Up & Coming Weekly

January 11, 2022

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 29 of 36

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM JANUARY 12, 2022 - JANUARY 18, 2022 UCW 17 Among my most precious mementos is a postcard sent by my mother on Tuesday, March 26, 1968. I was seven years old and with my grandfather while my parents attended an annual convention of rabbis. My mother wrote (using common terminol- ogy for the period), Dear Dov, Last night a very great man spoke to us. His name is Martin Luther King. He is a leader of the Negro people, and he wants to help them get a better life. Love, Ema and Abba I understood working to help people achieve a better life, as my father was very active in lo- cal and Vermont state civil rights and social justice efforts. Still, as a young white boy in a state with few people of color, I did not know who Rev. Dr. Mar- tin Luther King, Jr. was, other than someone who addressed that convention. I vividly remember sitting on my parents' bed nine days later, listening for radio updates on his condition and finally hearing the awful announcement of his death. Recently I learned that King had been planning, just eight days later, to be at the home of his friend, Rabbi Abraham Josh- ua Heschel, for Passover Seder, the ritual meal commemorating the biblical liberation of the Jew- ish people from slavery. Rabbi Heschel, my father's seminary teacher, was a leading Jewish voice for civil rights, a foremost Jewish theologian and the person who introduced King at that convention. It is no small irony that King was murdered just a week before he was to at- tend the Jewish celebration of freedom. With the approach of MLK Day, I am reflecting both on the Jewish scriptural reading for that weekend's Sabbath and my mother's brief postcard. e designated portion for that Sabbath includes the Israelite's crossing through the split water of the Sea of Reeds (often mis- leadingly rendered in English as the Red Sea). In the biblical narrative, Pha- raoh's hardened heart appears to have been overcome as he finally allows the Israelites to leave. But, shortly after their depar- ture, Pharaoh's heart hardens again as he sends troops after his fleeing ex-slaves, though they do narrowly escape through miraculous intervention. It seems to me that the convic- tion of those advocating for non- violent protest in the civil rights movement of the sixties was that it would be the softening of hearts across the country which would ultimately bring their struggle success in the legal, political and social arenas. However much (incomplete) improvement may have been achieved since then, many today with diverse political ideologies feel as if we again see a harden- ing of hearts and a rise in intol- erance. Our world is certainly not the world of a half-century ago. It never is. And it is natural to harden one's own heart when we believe others have done so first. But, while people should stand up for their beliefs, we will never truly achieve the better life we seek if we allow others to suc- ceed in hardening our hearts. Now more than ever, we want to figure out how to make our businesses more valuable. With small businesses being affected the most during the COVID-19 crisis, strategies for adding value are vital, and also very possible. Let's take a look at some changes you can make to increase value in your small company long-term. Instant Gratification: Faster Service and Faster Delivery In the age of instant gratifica- tion, consumers want products as quickly as possible. Slow deliveries or back- ordered products are a huge no-no for long-term profit. Ensuring you have enough inventory and a system in place for quick delivery is essential. Customers like options. Consider implementing same-day curbside pickup for those who cannot even wait 24 hours. Better Quality Products It's true, quality is better than quantity. Consider investing in better products, and watch custom- ers flock back for more. Once you have that kind of loyalty, your profits will sky- rocket in the long run. Add Value What does this mean exactly? Literally what it sounds like. What products or services does your business offer? How can you make it that much more special and enticing? Is your packaging made of re- cycled materials? Is your store aesthetically pleasing? Whatever you can do to set yourself apart from the compe- tition will increase your profits over time. Good Customer Service is Key Customers like to be treated well. Five-star treatment will bring them back. ose who have a good expe- rience tell their friends about it. You want your business to grow, you want recommenda- tions flocking in — the best way to do that is to have staff trained in excellent customer service. Seasonal Discounts Holiday sales are a no- brainer. Do you know what will ensure a customer makes that purchase? e item she has wanted for weeks, but cannot make the final decision on goes on sale. If the customer feels they can save some pennies, they will likely make that purchase. So, sure, the discount means you lose a little bit ; at least you got something because, before the sale, you were bringing in zero dollars. Seasonal discounts can help you increase some profits, espe- cially right before the end of a quarter. And this also keeps customers happy and brings them back in the future. Not sure which updates are right for your business, contact an experienced business advi- sor in your area. With more information about you and your business, they can help you make practical changes that add value to your ever-growing small business. Strategies for adding value to small companies over time by THOMAS KELSEY BUSINESS & FINANCE Photo courtesy of Thomas Kelsey THOMAS KELSEY, Transworld Business Advisors of Fayetteville. Comments? tkelsey@tworld.com RABBI DOV GOLDBERG, Com- ments? Editor@upandcomin- gweekly.com. 910-484-6200. Hardening of Hearts: A Martin Luther King Jr. Day Reflection by RABBI DOV GOLDBERG FAITH Rabbi Abraham Heschel presents the Judaism and World Peace award to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1965. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress.)

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