Tuesday, March 12, 2019



Human Capital Expert Reveals New Business Design Playbook for CEOs - Forbes

Posted: 11 Mar 2019 04:00 AM PDT

Sandy Ogg Releases "/grow: The CEO's Master Playbook for Coaching Value into Existence"

New York, March 11, 2019 – Sandy Ogg, founder of CEO.works, today announced the publication of /grow: The CEO's Master Playbook for Coaching Value into Existence (available now). The book was published with ForbesBooks, the exclusive business book publishing imprint of Forbes.

Ogg, a veteran C-Suite advisor, presents questions leaders need to address and offers clear advice for leveraging the intangibles that drive businesses to the next level. Touching on a variety of subjects including accountability and restructuring, his book presents solutions to the demands that companies face today. "Growth today comes from creating and capturing value in increasingly faster and more agile ways," said Ogg.

This step-by-step guide helps leaders adopt new methods that will drive success to business across different industries. Ogg creates blueprints for a company that would work without friction to create exponential growth. /grow: The CEO's Master Playbook for Coaching Value into Existence is available for purchase on Amazon.com.

About Sandy Ogg

Sandy Ogg is the founder of CEO.works. He earned his bachelor's in Mathematics from the Coast Guard Academy, his master's in Human Development from George Washington University, and his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management. In addition to positions at companies including Motorola, the VIA Consulting Group, and Blackstone, Ogg spent eight years as Chief Human Resources Officer at Unilever, spearheading change in the organization's operating network and leadership system. In November 2015, the National Academy of Human Resources inducted him into its class of Fellows.

About ForbesBooks

Launched in 2016 in partnership with Advantage Media Group, ForbesBooks is the exclusive business book publishing imprint of Forbes. ForbesBooks offers business and thought leaders an innovative, speed-to-market publishing model and a suite of services designed to strategically and tactically support authors and promote their expertise. For more information, visit forbesbooks.com.

Media Contacts

Sandy Ogg, CEO.works, info@ceoworks.com

Katie Rutledge, ForbesBooks, krutledge@advantageww.com

Running an online retail business in rural America - Marketplace APM

Posted: 11 Mar 2019 03:48 PM PDT

The 2010 census put the population of New Plymouth, Idaho — a small town about an hour from Boise — at 1,538. New Plymouth, and rural towns like it, are not places you normally hear about as prime locations for new businesses. And yet, for a particular slice of the market in this digital age of retail, they can be.

In New Plymouth, in 2011, Jessi Roberts founded online apparel and accessories brand Cheekys. Cheekys, which is geared at rural women, is now a multi-million dollar enterprise. Roberts talked with Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal about her new book on life and business in rural America, "Backroads Bosslady." The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Kai Ryssdal: When you started in New Plymouth, and you set up that boutique, what were you setting out to do?

Jessi Roberts: Well, I think there are a lot of people have these super inspirational "why" stories, and what their "why" is, but the truth is that I wanted to feed four kids. Like, that was why I started the business. I had kids to feed, and I had a very small amount of money. I didn't want to sell cars anymore. I didn't want to own a laundromat but, whether I enjoyed it or not, I was there to pay the bills.

Ryssdal: This store is originally handbags, accessories, clothing for rural women. Do me a favor, for those who are listening to this (and, honestly, me included) who might not understand that market segment, what was your business?

Roberts: Well, originally, I actually started — don't judge me — a tanning salon.

Ryssdal: Well, right. I was going to get there. But, yeah.

Roberts: Yeah, I thought that people would want that. And I bought a handful of handbags and some jewelry. And the first thing that sold was all of that, and no one was tanning. So I was like, all right, well, we're going to sell these tanning beds and buy some more stuff. And then it just got to the point where I wanted to have something different, and I started to realize that the majority of the items that were sold to women who lived in the country — you know, farm girls, ranchers, just anyone who lived a more outdoor, down-to-earth kind of lifestyle. All of those items were being designed in Asia, so they didn't, sometimes, make sense. I wanted to figure out how can I make these products more authentic. So I started designing my own products.

Ryssdal: And you have become, now, a woman running a plus-minus $10 million enterprise, right? You have an international supply chain.

Roberts: We do. We're working on a distribution center in Australia.

Ryssdal: I know. So, holy cow.

Roberts: Literally [laughter].

Ryssdal: Well, yeah, I guess the question is: When did you make that transition — from selling things in a little rural boutique in New Plymouth, Idaho — to a brand and an enterprise?

Roberts: You know, every day I had to grow just a little bit. We very quickly outgrew the infrastructure that our town could handle. We outgrew the electricity, the phones, the cable ... the weight of our product, actually, and our equipment, was too heavy for most of the late-1800s buildings. We've had to replace floors, air conditioning, I mean, like, everything, you name it. So, I just let it grow naturally and stayed content in where I was.

Ryssdal: Could you take a minute and explain what it's like to try to compete, from rural America, with a lot of the big urban brands who, in a lot of ways, don't ... aren't ... they don't have your best interests at heart?

Roberts: I think that that is a struggle that I have every day. Not only in the business, but personally. You know, I'm oftentimes told "you're not big enough, you're not small enough, you're not country enough." I have this saying, that is: if you want to get paid white-collar wages, then you better be prepared to work like a blue-collar worker. And so, I had to be willing to do what other people wouldn't. And that, that was working.

Ryssdal: Are you getting the white-collar wages now?

Roberts: I am providing white -collar wages for a lot of other people, and that's what's really important to me.

Click here to read an excerpt from Roberts' book "Backroads Bosslady."

Is Amazon Getting Out Of The Direct Selling Business? - Forbes

Posted: 11 Mar 2019 09:58 AM PDT

Could the Marketplace be the place for shopping on Amazon?Getty

Is this the start of something huge?

Sometimes speculated, often dreaded and nearly always terrifying to the company's product suppliers, Amazon's third-party Marketplace may be being positioned as a near total replacement for the company's own product selling efforts.

Thousands of companies that do business with Amazon were notified last week that they had been removed from the company's own list of vendors, defacto being pushed to do business on Marketplace. Amazon is only saying the move is part of its regular review process and while some are speculating there may be other reasons for the change, the push is seen by many as part of a longer-term strategy to eventually eliminate most of its own direct selling efforts.

The move, specifics of which have not been confirmed by Amazon, appears to impact smaller sellers, perhaps those doing in the range of $5 million or less a year of sales through the company.

In its most recent quarter Amazon said third party sales represented 52% of its total merchandise sales, by unit. That's up from 43% over the past four years. That amounted to $13.4 billion in commissions for Amazon for the quarter, up 27% from the $10.5 billion figure a year ago.

By comparison, what the company calls "net product sales" – essentially the products it sells directly – accounted for $44.7 billion of its total $72.4 billion in revenue for the quarter.

All of this comes amidst anecdotal reports from both former employees and sources in the trade that Amazon's ultimate goal is to largely get out of the direct product sale business. By transitioning to a business model in which it doesn't own any inventory and only collects a commission on third-party sales Amazon could have a cleaner balance sheet with less money tied up in buying goods itself.

For vendors who have counted on Amazon buying products and paying for them regardless of when they were sold and for how much – the traditional wholesale selling model – the impact of this shift could be devastating. Many suppliers do not have the sophisticated systems in place to manage their online sales directly at the scale of Amazon, even though they could eventually come to own and control their sales data better than they do now.

And for consumers, the question is, does it matter to them? Do most shoppers even realize the difference between buying a product directly from Amazon or from a third party, given that many of those latter orders are still serviced through the Amazon fulfillment process? And what it would mean for prices is anybody's guess.

If this is in fact actually happening, this big shift from Amazon could represent yet another fundamental change in the online business—just as the industry was getting used to the last one.

Jennifer LaBarge arrested after allegedly taking $800,000 from Conroe business - KTRK-TV

Posted: 11 Mar 2019 11:07 PM PDT

NEW CANEY, Texas (KTRK) -- Jennifer Marie LaBarge was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly stealing more than $800,000 from a small family owned rig company called Polar Rig Specialties in New Caney.

The company is devastated by the actions of someone they thought they knew well.

This embezzling scheme lasted for five years.

"Close to a million dollars had been taken," said John Harris, the founder of Polar Rig Specialties. "To be betrayed by somebody, just out of nowhere, it's such a shocker."

Harris says he was blindsided by a woman he considered a friend.

LaBarge began working for the off-shore derrick building and supply company in 2012 when they needed a bookkeeper, but Harris says he's known her since 2007 when her husband built his family home.

LaBarge plead guilty to a felony charge of aggregate theft.

Harris says LaBarge started stealing from the company within a few days of working. Records indicate she stole $78,000 in her first six weeks.

"On the Quickbooks, she could write checks to pay her credit cards or the school cafeteria bills or the truck notes or their insurance or their personal things, and then make a change and say it was for one of our vendors."

In total, Harris says they know she stole around $858,000 over five years, putting the company in dire straits as they were forced to lay-off a newlywed with a baby.

The crime unraveled in 2017 when business got so bad and the co-owner decided to leave after they found discrepancies with the bank accounts.

As part of her plea agreement, LaBarge has already paid $500,000 back to the company and when she is released from jail in six months, she must pay the other $358,000.

A judge sentenced her to 10 years of probation and 1,000 hours of community service.

Harris' warning to all business owners is always track paper trails and conduct frequent audits.

Follow Shelley Childers on Facebook and Twitter.

Copyright © 2019 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Wells Fargo workers worry the bank still has unethical business practices - Vox.com

Posted: 09 Mar 2019 01:14 PM PST

Wells Fargo lost so much public trust for the bank's shady business practices, which came to light in the aftermath of the Great Recession, that it spent much of last year apologizing with its Wells Fargo "Re-established" campaign. But according to a new report from the New York Times, the nation's fourth-largest bank hasn't been reformed as much as it's been rebranded.

According to Times reporters Emily Flitter and Stacy Cowley, "Wells Fargo workers say they remain under heavy pressure to squeeze extra money out of customers" and that employees "have witnessed colleagues bending or breaking internal rules to meet ambitious performance goals."

There's "no evidence" that workers are secretly opening accounts in customers' names, as they did in the past, but employees have reportedly been pressured by Wells Fargo to sell financial products customers can't afford, collect credit card debt at breakneck speeds, and send incorrect interest rates and fee calculations on mortgages. A financial adviser interviewed noted the company pushed her to steer clients toward fee-generating investments including an instance in which "it was not in the client's best interest."

The investigation indicated that there is large-scale concern internally among the rank-and-file workers about the authenticity of Wells Fargo's new commitment to ethical business practices:

In a survey of more than 27,000 employees in the bank's information-technology department late last year, top concerns included their ability to raise grievances with managers and whether "Wells Fargo conducts its business activities with honesty and integrity." Workers recently flooded the bank's internal blog with hundreds of angry comments about Wells Fargo's sales incentives, pay and ethics and leaders' "doublespeak," according to screenshots of the blog reviewed by The Times.

Responding to the criticism to the Times, Wells Fargo executives stated that the bank's culture had improved and that fewer employees were incentivized to sell products to customers.

The long shadow of Wells Fargo impropriety

Over the past decade, Wells Fargo seemed to seek new ways to outdo itself in fraudulent activity. After the bank was caught creating fake accounts for its customers, Vox's Emily Stewart wrote that it had developed a reputation as "one of the financial industry's worst actors."

The San Francisco-based firm created up to 3.5 million fake accounts for its customers over a more than seven-year span, resulting in a $185 million fine levied in September 2016, including $100 million to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the federal government's top consumer watchdog. Wells Fargo fired at least 5,300 employees who were involved in the scam, in which they issued credit cards without customers' consent that were only discovered when they began accumulating fees. The bank's CEO, John Stumpf, was forced into retirement.

The bank accounts were only the most recent infraction. Leading up to the financial crisis, Wells Fargo pedaled subprime mortgages and targeted black neighborhoods with toxic loans. The bank created an emerging-markets unit that went after black churches, and investigations revealed that loan officers described black customers as "mud people" and called subprime products "ghetto loans."

These infractions, the reports of a toxic culture, and the more recent creation of fake accounts continue to undermine the company's rebranding goals.

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