The One System That Changes Employee Behavior

June
14, 2017

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from Riaz Khadem and Linda Khadem’s book Total Alignment. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound or click here to buy it directly from us and SAVE 60% on this book when you use code LEAD2021 through 4/10/21.Did you know that there’s a process for behavior change that you can implement in your organization? This process, equally applicable to small or large organizations, includes the definition of values as distinguishing characteristics of a company. Your values, together with your mission and vision, become the key statements that guide your organization through its growth and development in the years to come.Related: 3 Reports Every Manager Should HaveBehavior is observable and has an impact on others. Is it possible that some behaviors could produce results and at the same time have a very negative effect on the culture of the organization and on its customer base, or even be illegal? Absolutely. Read the news to see ample examples, from major banks abusing the rights of their customers to automobile manufacturers hiding the truth from their buyers, to companies illegally copying their competitors. Imagine the cost of these behaviors on the organization when they’re caught. A major automobile manufacturer agreed to pay $14.7 billion in damages for misrepresenting an important feature of their cars to the public. And this cost doesn’t include the negative impact on its image, which will no doubt negatively affect future sales. Such a cost could put many companies out of business.Avoiding this type of situation is obviously a top priority for your company, whether you’re global or local. No one should be allowed to behave in a way that could negatively impact the organization. You might wish to do an analysis of the perception of the top team or a group of people in your organization as to the type of behaviors they’re witnessing. We’ve developed a process that will enable you to avoid negative behaviors and promote the positive ones. It all starts with the core values.There are four steps to this process:Define corporate/company values.Define pinpointed behaviors aligned with values.Change your behaviors.Facilitate change in others.Let’s examine each of the four steps and talk about ways you can apply them to your own business.Define core values The first step in the behavior change process is to define your core values, those certain values that should be embraced by all employees. You can brainstorm with the top team, choose from the list we provide here, or just use this list as a guide:Trustworthiness. Each person working for the company should behave in a way that would earn the trust of others. As a result, our customers, employees and stockholders will trust the company. Being worthy of trust means doing one’s best and getting the job done. This also involves being honest, truthful and fair, not taking advantage of others and acting with integrity.Service orientation. This implies an attitude of adding excep­tional value for our customers. It means we have a focus on empathizing with the customer’s challenges, exceeding their expectations and doing it with courtesy. The intent is import­ant and must show caring for the customer, both internal and external.Quality consciousness. Being quality conscious means antici­pating customer expectations of the product or service they’re acquiring, turning the expectations into specifications for the product or service, and assuring that the specifications are met 100 percent every time.Related: The 4 Roles of Accountability Within Your CompanyRespectfulness. Being respectful means showing respect for all relationships, both internal and external, and treating everyone fairly and without prejudice.Learning. This implies “being in a learning mode” and adopt­ing a mindset of openness to new ideas, showing humility and not having a “know it all” attitude in any situation. It means encouraging everyone to innovate and take risks without fear of failure or punishment.These values can guide the conduct of the organization and have a great impact on the relationship with customers. Alignment with values can be your company’s ultimate competitive advantage.Define pinpointed behaviors But how do you “align” with values? How can you determine if someone is acting in a way that is aligned, for example, with “trustworthiness?” You can do it by observing their actions, not only in general ways, but watching for specific behaviors that illustrate trustworthiness. Let’s refer to these specific behaviors as pinpointed behaviors. Pinpointed behaviors are, by definition, specific, observable and verifiable. An example of a pinpointed behavior that could be characterized as trustworthy is “completing a project by the date promised.”Change your behavior No one can claim their behavior matches up perfectly with their values, but everyone can make an honest effort to improve. Each person can examine the corporate values and identify any behavior he or she might have that isn’t congruent with them. Then, they can make the effort to change. Changing behaviors can be difficult and will require resolution, discipline and perseverance.When you resolve to change a behavior, you’re on the way to self-improvement. To help you along the way, you’ll need feedback on how (and if) you’re improving. It would be ideal to have feedback from a trusted person observing you. This person could be a friend, colleague or family member. However, offering this kind of feedback could be difficult for many in a working environment, leaving you with the option of being conscious of your own progress and providing self-feedback on your own improvement. Your effort will result in positive change that will be noticed in the work environment.Facilitate change in others The best method of facilitating change in others is setting and following your own example. Show employees and colleagues what the desirable behavior looks like, and your example will inspire them to follow suit.Related: How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Company’s VisionThe four steps we’ve outlined above are designed to assist any organization to align behaviors with values. You perform Steps 1 and 2 in a meeting with your executive team. Then, Step 3 is done by each of the top people. The success of your top people in Step 3 will determine their effectiveness in Step 4 and in your effort to see cultural transformation take place towards coherence with values. It’s important not to underestimate the power of example in an organization of any size. People will observe and follow the behavior as exemplified by their leaders.Did you enjoy your book preview? Click here to grab a copy today—now 60% off when you use code LEAD2021 through 4/10/21.

Improve Your Networking Skills and Pitches

If you want to succeed in business, you need to surround yourself with the right people.

Grow Your Business,
Not Your Inbox

Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now!

April
5, 2017

4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from Jill Schiefelbein’s book Dynamic Communication. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound or click here to buy it directly from us and SAVE 60% on this book when you use code LEAD2021 through 4/10/21.When we think about surrounding ourselves with the right people, we often think in terms of what those people can do for us. The real question you should be asking is, “What value can I bring to people?”Related: 6 Strategies for Being a Better ListenerPeople do business with people, not businesses. Most people at networking events go right out, shake hands, ask what the other person’s name and business are and hand off a card. Sound familiar? If so, smack your business-card-passing hand on the wrist!That, my friends, is not how connections are made. Aim for the “second handshake” with your networking conversations.Picture this scenario: You walk into a networking event, and as usual, people are looking at you like you’re their next meal. Someone immediately approaches you, reaches out to shake your hand and says (in one breath), “Hi, my name is Brady, I’m the owner of Awesome Business, I do X, Y and Z. What’s your name and what do you do?” You spurt your scripted answer back, exchange cards and walk away. There’s no connection; there’s no second handshake.Related: Use Video Education Campaigns to Grow Your BusinessNow, try this scenario: You walk into a networking event, go up to someone who looks interesting, shake hands and introduce yourselves by name. You say, “Phil, I’m curious — how did you get into doing what you do?” And a conversation ensues. After about five minutes, you’ve learned that you both left corporate jobs to go it on your own. You have something in common. The foundation of a relationship is laid. And you both genuinely enjoyed the conversation to the point that when you start to walk away, he extends his hand and gives you a second handshake. Success!If you approach networking and relationship building in this manner, you’re bound to get a second handshake.It’s these conversations — these second handshakes — that are the foundation of mutually beneficial relationships. The relationships that allow you to surround yourself with the right people. The relationships that lead to business success.Questions to get a conversation started Need some help getting that conversation going? Here are some questions you can ask that will likely throw someone a little off their pre-scripted networking pitch game. By doing that, you’re likely to have a better conversation, find a connection and get that second handshake.Related: How To Sell More by Identifying What Type of Listener Each Customer IsBusiness-oriented questions:How did you get started in this industry?Why do you love to do what you do?How do you spend your time? What’s your favorite type of client to work with?What’s your favorite problem to solve?What’s the first thing you do when you sign a new contract?What’s your favorite way to celebrate success?What is something a client has said to you that really made you happy?Digging deeper and some atypical questions:When you were a little kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?What was your favorite toy as a child?(As a follow-up) Does it connect in any way to what you do today?What is your favorite holiday tradition that you celebrate with friends, family or your employees?What’s something you’re most looking forward to doing with your business (or with your family) in the next year?What do you feel has been the secret to your success?Use these questions to help generate conversations and see what type of relationships can develop!Did you enjoy your book preview? Click here to grab a copy today—now 60% off when you use code LEAD2021 through 4/10/21.

Start Making Money by Launching a Profitable Side Hustle Freelancing

When business isn’t booming, freelancing can be a huge help.

Free Book Preview
Six-Figure Freelancer

This book will equip you with effective strategies and tools to help you reach your full potential as a freelancer and achieve financial prosperity.

April
10, 2021

2 min read

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

Americans are picking up freelance work to make ends meet or reach a higher earning level. Entrepreneurs aren’t immune either. According to a Zapier survey taken in January, 34 percent of Americans currently have a side hustle, while 61 million more Americans (24 percent) plan to start one in 2021.If your company is lagging a bit, freelancing can be a great way to ensure you still get a salary, even when business costs are high.But how do you make time to freelance when you’re juggling so much as an entrepreneur already? In The Complete 2021 Superstar Freelancer Bundle, you’ll learn how to make the best of both worlds.This bundle includes 13 courses and 30 hours of content all dedicated to maximizing your potential as a freelancer. You’ll learn how to kickstart a freelance business by honing in on the skills you do best, and discover how to market yourself on platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, and even WordPress and YouTube. You’ll learn how to win competitive jobs and build your digital profile so you can run a profitable side business from home in your spare time. There are also courses dedicated to productivity hacks and practical bookkeeping for freelancers. Before you know it, you’ll have a profitable side hustle to fall back on when business isn’t booming.Learn what it takes to become your own boss and thrive as a freelancer in 2021. Right now, The Complete 2021 Superstar Freelancer Bundle is on sale for just $39.99 for a limited time.Don’t forget to check out DiversyFund to start investing in private real estate in 2021. You don’t have to be in the 1% to get started. Invest today for as low as $500.Prices subject to change.

Get Farm-to-Table Meat Delivered to Your Door for a Discount, Perfect for Anyone on a Protein Diet

We all need energy to thrive.

Grow Your Business,
Not Your Inbox

Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now!

April
10, 2021

2 min read

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

Eating well is crucial to a healthy, energetic life. All that food you put in your belly turns into the fuel you need to push your business to the top, so it’s worth thinking seriously about what you’re eating. If you love red meat, then United Harvest’s Premium Farm-to-Table Meat Boxes are the kind of clean, socially-conscious meats you should enjoy.United Harvest brings together a community of like-minded and impassioned farmers and manages a middleman-free, direct-to-consumer food service. With an unparalleled level of farm-to-table transparency, United Harvest ensures you know exactly where your meat comes from and gives you the peace of mind that it hasn’t gone through some of the more unsavory practices of America’s meat industry. United Harvest partners with small, trusted farms that use ethical and regenerative methods to raise healthier, happier animals. There are no GMOs, no hormones, no pesticides, and no antibiotics. All meat is packed right at the source, flash-frozen to lock in freshness, and delivered to your door within 72 hours for a seamless, delicious experience.United Harvest offers a number of different box options.You can get the Lovers Regale, which includes two 0.8lb Oregon Angus NY Strip Steaks, two 1.25lb Oregon Angus Tenderloin Tails, and four pounds of Oregon Angus and Wagyu Ground Beef for 6 percent off $159 at $149.Get a Medium Sampler Platter, which includes two 0.8lb Oregon Angus NY Strip Steaks, a 2.6lb Oregon Angus Sirloin Tip Roast, two one-pound Hutterite Pork Loin Chops, 1.6lbs of Hutterite Pork Baby Back Ribs, four pounds of sausage, and two pounds of Oregon Angus and Wagyu Ground Beef for 12 percent off $205 at $179.Finally, you can get the Large Sampler Platter, which includes everything in the Medium Sampler Platter — but more — for 14 percent off $280 at $239.Prices subject to change.

How to Avoid Business Failure

June
27, 2019

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from Scott Duffy’s book Breakthrough. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | IndieBound or click here to buy it directly from us and SAVE 60% on this book when you use code LEAD2021 through 4/10/21.Jack Welch, the legendary former CEO of General Electric, once offered a sound piece of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs. After he spoke at the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, the largest global network of its kind, somebody asked Welch what his number-one piece of advice to an entrepreneur would be.Jack’s response? “Panic faster.”Entrepreneurs are, by their very nature, positive, confident, and sure of their business. These are great qualities to have when promoting your venture, but when things don’t happen as planned and the business begins to go sideways, those same traits can work against you.Entrepreneurs can get so busy reading their own press that they don’t see what’s really happening around them and may not react to danger signs soon enough.Out of fear of the unknown, entrepreneurs sometimes freeze or pretend things aren’t happening. They put off the inevitable, not wanting to make hard decisions like letting people go or cutting expenditures. Their emotions interfere, and the result is inaction.Then, before they know it, they’re out of business and have lost everything.So, here’s some advice on how to avoid that worst-case scenario. These are some basics that can make the difference between success or failure. If you know how to deal with adversity, it won’t stand in the way of your next big breakthrough.Panic Faster Like Jack Welch said, you can’t stand around hoping for conditions to improve. When things start to go wrong in your business, drop everything and identify where your problems lie. Spend 20 percent of your time on the problem and 80 percent on the solution.Control the DialogueIt’s important, especially in small, early-stage environments, to control the message. By the time you start panicking, odds are, the rest of your team is doing the same. Remember, in their day-to-day responsibilities, your staff may be closer than you are to market conditions, sales trends, and financial matters, and may know what’s going on before you do and be more willing to believe it than you are.When problems occur, you need to get out in front of your people. Your team will be wondering three things: What’s going on? How does this affect me? Will I lose my job? You can answer those questions, but it’s just as important that you redirect their focus in a constructive direction. You need to challenge them to learn something from this experience to help turn things around, and take advantage of this situation to capture more market share.Get Everyone’s Input You have a smart team in place. Leverage that talent to help diagnose problems. Often employees have already identified the problem and come up with a solution before you’re even aware of it, but they’re just not encouraged or motivated to speak up. Team problem solving should be part of your culture. Get everyone involved, and encourage them to take ownership.Leverage Your Network Whether it’s formal or informal, you should have a board of directors, a group of mentors, a team of experienced advisors, and perhaps investors. You’ve consulted with them and asked their advice over the years because they’re good at what they do. They know young companies run into challenges. Don’t think you’re losing face by asking for advice in a difficult time. Don’t be embarrassed or afraid to admit failings. They’ve been there before, and are here to help.Experienced entrepreneurs are typically eager to lend a hand to a fellow business owner who sincerely asks for it. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is the people who are the most successful are usually the most accessible. They’re also part of a community of other successful people who’ll help each other out when necessary.Get in Front of Your Customers At times, you’ll be far more effective getting out of the office and into the market. Get on a plane and go see your customers. Learn about their business and the changes they’re facing. Perhaps they have a new need you can meet that’s a pivot from your existing product or service. Even just making your presence felt will assure your customers that you’re committed to their wants and needs.Be Transparent If your business is having problems (and even if it isn’t), it’s important to be transparent with your customers. You want to control the dialogue about any problems with your business, rather than let someone else, like a competitor, define those difficulties for you. By being upfront, you’ll create trust. You may even find your customer can help you design a solution.Cut Fast and Cut DeepIf you’re really in trouble, either with your financials or by not having the right people on board in a crisis, it may come down to trimming your team. Laying people off is one of the hardest jobs an entrepreneur has. You may not only feel you’ve failed in managing your business, but also that you’ve failed in providing for your employees. But you can’t let that paralyze you. You have a deeper responsibility to your partners, investors, family, and the rest of your employees. Sometimes you need to cut off the limb to save the patient.When you see that layoffs are inevitable, don’t delay. Furthermore, never make these cuts incremental. Small cuts will kill your business because everyone will waste their time looking over their shoulders wondering if the ax will fall on them next, instead of focusing on their work. When you have to cut, do it fast and deep. Later you can reorganize, rebuild, and start hiring again under better circumstances.Keep Your Eyes on the Horizon It’s easy to get bogged down in the trenches, to be so distracted by the bullets flying overhead that you forget to survey the battlefield and take in the big picture. Doing so will help you find the right path to take you out of this tough period.Did you enjoy your book preview? Click here to grab a copy today—now 60% off when you use code LEAD2021 through 4/10/21.

3 Stocks Near 52-Week Lows Ready to Buy

April
10, 2021

5 min read

This story originally appeared on MarketBeat

When a stock is trading close to its low of the last 12 months, it can be interpreted in one of two ways. Either it deserves to be there and has more downside, or it is oversold and has the fundamentals to stage a turnaround.
Taking the glass half full approach, we look at three mature, large cap companies that are trading near their 52-week lows. There have been times throughout their trading history that buying the dips turned out to be a good moves—and in each case the current setup doesn’t appear to be any different.
Why is Merck Stock Down?
Merck & Company (NYSE:MRK) is trading just 5% shy of its 52-week low of $71.72. The stock had rallied $20 off its March 2020 bottom to around $85 in early January only to fall back into the low $70’s. How did it get there?
Let’s just say Merck has a lot on its plate these days. The pharmaceutical giant is in the midst of reorganization which includes the ushering in of new CEO Robert Davis in June after the retirement of Ken Frazier who has been at the helm for the last 10 years.
Merck is also set to wrap up the spinoff of the Organon women’s health and biosimilars business later this quarter. The absence of this faster growth segment could certainly weigh on overall company growth and is a source of market concern.
Both events hold the potential to pull resources away from operations and could have an impact on near-term performance. Moreover, whenever a company brings in a new CEO and reshuffles its org chart, it adds an element of uncertainty as to whether the moves will bear fruit. Some investors lose patience and would rather rotate into other stocks than wait around for the story to play out.
The leadership shake-up and Organon spin-off have been distractions to the market as well. But as these issues fade, Merck should emerge as a more focused business with solid long-term growth prospects stemming from its  strong oncology portfolio. This includes its immune-oncology blockbuster Keytruda which consulting firm GlobalData has predicted will be the world’s best-selling drug by 2023.
Merck’s diabetes franchise along with its vaccine and animal health businesses should also be supportive of long-term growth. Investors that are able to see the forest from the trees have healthy upside buying Merck here. 
Is it a Good Time to Buy Verizon Stock?
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is trading about 9% above it’s 52-week low at $57. This week the stock has been under pressure after T-Mobile launched its new 5G home internet service in 49 U.S. states. The high-speed service will go for $60 a month and pit the company head-to-head against Verizon and other competitors. Rest assured, as it typically does, Verizon will probably soon throw a counterpunch that gets investors back in its corner.
This was followed by news that Verizon is recalling 2.5 million hotspot devices because of a potential fire hazard related to their lithium-ion batteries. The timing of the recall was unfortunate given how much homebound consumers are counting on mobile hotspots these days.
So, it has not been Verizon’s best week, but the good news is this too shall pass. And ultimately this price level will be looked back on as a good opportunity to have gotten in on a leading telecom behemoth whose massive, growing subscriber base will continue to generate strong revenues.
Later this month Verizon will report first-quarter results. Analysts are expecting EPS of $1.28 which would be a record performance. This should help restore the market’s faith in the company and remind it of the growth opportunity ahead in 5G infrastructure. In the meantime, investors have an opportunity to scoop up some cheap, defensive Verizon shares and enjoy the 4.4% dividend.
Is the Clorox Pullback a Buy Opportunity?
The Clorox Company (NYSE:CLX) is also less than 10% away from its 52-week low of $176.73. In hindsight, the stock was overdue for a pullback after going on a 9-month winning streak and reaching a record high of almost $240 in August 2020.
A worldwide cavalry of germophobic consumers have driven some incredible results at Clorox during the pandemic. At some point the demand for bleach, disinfectants, and laundry detergents was bound to subside and it appears the retreat from peak sales is well underway.
However, that’s not to say that Clorox won’t go on to deliver steady growth in the post-pandemic world as it has for decades. Consumers will continue to purchase Clorox’s popular cleaning and non-cleaning brands like Liquid Plumber drain un-clogger, Fresh Step kitty litter, Glad trash bags, Kingsford charcoal, Brita water filters—and yes, the seemingly out of place Hidden Valley ranch dressing.
Speaking of dips, the 20%-plus pullback from the peak appears to be a great time to buy the dip in Clorox stock. Sure, sales growth will probably continue to slow, but as far as defensive stocks go, Clorox’s diversified portfolio of leading consumer brands will make investors ‘Glad’ they own it during volatile market times.

3 Growth Stocks Displaying Market Leadership

Several standout stocks have already resumed an uptrend and are displaying incredible relative strength in the growth space, which means that savvy investors should take notice. Let’s take a look at 3 growth stocks that are displaying market leadership at this time.

Free Book Preview
Money-Smart Solopreneur

This book gives you the essential guide for easy-to-follow tips and strategies to create more financial success.

April
10, 2021

4 min read

This story originally appeared on MarketBeat

What makes a true market leader? From a fundamental perspective, companies with extraordinary earnings and sales growth that are consistently taking market share from the competition certainly fit the bill, as do businesses that are leaders in their respective industries. Another way to look at market leadership is to identify stocks in strong uptrends that might signify institutional buying from mutual funds, banks, and other sophisticated investors. 
Given the big pullback in growth stocks that occurred earlier this year, it’s been quite interesting to see which companies are bouncing back the quickest. Several standout stocks have already resumed an uptrend and are displaying incredible relative strength in the growth space, which means that savvy investors should take notice. Let’s take a look at 3 growth stocks that are displaying market leadership at this time. Shift4 Payments Inc (NYSE:FOUR) This stock has rallied over 17% in April and hit new all-time highs last week, which is worth noting since many of the most popular growth stocks are still well off of their highs. Shift4 Payments is a leading provider of integrated payment processing and technology solutions. It’s a popular name in the payments space because it offers technology that connects both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar merchants with tons of different back-end payment processors. This company’s technology is used to power over 350 software providers in a variety of industries. The stock is also a solid reopening play since many of its clients are in sectors that got hit hard by the pandemic, including restaurants and hotels. Shift4 Payments has seen a recent surge in transaction volume including its recently reported March end-to-end payment volume of $3.3 billion, up 40% from February and 82% year-over-year. It’s a unique growth stock that stands out given its recent market strength, which is a big reason why investors should have it on their shopping lists going forward. Snapchat (NYSE:SNAP) Another growth stock that has bounced back very quickly from the recent bout of market weakness is Snapchat. This is a company that has created a unique social media platform to help people communicate with short videos and images. Each one of the short videos or images captured in the application is known as a Snap, and Snapchat is constantly encouraging its users to create and contribute more content with its unique camera filters. When you think about how advertising has moved online, it’s easy to recognize the potential of a company with a big social media platform that continues to grow at a rapid pace. Snapchat has developed a loyal following, including 265 million Daily Active Users and over 5 billion snaps created every day on average. Last quarter, the company posted 20% year-over-year growth in daily active users and saw its revenue increase 62% year-over-year to $911 million. Consider the upside potential here if Snapchat finds new ways to monetize its platform or gets acquired in the coming months. The stock is up over 16% in April and is worth a look during pullbacks or periods of consolidation. Square (NYSE:SQ) It’s hard to deny that Square has been one of the market leaders in growth over the past year, which is why it’s a stock that should be one of the first options on your shopping list. Square has rallied 14% in April and is an intriguing option in the fintech space for several reasons. As a company that provides payment and point-of-sale services to merchants, Square is well-positioned to benefit from the widespread shift towards electronic payments. The company’s Cash App is also an interesting component of its business, as it offers a person-to-person payment network that helps consumers handle their financial transactions with ease. The company reported Q4 net revenue of $3.16 billion, up 141% year-over-year, and also recently announced that after one year of COVID-19 the share of cashless businesses has more than doubled. That is exactly the type of statistic that shareholders love to hear. It’s also interesting to note that Square offers investors exposure to cryptocurrency, given that the company purchased $170 million in bitcoin back in February of this year. The bottom line here is that Square is a hyper-growth company with a lot working in its favor, which is why it’s a stock that continues to be a market leader.

Investing in the auto market but worried about the chip shortage? Check this hedge

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) have been forced to cut back on production further due to the widespread chip shortage. The auto market would normally do well in an economic recovery, but the chip shortage means investors might have to get a little creative to tap into the market. Q1 2021 […]

Free Book Preview
Money-Smart Solopreneur

This book gives you the essential guide for easy-to-follow tips and strategies to create more financial success.

April
9, 2021

3 min read

This story originally appeared on ValueWalk

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) have been forced to cut back on production further due to the widespread chip shortage. The auto market would normally do well in an economic recovery, but the chip shortage means investors might have to get a little creative to tap into the market.

Q1 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more
One trader suggests CarMax, Inc (NYSE:KMX) as a potential hedge in the auto market.
More production cuts by Ford, GM
Fox Business reports that the global semiconductor shortage has forced further production cutbacks at GM’s and Ford’s factories in North America. The shutdowns are expected to take a bite out of dealer inventory of vehicles manufactured at those factories.
In a statement, GM said it has been able to keep plants that manufacture its most popular and profitable SUVs and full-size pickups going. The semiconductor shortage has been going on since last summer and has affected more than just the auto market.
For example, schools have had a hard time purchasing enough laptops for students who had to attend class online, and the release of the iPhone 12 and other popular devices was delayed. The shortage also squeezed the gaming console market, making it difficult to find the PlayStation 5 and the newest Xbox model.
Chip shortage worsens
Over the last few weeks, the chip shortage has gotten even worse, especially in the auto industry, as companies are forced to shut their factories down due to a lack of chips needed to finish building their vehicles. The issue was worsened further by the grounding of a container ship in the Suez Canal, which blocked shipping traffic for almost a week, preventing semiconductors from reaching Europe from Asia.
Consumers will likely be forced to settle for lower-end vehicles that don’t have as many electronic features. As a result, the auto industry is expected to take a major hit this year. According to Fox Business, some estimate that the industry will lose $60 billion in revenue in the first half of this year.
CarMax as a hedge in the auto market
JC O’Hara of MKM Partners told CNBC that he has a way to get exposure to the auto industry without dealing with the headwinds from the chip shortage. Despite the chip shortage, GM and Ford are up more than 40% year to date, but that could change if the shortage goes on for a long time.
O’Hara told CNBC that used car sales are “through the roof,” so he likes CarMax for its exposure to the market. CarMax is up more than 100% over the last 12 months and 36% year to date. As GM and Ford move into electric vehicles, semiconductors will be in even shorter supply, and it could take months for the shortage to be worked out.

He was rejected by various publishers because his drawings “were ugly.” Today his manga 'Attack on Titan' is one of the most popular in the world

April
9, 2021

10 min read

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

This story originally appeared on Cine Premiere

As you read these lines, a story that has gained worldwide popularity and recognition over the past decade is coming to an end. Today, with the publication of episode 139 of the Attack on Titan ( Shingeki no Kyojin ) manga, eleven years and 34 volumes of surprising twists, endearing characters and a world that raised metaphors about war, loss and freedom are closed. For a month, fans filled social networks and their favorite digital meeting places with compilation videos, cosplays , emotional messages, memes, fan arts , analyzes and collages of the most epic panels in preparation for the farewell. Mexican artist Tatería even dedicated a mural to the series that went viral online. In commemoration of this milestone, we review the origins of Hajime Isayama’s acclaimed manga and what this says about the success of a work that enters the list of the most memorable of recent times. Image: Via Cine Premiere An effective hook Much of the appeal of Attack on Titan lies in its story: an identifiable conflict and subplots that enrich the main action, a fantasy world with precise rules and solid cohesion, as well as an effective approach that begins in media res , that is, at the midpoint of the entire argument. The hook, in its debut, was simple, but with force and dramatic impact. The remnants of humanity, after being on the brink of extinction, live in a walled city that prevents the entry of the titans, human-eating humanoids who appeared out of nowhere. Peace has reigned for a hundred years, but one morning thunder shakes heaven and earth; then a titan taller than any other ever seen emerges above the wall. That threat that shakes their world, reminds humanity that lives in fear and that those walls were actually cages. “I wanted to create something short, simple and interesting when someone saw it. Making it complicated would alienate people, “says Hajime Isayama in Attack on Titan Guidebook: Inside & Outside . Thinking about how difficult it was to get people to read his lengthy first chapter, he focused on an event that would attract attention from the very first pages. Thus was born the iconic image of the Colossal Titan, seen from a low angle, looming over the wall. What are the Titans and where do they come from? How to defend yourself against such a threat? What to do with hatred after being the victim of a tragedy? These questions raised the underlying mysteries to continue. They were resolved little by little, with new questions before each answer, until the turn that revolutionized the plot to one focused on a long-standing war between two nations and its impact on the character of the characters, as well as on the motivations for their actions. Image: Via Cine Premiere An intimate story Isayama has been a diligent author with his work. Despite his withdrawn personality, he did not stop fighting for an opportunity. In 2006, when she was just 20 years old, she came to Tokyo with the dream of becoming a mangaka , although, by her own admission, she always struggled on the plane of drawing, which was one of her biggest hobbies. He thought that his work lacked the necessary quality by the standards of the medium, a self-criticism that was supported by multiple publishers. “I visited many companies. They liked my story, but they said the quality of the drawing was poor. I was going to give up because there are a lot of people who want to become manga artists. I didn’t think I could become one of the greats, ”Isayama confessed in an interview with the   BBC . When a Kōdansha editor finally expressed interest in Attack on Titan , Isayama had such low self-esteem that he thought, “What’s wrong with this guy?” The themes within the work have deep ties to his own biography and perhaps that emotional honesty facilitated identification with readers. In an interview with NHK , the author revealed that his childhood harbored feelings of inferiority with respect to his environment: so much physical, because of the mountains that surrounded Hita, the town where he grew up, that they made him wonder what lay beyond them; as social, as he often lost skills or failed to demonstrate his skills. A desire to change his way of being and thinking would motivate him to leave Ōita prefecture: “It was not ambition that drove me. I felt inferiority, a certain frustration, ”he recalls . The first conceptual influence for the manga ( via ) was Muv Luv Alternative , an adult visual novel about an alien invasion that nearly wiped out humanity. Then his bad experiences in Tokyo with drunk and angry customers in an internet cafe where he worked at dawn would be added. Isayama thought how terrifying it was to be in front of someone with whom it was impossible to communicate and that idea encouraged the creation of the Titans. In interviews for Kōdansha and Kaboom magazine in 2013, he recounted that early designs were inspired by a zombie Mona Lisa coming out of the painting to eat people in the horror manga Cloud, the Master of Hell ( Jigoku Sensei Cloud ). Later, monsters like Godzilla, Mothra and Gamera and Japanese horror cinema, would add to their influences. The grotesque and the unusual are perceived as a nodal point in the attractiveness of the work: “To draw the titans I choose expressions that cause discomfort. The expression of the titans is not suitable for every situation, for example, from when they find one to they kill him, he does not stop smiling. I chose to do it this way to produce the most unpleasant sensation possible, ”he explained. These visual references mixed with their experiences, built a world abundant in details that kept the fandom committed to the liberation story of Eren, Mikasa and Armin, outlined with dramatic undertones that strengthened its appeal. The care that the author and publisher put into the story is reaffirmed in the words of the editor Back, who stated in Attack on Titan Guidebook : “Isayama listens to every opinion before deciding. There are countless suggestions and he listens to all of them. Thus, it takes a position and builds around everyone’s proposals. Attack on Titan is not only yours, many people have influenced Kōdansha ”. That was the power of a creative story, balanced between what it showed and what it didn’t show, between depth and spectacular action, that paid off for his enthusiasm. Image: Via Cine Premiere Japanese pop culture titans The economic factor also played an important role. When something accumulates success, the cultural industries give it more exposure, translating it into greater prestige and scope. The manga debuted in September 2009 in Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine . From the beginning it had a successful reception, managing to sell almost 3.8 million copies by the end of 2011, as recorded by Oricon . In 2013, a peak of nearly 16 million copies sold earned Kōdansha its first profit increase in 18 years, ANN reported. That rebound was fueled by the premiere of the anime’s first season on NHK television in April of that year. The adaptation catapulted Attack on Titan as a worldwide phenomenon, by making its plot available to an international audience, even those who did not consume anime. Two months later, the Japanese publisher printed an additional 8 million copies to meet the demand for the, until then, 10 compiled volumes. The franchise expanded to numerous spin-offs , light novels, video games, live action films , and merchandise. Although sales have declined since then, largely due to increased digital consumption, Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine announced on Twitter in December 2019 that the manga had surpassed 100 million copies in global circulation, ranking in the Top 20 of the best-selling manga sagas of all time. His honors include the Kōdansha Award in the shōnen category in 2011 and nominations for awards such as the Manga Taishō and the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Award. “There is nothing more valuable than people being able to share emotions, which cannot be expressed in words, thanks to a story. It made us happy to feel this way together with our readers and partners through Attack on Titan . Although the series came to an end, these memories will always remain warm in our hearts. Thanks for reading us ”, wrote the Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine editorial department about the ending. Today, the end point of this story is written as successful as it is memorable. However, Shingeki no Kyojin will still live. On the one hand, in the projects that remain, such as the conclusion of the last season of its anime adaptation or in the Hollywood live action film by Warner. On the other, and more importantly, in the memory of his followers: those from the beginning, those who caught up and those who are still missing. Because good stories are known to be timeless.