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As the shipping boxes began to pile up by the recycle bin, so, too, did my guilt. How many trees had to die in the fulfillment of my consumerism? Shipping a single item per box with all its packing waste is not exactly earth friendly, but I rationalized that I was saving on fuel and reducing air pollution. It seems that, in all of life, there is a trade-off.

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This week on my radio show, Up In Your Business, the returning guest from Arkansas’s Small Business Administration, State Director Edward Haddock, went over the new programs currently rolling out for small businesses. Having applied for both the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and the Paycheck Protection Program Grant, I felt it was important for me to share my experience with my listeners and demystify the process for my business peers. Here is what I learned:

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Though it was only last week, it seems like a lifetime ago that Mayor Frank Scott’s secretary called and, most apologetically, canceled the mayor’s guest appearance on Wednesday’s live broadcast of Up In Your Business, saying a COVID-19 case had just been reported in Arkansas and Governor Asa Hutchinson had called an emergency coronavirus task-force meeting.

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I am often aligned with creative people. In the past, I wondered why, because I didn’t feel like I had any discernible art-form. Then, one day, while interviewing a guest on Up In Your Business, I realized that business itself is creative and that problem solving with others, in the frame of business, is my art-form.

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The flag business is seasonal. During the cold months, our sales drop off dramatically. It makes sense; during the winter, we’re all indoors and flags, for the most part, are outdoor products. Last year, during these slow months, FlagandBanner.com made a calculated decision to allocate more money for advertising than ever before. If there was ever a silver bullet for selling flags in the winter months, we were going to find it. I can conclusively say: There is no silver bullet.

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As you can imagine, I had lots of comments about my decision to stop selling the Confederate battle flag. My favorite response was from a lady who was in favor of my decision. Her closing words were “Not today, Satan, not today!”
Shortly after my announcement, I got a visit from my friend, Randall, who also happens to be the President of the Sons of the Confederacy in Arkansas. He, as he put it, “Came in defense of my ancestors.” I was expecting him.

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A few years back I took a leap of faith and hired for a new position, a sales assistant position. My thought was, this new person could help streamline and alleviate some of the busy work of my sales staff, thus freeing up my experienced salespeople to use their time more wisely, ie. selling. It worked. Sales increased, morale increased, and a team atmosphere was garnered.

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In FlagandBanner.com’s parking lot stands an 80 ft. flagpole with a 15×25 ft. American flag. The past few Mondays as husband Grady entered the parking lot, he noticed that over the weekends someone was driving circles around our flagpole.

At first it was a curious site, like a crop circle, but as the circular ruts in the lot deepened, the problem of potholes and strewn gravel became a nuisance. As Grady pondered who would so consistently be returning to do “donuts” in our parking lot, a suspect came to mind.

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In order to mitigate risks, large companies become inflexible and impersonal. Avoiding the risk of discrimination is accomplished by discouraging nepotism. But, at FlagandBanner.com, we feel a societal duty to support our employee’s families and train the young. So much so, that our employee roster reads much like the book of Numbers in the Old Testament.

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