Big Words start conversations and open doors to new places.
Anwar Y. Dunbar is a Regulatory Scientist. Being a naturally curious person, he is also a student of all things. He earned his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Michigan and his Bachelor’s Degree in General Biology from Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU). Prior to starting the Big Words Blog Site, Anwar published and contributed to numerous research articles in competitive scientific journals reporting on his research from graduate school and postdoctoral years. After falling in love with writing, he contributed to the now defunct Examiner.com, and the Edvocate where he regularly wrote about: Education-related stories/topics, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Financial Literacy; as well as conducted interviews with notable individuals such as actor and author Hill Harper. Having many influences, one of his most notable heroes is author, intellectual and speaker, Malcolm Gladwell, author of books including Outliers and David and Goliath.
Anwar has his hands in many, many activities. In addition to writing, Anwar actively mentors youth, works to spread awareness of STEM careers, serves on the Board of Directors of the Friends of the David M. Brown Arlington Planetarium, serves as Treasurer for the JCSU Washington, DC Alumni Chapter, and is active in the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace Ministry at the Alfred Street Baptist Church. He also tutors in the subjects of biology, chemistry and physics.
Along with his multi-talented older brother Amahl Dunbar (designer of the Big Words logos, inventor and a plethora of other things), Anwar is a “Fanboy” and really enjoys Science-Fiction and Superhero movies including but not restricted to Captain America Civil War, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Prometheus. He is a proud native of Buffalo, NY.
A key focus of my blog is Health/Wellness. Maintaining your mental health is critical, arguably more so than maintaining your physical health. Most people don’t think about it though or know how to do it. The following contributed post is entitled, 3 Great Resources To Help Improve Your Mental Health.
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Maintaining good mental health is just as important as looking after your physical health. We are all likely to experience some form of mental health issues at some point in our lives, but as long as you know how to deal with it effectively, you can come out of the other side much stronger.
There are plenty of lifestyle changes that you can make, but it is also important that you make use of the resources that are available to you. There are so many great resources that can teach you more about mental health so you understand the root cause of your issues, and some resources that can give you good advice on improving your mental health. These are some of the best resources that can help you manage your mental health.
The internet is a huge source of information and there is so much about mental health on there. There are sites like Prosperity Alaska that have loads of great articles about mental health and wellness, with so many great tips on improving your mental health. Reading these kinds of sites will help you to find new ways to change your habits and lifestyle for better long term mental health.
You can also find a lot of information about the causes and symptoms of mental health issues, which helps you to identify when you may have a problem. However, there is a lot of bad information on the internet, so it is important that you find official medical bodies so you know that you are getting good advice.
There are a lot of great books out there that can help you to improve your mental health. In a lot of cases, it helps to know that other people have experienced the same problems as you and found ways to deal with them. You can learn from their experience and try some of the methods that they found useful, which is why books about mental health are such an effective resource. There are books that cover a lot of different things, like managing stress, dealing with anxiety, reaching your full potential, and dealing with traumatic life events. Not everything that you find in these books will be applicable to you, but if you are having a hard time, you should try reading some books about mental health.
The best place to go for advice about mental health is always your doctor. Even though it is good to make lifestyle changes and find your own advice, you should always see a medical professional if things are getting on top of you. They will be able to prescribe medications that can be very useful, and they will also help you to find other treatments, like talking therapies, which are so effective when trying to deal with mental health problems.
If you make good use of these resources, you will find it a lot easier to manage your mental health and avoid any serious issues in the future.
Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. One of the keys to running a successful business is protecting it. Particularly if your business is run out of a centralized location or is considered “brick and mortar”, protecting it is of the utmost importance. The following contributed post is entitled, Protecting Your Business Property From Physical Damage.
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One of the last things we want to see is our business being broken into, ransacked and left a complete mess as we arrive in the morning. Adverse weather can also be stressful to deal with, as you can’t exactly blame anyone or seek justice for the damages caused. It could be strong winds that shattered your glass windows, or perhaps even flooding which ruined most of your stock. It can be daunting to deal with the idea of physical damage to your business, so here are a couple of ways to help you protect your business from physical damage.
One of the first things to check is the overall structure of your business property. If you bought your store and it was in poor condition before, then there’s a chance that the structure of your business property is compromised. Get in touch with a commercial roofing company if you’re experiencing leaks, make sure you speak to contractors to check the overall stability of areas like your walls and floors, and make sure you get your utilities checked for any damage. This will help extend the life of your property and also help ensure that these issues don’t get worse over time.
Identifying your threats
There’s no point protecting your business against a threat that isn’t applicable to your location. For instance, if you’re in a location that has never experienced a flood, then adding anti-flooding protection is a little pointless. Another good example is using shutters to protect your business if you experience strong winds and tornados. Likewise, if your area is known to have a relatively high crime rate, then protecting it with CCTV cameras and security systems is a good idea. The goal is to identify any threats against your business then build countermeasures against it.
Protecting your stock and equipment
The things inside of your business also need to be protected from physical damage. If there’s a flood or adverse weather affecting your business the protecting your essential equipment will ensure that you can continue running your business. Safeguarding your stock from damage and also thieves is also extremely important. As such, you may want to consider something like strong locks in your storeroom to both deter thieves and also ensure that it can’t easily be damaged. This will generally depend on the type of business you run, so the countermeasures you use to protect your stock and equipment will be dependent on your needs.
Smaller forms of protection for your store
Now that most of the big issues have been taken care of, what about your business furniture? If you operate something like a retail store or supermarket, then having things like stoppers and bumpers will help prevent people from crashing their carts into your shelves and displays. This is more about ensuring that your customers don’t accidentally cause any damage to your business and potentially injure themselves in the process. It’s both about protecting your store and the customers.
A key focus of my blog is Financial Literacy/Money. Understanding money and setting yourself up to thrive involves more than simply earning your pay at your job and saving. At some point, learning to acquire investments becomes important as well. While it can be daunting at first, it can also turn into a vast and fun new world. The following guest post is entitled, Investment Options You Should Consider to Earn More.
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Money is necessary to buy our needs and wants. That’s why we try to earn as much as possible. It is to live comfortably every day and secure a stable future. No matter how high your income is, however, there are better ways to get higher profits.
With insurance and investments, you can earn money at a faster rate. However, before starting to invest, you should be prepared. Make sure you are following a household budget so that you know how much you can spend without compromising your finances.
After you’ve worked out a proper budget, you’re ready to start investing. Here are your possible options.
If you’re new to investing, play it safe by buying mutual funds. They are easier to understand compared to stocks and pose fewer risks since a team of expert investors manages it. Initial investment requirements are also low, which allows you to begin investing earlier.
However, you should be careful when choosing where to invest. Some companies have portfolio managers that make poor decisions just to fix the values for the books. Others have excessive sales charges. Research carefully about the companies that you are considering.
When you are more experienced, begin dabbling in stocks. Investing in a company allows you to receive part of their earnings quarterly or yearly and provide you with a stable source of income. However, the stock market is constantly fluctuating, so a company’s worth can change.
Don’t invest a large amount in one company immediately, though. Take your time learning how the stock market changes and base your investing decisions on that. You’ll eventually figure out your investment strategy as you start to settle into a certain risk profile.
Another thing to remember is to separate what you invest from what you use in your living budget. If you end up losing all of your investment, you’ll find yourself in dire straits trying to make ends meet.
Begin saving money for your retirement fund as soon as you have a reliable source of income. While it is ideal for putting in a certain percentage of your salary every month, it is not always possible with a tight budget. No matter how little, build a habit of saving part of your money.
Consider availing of a retirement insurance plan to help you save. It allows you to collect money at your own pace and grow it until you choose to take it out. Some insurance plans also offer additional benefits, such as life insurance coverage to your family in case you pass away.
If you have a hard time building a habit of saving, set up an automatic deposit in your bank account. This also encourages you to spend less. To keep your savings untouched, put them in a time deposit account, which only allows you to withdraw after a certain period.
This option gives you a reliable and stable long-term income. However, it requires a large initial deposit, so be sure that your finances are in good shape before you begin investing. There are various payment options available, though, such as mortgage plans.
While investing in real estate is mostly self-sufficient, there are still some things to keep in mind when managing it. Choose your tenants wisely and have good relations with them so that they stay for a long time. Property maintenance is also important to fulfill health and safety requirements.
With these in mind, you can plan and prepare your money to start investing. Make sure that you have enough before starting any of the choices mentioned.
Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. One sector of business is construction and it comes with it’s own set of caveats and nuances. The following contributed post is entitled, Top Advice on How to be Successful Running a Construction Business.
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Are you looking to run a construction business? Maybe even start a new one from scratch? Does the thought of actually doing seem quite scary? Of course, it would! Starting anything new let alone a construction business can be a quite daunting task. So, with all this in mind, how can one run a construction business, and do so successfully? This article hopefully will shed some light on the tips and the advice needed to do just that!
Find and Manage the Suppliers of your Business
This is a given with any business that requires physical products or manufacturing. When it comes to construction, there are many different lanes to choose from. Residential buildings, office buildings, small shelters and big. Or, if you are big enough large scale building developments like Airports, stadiums and huge skyscrapers. All of these different lanes and projects require a different level of relationship with your supplier. For example, if there are pieces of equipment needed such as Floor Cranes for a project, bulk orders may sit better with one supplier than another, who may prefer small bespoke orders. All of these things need to be taken into account if you are planning to, or are running a construction company.
These events can alter to a huge degree to health and the growth of both the construction industry and the housing industry, which has a huge impact on construction on its own. If there are huge changes coming from the political realm, parties pledging huge construction projects, or huge improvements or additions to housing projects, then your business could be able to capitalise on this. However, if the opposite occurs, such as economic downturn, or a reversal of previously promised housing or construction projects then your company take the brunt of the impact from this scenario. For example, the third runway at Heathrow has been tossed and turned by many consecutive Governments. However, when Theresa May gave it the green light and it passed the house, work had begun on how and who would carry out this work. Then a year later, the court deems it unethical due to the environmental impact, so once again the project is shunted. These events can really make an impact on a construction company, so make sure you spread out and keep up a line of clients to steady your books.
Have your Legal Obligations Met
This is a given with any business, but as a construction company, there are many different legal entities that are at play. One of the main ones is with the very nature of construction and using huge equipment like cranes and machinery, to the tools and the handheld tools that can also cause some catastrophic damage to anyone who may get injured by one. Companies such as Hasbrook & Hasbrook are there to help anyone who may be injured whilst at work, but as a business, you have an obligation to keep everyone who works at your business safe, so keeping up your legal obligations Is of utmost importance.
Again, as like any other business finding your lane and discovering your niche is something you need to do right from the get-go. It helps you in many future decisions you and your business will need to take, from things like what clients to take on, and what paths you want to go down in the future to expand and grow. This is the aim at the end of the day, to find the pathway for your business to go, and to keep going down that path and expanding and growing and learning lots of new things to take forward.
It also helps you with your marketing activity. How are you going to market your business? What are your strengths? What are you selling? All of these things collectively make up your marketing mix, so not knowing what your niches are and what you are good at is not a great mix for success, and may achieve quite the opposite. So, get that niche down and find out who you exactly marketing too.
Are you a small, medium, or large scale business?
Some construction companies that are huge national corporations obviously have some benefits and power that a smaller business wouldn’t have, just down to their size and their influence. Some smaller businesses have benefits that a larger business wouldn’t have, for example being more flexible and agile. Decisions are faster than in a huge business, as there are far fewer layers of management to communicate through. When it comes to future planning and decisions you need to make for your business, make sure you know the size of the business and the real power it has. Evaluate the strengths of your business, and outline the weaknesses. When fighting with the competition in a very saturated market, see what weaknesses the big player has over you, and the strengths that you hold over them. Play to those, as these will be the major factor in your success in the construction industry. Like many of these tips, this method and thought process will also make success in many other fields much more likely, so take heed!
Master the Art of Gaining new Clients
Speaking to People and Networking
Networking is one of the best ways to gain leads for your business, and there are several reasons for this. Firstly, it’s personal. You can go directly and talk to people, often from the same area of expertise or people who are going to network primarily to find someone to help them. Then, when you find someone who is looking for something that you can do, then you can really talk and build a relationship with them right there and then. Then, if all goes well, and you have exchanged contact details, you can start talking about what each other wants and then start the business negotiation and hopefully gain a long term client.
Networking events are also good to get your name out there in the world of construction or whatever industry you work within, and then this leads to word of mouth, which this article will delve into more deeply later.
Another way to get customers and project leads as a business is to simply browse the web. Today, most companies have an online presence. Platforms for finding projects and leads that you can bid on such as online tenders can also be a good alternative. Using social media is also something that you can do, for free, to get your message out there. Or, if you are in the place to be able to invest in social media marketing, boosting posts and getting some targeted adverts may also be a good idea! You can share what you have done, the building projects that your company have completed in the past, the plans for projects in the future and behind the scenes looks at your construction processes. All of this content gets people online interested and look into your business more closely. Also not many construction businesses today utilise their power on social media, so if you do so, this gives your business some competitive leverage over older and more backwards companies when it comes to their marketing practices.
Master Word of Mouth
Word of mouth, as it said was going to mentioned once more in more detail, and here goes! Word of mouth is great because once again its a free piece of marketing, that if done right, can garner you, new clients, forever! If more happy clients leave your business, then they will tell others who then come and then leave happy and tell more and so on and so on. It is a proven method and its a method that you should apply to your business!
The benefit of being a construction business is that you are creating something physical, and most likely long-lasting. The more and more work you complete the more and more people are going to be exposed to the work that you have completed. Therefore, the more word of mouth and admiration you will get for the work you have completed. So, keep that word of mouth marketing strong!
Hire the Right People!
This is another given when it comes to the world of business in general, hire the right people! No business will ever succeed or has succeeded when the wrong people have taken the helm.
You need people who are committed and have a great skill set that suits the projects and the suit the needs to the clients that you work for. This mixed with great leadership and teamwork will be the perfect foundations for a successful construction company!
So, that concludes this small article on how to run a successful construction business, and be successful in the construction industry. It is harder than it looks in many ways, but then in some ways, the answers are easy and in plain sight. You just need to work hard, and find them!
Three focuses of my blog are Current Events, Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. With this Coronavirus/Covid-19 Crisis, many businesses are in an unanticipated tailspin. Every business owner must figure out how to survive this storm so that they’re still viable once it passes. The following contributed post is entitled, Promoting Your Business In Challenging Times.
With the Covid-19 outbreak dominating the news and our daily lives, every single aspect of doing business has been plunged into chaos seemingly overnight. And while small businesses are generally used to dealing with challenges, this remains absolutely unprecedented in terms of scale and impact. And while the dust is still settling, any forward-thinking company with a goal for long-term survival is going to be focused on adapting to this new normal as quickly and possible and mapping out a viable way to keep the show on the road under incredibly hard circumstances. No matter the doom and gloom, people still have needs and there is still a market place out there – even if you need to work a little harder to reach it. All bets are off, but it must be said that it’s an extremely difficult landscape to try and market yourself out there. So how can you market your business during sensitive times?
Visualise Your Future Funnel
The companies who are going to manage to come through all this are the ones who are actively thinking ahead. While everyone is struggling to recover and fully understand the impact on their operations, those who are able to take a step back from the panic and think ahead towards times of recovery will be the ones who are able to benefit the most. It can be tempting in desperate times to try to secure a sales pipeline, but this messaging can come across as insensitive. Instead, use this immediate time to craft some sympathetic crisis communications checking in with customers and offering support in any way that you can. Then begin to plan a second phase where you can build up to something approaching normal marketing activity again. What channels will offer the best value? What SEO might you need to do on your site? How might you change your messaging to fit new circumstances?
Ensure Value For Money
Cashflow is going to be a serious matter for almost all businesses following this period of disruption, so now is a very good time to ensure that the return on investment for your marketing spend is going to deliver what you need. Review everything from your PPC campaigns which may not be living up to their conversion goals, to any outdoor advertising which may be going unseen as people stay indoors. Consider new channels which may have better reach in these times – such as forms of digital advertising or perhaps finding out about radio advertising here: howtoadvertiseonsiriusxm.com/.
Get The Tone Right
Tone is everything at the moment, as your audience navigates it’s way through difficult circumstances. Remember that people are worried and concerned, and that there may be more sales barriers to overcome than usual – ones you may not have handled before. Depending on what you do, you may be fielding more queries about hygiene, cancellation policies, payment terms and travel restrictions than ever before. Your tone should be reassuring, realistic and kind. During times of crisis, it is possible to foster deep customer loyalty with the right approach.
Two key focuses of my blog are Career Discussions and Current Events. The Coronavirus/Covid-19 Pandemic has at least temporarily changed workplace conditions around the world. While working at home sounds like a win-win, there are some caveats to it, especially if you aren’t used to it. The following guest post is entitled, Community Quarantine: Working from Home During These Times.
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Now that the country is under quarantine, with Luzon on enhanced community quarantine, working from home is now being implemented by the government and most companies in the private business sector.
Under the threat of the COVID-19 disease, the Philippine government is encouraging private companies to make adjustments to its processes and put in place a work-from-home structure. If you’re new to this scenario, here are a few tips to help you make the most of your time at home:
5 Ways to Be Productive as You Work from Home
1. Treat it as you would any normal workday at the office.
Simply because you’re working from home now doesn’t mean you need to make major adjustments in life. You still need to go about it as you would any normal day at the workplace.
Wake up early. Take a bath. Prepare your work station. Clock in at a certain time to start your workday. Focus on the day’s tasks and deliverables.
It will still pretty much be the same thing you do at work. The only difference is you’re getting all your work done from home. Establish a routine to maintain or even enhance your productivity.
Take a look at your day-to-day tasks and prioritize them according to importance or degree of difficulty. If you are uncertain which ones are needed the most at the end of the day, give your supervisor or boss a call. Sure, you don’t have access to your PBX business phone systems but a text message or an email should do the trick. Knowing which tasks are priority helps determine how your day will go.
3. Organize your schedule and try to stick to it.
Once you have already identified which deliverables are urgent and which ones can wait, plot down your schedule according to these tasks.
Writing down your daily or weekly schedule helps establish the rhythm that you need to keep you on track. Working from home can give you plenty of distractions. You need something tangible to help keep you from getting off-course and keep you goal-oriented throughout the day and week.
4. Take breaks.
One of the things some people tend to take for granted is taking breaks. Breaks are essential to a person’s productivity. These help you recharge and refocus after lengthy periods. Taking a break is not exactly a luxury, but it is a necessity for any worker.
When you take breaks, it is recommended to step away from your workstation. Stand up, stretch a bit, walk around to get the blood flowing in your system, and enjoy a cup of coffee or a sandwich. Do whatever normal people would do at the office when on break.
5. Stop at the end of the day.
Like any other workday, you should stop at a certain time. One of the downsides of working from home is some people can no longer differentiate time for work and time away from it.
Clock out at the end of your day. Once you have already completed your eight hours, step away from your work station and move on to the finer things in life like spending time with your family or taking your well-deserved rest.
Working from home is a privilege. Do not take it for granted. Work when you need to work, stop when you should stop. Learn how to properly balance work and life. Learning how to manage that will make you more productive in the end.
A key focus of my blog is Business/Entrepreneurship. In some instances you may need to may need to build your own workspace. In some instances it’s easier said than done as there are numerous considerations. The following contributed post is entitled, Building Your Own Workspace? Consider These Aspects First.
There are numerous old sayings that relate to the importance of having an appropriate workspace in which to do your work. Trying to muddle along as best you can with what you have can only work for so long, especially if you happen to have a job that depends on precision and accuracy. If your work involves time spent in a kitchen, a lab, a ward or any other facility where the timely following of instructions is a necessity, then you need a workspace that is up to the job.
You can request the building of a space, and lay down your specifications for the expert contractors who will put it together. You, yourself, can construct the space to your own specs and oversee every part of the work. Either way, it is essential to keep in mind certain basic principles which will guide the successful building of a functional workspace, and ensure the right results from your efforts time and again.
Make sure your space is easy to clean
If you’re working in a lab, sterility is absolutely essential – and it’s the same story if you’re in any kind of commercial kitchen. Scientific experimentation or simple replication is dependent upon laboratory conditions – in other words, the merest speck of dirt, the merest impurity on an important surface can negate the work that has been done to achieve your goals. This means that surfaces should be chosen for their ease of cleaning, resistance to moisture and ability to show up any impurity that might linger. Sinks, tables and floors are all of vital importance in this regard.
Storage needs to be accessible and unobtrusive
For ideal results, ingredients and implements need to be accessed at exactly the right times, used and put back where they belong – the importance of avoiding clutter is something that applies to all workspaces. A clumsily placed item can lead to spillage, cross-contamination or worse, so ensure that your workspace has dedicated storage which doesn’t get in the way, but is easy to access when you need it. Using carbon fiber design to create precisely the right implements is certainly a good idea; it’s a versatile compound that can deliver excellent results.
There must be room for maneuver
Space is essential when you are working with anything that may be volatile, anything that may give off heat, or anything that needs to be left to itself for a spell of time. Whether in a lab or a kitchen, you’ll need to have room to move around to look for items, and in some cases (such as emergencies) just to get out of the way. Account for this room when putting together your workspace – particularly if you will be accompanied in there at any time. Bumping into another person constantly – as will happen in cramped spaces – is far from ideal in a working area.
Ensuring that everything is just the way it needs to be can make a huge difference when you are looking for the perfect working space. Considering these points, and others, will help you get the results you need.
Two of the focuses of my blog are Career Discussions and General Education. As some point, there are inevitable changes in our careers. Many workers are not prepared for changes, though they must figure out how to move forward. The following contributed post is entitled, How To Come Back From A Forced Change In Career.
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There are times where we suddenly take a change of course in our career for one reason or another. Sometimes it’s a decision that we make, and sometimes it isn’t. When that change of career is forced upon us, due to a lack of demand for your current role, redundancy, a drop in sales, or something bigger, there are things you can do to help ease into the transition, from one career to another. Here are some ideas from people who have been there before, and ways in which you can prevent the changes impacting you significantly.
Try something you enjoy There may be a franchise out there for you, that you have always wanted to try, having a look at the Franchise Direct, might find the right one that you’ve always been looking for, or there may be a hobby that you currently have that you can turn into a career. There are many big business owners, who will tell you that doing what you enjoy will help you in your success. There is some psychology behind this because we always work harder when we want to, and if we are doing something that we enjoy doing, then we will, of course, want to. But finding out what this does take time, so if you aren’t lucky enough to have time to change your mind, then thinking back about all the roles that you have taken in the past, and which ones you enjoyed the most, may point you in the right direction.
Back to basics Going back to basics, whether that is starting a course on a new subject, going back to school, or rebooting your existing business, there is a world of opportunity At your feet, and there is plenty that you are able to do in the opportunities you have been given. Going back to basics can actually mean many things, but if there is something that you’ve always wanted to learn, it may be a great opportunity to try now. Taking your time and really discovering what the intentions of your learning is, and making sure that you do your best along the way, will have you coming out the other end feeling great about it. And learning a new skill can boost your career in ways you may never have imagined before.
Stay calm If you’re changing career isn’t necessarily your choice, then it may be a bit of a shock to your system, and might be a stressful time for you. But nobody is productive whilst they are panicking, so making sure that you have a plan, are keen to ensure that you fix the problems ahead, and do your very best, then there’s no point worrying about anything else. A calm mind is a productive mind, and you will find yourself in a much better position if you look after your mental health through this time.
So even though change isn’t always easy, it can be as good as a rest and may bring opportunities that you could not have imagined before. So taking care that you calmly look at your options, and make the right decisions for you is important.
Two key focuses of my blog are Career Discussions and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). While we’re encouraging participation in the STEMs today, there are potential challenges in the sector going forward which we must also be aware of. The following contributed post is entitled, Challenges Facing The STEM Sector.
Without a thriving STEM sector, it is hard for a nation to rise and meet its obligations and challenges for the future. Considering that STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, it’s easy to see just how much of what goes into building a country falls under that banner. Then, consider that (before Coronavirus hit, throwing all future plans into chaos), the USA is on target to have 2million STEM jobs unfilled from the 3.5million that it needs to source by 2025. America needs to work on its STEM shortage; so what can be done?
It seems clear that something needs to be done. 2025 isn’t some mythical far-off future; it’s five years away. STEM, by any reckoning, is a field from which we get doctors, pharmacists, engineers of all kinds and programmers, along with a great many other occupations. If there is a reluctance among younger people to focus on STEM subjects, and a lack of aspiration towards careers in the sector, what does the future hold for all of these industries?
There is a significant gender gap in STEM industries
It is easy to point fingers and find explanations for a shortfall of women in the STEM workforce, and yet… the key fact is that the industries are not attracting anywhere near as many young women as they need to be. At the crucial ages of 15-16 – just as they are starting to focus closely on what they’ll be doing at college – just 20% of girls have a positive impression of engineering jobs. Other numbers suggest that as many as three-quarters of school-age kids don’t understand what STEM careers entail – so creating the conditions to change this is an essential first step.
Concerningly, the reputation of science fields at academic institutions is not great from an equalities point of view, with women on campus reporting a pervasive culture of sexual harassment.
Less inward immigration means fewer overseas experts
Regardless of one’s political standpoint, it is necessary to point out that you can either have a world-leading STEM sector at all levels or a country that applies harsh limits on immigration. You cannot have both, and the numbers of H-1B visas being issued is trending downwards in all sectors – including to STEM graduates. This, according to experts in the field, is inevitably handing advantages to other countries – notably China which is home to 4.7 million graduates in the field, compared to America’s 560,000 as of 2016.
The term STEM is often poorly-defined
Who works in STEM, in your opinion? A few occupations were named above and, for sure, doctors and engineers are certainly STEM experts. Anyone getting in touch with LOC Scientific for essential lab equipment, or researching potential cures for illnesses like the one sweeping the planet right now is also a STEM worker. So, too, is any architect or therapist – and the lack of clarity over the definition of such a vital term could be overall off-putting for people who think about the whole sector as having to do with bubbling flasks and test-tubes. Perhaps, more than anything else, what STEM needs in the next five years is a rebrand.
Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. No matter what kind of business you’re running, you will eventually need to buy new equipment. No matter what you purchase, it’s important to do so wisely. The following contributed post is entitled, Buying Equipment For Your New Business.
Very few businesses can run without some form of equipment. In fact, we can’t think of any!
If you’re starting an office-based business, you are going to need computers at the very least. If you’re thinking about starting a manufacturing business, you will need the relevant machinery for your production processes. And then there are all the other types of businesses out there – catering, entertainment, care, etc. that will need one piece of equipment or another for day-to-day operations.
But before you buy something, there are a few things you need to think about first.
#1: Can I afford it?
If you’re cash-rich at the start of your business, then buying equipment might not be an issue for you. However, if money is scarce, it is important to concentrate on the essentials before buying any nice-to-have items. Anything that might not be needed immediately could be put on the back burner until you have funds in place. For the necessities, you might consider buying something second-hand instead of buying something brand new, or you could find ways to increase your capital to give you the money you need for your equipment. You could also lease pieces of equipment on a short-term basis, or share items with a neighboring business to help you cut costs.
#2: Do I need it?
There are some pieces of equipment your business won’t need straight away, despite the marketing push of their respective sellers. Sure, they might look good in your office or factory space, but if you are rarely going to use them, what’s the point? As we mentioned above, you might be able to share or rent certain pieces of equipment instead if you need them irregularly. On the other hand, you might decide against buying something, as your business might be able to function perfectly well without. You will then have more money for the essential things you need, so research businesses similar to your own, and find out what could be considered compulsory.
#3: What can I call for repairs?
Technology: It’s great when it’s working, but not so great when it isn’t! And when something does break down, you could experience downtime in your business. So, when buying equipment for your business, consider what it might take to maintain and repair them. In some cases, the seller will have qualified repair technicians on hand to help you. C&B Equipment, a supplier of industrial engines, are a prime example. In fact, they actively urge their buyers to seek their help for repairs, to stop them voiding their warranties through their own DIY efforts! In other cases, you will need to outsource help, perhaps to an IT technician for any problems with your computers. So, find out who you can turn to for help when buying, and keep their numbers on speed dial just in case you do need to call somebody promptly.
These are just a few of the things you need to think about when buying equipment for your business. Keep them in mind, as your business will be positively affected if you make sensible choices throughout the buying process.