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Small company owners are being shut out of the discussion.

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Thefts, accidents and production problems have wreaked havoc on the country’s supply chains, which have shaken businesses throughout the world as demand rises in reaction to COVID-19. With Congress and the administration working on a solution to this supply chain issue, American small and medium-sized enterprises, as the backbone of the economy, need to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

It’s been difficult to miss the increase in prices, and in some cases, total lack of alternatives, whether it’s at the gas station or checking off items on Christmas wish lists.

Inflation is at a 30-year high, and businesses all over the world are suffering from supply chain bottlenecks as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic. Because of the increase in demand from a more active public colliding with sluggish industrial production that has been hindered by COVID-19 closures, there have been numerous disruptions.

The most serious problem, however, is that matters linked to the supply chain, as well as labor shortages and price increases, appear to be getting worse rather than better. That is why the most recent roundtable discussion with corporate executives by President Biden was concerning.

On November 2, President Biden hosted four major company CEOs and shipping executives to discuss how his administration might collaborate with the private sector to combat these supply chain disruptions.

The presidents of large corporations, such as Walmart, UPS, FedEx, and Target, were all there at the table. The conversation turned to the president’s action plan to reduce port bottlenecks and the just-passed infrastructure measure, which provides funding for different aspects of the domestic supply chain.

This discussion, while positive and beneficial, failed to account for a crucial element that might have added a strong voice to the debate: American small and medium-sized company executives.

Small businesses account for around half of the United States’ workforce, where most economic development occurs. It’s a no-brainer that assisting these failing firms is the same as aiding their employees.

According to recent census data from the United States Small Business Pulse Survey, over half of all small businesses in the country have experienced a delay from a supplier. This is an increase from the 26.7% seen at the beginning of 2021, according to this data.

The study also uncovered that two-thirds of manufacturers, more than half of foodservice and hospitality companies, and over 60% of retail firms are under pressure from supply chain delays.

During the roundtable, Vice President Biden addressed the specifics of his action plan, which includes allowing port authorities to reallocate idle funds in order to address supply chain concerns.

This is certainly an interesting development, but most small companies in the United States do not have the same flexibility as Amazon or Walmart’s businesses, which can charter their own planes or ships to transport goods.

Small businesses across the country face particular issues when it comes to our fragile supply chain, and those needs must be met.

Despite the fact that certain firms are prepared to absorb greater expenses in the short term by airlifting goods from abroad in order to avoid losing sales and money, it is not an option for most.

There are alternatives that Congress has in the immediate to assist American small and medium-sized companies that are looking for new suppliers .Congress can correct an error in the recently passed infrastructure bill to assist businesses in deal with these scarcities and concerns on the supply chain.

The Employee Retention Credit, one of the most valuable business incentives accessible to firms hit by the epidemic, was shortened as part of the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The payroll credit, which has been utilized by thousands of small businesses in the United States to retain workers and obtain much-needed funding, was originally scheduled to last until the end of 2021. However, with the passage of the infrastructure bill, eligibility for the incentive will conclude at the end of this year’s third quarter.

Congress should immediately reinstate the payroll tax credit, which encourages employers closing as a result of COVID-19 to maintain personnel. Doing so would open the door for struggling small enterprises to access much-needed financing when it is most needed, long after the pandemic’s effects have worn off.

Congress should at least consider reinstating the credit, or something similar, for those small businesses that employ less than 500 people and have seen business difficulties as a result of domestic supply chain bottlenecks.

Congress should also discuss the advantages of a larger tax deduction or credit for supply chain disruptions-related expenses. Businesses are increasingly able to predict disruptions in the supply chain, but these costs are out of reach for most companies. These types of incentives might assist these firms to obtain the additional cushion or resources they need to weather the storm.

The Department of Transportation will also provide $240 million in grants under the Infrastructure Development Grant program to help businesses improve systems.

The administration should explore a comparable program targeted solely at American small and medium-sized firms that are impacted by the disrupted supply chain, as an alternative.

When it comes to dire situations, small businesses must take drastic action. Small firms have never been able to compete with larger companies on price, but many owners of small businesses are in a bind now because they can’t obtain necessary goods or services.

According to a new study by researchers at Harvard Business School, approximately 800,000 small businesses permanently closed their doors during the first year of the pandemic, with those that survived are continuing to struggle. The fact that the consumer price index in the United States rose 6.2% above last year’s reported figures is even more frightening.

These are grim figures that will hit the country’s lower and middle classes especially hard. Despite these facts, we believe that the economy is ripe for a major change. While recent economic indicators are encouraging, such as an increase in employment numbers, there’s still a long way to go.

Now is the moment to develop a strategy that works for businesses of all sizes.

There is no “quick fix” for reducing supply chain conflicts across the board, but there are small modifications that may be made immediately to assist in moving things ahead and give all American businesses some much-needed aid.

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Business

How social media influencers are Controlling public opinion

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Influencer marketing has seen an amazing rise in popularity in recent years, with entire industries being developed for big-name personalities who are paid to promote brand sponsorships with their millions of followers.

Although influencers with substantial audiences have been the focus of many marketers, savvy marketers have started targeting lesser-known influencers who aren’t nearly as well-known as their big-name peers, which has prompted fresh interest in less formal outreach.

The influencer’s market is being invaded by Nano Influencers, which could change the game.

According to the most recent data from Wowzi, a company that offers brand and business-level influencer marketing tools, this trend is shifting.

While the most popular accounts appear to have the broadest reach, smaller accounts with sizes of micro or nano-influencers frequently outrank their big-name counterparts.

With some influencers having millions of followers, getting an endorsement from one may appear to be a very effective marketing tool for a company.

However, the tide is turning, and numerous companies are recognizing the advantages of working with micro or nano-influencers, proving that it’s feasible to collaborate with your beloved brands even if you only have a few hundred followers.

Small businesses are increasingly aligning their marketing efforts to target nano content producers seeking to profit from their social media accounts and create long-term sources of income outside of traditional or formal employment.

The messenger matters a lot in emerging markets because of the low level of trust. An online endorsement from someone you know is far more effective than a celebrity recommendation, for example. As a result, nano influencers with smaller, more personalized followers are able to provide better-qualified sales leads. Everyone has influence.

The term “nano-influencer” refers to social media users with 250 to 5,000 followers. Engagement on content by nano-influencers is almost three times higher than that of celebrity personalities.

A good example is Linda Okero, who works full-time and creates content on the side. She has less than 2,000 Instagram followers and is a micro-influencer in the truest sense of the word.

She advertises company-sponsored social media content on her sites, such as Facebook and Instagram posts sponsored by East Africa Breweries Ltd (EABL), Coca-Cola, Netflix, and charges.

For years, we’ve thought that for companies to create a community, it must be driven by influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers on social media. We’re showing marketers that genuine influence is about authenticity, and I believe this is why they’re paying attention to nano-influencers.

When it comes to influencing, most people think of the big celebrity figures and forget the local nano-influencers who connect with their target audiences, particularly those outside cities.

Because they share the same beliefs and culture as potential target customers, these influencers live among them, speak their language, and participate in their activities, raising the probability of conversion. In order to realize our growth goals through this channel, we must also work together with the private and public sectors to establish beneficial relationships.

It’s critical to find a balance between old and new media in order to reach a varied audience via the media they consume.

We’re thrilled to introduce you to Wowzi, an innovative new marketing platform that has already secured 60,000 influencers in East Africa through word of mouth and has handled over 150 campaigns for over 100 customers.

After successfully delivering 150,000 paid employment opportunities in 2021, the business has announced plans to provide one million gig job opportunities for African youth by 2022 through its online marketplace.

Mobile use has become a key element of commerce in African markets, and it’s where young people already spend their time. Young people may simply learn the fundamental concepts of sharing brand messages using a lightweight remote training, so anyone with a phone can now influence their peers through social media.

According to the Hootsuite Digital 2021 Data Report, 20 million people in East Africa use social media.

Kenya has the most people on social media, with 11 million users, followed by Tanzania (5.4 million users), which is 8.9 percent of the population; and Uganda has about 3.4 million social media users, or 7.3 percent of the population.

In September 2021, Safaricom engaged a small “army” of influencers to create TikTok videos about a new product. With thousands of user-generated comments, the challenge was rapidly seen by millions of people. Within a week, the hashtag had 8 million views.

 

These are campaign outcomes that would not have been feasible previously because Safaricom could simply engage a dozen influencers one-on-one for the same campaign.

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Fast fashion & looking towards a sustainable future

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Fast-fashion clothing production generates a lot of textile waste and significant environmental problems.

Many companies are beginning to address sustainability in fashion, as many have moved away from fast-fashion manufacturing processes. Fast-fashion companies have been criticized for their actions due to environmental and ethical issues such as textile waste and unequal labor regulations and wages. Some clients, as well as other members of the business, believe that something should be done. 

Fast-fashion consumers are among the most difficult to persuade because they’re among the highest spenders on fast fashion. Because of their high costs, students who attend college are some of the most significant purchasers of fast fashion. Popular sustainable labels such as Reformation have price ranges from $100 to $200 for a single shirt.

However, many individuals are under the impression that there are few options to high-priced long-lasting fashion labels — they are also better for the environment.

Rebecca Turner, senior apparel, merchandising, design and textiles major, said that there are two ways to purchase clothes more sustainably.

One of the most effective strategies to promote sustainability is secondhand shopping, because you’re not buying something new; instead, you’re purchasing something used, which can continue through its life cycle and result in no additional goods being created.

In terms of sustainability, junior apparel, merchandise development, design and textiles major Olivia Lewis is optimistic that it may be achieved by college students. She does not doubt that it presents a challenge, but she thinks it is possible.

“I feel like it’s all about finding balance, especially for college students,” Lewis said. In a decade, it’s quite probable that brands will be completely sustainable. In the meantime, students have an important long-term interest in holding the fashion industry and fast-fashion firms to account for their poor practices.

Trends are influenced by consumers and teenagers. We choose what’s trendy, what’s out of style, and what the next greatest things are. We utilize social media to express our own personalities. This gives Instagram and TikTok influencers power to influence the industry’s course. This may also add to overconsumption, if you’re an influencer receiving a product you’ll only use once or a consumer who is influenced to buy unnecessary things.

Huge clothing hauls from influencers are increasingly popular on social media sites. According to Lewis, when viewers see individuals doing Shein hauls of around 30 items for $100 on TikTok, they may be tempted to over-consume on websites like Shein and Zaful.

Overindulgence in charming and fashionable tops, on the other hand, doesn’t consider the influence of supporting businesses that mistreat their employees.When we acquire from fast-fashion businesses, we are essentially telling them that we condone their unethical methods.

It’s critical to learn about how our clothes are manufactured and the working conditions of those who make them. Fortunately, there are tools available to assist consumers in determining whether their favorite companies are ethical.The app “Good on You” assesses companies in three categories: labor, the environment, and animal testing or utilization.

Students do not need to replace their entire wardrobe with environmentally friendly brands in order to be more sustainable.If you want to refresh your wardrobe or try clothing swapping with your buddies, there are several options. The easiest approach to be more long-lasting in terms of style is to utilize what we already have in our closets and seek for improvement, not perfection.

We, as customers, have the ability to push for more sustainable and ethical practices from the fashion business. It’s critical that we become informed about the drawbacks of fast fashion so that we can make more educated decisions about where to spend our money. We can build a more sustainable future for us and future generations if we start supporting companies that are environmentally responsible and treat their workers fairly.

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Celebrity Cruises has announced that children 5 years old and above must be fully Vaccinated

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In a statement to travel agents, Celebrity Cruises Senior Vice President of Sales and Trade Dondra Ritzenthaler announced the new policy change that will affect passengers aged 5 to 12.

From February 1, 2022, all passengers aged 5 years or older must be vaccinated fully. Unvaccinated children between the ages of two and four will be compelled to present a negative Antigen or PCR test obtained within three days of boarding any of the Celebrity cruises.

Previously, children between the ages of two and eleven were required to submit a negative Antigen or PCR test conducted within three days of boarding. There has been no change in Royal Caribbean International’s vaccination policy.

“The COVID-19 worldwide epidemic has not only altered how we do business, it has also changed safety standards and operating procedures in nearly every area of the travel industry,” according to Ms. Ritzenthaler.

“Since the start of this crisis, Celebrity Cruises has prioritized one goal above all else: to provide the safest cruise vacations available in the business. That’s why we enlisted a board of specialists to assist us in revising our already outstanding health and safety measures to new industry-leading levels. That is why we continue to update our procedures in order to stay ahead of global events. It’s all part of our leadership in safety, which is committed to ensuring that your clients and guests enjoy their bucket list excursion with no concerns. We’ve safely carried hundreds of thousands of guests all around the world with these enhanced protocols.”

Starting on January 13, 2022, children under the age of five who have not been fully vaccinated are not permitted to board Disney Cruise Line vessels.

Celebrity Cruises had already mandated that 95% of its passengers be fully immunized in order to sail, which was a step above Royal Caribbean’s previous requirement.

Because not many people were required to be vaccinated by Royal Caribbean in order for families to travel with them, there was no need for other companies to follow suit.

The CDC gave cruise lines two options in April 2021: skip test cruises if 98 percent of crew and 95 percent of passengers are fully vaccinated, or do simulated sailings first.

The simulated sailings were chosen by Royal Caribbean because it is dedicated to the family experience.

“Once there were two distinct options, 95 percent or less than that, it wasn’t even a question,” says Mark Tamis, senior vice president of Hotel Operations for Royal Caribbean International.

“We’re the world’s largest family cruise company,” boasts Tamis, who claims that more than 1 million youngsters travel on Royal Caribbean vessels every year. “It was obvious to go down this route,” she adds.

Will Royal Caribbean’s vaccine requirements change?

There has been no change in Royal Caribbean International’s policy on vaccines for children.

According to Royal Caribbean, as of now, only those 12 years old and older must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination; the last dose of their immunization was given at least 14 days before boarding. Children aged 5 to 11 who have been vaccinated may present proof of full protection and follow the established procedures for vaccinated guests.

Depending on the length and departure port of their cruise, guests under the age of 12 who have not been vaccinated will need to complete additional COVID-19 testing requirements.

During a question and answer session two weeks ago, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley was questioned about a policy change.

“The plan is to release updates when and if we do make the changes. As a result, when we announce our plans, people get plenty of notice.”

“We do know that for ages 12 to 17, in the United States, where we state that everyone must be vaccinated, just 48 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds have been immunized.”

“Right now, from 5 to 12, we believe that just 35% of parents will get their five- to-12-year-olds vaccinated in the future. We feel that this is going to change. So we’d want to go up from there. We’re merely looking at the data and will probably continue analyzing it for a little while longer before making a decision.”

“We’re monitoring it, and as soon as we think we’ve found a reasonable solution, we’ll undoubtedly notify everyone. We’ll give everyone time to react.”

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