Coffee prices fluctuate with supply, but a severe drought in Brazil and a fungus called coffee rust in Central America have taken a toll on crop yields, sending coffee bean costs soaring this year with the expectation that they’ll go even higher in 2015.

A report earlier this year from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia predicts that climate change will bring more of the same in the future. Arabica bean prices rose at least 72% this year, and they’re likely to continue climbing in 2015, according to Citi Research.

Total global supply is on track to rise 1.5% this year compared to 2013, but it’s the second year of a supply deficit, according to a report by Rabobank earlier this month. And the hit comes as coffee consumption around the globe continues to rise, driven in large part by Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts expansions into new markets, and the expansion of quickservice coffee programs like McDonald’s McCafe line.…

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All that planning, hard work and sweat equity is paying off. Your business is growing. Is it time to grow your workforce, too? You could be ready for hiring an employee if you:

  • Get bad reviews or complaints. Negative customer feedback is an early indicator that something’s amiss. Analyze this data to determine whether the issue is related to insufficient staff or a problematic process/procedure, and to identify specific times of day or functions where you need the extra help. The Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Survey found 62% of customers switched service providers because of unsatisfactory customer service or experience. So hiring an employee can address the problems and improve business.
  • See a new revenue opportunity. Sometimes in the course of doing business you uncover a new line of revenue stream or line of business that’s worth pursuing. But if you’re like most small-business owners, you’re already working at full tilt.
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If you Google “gift ideas for your boss,” you will find pages of results, mostly from companies that sell gifts.

However, if you search “should I get a holiday gift for my boss,” the consensus answers seems to be “absolutely not!”

At least according to Miss Manners (Judith Martin), Emily Post, Ask a Manager (Alison Green), and the Evil HR Lady herself (Suzanne Lucas), all very credible workplace etiquette experts. They say it’s either blatant sucking up, or could at least give the appearance of sucking up. Holiday office gifts should be given “down” but not “up.”

On the other end of the boss gift giving continuum, you find holiday gifts that will impress your boss. While I think the idea of giving a holiday gift to impress your boss is pretty slimy, I have to give the author credit for being transparent.

Where do I stand on the issue of holiday gift giving for the boss?…

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Feeling like everyone but you is being promoted? Wondering why your team has lost its spark? Questioning how few people at work are interested in your ideas and opinions?

Perhaps it’s time for a leadership practice checkup.

Professor and author Michael D. Watkins offers seven topics for leaders to take into account as they assess their leadership practices. These methods require maintaining an equilibrium between analytical thinking and conceptual mindsets—a fundamental necessity for leading as well as managing effectively. If your career growth and influence are stalled out, reflect on your answers to these seven questions.

1. Are you working as a specialist or a generalist?

Vikram Mansharamani notes that “the future may belong to the generalist.” A fast-moving, quickly changing business environment requires the ability to deal with a broad range of uncertainty. “Ideological reliance on a single perspective appears detrimental to one’s ability to successfully navigate vague or poorly-defined situations (which are more prevalent today than ever before).”


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If you’re not getting leads from your website every day, you’re doing something wrong.

Presenting a strategic website is the fast track to driving inbound leads and growing your audience. And it doesn’t have to require a total website overhaul to make this happen. Inbound marketing brings leads to you, and your website is the front door. Make sure it’s ready for business!

There are so many ways to drive leads with your website. A website properly paired with inbound marketing tactics takes more than a couple of nice blogs and a monthly newsletter. Find out how to generate leads with a few strategic tweaks. These are simple changes to make to your site today.

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Your blog is probably the most powerful tool in your belt for lead generation. Convert website visitors by encouraging them to subscribe to the blog with the simple click of a button.…

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