Dear Friends: While 2020 was a very challenging year for obvious reasons, there were some bright spots as well. And one of the most encouraging and uplifting stories was North Carolina being named “2020 State of the Year” by Business Facilities Magazine. This is the first time — but certainly will not be the last time — that North Carolina has earned Business Facilities’ top honor, which has been bestowed annually since 2007. Overall, North Carolina earned top 10 rankings in several key categories including Best Business Climate, Workforce Development, Manufacturing Employment, Foreign Direct Investment, Biotechnology, Installed Solar Power, Unmanned Aerial Systems,...

So, your business was humming along nicely. Then, all of a sudden, COVID-19 reared its ugly head and threw the world into a tizzy. Almost overnight, companies were scrambling to find solutions to run their business remotely. The idea of having your employees work remotely is not a new concept, nor is having your teamwork from home for various reasons like inclement weather, illness, or lack of daycare. We’ve all been there - your toddler is sick and you need to stay at home with them. Or, you live in the south and there is a light dusting of snow on...

We’ve all heard that we are living in “The New Normal.” It’s a term tossed about by the news media and anyone else trying to wrap their heads around how much the world has changed seemingly overnight thanks to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic and, not too long ago, the recession of 2007-2009 - often referred to as “The Great Recession.”The dictionary defines the word normal as “conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; average.” As a business owner, do you want the label of average? Being average doesn’t make much of an impact nor does it drive innovation...

January 2020 seems like a lifetime ago for many of us. For business owners, it may feel like a good deal longer. But that’s the last time many of us can remember operating under normal parameters before COVID-19 changed everything. For months we’ve had to cope with crippling uncertainty and ulcer-inducing anxiety. They’ve had to adjust to a state of affairs that’s terrifyingly referred to as “The New Normal”. A state of affairs that’s anathema to the tireless entrepreneur.Business owners from all walks of life have had to make sweeping operational changes on the fly. They’ve had to grapple with...

As businesses worldwide begin coming out of their coronavirus induced hibernation, the world is a very different place. Having a plan for reopening your business is imperative. Also critical is having a plan to communicate with your customers what to expect. Even before they walk in your door, your customers are faced with a laundry list of do's and don’ts. They must be made aware of any services you may have (temporarily) modified or discontinued as well as precautions you are taking and procedures they must adhere to.It’s not enough to make sure your business has taken the necessary steps...

Cloud migrations have been increasing rapidly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, companies have been moving more data, services, and applications to the cloud as a means to become more streamlined and productive. Businesses migrating information to the cloud is not a new trend. The move toward cloud adoption, however, has been picking up steam during the worldwide lockdown with some interesting results:A major shift to remote workingReduction in capital investmentInnovative business models adapting to a major shift in consumer habitsWelcome to the CloudWorldwide demand for cloud services is swelling as more people have shifted to telework and...

The global demand for cloud-based communication has been increasing at a rapid pace recently. It is estimated that the global cloud PBX market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 13%, reaching a value of 6.36 billion dollars by 2027.If you don’t switch to cloud communications, your competition will have an advantage. Many organizations have either already switched or are beginning the move to cloud technology. The benefits of switching include increased flexibility, improved performance, and lower cost. Nevertheless, there are still businesses that have not taken the final step to convert to the cloud.We understand if...

With signs that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic may finally be receding into our rearview mirror, it’s time to focus our attention on restarting North Carolina’s economy. But where do we start on the roadmap to recovery? Certainly, we don’t want to do anything to fuel the second wave of potentially more severe infections or mortality. However, we need to recognize the catastrophic economic hardship inflicted on businesses and workers. A slow road into a recession is one thing. It’s different to go from a record low unemployment rate to slamming on the brakes and losing 36 million jobs...

When the going gets tough, local businesses get going As a longtime business owner in the Triad, I have always been a big supporter of backing local companies and following the principle of “give where you live.” But as we all know, relationships are a two-way street. And right now, as we grapple with this unprecedented crisis caused by COVID-19, I am seeing local businesses step up and give back to their customers in ways that are both practical, and inspirational. As the saying goes: In bad times, you find out who your real friends are. Since the beginning of this crisis,...

Right now, tens of millions of people who would otherwise be working in a corporate office are working from home. This is a good thing. If the COVID-19 pandemic happened 20 years ago, remote working would be far less viable of an option. Yes, people had internet at home back then, too. But connectivity speeds were much slower, and many were still using dial-up modem technology. Imagine taking 15 minutes to download a presentation (and even longer to upload one). And as for real-time video conferences: forget about it! However, the fact that millions of people are working remotely right now...