent are on public plans.

The report comes shortly after more than 7 million Americans lost their pandemic unemployment benefits on Labor Day, including Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)—the $300 weekly bonus checks, as well as assistance for those who are normally ineligible for unemployment insurance—leaving them with smaller payouts or nothing at all.

The Biden administration said it has no plans to reevaluate or extend the unemployment benefits, the White House said.

While some advocates of the move, including businesses and lawmakers, hope that the reduction in benefits will lead to a rise in job applications, opponents fear obstacles such as securing childcare and lingering fears surrounding COVID-19 may still hamper such efforts.

President Joe Biden and other Democrats are currently pushing for more investments into programs such as The American Families Plan, which aims to help families cover basic expenses, and extend key tax cuts to in the plan that benefit lower- and middle-income workers and families, such as Child Tax Credit.

Reuters contributed to this report.

By  Katabella Roberts

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Since I began my career in manufacturing and distribution, almost two decades ago, a lot has changed. Just in the last two years, unprecedented events have highlighted how critical supply chain teams are to our everyday lives. 

We have weathered pandemics, mandated shutdowns and shortages of everyday goods like food, disinfectants and even toilet paper. Before these events, many consumers hadn’t focused much on where these goods were made, the role of supply-chain planning, or how raw materials can affect finished goods. But two years later, most of us have experienced the strain on the global supply chain, and it has revealed the fragility of the overall supply ecosystem. 

The right combination of technology, strategy and well-trained teams, could have made an impact even with unprecedented spikes in demand. But a major roadblock for importers is the lack of investment in digital supply chain solutions. 

Sarah Barnes-Humphrey, the founder of Let’s Talk Supply Chain, told me, “The companies that will succeed and come out of the disruption stronger are the ones that are seeing their supply chains as a competitive advantage. Looking at ways to use AI/machine learning, robotics, data and more to empower their supply chain process and teams will pay off handsomely in the long run.”

For importers, the incentives for investment are clear: more sales, lower costs, higher-profits, better worker and customer satisfaction. And with the most recent OEC report estimates showing U.S. companies imported more than $2.38 trillion in goods, it’s a huge opportunity. 

To better understand the challenges importers face across their supply chains and how digital solutions can help, let’s frame the supply-chain journey in two parts: the first mile and the last mile. 

Related: 5 Keys to Effective Problem-Solving When You’re Facing a Complex Operational Challenge

The last mile 

As consumers, we are familiar with the last mile of the supply chain. For example, if you want to buy a blender, the process is simple: You decide on make and model, place an order online and if it’s in stock, it ships to your door within a few days. 

Since the blender is already built, in inventory and the order is digitally connected, you know where it’s shipping from and when it will arrive. You can even get text notifications each step of the way. The digitization of the last mile means you have visibility and any changes will update in real-time. 

The first mile 

Unfortunately, the first mile looks a lot like it did 20 years ago, with printed orders, emails, disparate operations systems, phone calls and spreadsheets. This manual coordination means more risk. 

If the blender you wanted was not in stock and needed to be built, the supplier would need to order raw materials, contract with factories, build the blender and ship it to the warehouse. This process involves a lot of coordination, people and resources. The build could span many months depending on the product type, material availability, cost and complexity. 

While solutions to many of the biggest “first mile” supply chain problems already exist, factors like cost, time and lack of understanding have contributed to executives delaying decisions or choosing to do nothing. Below are a few examples of common first-mile challenges that importers face when operating a manual Import Supply Chain:

  1. Disconnected departments, people, and trading partners. Without a common set of systems across the supply journey, coordination becomes challenging both internally and externally 

  2. Lack of full visibility to product life cycle. Because many importers aren’t using digital invoices and don’t have real-time systems connected to their suppliers, they lack the ability to make rapid decisions when disruptions occur

  3. Low-resolution analytics. Without advanced analytics, basic supply needs become more challenging and teams often skip key optimization opportunities.

  4. Systems of record not current. The average purchase order changes between five to seven times over the supply journey. Without full digitization of purchase orders, enterprise resource planning and other systems will not have accurate information as new changes occur. 

  5. Higher costs, lower sales. Stale information limits an operator’s ability to take action and course-correct as challenges arise, resulting in poor customer experiences (CX) and lost or canceled sales. 

Related: 5 Reasons to Get Excited About Smart Manufacturing

The time for action is now. If you are a leader with first mile exposure, don’t be left behind. Encourage your teams to evaluate the opportunity, establish clear ROI calculations, and make the case to transform your business now. 

To truly change the way you operate in a post-pandemic world requires strategic planning, technology and a team that is motivated, aligned and empowered. By ensuring that your entire supply chain is digitized, your team will derive greater efficiency, increased job satisfaction, improved retention of people and knowledge, which will lead to happier partners and happier customers. 

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