As Americans kick off the Memorial Day holiday weekend, an Expedia survey notes that we wasted $67 billion in vacation days last year.
According to the results, the average American also receives and uses less vacation days than people in other industrialized countries. For example, the average American worker got 18 vacation days, but only used 14. Whereas, French (37 vacation days) and British (28 vacation days) citizens all received and used substantially more time off.
One of the reasons for the lack of vacation time is many Americans cannot take the time off because they are over-worked. In the shadows of the Great Recession, many US workers are performing multiple jobs. Other reasons cited by analysts commenting in response to this story are that due to the recession, many do not believe they can afford to take the time off, either because their employers are not supportive, they have anxiety about their jobs or their own personal finances preclude them from taking vacations.
Regardless of a persons work situation it is critical to take time off periodically to recharge, and it is important for companies to invest in wellness programs (see for example, GovWin member company Greenleaf Integrative Strategies) to help reduce stress, improve productivity and create a psychologically healthy workplace.
What do you think about the lack of vacation time in America?
Do American companies need to provide more vacation time? Do Americans need to be more demanding about taking time off? Post a comment below or where this entry was originally posted: This Memorial Day, Help Take Back $67 Billion in Wasted Vacation Days. And have a happy and safe Memorial Day holiday.
There has been a good discussion brewing over the past month in the B2B Technology Marketing Community in LinkedIn around one word to describe the biggest challenge facing B2B marketing.
Some responses have included:
While there are many great one-word answers, my perspective of the biggest challenge for b2b marketing is the same as it is for marketing in general: It is you. You are the biggest challenge that you will face.
I say this because over the years I see the same patterns over and over again. People in marketing often do not know important things like who they really are, who and what their company is about, who their customers are, what their customers want, or what they want or where they want to go. The answers are often right there in front of them (customer feedback, internal questions, poor market performance, etc), but something inside these people prevents them from being able to see it or from being able to listen to others.
In my view, all the challenges a marketing professional will face pale in comparison to the battle one will wage against him/herself.
timeRAZOR, a new concept being developed by Blue Canopy and mysbx / GovWin founder Jeff White (@Jeff_White1347) and SEO / online marketing expert Victoria Clark (@NotVicki), is building towards a launch. While I am under a total information lock-down, an early glimpse of what is in the works is extremely exciting.
One way to get an early scoop of what timeRAZOR is all about (apart from reading news updates in this space) is to sign up at: http://timerazor.com/s37jv.
You also can stay informed about the company through their daily tweets @time_Razor.
How powerful is the financial influence game in government contracting? Do small businesses that want to grow and that do not want to be relegated to subcontracting roles, need to pay someone in order to obtain a substantial fee contract as a prime contractor?
I received a series of emails from a couple of GovWin members who believe that financial influence plays a powerful role in whether or not small businesses can secure a government contract.
In response to the invite to our Virtual Roundtable, “Securing Government Contracts: Lessons Learned from Successful SMBs,” one member wrote:
It may be true that a number of small and mid-sized businesses “struggle with operational processes and identifying the tactics necessary to be successful” in pursuing government contracts. However, I do not believe that is the major problem. Political influence goes a long way in deciding who will obtain government contracts and who will not. Unfortunately, political influence involves financial persuasion in many cases. Surely there are many honest, ethical, moral “tactics” that can be used to obtain government contracts. Many businesses seem to be willing to play the “financial influence game.”
This statement, of course, does not mean that everyone who receives a government contract has used financial influence. However, this one member believes strongly that many small businesses who want to grow need to pay someone in order to obtain a substantial fee contract as a prime contractor. The payment takes the form of political influence through lobbying and other activities (some legal and some not).
So, what is the solution?
The GovWin member who wrote me said that is was important that “those who are perceived as not being successful are not necessarily incompetent, incapable business people. Nor are they lacking in their operational processes.”
In this member’s view, the problem is that more needs to be done to make the process fair for small business.
Do you agree? Please submit your thoughts to this post below.
Comment below are taken from the original blog post that I posted on GovWin.com
Yes. My company has been trying to get government contracts for a while now and some things can be only done through the big Prime contractors that only do management of the contracts and insufficient money comes down to the small business to make it viable. We have put in for around ten (10) SBIRs through government agencies without success. The latter translates into about a $50k loss in invested time for one $100k grant.
So basically, we are not going to do any more SBIRs. We may do other work if we can bid directly but not subcontracting through Primes anymore.[Posted on behalf of a GovWin member who emailed their comment to firstname.lastname@example.org]
NOTE: I was asked by one our members, in fact the original catalyst for this discussion, to post his entire set of comments relating to this issue. Please find his comments below:
I am writing in response to the invitation to participate in the upcoming webinar: “Securing Government Contracts: Lessons Learned from Successful SMBs”
It may be true that a number of small and mid-sized businesses “struggle with operational processes and identifying the tactics necessary to be successful” in pursuing government contracts. However, I do not believe that is the major problem. Political influence goes a long way in deciding who will obtain government contracts and who will not. Unfortunately, political influence involves financial persuasion in many cases. Surely there are many honest, ethical, moral “tactics” that can be used to obtain government contracts. Many businesses seem to be willing to play the “financial influence game.” I am not and I know of other businesses that share my view of not “paying to play.” The acceptance of the practice of lobbying government officials is a nice way of saying bribery is legal in the United States government systems. Do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that everyone who receives a government contract has used financial influence. It just seems that small businesses that want to grow and that do not want to be relegated to subcontracting roles, need to pay someone in order to obtain a substantial fee contract as a prime contractor. Many public servants in government have forgotten that they are in positions to serve the general public and not to serve themselves. It appears that they have their own personal agendas and are of the mindset of being served by tax payer dollars rather than serving for the common good of all people they are appointed to serve.
When it comes to government contracting, major attention has been given to mega-corporations. However, equal attention should be given to small businesses and in particular African American businesses in order to ensure that they are treated fairly. Effective regulations can be put in place to do that. Severe penalties should be put in place for government contracting officers and policy makers who do not comply with mandates to contract with legitimate small and African American businesses. But the question is will anyone have the “guts” to enforce the policy? And yes, the penalties should apply to anyone (staff members) who has a part to play in who is awarded government contracts. The intent should be to grow these businesses to be mega-corporations if that is their business goal. Obviously, mega-corporations have had some assistance in order to become the size that they are. There must be a genuine effort to grow and to support these small businesses and to honestly seek to know why these businesses are not being sustained.
Mr. Hackmer, I applaud your efforts in conducting the Virtual Roundtable webinar. But I think you should let your participants know the entire story when it comes to government contracting. Yes, there may be a few success stories. However, those who are perceived as not being successful are not necessarily incompetent, incapable business people. Nor are they lacking in their operational processes. The problem is not complicated. The answer to the problem is not complicated. Someone needs to just step up and do what is right.