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Archive for the ‘Eureka’ Category

Holiday Trends

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

Now that Halloween is over, the holiday season is underway and building momentum as many begin to prepare their gift lists. Consumers are at the ready to spend millions this holiday season. As they open their wallets to take advantage of the deals and spread holiday cheer, it is important for retailers to recognize the consumer shopping trends ruling the season of spending.

With a $630 billion season ahead, retailers are preparing their holiday season marketing plans. According to the National Retail Federation’s Holiday Consumer Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, consumers celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah and/or Kwanzaa will spend an average of $805.65 on food items, decorations, gifts and more over the holiday season. This is the highest amount seen in the survey’s 14-year history. Spending on gifts for family members will total $462.95, up from $458.75 last year and also a survey high.

Holiday shoppers are looking for options that save them money and time but still provide plenty of value. Many consumers will take advantage of the deals and discounts during the holidays on merchandise that has little or no connection with the season. For example, many consumers will be spending on new clothing for themselves or for their kids as well as updates for their home. Retailers should utilize this trend in personal spending by ensuring gift items as well as personal items are discounted.

This season, approximately 46 percent of holiday shopping will take place online. With this in mind, retailers should place these omnichannel offerings upfront both online and in stores. Mobile is the fastest growing channel for holiday shoppers, especially for browsing and buying. Additionally, 47 percent of holiday shoppers ranked free shipping and shipping promotions in the NRF survey as a key factor in deciding where to do their shopping during the holiday season. ‘Tis the season to be spending. Retailers are preparing for the 2015 holiday shopper with discounts and digital as a focus.


What is your ethos?

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Belcan, one of America’s largest engineering firms, is built on a solid foundation with a bright future. Belcan’s strength and success is attributed to their business philosophy as well as the personal convictions of Belcan founder, Ralph G. Anderson.

An education advocate and innovative thinker, Anderson was an engineer, farmer, and philanthropist. He was born in Harrodsburg, Kentucky and served in the United States Air Force during World War II. He graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering. Post graduation, Anderson served as an engineer for various companies before founding Belcan in October 1958.

Anderson’s convictions took root during his childhood and were formally delineated in a 1995 document know as, 19 Points. Ralph’s convictions are honest, genuine, and timeless. They should not only be read, but thoroughly reflected upon.

Belcan’s 19 Points

  1. If you have a problem, it’s because of how you think. And the only way that you can ever fix a problem is to change your thinking.
  2. If you have a choice between being right or being kind, always choose kind. You always have a choice.
  3. Be part of the solution, not the problem. If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.
  4. There is no stress; it is the way you process it in your mind.
  5. Trust in your intuition.
  6. Negative thoughts tear you down; positive thoughts build you up.
  7. Your opinion of me is none of my business.
  8. When you judge a person, you define yourself; you want them to be like you.
  9. When you let others people’s opinion of you bother you, you let them control you. You have no control of other people’s opinion; you have control of your character.
  10. People don’t care how smart you are until they find out how much you care.
  11. “EGO” = Edging God Out
  12. You get treated in life the way you teach people to treat you. If you fight them, they fight back; if you give love, you will receive love back.
  13. If you seek happiness for yourself, it will always elude you. If you seek happiness for others, you will always receive it.
  14. You can’t learn anything by talking.
  15. Be a leader – one who looks at the overall picture of the company, not just at part of the company.
  16. A leader doesn’t care who gets the credit.
  17. You control your thoughts, your thoughts control your emotions, therefore you control your emotions – don’t blow up.
  18. We live to be happy and to have fun. It’s all internal.
  19. This is my way — what is your way — “the” way does not exist.


Ann Keeling says:

Anderson’s 19 points deserve more than reflection – these convictions should be everyone’s convictions. Everyone, that is, who wants to be all that they can be and lead a complete, happy and successful life.

The Value of Time

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Seconds turn to minutes, minutes turn to hours, hours turn to weeks, weeks to months, months to years, years to decades and so on. For centuries man has strived to elude time, freeze time and travel back in time, without success – but it seems no matter how many memories made, leisurely books read or accomplishments checked off on one’s to do list, we are forever thirsting for more time. Time is – arguably – life’s most valuable commodity. So how can one estimate the value of time? How much is time indeed worth?

Founding Father and renowned polymath, Benjamin Franklin, famously declared, “Time is money” – a sentiment still shared by millions today. It’s true, the world runs on money, therefore, it is easy to equate ones time to a dollar value – pay per hour, salary per year, lifetime income, etc. But, chances are, if one does the math – divide your annual income by 8,760 to get a per-hour value, make the denominator 8,784 this leap year – you will be depressingly disappointed with the result.

Thus, perhaps it’s best not to measure time with money, but rather, with non-tangibles – days spent at the beach, hours spent on a favorite hobby or minutes with an elderly loved one. An unknown author appropriately breaks down and evaluates time in his/her poem, “Realize”:

“To realize the value of one year, ask a student who has failed a final exam.

To realize the value of one month, ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.

To realize that value of one week, ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.

To realize the value on one hour, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.

To realize the value of one minute; ask a person who has missed the train, bus or plane.

To realize the value of one second, ask a person who has survived an accident.

To realize the value of on millisecond, ask the person who won a silver medal in the Olympics.”

Ultimately, everyone measures time differently. Some find value in time spent making money while others value time spent with family or friends. Despite any measurement, we will never have enough time… so one must cling onto the time they are given and make the most of every second.

“Time is the measurer of all things, but is itself immeasurable, and the grand discloser of all things, but is itself undisclosed.” – Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon


Ann Keeling says:

Time is indeed money, no matter how we want to look at it. At the end of the day each person needs to find happiness in how they spend their time. If we dwell on our compensation, likely, we’ll get stuck there and never really move ahead.

The Power of a Woman

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Women have come a long way over the past fifty years – making many significant advances in the workforce, however, a huge disparity remains in the men to women ratio of entrepreneurs. With the exception of big name female powerhouses CoCo Chanel and Oprah Winfrey, examples of female entrepreneurs are few and far between – yet, women posses an abundance of insight, knowledge and strength that could greatly benefit our economy as a whole.

According to 2007 census data, women make up 85% of all consumer purchases yet only own 28.7% of businesses. This means, in most cases, a majority of businesses are owned and operated by men who are selling their goods to a female saturated consumer base. This data seems staggeringly backwards in terms of customer relations and marketing. “Women see the world in different ways than men, and they see opportunities that men might not see. Women have different problems that need solving, problems that often only other women are well equipped enough to solve. And women know how to market their businesses and products to other women in a way that makes sense,” says Ms. Kim Kiyosaki in her article The Business Case for More Women Entrepreneurs.

Not only do women entrepreneurs more adequately and wholly relate to the primary consumer, but they are also more likely to boost overall economic advancement and growth. According to Success Resources Your Learning Partners, women reinvest 90% of their earnings into their communities and families, reenergizing and quickening economic growth. Simply by narrowing the gender gap, a 20% increase in global income could be achieved by 2030 – that’s a substantial difference in just fifteen years.

Women are vital to the future growth and success of our economy. It’s time to start encouraging women to pursue leadership and entrepreneurial positions. In the words of Ms. Chanel herself, “Women have always been the strong ones of the world.”


Ann Keeling says:

Women have increased their presence in leadership roles over the last decade. There are now more women CEOs at Fortune 500 corporations than there have been in the history of business. So women have made advances, there is no question. The opportunity for more women to be entrepreneurs exists. It’s all about risk-taking – giving up the corporate salary and benefits to go it alone is super-scary. Not everyone is cut out for that kind of risk.

Brand Bomb or Intelligent Risk?

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

Curling up on the couch with a cold glass of milk in one hand and a package of Oreos in the other has long been a favorite pastime for many Americans. Since 1912 Oreos (owned by Nabisco) have been tickling consumer taste buds… and although Oreos have varied in flavor over the years, they have continue to satisfy their devourers. On July 13 a new generation of Oreo cookies hit the shelves of supermarkets, Oreo Thins­ – a thinner, more “refined” version of your everyday Oreo with fewer calories. Justly, people were confused and irritated – why mess with a good thing?

In a fiercely competitive market, brands are eager to stay one step ahead of the competition and capitalize on consumer lifestyle changes. Reinventing and extending a product is one way to remain fresh and relevant; whether that means changing something as simple as the packaging or making a significantly bolder change, like creating a line extension that stretches the brand’s equity.

In 1985 Coca-Cola took a tremendous risk by altering their long-standing signature formula… thus “new Coke” was born. The change ignited arguably one of the biggest backlashes in consumer goods history. “The company didn’t set out to create the firestorm of consumer protest that ensued; instead, The Coca-Cola Company intended to re-energize its Coca-Cola brand and the cola category in its largest market, the United States,” – The Real Story of New Coke. In response to the consumer outcry, Coca-Cola returned to its original formula just seventy-nine days after launching “new Coke”.

Although “new Coke” was perceived as a major bust, Coca-Cola sales skyrocketed with the return of the original formula. Their intelligent risk regenerated consumer interest and cemented Coca-Cola’s place as America’s favorite soda. So perhaps Nabisco is onto something with the creation of Oreos Thins. Luckily for Oreo enthusiasts, traditional Oreos will remain on supermarket shelves next to their new-skinnier counterparts.


Ann Keeling says:

A legendary brand like Oreo has to be extremely thoughtful when thinking about any changes or line extensions. Some flavor introductions, like chocolate and peanut butter make a ton of sense and their customers embrace the new options. Even though the brand has good intentions with the thinner/lighter version of the celebrated cookie, time will tell as to if it’s a success. Likely you’ll see it fade into the background and eventually disappear in favor of the classic.