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The Hybrid Cloud: What You Need To Know

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Most large enterprises understand the value of the cloud. But of course, there are major challenges in making the transition because of the costs and risks of ripping out legacy systems. This is why the hybrid cloud is becoming important.
“There is a classic definition of hybrid cloud, and a few that are market evolved,” said David Linthicum, who is the Chief Cloud Strategy Officer at Deloitte Consulting LLP. “The classic definition, as defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, is a paired private (exists on premises) and public cloud. An organization is able to run applications on either the private or public side, or in some cases even run a single application on both private and public clouds. The market evolved definition of hybrid cloud, on the other hand, is a bit more loosely defined. Those hybrid clouds, while still leveraging a public cloud, are different types of systems that exist on premises, such as mainframes, traditional servers, etc. They function like a hybrid cloud in that they can leverage either the on-premises systems, the public cloud systems, or both in support of application and database processing.  This often goes by other names, such as hybrid IT. I call it pragmatic hybrid clouds.”
Yet there are inherent problems with the hybrid cloud. The fact is that there is much heavy lifting with integration, which has its own risks. The costs are usually higher and there is less agility as well fewer functions and features when compared to the pure cloud.

Then there are the issues of having enough people with the right technical skills. “This is the biggest issue,” said Umesh Padval, who is a Venture Partner at Thomvest Ventures. “Enterprises need to use consulting services initially as well as professional services from the vendors providing hybrid solutions while developing their own expertise over time.”
Regardless, many large enterprises have little choice but to focus on building a hybrid cloud. “Hybrid landscapes are a fact of life for virtually all companies that still have their own datacenters that run critical and core-to-the-business applications,” said Dan Lahl, who is the Global Vice President for SAP Product Marketing. “They have a significant on-premises investment, but see significant advantages in new capabilities that are available in the cloud.  The absolute wrong question a CEO should ask his CIO is this: ‘How fast are we moving to the cloud?’ The right question is this: ‘Are there business applications that will benefit our company and our customers with new innovations if we ran them in the cloud?’ For some applications, the answer today is yes, for some the answer today is no.  Over the next few years, we see continued growth in software solutions that bridge from the private datacenter to the cloud, e.g., hybrid environments. Eventually, those datacenters will decline so that we no longer see hybrid landscapes, but even as applications move to the cloud, the need to integrate those applications in order to deliver new business value will continue to grow.”

Thus, to be successful, there will need to be some major investments in core infrastructure.  That is, getting traction will take time and patience.
“The first thing to look at when running a hybrid environment is your operations,” said Avishai Sharlin, who is a Division President at Amdocs Technology. “Consider looking in to ‘lift and shift’ opportunities and where you can ‘containerize’ apps. Organizations should try and make their life simple by trying to adapt existing applications to run within containers. Next, consider how you plan to scale your apps. Are you going to use Kubernetes in a standard way, or do you need other methods and techniques? Your approach may determine the best way forward while also setting expectations for changes in development directions and tooling costs. As part of a holistic end-to-end hybrid design and architecture, there are additional aspects to look into, including security and interoperability. These topics will determine the way your organization moves forward and its speed and agility.”
Tom (@ttaulli) is an advisor/board member to startups and the author of Artificial Intelligence Basics: A Non-Technical Introduction, The Robotic Process Automation Handbook: A Guide to Implementing RPA Systems and Implementing AI Systems: Transform Your Business in 6 Steps. He also has developed various online courses, such as for the COBOL and Python programming languages.

How A New Generation Of Investors Is Changing Online Trading

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Online trading platform apps have been bringing a new generation of investors to the stock market. Thanks to apps like Robinhood and All of Us Financial, the casual investor is no longer forced to use bank-run brokerage firms. 
But after the controversy that stemmed from Robinhood’s management of the Reddit-fueled GameStop stock surge, the market is opening up for new apps to manage trades. 
One of those is Gatsby, an app focused specifically on options trading. It’s an example of how the online trading ecosystem is changing, becoming not only more competitive, but also broader in scope.
Apps are branching into more than just stock trading
Apps like Gatsby focus on options trading, which is a form of trading in which users reserve the right to purchase stock in the future. The purchasing decision is based on whether or not you believe that the stock price will increase or decrease, also known as the call or put. 

When you purchase the option, you dictate the price at which the stock will be bought when said option expires. 
So if you buy an option with the bid set at $100 and the stock is sitting at $110 when it expires, you earn the net difference. The price of the option itself varies based on the terms of the option and is typically less than the value of the stock itself. 
This is the allure of buying options: with the same dollar amount, you can potentially increase the net gain of your investment. 
Options trading is a risky, long-term investment strategy that is often overlooked by amateur investors. What Gatsby is doing is removing the barrier to entry for options trading with their simplified version of the practice. The app allows users to simply purchase the put or the call and wait for the terms of the option to expire. 

Online investors are looking for a combination of community and gamification 
As the GameStop rally showed, when trading is combined with a robust online community and the allure of gamification, online traders—even people who’ve never considered trading before—respond en masse.
This is something that the creators of Gatsby and other recent trading apps have taken to heart. 
In Gatsby’s case, the simplified investing model it offers is enhanced by the way it brings gamification to the stock market. The online community Gatsby cultivates allows users to collaborate on tracking trends in the stock market and make bets on puts or calls accordingly. As we have seen with the way the Reddit community banded together to purchase GameStop, AMC, and Nokia stocks, this is a factor that could reap huge rewards for a cohesive community of investors. 
In addition to offering users the ability to come together to share their speculations, which has the potential to pay off in major ways for them, Gatsby further incentivizes its platform with a combination of taking no commissions or contract fees and offering rewards for purchasing options. 
Online traders want more than just another way to do what Wall Street does
As the hype surrounding Robinhood turns to disillusionment, casual investors are looking for alternatives. This fall from grace is not only due to Robinhood’s handling of the GameStop surge met with severe criticism and a class-action lawsuit, but a deceptive business model. 
Forbes previously reported that “Robinhood was designed to profit by selling its customers’ trading data to the very sharks on Wall Street who have spent decades—and made billions—outmaneuvering investors.”
The new generation of trading apps is taking that disillusionment to heart, focusing on offering users an alternative that they can trust. Gatsby, for example, exclusively deals with its users in the cash gained from stock transactions, eliminating the need for a traditional brokerage firm in options trading. By doing so, Gatsby can make a profit without selling data to Wall Street. 
The high-risk, high-reward world of options trading is opening to a new generation of investors, signaling yet another significant evolution in the democratization of the stock market. As consumers continue to make their demands clear, I think we’ll continue to see new apps emerge that are more committed to their customers than to the big banks and Wall Street traders that have monopolized the market for so long.

Expertise Is Not Enough. Here's How to Become a Successful Business Coach.

Critical success factors for executive coaches and for entrepreneurs to earn trust and reliability as an adviser and strategic partner.
Free Book Preview: Unstoppable
Get a glimpse of how to overcome the mental and physical fatigue that is standing between you and your full potential.

March 5, 2021 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
I will never advise someone about something I’ve never experienced or done myself.  
This is one of the first statements I share with a prospective client. In a world that is saturated with self-proclaimed experts, thought leaders and executive coaches, we are beginning to understand through disappointment, that it’s really hard to find someone you can trust and rely upon.
Those self-proclaimed experts may have a lot of knowledge, but they lack wisdom. Let’s face it, we live in a new world. A world that is transitioning from a knowledge- to wisdom-based economy. It’s no longer just about what you know, but what you do with what you know.
Related: 9 Qualities You Need to Look for in a Business Coach
We’ve often felt that wisdom comes with the age. This is a myth. We are now living in the age of personalization where the individual defines the business. The individual has expectations and is unwilling to assimilate to old, outdated standards that were defined by the institution. Whether you are an employee or a consumer, the individual is now in charge.
With this in mind, here are 4 critical success factors for executive coaches. And for entrepreneurs, pay especially close attention to ensure circumstances don’t force your hand:
1.  Experience is not enough
The days of having 15-20 years of experience in a particular function isn’t enough anymore. In fact, it can be detrimental. The business playbook is rapidly changing and if you haven’t evolved your thinking over the past 15-20 years, you are irrelevant. Also, it’s no longer wise to leverage your past associations with large corporations, with the hope it will give you credibility. Those days are over too. Whatever success story you were a part of in the past does not matter much in today’s more personalized world.    
The big question for you is this: what lessons did you learn from your experience, how many times did you fail, what could you have done differently, etc. Humble yourself and extract the wisdom and allow that to guide your executive coaching practice. Stop allowing perception to get in the way of your reality. 
2. Get your hands dirty
I’ve often said you must touch the business just as much as you lead it. Now that you know the limitations of your experience (unless you convert it into wisdom), the best executive coaches must get their hands dirty. Here are a few examples: A) Don’t just share your own perspectives and research. Be well-read about what others are saying and their research. Always offer broader perspectives than your own.  B) Share your network. My goal is to strengthen my network for my clients, not for myself. The collective wisdom of your networks shows that you can overdeliver, care and trust yourself to open new connections for the betterment of your client.
3. Do you see me? Do you know me?
The best executive coaches invest in getting to know their clients as individuals. Common sense tells you that you can’t advise someone that you don’t know. But if you know your clients intimately, the roadmap to accomplishing their goals and helping them find the success they were looking for, becomes easier. This now allows you to elevate your engagement by guiding your clients towards finding significance (something that is more sustainable and self-directed). That should be your ultimate responsibility as an executive coach.
Seeing and knowing your clients as individuals means that you have initiated this process by making sure they know about you: your journey, your vulnerabilities, your failures, your family, etc.  When your client sees and knows you – not only does this open the door for your client to do the same, but it leads you to the most important part of the relationship, one in which you both serve as each other’s mentor and mentee. Wisdom accelerates from both sides of this equation. Opportunities multiply.
4. Know how to build a strong network
Since I mentioned the importance of sharing your network earlier, it’s important to know how to coach your clients to build their network. Last year, I designed and lead a three-day summit.  I onboarded and coached 46 executives in support of the content strategy, delivery goals and what it would take for the summit to be successful. After the summit was over, the number one piece of feedback I received from the speakers was this: “Glenn, this process taught me that my personal and professional network is ill-suited to help me achieve my goals for the next 5-10 years.” When I asked why, they responded, “I was taught to build networks of like-mindedness. I was taught to build networks of people that had the same job/position I had. I never realized the power of networking with others whose wisdom I aspire to learn from and all the while be able to reciprocate.”
Related: Some People Have a Therapist. I Have a Business Coach.
Building a strong network is hard when it requires you to get out of your comfort zone. But in today’s age of personalization, that’s what it takes. We are all student and teachers. No one knows all the answers. Your network must also be viewed as your ecosystem of wisdom.
Opportunities are everywhere, yet few have the eyes to see them. Why? It takes a lot of work to manage opportunities. More so, it takes wisdom to see what’s right in front of you.

From X TO Z: Networking Across the Generational Gap

March 5, 2021 7 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
My eldest daughter, one of beloved twin girls, is completing her final semester at Providence College, and she is filled with equal parts excitement and dread. She and I find ourselves startled at how quickly time has passed of course, but also in the pleasant situation where our goals are similarly aligned for perhaps the first time. I have been offering the kind of advice a parent does – stay focused, tune-up the resume, hustle. I know that my guidance will be helpful (whether she wants it or not), but while she begins her professional career and I launch a new phase of mine, I’m struck by what we are learning from each other – particularly about networking in the 21st century.
When my girls and my two younger sons were in middle school, like many parents, I found myself irritated by the time and attention they gave to their screens. Gaming, Snapchatting, making videos for YouTube – it seemed like fun, but it sure didn’t look the way my adolescence did. At the same time, I was growing my online network with colleagues and friends across the country and around the globe. It dawned on me that “face-to-face” wasn’t as necessary for cultivating connections; making them mutually meaningful was what mattered. My children were successfully building friendships and shared experiences in their digital worlds, as real as any they also built in the backyard, and likewise, so was I.
For instance, the reason my company, Stellwagen Ventures, operates in the verticals it does today – music, sport, investment, media and entertainment – is because our network does too: my partner, Matthew Baxter and I have cultivated professional and personal experiences that have led to invaluable relationships across a multitude of industries. As an example, one of my first mentors, Adam Block, with whom I worked in the early 90s at Sony Music (before my daughters were even a proverbial twinkle in the eye), provided invaluable support and insight.
Maximizing a connection like Adam’s made practical sense strategically but also afforded us the priceless advice and guidance we needed to launch with laser-like focus. After decades of building relationships, online and off, the value of our networks was by far our biggest asset, and in fact, led to the early deals that fueled our growth and forged our company’s mission: creative collaboration to achieve mutually beneficial success.
Related: What Is Effective Networking?
In chatting with my daughter about her job search and reflecting on my own networking strategies, a few important ideas stood out about our approaches – and despite our generational gap, we both realized we have much to gain from each other’s perspective. As you build or harness the power of your own connections, consider these “Gen X-meets-Gen Z” networking takeaways:
Cultivate authenticity
My daughter and her friends can spot a “fake” just as easily as the world’s finest art dealers: they know when every photoshop and filter trick has been used to blur reality (and they rightfully decry the impact this has on growing minds and bodies). They prefer an authentic online presence and share with the same honest approach. Being “real” engenders trust and encourages meaningful interaction that is far more beneficial. Authenticity is key.
Related: Networking Doesn’t Have to be Sleazy
Be brave
I’ve had thirty years to strengthen my own cold-calling skills, so I understand it isn’t easy. I’ve learned to look at it from the perspective of having nothing to lose: if the worst that can happen is a no response, then I am exactly where I started. On the flip side, some of the biggest wins of my career, from my own post-collegiate experiences as a music publicist to the early days with Stellwagen Ventures, have come from cold outreach to an acquaintance of a friend. Why wait for the phone to ring when you can pick it up yourself and make the call? Be bold.
Put the “work” in network
Swiping through posts with blinding fury is like swimming laps in board shorts — it’s counterintuitive to say the least. I remind my daughter to set aside an hour or so every single day to expand and learn from her network with the thoughtful commitment she’s given to so many other aspects of her life, from school to sports. It’s more than hitting the “like” button. Do research, construct precise introduction queries, and approach the overall task with the focus it requires. The first job you will ever have is getting one.
Make it a two-way street
Be valuable to those in your circle, stand out, and offer your advice and assistance whenever possible. With college tours and visits halted, for instance, my daughter and her friends are in the unique position to share invaluable insight to prospective students. As she utilizes her Alumni network to grow connections, she in turn is offering assistance to the Admissions department or to the younger siblings of her peers who are beginning their college search. As they stay connected online, my daughter and her peers have been able to help and receive help from friends across the country and world. Make time to be accessible and helpful.
Related: 6 Tips for In-Person Networking During the Covid-19 Era
Dive deeper
My daughters can spend hours flipping through Tik Tok. Jumping down a rabbit hole isn’t always a negative thing: if an industry or a thought leader or a particular business trend or idea strikes a chord of curiosity, embrace it! Ask questions of your network and expand on whatever it is that provokes an interest. When considering reaching out to learn more or pursue a question, follow your instincts to self-educate and do it! Always be open and curious.
Listen with intention 
I tell my daughter not to worry about asking for an informational zoom meeting, phone call or F2F meeting for one specific reason: most people love to talk about what they do and how they do it. It’s how we listen that matters. Before a conversation, do your research, establish your questions and goals and train your ears to listen for those nuggets that might unlock your next steps or reveal a problem that only you can solve. A networking session is made most successful not so much by what we say, but by what we mindfully hear others saying. Don’t underestimate the power of being a good listener.
As graduation approaches, my daughter is tackling the next phase of her life with a dedication for which I am so proud. The process is both stressful and challenging, particularly in this current environment. The data shows that the next opportunity for her, and perhaps for all of us, will come from the networks we create, curate and nurture. She is on the cusp of creating hers, while I am realizing why I curated and nurtured mine over the last 20 or so years.
A father can teach something to his children, but only if he learns from his children as well: we are better when we combine our generational experiences – a little of Gen X and a little of Gen Z creates a solid new approach to networking.  We are both proceeding with hopeful optimism, authenticity, hard work and genuine good will in the digital spaces she was raised in and those to which I have happily adapted.
We share one thing in common most of all: we both know the future is bright.

Nancy Santiago of Ureeka: Changes to PPP Should Help More Black and Brown Small Businesses Get Assistance This Time Around

Small business already know about the shortcomings of the first go around of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  Where “small businesses” like Ruth Chris’ Steakhouse was able to get $20 million or so, while other real small businesses looking for $5,000 to just stay afloat were turned away.
But with the new PPP round currently taking place, there’s renewed hope that companies left out of the first go around, especially black and brown businesses, will finally benefit from the program due to changes aimed it benefitting companies at the low end of the small business sector.
Nancy Santiago, Community Impact Lead for Ureeka, a startup founded that provides mentorship and guidance through their platform to help entrepreneurs’ get answers to their most pressing questions, joins me to share what small businesses need to know about applying for this round of PPP.  Below is an edited transcript of a portion of our conversation.  To hear the full conversation click on the embedded SoundCloud player.

PPP – Missing the Mark the First Time Around 
Brent Leary: Can you tell us about the original purpose of PPP, what happened the first go around, particularly when it comes to small businesses, and even more particular when it comes to small businesses of color?
Nancy Santiago: We missed the mark with PPP, as a country. Let’s talk about the fact that it was asked to be scaled out by a government agency that quite honestly, has never done well by black, or brown small business owners to begin with. Shame on us because we’ve not really pushed the needle on the fact that the SBA, and other entities in government still were only lending it 2% for African-American small business owners, and small midsize businesses.
Let’s start with that problem. We’ve never addressed it as a country. Congress never called the question about whether we were doing right by those small business owners, or mid-sized business owners to begin with. Then we plop all of this money down to be pushed out through that same system, and expect it to somehow magically make it to black and Brown business owners. How? The system itself was only getting 2% out on its best day, so how did we expect that to happen.
Sole Proprietors Left Out of PPP 1
Then add to the fact that we had all kinds of other barriers. If you look at the percentages of black and brown owned businesses that are sole proprietorship, they are the majority in our communities. When you think about the fact that we were asking only small businesses that had two, or more employees to apply, where we’ve left out an entire community, or communities, plural. Those were the beginning stages. We had an agency that really hadn’t done a particularly good job in serving communities of color, now in charge of rolling out the money. So, problematic.
Second problem was that it rolled out so quickly with so many unanswered questions that, the devil is in the detail. I tell people all the time, good policy is only good policy if it’s implemented well. That we were missing as well. Then the sole proprietorship also continues to be a problem for us.
No Bank Relationship, No PPP First Go Around
The last huge obstacle were relationships with banks. You needed to have some good previously existing relationship with a bank to be able to get this done. We know very well that black and Brown communities don’t have great existing relationships with our banks in this country. If they did, the community reinvestment act, wouldn’t be. It exists because we’ve not done that work well. All those things combined, made the rollout for communities of color, and the ability for us to access PPP dollars. Really pretty disastrous when you talked about 90% of businesses of color were locked out of the first traunch.
PPP2 Fixes Some Issues
Let me get to the second traunch. Gets a little bit better because you start to use the entities like CDFIs (Community development financial institutions), and other non-profit lenders that have a mission around community. You engage them so the numbers get a little better, and that’s great. But again, we’ve not invested in helping the CDFIs, and other institutions like community credit unions, and community banks to really expand their reach, and their ability to move capital. Even they were limited with their bandwidth.
We’re going to get a different focus, but we also now have an opportunity for sole proprietorships to be eligible for PPP. We also now have a well-established systems where CDFIs community credit unions, and other nonprofit and community financial institutions can engage in the process. They’ve proven to us time and time again, that they can get the dollars out to the communities that needed the most.
I’m hoping that those things combined, plus the fact that people now have had some experience with this process, makes us a little bit more well-prepared to take advantage of this opportunity. But a two week window is tough to begin with, and really scary when you’re trying to keep the lights on, doors open, feed your families, and manage to stay safe from global pandemic. We still have a lot of things. It’s still an uphill battle, but I do feel like we have some more wiggle room than we’ve had in the last go rounds of PPP.
Brent Leary: Does the two week window already started? Or is it?
Nancy Santiago: Sorry. It’s already started. We have to think about how we start to move folks. The truth of the matter is that it was supposed to be rolling out very quickly, as we know, to be able to get people moving in the right direction fast. We don’t have a lot of time. I tell people all the time for the small business owners of color, they were already out of time when this started.
If you think about 89% of black and Brown owned businesses had less than a 14 day cash buffer. We’re into almost a year of a lockdown, and when you add women into the mix, 21 days worth of a cash buffer, but we were already in trouble the first month out.
Everything we’re doing now is attempting to catch people up where the reality is, as I said before, we need to be leapfrogging. That’s what we’re attempting to do at least in this process. Help leapfrog some of the smaller business owners who weren’t eligible for the first rounds of PPP, to now come in and get what they need, get the information they need, help them build the documentation that they need to be able to take advantage of this round.
Getting Ready to Apply for PPP2
Brent Leary: Would the first step in this process be to just try to work through you guys, and have you help these folks? Because it sounds like they need a lot of assistance just getting to the application stage.
Nancy Santiago: Agreed. For me, I’d say it’s not just getting help to us. We’re part of a larger pipeline of help. I would say, the first thing is coming to us to help you know, what’s the documentation that you need? Let us list that for you. Let us give you some resources where you almost have your own checklist. Let us help walk you through what some of the financial documentation is it’s going to be required, and why and how you get to it. That’s part one.
Then we’ll have those resources available for you. We’re also offering free mentor sessions for anybody who is interested, so that they can not only go through the webinar, gets the resources in terms of written materials that they need, that they can review later on their own, but also have that mentor help you through it.
All of that is really to get you ready to then go to our partners like CDFIs, and community credit unions, that are also CDFIs many of them, getting you to be best prepared to when you get to them. I’ve now created the capacity for that team on the other side to do their work faster, because it’s all time consuming. The more well-prepared you are when you walk in to the lending institution, the faster they can move, and the more people they can serve. Think about this as a pipeline, and each of us has our role to play in this. Ours is really trying to help entrepreneurs know what they need to have in hand to walk into those lending institutions ready to go.
Brent Leary: Because it is two week window?
Nancy Santiago: That’s what we’re hoping for. Again, devil’s in the detail. How well we get people ready, and how fast we get them to the right institutions to move this. But it’s absolutely correct. But that’s where the problem with the previously existing relationships came in. Because if you had that existing relationship with a bank, you probably could access at top levels what was available. Without that relationship, that doesn’t happen. Then you’re left. It’s like a lottery, good luck.
Will Real SMBs Benefit This Time Around?
Brent Leary: I remember hearing about like, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse got $20 million. The Lakers got three, or $5 million. Have all those things been worked out? Do you think that this money is finally going to go to the people who actually need it to survive, and not the folks who are really good at filling out applications that have the right friends in the right places?
Nancy Santiago: I try to have a little faith. I try. I have a good friend who used to say perception is reality, six days of the week, except for Sundays, where we try to have a little faith. I have a little faith and say, A, we’ve learned from the first rounds of this, what went wrong, and we’ve tried to make adjustments. B, we have more people paying attention to those things that went wrong, and watching for it now. C, we’ve engaged a whole new core of partners that have in their mission and in their focus, the communities that have been the most left out. I’m hoping that those things, and mixed with a little faith here, get us to a better place at how we roll this out.
This was a better start. Acknowledging that there was an entire community of SMBs that were left out of this, was the first conversation that we needed to have. Acknowledging it, recognizing it, and trying to adjust for it. Look, the truth of the matter is, none of us have been here before.
Again, trying benefit of the doubt here, none of us had been here before. When it comes to the pandemic, and the impact the pandemic is having on the economy, it could be argued that those black and Brown small business owners haven’t been in the capital access problem before, because this has been a historical problem. But when it comes to how we roll these things out, there’s a lot that we’ve learned in the first go around with this one.
I’m hoping that we learned enough, and we have the right leadership in place to help make sure we do a better job of it this time. I’m hopeful with the signs that I’m seeing around paying attention to communities of color, communities that have been left out, women entrepreneurs, black, Latino, indigenous entrepreneurs, all those folks that we know just disappeared off the radar screen in the first tronches of this, the first rollout.
Brent Leary: Could you tell us what numbers people can expect, or are hopeful to get when it comes to this process?
Nancy Santiago: I’ll say that we found that on average, in the first roll outs of this, what people were asking for was on average about $5,000. That’s not a lot of money. It’s really not. Now, obviously, you have your Ruth, Chris’s steakhouse houses of the world, and then you have others. But if you think about what the average amount was that folks were looking to get, or that folks were giving grants for, it was about the $5,000 more.
That could change. Now we could see different numbers because we’ve opened it up differently to another community, and created more access routes. We’ll see, that’s what the average was. I’m pulling that number based on some data that came from one of our philanthropic partners. When we rolled out yet another grant program with google.org, and Hispanics and philanthropy, we looked at that $5,000 number and said, we’re going to stick with that number as what the grant amounts should be, but we’re going to make sure that we distinct it, so people get that plus, in terms of services that we can provide them. So another $5,000 and more of more in kind services related to coaching, mentoring, and strategic support.
Moment or Movement – Equality and Inclusion 
Brent Leary: We’re a year into this now. Where are we with that? Are we seeing beyond the initial promises? Are we seeing things starting to move in the right direction? Things starting to come together around this?
Nancy Santiago: I will say that I have seen a lot of really good intentions, and folks trying to dig in. But like everything else, there’s such a short life cycle that we’ve seen around these important topics, that it’s not enough for that moment of a pledge. You have to embed this conversation into everything that you do as an entity, if you really want to make a difference.
If you really want to make a dent in the racial equity wealth gap that this country has, then it can’t just be the one pledge. How are you embedding the conversation of the race-based wealth gap into everything that you do as a company? And how are you centering, and focusing your work on justice, and racial equity issues? That’s harder for folks. I absolutely appreciate the funds, and the pledges, and the commitments because it was honestly, a long time coming.
This is stuff that should have been happening anyway. Glad folks stepped up, absolutely thankful for it. But if we take our eyes off the ball, and we don’t make this part of our everyday mission critical work, then it will go right back to what we’ve always been to. We can’t go back to normal. Normal was not equitable, normal was not fair, and normal is what allowed our communities to be impacted so differently by this pandemic. So, we can’t go back to normal.
To really be able to make a sustained difference, it now needs to become part of the mission of what you do. Must be focused on justice, and racial equity, and gender equity at its core. The dollars again, I keep saying this, dollars are nice systemic changes, nicer.
Do I see some pieces of that happening? Absolutely. I see more and more people paying attention to black and Brown led funds. I see more people paying attention to that minority business owner in general. I see that conversation, I see some energy around it, and that has been sustained. Now the question is, can we ever get the resources that match the need? That was tricking all this. This is not a problem that appeared this year. What was going to happen this year has been generations in the making.
This is part of the One-on-One Interview series with thought leaders. The transcript has been edited for publication. If it’s an audio or video interview, click on the embedded player above, or subscribe via iTunes or via Stitcher.

Amazon launches first store without cashiers outside the United States

Jeff Bezos’ company opened its first Amazon Go location in the UK.
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March 5, 2021 2 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Contactless stores? Yes, they were already a reality, but now they are internationalizing. Amazon , a company founded by Jeff Bezos , opened its first store where users do not have to pay when leaving and only have to take products from the shelves.
In the Earling district of West London, England, the company’s first automated store opened outside the United States.
Upon entering the establishment, customers scan a QR code from the Amazon Go application on their phones, later, the cost of the items removed from the shelves are automatically charged to the account of the people thanks to sensors and cameras.
When users leave the store, the purchase is paid automatically from the application and the receipt is sent to the customer’s email.
Image: via PC Mag
New trend?
This could become one of the new trends in the world, since contact with people and even cash is avoided when leaving the stores. Without a doubt, the pandemic has come to change many things and although these stores have existed since 2018 in the United States, they could be extended very soon.
The healthy distance and the least contact have come to stay, at least for a long time, buying through an application that checks the products you have taken can become a promising option. What do you think?

4 Tips for Maintaining Productivity When Working From Home

March 5, 2021 6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
There are many work-from-home (WFH) distractions that sabotage one’s efforts to meet office deadlines: long bathroom breaks, telemarketing calls, spam emails, package deliveries, etc. Unfortunately for employers and professionals, work interruptions are costly, and that doesn’t help when companies are trying to onboard new customers in a tough, downtrodden economy.
Shockingly, according to a 2018 study by IPSOS, employees who work in open-floor spaces lose 86 minutes daily due to distractions. Refocusing on the task at hand can also be a challenge. Researchers from the University of California at Irvine found it takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to work after an initial distraction.
For those of you keeping score at home, that’s a lot of time. No worries, though. Hre’s how to best prevent interruptions and stay productive when working from home.
1. Block out distractions
Establish boundaries that keep you effective. During business hours, your time belongs to an employer or client — not telemarketers or neighbors. Well-intentioned, yet highly chatty, family members and friends will need to take their conversation to the backyard or away from your workstation.
To better concentrate, turn off the television and all other potential digital distractions. Recognize that unnecessary devices are merely time-wasters that prevent you from fully realizing client- and team-specific goals. Maintaining a separate phone number for personal calls is also a good idea.
Focus is key to acquiring the right mindset and, like sports athletes, you’ve got to eliminate distractions. Avoid rationalizing that you can multitask and keep yourself entertained with social media (Twitter is often the biggest culprit) at the same time.
Unfortunately, multitasking has become a pretense for not getting important things accomplished. Good news, though: A 2018 Udemy report found that 70% of workers said conscious, organized training helped them better avoid distractions and achieve focus.
If you want to change, you can.
Related: 5 Big Distractions That Sabotage Your Entrepreneurial Success
2. Keep a healthy routine
Intense, deliberate efforts towards essential tasks are what get things done. That requires maintaining proper energy levels and individual determination for sustained periods of time. To remain locked in, give yourself regular, 10-minute breaks — ones that are well-deserved, of course.
Breaks can help, but above all else, a healthy routine is what makes or breaks the effort you bring to your home office. Eat a salad every now and again, and drink plenty of water. There’s much that’s already been said about the importance of eating healthy. Still, the challenge for many people is execution — actually doing what they already know is important.
But there are workarounds. As a recent blog post by vitamin company Manna explains, “The foods we eat should supply a majority of the nutrients that we need to stay healthy, but often nutritional deficiencies can lead to adverse effects on health. Nutritional supplements and vitamins are often used to combat deficiencies and to boost the intake of nutrients that offer preventative benefits.”
Downtime, exercise, water, healthy food or even supplements can all seem like one giant hassle, especially when there’s plenty of work to be done both inside and outside the door to your home office. But it’s always worth it.
Years ago, researchers at Brigham Young University found that employees who ate healthily were 25% more likely to have higher job performance. Absenteeism for such workers was also 27% lower. Conversely, an unhealthy regimen is costly for businesses. Productivity losses related to health problems cost U.S. employers $225.8 billion annually, according to the American Productivity Audit (APA).
Furthermore, there are other proven, age-old health practices that can keep you both productive and sane. Consider stretching exercises once or twice daily to improve overall blood circulation. Stretching also reduces fatigue, prevents muscle strain and alleviates stress. During a break, take deep breaths to increase oxygen intake, lower blood pressure and maintain proper energy levels.
Related: 5 Nutrients You Need For Optimal Growth and Performance
3. Maintain regular hours
It was management guru Peter Drucker who once famously said, “Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” A routine will keep you engaged. By maintaining a regular business schedule, even from home, managers or co-workers can reach you for urgent requests. Remember, when working from home, there’s no such thing as overcommunication.
Unfortunately, due to the innate comfort and convenience of the work environment, the WFH movement often produces complacency. Blaming delays on Covid-19 might’ve worked (and been truthful) in recent months, but in the not-so-distant future, that excuse will fall on deaf ears.
It can be difficult for remote managers to take corrective action when teams are geographically spread out. This puts a premium on an individual’s initiative to get things done. Nobody’s perfect, but consistently working regular, set-in-stone hours certainly helps.
4. Be a professional at home
Nobody’s looking, but it still helps to wear business-casual attire when working from home. Rocking sweatpants or pajamas might be more comfortable, but the attitude that accompanies them often follows suit, i.e. slothfulness and a lack of precision. Looking the part means you’re serious about getting things done.
Ultimately, you’ll perform how you feel; clothing plays an important role in that.
Another way to keep things more “professional” in your home office is to put weekly objectives near your computer screen. Also, be more deliberate with your communication. Schedule periodic calls with co-workers, as well as stay in touch with customers and stakeholders.
Only respond to non-urgent emails or requests at certain parts of the day, all things you might be more inclined to do if you were working alongside others at the office. Do work that matters, not work that merely creates the facade of business.
The big takeaway….
For the vast majority of WFH workers, being more productive isn’t about discovering some magic formula. Instead, it’s simply about adopting a few proven, common-sense practices that get the job done. Or having the mental fortitude to make ‘em happen, at least.
Rest assured, the more you’re able to block out common, often self-imposed distractions, maintain a healthy body and frame of mind, work a consistent schedule and keep things professional, even when Zoom meetings are about as “formal” as things get, your productivity won’t dip in the slightest. In fact, it’ll likely improve.
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In the News: February Delivers 32,000 Jobs From Small Businesses

The addition of 32,000 jobs by small businesses in the month of February is good news considering the current state of the pandemic. However, consider the overall state of the labor market, things are not looking good.
Overall there was a total of 117,000 jobs for the month, compared to 183,000 for February 2020. And just as last year most of the contribution from small businesses came through the service-producing sector. This also explains the great numbers from franchises. According to ADP, franchises managed to deliver 35,500 new jobs this month, with 30,000 of them coming from restaurants.
At 117,000 the national number is good when you take into account the current state of the economy and the pandemic. Nationally the service-producing sector was responsible for 131,00o in February, but a loss of 14,000 jobs in manufacturing and 3,000 jobs in construction brought the number down to 131,000.
You can read the rest of the data on Small Businesses Add 32,000 Jobs in February in this week’s roundup along with other issues addressing small businesses. This week you can read about how to improve your BBB rating, best tax software for small businesses filing in 2020, much more.

Small Business News Roundup – March 5, 2021
The headlines making news for small businesses this week are:
ADP Introduces Roll, a “Reimagined Way to Do Payroll” for Small Business
As small businesses navigate their way out of the pandemic, there is a growing demand for technologies that make processes and procedures more efficient. In walks a new payroll app named Roll. Roll is delivered by ADP, specialists in helping organizations of all sizes unlock their potential through advanced technology and cloud-based solutions.
Bill.com Survey Shows Small Business Owners Remain Optimistic for 2021
A new survey from Bill.com showed that despite all the setbacks caused by the COVID pandemic, small business owners remain optimistic about their future this year. Check out the full results from this latest optimism survey to see why small business spirits remain high.
How VR is Changing Workforce Collaboration for Enterprise and SMB
COVID-19 forced businesses to learn to collaborate remotely – and quickly. Essentially overnight, offices were shuttered, travel halted, and teams were working from home – in some cases, for the first time. And while many enterprises were more adept, having already adopted tools for remote collaboration, many small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) had to scramble.
Where Is Amazon Going Now in 2021?
Amazon has a huge effect on both small businesses and consumers all over the country. With Jeff Bezos stepping down, where is the company headed in 2021? On the Small Business Radio Show this week, I discuss that future with Jason Boyce, the founder and CEO of Avenue 7 Media, LLC, a seller management group that harnesses the power of Amazon for direct-to-consumer product brands.
How Accountants Can Win New Clients
Whether you work as an accountant for yourself or in a company, you’ll probably need to find new business at some point. How do you do it? Consider the ways highlighted below.
Do You Know How to Improve Your BBB Rating?
A stellar Better Business Bureau rating for your business will give you star power. The BBB rating is a measuring stick that tells the consumer what to expect from businesses. Peer members of your business community read the ratings.
Electronic Signature Apps for Small Business
Electronic signature apps like HelloSign are becoming an important part of modern document management for small businesses. Digital signatures cut down on costs. Signing documents on the go reduces processing time. What’s more, clients are willing to provide signatures and send documents digitally.
Best Tax Software for Small Business Filing in 2021
Tax preparation may not be the most exciting element of running a small business — but it is essential. Companies have tons of options for preparing their tax returns each year, from online tax preparation tools to working with a dedicated tax professional. Using tax software to prepare your own returns has become an increasingly popular option.
Image: Depositphotos

CVS Health vs. Rite Aid: Which Stock is a Better Buy?

U.S. Pharmacy stocks have outperformed in recent months as many expect consumer spending to be quite strong in 2021 and 2022.
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March 5, 2021 4 min read
This story originally appeared on StockNews
CVS Health (CVS – Get Rating) and Rite Aid (RAD – Get Rating) have been and likely will continue to be two of the market’s top pharmacy stocks. As most shoppers know, these pharmacy and drug store businesses are fairly similar. However, those who closely analyze the nuances of these two companies are likely to favor one over the other.
Instead of investing hour after hour studying the nuanced strengths and weaknesses of CVS and RAD, let us do the work on your behalf. We have studied both of these pharmacy stocks in-depth to provide readers with a good idea of which of the two is most deserving of a place in their portfolio.
Without further ado, let’s take a deep dive into CVS and RAD to determine which is the better buy.
CVS
CVS is more than just a corner store. This corporation is an innovator in the pharmacy space. CVS provides a litany of pharmaceutical products to the masses. Furthermore, it must be noted CVS finalized its consolidation of the insurance powerhouse Aetna in ’18, setting the stage for considerable revenue growth moving forward.
Check out the CVS POWR Ratings and you will find the stock has an A grade in the Value component along with a B grade in the Stability component. If you are curious as to how CVS fares in terms of the Quality, Momentum, Growth, and Sentiment components of the POWR Ratings, you can find out by clicking here.
Of the five publicly traded companies in the Medical – Drug Stores space, CVS is ranked first. You can learn more about this industry by clicking here.
The top analysts paint a rosy picture for CVS moving forward, setting an average price target of $85.72, reflecting the potential for the stock to increase by more than 25%. All in all, slightly more than two dozen analysts have reviewed the stock. The highest price target is $102. The lowest price target is $72. CVS currently trades around $69 so it is clearly priced below the analysts’ price targets.
CVS revenue was up nearly 5% in ’20, hitting $269 billion. The company’s net income soared nearly 10%, coming in a little over $7 billion. It is clear CVS is on the upswing and its business model is working.
Rite Aid
If you are like most people, you drop on by your local Rite Aid at least once every couple of weeks. RAD provides quick shopping, albeit at elevated prices. However, RAD’s primary draw is it is pharmaceutical products. RAD is the country’s third-largest brick-and-mortar drugstore. The company has more than 2,400 stores spanning nearly 20 states.
RAD provides pharmacy management services to more than three million members. RAD’s retail pharmacy segment comprises nearly three-quarters of its aggregate annual revenue.
RAD has C grades in the Quality, Value, Stability, and Growth components of the POWR Ratings. If you are curious as to what RAD’s grades are in the Momentum and Sentiment components, you can find out by clicking here.
It is concerning that RAD is ranked dead last of five stocks in the Medical – Drug Stores space. However, this industry as a whole has a B POWR Rating grade. If you would like to find out more about the companies that make up the Medical – Drug Stores category, you can do so by clicking here.
Check out the analysts’ take on RAD and you will be a bit disappointed. The analysts’ average price target for the stock is $17, indicating RAD has the potential to slide by nearly 20%. However, the analysts’ high target is $21, a price level that is about $1.50 more than RAD’s current cost per share. It is concerning that RAD has a forward P/E ratio over 43, a clear indicator that the stock might be slightly overvalued.
The Better Buy
It is difficult to predict which of these two stocks is more likely to pop in the future. The tiebreaker is determined by the POWR Ratings. CVS has an overall POWR Rating grade of B, indicating it is a Buy. Add in the fact that CVS has a lower forward P/E ratio and it can be stated in full confidence that it is a better buy than RAD.

Tesla Secures Long-Term Nickel Supply Through New Caledonia Partnership

Tesla secures a steady supply of nickel used in the production of their electric vehicle batteries by partnering with a nickel mine in New Caledonia.
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March 5, 2021 3 min read
This story originally appeared on ValueWalk
Tesla has secured a long-term supply of nickel to use in the manufacturing of batteries for its electric vehicles. According to Reuters, the automaker is listed as a “technical partner” in a deal to take over a nickel mine in New Caledonia. However, like Tesla stock, the nickel mine is big and controversial.
Mine in turmoil
New Caledonia’s political leaders agreed to new terms for the sale of the nickel business owned by Vale. The terms of the deal include a majority stake for local interests, which seeks to resolve turmoil over the planned sale of the mine.
Pro-independence and loyalist leaders in the French Pacific territory also referred to a “technical and industrial partnership” with Tesla, which would allow the automaker to use nickel from the mine for its EV batteries.
Brazil-based miner Vale decided last year to sell its nickel mine and processing plant to a consortium, which included Swiss commodity trader Trafigura. Pro-independence groups vehemently opposed the decision, leading to violent protests that caused Value to shutter the site in December.
Details on the agreement
Under the terms of the agreement struck Thursday, political groups wanted New Caledonia’s provincial authorities and other local interests to hold a 51% stake in the Vale operations. Trafigura would receive a 19% stake, less than the 25% the company was previously expected to have.
The deal also includes reinforced environmental standards and set a target for the mining operations to be carbon neutral by 2040. Vale has been attempting to sell its assets in New Caledonia for years. It has said that about 3,000 direct and indirect jobs depend on the mining operations restarting.
Why Tesla wanted to secure nickel
Electrek reports that recently, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been calling on nickel producers to increase production. He expects shortages in the metal to become an issue for battery production. It seems likely that Musk’s concerns about nickel are the main reason Tesla decided to get into mining the metal.
Under the deal, Tesla would be an industrial partner and assist with product and sustainability standards while also taking some nickel from the operations for its battery production. Nickel demand is expected to increase due to the rising demand for EV batteries.
New Caledonia is the fourth-largest producer of nickel in the world. It’s estimated that the territory holds about 25% of the nickel in the world.
Tesla is part of the Entrepreneur Index, which tracks 60 of the largest publicly traded companies managed by their founders or their founders’ families.