5 Tips for Your Post-Pandemic Business Budget

5 Tips for Your Post-Pandemic Business Budget

 

It is that time of year again when businesses look to improve their marketing strategies and decide which company initiatives should take precedence. Now is the time to step back, reflect, and visualize how you can set up your business to prosper in a post-pandemic era. For continued success, you need to ensure your business budget is accurate and consider all the strategies that will enable you to stick to it. Here are some budgeting tips that will help your business thrive in this new era.

Create a Cash Flow Runway

Some good advice for any aspect of life is to “hope for the best, but always be prepared for the worst”. Several companies did not survive the pandemic because they were unable to successfully adjust their business models within the “new normal”. Being proactive with your cash flow enables you to forecast your anticipated funds and help prepare for any unforeseen disasters or seasonal trends. Small actions, like renegotiating existing service contracts for internet, phone bills, copiers, technology support/systems, and building maintenance, are worth the time it takes to shop around for a better deal. It is crucial to create and grow your cash flow runway so that your business can withstand any unexpected crisis that may arise.

Adapt To a Remote or Hybrid Model

The COVID-19 crisis caused many businesses to acknowledge that they can operate just fine, or even run more efficiently, with a remote workforce. Several companies are also realizing they can use this situation to their financial benefit. By not utilizing a centralized workspace, businesses are saving money on rent, office supplies, and other expenses that are required when employees physically occupy an office building. According to Forbes, “Before the pandemic, employers saved an average of $11,000 per half-time remote employee. Extrapolate that to a full year and every remote worker is reducing company costs by $22,000.” These monies can go right back into the corporate budget to help keep operations running smoothly. In addition, a recent FlexJobs survey shows that “the average remote worker saves $4,000 per year by not spending money on gas, coffee, lunches and more clothes for their wardrobe.” Companies that are not financially able to give raises or bonuses can use a remote or hybrid model to boost morale.

Set Realistic Budget Expectations

While planning your budget for the next year, it would be unwise to think that everything in your business will be back to normal right away. Instead think about where your company is currently, in which direction you want your company to go, what good and bad consumer trends to expect, your current cash flow, and how you expect your company to achieve its objectives. Do not compare your company’s budget to another as there are often many unseen factors involved. Instead, be realistic, pragmatic, and conservative – and proceed with equal amounts of caution and confidence.


Invest in Your Employees

When employees feel supported and appreciated, their productivity will be much higher. This ultimately means that they will be more engaged and will strive to work harder to help your business grow and progress. Consider investing in an incentive program such as a group travel program, where top performers are rewarded with an exciting trip of a lifetime for their achievements. According to the Aberdeen Research, “Organizations that provide non-cash rewards such as incentive travel have 3 times higher revenue increases.” Additional incentive options include giving employees the opportunity to earn points that they can later redeem for rewards of their own choosing. Points reward programs are meaningful to employees because those special gifts, the personally chosen rewards they earned, serve as reminders of how you recognized all the effort and hard work they contributed to keep your company alive and thriving.

Reach out and learn how Galactic can work within your budget to elevate your business to the next level with our incentive programs!

 

 

 

How to Show Employees Gratitude This Thanksgiving

How to Show Employees Gratitude This Thanksgiving


The Thanksgiving holiday is not just a time to enjoy an abundance of great food, but is also an opportunity to reflect on the happenings of the previous year and be thankful for family, friends, and even employees. This holiday season, stop and take a moment to think about your employees and how you can show your gratitude for everything they do to help make your business successful. Glassdoor survey results show that over 80% of employees work harder when their boss shows appreciation, so find ways to express your gratitude to them along with some highly effective perks to keep your employees motivated, help them feel appreciated, and contribute to their happiness for many years to come.

Simple thank you gestures

Sometimes less is more and a simple thank you goes a long way. Motivating your team requires thanking all of your employees, and never assume they know how much you appreciate them. Stop by and visit your employees to tell them in person how much you value them and their contributions to the organization. Personalize each discussion so they don’t feel that you’re just repeating a rehearsed speech. Have a genuine casual chat with each employee, and don’t forget to simply say thank you!

Drop a note

If you have remote workers, take the time to handwrite a note or letter to your employees that expresses your gratitude for them. Personalize it with specifics and examples about what it is they’re doing that you truly appreciate. Employees will be very surprised and honored that you noticed their efforts and achievements.

Host meetings outside of the office

Mix things up and host regularly scheduled meetings outside of the office. This is an easy way to surprise your employees with a change of scenery. According to a Gallup survey, “A reported 70% of workers feel disengaged from their workday, a disengaged employee costs in the US alone between $450 billion and $550 billion annually.” Taking the extra step to turn a simple meeting into something valuable and memorable shows employees they are appreciated.

Be flexible

Modernize work schedules and give employees the chance to manage their own work load. Instead of monitoring their production daily, try assigning tasks every week and letting the employee allocate their own time. A small gesture of flexibility can inspire faster and more efficient work, and it shows that you trust them and have faith in their abilities and their loyalty. Employees feel empowered and more independent when they are in control of their working routines based on their preferences and needs, and this gesture of faith towards them encourages them to go that extra mile for you and your company in return.

Allow paid time off for volunteer opportunities

Having a PTO company volunteer day at a local charity or organization is a great way to exercise teamwork and unity within a business. It's also a great way to improve morale and gratitude among employees. According to a study by United Healthcare, “Employees who volunteer through work report feeling better about their employer and strengthened bonds with co-workers.”

Bring outside activities into the workplace

Bringing an outside activity into the office is an entertaining way to see your employees engage with one another and experience a festive diversion in the workplace. Having a little fun can get people laughing and recharging in a way that beats the afternoon slump.  These activities can be as simple as a scavenger hunt or a game of “corporate bingo”, or go for something big like renting an adult bounce house to let employees go wild and unleash their inner child.


Rewards program

Implement a rewards program where employees can earn points for milestone achievements and performance goals, then redeem those points for merchandise or experiences of their choice. Recognizing and rewarding employees frequently shows you notice their efforts regularly and not just at the end of the year. Merchandise rewards motivate employees because they are tangible reminders of their hard work and success. 

  

Need help showing your employees how much you care about and appreciate them?

Reach out and learn about our incentive programs.

 


 

 

The World's Top Candy Destinations 

The sweet simplicity of sugared concoctions often takes us back to the innocence of childhood, when the height of responsibilities and obligations was sharing your toys at the playground with friends. The smells and flavors of our favorite candies can take us back to a simpler time of laughter, spontaneity, and indulgence we often forget to embrace as adults. Candy brings on a sense of happiness, it does wonders for your mind and mood, and let’s face it, candy in general is simply delicious. As Halloween approaches and the shelves are stocked with saccharine goodies, consider visiting the birthplaces of some of your favorite treats to satisfy your cravings.

Hershey, Pennsylvania

This town is truly the sweetest place on earth!  The town was originally designed for employees of the Hershey factory, then was later turned into a chocolate-themed American relic. Tourists can visit the Hershey Factory to learn more about its history and its role in American culture, or indulge in the luxurious chocolate spa at the Hotel Hershey. If you are up for an adventure, head to Hershey Park. The theme park is complete with rollercoasters, water rides, a zoo, and yes, plenty of chocolate to indulge your sweet tooth.

Buffalo, New York

What exactly is sponge candy? If you never heard of it, then you are overdue for a trip to Buffalo, New York. Sponge candy has been a true Buffalo tradition since the mid-1900s. This strange but delightful treat is sometimes called honeycomb toffee, golden crushers, cinder toffee, angel food candy, or hokey pokeys. It consists of a sweet, crunchy “sponge” center inside a shell of milk chocolate. It’s unusual, but tasty, and guaranteed to bring you happiness with one bite.

Zurich, Broc, and Basel, Switzerland

If you’re a chocolate lover, you know Switzerland is chocolate heaven. From popular legends like Lindt and Toblerone to lesser-known treats from Chocolat Frey and Teuscher, Switzerland has been perfecting the art of making chocolate for hundreds of years. Did you know that in 1887, after many attempts, the Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter finally perfected the original formula for what was to become the first successful milk chocolate in the entire world? Sounds like a winning formula.

Cologne, Germany

Cologne, the fourth-largest city in Germany and known as the country’s chocolate capital, is the proud home of the world-famous Imhoff-Stollwerck Museum, or Chocolate Museum. Exhibits showcase the history of chocolate, from a tropicarium of cacao trees to a 10-foot tall flowing chocolate fountain, and even a functional miniature factory that shows how some chocolate bars are made. The bars made by the machine are handed out at the entrance next to a shop where one can purchase a wide range of other chocolate confections. One step inside the museum and you will be overwhelmed with the sweet sensation and decadent fragrance of delicious chocolates.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai is known for luxury and extravagance and the candy scene is no exception here. Dubai is home to what may be the world’s largest sweet shop, Candylicious. Located in The Dubai Mall, Candylicious is a luscious paradise for kids and candy lovers of all ages. The store is overflowing with bright colors, sensational sweet aromas, and pretty much every kind of candy you can imagine.

Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca, Mexico may be the actual birthplace of chocolate. Though cacao isn’t necessarily grown in Oaxaca, the city has deep roots as a trading hub and it is well-known that the Mesoamericans were the first to cultivate cacao for consumption. Today, Mexican chocolate is popular for use in the hot and spiced Mexican hot chocolate, in sweet-and-savory dishes like mole, and much more. Mexico isn’t just great for its rich chocolate traditions, but also offers other delicious treats such as the strong spiced flavors of tamarind or chile-covered fruit candies and paletas (lollipops).

Ready to explore the sweet world again? Galactic can take you there!

 

 

 

 

Event Industry Trends

Event Industry Trends

Events are a lifeline for many businesses and individuals. After all, it’s the best channel to network, catch up with industry peers, build relationships, and share information. 

Whether they happen virtually, live, or in a hybrid model, events that remain flexible, prioritize safety, and emphasize meaning will likely become the norm. Here are some trends you can expect to see now or in the upcoming year. 

 

Trend 1

Hybrid Events Continue to Grow 

According to Forbes, “virtual events are up 1,000% since COVID-19.” Although more people are vaccinated and eager to meet in person again, it’s still probable that virtual is here to stay – but with a twist. Many events are now hybrid models that cater to both virtual and in-person audiences. New creative ideas are emerging to ensure people still get the information they need without any loss of quality. For example, an event may take place primarily online, but companies will offer upgraded packages or incentives for an in-person meetup. 

 

Trend 2

Micro Events 

More events are starting to operate in smaller capacities. Scaled back events are more feasible, safer, and pose a smaller financial risk for many event planners. Besides making it easier to manage the entire event as a whole, some of the benefits of smaller events include concentrated networking opportunities, more focus on engagement, and the ability to better customize content for participants and attendees. 

 

Trend 3

Events Will Enter a Year-Round Event Cycle

Most companies will typically hold only a single large event once a year. With smaller meetings and hybrid models becoming more common, a variety of events are happening more often. These events can range from conferences to product launches, or workshops to simple meet-and-greets. Year-round events allow the attendees to choose which events, times, and places work for them within their busy schedules, giving them ultimate flexibility and higher chances of attending multiple events. 

 

Trend 4

Continued Emphasis on Physical and Safety

No matter what industry you are in, the topic of safety will continue to be prominent throughout the next few years. Expect to see more companies partnering up or offering on-site testing and COVID PCR tests to address the need for safety. Be prepared for a continued emphasis on pre-screening requirements, socially distanced layouts, protective personal equipment, specialized sanitizing crews, advanced air-filtration systems, and more outdoor event venues in the coming years.

 

 

Discover how we can take your event to the next level!

 

 

Ideas to Inspire You to Get Outdoors This Fall

Ideas to Inspire You to Get Outdoors This Fall

 

Fall is here and all things autumnal are starting to happen. Temperatures are cooling, leaves are changing color, and pumpkin-flavored goodies are everywhere. With the change of seasons, there’s a palpable excitement in the air and people are ready for outdoor fun. Here are some fall activities to inspire you to get out and enjoy this glorious season.

Head to the orchard and pick some apples

“A is for apple”, and fall is for apple-picking! Now is the time many apple orchards are ready to be harvested. The best part about picking a bunch of apples is making delicious recipes full of fresh apple flavor afterward, like pies, crumbles, turnovers, and hot cider. Here are some of the best apple orchards in America to visit:

Terhune Orchards (Princeton, New Jersey)

•             The apples at Terhune Orchards are available to pick every day during September and October. The farm focuses on environmentally sustainable practices, meaning you only pay for what you pick by weight.

Parlee Farms (Tyngsborough, Massachusetts)

•             From late August through late October, you can pick from over 20 apple varieties. For an added treat during the fall holidays and weekends, a hayride to the orchard is included if you buy an apple bag.  

Vala’s Pumpkin Patch and Apple Orchard (Gretna, Nebraska)

•             Vala’s has 30 acres of apple orchards, 55 acres of pumpkins, and endless fun activities for all to enjoy. This is the perfect getaway for families looking to enjoy the entire day with their little ones.  

                 

Visit a local pumpkin patch

Perhaps the most memorable fall outing is to stop by a pumpkin patch and discover all things pumpkin. Pumpkin patches span the country, from New England to the Southwest, and they all have something unique to offer. Here are some of my top picks to get you started:

Pumpkin Village at the Dallas Arboretum (Dallas, Texas)

•             The Dallas Arboretum is known for its remarkable pumpkin village and pumpkin display. In addition, there are also 150,000 autumn flowers all photo-worthy.

Lowe Family Farmstead (Kuna, Idaho)

•             It doesn’t matter if you’re actually a kid or just a kid at heart, either way, this place is for you. You can pick pumpkins, take a hayride, or wander through a huge corn maze, all while taking in the cool autumn air.

Papa's Pumpkin Patch (Bismarck, North Dakota)

•             Every year, this special place grows up to 30,000 pumpkins, gourds, and more for people to admire and purchase. This is a spectacular spot for picture-taking and offers plenty of attractions for kids and families.

Fall hikes

Hiking outdoors is filled with perks such as stunning scenic views, fresh air, and the sounds and smells of nature. There is no better way to take it all in than by lacing up your hiking boots and hitting the trail with your four-legged adventure companion, your best buddy, or simply venture out for some much-needed alone time. Here are some wonderful destinations to get your fall fix:

Letchworth State Park (Castile, New York)

•             Letchworth State Park is considered by many to be the most beautiful state park in America. Surrounded by gorgeous autumn colors, with over 23 hiking trails, bird-watching opportunities, and even colorful hot air balloons floating overhead, you’ll never want to leave.

Bushkill Falls (Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania)

•             Bushkill Falls is a series of eight waterfalls that can only be reached through a 2-mile stretch of well-maintained trails, bridges, and walkways among scenic forest surroundings. Here you will get the opportunity to witness nature up-close and personal.

Castlewood State Park (Ballwin, Missouri)

•             This state park has 8 great hiking trails, running trails, and forest trails ranging from 1.7 to 20.6 miles and from 419 to 662 feet above sea level. All hikers, regardless of experience and/or physical ability, are sure to find their perfect trail.

Fall scavenger hunt

•             An autumnal nature-themed scavenger hunt is the perfect excuse to get outside and enjoy the season with your kids, or even a group of adventurous adults! Participants just need to head outside and search for the items on a list provided by you. Everyone can search on their own, or team up in groups. Turn it into a contest by giving each person or team different lists and compete to find the most items in a set time period. There could be a “special prize” for the winner, and everyone could enjoy an ice cream or other special treats after the hunt. Or if you don’t want to make it an all-out competition, create tiered prizes based on the number of items found. This is especially fun if you do the scavenger hunt together as a family. Just make sure your lists are full of items easily found in your neighborhood or designated search area.

Here are some basic supplies you will need to get started:

· Fall nature scavenger hunt list(s)

· Writing utensils to mark off found items

· Bags for individuals or teams to collect items

· Binoculars and/or a magnifying glass (optional)

· Your imagination!

No matter what you chose to do, be sure to get outdoors before the colder winter weather sets in. There’s nothing quite like autumn when the leaves are changing and the weather starts to turn crisp but is still warm, so get out there and take advantage of this amazing time of year.

Looking for more fall outdoor adventures? Reach out to learn how we can get you there.


 

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