How the talent shortage affects your kids

The talent shortage is affecting businesses across a variety of industries. As our world has moved firmly into the digital age, more and more companies are looking to hire employees who have digital skills, including web design, digital marketing, social media, and more. However, many businesses are finding that there aren’t enough job applicants who possess the required skills, resulting in a talent shortage.

It is not that recent graduates aren’t getting quality educations, but rather that educational institutions have not yet incorporated the needs of today’s job market into their curricula. The end result is that there are numerous jobs available in the digital areas of business, but those applying for the jobs don’t have all of the skills required.

If you have children, of course, you want them to have the best possible chance of success in their future careers. Particularly in the digital space, it is essential not to rely solely on formal education to develop the skills needed to be successful in the modern business world. Until the world of education catches up with the rapid pace of growth in this area, students may need to take it upon themselves to learn these crucial skills.

Encourage your children to expand their knowledge outside of traditional outlets. The more experiences you can expose them to, the greater their chances of discovering where their passions lie. Take the time to sit down with each of your children individually to discuss their goals for the future. Then, you can advise them on which skills will be most desirable to employers.

Of course, finding employment is not the only goal of getting an education, but it will help your kids find a way to get paid for doing what they love. Encourage your kids to think outside the box in terms of career opportunities and courses of study. When your child finds what he or she is genuinely passionate about, you’ll know which avenues of education make the most sense and which areas may need to be studied independently.

Talent shortages are not uncommon in the business world and most often occur after rapid advances in technology and techniques. The current workforce must act quickly to adjust to the latest trends, and those just entering the industry are in the best position to make the most of the latest developments. Because they won’t be bogged down by the way things were done in the past, your children can focus on driving future development and growth.

If your grown children are struggling to find employment in today’s rapidly changing business environment, don’t let them get discouraged. With a bit of creativity and effort, they can find a suitable job that makes the most of their innate talents and personal passions. Taking some time to further their education with the most in-demand skills in today’s market is often a better choice than trying to force-fit themselves into a job that isn’t quite right. Although we may never be able to eliminate the skills gap, our children have the chance to minimize it as best they can.

What if Your Customer Has a Point After All?

Sometime back in the early seventies, I was getting in our family car in a Kmart parking lot when I looked down and found a badly weathered eight-track tape (ask your mom) on the ground next to the car. The tape was in bad shape but closer inspection revealed that it was The Turtles’ Greatest Hits album.

I didn’t mention the find to my mom, because she would have made me report my find to a Kmart sales associate. “Uh, hello. I want to turn in a badly mangled eight-track tape that I found in your parking lot. Do I get a reward or anything?”

At the time, I had no idea who The Turtles were, but it was a free rock ’n’ roll album so I wasn’t going to be picky. When we got home, I begged my mom to let me sit in the car and play the tape on the car stereo, and guess what? I found that I actually liked two or three cuts on it, including the song that was written out of sheer spite.

There is hardly anything musicians hate more than getting notes from the suits, telling them how to make their music. Just after the Beatles’ huge hit, Eleanor Rigby, The Turtles received such a note from their label that said something like, “How about you guys writing something that makes lots of money like Eleanor Rigby?” If there’s anything musicians dislike more than being told what to do by record labels, it’s being compared to (who they believe to be) the competition.

The members of The Turtles were incensed. How dare those business people dictate how the band expressed themselves musically! Why didn’t they stick to running the business end of things and let them handle all the music stuff?

So, to make their point, they conceived an ingenious plan. They would outwardly comply with their label, while giving them the worst Eleanor-like song they could compose. The result was a song titled Elenore in which they included sappy, ridiculous lyrics like,
“I really think you’re groovy.
Let’s go out to a movie.”
Laughing in their sleeves because they had pulled one over on the record company, they recorded the silly song and presented it to their label.

Fortunately, the folks at the record company didn’t get the joke. In fact, they loved the song and released it for airplay. Elenore became one of the Turtles all-time biggest hits.

While you’re digesting that, chew on this for a minute. In 1853, Chef George Crum was attempting to satisfy the complaint of a cranky diner. The restaurant patron kept demanding that the potatoes he had ordered be sliced thinner and thinner. Finally, an exasperated Chef Crum sliced the potatoes as thin as possible, fried them, and sent them out to the diner to make his point.

The diner loved the chef’s sarcastic invention, and a new snack food was invented.

But what do potato chips and a song by a rock ’n’ roll band you probably haven’t heard of (or didn’t remember) have in common?

They both were phenomenal successes produced in response to annoying customer suggestions. Yes, they were produced in spite, but get this: it turned out that the customer was right after all. Sometimes, it pays to listen to the customer even when we are sure they are dead wrong.

The question we need to ask ourselves is: what if? What if we listened to input we receive from those we don’t like? What if we opened ourselves up to the innovation that comes from hearing other people out?

It might be the thing that propels your career, business, or relationships forward is the very thing that you least want to hear.

© 2020 Charles Marshall. Charles Marshall is a nationally known humorous motivational speaker and author. Visit his Web site or contact him via e-mail at

Should you lower prices now?

The impact of COVID-19 will go well beyond the pandemic itself, with serious effects expected on the global economy as well as on people’s lives. During periods of economic downturn, people’s incomes are limited, and their spending habits change significantly. To stay afloat and retain customers, some businesses will choose to revise their prices and fees downwards. Naturally, with the stiff competition that characterizes many markets, you may be tempted to follow suit. Even as you strive to make the right decisions for your business and customers, it would be essential to understand the visible and hidden adverse effects of lowering prices.

The negative effects of lowering prices

The negative effects of lowering prices can be categorized into visible and hidden outcomes—the visible results related to profits and sales volumes. While a good number of business owners think that lowering prices will help to drive sales, the move can lower your earnings by a significant margin. Reduced profitability will have a substantial negative impact, particularly on startups and small businesses. For any business to enjoy the same level of profitability after lowering prices, they will need to sell more products to customers. In a shrinking economy, it may be difficult to sell more than you used to do previously.

Apart from the visible effects, the hidden ones can have a considerable impact on your business. Cutting your prices may lead customers to believe that they will get lower quality from you. This notion could affect your reputation as a business that sells high-quality products or services. Another possible outcome is that long-term customers will feel that you have been overcharging them, a factor that could see you lose some of your current customers. Also, customers who think that they overpaid will not refer others to your business. You may also not end up attracting more new customers if your competition lowers their prices as well since things will still be the same.

With these effects, adjusting your prices downwards could be counterproductive, effectively dealing a blow to your efforts to drum up business, and as such, lowering prices during a recession would not be a smart strategy.

What you should consider doing

To help you get through the tough times, there are several steps that you can consider taking. With declining demand, you will need to come up with smart and innovative ways of keeping your business going. If you only handled big projects in the past, it would be time to consider taking on smaller projects with smaller budgets. Taking on more modest projects will not only keep you going but could also earn you new customers. Another option would be to provide free consultations while maintaining the prices of your products and services at the same level. Since the value defines the amount that customers enjoy, you can also choose to increase price and value simultaneously. However, this will require that you pick the right time and decide how much to change the prices. In the end, you will want to make changes while ensuring you encounter the least resistance from your customers.

In the long run, the pandemic will ease off, and the global economy will rebound. However, adjusting prices can have long-term effects that will take a long time to rectify. Provided you deliver value to your customers, we recommend that you charge what you believe is a fair price.