March 12, 2015

These days, any office must have a unified communications system in place in order to compete. Years ago this could have been accomplished by installing a series of linked landline phones with conference call capabilities. Now, however, services like Google Voice allow users to ditch their landlines and receive calls directly on their smartphones. Companies currently spend as much as $75 billion per year on Internet voice systems. This figure is expected to increase as disruptive startups take unified communications Continue reading

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March 6, 2015

 

In 2013 CEO compensation at the nation’s largest companies grew to 204 times higher than the salary of the average worker, a 20 percent increase since 2009. But the enormous wages paid to American executives is far from the only financial perk they receive. Along with inflated salaries, CEOs also enjoy lucrative retirement plans that can see them net tens of millions at the end of their careers.

For instance, Gregg Steinhafel recently stepped down as CEO of Target Continue reading

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February 19, 2015

Even though Rockstar wasn’t the first energy drink to hit the market, it didn’t take long for the brand to make a big impact in a crowded field. Consumers quickly responded to Rockstar’s affordable price and large serving size, which set the brand apart from more exclusive products like Red Bull. During its first six years, revenue at Rockstar soared as high as $405 million while it grew at an average annual rate of 103 percent.

By 2007, however, the Continue reading

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January 11, 2015

For decades the brand name Timberland has been synonymous with rugged outdoor footwear. At least, that’s how some people see the iconic boot company. If you’re a hip hop fan, you may associate “Timbs” with the dozens of rappers who have name-dropped the brand over the years. And if you happen to be Italian, you’re more likely to wear Timberland boots for a fashionable stroll about town, not a long hike in the woods.

All these overlapping interpretations of Timberland’s Continue reading

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January 7, 2015

For decades it seemed like nothing could stop McDonald’s march towards total fast food domination. By the time 2011 rolled around, the company was boasting eight consecutive years of same-store sales growth while also holding the title of top performing stock on the Dow for five years running. But just when everything seemed to be going right for the chain, the golden arches started to lose their shimmer. Changing consumer tastes and a rocky transition between CEOs are leading towards Continue reading

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December 6, 2014

The sheer size of today’s corporations virtually ensures that companies will have to wrangle with lots of legal red tape. Most top executives spend as little time as possible dealing with law, choosing either to avoid it or grudgingly comply with the restrictions they face. In the former case, a company may try to move some operations into another country to dodge certain taxes, while in the latter executives simply do the bare minimum necessary to make it through the Continue reading

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November 25, 2014

 

In a world of Amazon and e-readers, there’s just not much room for independent bookstores. Over the past five years, mom and pop bookshops have seen revenues decrease by an average of 3.2 percent annually. But not every company in this discouraging industry is feeling the squeeze. In fact, the Dallas-based retailer Half Price Books is growing at a rate of five stores per year. Revenues rose from $50 million in 1995 to $240 million in 2013, remarkably avoiding Continue reading

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November 15, 2014

Thanks to tough legislation and widespread public education, the number of U.S. smokers has declined 50 percent since the habit’s heyday in the 1950s. Although this significant customer drop-off has hurt many tobacco companies, business has been booming over the last few years for the iconic lighter brand Zippo. The Bradford, PA-based company earned $200 million in sales last year, a record for the lighter maker. What’s more, Zippo’s expanded global presence and diversified product line has increased sales by Continue reading

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October 2, 2014

 

Passion and confidence are essential traits for any entrepreneur, but these same qualities can also lead aspiring business owners to ruin. If entrepreneurs are too assured and optimistic, they risk losing sight of the enormity of the task they have undertaken. For instance, passionate people can believe so deeply in their business idea that they become blinded to its actual market viability. They are driven by the notion that since they would love to buy this particular product or Continue reading

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August 26, 2014

Economists have long argued that a skills gap is growing among the American workforce. Hundreds of businesses both large and small have echoed this sentiment, claiming that there aren’t enough qualified people to perform certain jobs. However, in most cases this line of thinking simply doesn’t add up. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of unemployed people exceeds the number of jobs available in every industry. In durable goods manufacturing, for instance, there are approximately 576,000 idle Continue reading

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