Political Consulting

Political consulting is the business which has grown up around advising and assisting political campaigns, primarily in the United States. As democracy has spread around the world, American political consultants have often developed an international base of clients. Though its most important role is probably in the production of mass media (largely television), political consultants advise campaigns on virtually all of their activities,from research to field strategy.

The practice of consulting has several early precedents. President William McKinley’s closest political advisor Mark Hanna is sometimes described as the first political consultant. In California in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, Whitaker and Baxter established and grew the first true consulting firm, Campaigns, Inc. However, political consulting blossomed with the increasing use of television advertising for campaign communications in the 1960s. It was in that period that Joe Napolitan claims to have become the first person to describe himself as a political consultant (Perlmutter, ed. Manship Guide to Political Communication, pg19).

In the subsequent years, political consulting has grown in importance and influence and extended its reach to campaigns at all levels of government in the United States, and beyond. Many consultants work not only for campaigns, but also for other political
organizations, including parties and political action committees, sometimes through independent expenditures; some also do public relations and research work for corporations and governments. In fact, today corporations seeking approval from municipal boards have turned to land use political consultants to help earn need entitlements for their project.

Critics also blame political consulting, at least in part, for a variety of ills of the modern election process. In part because broadcast media consultants are often paid on commission, they are blamed specifically for the rising cost of political campaigns and the increasing reliance on paid media. A successful candidate running a low-budget campaign would be a serious economic threat to the political consulting field; such candidates, however, are rare.

Left-leaning activists within the Democratic Party, in particular, charge that political consultants are a major obstacle to participatory democracy, political reform, and electoral success for the Democrats. In a much-publicized e-mail on December 9, 2004, the online activist group MoveOn.org wrote, “For years, the Party has been led by elite Washington insiders who are closer to corporate lobbyists than they are to the Democratic base. But we can’t afford four more years of leadership by a consulting class of professional election losers.”

Lastly, there is growing professional opposition to what is called a cookie cutter campaign, where the themes and strategies of one campaign are transferred to another campaign, despite what may be major differences in political context. Brian Wright, president of Democrasource, LLC (an Ohio based national political consulting firm specializing in enhanced campaign data strategies and micro-targeting), believes that “it’s just a matter of time, campaign communications techniques are evolving so quickly — anyone sitting on the sidelines or clinging to the last presidential campaign’s strategies is done. The book’s been rewritten.

Image Consultant Mistakes Celebrities Make


Image consultant services can help celebrities, artists, poets, actors, and people from other creative fields. If you’re an artist, you’re clearly interested in your craft, but that does not necessarily mean you will be successful at marketing yourself. The fact that Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and millionaire artist Jeff Koons all used image consultants speaks for itself. This article addresses the three mistakes celebrities make when using an image consultant.


The first mistake celebrities make is failing to hire an image consultant during the developmental stage of their career. Once you hit the spotlight people are talking about you all the time. Photographers will be taking photos of you. Your image will be on the internet, on television, and in magazines and newspapers. Why leave it up to chance? You’ve seen celebrities who look terrible. Don’t let it happen to you.

If you’re on your way up, don’t forget to ask for help from a professional. Mick Jagger knew how to sing and how to promote his songs. He also knew how to dress. But he wanted more success. Can you believe it, this multi-platinum artist wanted more. So what did he do? He promptly hired an image consultant. When Keith Richards found out, he hired one too.

The first mistake celebrities make, failing to hire a consultant during the developmental stages of their career, is easy to fix. The second mistake is a bit harder to correct.


The second mistake celebrities make is thinking they know it all when it comes to their image. Take, for example, a celebrity who is an A-list actor. He thinks he knows what to wear, what kind of car to drive, and how to act in public. Yet the media makes a mockery of his life. They portray the man as a clown. If only he had talked with someone and gotten some advice.

There are countless artists on their way up who think they know everything about how to act and dress. This attitude comes from the first flush of success. Success is a sweet feeling and makes you think you’re invincible. Also these artists are usually young, and they have high hormone levels, often giving them overconfidence. Don’t let that happen to you. Look at the countless celebrities who have made mistakes with their image. I don’t have to list them, I’m sure you know who I mean. Many of them could have profited from objective advice.

The second mistake is not so easy to deal with because if you think you know everything, you’re less likely to consider talking with someone who can really help you. Keep in mind that almost everyone who runs for president hires a political consultant. Political consultants are essentially image consultants, except that they focus on the image of candidates running for office. If a presidential candidate can use a political consultant, doesn’t it stand to reason that an artist can use an image consultant when starting in his career?

It is not always easy to step back and ask for advice, especially when you are having success. Some people feel that asking for advice is a weakness. Actually, the opposite is the case. It is a sign of strength and wisdom to ask for objective feedback. Up-and-coming politicians do it all the time. So do men and women elected to high office. There’s a lesson to be learned from these politicians. Just as a politician can make use of a consultant, so can an artist or celebrity make use of an image consultant. Hopefully this comparison will convince you that the second mistake celebrities make, thinking they know it all, can be overcome.


The final mistake celebrities make is failing to research a consultant before they hire him. An image consultant doesn’t need a license, like an attorney or a physician. It is a good idea to ask the consultant if he has done any research into artists and creative people. Only a consultant with such a background can help you reach your full potential.

It is not difficult to research consultants. Google their name and see what you find. Also, talk with them on the phone and ask if they do their work based on hunches or whether they work from research. The latter, of course, is preferable.


New York has more celebrities than any other city, even Los Angeles: writers, painters, poets, musicians, actors, politicians, directors, Broadway stars, and more. That is why a New York artist will find himself facing more competition than artists living elsewhere. It is crucial that a New York artist seek out a competent image consultant, even if only to get some quick feedback on wardrobe. With such advice you will have greater confidence and will find that success seems to seek you out.

Consultants Offer Flexibility, Hands-Off Productivity

With staff sizes and budgets restricted or diminishing, and top executives up and down the ladder under pressure to do more with less each year, many savvy executives are seeking help among the seeming army of consultants of every stripe to get their companies on the profitability track. Are they finding success down that road?

The idea of the consultant is ancient – Egyptian kings and pharaohs had “consultants” with specialized magical talents to advise them and point them in the right direction when governing the masses. King Tutankhamun had one of the greatest PR consultants ever seen, who told him that to the Egyptian people, big buildings mean big power, big statues mean big power – and Tut and other Pharaohs took this to heart and built the pyramids of Giza and other wonders of the ancient world.

Consultants can be used for a variety of purposes, from adding moral support in difficult or uncomfortable political situations, to adding credibility to pet projects in communicating them to Boards or subordinates. The image of the unfamiliar man with the briefcase and the air of confidence in the boss’s office was born out of some particularly sticky board meetings in the 1960s by top executives at a large conglomerate who’s ideas were not being communicated effectively or credibly, and a CEO who’s head was on the block. Once the Board members heard the same message in a different way coming from the consultant, an expert in such matters, they approved the plan and the CEO was spared. The consultant in that case didn’t come up with the idea, he simply communicated it effectively and lent his credibility to the idea.

This practice continues today with great success in companies and organizations across America. Communication by proxy can be used as an effective strategy if a number of conditions are met. One is that the idea or issue must have real merit on its own.

A bad idea is a bad idea, no matter who presents it. Another condition is that the consultant be at least as credible as the staffer to the selected audience. He should be a known, or at least vetted, quantity, with the credentials to back it up. Once those two elements are in place, communication by proxy can be effective in getting new ideas implemented.

Short Term Expertise
Consultants have many other functions as well, and most departments within the organization can find a number of consultants that specialize in their particular areas of functionality to assist them. Sometimes consultants can simply be used as additional manpower, fill-ins for key employees on personal leave, plug-ins providing necessary functionality on short notice for the short term.

These are not temps you can call in for a day or two while someone is out with the flu. They are highly-trained, experienced executives who have been in many different corporate situations and reached a level of comfort with the commonalities in procedures in their area between companies to be effective quickly. They are typically not used in situations where the term is shorter than a month, as the cost of lost opportunity for a stint that short drives the hourly rate beyond the return value.

Expectations in this situation are relatively high, as the consultant is being asked to step into any number of situations already in place and under way, and gather sufficient information from internal sources to keep these projects moving forward effectively, in a very short period of time, but without injecting much of their own influence or changing the direction of the project. This is a tough gig, and successful consultants are to be highly prized and respected for this set of skills that make such performance not only possible but routine. When projects are critical, and the schedule is inflexible for any number of reasons, this may be a good option for mid-size to large organizations.

“Special” Projects
Some organizations use consultants as outboard manpower to plan and implement special projects outside the normal scope of the department or organization, or for projects that are of vital concern to the organization’s success but only come up rarely.

Changing membership databases for a non-profit organization is a prime example of this type of consultant use. An IT or Association Consultant who has been through many such changeovers and data conversions can be an invaluable resource for such a critical undertaking that most organizations only face every few years. Hiring a consultant under such circumstances will expand and extend the organization’s scope of expertise for a short period, and take advantage of specialized knowledge that isn’t needed on a regular basis.

The expense of the consultant is far outweighed by the savings gained by avoiding a misstep in the process and crippling your organization, however temporarily, while the problem is investigated and fixed. The consultant can prevent you from making a poor purchasing decision, and mitigates buyer’s remorse by making the correct match between user and product.

Sometimes that special project requires some specialized expertise in order to allow a “pet” project to be executed properly, and that expertise doesn’t exist in house. If time is a factor, and there’s no time for internal staff to develop that type or level of expertise, a consultant can be an excellent solution. The can work directly with your internal staff, provide the expertise necessary to move the project forward effectively, by-pass the internal chain of command and the inherent internal politics, and propel the project to a successful conclusion quickly and effectively.

There are some guidelines to keep in mind when using a consultant for this purpose.

* When planning to include a consultant in the mix, be sure to make “room” for them both in the budget and in the schedule. There will be some initial ramp up, no matter how short, as they learn to work with the particular in-house players, and assess their individual capabilities. Leave a reasonable time for them to get acclimated and figure out who’s who in your organization.

* Depending on the type of project, the consultant has been hired to provide expertise, advice and specialized services. This often requires change from the status quo, introduction of new ideas, and some assessment of the internal strengths and weaknesses on the team. Take the advice and ideas you’re given and make the most of it. Putting up roadblocks, creating obstacles, withholding information, and rejecting ideas out of hand are all a waste of time and money. You’ve hired him or her as an expert, treat them as such, and listen to them.

* When planning to use a consultant, build into your plan sufficient staff time to manage the consultant, and the money in the budget to implement the ideas they introduce. You’ve hired an expert, but if you don’t leave room in the budget to put into practice the concepts they introduce, you’ve only done half the job. Even if you don’t keep the consultant in the picture during the implementation, you still need to fund the project sufficiently to be successful.

Most good consultants in most fields have learned to work with a bare minimum of supervision or management. If you carefully outline the goals for the project, introduce them effectively to the internal staff, and provide the resources and the communication pathway for them to get accurate, unvarnished answers to questions quickly, they will take the ball and run with it.

In order to keep them from veering too far from what you envision a success to be, some check-ins or milestones for approval should be built into the project schedule. That way you can adjust the course at critical junctures before they go too far off the map. Too many of these can erode the effectiveness of the consultant and doom the project, so avoid the temptation to micro manage. You had the foresight to hire them, now let them do their thing. Too few milestones can lead to some surprises, when the end of the project approaches and the final product is not what you envisioned and you don’t know why. A happy medium and a light touch usually lead to a successful outcome.

The financial arrangements for consultants vary to some degree, depending upon the industry, the scope and duration of the project, and the nature of the organization. Many work on an hourly rate, which are standardized to some degree based on what the market will bear for the size of the projects, the area of expertise, the reputation of the consultant, and the geographic area.

A Human Resources Consultant will likely charge a small company in Tennessee less per hour for a candidate search than a large company in New York City, and the company’s expectations and needs will likely differ as well. The rate can be negotiated up front, before the project starts, and the terms are often outlined in a binding legal contract. Most Boards insist on such a document in one form or another, to help provide the company some recourse and some protection for both parties should outcome turn out to be less than expected.

Some consultants in certain industries work on a fixed project fee. This is negotiated up front as well, once the scope and extent of their involvement and the size of the project has been agreed upon. A contract is often required for this arrangement as well, with some contracts including an incentive bonus for successful or early completion or for staying under established budget guidelines.

On rare occasion, a consultant will work on a contingency, similar to a tort or personal injury attorney. Especially in forensic financial work, collections, auditing, or tax work, these arrangements exist where the consultant’s fee or payment is tied either directly or indirectly to the money they are able to recover or save the company.

No matter what the arrangement, no matter what the industry, selecting which consultant to work with is a critical step to a successful outcome. A recommendation from a colleague who has used someone for a similar project is a great start. Other sources include your local Chamber of Commerce, and industry-specific trade publication editors. The local College or University department most closely aligned with your industry is also a good source of “experts” in your selected field. Once you’ve gathered a few names, a brief phone interview is always a good idea. That alone can whittle the field down to two or three suitable candidates.

Their availability, and responsiveness will give you an idea as to what they will be like to work with on your project, and you can prepare some industry specific questions to ask, to see how close to your industry and your project they are currently. Once these are complete, a personal interview is in order. This will give you an even better idea as to the character of your candidates and their capabilities. Each candidate should furnish a list of client references, and they should be rigorously checked before making a decision.

Once a decision is made, financial arrangements can be made, and your project can begin.

Consultants can be a vital part of your organization, expanding your capabilities, allowing you flexibility in staffing to meet short term needs, and let you take advantage of expertise beyond the level you are able to train in house. Used wisely and strategically, consultants can help you meet goals, complete new projects, grow your organization and function more efficiently and profitably.

Paramilitary Politics: A Colombian Reality

Mario Uribe Escobar, the president of Colombia’s cousin and leader of the Colombia Democratica political party, announced the removal of two Congressional candidates, Rocío Arias and Eleonora Pineda, from his party on 2 February for their outward support of paramilitary organizations. His announcement comes on the tail of a purge of a limited number of political candidates known to be supportive of Colombia’s paramilitary organizations.

These two candidates belong to a long list of politicians that in private will admit to close contact with paramilitary chieftains. Arias and Pineda are considered the most public faces of a wide-reaching and deep-pocketed effort to increase paramilitary political control on the national level through the upcoming congressional elections to be held on Sunday, 12 March.

A much smaller, more organized, and influential group of former paramilitary war lords has emerged. As a group, they began to exercise power within the realms of politics on a municipal and state level years ago. Their efforts were first recorded in the 2002 congressional elections. In these elections, paramilitary-supported candidates won with over 90 per cent of the vote in many cases because there was no opposition candidate on the ticket and voters were scared to abstain.

Through these strong arm tactics, paramilitary organizations have begun to increase the number of politicians they control in the Colombian congress. This time around, they look set to further increase that power. If they succeed, they will work to ban extradition, eradicating their worst fear, while solidifying their positions of power across numerous Colombian departments. It is a reality that severely hinders democracy and sets Colombia and the region on a path to less stability into the foreseeable future.

Paramilitary politics
Colombia’s departments, stretching from Panama to Venezuela along the country’s northern coast, have long been held by paramilitary commanders who act both publicly and behind the scenes to control political candidates on the municipal, gubernatorial, and national levels. Their heavy handed political influence in coastal departments such as Cesar, Guajira, Atlantico, Magdalena, and Cordoba, is most evident, according to German Espejo, an analyst with the Bogota-based Security and Democracy Foundation.

Espejo agrees that the paramilitaries fund and support congressional elections. “In addition to financial support, it is possible that the paramilitaries use their influence to obstruct the campaigns of candidates that do not support them,” Espejo told ISN Security Watch.

Claudia Lopez, Colombian journalist and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) consultant, completed a study published in December 2005 that took a close look at the intersection between paramilitary control in Colombia’s northern departments and the indices of landslide victories of political candidates from those areas. Her conclusions revealed atypical electoral behaviors in the 2002 Congressional elections where areas that had experienced high levels of paramilitary-related massacres, and thus presumed under paramilitary control, had produced unopposed political candidates who were elected with over 90 per cent of votes.

The Colombian daily El Tiempo has reported that in the paramilitary-dominated department of Magdalena, mayoral candidates ran unopposed in 14 of the department’s 30 municipalities. The tendency for candidates to run without opposition, winning with inflated percentages of the vote, has been repeated in numerous Colombian departments. The trend, referred to as “paramilitarization”, has been documented in the Colombian press and noted on the floor of the Colombian congress.

Alvaro Sierra published a column in El Tiempo on 25 September 2004 in which he stated that Colombia was becoming aware of the fact that “a substantial portion of national territory, of the daily lives of millions of people, of politics, of the economy, and local-government budgets, and an unknown amount of power and influence at the level of central-government institutions like the congress, is in paramilitary hands”.

Colombian Senator Carlos Moreno de Caro, vice-chairman of the Senate’s Peace Committee, was highlighted in the Colombian press in March 2005 when he defended the a move to give paramilitaries lenient treatment in the disarmament negotiations, arguing “the thing is, half the country is theirs”.

Adam Isacson, director of programs with the Center for International Policy in Washington, DC, said Senator Moreno de Caro’s statement was an exaggeration but not a wild one.

“Salvatore Mancuso’s statement that the paramilitaries control over 30 per cent of the Colombian Congress was probably inflated,” Isacson said. “But after the upcoming elections, it’s possible to be closer to the truth,” he told ISN Security Watch.

Ineffective pre-election purge
Relatively few candidates will publicly admit to their alliances with the paramilitaries, yet many will admit such ties in private. This has created a “don’t ask, don’t tell” situation that has made it difficult for President Uribe to act on the opposition’s claims. Many fingers are pointed in public but little evidence substantiates claims.

Paramilitary control of politics is a reality that some can stomach and others cannot. In the lead up to the 12 March elections, many opposition candidates publicly demanded that President Uribe do something to purge the lists of political candidates, removing those individuals thought to be in close cooperation with paramilitary leaders.

A great purge of political candidates suspected of paramilitary ties was most likely on US ambassador William Wood’s mind when in December 2005 he publicly stated: “Corrupt electoral practices may occur in the elections of 2006, notably by paramilitaries.” Uribe told him to stop “meddling” in Colombian affairs.

Weeks later, at a meeting in Cordoba on 9 January, Uribe found himself audience to a very heated discussion between two senatorial candidates in the paramilitary-controlled department. Each claimed the other to have made political pacts with paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso. Days later, Uribe asked the Colombian attorney general to investigate the senators’ ties to the paramilitaries.

That same week, Gina Parody, a Bogota congresswoman, declined invitations to run as a candidate for one of the two largest pro-Uribe political parties, Partido de la U and Cambio Radical. She explained that her decision not to run with either party was based on the fact that both parties include candidates “with paramilitary links”.

She named Dieb Maloof and Habib Merheg, both running for re-election as candidates of the Partido de la U. Maloof is believed to be an associate of Jorge 40, leader of the Northern Bloc, one of the largest and most powerful paramilitary organizations. Merheg has been suspected of paramilitary ties since 2003. Both were elected to Congress in 2002 as members of the Colombia Viva party, a political organization thought to be close to the paramilitaries.

On 18 January, the tide of accusations and investigations came to a head. Both Partido de la U and Cambio Radical expelled a total of five candidates from their ranks. But these candidates were quickly absorbed by smaller, pro-Uribe political parties, much to the disappointment of opposition candidates who supported the purges. Even after the very public removal of Rocío Arias and Eleonora Pineda, both candidates were absorbed into smaller, pro-Uribe political organizations.

Power over extradition
What has US ambassador Wood – and many others in Colombia – worried is not just pre-election purging and increased paramilitarization. The 2006 Congressional elections may place in power enough pro-paramilitary politicians to make extradition unlawful.

A law that bans extradition represents a de facto victory for Colombia’s paramilitary organizations. The US has made nine extradition requests for paramilitary leaders. All are immune to extradition while under the protection of the disarmament process, but currently have no definitive guarantee that they will not be extradited.

Banning extradition is the focus of every paramilitary leader’s political power play.

If the Colombian government were left without the negotiating leverage of extradition, the matter of ultimate justice for human rights atrocities, drug trafficking, and other criminal acts would be left in the sole jurisdiction of the Colombian justice system, one not known to have much success with Colombian criminals in the past. It is a system that would certainly be manipulated again in the future and one paramilitary leaders are willing to take on.

Paramilitary influence in Colombia’s congress ultimately goes beyond extradition. It places Colombian organized crime one step closer to the ultimate tool to protect itself – control over the legislative process.

With control over the legislative process, legally protected paramilitary leaders will contribute to massacres and escalated conflict with the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Their positions as regional warlords will be solidified.

Increases in drug and gun trafficking are ensured. Exploitation of Colombia’s rural poor in the name of making the landed elite class more wealthy and powerful will grow.

Such a reality concentrates wealth in power in the hands of a few, exploiting the rest. It would consolidate many more years of insecurity for both Colombia and the region. And it promises a future where security – Uribe’s number one goal – in Colombia becomes a mirage. Paramilitary “king makers” will rule from regional outposts contributing to a de facto “Balkanization” of the country and a weakening of state sovereignty and democracy. If the paramilitaries come to control the legislative process in the Colombian Congress, a country ruled by warlords is a reality that may come to pass, and there is little the Colombian government, or any other government, can do to prevent it.

Business Process Consulting — Creating Agility and Speed in Your Business

Agility in business is defined as the maneuverability, energy and flexibility that it takes to adapt to a particular environment. Speed is defined as the time that it takes to decide and to act, in relation to opportunities and/or threats that a business faces. In small business, there are seven critical factors in achieving agility and speed.

The ability to gather and disseminate relevant information is critical for effective, timely decision making. Agility and speed are two criteria that can assist the business owner and manager benchmark and measure themselves in regard to creating a high performing, successful business.

The seven factors that require close attention in achieving agility and speed in business are:

Have Clear Lines of Responsibility

In the high performance business culture, everyone knows what his or her role and function are. They are defined within the constraints of the strategic agenda and the direction of the business.

Having control mechanisms in place, such as documented position descriptions and standard operating procedures, for instance, ensures consistency in communication and feedback.

These mechanisms also provide a means of coordinating multiple initiatives and tasks, in terms of objectives and measures, consistent with resources and capabilities of the strategic agenda.

Razor Sharp Focus

Everyone knows what the goals and objectives are, in keeping with the strategic vision that must be aspired to. This is because they are clearly defined and spelled out. This can be done very simply and elegantly – in fact, the simpler the better.

Having a Small Business Plan that is aligned and cascades into the company’s functional areas and into its individual work plans will ensure that the vision of the business is communicated in concrete, achievable and measurable terms.

Highly Motivated People

Successful businesses are full of committed and dedicated people. All of the people in such businesses exhibit a high drive for self-improvement and achievement, both at the personal and the corporate level.

Such business environments create a high-trust and winning culture. Activities are focused on the “cause of the business”. Creating such a developmental culture is essential in the high performance business.

Decision Making Happens Where the Action Is

In highly successful businesses, everyone leaves “ego” at the door. Work is about getting the job done and getting results.

This means having a common approach to understanding what is going on. It means people are able to make decisions where they are within the business. This type of on the ground decision making occurs within the boundary conditions of the Mission, Vision and Values of the business, and within the company’s Strategic Agenda.

Conversely, highly centralized decision making environments slow down the flow of information. This results in ineffective decision making and an inability to act quickly in response to opportunities or threats to the business. Information, particularly new information, is the life blood of a successful small business.

Get Rid of the Politics

Company politics slows you down. The successful, adaptive business minimizes political interference, by having undertaken business policy development. It also adopts common approaches to decision making and conflict resolution, through having clearly articulated processes, procedures and measures.

The political factor is minimized by having these elements in place and through paying careful attention to the other six factors outlined in this article.

Of course, you will never completely eliminate this element from corporate life, but you can manage it and sideline it to a large extent.

Think and Feel

Making effective decisions relies on undertaking the right amount of logical analysis, combined with an informed, intuitive response.

Agility and speed are achieved when you analyze a given business situation and use your intuitive knowledge, gained from experience and practice, to make the appropriate decision. The barrier to agility and speed in this context is “over” analysis. Over analysis can paralyze a business to the point that it is neither agile nor quick in achieving its objectives.

In business, one must develop this capability of making the best balanced choice, given the information available. One of the qualities of good leadership in business is the ability to make a judgment call with limited information at hand.

Keep Each Other Accountable

In the effective business, everyone holds themselves accountable for results, as well as holding each other to the tasks each are assigned. Measures must be clearly understood and built into the fabric of all the business planning mechanisms.

Having a performance management process in place that encourages shared responsibility and accountability engenders a culture of high performance.

In Summary

By paying careful attention to these seven key factors, the behavioral and attitudinal elements that create barriers to agility and speed can be greatly reduced in your business.