Independent ad network InMobi is touting a new solution for developers to take advantage of gamers’ emotional states to produce high click-through rates on advertisements in their games. Along with tools for …
iPhone 15 leaks have revealed many of the phone’s biggest upgrades. Now a new report claims Apple will equip models with Wi-Fi 6E, described as “the most disruptive boon for Wi-Fi …
Rising prices, high inflationary pressures, and an uncertain economic environment are forcing many retailers to be creative and introduce new private brands to serve their customers. While private label brands have …
Rising prices, high inflationary pressures, and an uncertain economic environment are forcing many retailers to be creative and introduce new private brands to serve their customers. While private label brands have been around for a long time, we now see growing interest in them. Many of the new labels are well designed, made with quality fabrics, and attractively priced. They sell well.
While this report will not review every new private label that has been introduced recently, there are plenty of stores that can point with pride to some new product introductions. My list includes Walmart
1. Walmart. The company launched Love & Sports, an active and athletic-leisure label which was designed by fashion designer Michelle Smith and indoor cycling instructor Stacey Griffith of SoulCycle fame. Love & Sports includes active wear, swimwear, seamless sports bras, nylon jackets, and much more. The line clearly is on target for today’s active lifestyles.
2. JCPenney. Everyday Marilyn is a capsule collection inspired by Marilyn Monroe’s off-screen wardrobe in sizes xS-3x. It will be in 300 stores and available on jcp.com. It will include capri pants, shirting, and full-skirted dresses. Styled by a JCPenney team under Val Harris, JCPenney’s SVP of product design, trend, and brand management, it tries to recall nostalgic times. “Marilyn’s fashion legacy continues to influence today’s styles,” says Dana Carpenter, EVP at Authentic Brands Group. It is inspired by Marilyn Monroe’s effortless styles and fashion legacy, offering a feminine silhouette and polished looks reminiscent of the off-screen
3. Macy’s. This giant retailer has long had a number of billion-dollar private brands including INC, Style & Co., Charter Club, and Alfani. The All in Motion athletic brand that was introduced during the pandemic achieved the $1 billion sales goal in just four months. Perhaps it helped that many customers wanted to get outdoors after being locked up for so long.
4. Meijer. This grocery chain introduced Tranquil & True, a line of intimate apparel and sleepwear for women. It’s like everybody sees the advantage of offering attractive merchandise at reasonable prices.
5. Kohl’s. Activewear is a top priority at Kohl’s as the company tries to go from 20% of company sales to 30% in this important classification for women, men, and children. FLX was introduced earlier this year and offers an assortment to appeal to men, women, and young people.
6. The Bay. The Canadian company is launching Hudson North, an assortment for women and men which includes dresses, shorts, tops, denim, loungewear, and knits. 200 items are included. Emphasis will be on quality and functionality. Laura Janney, chief merchant at The Bay, feels that many of the items will become “go to” items.
POSTSCRIPT: Department stores have often had private labels in their assortments. These products gave them some exclusivity as well as some price flexibility. Some companies used the private label products at reduced prices during special sale periods, while other companies tried to boost their quality image by never reducing a private brand’s price. These days it is likely that every private brand will be reduced for Anniversary sales, Thanksgiving events, etc. This is a time of stress, and retailers will use every means to attract customers.
U.K. grocery giant Morrisons has won the battle for control of bankruptcy-threatened McColl’s Retail Group, one of Britain’s biggest convenience store chains, defeating rival Asda. Yesterday evening’s move prevents Morrisons from …
U.K. grocery giant Morrisons has won the battle for control of bankruptcy-threatened McColl’s Retail Group, one of Britain’s biggest convenience store chains, defeating rival Asda.
Yesterday evening’s move prevents Morrisons from losing its foothold in the hugely lucrative convenience store market – currently dominated by Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Co-op – and leaves the formerly Walmart-owned Asda lagging far behind.
On top of that, the deal comes less than a year after Morrisons itself was bought for $8.7 billion by U.S. private equity company Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R).
The supermarket giant saw off late competition from EG Group, the gas station operator, with an offer that will see all of McColl’s stores and its 16,000-strong workforce safeguarded.
The deal will be structured as a pre-pack administration, meaning Morrisons is buying McColl’s immediately after it entered insolvency proceedings, overseen by administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
While in making its initial bid earlier last week, Morrisons made clear that it saw no reason for the convenience store company to declare itself insolvent, with McColl’s on the brink of collapse, PwC is understood to have believed there was not enough time to finalize a solvent transaction.
Morrisons To Keep McColl’s Staff And Stores
Morrisons’ commitments to the future of McColl’s include retaining all 1,100 stores and its full workforce, as well as honouring all of its outstanding pension obligations, which would see creditors repaid immediately in full, meeting their principal demand.
Morrisons’ status as a major creditor of McColl’s is also understood to have been influential in the final decision.
The outcome follows a fierce battle over the future of a company which has seen its shares in freefall, having plummeted from a valuation of $247 million to become almost worthless.
The deal also represents a sudden change of direction. Last Friday evening, EG Group appeared to have taken pole position for a takeover of McColl’s, although its position regarding the company’s two pension schemes had begun to attract political scrutiny.
Meanwhile, McColl’s lenders rejected a solvent rescue offer from Morrisons on Friday that would have involved them rolling over more than $124 million of debt into the supermarket chain, with the backstop of being repaid in full as the loans expired. The lenders, which include banks Barclays, HSBC
Morrisons And McColl’s Partnership
“All McColl’s colleagues will be transferred with the McColl’s business to Morrisons,” the supermarket said in a statement on Monday.
Morrisons chief executive David Potts said: “Although we are disappointed that the business was put into administration, we believe this is a good outcome for McColl’s and all its stakeholders. This transaction offers stability and continuity for the McColl’s business and, in particular, a better outcome for its colleagues and pensioners.
“We all look forward to welcoming many new colleagues into the Morrisons business and to building on the proven strength of the Morrisons Daily format.”
McColl’s Retail Group has been an important partner for Morrisons, operating 270 smaller shops under the Morrisons Daily brand, plus McColl’s (convenience stores), Martin’s (newsagents and ‘pound shops’) and RS McColl in Scotland.
The pandemic struck at a time when the company was transitioning from a typical convenience offer, providing more fresh fruit through its alliance with Morrisons, while it raised $37 million from shareholders in a cash call just eight months ago.
Its administration makes it the largest insolvency in the U.K. retail sector by size of workforce since Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group in 2020. Since then, both Debenhams, which employed about 12,000 people, and Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group, which had a workforce of roughly 13,000, have also disappeared.
Back in March, JungleCents co-founders Sameer Mehta and Nadir Hyder sold their startup’s assets to its primary investor, Mark Cuban, and announced a new venture: A lifestyle company called 12Society. The …
Back in March, JungleCents co-founders Sameer Mehta and Nadir Hyder sold their startup’s assets to its primary investor, Mark Cuban, and announced a new venture: A lifestyle company called 12Society. The most important lesson the co-founders learned from JungleCents, they said at the time, was that the key to great marketing and high conversion rates is “smart, editorial-driven content.”
Makes sense. Yet, when they announced that San Francisco Giants star pitcher Tim Lincecum was joining 12Society as a co-founder and that other celebrities and star athletes would soon follow, another lesson emerged. The (real) best way to ensure engagement and conversion? Convince big-time influencers to become the voices and brands behind your content. Brands will salivate.
12Society has been in stealth mode since March and has quietly built a star studded roster of co-founders, one that now includes LA Clippers Rookie Of The Year Blake Griffin, actor/comedian Nick Cannon, Tim Lincecum, former New York Giant Michael Strahan, Minnesota Timberwolves All Star Kevin Love, and rapper/actor superstar Nas.
Today, the startup is officially pulling back the curtain, launching an online lifestyle platform and product subscription service that aims to create a better way for brands to engage with the 18- to 35-year-old male demographic and get them talking about and sharing their products.
As to how it’s going to work: 12Society gives subscribers access to the lifestyles of these ballers for $39/month in the form of a box in the mail, containing four to six “premium products from tech, fashion, apparel, and athletics” — all of which have been “hand-picked” by the co-founders, or the “style board” as they’re being called.
Beyond this monthly care package of bro bait, 12Society will be leaning hard on its blog, where the co-founders have agreed to provide an inside and honest look at what “propels, inspires and engages them.”
In the big picture, when it comes to the “box of the month” model, 12Society has plenty of competition in the men’s department. There’s Bespoke Post and the design-focused Quarterly, and umpteen more.
Obviously, 12society has a different tack, but they’re similar in that each is attempting to bring users inspiring items from people they care about. It’s a good idea, and one that works, but, as always, the proof is in the pudding. It’s nice to think that we’ll get a real, honest look inside an athlete’s life, what motivates and inspires them.
But these are busy guys, and the opportunity for fluff is high. If they spend time creating their blog posts, etc., the more time guys like me will follow along and engage. But the 18 to 35-year-old demographic is highly sensitive to shilling. Yes, we secretly want to emulate our heroes, but that doesn’t mean I want to buy the brand of soft drink they like. Most guys (I hope) could give two *bleeps* about that, hence the swing-and-miss nature of 99 percent of modern advertising.
The JungleCents co-founders understand this, as do the co-founders. As long as they understand that by saying that 12society is introducing a new way for brands to gain attraction for fans, that really this is an old model, and that it’s a slippery slope, then 12society is going to be as big as the co-founders backing it.
I mean, collectively, the six co-founders have millions of Twitter followers and Facebook fans. That’s social reach that anyone and everyone would kill to be able to leverage to promote just about everything.
12society may not be an earth shatteringly disruptive model, but I’m still eager to see what the team produces. It will be interesting to watch.
The startup is currently backed by Groupon co-founders (and Lightbank founding partners) Eric Lefkofsky, Brad Keywell and Paul Lee (who is only a co-founder of the latter, by the way) as well as Diego Berdakin, the co-founder of venture-backed social commerce startup, BeachMint.
Truth be told, I’m not the greatest fan of World Password Day. Such whimsical labels for one day of the year tend not to make much difference to the overall awareness …
Truth be told, I’m not the greatest fan of World Password Day. Such whimsical labels for one day of the year tend not to make much difference to the overall awareness of important security issues for most users, it seems to me. However, I’ll make an exception for 2022 as three technology behemoths used the focus of password day to announce a stunning security pact. Ironically, a pact that could see passwords phased out in day-to-day use for millions of people. Here’s what Apple, Google and Microsoft announced and why it matters.
Getting rid of password friction to strengthen security
Anyone who has ever read my articles or watched the Forbes Straight Talking Cyber video series will know that I’m not a massive fan of passwords. Or, rather, of the fact that they tend to encourage poor security hygiene amongst users. Easy to remember and easy to guess, passwords are the order of the day for so many and, to make matters even worse, they are then used across multiple accounts, sites and services. I’ve always been evangelistic about the use of password managers but even these applications that make password usage less complicated at the same time as strengthening security are too much hassle for the majority. For better security measures to gain leverage with the average user they need to create as little friction as possible, to be so easy to use that you hardly notice they are there. Which is why I’m also a fan of ‘passwordless’ systems and so enthusiastic about the stunning security pact between Apple, Google and Microsoft for 2022 and beyond.
Stunning security pact between Apple, Google and Microsoft revealed
So, what have Apple, Google and Microsoft announced? In short, the three tech giants have agreed to a joint effort committing to “extend support for a common passwordless sign-in standard.” What does that mean? Well, let’s start with what it doesn’t mean and that’s any immediate changes as these will likely roll out in the coming months and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we are talking more towards year-end before we see this vision of a passwordless future become something of a reality across all three vendor platforms. What it does mean though is a commitment to the FIDO (Fast ID Online) Alliance standards using mobile devices instead of passwords to authenticate apps and websites and do so cross-platform. This is important because you will be able to login to a site or service on your ‘in-range’ computer just by looking at your phone, scanning your fingerprint, or entering a PIN.
More straightforward, stronger, cross-platform authentication for all
In this scenario, the smartphone acts as a secure passkey store. Using, for example, biometrics to access that key provides something you are (face or fingerprint scan) or something you know (a PIN) plus something you have (the smartphone) in one single, simple action. As I’ve already pointed out, improving security requires user acceptance, which means solutions must be as frictionless as possible. This ticks that box. If you are already used to Face ID on your iPhone, Windows Hello on your computer, and Microsoft Authenticator or Google prompts for two-factor smartphone authentication, you’ll appreciate how simple this is. The latter already shows how this cross-platform passwordless technology will work: you want to access a site or service using a Google Chrome browser on a Windows PC, and you can do so just by confirming a prompt that pops up on your iPhone. How cool and convenient is that?
Easier security, more robust security
While there is some mileage in the argument that putting all your authentication eggs in one basket, a smartphone-shaped basket, it is actually more secure than it sounds. At least for most people, most of the time. For a threat actor to access your accounts or services, they need to have physical access to your device and your face/fingerprints or PIN. This is not impossible by any means, nobody would suggest it is, and there’s also an argument to be made about this making access for law enforcement easier in certain circumstances. However, when talking about the average user, someone who likely isn’t using the strongest of passwords but is statistically likely to be reusing them across sites and services, it’s a big step forward as far as secure authentication is concerned in my never humble opinion.
What do the experts say about this stunning security pact?
Jen Easterly, director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency CISA: “The standards developed by the FIDO Alliance and World Wide Web Consortium and being led in practice by these innovative companies is the type of forward-leaning thinking that will ultimately keep the American people safer online. I applaud the commitment of our private sector partners to open standards that add flexibility for the service providers and a better user experience for customers.”
Jake Moore, global cyber security advisor at ESET: “It is encouraging that Microsoft, Google, and Apple are attempting to pave the way to make account access secure as well as convenient. This isn’t something that can be achieved overnight, but it highlights that more needs to be done when it comes to password security. Cybercriminals will inevitably attempt to circumnavigate by looking for ways to exploit this method as nothing remains hackproof, but like with any early adoption of new technology, this is a great start and we are likely to see a decent version of this in the near future.”
Companies with high debt lived in a sort of paradise in 2019-2021. With interest rates extraordinarily low, their debt burden didn’t hurt. Now it looks as if it was a fool’s …
Companies with high debt lived in a sort of paradise in 2019-2021. With interest rates extraordinarily low, their debt burden didn’t hurt. Now it looks as if it was a fool’s paradise. Interest rates are rising, and the debt burden is beginning to bite.
I relish low-debt companies. They have little risk of bankruptcy and they enjoy strategic flexibility. They won’t need to sell a promising division to raise cash. If they ever need to borrow, the rate they pay should be reasonable.
The average company today has debt equal to about 60% of stockholders’ equity (corporate net worth). In today’s column, I highlight five companies with debt of 10% of equity or less.
Gilead’s best-selling drugs are for the prevention and treatment of HIV infections. Veklury, for the treatment of Covid-19, also made a significant contribution to revenue last year. Its product line is diverse, and there are several potential cancer drugs in its pipeline. The stock sells for 17 times recent earnings, but less than 10 times the earnings analysts expect for the year ahead.
Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Moderna (MRNA) burst into prominence when it developed one of the two leading vaccines for Covid-19. The company’s revenue was less than $1 billion through 2020, the jumped to $18.4 billion in 2021. For the past four quarters, it’s $22.6 billion.
Investors expect the stage coach to turn into a pumpkin when the pandemic fades. That’s why Moderna shares fetch a mere four times recent earnings. Their fears could be right, but I think the research prowess Moderna displayed in developing its Spikevax Covid-19 vaccine will lead to other big hits.
As a speculation, Alpha & Omega Semiconductor Ltd. (AOSL) interests me. Based in Sunnyvale, California, this chipmaker has a market value of just over $1 billion, making it (just barely) a mid-capitalization stock.
Its profit history is spotty. It went public in 2010. Since then it’s had two years I’d consider great, one year I’d consider good, four loss years, and five years I’d consider mediocre. The company’s return on invested capital has been good (about 13%) in the past four quarters. It has bought down its debt to 4% of stockholders’ equity. Wall Street mostly ignores the company. Only four analysts publish opinions; three of those rate the stock a buy.
Another company with an unimpressive history but good results recently is Intrepid Potash (IPI). Russia and Ukraine have historically been big producers and exporters of fertilizer. With the two at war and Russia under sanctions, that’s unlikely to be true in the near future.
Intrepid Potash is far smaller than these, and riskier, but I like it that the stock is cheap (less than four times earnings) and the company is debt-free.
If the acquisition is consummated, that would be a 7.7% arbitrage profit. If it happens within six months, it’s 15% annualized. If the deal doesn’t go through, I’d still be happy to own Sanderson, which I’ve owned several times in the past.
I’ve written 19 columns about stocks with low debt. The average 12-month return on my picks has been 27.1%, which compares very favorably with 10.7% for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Total Return Index. Fifteen of my 19 columns have shown a profit, and 13 have beaten the S&P 500.
Bear in mind that my column results are hypothetical and shouldn’t be confused with results I obtain for clients. Also, past performance doesn’t predict the future.
My column from a year ago was one of the four that showed a loss. All four of my picks declined, with the booby prize going to Logitech International SA (LOGI), down 44%. Also in the red were T. Rowe Price Group (TROW), Sturm Ruger (RGGR) and Bio-Rad Laboratories
Disclosure: I own Moderna and Sanderson Farms personally, and in a hedge fund I run. (In the hedge fund, the Moderna position is in the form of call options.)
Why Tech Investors Love the SaaS Business Model Investors love businesses that have a reputation for minting cash. And as far as tech companies go, the Software as a Service …
Why Tech Investors Love the SaaS Business Model
Investors love businesses that have a reputation for minting cash.
And as far as tech companies go, the Software as a Service (SaaS) model is as good as it gets. It provides predictable, quantifiable, and fast-growing revenue for any company that can execute correctly – and everyone from venture capitalists (like Marc Andreessen) to asset managers (like Blackrock) love investing in companies with these traits.
Today’s infographic from TIMIA Capital explains why this is the case.
What is SaaS?
Unlike in years past when software was bought in a physical form at a store, much of today’s software runs right off the cloud.
This is made possible by ubiquitous broadband access and powerful computers – and SaaS allows users to consume software in a different way:
- Customers connect to the software online
- Customers are charged on an ongoing subscription basis for access
- The latest version of the software is automatically provided to the user
SaaS has immeasurable benefits over traditional software distribution models.
- It can be used everywhere, including on mobile
- It has easy integration with plug-ins or add-ons
- There is no overhead, packaging, or distribution costs
- It limits piracy
- It has a flexible and clear licensing model
- Software is always up-to-date
- User data can be collected and new features can be tested easily
While the benefits of SaaS to the end user are plenty, it has even more interesting properties as an investment.
Instead of relying on one-time transactions or upfront fees, SaaS is built around smaller, subscription-based transactions that recur each month or year.
Recurring revenue makes SaaS extremely predictable, measurable, and built to scale.
Unlike some other types of startups, measuring performance in SaaS is heavily focused on growing important metrics like LTV (lifetime value) or MRR (monthly recurring revenue), while minimizing CAC (customer acquisition costs) and churn (the rate at which customers stop buying the product).
As a result of the inherent attributes of the SaaS model, the industry has been exploding with growth. The BVP Cloud Index, which tracks 56 publicly traded cloud companies, is up 396% since 2011. That easily beats out benchmarks like the Nasdaq, S&P 500, and DJIA by triple digits.
Other Reasons to Love SaaS
Aside from performance, here are a few last reasons that elite investors love SaaS:
Costs go down: As SaaS businesses scale, the cost of servicing each customer goes down. In the long run, this helps lead to a growing, predictable cash flow.
Buyouts: It’s common for SaaS businesses to get gobbled up by the bigger fish in the pond, which often offers investors a premium on the current stock price.
Low Barriers: The SaaS model has erased barriers to entry for software, allowing new entrepreneurs to enter the fold in almost every niche possible. This creates a wide array of new opportunities for investors, as well.
OK, it’s crunch time: Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 12, which means your online-gift-ordering window is closing rapidly. Indeed, if Mom lives far away and you’re hoping to have …
OK, it’s crunch time: Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 12, which means your online-gift-ordering window is closing rapidly. Indeed, if Mom lives far away and you’re hoping to have something delivered, it’s time to act.
Fortunately, at least a few stores are positioned to help last-minute shoppers. Walmart, for example, offers free two-day shipping on orders of $35 or more, and there’s always the in-store pickup option as well. Amazon Prime subscribers can get two-day shipping on most items — possibly even one-day shipping, which would theoretically give you until Friday to pick a gift.
Indeed, you might want to head straight to Amazon’s Mother’s Day gift shop if you prefer to shop by category.
Need a little more help? Below I’ve rounded up some great gift ideas that, as of today, you still have time to get. They’re not necessarily the most affordable options — for that, see this collection — but they’re all guaranteed to arrive by Sunday.
Chocolate-covered strawberries (save 20%)
I mean, you can’t go wrong with a classic. Harry & David offers overnight shipping (at the same price as regular shipping) on chocolate-covered strawberries and various other goodies, and through May 8 you can get 20% off any order with promo code 20LESS.
Shiatsu Foot Massager: $79.99
If anyone needs a foot massage, it’s Mom. This model kneads and rolls feet and ankles, offering four different programs and three massage modes. It even includes a remote.
Levoit Kyra Himalayan Salt Lamp: $13 (save $9) with promo code JV52C7EF
I can’t say I get the whole salt-lamp craze, especially this pseudo-science about ‘negative ions’ and improving your sleep. That said, they look cool and emit a soft, pretty glow.
This one consists of a 5- to 8-pound hunk of salt atop a 15-watt bulb (with two spares included in the box). There’s a touch-powered dimmer switch embedded in the power cord. Some 900 buyers collectively rated this 4.6 stars out of 5, so I think it’s a pretty safe bet Mom will like it.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite: $90 (save $40)
For the mom who loves to read, a distraction-free Kindle is hard to beat. This 2018 version is darn near perfect, and at $40 off it’s tied with its lowest price ever.
Apple Watch Series 3: $199 (save $80)
At $199, the Apple Watch Series 3 still isn’t what I’d call cheap — but it’s $80 off the regular price and without question the best iPhone-compatible smartwatch.
The white sport-band goes with everything, but you can make this gift even more fun with some colorful replacements, like this three-pack for $14. While you’re at it, look at all the other inexpensive Apple Watch accessories you can get.
Facebook Portal: $99 (save $100)
Don’t just call Mom to say hi — video-call her! It’s the 21st century, after all.
That option has rarely been cheaper now that the Facebook Portal is on sale for $99. It’s not only a dedicated video-call machine, but also a voice-powered smart assistant, able to play music, show videos, even run a slideshow of family photos. Even if you don’t have a Portal of your own, you can call Mom (and vice versa) via Facebook Messenger.
There exists a customer relationship management application called Rinsed. It’s aptly named. Rinsed is a CRM for car wash operators. Wait…a CRM for car washes? Can you believe that? You would …
There exists a customer relationship management application called Rinsed. It’s aptly named. Rinsed is a CRM for car wash operators. Wait…a CRM for car washes? Can you believe that?
You would think that such a niche product would have a hard time getting financing. Turns out this is not such a niche. The car wash market size is about $15 billion, which is why Rinsed was able to not only grab an initial $3 million seed round, but also close last week on a $12 million a Series A venture capital deal.
So what’s so special about Rinsed?
According to the company, Rinsed helps car washes of all sizes “delight their customers and grow their subscription revenue.” It manages all your customer interactions in a single place, from customer support tickets, to outbound email and text marketing. It helps “retain more customers, and grow membership revenue.”
When clients ask me about vertical – or industry specific – CRMs I generally poo-poo the idea. For me, a CRM is all about people and if you’re doing business with people than any mainstream application, with a little customization should usually be fine. I’m also wary about niche players because they oftentimes lack the resources, community and support infrastructure of their bigger competitors.
But reading about Rinsed has changed my mind a bit. Why? Because I must admit, if I were operating a car wash, I would probably want a CRM for car washes. Yes, a mainstream app could be configured to do that. But a vertical application like Rinsed seems like a better, easier choice and for a few reasons.
For starters it comes out of the box with an ecommerce platform already configured for a car wash and enabled to handle online checkouts as well as track both visits and conversions and support credit card payments. Just as importantly it automatically integrates with many of the popular point-of-sale systems used by car washes and is configured to setup memberships and subscriptions, which has become a critical revenue model for the industry. And, of course, it comes with analytics and reports specific to the industry.
“We are empowering operators with best-in-class subscription management tools built specifically for the needs of the car wash industry,” Austin Esecson, the company’s CEO and co-founder said in a press release. “As the car wash market shifts to a subscription model, the problems faced by operators now extend beyond the driveway to encompass every interaction the wash has with its customers and subscribers.”
Can all of this be done with a Salesforce, Zoho, Dynamics or other mainstream CRMs? Yes. But it would take some customization, perhaps a little development and certainly integrations with other third-party products. That means more time and money…and ongoing maintenance. But then again, the chances of one of those companies folding up and going away are pretty remote. That’s a pretty big deal, particularly if you’re a smaller operator who relies heavily on its CRM as a core business application.
Which means that if you decide to run your car wash on a platform like Rinsed, you’re also taking a risk of whether or not Rinsed will continue to be around for a while. But this hasn’t stopped the more than 300 car washes that the company says are its customers. And one thing’s for sure: when you partner with a niche CRM provider you’ll certainly have more of an influence on its future development plans.
So should you go with an industry-specific CRM like Rinsed? In the end, you’ll need to look beyond just its features and functionality. You’re making an investment and starting a partnership. You’ll need to decide whether or not you believe in the company’s model and trust both the leaders and the investors of the CRM platform that will be so significantly important for your business. Rinsed’s VC investors certainly trust them.
“The Rinsed team combines deep car wash expertise with experience building scalable technology products,” Eric Stromberg, co-founder and Managing Partner of Bedrock Capital. “We first invested in 2020 shortly after the company was started. Given the speed of execution and rapid growth since, we are thrilled to double down and lead the Series A.”
Bedrock Capital did their due diligence. Before taking a shot at a niche provider, do yours too.
By Richard Eisenberg, Next Avenue Kerry Hannon has written for Next Avenue about work and personal finances since the site was founded in 2012. The journalist, 61, recently became a Yahoo! …
By Richard Eisenberg, Next Avenue
Kerry Hannon has written for Next Avenue about work and personal finances since the site was founded in 2012. The journalist, 61, recently became a Yahoo! senior columnist; launched “The Second Act Show,” a biweekly streaming livecast with career coach John Tarnoff; and published a book, appropriately called “In Control at 50 Plus: How to Succeed in the New World of Work.”
I recently chatted with Kerry, a longtime friend and colleague, to hear how and why older adults can take control in the new world of work, whether she thinks the hot job market has reduced age discrimination and to share lessons she learned after not getting another job recently.
Following are some highlights from our conversation:
Richard Eisenberg: Why did you call the book ‘In Control at 50 Plus?‘
Kerry Hannon: Often, we get to this stage in our lives, and we feel like we’ve lost control of our careers. And this is a time, especially coming out of the pandemic with all the workplace changes, that we have to step it up.
When you talk about the word career, some people might think that‘s for younger people. Tell me why that’s not true.
The word ‘career’ is very loaded, right? I think of it as a path, and the path twists and turns. So, it’s not necessarily moving toward something I’m going to do in thirty years. A career is just your body of work.
It’s important to embrace your career. That’s not just putting one foot in front of the other to get to the finish line, but to keep pushing that finish line back. Because that’s what excites us.
If you’re fifty or fifty-five, you could easily have twenty-five more years [of work] ahead of you if you choose to.
Your book has a chapter called ‘Older Workers Rock.‘ Tell me why older workers rock.
We bring to the job this sense of stability, of loyalty, of being able to roll with the punches. This sense that an experienced worker brings of ‘I’ve seen this, we’re going to get through it.’ There’s this emotional and workplace intelligence we bring with us. We have the ability to work with people of different ages, because we’ve had to do that over the years.
You write about ‘the new world of work.’ What do you mean by that?
Many of these trends had started prior to the pandemic, but the pandemic has accelerated them.
For instance, career transitions used to be just for outliers over fifty, but they’re now part of the mainstream. People are saying: ‘I’m going to redeploy my skills in a new direction.’
Entrepreneurship for older workers really lit up in the last two years. Workers who were laid off or took early retirement and want to get back in are saying, ‘I think this is my time to really try something new.’ We’re talking microbusinesses — side hustles that grow into something a little bit more.
Another big thing is online education, which has really changed reskilling, upskilling and making yourself a viable candidate to work in a new industry, to get a promotion or to move ahead in your work. There are so many new offerings online that sprung up during the pandemic.
Why is remote work such an important and enduring workplace change for people fifty-plus?
I think it’s huge for fighting ageism because having the opportunity to work remotely allows you to keep from being judged based on your age. You are being judged on your performance and your productivity in a way that maybe doesn’t happen when you’re in the physical workplace.
Plus, if you have any health issues that make commuting difficult or for the workplace to be set up appropriately for you, being able to work remotely offers a whole window of opportunities.
There is a lot more contract work these days, where people get a job for a specific number of weeks or months. Is that good for older workers?
It’s not necessarily a great trend for older workers. Part-time contract work is fantastic, and it keeps your resumé alive, but if you are still looking for health benefits or employer-provided retirement accounts, this is a dangerous place to go.
So, if you will be putting together a patchwork of part-time things, sit down with your accountant to figure out how to save for retirement and set yourself up for success.
With the hot labor market, I’m seeing signs that some employers are more willing to hire and keep people over fifty than before. Are you?
I’m seeing that to a certain extent. Some older people are coming back into the workplace.
But many employers used the pandemic to get rid of some of their older workers and they may not be offering them those opportunities. I think the challenges are there for older workers as much as they have ever been.
The fact is: You have to go that extra step and stand out even more than a younger worker might to show an employer why you can make a difference in their company.
How should people look for work wisely these days?
See what jobs are open on employers’ websites, and then go to LinkedIn and say to yourself, ‘Who the heck do I know that works there?’ You still need that personal introduction to get in the door.
Chances are, you’re not going to get a job from a job board posting. It’s very hard to get through some of those computerized screeners. But if you can get someone to march your resumé down to the person in charge, you have a better chance.
Some workforce analysts think this trend of employers hiring and keeping older workers will continue for a while because there aren’t going to be enough younger workers. Others think that as soon as the job market cools down, we‘ll go back to the age discrimination we were seeing before. What do you think?
I think if you’re there and keep raising your hand for new duties or showing that you’re engaged in your work, they’re going to keep you.
So, is age discrimination by employers over?
Ageism is more of a subject being discussed publicly. I think the more awareness we bring to it, the more opportunity there will be for older workers.
Your book has a section specifically for women over fifty. What do you think they need to know and what should they be doing that might be different than what you would tell men?
If you stepped out of the workplace for caregiving, you need to be able to explain that in a way to show that ‘No, I didn’t lose track of my work path. These are the skills I was honing during that time.’
And there’s the pay issue. We must work three times as hard as men to make sure we are being valued in the workplace.
For older women looking for jobs, find out what those jobs are paying. Go to websites like Glassdoor and PayScale that give you an idea. And reach out to everyone you know at employers you’re considering to get a feel for what a certain position is paying.
How the Job Market Has — and Has Not — Changed
What are some of the biggest changes in the job hunt compared to doing it twenty or thirty years ago? What should people be doing differently than the last time they looked for a job?
Don’t just write down your previous job titles in your resumé. Include the duties you had and what you accomplished — the projects you brought in ahead of time and the quantifiable effects that you had in your jobs. It’s a deeper dive of your accomplishments that you didn’t need to do previously.
Also, don’t put all your years of experience on your resumé. Keep it to the last ten years; keep it tight.
Should job seekers do more research about the employer than they might have done in the past? It’s easier to do that now.
Absolutely. Your ability to seamlessly do this kind of research online has really ramped up. It’s not hard to find out a lot of the current things in a Google
What’s your advice for somebody thinking about starting a business?
Take it slowly. Do your research on what it is you want to do and how you are going to make a difference. Then, talk to people in that field. Most people are flattered to be asked for their advice.
If you can first volunteer or moonlight at that particular job, you will get a sense of whether it’s really as dreamy as you expect it might be. And you need to be financially set up, because as an entrepreneur, you’re probably not going to pay yourself initially. Or if you do, it’s not going to be anywhere near what you made when you were with a full-time employer.
Be honest with yourself about how much time and money you have to put into this venture.
The final thing I would say is once you start your business, don’t be afraid to delegate. In the new world of work, you can find people who want to work as virtual contractors — your virtual assistant, your virtual bookkeeper, whatever it might be.
Employers Want to Know: What Can You Do for Me?
There’s a section of your book that was very different than what you’ve written before, because it was very personal. You talked about how you were asked to apply for a job recently and then didn’t get it. Can you talk about that experience and what other people can learn from it?
When I got into the interview process for it, I found myself breaking the rule I tell everyone: Don’t go back to ‘in my day’ or ‘way back when.’ I realized that I was harking back to jobs I had twenty years ago and needed to push myself to stay present in what I could do today.
And I focused too much on doing my song and dance about me, about ‘Aren’t I wonderful?’ In retrospect, I spent a lot of time talking about myself and bragging about my abilities without focusing on what the companywanted.
What they wanted to know was how I could solve their problem. I was focusing too much on Kerry and Kerry’s ambitions.
It’s important to remember when job hunting that it is always about them. That was a good lesson for me to learn. They ended up hiring somebody younger, who would work in house and who didn’t want to be a remote worker.