Chamber Review

Each month, the Chamber Review newsletter lets our members know what's happening in Greater Concord: where and when our upcoming networking and committee events will be...what forums are slated for discussion...and which educational topics we think are beneficial to you. Business Focus articles are written and sponsored by members of the Greater Concord Chamber. Read on and benefit from your fellow Chamber members' expertise on a range of topics of interest to the business community: 

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October edition

September edition

August edition

July edition

June edition *

May edition

April edition

March edition

February edition

January edition

2019

December edition

November edition

October edition

 

 

 

*Editor's note: The State's free Business Mask Order program is now concluded. Businesses in need of cloth face masks can procure them from local member businesses like Gondwana,  StitchesNH,  Teddy's Tees or Who Doesn't Want That?.

 

Recent Business Focus Columns:

The impact of isolation and how to cope

By Caitlin Cawley,  Home Instead Senior Care

Though there have been several issues and concerns associated with COVID-19, one of the largest issues has been social isolation and the impact that it has on mental and physical wellbeing, especially for older adults. According to the CDC, the impacts of isolation among older adults can increase the risk for dementia, depression, anxiety and heart disease. In “normal times,” about one fourth of older adults report feeling socially isolated and lonely; that number certainly rises in the midst of a pandemic when family cannot visit, activities are cancelled and there’s an increase in anxiety due to the state of the world—more in the  September edition.

Instructors are the key to learning—not the setting

By Julie Moser, EdD,   Granite State College

The Coronavirus pandemic has changed our professional lives in ways we couldn’t have imagined, but one thing remains true: a healthy workforce and learning workplace still thrives on training and education that creates personal, effective, and meaningful impact. As many organizations have moved traditional training to online environments, it’s not uncommon to hear criticisms of online education that seem to mistake the vehicle for the journey, as though every book tells the same story and face-to-face educational experiences automatically ignite passion and mastery over subjects. We know that’s not true. We live in the real world where we have slept through some face-to-face trainings and classes while other instructors have opened worlds to us. We can tell the qualitative difference between the two experiences. The walls of a campus or training center, the names on the buildings and rooms, are vastly less important than the instructors who connect learners to subject matter in ways that help them engage their passions and develop real-world applications in virtual classroom environments—more in the  September edition.

With rates at historic lows, do I want a 30-year mortgage?

By Mike Urnezis, Ledyard National Bank

Everywhere you turn today, there’s commentary on low mortgage rates, high refinance volume and increasing home buying power due to our current COVID-19 economy. The “go-to” loan is 30-year fixed, fully amortized, because it’s the most affordable and provides stability in a monthly principal and interest payment that will not change over the life of the loan (unlike an adjustable rate mortgage that comes with interest rate risk). Additionally, it’s an important path to ownership for first-time homebuyers and low- to moderate- income borrowers that might otherwise remain renters. With homeownership being the average American’s largest asset and respective debt, understanding the impact of debt/loan expense and amortization is important to financial goals. Many are surprised by the material interest savings a shorter term/amortization delivers, albeit the payment is higher—more in the  August edition.

Business owners: More help is on the way

Contributed by Karen Ward,   Edward Jones, Member SIPC

If you’re a business owner, you’ve probably gone through a range of emotions recently. As part of the $2 trillion CARES Act, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was launched to provide $349 billion to help small businesses keep their workers and stay afloat. Your expectations may have risen. But that money ran out more quickly than anticipated—a letdown for many business owners. A proposed second round of funding got approved and lending resumed. Time for higher hopes again? The replenished PPP program may not be the last chance for government help to small businesses—more in the  August edition.

Investing and financial planning in a post-COVID world

By Fred Wainwright, Ledyard National Bank/Ledyard Financial Advisors

A crucible moment is one which changes you forever. The coronavirus has made it clear how life is precious and fleeting. A few mornings ago I woke up my young daughter and told her that she could have the puppy she had been eagerly wanting and I had been resisting. She hugged me tightly and did not let go for what seemed like a very long time. Her hug will be with me for the rest of my life. I have since asked my wife and daughters to consider how we can emerge from this crisis having accomplished something truly meaningful for ourselves, our loved ones and our community—more in the  July edition.

The importance of leadership

By Allison L. Mollica,  NHTI-Concord’s Community College

Leadership effectiveness is a #1 concern for organizations and the global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has created significant challenges for leaders at all levels in industries across the world. As we adjust the way we work, the products we make, and the business we conduct, the right leadership skills are more essential than ever before. In these uncertain times, it is difficult for many to figure out what is their best business strategy, but one thing is for certain. Organizations will have the best chance to overcome and thrive in our new normal with strong, effective, and capable leaders—more in the  July edition. 

The future of travel — what’s next?

By Kathi Russ, Epic Travel LLC, An American Express Travel Partner

According to The World Trade and Tourism Council, travel and tourism is one of the world’s largest economic sectors, supporting 1 in 10 jobs, (330 million) worldwide and generating 10.3% of global GDP. Regrettably, this was the reality before the 2020 crisis. One can certainly concede that the impact of the situation on this industry is significant, if not momentous. The current stop in travel is on an incomparable scale. All components of the travel industry will be establishing new standards for health and safety to be acceptable to both government agencies and consumers—more in the June edition.

When a degree is not enough — how to expand your career options and build a winning team

By Allison L. Mollica, NHTI-Concord’s Community College

Many individuals in our dynamic workforce today have grown in jobs and advanced in their role without additional formal education or training, relying heavily on experience. Yet others in early entry positions are finding it difficult to advance to the next level and mature workers are forced out of jobs or are unable to meet their job requirements because of a lack of 21st century skills. More than ever before, we are evaluating and predicting jobs and skills of the future. Our workforce is continually seeking training to obtain skills. More and more employers are looking to hire based on skills that they know that the employee has rather than simply a framed credential. Microcredentials, badging and even testing are ways to ensure new hires can contribute—more in the June edition.  

It’s not easy, but look past the market selloff

Contributed by Karen Ward,  Edward Jones, Member SIPC

These are challenging times. Like everyone, you are concerned about keeping your family safe and healthy, and you’re doing your part to help protect your community from the effects of the coronavirus. And if you’re an investor, you must also address your financial situation. How should you respond to the current market volatility and recent declines in investment prices? The market selloff may feel unsettling, but it appears to be driven as much, or more, by fear and panic than by economic or financial reality—more in the  May edition.

Cybersecurity WARNING: coronavirus-related phishing

Contributed by Schyler Jones, MiradorIT

As much of the world grapples with the new coronavirus (COVID-19), and how to handle it, attackers are taking advantage of the widespread discussion of COVID-19 in emails and across the web. Researchers observed a recent spike in COVID-19-related spear-phishing attacks, up 667-percent since the end of February. Moreover, phishing attacks using COVID-19 as a hook are becoming more sophisticated, especially with blackmail attacks and conversation hijacking. Threat actors are using social media and news reports to identify potential victims for targeted blackmail attempts—more in the  May edition.

Aging senses and keeping them healthy

By Caitlin Cawley,  Home Instead Senior Care

Our five senses—sight, sound, touch, taste and smell—allow for us to maintain healthy, satisfying and independent lives. As we age, our senses can become diminished. Here are some of the ways our senses can change throughout the aging process and impact health and quality of life—more in the  April edition.

Filing status and individual income tax returns

By Rodger O. Howells, CPA, MST, Rodger O. Howells, LLC

Generally, filing status reflects a taxpayer’s marital status on December 31. Filing status is used to determine a taxpayer's tax rates, standard deduction amount, and eligibility for credits such as the child tax and education credits. The most favorable tax rates are associated with the filing statuses of married filing jointly and surviving spouse. Single taxpayers and married individuals filing separate returns are subject to the least favorable tax rates—more in the  April edition.

Foot pain: How to spot, treat and heal plantar fasciitis

By Dr. Ronald B. Resnick,  Concord Orthopaedics

All feet are different; yet, many will share a common ailment: plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis, also known as heel spur syndrome or inferior heel pain, is pain on the bottom of the heel. It is by far, the most common foot complaint that I see in my orthopaedic foot and ankle practice. Everyone gets it. The good news is that almost everyone gets better —more in the  March edition.

Build emotional intelligence for personal and career success

By Kathy DesRoches, EdD,  Granite State College

Daniel Goleman found that emotional intelligence is present in the most effective leaders. "From a scientific (rather than a popular) standpoint, emotional intelligence is the ability to accurately perceive your own and others’ emotions; to understand the signals that emotions send about relationships; and to manage your own and others’ emotions. It doesn’t necessarily include the qualities (like optimism, initiative, and self-confidence) that some popular definitions ascribe to it." Emotional intelligence skills are rated as more crucial than technical skills by many employers—more in the  February edition.

Cyber breaches abound in 2019

By Schyler Jones, MiradorIT

News of high-profile cyber breaches was uncharacteristically high in 2019 after somewhat of a lull compared to the previous 2-3 years. The rise of technology and the growing reliance on IT systems and networks for the storage, use, and access to data has presented cyber criminals with further opportunity to make (or steal) money or access (or steal) information.Cybercrime pays, and it pays handsomely — it is the world’s biggest criminal growth industry. Bottom line is, cyberattacks will be even more rampant in 2020 as chronically improving malware will be deployed more aggressively on more fronts—more in the  February edition.

Tax consequences of the sale of a gift or inheritance

By Rodger O. Howells, CPA, MST,  Rodger O. Howells, LLC   

A gift is an asset acquired from a person while they are alive and an inheritance is an asset acquired from a person upon death or from a decedent’s estate. The receipt of a gift or an inheritance is never taxable. A gift or estate tax (a tax on the transfer of wealth) may be assessed on the transferor. If a gift or inheritance is later sold, there may be an income tax associated with the sale—more in the  January edition.

The power of the humanities in the workplace

By Rebecca Kinhan, New Hampshire Humanities

Most organizations, from manufacturing to accounting, understand the need to attract and retain employees who are not only capable of doing their jobs, but also of bringing new perspectives, critical thinking, and creative problem solving to the workplace. In response to the changing nature of work and our mission to engage increasingly diverse audiences in experiences that enrich their lives, New Hampshire Humanities has developed an employer-based initiative called Humanities@Work (H@W)—more in the  December edition.

Retirement planning options and how to utilize them

By Monique Brown,  Ledyard National Bank/Ledyard Financial Advisors

When you are young and just starting your career the last thing you may think about is your retirement. Even as you begin your family life, you may not be thinking of your retirement. Retirement planning should be considered early on in one’s work life in order to take advantage of saving over a longer period of time. The retirement process is actually very simple and based on financial factors that will be somewhat in your control, in your total control and not in your control—more in the  December edition.

Reducing holiday stress

By Caitlin Cawley,  Home Instead Senior Care

The holidays can be a stressful time for individuals, particularly those who are balancing work, families and taking care of an aging loved one — it’s become a season where there is a lot of hustle and bustle and not as much time for reflection and self-care. Here are a few simple ways that you can reduce stress this time of year—more in the  November edition.

New England states take the lead on noncompete reform

By Adam M. Hamel, McLane Middleton, Professional Association

More than a third of all workers in the United States have been subject to a noncompetition agreement at some point in their careers. Most states, with the notable exception of California, have long enforced noncompetition agreements. However, in recent years, difficulties experienced by employees subject to noncompetition agreements finding new work, and overreach by some employers, have led to increasing calls for noncompete reform. The New England states have taken a leading role in this area, with four states recently enacting laws affecting noncompetition agreements, and a fifth considering a bill on the subject—more in the October edition.

 

Interested in contributing a Business Focus article?

Contact Kathy Bacon for more information.