WJR Business Beat with Jeff Sloan: Restaurants Struggling Significantly as Winter Approaches (Episode 155)

New research indicates just how bad the COVID crisis has been for the restaurant industry. In fact, in the last three months, as many as 10,000 restaurants have closed nationwide.

Last week, the National Restaurant Association released the results of a late November survey of 6,000 restaurant operators, and as many as 79% of restaurant operators surveyed reporting that they have had reduced sales, and looking ahead, it doesn’t look much better.

Tune in to this morning’s WJR Business Beat to hear Jeff’s report on the current state of the restaurant industry:

Tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday mornings at 7:11 a.m. for the WJR Business Beat. Listeners outside of the Detroit area can listen live HERE.

Are you an entrepreneur with a great story to share? If so, contact us at editor@startupnation.com and we’ll feature you on an upcoming segment of the WJR Business Beat!

Good morning.

New research indicates just how bad the COVID crisis has been for the restaurant industry. In fact, in the last three months, as many as 10,000 restaurants have closed nationwide and everyday consumers have been robbed of one of life’s simple, but beautiful pleasures. That is the ability to just get out of the house and enjoy a meal out at a favorite restaurant with family and or friends.

Last week, the National Restaurant Association released the results of a late November survey of 6,000 restaurant operators, and that survey paints a bleak picture for the industry with as many as 79% of restaurant operators surveyed reporting that they have had reduced sales, and looking ahead, it doesn’t look much better.

The survey concluded that the vast majority of restaurant operators do not expect their businesses to improve in the coming few months. In fact, 75% of operators expect their sales to decrease even further.

One of the biggest reasons restaurants are being hit even harder now?

Well, outdoor dining is no longer an option given the winter weather, and that outdoor dining is what allowed many to simply stay in business and to bring in whatever revenue they did earn during the warmer months.

Worse yet, even if indoor dining were an option, consumer attitudes toward indoor dining, according to Feedback Loop, a recently released survey of 300 adults ages 18 to 75 indicated that indoor dining at restaurants is simply not an option for them. As many as 91% indicated that they were opposed to any kind of indoor dining experience.

So, knowing just how great the struggle is for our friends who own and operate restaurants, remember during this holiday season to order online and pick up a takeout from your favorite locally-owned independent restaurant during the holiday season. They need your business now more than ever.

I’m Jeff Sloan, founder and CEO of StartupNation.com, and that’s today’s Business Beat on the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, WJR.

The post WJR Business Beat with Jeff Sloan: Restaurants Struggling Significantly as Winter Approaches (Episode 155) appeared first on StartupNation.


Research-Based Approaches for Creativity at Work

Creativity is back in fashion after years of silence in research! Social and technological changes are driving renewed interest in this subject, and the findings can be applied in many fields like art, psychology, and of course – business. The search for creative ways to make money in our developing world never ends. Think, for example, how important creativity is for different professionals in a company; starting with the manager, whose job is to push his team to innovation, continuing with the marketers responsible for designing interesting and appealing advertising, and ending with project managers who can look at the big picture with the right creative skills.

What is the Definition of Creativity?

The dictionary definition from Oxford Languages refers to it as the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work. However, we think that there is more to it than that – we all want to know what the creative thinking process is, how creative people’s minds work, and how we can improve our creativity at work. Here is what we (and science) know about your burning questions.

What’s Going On in Our Brain When Thinking Creatively?

Many people think that if you can’t solve a problem, you should put it aside and go do other things. Your mind will “clarify” and new ideas will just appear in your head as a moment of illumination, a eureka. I’ve never experienced this eureka when I was a student doing my math homework, and I was disappointed. This traditional belief turned out to be probably wrong, or at least not completely right.

New approaches to creativity see it more as a seeking process in a giant mental space of possibilities, and not just as a moment of clarity. This process is defined as a procedure that aims to find original and helpful solutions. It consists of two main phases: exploration and exploitation.

  • Exploration: Wandering the mental space looking for something valuable.
  • Exploitation: Improving and upgrading the idea that was found.

Think of it this way – you are walking in a desert looking for cellular reception so you can call for help. There are plenty of mountains all around, and you just have to find the right one with the right spot on top of it. Once you find one mountain that looks nice, you start climbing it, you go up and down the hills, reception is coming and going, and only one spot is perfect for you – that is the greatest creative idea.

Creative People vs. Non-Creative People

So we get that the mental space is like a wilderness. But did you know that your desert and your friend’s desert are different, and they both are different from any other desert in the world? Your space of mind is like a fingerprint, and some people are more creative than others, you can actually see it in the brain!

The networks in the brain of creative people are different from less creative people. A study published in 2018 found that people with higher semantic creativity have less connections between ideas in the brain! It may sound illogical, but it actually makes sense. Creative people can think effectively and are using brain areas that are linked to functionality, while non-creative people are using regions linked to habitual responses. also, creative people can find their way inside their brains pretty fast – they are able to jump quickly between different ideas, and don’t need other links to help them get from one point to another. Look at it as if creative people are more “athletic” than non-creative people, and they can skip between two mountains in the desert without making a stop in a middle mountain.

How Can We Benefit from This Information?

First of all, let’s play a game. Take a paper and a pen, you have 5 minutes to write anything you can do with a brick, just a simple brick. Go!

Time’s up! This “game” is actually a creativity test used by counselors and psychologists, and it is called The Alternative Uses Test. It evaluates originality, fluency, and flexibility (those brain links I just talked about), and measures divergent thinking. For example, you can use a brick to “build a house” and to “use it as a doorstep” – those are pretty distinct ideas, though not the most original ones. Try practicing this game with other everyday objects, like toilet paper, a glass or a pencil. Improving your divergent thinking will help you think of better solutions for problems that pop up at work, or even increase your innovation skills.

Another entertaining game is The Remote Associates Test, that you may have played as a child. Someone gives you 3 words, and you need to find a word that links the others. For example, which word connects Wise, Work, and Tower? Think about it for a second… The answer is Clock! You can find many more examples in Creative Huddle’s article. This game enhances your convergent thinking, which can help you choose the right solution from many alternatives, so you could hire the best employee or buy exactly the services your company needs.

The last game can be played with your colleagues and friends; it is called Circles Creativity Test. All you have to do is give each participant a sheet with 30 circles, and you get 3 minutes to fill as many circles as you can with drawings. When you’re done, you can compare your outcomes and see who filled more circles, who thought of distinct ideas, and who drew more original objects. By playing this game with your team, you can all benefit from improving your divergent thinking and creativity for the good of your work.

If you are tired of games, and you just want to know how you can be more creative at work, deepTalk has some great and practical tips. Creative thinking is something you can develop, and those brain links can be changed and strengthened. The secret is training – just like you train your body to be healthy, you can train your brain to be more creative. Don’t run away from challenges, stick to them and try to deal with them your own special way.

Originally published on deepTalk, August 27, 2020.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

9 Different Approaches For Motivating A Startup Team

chasing-money-motivationEntrepreneurs inherently understand that they have to be the initial leader of their startup, but often they don’t have the experience or the training to know where their leadership competencies lie, or how to build a leadership team. For new entrepreneurs, leadership development efforts may be more valuable for achieving startup success than business skills development.

Very few people know their own leadership style, or strengths and weaknesses, despite their many years of living and working in the real world. To assess where you are, and to unlock your full potential, there are many courses available, as well as seminars and gurus, but a good place to start is a book on the subject, like the classic one from John Mattone, “Intelligent Leadership.”

Mattone has a wealth of insights, based on years of helping Fortune 500 leaders overcome their self-imposed limiting leadership habits. He identifies and distinguishes between nine distinct leadership styles that I see in all entrepreneurs to some degree. The most effective entrepreneurs know their own predominant style, and how to build a team with all the rest required:

  1. Helper. Mature Helpers are considerate and genuinely the most sensitive and caring of all the leadership types. They are excellent mentors and coaches, but have a strong need to be admired and respected in return. Strengthen this trait by being more conscious of your need to be liked, and don’t be possessive or controlling.
  1. Entertainer. Entertainers gain the respect of others with drive, determination, hard work, and the ability to win over people. But they can become fixated with appearing successful, showing more style than substance, or undermine themselves by exaggeration, inflating their importance, or trying to win or one-up all the time.
  1. Artist. Artists are perhaps the most creative and innovative leaders. They tend to move people deeply, and bring out the most in people. As they become more mature, they draw less inspiration from themselves, and more from others. Improve your artist side by avoiding negativity, procrastination, and focus on self-discipline.
  1. Thinker. Thinkers like to analyze the world around them, and may prefer thinking to doing. Mature Thinkers quickly understand problems, can explain them to others, and make sound and logical decisions. Strengthen this trait by not jumping to conclusions, seeking advice, and working cooperatively with others you trust.
  1. Disciple. Disciples are able to form strong and cohesive work groups, but sometimes appear incapable of action without permission of an authority figure or belief system, and don’t seek out leadership positions. This trait can be strengthened by accepting accountability, reducing reaction to stress, and cutting ties to authority.
  1. Activist. Activists are good at lifting the spirits of team members and managers, and are usually optimistic and confident. They tend to bury themselves in activities, but can be impulsive and select quantity over quality. Improvement efforts would include listening more to people, thinking about details, and learning to say no.
  1. Driver. Drivers are the most openly aggressive leaders, who enjoy taking charge, and can make things better with their immense self-confidence. Unfortunately, they may feel the need to dominate every situation, and make every decision. Mature ones act with more self-restraint, let others win, and work with others.
  1. Arbitrator. Arbitrators tend to be the most open of all types. What you see is what you get. They find ways to bring people together, and ways to involve everyone. To be a better Arbitrator, you need to be more assertive, more open, share your feelings, and work on developing your listening skills.
  1. Perfectionist. Mature perfectionists are capable of being highly noble leaders, with their deep sense of right and wrong and ethical principles. They are usually highly critical of themselves and others, and often frustrated by reality. To improve, they need to learn to relax, listen to others, and remember that no one is perfect.

In all cases, to reach your highest leadership potential, you have to stay true to yourself, rather than trying to conform to other people’s images of the best you. If you truly commit to learning more about yourself and becoming the best that you can be, while possessing a great attitude, you will discover that all challenges are really the seeds of opportunity.

Most recognized entrepreneur leaders admit that their biggest challenge was to break through their self-imposed limiting thoughts, emotions, and habits, to reach the next level. How many of these leadership traits have you mastered, how many are you working on, and how many of the other strengths have you built into your team to help you? That’s intelligent leadership.

Marty Zwilling

Startup Professionals Musings