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Controversial Business Moves: Have Amazon Gone Too Far?

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Amazon are a marketplace giant, and their combination of a huge choice of products, low prices, and fast delivery options have seen them wipe the floor with their competitors. It’s even claimed that whole industries have been almost wiped out by the online retailer’s presence. But, where there is brilliance, there is often also controversy. Amazon is no exception. Let’s take a look at some of their most controversial business moves of late!

Packaging

Let’s start with what is perhaps the one thing that we’ve all experienced when shopping with Amazon that has left a sour taste in our mouths: packaging. Now, we live in a world where we’re becoming increasingly aware of the detrimental effects that human activity is having on our planet. One of the main man-made problems posing a threat to our beloved Earth? Waste. We use so many products on a day to day basis that are seen as disposable, and we often throw many products and most packaging away after just a single use. The UK produces around 30.5 million tonnes of waste every single year. Within the EU, people produce around half a tonne of waste per person, and with over 500 million inhabitants, this figure quickly mounts up. America is said to produce 250 million tonnes of garbage on an annual basis. So, when many of us shop, we expect responsible large-scale businesses to use as little packaging as possible and to, preferably, send our purchases in recyclable materials. Sure, this may cost a little more and take a little more time, after all, you’ll have to pick packaging options logically rather than throwing every item into the first box that catches the supplier’s eye, but surely it’s worth it. It really isn’t all too surprising that Amazon causes outrage on a regular basis when they have been reported to send items as small as a phone charger in a box large enough for your small kids and cats to make a fort from. Now, the company has tried to justify this behaviour by saying that they optimise for the whole rather than the individual. Theorist Alexander Savin noted on his twitter feed that “Amazon uses a complicated software system to determine the box size that should be used based on what else is going in the same truck and the exact size of the cargo bay. It is playing an automated Tetris with the packages. Sometimes it will select a larger box because there is nothing else that needs to go out on that specific truck, and by making it bigger, it is using up the remaining space, so items don’t slide around and break. This actually minimises waste and is on the whole q (sic) greener system. Even if for some individual item it looks weird.” While this is an interesting theory, the tweet received all sorts of lash back from people refuting the theory. Many believe that the genuine reason for entirely environmentally unfriendly packaging is because Amazon promises such fast delivery that workers have just a matter of seconds to grab the nearest box or packaging to get the item out on time.

Drone Delivery

Again, convenience has come hand in hand with another complaint for the big bosses at Amazon. Sure, we’re all now familiar with Amazon Prime, a service which offers guaranteed next day delivery on a whole host of items. But have you heard of Amazon Prime Air? This is a fully autonomous system where a drone (otherwise known as an aerial vehicle) without a human pilot can deliver goods to customers within 30 minutes or less of completing their order. Sounds like something from the future, right? While this service hasn’t yet been launched by the company, it is in development and trial, and Amazon hopes that one day seeing an Amazon drone delivering goods by air will be as common a sight as seeing one of their delivery trucks travelling down the highway. People, expectedly, have a lot of questions surrounding the practice. They want to know how heavy the goods that this method could deliver can be (the answer, so far, is five pounds), where they are testing (there are currently trials in the United States, United Kingdom, Austria, France, and Israel), and whether weather will affect the service (the company claim that they aim to operate in daylight when there are low winds, there’s good visibility, and a lack of rain, snow, or ice). Perhaps the most important issue on our minds, however, is how Amazon intends to navigate the airspace in each given country, as drones are a risk to planes. This is still being negotiated, so perhaps it will be a while before we really do see these plans come into practice and public use.

Live Purchases

Perhaps the most recent controversy associated with this retail giant is its delivery of live animals. The company has been slammed by animal activists and many consumers alike for offering home delivery of live animals such as lobsters and crabs. Not only is the method of boiling these creatures alive for consumption cruel in and of itself and something that shouldn’t be promoted at all (nevermind in the home and left to the hands of inexperienced and unprofessional cooks), they can also face the cruel fate of being left in boxes for days as they make their way from supplier to consumer. This is a sad case of sentient creatures being treated like commodities on a whole new level. Many customers have since cancelled their accounts completely, stating that they will not return to Amazon until they cease this cruel practice.

As you can see, Amazon is no stranger to controversy, and some of the decisions that they have made in their process of trying to meet the mass market’s needs and expectations really have backfired. However, where there is a complaint, there is room for improvement, and hopefully, they will begin to take customer feedback into account, ensuring that their business becomes as eco-friendly, safe, and cruelty-free as possible!

Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.

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Turn Your Passion into a Career: How to Make Money Doing What You Love

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Many dreams of turning their hobby, passion, or creative outlet into a career. It’s a beautiful idea, but it can take time to figure out where to start. Here’s a guide on successfully turning your hobby into a career. 

Do Your Research 

Before you turn your hobby into a business, please research and find out what the industry looks like, your potential customers and their needs. Next, consider your strengths, skills, and knowledge and decide how to use them in this new venture. Finally, consider what makes you unique in the industry and how you can market yourself. 

Take A Strong Career Test

A Strong Career Test can help you identify your ideal job and the type of environment you would flourish in. In addition, knowing this information can give you an idea of what kind of business to start and whether it’s something you’d be passionate about.

Think About Finances and Legalities 

Once you have an idea of what you want to do, consider the financial aspect – are there any costs associated with getting started? What sort of budget will you need? Will there be any tax implications? It’s also essential to think about the legal side of things – if necessary, consult with a lawyer specializing in business law so that you understand all the regulations associated with starting up and protecting your intellectual property rights. 

Create a Business Plan 

Now that you have researched and considered the legalities and finances involved, create a business plan that outlines all this information. Make sure it includes short-term and long-term objectives to keep track of your progress over time. Be realistic when setting targets for yourself – don’t aim too high at first because this could set you up for failure if it doesn’t pan out. Also, consider whether or not there is potential for growth or expansion once your business gets off the ground. This may include marketing strategies such as social media campaigns or investing in advertising materials such as brochures or flyers. 

Start Networking 

Networking is essential when launching any new business; it’s about building relationships with people who may be interested in your offer. Start by reaching out to family, friends, and acquaintances who may already know about your business or service offering; they may even be willing to share it with others! Additionally, join online groups related to your area of expertise – these are great places for exchanging ideas with like-minded people and potentially finding potential customers/collaborators/mentors/partners, etc. Finally, attend events such as trade shows or conferences where relevant topics are discussed – these are ideal opportunities for making connections within the industry that could prove beneficial down the line! 

Turning your hobby into a career is no small task, but it can be approached thoughtfully and strategically! Please research the industry thoroughly before beginning to understand its nuances; familiarize yourself with the legalities of running a business; create a viable yet ambitious business plan; network extensively (both online & offline). And never give up! With dedication & hard work, anything is possible.

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Top Tips for Moving Your Business to an Office

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Office chairs and tables
via Wikimedia Commons

Every business starts somewhere, and every successful business will eventually reach certain points in its growth journey that require the next step to be taken. For a lot of businesses, one of these steps is transitioning from a home or temporary work area into an office space. Moving into an office, although bringing a new set of costs and challenges also brings a new set of positives and opportunities. Not to mention upgrading to an office space can have the added benefit of improving the culture and productivity of your business.

This step should be seen as an exciting new investment and not something to be afraid of so if you are considering taking the next step or wondering what you should think about when looking at moving your business into an office space then the following tips may be of use to you.

Choosing the right location for your office

Whatever your reasons are for taking the next steps and moving your business into an office, you must choose the right location for it. You will not only need to be aware of its location for your staff but also depending on the type of business you own you may need to consider its location for your customers as well. You might find “the perfect workspace” internally, or one that fits or is much less than your budget, but it may not be in a suitable location for your business’s requirements, ultimately leading to a negative investment in the future.

Buying or hiring adequate equipment

Your office needs to be equipped adequately so as to enable your staff to do their job properly, and although budgets can be tough it is important to at least get the basics. An option you could look into would be something like mac studio rental equipment which can be sourced as a cost-effective way to enhance your short-term, and even long-term projects with high-end, and portable equipment that you may not be able to afford to start with. Whether you are working on a video production, hosting a conference, or heading to a marketing event, investing in the right equipment is a must.

Create a positive working environment

When moving into a new workspace, (just like when moving into a new home) you will be given an empty husk or a blank canvas that you can over time put your own flare into. Creating a positive working environment is not only based on your company’s work ethics, such as inclusivity, events, incentives, and how you treat your staff in general, but also on how you present, decorate, equip, and maintain your business’s workspace. No one will want to come to work or do their best if the office space you provide them is not a nice place to be in, so be sure to implement the best working environment possible for you and your team.

Consider your budget and growth

A big part of running a successful business is to make sure you are acquiring more wealth than you are spending so that your business can continue to grow. When you are looking at moving into an office with your business you need to consider all the expenses that this will bring with it. Rent, bills, insurance, etc. You might have to make a decision and choose a smaller office to start with before investing in your dream office space, as running before you can walk may hinder your business’s progression.

Ensure that your office space is fit for purpose

All businesses have different workspace requirements depending on what they specialize in, for example, if your business primarily works with clients overseas or on the phone then the office space needs to only really accommodate your employees, their desks, and equipment. Whereas if your business requires customer-facing meetings then you will also need to consider whether the office space you are planning to move into has conference room spaces available. Maybe your business is more “hands on” for example a computer diagnostics and repair shop and may require a workshop space too. So be sure to consider what your office space needs to be used for and whether it is fit for purpose.

So, whether your business is already at the stage where you are looking to find your perfect office space and take the next step, or if you are just starting out as a new business, acquiring and building the right office space is vital. 

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Are You Leaving Your Business Open To These Common Security Pitfalls?

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Security is a critical concern for business owners operating on the market today. If there is a security breach in your company, then it can end up costing you a fortune. As well as this, it can also end up damaging your business reputation and this will lead to you losing more and more customers and clients. Aside from losses of sales and damage to your business reputation, there’s another problem that you can have here too. That’s the legal factor. Businesses these days are required to reach certain security standards. If you don’t do this, then you are going to be leaving your company open to a potential lawsuit. So, let’s look at some of the ways that you might be leaving your business open to security pitfalls and the best ways to correct these troubles. 

Failing To Secure Tech

First, you need to make sure that you are taking steps to secure your tech. There are lots of ways that you can do this. For instance, you might be getting rid of old tech. If so, then it’s essential that you wipe all the data. You should start by clearing out the Google search history. If you don’t do this, then there’s a chance that there will be remnants of passwords and encryptions that a criminal could use to access your company’s sensitive data. If you’re wondering how to delete Google search history, you’ll be pleased to hear that it’s relatively simple. By that’s just the beginning, once you have cleared the history, you’ll need to complete a more comprehensive clean up of the tech. Some businesses will even decide to hire a professional service to ensure that this work is completed the right way and that absolutely no data is left. 

Forgetting About The Cloud 

Are you wondering the best way to keep your business data secure? The answer is simple. It’s the cloud. Experts agree that by using the cloud, you will always have a greater chance of avoiding a hack or potential theft of data in your business model. It really is that simple. The benefit of a cloud server is that it keeps your data offsite and restricts the access. 

You might assume that it’s going to be difficult to access a cloud solution that will suit your business. However, we’re pleased to say that’s not the case. Instead, cloud solutions are completely scalable and thus can be accessed by any type or size of company you can imagine. 

Failing To Vet New Team Members

It’s also important that you remember to vet new team members before you allow them any kind of access to your business. While it might not seem like a massive concern, it should be because of the security risk that it poses. Before you allow anyone to join your team, you need to have run extensive background searches on them, spoken to all of the referees that they have listed, and checked for anything that is untoward about them. If you don’t find anything, then this is great and you can go ahead with hiring them.

However, if there is any doubt about them, then you need to be caerful. Run the checks again if you need to, but make sure that you’ve got the information that you need. Even then, you need to have them sign a non-disclosure agreement before they are allowed to join your team, just to be on the safe side. 

Forgetting About Physical Security 

We may live in the age of technology, but this does not mean that you should not be focusong on physical security as well. Your business building is still important, and the people who work for you still need to be protected. You can’t just try to cut corners and save money by leaving your actual business location vulnerable, and yet this is exactly what some companies try to do.

There should be physical security on the doors at the entrance of your building at the very least. As well as this, you’re going to need extras such as CCTV to keep an eye on the areas of the business that are not supervised. We recommend having these in any area that holds important information or money.

Failing To Stay Up To Date 

If you are using out of date technology and software then this may not be running the maximum security that your business needs. The reason it is recommended to keep up to date with tech is so that you are getting the very best services within your company. If you don’t update tech when required you may be missing out on vital security updates that will keep any and all unwanted activity away from your business. Make sure that you keep on top of all of these things and your business will be thriving and successful. 

Using The Wrong Services 

Finally, if you are using the wrong services then you are leaving your business extremely vulnerable to attacks and hacks. Without the right level of support from the correct services then you could be saying bye bye to your business before you are ready. Make sure you know which services to use and research these before you sign up for them. You don’t want to use something you don’t actually need as this will just take your hard earned cash for nothing. 

You should certainly be using IT support services when it comes to the cybersecurity aspect of your business. They will keep a close watch on your business and alert you to any hacks, no matter how small. 

We hope that you have found this article helpful, and now see some of the things that you need to do in order to avoid leaving your business open to some of the common security pitfalls. It’s more important than ever that you are taking the right precautions, and doing everything in your power to keep your business safe. Tech is more powerful than ever in business, so you can’t afford to fall down on this hurdle. We wish you the very best of luck.

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