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SeaComm Business Newsletter
3rd Edition 2021
Business Spotlight: WECare Transport
In 2012 John and Aletha Babbie started WeCare Transport, a compassionate non-emergency transportation service, which was created out of a need that was lacking in the area. John’s mother who was very sick and diagnosed with a rare form of cancer did not have any access to local non-emergency transportation services.
Luckily John, a Corrections Officer at the time, was able to transport his mother to and from appointments as needed for almost a year. Though the business was formed in 2012, it took a year to become fully operationally with a couple day trips in their first van. After a slow start they quickly surpassed their expectations of only operating 3 vans and now boast an 11 vehicle fleet.
Aletha’s mother had MS, and was able to utlitze WeCare Transport services, which include transport to doctor’s offices, healthcare practices, rehabilitation facilities, adult day care, cancer treatment centers, senior communities and long-distance trips. WeCare Transport is built on the foundations of helping people, as John and Aletha we’re able to do for their parents, and now provide the same care and compassion for the local communities. The passion Aletha and John both have for helping people is apparent in all that they do, even down to the care of the vehicles. In their fleet are Department of Transport compliant vehicles which are equipped with accessibility and safety in mind. As an ambulatory transportation service WeCare Transport has the ability to accommodate wheelchairs, and stretchers.
The majority of their clients are done through insurance agencies with a smaller percentage being private pay clients. As Aletha was a service member, they do offer a discount to veterans, and have also provided veterans transportation to life flights. Putting a smile on their client’s faces, and knowing that they were able to assist someone in what may be a difficult time is a rewarding experience for the entire team at WeCare Transport. Aletha reflects on a particularly fond memory of bringing a grandmother to her granddaughters wedding, and upon arrival the family was awaiting the grandmother with applause and tears in their eyes.
Just as the COVID-19 pandemic has effected businesses across the North Country, WeCare Transport was not immune. During the height of the pandemic in 2020 WeCare Transport went from 17 vehicles and upwards of 70 transports a day down to 3-4 vehicles and about 5 transports a day. As John and Aletha prioritize the safety of their staff and clients they decided to get training on COVID-19, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), and now have protocols in place to prevent the spread.
When asked if they had any advice for new business owners, or anyone interested in starting a business John stressed the importance of doing your research. “Make sure all of your homework is done,” he stated. Aletha added that it’s also “[imperative] that all of your paperwork is done, and to be as prepared as possible” before starting.
Prior to starting WeCare Transport, Aletha had great experiences with SeaComm as a member, and is thankful for the help that SeaComm has been over the years. “Every experience has been helpful, resourceful, and we always are followed up with,” Aletha exclaimed. John adds that “SeaComm is not like any other financial institution. We didn’t have to jump through hoops to get help.”
To learn more about WeCare Transport visit wecare-transport.com or call (518) 651-7499.
Robotics fills bill; Workers are hard to find
Find it, pick it, pack it, ship it.
That is the routine for warehouse work, and robots are coming to the rescue in an industry that just can't hire enough humans. Companies are investing millions in warehouse robots to pick up the slack in enormous storage and shipping facilities.
According to the International Federation of Robotics, a single robot saves up to 18 miles of employee walking, increasing picking productivity by two or three times.
In 2018, according to Stord.com, there were 400,000 robots installed per year globally. By 2022, that number will grow to 584,000 units.
In fact, robotics has come to the rescue of North American warehouses, which are struggling to find labor. In the U.S., warehousing companies added about 168,000 jobs between April 2020 and April of 2021, a 13.6 percent increase. But sector payrolls contracted by 4,300 jobs from March to April, according to a preliminary report from the Department of Labor. Logistics employers simply can't find enough staff to keep pace with demand. Logistics staffing firm ProLogistix says the average starting pay for warehouse workers was $16.58 an hour in April 2021. That is up nearly 9 percent from April 2020.
According to the Wall Street Journal, warehousing demand has been driven forward dramatically by the pandemic, which created a surge in online demand while shrinking the supply of available workers. It's not that robots are taking human jobs so much as there aren't humans to fill them.
Logistics providers are looking into remotely operated forklifts in warehouses that can be controlled from anywhere in the world using real-time video and audio. This could allow automation companies to find workers in areas of the employment market not usually tapped by warehousing, such as disabled workers.
"Risk more than others think is safe. Dream more than others think is practical." - Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO
All the kids are doing it: How short videos can help your small business
It sprang onto the scene with goofy dance trends and questionable dares, but TikTok and other short video platforms have evolved -- and can offer an edge to the creative business owner.
The dancing and pranks aren't going anywhere, but they now share space with more cerebral users. Social media algorithms reward accounts that incorporate video into their feeds, meaning your posts will gain more traction and reach more people than a static image. Instagram and Twitter have each introduced short form videos into their repertoire this past year.
Not sure what content to publish? Remember the philosophy of 'show don’t tell.' Brainstorm visual ways to show off your business and company.
Here are some ideas:
- Behind the scenes videos, showing viewers your office or desk, taking them into the kitchen or the factory, under the hood of the car.
- Consider a series of tips, offering snippets of bite-sized advice.
- Summarize an event with scenes from the day.
- Tease an upcoming sale, event or expansion.
- Show the progress of a renovation, whether that's a remodel of your home office, a new fire pit or a commercial building.
- Answer questions. Ask viewers to submit questions and answer them via video.
- Feeling brave? Go ahead and jump on a dance trend! You can easily find the latest trending videos and songs and add your own take to it. Or you can do a split-screen video in which you dance along or react to someone else.
- Speaking of reactions, reaction videos are big. They don't have to be dances. You can react to a short news clip or speech snippet, visually and/or with your own comments.
- Remember to use captions. Studies show that up to 80 percent of people scroll through their phones without the sound on. Most videos incorporate easy text graphics to display words and titles and you can also use closed captions.
A good place to start finding those extra dollars for savings is by carefully reviewing your spending for ways to cut back.
Check out more business tips at www.seacommblog.com
Mobile Wallets Soar in Popularity
Cash may be king, but cashless transactions are usurping the throne.
Cashless transactions had long been gaining momentum and only got more popular during the pandemic, when many businesses and customers shied away from handling paper money and coins.
The website Trading Platforms said the digital or mobile wallet payments were the most used point of sale payment method globally in 2020 and are poised to represent one-third of all POS transactions worldwide by 2024.
Digital/mobile wallet payments equated to 44 percent of the share, twice as much as credit cards and three times more than debit cards. By 2024, cash is expected to drop to just 12.7 percent of transactions.
Cashless transactions have long been a familiar sight, but mobile wallets are getting more popular.
A mobile wallet is an app on a smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch that stores credit card or debit card information and allows the phone to make the purchase. They work by tapping the phone, tablet, or watch against a compatible device at participating retailers and are generally faster than credit cards.
The transaction value of the mobile wallet sector doubled in the past two years and the number of people using them grew from about 900 million to 1.48 billion.
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