Social Media Statistics on Pinterest – Traffic and Online Sales Impacts [infographic]

Strategy Plan One

May 19, 2012 

Social Media Statistics – Pinterest

Here is some proof that Pinterest, the growing social media pinning site, is gaining massive e-commerce momentum.  Check out these statistics illustrated in this infographic from Shopify on Pinterest:

  • 3rd most popular social media site
  • 145% – daily growth in new users
  • 16% gain (over 2011) stores citing revenue from Pinterest
  • Over 400% increase in online orders from pins over the last 6 months
  • $80 average order through Pinterest

social media statistics - Pinterest

Check out some more interesting social media blogs:

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Social Media Statistics and Impacts on Business [Infographic]

Strategy Plan One

May 16, 2012

Social Media Statistics

An interesting infographic from Pagemodo has just been released, illustrating the statistics and impacts of social media on businesses.  Here are some highlights of their survey:

What is the biggest benefits:
  • 88% of Brands indicate exposure as one of the biggest benefits
  • 72% claim increased traffic from social media marketing is the biggest 
  • 62% of marketers state improved search rank is the best benefit 
  • Dell claims a 300% traffic improvement with social media 

social media statistics

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Popular Apps – The Best Apps for Small Business [Infographic]

Strategy Plan One

April 18, 2012 

Popular Apps for Business

Tools and resources are critically important in keeping your business operations competitive and efficient.  Multiple functions require multiple solutions and tools to get the job done more effectively and efficiently.  Thousands of apps are readily available to assist businesses and entrepreneurs in all functions such as sales tracking, marketing, financial management, project management, data backup and payment processing.

Some of the highlights of this infographic produced by Mavenlink include these popular apps in the following functional categories:

Other statistics:
  • Cloud market is estimated to expand to $56 Billion by 2014
  • 30% of small businesses use apps


popular apps - business

 

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Business Women – Trends in the Corporate World (Infographic)

Strategy Plan One                                                                                                                     

April 16, 2012 

Business Women

In the recent decades, great emphasis has been placed on employment equity to ensure all have opportunities at all operational, management and compensation levels.  This informative infographic from mba-online-program.com illustrates some trends and statistics of business women, making great strides in the corporate world.

Interesting statistics and trends to note from this infographic on business women:

  • More women attending professional schools, increasing on an annual basis
  • MBA salaries of women in the US higher than men
  • Salary gap has improved by almost 20% for women

business women

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Credit Card Statistics and Payment Impacts [Infographic]

Strategy Plan One

April 11, 2012 

Credit Card Statistics

Credit card debt in the US is a significant portion of consumer debt, amounting to almost $2.00 Trillion in debt.   That figure is staggering considering that the Federal Financial Budget in the US is approximately $2.5 Trillion annually.

Courtesy of CreditDonkey.com this infographic illustrates consumer credit card statistics, consequences of varying levels of payments on credit cards, and credit score impacts.

Highlighting some of the credit card statistics:

  • 156 Million credit card holders
  • 54 Million households with credit card debt
  • 1.25 Trillion credit cards issued
  • $1.994 Trillion total credit card debt
The infographic below includes the impacts of varying levels of monthly payments on the credit cards, raising the facts that higher principle payments result in a shorter duration to payoff credit card debt and less interest charges.

Credit card statistics

Source – Credit Card Statistics Infographic – Creditdonkey.com

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Kiva Systems and the New Robot World Order

Strategy Plan One

April 7, 2012 

Kiva Systems Kiva Systems Robots

It has been fascinating to see the recent buzz around Kiva Systems robots controlling and working the floor spaces of warehouses.

 

According to some current reports, the Kiva Systems alone is now being used in up to two dozen larger corporation warehouses, including Amazon and Staples.

So impressed, Amazon acquired the 9 year old Kiva Systems company for $775 Million.  It is sure to have a positive, efficiency impact on Amazon, a company that spends $4.6 Billion on warehouse operations.  Considered to be expensive capital costs to start, but in the long-term, will save companies money with efficiencies created.  Check out this informative YouTube video of Kiva Systems at work.

kiva systemsAutomation Impacts

If this initiates the reoccurring trend and debate around automation, what does this mean in a country that is dying for an absolute job turnaround?  The criticism of automation using machines, robots, and electronics is that those methods directly impact labor jobs, resulting in job loss, people loss.

However, in start-up operations with automation implemented right away there will be no pain of job loss or reduction.  In some cases, businesses may establish a new arm or warehouse in an expansion project to run a pilot project of automation.

Kiva Systems Automation Success

Recently acquired by Amazon, the Kiva Systems Company is doing well, with reports of triple figure growth and profitable figures.  More corporations are jumping on board seeing the value and reliability of modern automation.  Initial kinks have been straightened out and it has been reported that Kiva systems are operating in a flawless manner.

It is interesting to watch videos, demonstrating the efficiency and power of these little orange Kiva robots moving about the warehouse, sliding under a customized skid, lifting and following a programmed route on the floor full of sensors.  You could imagine the programming behind such as a system is complicated, but obviously achievable from an operational perspective.  Within the programming there must be many logic functions to almost allow these robots to alter or find best routes from A to B when traffic gets congested, as seen in some of these videos.

Human Labour

Human power is still evident in these automated warehouses, at stations loading and unloading these skid towers and scanning products before the Kiva robot takes off again.  Obviously there are probably backup plans of a labour force filling in for Kiva robots when the system is “down”.  How often have we all experienced system or computer failures?  There will always be a requirement for a well-trained labor force behind maintaining these robots, building them and developing coding and programming.

Cost Benefit Analysis

On the simple cost-benefit analysis side of things, if the capital and operating costs of automated, innovative processes and assets are less than the cost of non-automated, labour process over a defined period of time, then your organization could experience greater profitability and decreased issues around human resources.

Millions of dollars must be spent acquiring a system such as the Kiva system.  These corporations would undertake their own due diligence, such as a cost-benefit analysis on an automated system vs. conventional warehouse system full of employees driving skid steerer and forklift machines.  Based on many assumptions, savings could be realized even with a Kiva Systems basic scenario implemented. 

Kiva Systems Possible Limitations

Evident in the demonstration videos is the fact that warehouse space (height) is not being used to full capacity with Kiva Systems in place.  In the conventional warehouse system, pallets of products are stacked 30-40 feet high in warehouse shelving frames.  There appears to be limitations in volume with the Kiva robots lifting and moving the customized pallets that are 6-8 feet in height, and in terms of dimensions of the pallet, a 3 by 3 footprint.  With a system like this, warehouse space and volume can be planned effectively with respect to capabilities of this system.

As previously mentioned, automated, computerized systems sometimes experience glitches.  Power outages, coding and programming flaws, electronic interference, physical obstructions, logic flaws and an underestimation of operational issues come to mind when brainstorming the potential issues that could arise.   However, the corporation is probably well prepared with fixes and contingencies for everything.  Build into the program, the system does appear to monitor power levels and automatically schedules charging.

Kiva Systems Opportunities

If the Kiva Systems automated world continues to build, opportunities in other areas could emerge, such as a team of robots to:

  • Carry out office work
  • Automate the front counter at a fast food restaurant
  • Sort and file books at libraries
  • Fully automate beauty salon duties, with programmed robots completing hair and body packages

If these examples above come to fruition, this would now look like a scene of the Disney movie WALL-E.  For sure WALL-E would feel comfortable and at home within a Kiva Systems environment.  It has been interesting to read and see the new buzz around this system.  What will be more interesting in the future to observe will be the impacts and the adjustments made to the human labor force, in the development of more value-added jobs around systems like the Kiva Systems model.

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© 2012 Strategy Plan One

US Federal Budget Focuses on Military Expenditures [Infographic]

Strategy Plan One

April 3, 2012 

 

There are many pros and cons to having the US Military lead operations around the world.  We can all imagine that in tough economic times, it is increasingly more difficult to justify and to get approval for military spending.

If you were wondering on the breakdown on the US Federal Budget, here is a descriptive infographic, courtesy of thecongressmansdinner.com highlighting their analysis of the overall budget and military expenses in the US.

US Military Spending Key points:

  • Total US Outlays (Federal Funds):  $2.65 Trillion
  • Military spending:  $1.45 Trillion (54% of the budget)
  • Non-Military spending: $1.20 Trillion (46% of the budget)
  • US Military Spending accounts for a whopping 43% of the total global military spending
  • Dept. of Defense spends 99.98% of budget on military; spends 0.02% on peace initiatives

Military Spending Infographic

Infographic,  information, analysis courtesy of thecongressmansdinner

Strategy Plan One

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© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Business Life Cycle and the Current Economic Climate

Strategy Plan One

March 17, 2012 

Business Life CycleBusiness Life Cycle

In the normal context of the business life cycle, a business, product, service or idea will progress through development, growth, peak and decline phases.

This cycle normally repeats over and over again as businesses usually adapt and change with the environment, close to the peak or into the decline phases.  The resulting graph of a fairly healthy, adjusted business looks like waves increasing in height from left to right on the graph.

Current Business & Economic Climate

In addition to the phases of the normal business life cycle, other factors such as economic or global issues can alter the business life cycle.  In the current economic climate over the past couple of years, those business cycles have either peaked or declined earlier than projected.  In a recessionary period, many business cycles may be on the declining side, but as economies pull out a recession, cycles hit a low stabilization period and another growth period begins.  Many businesses in 2012 are coming off the declining phase, reaching a low and are starting on the growth incline again.  Some stock graphs sometimes mimic the business cycles of many corporations.

Business Life Cycle

Business Cycle – Development Phase

This phase is the stomping ground for new product and business development.  It is the research and development phase behind ventures, with heavy emphasis on planning, testing and piloting projects.  In a repeating cycle this is a period of stabilization (as indicated by the trough on the graph), as companies have adjusted from declining phases and have stabilized operations and finances from a potential loss period.

Business Cycle – Growth Phase

Business Life CycleFollowing the development or stabilization period, companies and businesses enter a growth period, where new revenues grow from new products & services, or improvements made in operations.  The growth, inclined phase indicated on the graph could be a result of efficiencies made in operations, to make businesses more competitive.

Business Cycle – Peak Phase

As products, services, ideas, and business reach maturity, they hit a peak phase where no further growth occurs.  Peak phase may indicate no further revenue can be generated from products, or that the business has reached its maximum market penetration, or that the business may have reached maximum consumer interest.  If you are keeping accurate, timely track of your finances and analyzing your trends, this would indicate that you may have to start making adjustments in business.

Business Cycle – Decline Phase

Many economists and business professionals have stated that the current global economic circumstances may have caused companies to enter the decline phase faster than projected.  In the normal business cycle, if adjustments to business are not made, companies, products and ideas usually enter a deep decline period.  The current economic climate may have accelerated that, but many statistics are indicating that the economies are turning around.

Business Cycles Repeat and Return to the Positive

As noted in the cycle, declining phases cause reactionary measures to once again achieve a period of stability.  Following stable periods comes growth phases and the business cycle repeats on and on.

Business Tips for the Business Cycle

  • Be aware of where your company, product, service or idea is within the business life cycle
  • Keep track of your finances and operations and watch for trends as these trends are your indicators.
  • Be pro-active rather than reactive; being pro-active to trends may help you recover easier and faster from declining phases
  • Be cognizant of the business and economic climates locally, nationally and on a global basis

Strategy Plan One

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© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Age Statistics and Breakdown on Social Media Sites (Infographic)

Strategy Plan One

March 17, 2012 

Social Media Statistics

Different social media sites are used by different age groups for differing purposes.  Whether you use social media sites for business or other social means, you may find after reviewing stats and infographics such as this, you may want to alter or focus attention on sites that cater to certain age groups.

Courtesy of Pingdom.com and data from Google Ad Planner, here is an interesting age distribution breakdown of users on different social media sites.

Social Media Statistics – Infographic

Age Distribution Across Social Networking Sites

 

From the above graphic, you can see that younger users dominate sites such as Bebo and MySpace and Xanga.  The more mature age groups, possible more engaged in using social media for career or business purposes, are the majority users on Twitter, Digg, Delicious, LinkedIn, and Classmates.

Targeting and the messaging around your products and services, or for other social means, is critically important.  Knowing statistics around age demographics on social media sites will help shape your marketing strategy and assist you to get the right message to the right target market.

 

Strategy Plan One

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© 2012 Strategy Plan One

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day – Another Pot of Gold for Businesses

Strategy Plan One

March 16, 2012 

St. Patrick's day - Pot of GoldSt. Patrick’s Day

On the other side of the rainbow, another calendar event brings another commercial opportunity for entrepreneurs.  For St. Patrick’s Day, this special period is no exception.  From a BigInsight survey for 2012 St. Patrick’s Day spending, businesses will reap an estimated $4.6 Billion pot of gold for this year’s event in the US.

St. Patrick’s Day Retail Statistics

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) the average spending per consumer is estimated to be $35 US, centered on the food & beverage industry, but also ties into the retail industry with festive merchandise purchasing.  Now that’s a lot of shamrocks!

St. Patrick’s Day Event – Business Planning

It is good business practice to plan out your operations and marketing well in advance.  As part of your normal business planning core activities, your business plan may be targeting calendar periods such as this one, promoting your own mix of good & services.  As a well prepared entrepreneur in industries such as retail, and if you rely on bigger calendar events to fuel your annual sales, ensure that you plan accordingly well in advance.  This includes shaping your marketing strategy and aligning your suppliers, months before the actual calendar event.

So, sit back enjoy your green alcoholic beverage and plan out your next commercial opportunity.  With some Irish luck, you will hit your pot of gold.

Strategy Plan One

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© 2012 Strategy Plan One