TurboTax admits no wrongdoing in its site set-up or advertising, but will revise its advertising as well as refund 4.4 million filers
Don’t Turbo Your Ads
There are two certainties in life: death and taxes. TurboTax took that inevitability for a ride. In many of its ads it promoted free filings. But once users visited the site, TurboTax made it nearly impossible to find the free filing portal that was a part of the Free File program, run by the federal government in partnership with tax software and businesses to allow people under an income threshold ($73,000) to file for free. Exasperated users often ended up using TurboTax’s paid offering when they should have been able to file for free. TurboTax admits no wrongdoing in its site set-up or advertising, but will revise its advertising as well as refund 4.4 million filers who were eligible for free filing between 2016 to 2018. Filers will automatically receive a check for $30 for each year they paid but were actually eligible for free filing.
Advertising is Lucrative — IAB Stats
You probably don’t know what IAB stands for, or what they do. They’re the Interactive Advertising Bureau, and they set standards and do research in the digital advertising space, among other exciting stuff. Anyway, they recently released their report on 2021’s advertising expenditures, and whoa, there’s a lot of money flowing through the industry, and it’s growing at an incredible rate.
Digital video is the fastest growing channel, with spending up 50 percent since 2020, and total revenues of close to $40 billion.
If you’re looking at pure growth, digital audio had the greatest year-over-year growth. It’s up 57.9 percent with revenue close to $5 billion.
And you thought the Pesach magazine was fat…
Before You Automate!
Everyone is zapping this and automating that these days. “Automation is the future,” is tech’s rallying cry. That may be true, but before you run and automate your entire business, double-check the following items and make sure you’re comfortable with the level of risk involved in being completely hands-off.
How often will each automation be used? Depending what the number is, it may be subject to throttling, or you may reach the standard usage cap too fast. Make sure you’re set up to process the number of automation sequences you expect to engage.
What are the expirations and how will you keep track of them? Authorizations and credentials expire, accounts lapse in payment, etc. If that happens, all your automations are paused, effectively freezing large swaths of your business. Ensuring you’re on top of expiration dates and recurring fees is vital. This leads to the third.
What is your risk tolerance for error? Tech makes life easier, but it’s not flawless, and it does get buggy on occasion. Are you leaving critical tasks to automation? What if the wrong email is triggered? Is that an acceptable level of risk for you, or would that mean you ruined your business’s credit? Many people who love tech and automation will still only automate to a point, leaving critical tasks to the humans.
It’s vital for every business owner to make these assessments for him- or herself because every business has different levels of forgiveness (people will be more forgiving of duplicate bills from a graphic artist than from a doctor or lawyer when the occasional glitch arises). And, of course, business owners each have their own tolerance levels for lack of professionalism.
Answer for your business, not your friends who you’re “helping,” and Zap away.
“Nobody knew in the beginning that Facebook would become a Frankenstein monster that devoured user data and spat out dirty money.”
Neeraj Arora, former chief business officer at WhatsApp, tweeted his regret at negotiating the sale of WhatsApp to Facebook for $22 billion. Arora left WhatsApp in 2018 after Facebook diverged from the founders’ intent on the product as well as the buyout understanding. So, nu, is he giving back the money too?
Think First, Sign Up Later
You know how easy it is to sign up for a free trial of Asana, Trello, Monday, Oribi, and HubSpot, too, while you’re at it, and then you’re left with dormant accounts and nothing to show for it. Yosef Breiger, who helps equip small to midsize companies with individualized software solutions, offers his take.
Here are three important points he considers when starting with any client:
What is your workflow?
Taking a page out of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Start with the end in mind. Signing up and just seeing what happens isn’t a game plan. You’ll just end up frustrated with many hours wasted, and wondering why everyone else seems to love the program. Take the time to pinpoint what are you trying to achieve and how you generally get there.
What functionality do you need?
Just because someone said to go custom, slow down a minute. It’s the golden age of software, and there’s likely a general or industry niche software out there that works for your business and is significantly cheaper than going custom. But to make that determination, you first gotta do the workflow work, and then that leads to the practical functionality assessment. What features do you need? Do you need a more expensive monthly software, or can you go with something simpler? The bells and whistles aren’t worth it if you’re going to use them.
Are you and your team committed to integrating and learning the software?
Software can be a magic bullet, but the hit isn’t instant. It’s more like a long, lifesaving operation. You and your team must be on board with learning a new software and having the patience and persistence to see it through. I know this sounds a bit obvious, but this is where a lot of teams fail their software (and not the inverse).
AI to the Supply Chain Rescue
Are you sick of hearing the term supply chain because every time it comes up, it’s always bad news? How much more are things going to cost now? you wonder. Fear not, leave it to start-ups to try to solve the world’s problems. Interos, Fero Lab, and KlearNow use AI to track companies and world events, predict the effect they’ll have, and offer solutions and workarounds. Some will even fill out pesky paperwork for you. Though fairly new, these start-ups’ valuations are through the roof; Interos is valued at over $1 billion.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 914)
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