ConAgra to Move HQ to Chicago

Food giant ConAgra recently announced that it is leaving its long-time home of Omaha and relocating the company’s international headquarters to Chicago. The maker of such popular brands like Bertolli pasta sauce, David seeds, Banquets microwaveable dinners, and Orville Redenbacher is looking to take advantage of the city’s international appeal, world class dining and entertainment, two of the busiest international airports in the country, and most importantly a deep and diverse talent pool. After being headquartered in Omaha since 1922, the company is relocating for good.

ConAgra products are a staple of the American diet. Almost every fridge and pantry in the country has Hunt’s tomato products, Wesson vegetable oil, or Hebrew National hotdogs. However, recently sales have been stagnant, as corporate misadventures like the acquisition of private label food maker Ralcorp and changing consumer tastes have taken their toll on the company’s bottom line.

Now, the company is looking for a deeper talent pool to revive its brands. Chief Executive Officer Sean Connolly, a former executive at another Chicago food company Sara Lee, recently stated “Chicago is an environment that offers us access to innovation and brand-building talent” to justify the move.  The company will need to study consumer tastes and preferences, and that is easier in an environment with access to innovation and brand building talent. Chicago is home to the world’s leading food production companies like the newly merged KraftHeinz, Armour meats, Nabisco, Wrigley, Mars, and Quaker Oats. These companies see a constant flow of talent, ranging from careers veterans with industry insight, to millennials in tune with viral marketing and the latest food trends. Eric Thompson, economics professor at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln said “if you are in a city with multiple corporate headquarters, you have a deeper talent pool. We have very talented people here [in Nebraska], just not as many as Chicago.”

Human resources professionals often find it difficult to attract new talent in metropolitan areas the size of Omaha.  Young, educated adults often leave their home towns for larger cities like New York and Chicago, or even the mid-sized Kansas City and Denver. As a result, recruiters frequently find themselves sorting through the same stack of potential candidates for every occupation.

Poaching professionals from other markets is not always easy. Few are drawn to Omaha’s famous low cost of living and still demand a premium to relocate. This often makes the candidates too pricey for companies with lean budgets like ConAgra.  Furthermore, candidates frequently show interest in relocating, only to change their minds as the hiring process advances. “At least once every few weeks I interview a candidate that shows interest in moving, but changes his mind when it is time to schedule the second interview” said Vito Clark, a recruiter at an Omaha-area logistics company. “And we are offering pay well above Omaha’s normal range” said Clark. Chicago solves this problem for ConAgra. The city is bursting at the seams with newly minted college grads. Hopefully, ConAgra can tap this talent pool to revive its brands.

Are You The Entrepreneurial Type? Factors to Assess Yourself On

So, you have a seemingly promising business idea. You’ve been working yourself off on an 8-6 job, and in some occasions pushing through double shifts just because the boss said so. Consequently, you’ve gradually grown tired of working for someone and think it’s time to drop the bomb on the HR department before moving out to chase your dreams.

You don’t have to be an extensive reader to learn about entrepreneurs who’ve been through the same experience, and subsequently went ahead to build impressively huge business empires. Strangely though, only a few stories are told about individuals who left their jobs and eventually failed at their business endeavors. So, are success stories possibly much higher than failure rates? If yes, could it mean that you have a higher chance of success than failure?

According to research done by University of Tennessee, Bradley University, Small business Development Centre and Entrepreneur Weekly, a little over 50% of new businesses survive after four years. The leading industry is Insurance and Real Estate at 58%, followed by Education and Health at 56%, Agriculture at 56%, and information coming in last at 37%. Of course there are a myriad of reasons which trigger their respective collapses. One particularly common reason however, is poor management – a significant number of businesses have failed due to unsystematic decision making and strategy implementation, mostly triggered by incompetent entrepreneurs.

So, what makes competent entrepreneurs? Which factors could you use to assess and determine if you really have what it takes to build a successful business empire?


Passion has always been a common trait among all successful entrepreneurs. It converts that early morning sulk to a smile as you wake up to embark on your regular business schedule. You’ll consequently commit long hours to your business, tirelessly rallying your team to achieve a predetermined set of organization goals.

One of the primary secrets of developing a passion for your business is focusing on things you’re already interested in. For instance, if you’re talented programmer and enjoy solving problems through software solutions, your best bet would be a software company.

And if you are serious about starting your own business but you don’t have the cash to get started, car title loans Fresno.

Risk Taking

Business is all about taking and managing risks. Every move is considered a potential risk, especially when there are no guaranteed results. By efficaciously managing them, entrepreneurs delve into the unknown and convert uncertainties into paying certainties. The eventual outcomes therefore, largely depend on your ability to spot risks worth taking and subsequent management measures.

In addition risk taking, aversion to losing is arguably one of the main triggers of startup entrepreneurs. In fact, researchers from UC Berkley’s HaaS School of Business found the latter to be a more significant driver than the former- because most aspiring entrepreneurs are driven to kick-start their own businesses by the fear of losing their full-time job prestige and salary.

Willingness to Break Rules

Since the challenges in the business world require some finesse in tackling them, you’ll occasionally be forced to bend some rules. According to a study conducted by the London School of Economics and UC Berkley’s HaaS School of Business, successful entrepreneurs have a history of getting into trouble as teenagers. A significant number of future business leaders are always willing to intelligently break rules especially when they stand in their way of achieving short and long term goals.

This however, shouldn’t be an excuse to begin breaking rules irresponsibly. Each challenge should be approached independently, analyzing possible mitigation measures and subsequent consequences. Through an experience-based accumulation of skills, you should be able to use common sense to discern situations that require you to break the rules and ones that don’t.

The Bottom Line

Your personal attributes and application of general practical/theoretical business knowledge will ultimately determine your subsequent failure or success rate. All success stories are made by uniquely talented individuals.

So, going by this list, do you believe you have what it takes to make you own success story?

Avoid the Pitfalls Online Businesses Face

The internet is as diverse the standard market. It extends to both extremes- good and false opportunities. Since online based fraudsters and conmen understand the rat race of business very well, they’re fond of preying on desperate individuals seeking to monetize online opportunities. It’s therefore advisable to proceed with caution especially when:

• You are required to pay an upfront fee just to gain access to a business opportunity. Most of the scams even require you to recruit other naïve ‘members’.
• You are required to pay a regular fixed amount of cash on your ‘membership’ regardless of whether you make money or not.
• The opportunities presented to you do not have sufficient background information and backing
• There are guarantees of making a lot of money in a relatively short period of time. For instance, you may be attracted by an ad requiring you to sign up and make USD 10,000 per week possibly just by liking a few pages on social media.
• You can’t trace genuine members who’re actually benefitting from the said ‘promising opportunity’.

Map It

Many entrepreneurs are fond of seeking opportunities by casting a wide net, possibly trying to capture as many prospective customers as possible. Taking this principle too literally however, could eventually cost you your business. Although it’s advisable to be aggressive, it’s equally important to be strategic and calculative by starting small. That means mapping your opportunities and business by focusing only on the core elements.

Mapping your resources and dedicating them to a specific target market is a much more effective strategy, especially to small businesses, than splitting the resources between unspecified goals for an indefinitely wide market. One of the methods of achieving this is focusing on your location first before growing to spread your products and services to the rest of the world. Since mapping strategies depend on the type of business, resources and consumer needs, you should comprehensively assess these three elements as you define your opportunities.

Assess Your Resources

Lastly, analyze your resources, both offline and online, to understand your capabilities in terms of the opportunities and business types you may be able to handle. Although you could eventually begin compiling additional resources after setting up your business, your current resources greatly dictate your ability. Having technical expertise in one type of business for instance, could significantly boost your chances in that specific industry compared to other businesses.

As you make up your mind on online businesses to pursue, remember to build sufficient resilience, especially against failure. Although failures may pull you back resource-wise, they are good learning experiences. If you fail therefore, you should have the strength and determination to dust yourself and proceed with other ventures – after all, each business is a risk, with a potential of failing or succeeding. What makes the difference is how you manage your risks.