Insert the url of the feed you want to read here (e.g. https://news.google.com/news/rss/):
Or try one of the following: Ajaxian, BBC News, BBC China, Brent Simmons, CNN, Digg, Digital Point Forums, Flickr, Forex Events, Blog About Libraries, Google News, Harvard Law, Killer Startups, Movie Trailers, Poker Blog, Swimming, Yahoo! News
How AdOutreach is Helping Startups Take Advantage of This Social Media Blue Ocean 15 Jun 2021, 8:00 am
Despite all the barriers that arose in 2020, the year became a fertile ground for entrepreneurialism. Peterson Institute for International Economics figures show a year-over-year 23% increase in U.S. startups between quarters one and three. That’s an incredibly high percentage that reveals how resilient, determined, and confident dreamers are.
Nevertheless, launching a business has its risks—and costs. Most new companies operate on a mixture of passion and shoestring budgets. Yet they all need to get their brands as much recognition and leverage as possible. And they need to do it before the money runs out.
Unsurprisingly, many entrepreneurs turn to digital advertising to get noticed. In addition to organic marketing tactics, paying for digital ad placements can be lucrative. The only problem is that one of the biggest players of all, Facebook, has fallen in terms of producing ROI. It’s become, in the eyes of AdOutreach CEO Aleric Heck, a “red ocean.”
Moving from red oceans to bluer seas
Heck uses his colorful term to showcase just how competitive and difficult Facebook has become for small (and large) advertisers. He credits several reasons for this phenomenon, such as Facebook’s pay-to-play model and increasing privacy problems. Additionally, Heck notes that Facebook seems to have entered a plateaued phase from which it might never regain ground.
Ironically, Heck doesn’t see the Facebook bust as problematic, but as an opportunity. That’s because he saw the Facebook waters turning pink years before. In fact, his company’s startup phase grew out of a realization that for every red ocean, there’s a blue (uncharted) one. And he found it… and founded a business on helping others find it, too.
This blue ocean alternative to Facebook advertising is none other than YouTube advertising. The YouTube platform has been around for years, but many entrepreneurs haven’t harnessed its power. Plenty have hesitated because they’re not sure their business will translate to the second-largest search engine on the planet. Heck intends to change their mindset with both professional support and a solid education.
His expertise and track record as a leader in YouTube digital ads buoys his assertions about the social channel’s potential. To date, several of AdOutreach’s clients have posted exceptionally high returns on their YouTube ad placements. And they’ve done it on their own by using Heck’s wisdom.
YouTube advertising basics that turn founders (almost) famous
Learning how to make the most of YouTube demands a baseline level of education about the way YouTube and users’ “learner’s mindsets” work. Heck’s not stingy about sharing what he’s learned through Master Classes. In fact, he tends to give away more of the store than other entrepreneurs in an effort to make sure his students know the ins and outs of what makes a stellar YouTube advertisement before any filming begins.
One of his key pieces of advice for lead growth is to focus more on the story and less on the filmmaking. In his experience, people frequently try to do or say too much with their YouTube advertisements. This leads to a watered-down creative that convolutes the main purpose and confuses the watcher… which isn’t smart, even in a blue ocean. It tends to convolute the main purpose and confuse the watcher.
The point of all YouTube ads needs to be strong, straightforward, and simple to digest. Viewers appreciate knowing exactly what they’re watching and why. They deserve to land on a page that gives them what they expect after they click, too. Plus, they don’t want Spielberg quality messaging. What makes a winning ad, Heck points out, is not visual effects. Sure, the video needs to be crisp and the audio clear, but simplicity goes farther than complexity when intriguing warm prospects.
Another recommendation by Heck is to acknowledge and overcome camera shyness. After all, stage fright is a real phenomenon, including for people who seem extroverted in real life. Even founders who take tons of selfies and give presentations can get a case of dry mouth when creating videos. They have a couple of choices: First, they can work with a coach to get comfortable in front of the camera. (YouTube videos need to be genuine, even if they don’t need to be perfect.) Alternatively, they can hire someone as their brand face. Either way, they’ll end up with strong YouTube ads.
A little bit of something? Or a whole lotta nothing?
As a final suggestion, Heck advises just getting started. Companies are launching. Consumers are buying. It’s the perfect post-pandemic storm. Besides, doing something is infinitely better than doing nothing, particularly in a competitive marketplace with an open, inviting advertising platform.
Companies that take too long to dip into the “blue” might discover the waters aren’t as friendly as they once were by the time they grab a paddle. Now is the right time for experimentation and fast pivoting. Businesses tired of throwing more money at Facebook advertising to get fewer returns need to check out other avenues. YouTube’s one that’s ripe and ready.
Entrepreneurs who want to quickly gain momentum for their products and services need the right types of digital advertising. If Heck is right, their best bet is to take paid time off and visit the blue ocean called YouTube.
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11 Dos and Don’ts of Successful Meetings 10 Jun 2021, 8:00 am
Regardless of the size and type of your startup, meetings are an important part of any business. Company culture can dictate the frequency of meetings. Some companies schedule a ton of meetings throughout the week, while others choose to have very few.
When determining the frequency and volume of meetings, there is no right or wrong answer. It’s more important to evaluate whether each of your meetings is necessary and whether they are productive. Time spent in a meeting is time away from working on your projects, so you’ll want to ensure the ones you hold are moving your startup forward.
Meetings can bring people and ideas face-to-face and can be an efficient use of your company time. However, you need to set them up in an organized way with clear goals to make this happen.
Creating a meeting agenda, preparing in advance, and inviting key players can lead to a successful meeting. On the other hand, last-minute meetings with the wrong people or too many people can be a waste of time.
Check out these dos and don’ts to guide your startup on the path to successful and productive meetings. Be sure to read to the end for bonus tips on how to have a successful virtual meeting.
- Determine whether a meeting is really needed. If you can accomplish what you need to with an email or a Slack conversation, do so.
- Understand who the key people are for your meeting. If there are decisions to be made, whose presence is required?
- Invite only the people who are absolutely necessary. Meetings take people away from other work, so be respectful when asking people to take time out of their day.
- Use an online calendar to choose a time that works for everyone who needs to attend.
- Communicate the meeting’s goals when sending the invite.
- Develop a clear agenda for the meeting and send it to attendees well in advance.
- Set a clear starting time and ending time for the meeting.
- Be sure to arrive on time or a few minutes early to the meeting.
- Come prepared with any presentation materials. If you need AV support, get everything squared away before other participants arrive. This allows you to jump right in and have well-thought-out discussion on the topic at hand.
- Keep the meeting on track and on topic. As the meeting organizer, you should take charge to keep the meeting running smoothly.
- Determine follow-up and action items. Send out a follow-up email to all attendees with the action items after the meeting.
- Don’t waste your colleagues’ time. If the meeting could be an email, send the email as opposed to pulling everyone away from their daily tasks.
- Don’t let the time slot dictate the meeting length. If your meeting is scheduled for an hour, but you finish in 40 minutes, let everyone go early.
- Don’t overlap your meeting with another. Pay attention to the culture of your company. If there are many meetings that start on the hour, schedule your meeting for 45 minutes to give people a short break before their next commitment.
- Don’t arrive late. It makes everyone else wait for you and puts the meeting behind schedule.
- If you’re an attendee, don’t wait until you arrive at the meeting to read the agenda. Prepare your thoughts ahead of time.
- Don’t get off-topic. Keep the meeting organized by directing the conversation back to the topic at hand if it strays.
- Don’t bury your head in your notes or presentation.
- Don’t cancel the meeting at the last minute. Some people might be traveling in for the meeting and already be en route.
- Don’t allow distractions. It’s frustrating when attendees are on their cell phones or laptops and not paying attention to what is being said.
- Don’t hesitate to ban electronic devices if necessary. For some meetings, it might be appropriate to prohibit laptops, tablets, and phones and go paper only.
- Don’t try to solve everything in one meeting.
The meeting dos and don’ts above can be helpful for in-person and virtual meetings alike. But virtual meetings pose their own set of unique challenges. Since the global pandemic turned the business world on its head, more and more meetings have gone virtual. Here are a few tips to add in if you will be meeting from a remote office.
- When attending a virtual meeting, join from a desktop computer or laptop. In most cases, they provide a better — and certainly less wobbly — connection.
- Check sound and lighting for virtual meetings before joining the call.
- Have a clean and distraction-free background. Make sure everything behind you is work-appropriate.
- Mute yourself when you’re not speaking.
- Use the chat box in virtual meetings to ask questions without interrupting.
- Dress as if you were attending in person.
- Avoid odd camera angles. Position your camera at eye level for better engagement.
- Don’t eat while on the call.
- Don’t be the only participant with your video off.
- Don’t look at emails or work on other tasks when you’re in the meeting.
- Don’t leave the meeting abruptly or without notice. Stay until the end, or let your team know you have to go rather than just disconnecting.
Following these meeting dos and don’ts can help you and your team hold productive meetings. You only have so many hours in a day. Make the most of your time and keep your projects and goals moving forward with meetings that are worth their while.
Make your workouts more unique and more social with Steppen: the brand-new social fitness app. 9 Jun 2021, 11:54 am
A personalized workout is a great way to get in shape while meeting your unique fitness goals, but it can be hard to build a regime from scratch and expensive to hire someone to do it for you. And while putting together a workout is great, that’s only half the battle. Many people still struggle getting to the gym after they’ve planned their workout. Luckily, the brand-new social fitness app Steppen makes it easy to meet your fitness goals and stay accountable by giving you the tools you need to build a custom workout plan and by making exercising more social. With Steppen you can now create, complete and share your own customized workouts with friends, all on one platform.
Steppen is a free fitness and social media platform designed to help you discover, create, complete, track and share your workouts to achieve your fitness goals. Think of Steppen as TikTok meets Spotify, but for fitness. On Spotify, you combine songs to create a playlist, while on Steppen, you combine exercises to create a workout. Like TikTok, you can then upload these exercises to share them with friends or discover workouts from friends, celebrities and athletes.
Discover: Follow friends, influencers and athletes to stay updated on their fitness journey and incorporate their exercises into your own workout routine.
Create: String together any group of exercises to complete your own unique, personalized workout.
Complete: Learn about each individual exercise to get the best results.
Track: Keep track of your fitness goals and your progress toward meeting them.
Share: Upload your own workouts to share with friends.
How Steppen Started
Going to the gym can be nerve-wracking and overwhelming for tons of people. In fact, it’s extremely common to feel lost and anxious at the gym. That’s exactly how founder Cara Davies felt whenever she walked up to her local gym. She was used to doing the same workout every time and lacked the resources to build a new routine. Knowing that there must be a better, more social way to go about fitness, Cara created Steppen.
After posting about Steppen on her personal Instagram, Cara’s school friend, Jake Carp, contacted her to find out more. After a few walking meetings, Steppen discovered its co-founder in Jake. All of this happened just days before Jake’s 21st birthday party.
Interested? Steppen is elevating fitness by making workouts more social, allowing people to create personalized regimes and connect with each other online. Learn more about them and see for yourself at www.steppen.fit.
The post Make your workouts more unique and more social with Steppen: the brand-new social fitness app. appeared first on KillerStartups.
3 Qualities to Look for When Hiring an Accountant for Your Startup 8 Jun 2021, 8:00 am
An accountant plays a critical role in the success of any business. As a startup founder, whether you plan on hiring an in-house accountant or working with an outside party, you need to understand what qualities are most important in prospective candidates when reviewing your options.
This is also important to keep in mind if you’re a student or recent graduate. Along with networking, prepping thoroughly for the CPA exam, and striving to perform well academically, you can improve your chances of being hired in the future by cultivating certain traits now.
Consider the following examples. They’re among the most valuable traits a CPA can possess. They’re also traits that can be easy for startup founders and job candidates alike to overlook.
No two businesses are exactly the same. Thus, no two businesses have the exact same needs.
It’s critical that your business’ accountant understands your specific needs and goals instead of taking the “one size fits all” approach to their work. They’ll be more likely to genuinely appreciate your unique situation and demands if they’re not only strong listeners but effective communicators as well. They should pay attention closely when you explain your needs, and they should be able to explain how they plan on serving your business accordingly.
Of course, evaluating the communication skills of a candidate can seem challenging when you may only have limited time to interview them. It doesn’t need to be.
For example, you could ask a candidate to describe their communication style. Perhaps you’ll also ask them to provide an example of how that communication style has helped them navigate a potentially tricky situation in the past.
This serves two purposes. If a candidate is able to provide an answer that sounds authentic, it indicates they have some ability to communicate seemingly abstract ideas in ways that others can understand. Additionally, if they have an answer to this question at all, it likely means they’re the type of candidate who appreciates the importance of effective communication and thus strives to cultivate the relevant skills.
(Remember, thinking about these skills and qualities is also important if you aspire to offer a business your accounting services in the future.)
It’s wise to evaluate a candidate’s listening strengths by paying attention to body language cues as well. If they maintain a reasonable degree of eye contact when you’re speaking to them and are leaning in more often than leaning back, they’re probably an active listener.
If your startup is still relatively new and small, currently, your accounting needs may be fairly limited. That could change as your business grows.
For instance, right now, you may primarily need an account to assist in basic tasks like ensuring your business’ operations don’t in any way violate applicable tax laws. However, in a few years, you may need help from an accountant who can perform an overall financial analysis of your startup to confirm it’s financially healthy (and to develop solutions when weaknesses are identified).
Try to hire an accountant who has a range of skills that may be valuable in the future. Just keep in mind that young candidates may still be developing their professional skills. If a candidate doesn’t currently possess certain skills that you believe may be necessary for them to serve your needs in years to come, but they nevertheless indicate an eagerness to learn by taking such steps as enrolling in additional online courses, they may still be worthy of your consideration.
Appreciation for Company Culture
A strong company culture includes, among other features, a set of values that aligns with the services or products you offer. Researchers consistently find that when a company culture highlights a positive value system, a business is more likely to thrive.
That’s why it’s important that everyone who works for you, even as a contractor or outside consultant, has some appreciation for your business’ values. While you shouldn’t necessarily expect a new candidate to be familiar with your startup’s values if the company isn’t well-known yet, when you explain your values and overall culture, they should express some level of enthusiasm.
Most importantly, remember how significant the impact of hiring the right accountant can be. Again, the role they’ll play in your business’ growth is substantial. These tips will help you find an accountant who fuels growth instead of preventing it.
The post 3 Qualities to Look for When Hiring an Accountant for Your Startup appeared first on KillerStartups.
Startup Tech: Speech Recognition Vs. Transcription 3 Jun 2021, 8:00 am
Today’s business startups are in a challenging position. Presented with countless options for every technology need, they not only need to understand their own potential requirements – a challenge, given that they’re still developing – but evaluate factors like cost and UX, among others. So, what factors should your startup consider when selecting technology? The issues vary depending on the intended function, but narrowing your focus to a single set of programs, such as speech recognition versus transcription, makes it easier to identify what’s at stake.
Define Your Terms
The first thing that startups should consider when choosing between different tech tools is what exactly they’re looking for. For example, when businesses want to go from voice to page, they often use terms like transcription and speech recognition interchangeably, when that’s not actually accurate.
Speech recognition refers to technology that strips back features like accents to access the basic words being spoken. It’s not interested in meaning or ensuring that what it draws from speech makes grammatical or conceptual sense. Transcription, on the other hand, may refer either to actual individuals who listen to the text and write down what they hear or automated software that relies on underlying tools like natural language processing to discern not just the words but the meaning behind the spoken language.
The complexity of these two terms, which are so often treated as synonyms, reveals how important it is that startups know what they really need when selecting technology.
Know Your Industry
Another key step that can help businesses define what type of technology they need for their startup is a general familiarity with their industry. This is helpful because many industries have preferred or specialized tools specifically for their needs. One area in which this is distinctly visible is healthcare.
Healthcare providers and those in related industries can typically only use a handful of programs for security reasons, and when it comes to speech recognition, Dragon Medical One is equipped to recognize specialized medical vocabulary. When choosing software, then, see what others in your industry use. If one name comes up repeatedly, there’s almost certainly a reason for it.
Attend To Tech Evolutions
While you’re unlikely to go badly wrong in your choice of technology by following industry trends, it’s also important that you pay attention to changes and advancements in the available tools. Tools like speech recognition are constantly evolving, such that most of us are exposed to these tools every day via personal assistant technology. But while it’s true that these programs, found on your phone or other freestanding devices, are convenient, they aren’t specialized. What that means is that, although speech recognition tech has come a long way in recent years, its industry value hasn’t changed much. Instead, it’s gone mass market – and that’s a very different set of applications.
Technology moves fast, but business software tends to be expensive, which is why it’s so important to choose the right programs the first time – it could be a while until you can afford to buy an alternative. By carefully determining what you need to succeed in the first place, though, you can choose your tech investments wisely and allocate the rest of your budget to other development concerns.
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Introducing the Solid State Battery by High Performance Battery: Safer, Greener and Almost Infinite. 1 Jun 2021, 5:47 pm
The global transition from non-renewable to renewable energy needs efficient storage technologies to be successful. While wind, solar and other renewable energies are gaining more and more ground, their viability is hindered by a lack of sustainable methods to store the energy they create. For the world to renounce fossil energy sources for electricity production in the long term, electricity producers, grid operators and consumers need intermediate storage facilities that are both efficient and practical.
The lithium-ion battery is currently the industry gold-standard for this type of energy storage, but what if it could be better? That’s exactly the question that CEO of High Performance Battery, Dr. Günther Hambitzer, set out to answer. He and his team’s research culminated in the fifth generation of battery technology: the Solid State Battery. The Solid State Battery tackles virtually all of the issues hindering the sustainability, environmental impact and efficiency of the lithium-ion battery.
Conventional lithium-ion batteries age over time because a top layer forms on the battery through charging and discharging. This layer grows over time and with each use, even faster the more intensively the battery is used. The growth of the top layer consumes capacity inside the battery and increases its internal resistance, leading to a weaker battery performance.
Conversely, with High Performance Battery’s innovative battery technology, only a very thin top layer forms during a battery’s first charging and subsequent charges do not cause it to grow. With patented solid state electrolyte technology, batteries by High Performance Battery have virtually constant internal resistance and capacity throughout their service life, no matter how much the battery is used.
The result is the Solid State Battery: a battery that lasts over 100,000 charging cycles, compared to the 3,000 of a lithium-ion battery, in addition to having almost-constant capacity and performance, practically no explosion risk, fast chargeability and much more. The Solid State Battery also contains no cobalt, making it more environmentally-friendly and much cheaper to produce and use. High Performance Battery’s technology is patented in all major economic regions and backed by more than 30 years of basic research led by Dr. Günther Hambitzer.
The Solid State Battery has a vast array of applications including wind and solar energy storage, control energy for electricity grids, quarter solutions for energy self-sufficiency, home energy storage, data center power, charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and dozens more. The applications for the Solid State Battery are seemingly limitless as the list continues to grow.
Key features of the Solid State Battery:
- Non-flammable electrolyte
- Infinite service life
- High specific energy
- Deep dischargeable
- Near-constant capacity and performance
- Produced with standard raw materials
- Practically no explosion risk
- Competitive manufacturing costs
Interested? High Performance Battery is ushering in the fifth generation of battery technology with the Solid State Battery: safer, twice as green and almost infinite. Visit us at https://www.highperformancebattery.ch/en/ to learn more.
The post Introducing the Solid State Battery by High Performance Battery: Safer, Greener and Almost Infinite. appeared first on KillerStartups.
How to Protect Your IP in a Cut-and-Paste World 1 Jun 2021, 8:00 am
We live in a copy and paste culture. The accessibility and lack of policing of online content have made it all too easy for anyone to pirate other’s intellectual property.
If you have an IP online it’s important that you protect it. This does more than maintain the integrity of your creation. It can also open up previously unseen sources of revenue. Here are a few suggestions for ways to guard your IP in a cut-and-paste world.
Understand Your IP
The first thing that you want to do is make sure that you have intellectual property in the first place. According to the International Trade Administration, intellectual property is a “creation of the mind” and can manifest in many different ways.
For instance, items such as inventions, artistic and literary works, and commercial images, logos, and names are all forms of intellectual property. If you have an IP, you want to protect it in whatever ways you can.
Start with Legal Protection
The first thing that you want to do with your IP is protect it on the legal front. Depending on the kind of IP, you can do this by filing for IP protection in the form of:
- Trade secrets.
This safeguards your IP in the United States. If you find that you want to protect your IP in other areas of the world, you’ll need to apply for protection with each national or regional government.
Use Tech to Track Your IP
Once you have a copyright or patent, your work has just begun. You may have the legal right to own your property, but the reality is that others will still want to steal it if it has genuine value.
This is where technology can come into play. There are many ways that you can use tech to track how your IP is being accessed by consumers.
For instance, a fast and affordable way to monitor a written work on the internet is to set up a Google alert. This can inform you every time a blog post, trademark, story title, or other protected IP pops up online.
If you want to invest in a more comprehensive solution, you can also set up a digital rights management platform. These are often connected with revenue reporting, but they can also be powerful IP tracking tools, as well.
Aux Mode, a digital rights management platform, can create a financial spreadsheet for you in seconds. This can contain both revenue from legally published content as well as lost revenue from pirated copies.
Boost Your IP With The Same Domain
One of the best ways to protect your IP is to associate yourself with it in every way that you can. The more often your name and your IP are seen together, the easier it will be to make stolen versions stand out.
With so much happening in the online world these days, one of the best ways to connect to your IP is through your domain name. Entrepreneur and marketer Janine Popick explains that “If your business model revolves around the Web, or if you’re planning to spend a lot of money on online marketing, then an exact-match domain name should be a top priority.”
This may cost a pretty penny in the short term — especially if you have to purchase an already registered domain from someone else. However, the close connection with your IP and its host domain will help reinforce the fact that it is yours.
Create Strong NDAs
Nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) are a common way to protect intellectual property used throughout the course of doing business. They’re a great tool to use if you want an employee or contractor to keep quiet about the details of your company.
While NDAs are helpful, though, they can also create a false sense of security if they aren’t made correctly. In theory, a confidentiality agreement allows you to show another person your prized intellectual possession without fear of their sharing it with others.
However, wording can often become blurred and you may overlook certain third-party uses of your IP if your NDA is hastily written. It’s wise to have a lawyer help you draw up an NDA so that it doesn’t leave any room for sketchy interpretation.
Share and Attribute
It may feel odd, but one of the best ways to protect your IP is to share it. By promoting your intellectual property as yourself, you can create a clear image that the property is, indeed, yours and yours alone. This operates along a similar line of reasoning to having an exact-match domain.
If your IP is shareable, such as a song or a piece of literature, don’t hesitate to share it with others — with a clear attribution attached. Every time your IP is recreated, make sure that it is obviously attributed to you.
This will propagate the fact that it is your property. It will also make it more obviously egregious when others recreate the content without permission.
If you’re working with something like a piece of software, you can even use an open-source approach. This not only shares your creation. It invites others to get in on the creativity with you.
Winnie Cheng of Io-Tahoe LLC points out that an open-source IP helps you build a competitive advantage. You are able to gain a leg up from a larger group of developers all while remaining in possession of the IP itself. You are also able to add your own value to the collective work of the IP as a way to propel it beyond the competition.
There are many ways to safeguard your intellectual property. This starts with identifying the IP itself and then guarding it with legal protection. From there, you can use a variety of different methods to establish yourself as the IP owner, including:
- Utilizing a digital rights management platform;
- Setting up Google alerts;
- Getting a matching domain;
- Creating a strong NDA;
- Sharing attributed copies of your IP and even making it open source if appropriate.
Regardless of the specific method, it’s important that you take steps to protect your intellectual property. It’s never been easier to copy and paste an original owner into internet oblivion. Protect yourself against this possibility by creating a solid IP protection plan and then putting it into action as soon as possible.
Find the perfect name for your business with the Business Name Generator by Looka 27 May 2021, 10:26 am
You’ve got your business idea and you’re ready to start building a brand around it, but coming up with a clever, catchy or captivating business name can be a tricky process. You want the name to be perfect, so it’s hard to move forward with your business idea without nailing the name first. You also don’t want to end up with a name you don’t like and then have to go through a complete rebrand once your business has taken off. Luckily, the Business Name Generator by Looka is the perfect solution to these brand-building barriers.
Looka’s Business Name Generator comes up with tons of business name ideas in seconds, allowing you to then check the domain’s availability, social media availability and even see logo ideas in one click. The Generator provides hundreds of unique names based on keywords, abstract ideas (like success, intelligence, momentum and more!) or industry (like accounting, fashion or videography).
The Generator works just like a Google search: simply type in a keyword or keywords and click “generate” to instantly view over one hundred unique business names. If you don’t want to use a keyword, the website also provides a list of abstract terms or terms related to your industry that you can select to get the ideas flowing.
The Business Name Generator generates names in a variety of ways and in multiple categories to make sure the result is something that stands out and resonates with your business idea. This includes invented names, compound words and traditional names. Using advanced algorithms, the Business Name Generator generates names in five categories:
Traditional names – Tasteful, creative and modern names tied to your industry.
Invented names – Innovative and edgy: who doesn’t love a good made-up word?
Compound names – Descriptive and modern names with popularity in the tech industry.
Multiword names – Two elegant and discerning descriptive words.
Real-world names – A powerful, single-word name.
If you find a name that you really like, simply click on it to instantly view logo ideas, domain name availability, social media availability, the name’s online reputation and several other data points related to the name. You can also favorite the name to come back to later. Once you’ve decided on the best name to represent your brand, and confirmed its availability, you can register a domain, design a logo and start building your brand and business!
While most online business name generators either prepend or append random words to the keyword you enter, resulting in generic or random-sounding names, the Business Name Generator strives to make something more human and inspiring. Because choice is key when coming up with a business name, the Generator provides a wide variety of names to give you more power and freedom to choose.
Interested? The Business Name Generator by Looka is helping business ideas come to life with a name that stands out, inspires and sounds great. Visit us at https://looka.com/business-name-generator to learn more and get started!
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7 Simple Ways to Make Team Meetings Count 27 May 2021, 8:00 am
Team meetings play a traditional and sometimes obligatory role in office culture, but that doesn’t mean they’re appreciated.
On the contrary, a recent Harris poll revealed that 46 percent of employees would prefer to do anything else other than sit in a status meeting. Seventeen percent said they would rather watch paint dry. Yikes.
Transforming those counter-productive meetings into meaningful ones is no mean feat, but in this post, I’ll share seven simple tips ways to make team meetings count.
1. Keep it Casual
Instead of being an extension of office life, attending a team meeting should feel like you’re taking a breather from your work.
To make that feeling a reality for your workforce, try setting a more casual tone in your team meetings by starting with an interactive game, a quick story, or even a joke. However, be wary of being overly relaxed, lest your important team meetings become nothing more than social gatherings.
2. Ditch The Chairs
To further set your team meetings apart from the daily grind, empty out the chairs from your meeting room and have stand-up meetings instead.
Not only does standing up encourage engagement, but it also reduces meeting times by up to 34%, so your team can spend less time in meetings and more time producing results.
3. Refresh the Agenda
If your agenda rarely changes, you can’t expect anything other than stale meetings.
To keep your employees engaged, refresh your agendas with relevant issues, industry news, and new strategies that can help the company on micro and macro levels.
But whatever you do, don’t invent talking points in order to “fill up” your agenda. If nothing needs to be discussed, then so be it.
4. Rotate The Leader
Each meeting should be led by one person for the sake of efficiency. Rotating that leader will give your team meetings the variety they desperately need.
You’ll want to write up a short guideline for different leaders to follow, but ultimately, you should let your employees volunteer and enjoy the experience of leading a meeting.
However, if the meeting is being held in order to make an urgent decision, be sure that the leader is also a high-ranking decision-maker.
4. Celebrate Successes
If your company wins a new contract or an employee reaches a personal milestone — celebrate it.
Team meetings help make up the culture and personality of your brand, and if you aren’t marking the big occasions with some celebratory cake, you’re sowing the seeds for a disjointed workforce.
This also applies to project post-mortem meetings, where it’s best to end on a congratulatory note.
5. Get Feedback
Surveying your employees is perhaps the most efficient way to optimize your team meetings.
- Ask them about what they want to discuss
- How they want to discuss it
- What suggestions they would make in order to make team meetings more enjoyable and useful
6. End With a Summary
Even when they’re kept short and sweet, your employees will typically forget the key points of a meeting by the time they return to their workstations.
To ensure that your employees are going back to work with the meeting’s most valuable advice in mind, spend thirty seconds at the end of each meeting summarizing the key takeaways.
7. Make Meetings Rare
Although team meetings can be made fun, productive, and inspiring; nobody can dispute that a team meeting is not real work.
I suggest you take a leaf out of 37Signals’ book and keep team meetings to a minimum. They prefer to make use of email and IM to communicate. As they say, “every minute spent outside of the meeting room is a minute you can get real work done instead.”
Make Team Meetings Count for Your Team
The disdain for team meetings is almost universal among employees.
But if your company can make team meetings enjoyable and meaningful, you’ll be set apart from your competitors. This can only be a good thing when your workforce inevitably shares stories about your company on platforms like GlassDoor.
How does your company approach team meetings?
What is the difference between a prototype and a minimum viable product (MVP)? 25 May 2021, 11:04 am
At first sight, the concepts of a prototype and minimum viable product seem pretty similar. You can use both of these approaches to test the feasibility of your business idea.
To be more specific, you build MVP and a prototype to find your product-market fit and get valuable feedback from pioneer users and stakeholders. Sometimes, their immediate reaction will make you consider pivoting your product.
In reality, the difference between these two concepts is more than meets the eye. The thing is that a prototype and minimum viable product are used at different stages of product development.
Below you can see a well-known picture that clearly illustrates how these concepts work:
Now let’s take a closer look at each of these terms so that you can see the principal difference between them.
What is a prototype in web product development?
According to Wikipedia, a prototype is an early sample, model, or release of a product built to test a concept or process. Also, it can act as a thing to be replicated or learned from.
So what does this mean in layman’s terms? In a nutshell, it is halfway usage of your future product. In a manner of speaking, we can compare a prototype to a draft. It may take different forms. You can present it as a sketch on paper or you can create an interactive and functional prototype.
So why do companies need to build prototypes? Let’s find out.
- Idea validation
Before you proceed to build your app, even with one-two basic features, you will want to check whether your idea is worth trying. It may happen that you will have to rethink your initial hypothesis and create a new one.
That’s why you need the basic product concept at hand. A prototype is a draft that will help you understand better how your future product will work and feel.
Furthermore, a prototype is often a part of MVP development. Firstly, you form a product idea, then you validate this idea with a prototype and check its feasibility. If feedback is positive, you begin working on a minimum viable product.
- The first attempt to build a working model
A clear benefit of the prototyping stage lies in your ability to communicate your idea to the development and design teams. You get a chance to explain to them what they should build.
Designers and developers, in their turn, will show you how the future solution will look and how it will function. Thus, you get a better understanding of the design, layout, and navigation of your future software product.
- Prototypes save development time
Building lightweight, functional, and clickable prototypes helps avoid unnecessary confusion when your development team starts building your solution. Prototyping leaves no room for ambiguity and provides the highest level of clarity and interactivity.
As a result, developers build the first draft of the future software solution in the quickest time possible.
Minimum viable product and its importance
An MVP, according to Wikipedia, is a version of your software product that comes with the most basic functions. In this regard, a minimum viable product is different from a prototype which is basically a draft. An MVP is a working solution that you can present to stakeholders, pioneer users, and investors.
By launching a minimum viable product, you stay focused on the particular pain point you are going to address. You will not get distracted by redundant functionality.
You build MVP to receive feedback from early adopters. The pioneer users will show you what functionality you should add in later releases. Also, customers will list features they can easily do without.
Let’s take a look at the key benefits of the MVP approach for businesses:
- Better understanding of your target audience
We cannot underestimate the importance of researching your target audience. The launch of a minimum viable product gives you better chances to learn about your perfect customers and grasp their key pain points.
Honest feedback from pioneer users will give you more accurate data than the best assumptions of your business analytics. Your users will tell you what features they expect to see in the later releases and which functions they find unnecessary. This way, they will help you launch the 100% customer-oriented solution.
- Cost reduction
Another clear benefit of the minimum viable product approach is cost-effectiveness. You will not need to bother with some sophisticated (and rather expensive) functionality for your future app. Your task is to choose one-two basic features and find the software company who will build them for you.
Since your product will have limited functionality, the development team will complete the product within the short time-frames. Consequently, you will have to pay less for their services.
Besides, the fast response from early adopters will allow you to implement new features or enhance the existing ones gradually. The MVP approach lowers the costs of the product development process.
- Getting financial aid
As mentioned above, you can show your prototype to investors to convince them of the feasibility of your hypothesis. A minimum viable product can be used for this purpose too. Moreover, the successful MVP increases your chances to get the required funding.
The truth is that investors need to see initial interest in your product to give you money for further product improvement. On that score, MVP is more suited for this purpose than a prototype.
The thing is that a minimum viable product is a fully-functioning solution that you can offer to your customer. They can interact with it and give their feedback. If it is favored, you can freely show it to investors.
- Clear focus
An MVP enables you to stay away from any pointless investing of energy and resources on unnecessary features. With this approach, you will create only those features that users actually need. As a result, the MVP It increases your chances of creating an essential product, which can additionally be improved with the help of user feedback.
As you can see, the MVP approach brings businesses multiple benefits. That is why, many famous brands such as Spotify, Facebook, Airbnb, Dropbox, and Zappo launched minimum viable products first. When they saw the initial interest in their product, brands built fully-featured solutions.
To conclude, prototypes and minimum viable products seem very similar. Both of these approaches help you test your hypothesis. They will show whether your business idea is worth investing in, or it will be better to give it up.
Still, there is a great difference between these two concepts. For example, they serve different purposes.
A prototype only shows the functionality and doesn’t have to work at all. It is like a draft on the paper. At the same time, a minimum viable product is a fully functioning solution with very basic functionality that you are ready to release.
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Meaningful Motivation: What Actually Drives Employee Engagement 25 May 2021, 8:00 am
Managing employees is tricky. While our workers tell us money is the way to maximize productivity, results tell a different story. What do we believe?
Recent experiments run by Dan Ariely, author of the book Payoff, showed that money is a poor motivator for getting the best work out of people. In fact, large bonuses for key executives produced deteriorating efficiency.
Based on these findings, if not money, what incentives produce the output employees?
Here are 3 rewards other than cash that we can give to our workforce to boost productivity. All these privileges have been shown to produce more engagement in companies than dollar-based incentives. Start using these motivation boosters in your business today, and watch your company culture and happiness increase substantially.
1. Seeing a satisfied customer
One of the worst parts about pivoting in a startup is the amount of previous work you must throw away. Imagine working 12 hours a day, sacrificing family time, and working weekends to help build a product you believe in. Then after months or years of working your tail off, the company you work for scratches the project. No one will use what you built, and now you have nothing to show for it. Your motivation is gone.
Unfortunately, this scenario is seen in companies of all sizes. While many times an instance like this is unavoidable, the way decision-makers handle a scenario like this can make all the difference.
Seeing a customer have a great experience with something that you helped create is a wonderful feeling. It allows you to see first-hand that what you are working on has a greater purpose, and you can see with your own eyes the positive effect you have caused.
To take advantage of this, if your company is going through a pivot, find ways to save as much of the work that you did as possible. Tie it into your new product, or dig into the processes that worked well before you pivoted and incorporate them into your new plan.
Throughout the building process, bring customers in and have them test the product in front of your team. When your employees see customers light up, they will light up as well.
Once the product is built, share positive feedback from your customers directly with your staff.
When I receive positive comments about the content my team produces, I share it directly with my team. It means more to them to see the customer say good job than it does for me to tell them the same.
People want to work for companies that are improving the lives of others. The best way to show your team they are working for a purpose is to allow them to see happy customers with their own eyes.
2. Meaningful motivation builds trust
Sadly, some employees view trust as more of a privilege than a right. For these organizations, motivation is nonexistent.
While having faith in your team can increase employee output exponentially, not having confidence in them can lead to your company lacking vision and any kind of connection with the organization.
While trust can be expressed in a variety of ways, one of the best is enabling a sense of autonomy to your workers. For instance, in my company, we allow everyone to work from home. There is no office, and we don’t have a set start time. We update each other on our daily schedule and all have tasks we are responsible for that day, but there is no micromanaging.
When I was deciding to build a company this way, I thought about the kind of company culture I’d want to work for. I didn’t want a company who treated me like a child. I wanted to be an equal in an organization, not a prisoner. As I’ve built an autonomous culture in my own company, the rewards have been substantial. Happier employees, increased productivity, and less burn out are just a few of the perks.
The more trust you put in people the better results you’ll get. If you don’t have assurance in your team, then you’re hiring the wrong people.
3. Congratulating Employees For A Job Well Done
When an employee is doing an amazing job, the first thought in many employer’s minds is to up their salary. The issue with this thought process is that the worker quickly becomes used to the increased pay anytime they do something well. So when they do something exemplary again, they want a bigger bonus. Then an even bigger bonus, and on and on.
Try going back down the ladder, and your worker will be furious. Once pay has become the dictator of worth, smaller bonuses are seen as a bad thing not a great motivator.
Instead, positive reinforcement is shown to be just as effective as increased pay but without diminishing returns. So, let’s say if instead of paying you a fat bonus for a project you knocked out of the park, I tell you how great of a job you did and invite you out for a drink. To most people, this will be an equal motivator as a bonus. But, when you do amazing things in the future, you won’t expect more money, you’ll instead just expect me to give you more praise.
Appreciating employees is easy. There are no monetary resources that you need to pour in. All you need is sincerity and time. Over the long term, this is a much better way to motivate your workforce, and a better way to build your company culture.
Meaningful Motivation: What Actually Drives Employee Engagement was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.
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Simplify text messaging for your business with Telvero 24 May 2021, 2:13 pm
Hundreds of businesses are trying to stay connected to their customers primarily via email, but as many of them have learned, the channel suffers from low engagement and their emails often do little except clutter the inboxes of their recipients. In fact, only an estimated 20% of emails end up being read. Luckily, with the power of texting, businesses can increase engagement and reach as much as 98% of their customers. Telvero is here to simplify texting for businesses with a versatile, intuitive and easy-to-use application.
Telvero makes it simple to text-enable your company’s existing landline number so you can reach more people on the channel they respond to most. Our mobile and web applications allow employees of businesses of any size to text from the company’s phone number, rather than with a personal or work number. Telvero’s intuitive application works just like the tools you’re used to for personal messaging, making it quick and easy for you and your employees to communicate with customers.
Text-enabling your company’s landline with Telvero takes only minutes. Simply sign up with your email address, set up your account and connect your landline phone number or choose a new number. From the Telvero dashboard, you can then manage your account, add contacts and send messages all in one place. Under the Chats icon, you can search for chats with a specific customer or group of customers, or start a new chat with a customer. Easily import your existing contacts or add new ones manually as well as segment your audience with tags. With the Broadcast function, you can send a text to a large group of specified customers.
With Telvero, texting is made simple – and so is our pricing model. Choose a plan that fits your needs and your budget and change it any time.
Whether through reservation confirmations, appointment reminders, event invitations, promotions or more, Telvero has tons of features for companies to get creative and engage with their customers in the ways that make sense to them. Some exciting features of Telvero include:
Location-specific phone numbers – Have a different phone number per office or region, even out of state locations.
Customized communication – Have person-to-person conversations, send on-demand or scheduled Broadcast messages and use auto-responder for after-hours messages.
Increase responsiveness – Allow multiple employees to manage communications with a shared inbox to reach customers more quickly.
Go beyond words – Send and receive texts with multimedia messages, including pictures, videos and documents.
Keep records – Archive or delete old conversations and add notes to conversations that are only visible to Telvero users who share your account.
Find messages fast – Search for messages in conversations and contacts to see a historical record of every interaction.
Telvero is the simple, intuitive text-messaging app for businesses to increase their customer engagement and connect with their audiences about what matters to them. We’re currently in Beta testing, so visit us at https://www.telvero.com/ to learn more and start your own free trial.
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Latch Dating: The mobile dating app that takes online dating offline and in-person 21 May 2021, 3:12 pm
With the rising popularity of dating apps, many people’s romantic interactions begin online but often never progress to meeting in-person. Whether it’s due to the stress of planning a first date, ghosting culture, or a lack of inspiration, dating apps can often prevent people from making meaningful face-to-face connections. Especially in light of the past year’s events, we all could use a little in-real-life interaction. That’s why Latch Dating is taking a new approach to make sure that dating that starts online doesn’t always end online.
Latch Dating is the first mobile dating app that plans your first date for you. When matched with another person, Latch will automatically suggest a local date spot based on both you and your match’s preferences. This could be anything from a bar or restaurant to an arcade or amusement park. If you don’t like the first suggestion and would rather try a different spot, simply “reroll” to see a new suggestion. Latch is great for relieving the pressure of finding a perfect first date location and encouraging couples to put down their phones and spend time getting to know each other face-to-face.
Even if you’re in a relationship already, Latch is perfect for couples looking for fresh new date ideas. Simply switch from “Singles Mode” to “Couples Mode” to see a list of local places, events and activities for you and your significant other to try out.
Although Latch is here to encourage real-life interaction, meeting your match in-person is completely optional. Providing you with a place to meet on a first date is not just a way to increase the likelihood of meeting and potentially sparking a real relationship, but it can also be a great icebreaker or conversation starter for you and your match. We also work hard to ensure a safe, diverse environment that is LGBTQIA+ friendly.
Additional Latch Features:
Latchbux – Latchbux are our in-app currency that also acts as a rewards system for our users. When a user checks into a date location, they automatically earn 20 Latchbux which users can send to one another or spend on in-app features. Latchbux will later be tied into promotional features such as discounts on drinks and more.
Badges & Behavior – Badges are a fun and interactive way to keep people accountable, because dating is more fun when everyone behaves like an adult. Users are empowered to report and label bad actors and assign badges to others for positive interactions as well.
Business Integration – Latch will give businesses the opportunity to integrate with our app and set their hours of operation, display useful information and even confirm reservations.
Latch Plus – Latch Plus is our monthly subscription service. Latch will be free to use, but with certain limitations. Subscribing to Latch Plus will open features that are limited on the free version.
Looking to try a dating app that makes it easy for you and your match to meet in-person and try a fun new date spot? Latch Dating is doing exactly that. Visit our Kickstarter page to learn more and stay up-to-date on our launch.
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Loogeenie: A better way to clean 20 May 2021, 4:13 pm
Everyone knows the classic toilet brush: it’s simple, it’s cheap and it gets the job done. Sort of. Regular old toilet brushes may be your go-to for cleaning, but their bristles are often too tough to get into all of the cracks and corners of your toilet bowl. Luckily, Loogeenie is going where no other toilet brush has been before.
With its slim design, the Loogeenie toilet brush combines a flexible brush head with a unique, automatic detergent dispenser to make cleaning your toilet hassle-free. Simply insert a blister pack of cleaning detergent tablets into the brush handle and at each use, press the button to dispense one tablet through the brush into the toilet bowl and it will dissolve while brushing, leaving your toilet clean and spotless.
The flexible brush head is made with both bristle discs and silicone discs, making it the perfect combination that is tough on grime and perfect for cleaning inside the toilet’s J-trap and other tough-to-reach corners. Our automatic detergent dispenser is a hygienic, effective and hands-free way to more efficiently clean your toilet without extra chemicals or cleaning supplies.
The idea behind Loogeenie comes from Aldo Werjutina, a 70-year-old apprentice plumber who found a need to reinvent the humble toilet brush while visiting clients’ homes. He teamed up with his best mate Joe Pittorini and founded Bestview Investments Pty Ltd. Joe and Aldo headed to local industrial design company Form Designs Australia who took their pie-in-the-sky idea and turned it into a reality.
The Loogeenie reimagines the standard toilet brush for a more efficient, more hygienic way to clean your toilet. We’re launching our Kickstarter very soon, so visit us at loogeenie.com to learn more.
Increase Your Website Traffic With These 5 Tips 20 May 2021, 8:00 am
Every business has a website, but very few take full advantage of their online presence by actually driving traffic to the website. If you’re serious about growing your business in 2021 and beyond, you need a detailed traffic generation strategy that gives your website a fighting chance to be successful.
Give Your Traffic a Boost
Traffic is the lifeblood of a successful site. Without it, you’re basically wasting your time. In light of this, here are a few useful tactics you can implement to drive the right visitors to your site:
1. Invest in Link Building
Many businesses get turned off whenever search engine optimization is mentioned. They’ve been spammed by one too many SEO “agencies” and don’t have any trust in the industry. But here’s the deal: If you want to grow your website organically, you have to pay attention to SEO.
Strong SEO companies go beyond technical optimization to include link building as well. And it has to be done well or it will have the opposite effect of suppressing your online visibility.
“Quality, white-hat link building is difficult, particularly for smaller brands or newer sites. And, it’s getting harder,” Link.Build explains. “Doing it well requires a dedicated team of outreach managers, quality copywriters and project professionals with the experience to scale your link building efforts.”
By hiring a company that specializes in white hat link building, you can scale your efforts and improve your SEO prominence. Not only that, but you’ll also pick up some traffic directly from your backlinks (assuming you do a good job of making them contextually relevant to the publisher).
2. Post Your Content to LinkedIn
While you have to be careful to create original content in order to avoid a duplicate content penalty, there are a couple of exceptions. For example, did you know that you can republish your blog post content to your LinkedIn profile?
Assuming you do it properly, you can republish content to your LinkedIn page and use it to increase visibility in your professional network and simultaneously drive traffic back to the original post on your website. The best way to do this is by posting roughly 25 to 50 percent of the post on LinkedIn and then include a simple phrase like: “To enjoy the remainder of this post, please see the original post on MyWebsite.com/link.”
3. Share Relevant Content on Quora
Quora is a popular Q&A website where people go to ask questions about any topic they may have. And if you spend time on the site, you’ll start to see common questions that your target customers have. You can then use these questions to develop content that directly answers these questions and include a link back to the post in your answer. It takes time, but it’s usually pretty effective. Best of all, it provides a long-term flow of traffic if the question is a popular one and your answer gets upvoted.
4. Build Your Email List
Email is still one of the best sources of website traffic generation on the web. If you’re serious about driving visitors to your website, you need to be serious about building up your email list. Then, whenever you publish a brand new post, you can send out a quick email and instantly get several hundred visits to your content. Not only does this increase visibility, but it also puts Google on notice. They see traffic and it makes them take you more seriously.
5. Appear on Podcasts
One final suggestion is to find podcasts that have audiences that overlap with your own. Then appear on these podcasts as a way of generating exposure. As part of your call-to-action at the end of your appearance, tell people to visit your blog.
Putting it All Together
Generating website traffic isn’t easy. But it’s also not rocket science. The playbook is out there for everyone to see; you simply have to do the work. There’s no way to drive traffic to your site without putting in the work day after day. Whether you do it internally or outsource it is up to you, but either way, the work must be done. Use this article as a guide to nudge you in the right direction.
5 Tips for Scaling Your Remote Startup Without Losing Quality and Sleep 19 May 2021, 12:37 pm
What made you decide to start your own business?
One of the people who raised me was my grandma who escaped Vietnam after the war, didn’t finish high school, and came to America with my grandpa, mom, uncles, and only $200.
She worked odd jobs such as a bag handler at Delta Airlines since her education didn’t qualify her for something that paid better. She eventually saved up money to open her own nail salon.
My grandmother wanted my cousins and me to get the education in America that she never had. She didn’t force us to become doctors, lawyers, or anything specific, but just to do better than she and my grandpa, who worked in the nail salon as well.
There was something about seeing my grandma start her own business from nothing that instilled in me the desire to start my own business from the time I was very young. She battled many challenges:
- Not having prior business experience,
- Being in a low-income community, and
- Obstacles such as having her store robbed and burned down multiple times
I really saw the grit in her and the drive she had to start a business.
I was working at a startup in Los Angeles after working at Bain & Company when My Consulting Offer first started. Even though I’d wanted to start my own business, the thing that made me do it then was a family medical emergency.
I started My Consulting Offer– which didn’t have a name at the time–when a family member needed emergency surgery that would cost more than $20,000.
I needed to make the money but at the time, the startup I was working at wasn’t profitable yet so asking for a raise wasn’t an option. I didn’t want to leave my job so I decided to start My Consulting Offer as a side business I’d work on weekends.
How did you come up with the idea for My Consulting Offer?
I only had a limited amount of time to raise $20,000. I didn’t have the luxury of a lot of options so I thought, “What is something I can do, that will provide value to people, and I can start right away?”
I wrote out a list of my skills. One was my success getting a job offer from Bain & Company, a top strategy consulting firm.
I remembered how hard my own interview process was. I’d also been an interviewer while I was at Bain, so I knew the difficult interview process was an issue for many people who aspire to become management consultants.
If you want an idea of how hard consulting interviews are, take a look at our page with the basics on consulting case interview prep – and this is just the basics. Helping people get into Bain and other consulting firms was fun for me when I was in university and even after, so I thought, “Let’s give it a shot.”
What was the toughest problem you didn’t expect when you started? What did you learn from it that others can learn too?
The toughest problem that I didn’t expect when starting a business was actually taking care of my health. I was working at my full-time job and just building up My Consulting Offer from nothing on weekends in the beginning.
When you’re tired, you don’t workout as hard as you can, you don’t sleep well, and you don’t take time to cook the healthiest foods. It didn’t make it easier that the closest food sources to me on the weekend were a pizza parlor and Hawaiian BBQ. When I was building my business, every minute counted, so I didn’t take care of my health as well as I should have.
When I started the business, I was 140 pounds. I was 165 lbs the year before I went full-time with My Consulting Offer.
What’s the best single piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur?
The best advice that has guided me as an entrepreneur is, “The quality of your product is the greatest marketing tool.” This advice helps me make sure we focus on the results for the people who work with us. Their ability to land jobs in consulting is our key success metric and we are pretty good at coaching them so they can achieve this goal.
85% of our clients land consulting jobs, and management consulting is a tough industry to break into. That statistic speaks more loudly than a growth hack on Instagram or a marketing campaign on YouTube. Marketing tricks come and go, but quality stays and remains your calling card.
You got stuck in Taiwan by COVID-19 shutdowns. How did you make that work?
It’s funny to think over a year ago, I was in Taiwan during a layover. I was flying from Singapore to San Francisco after speaking with one of our partners at the National University of Singapore–but then Taiwan closed its borders after I landed.
I was lucky that our company was already completely remote so it didn’t change how we operated much. My team in North America needed to be more clear on communication with me since we couldn’t communicate live because of the time difference.
But it did mean my team in Asia could expect more from me on Slack where we communicate, but I tell them not to use that as a crutch for low-effort communication.
My Consulting Offer has grown from a handful of clients to over 500 successful clients in 2020 in just 3 years. What allowed MCO to grow that quickly?
There is a lot that is attributed to the success of My Consulting Offer, but if I had to think about a few factors, here are the top 5.
- Begin with the end in mind. I found a market with a problem that was worth solving before I launched my business. I see so many people doing the possible, building a product they hope they can find an audience for. I started with the problem I wanted to solve and worked backward.
- Results are your ultimate marketing machine. Great marketing and poor results for customers/users/clients will ultimately doom a business. At My Consulting Offer, our #1 value since Day 1 has been to “create world-class results” before anything else.
- Surround yourself with people who are better than you. I don’t have an ego when it comes to someone on our team who is better than me at the jobs I used to do, such as coaching, writing content for our blog, and pretty much anything else.
- Focus on the One Big Thing. There are always hundreds of things calling at you in the early days of founding a business, but there usually is one thing that is the most important. Take care of that first.
- Never stop learning. As you grow, it’s tempting to think that you know it all, but you don’t. I am always thinking, “What else is there that I don’t know that can improve the results we create for clients?” It goes with surrounding yourself with people who start smarter than you and pushing them to continue to learn.
What’s one thing you recommend all aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their business to the next level?
Think about all the things on your to-do list. Instead of getting overwhelmed. Think of the 1 thing that is the most important right now that will make everything else easier.
What is your definition of success and how will you know when your business has “succeeded?”
My Consulting Offer will be a success when we achieve 3 things:
- We are no longer the “hidden secret” for people preparing for consulting. Instead, we’re the #1 resource that aspiring management consultants go to.
- My leadership team is empowered to the point that when I’m in a meeting, they ask me to leave because I am only going to slow down growth and getting results for our clients.
- We continue to grow even after we are #1 because if we aren’t learning we are dying.
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6 Must-Haves for Your Small Business Tech Stack 18 May 2021, 8:00 am
Small businesses often have to operate with a lean team. While the collaboration and camaraderie of a small team is part of what makes running a small business exciting, the small size can also make things difficult. There are so many tasks necessary for a business to operate, and simply not enough hours in a day for a small team to complete them.
Luckily, technology can take away a significant amount of the burden. Administrative tasks related to accounting, marketing, and more can be done by software, freeing up your small team to do the creative work they do best.
To get you started, here’s a list of some must-haves for your small business tech stack.
1. Payroll Software
Managing payroll can be a complicated, time-consuming task. It encompasses much more than just delivering a check every couple of weeks. You also need to consider complex tax requirements and benefits withholdings.
Using robust online payroll software is the best thing you can do to take the burden away from your team. Solutions like OnPay can calculate how much to pay your employees, and how much to set aside for various taxes and benefits. You save a significant amount of time and effort while also making sure employee paychecks are more accurate.
2. HR Software
Few small businesses can afford a full HR team, but HR is still vitally important. Managing employee benefits and hiring great talent are necessary if you want to attract the kind of talent that can help your business grow.
Online payroll software can take care of benefits for some companies, but if you have more complicated offerings – such as pre-tax transportation benefits or a health savings account – there are platforms available that are dedicated to benefits management.
Hiring can also be streamlined with tech. While you can’t replace your own judgement when it comes to making the final decision, software can scan resumes for relevant keywords and surface the best matches for you to review.
3. Marketing Automation
Successful marketing doesn’t just mean talking about your brand online. It means talking about your brand online at the right time, on the right platform, and to the right audience. There are entire businesses dedicated to this, but small businesses have to manage it with a lean marketing team.
To help small businesses compete, you can use marketing automation tools to get your message out there. Email platforms like Mailchimp let you schedule emails, send them to segmented lists, and collect data on engagement.
There are also social media solutions that let you schedule posts for various social platforms and collect data on their performance. You can send similar messages to each platform your brand has, but tailor the content and frequency to what makes sense for that platform.
4. Accounting Tools
At the end of the day, the goal of business is to drive revenue and gain profit. It’s difficult to know how well your business is doing if accounting isn’t accurate.
There are a number of accounting tools on the market that can help you keep track of all your expenses, capital, and revenue. Many also have reporting capabilities so you can easily understand whether your business is thriving and where the areas of greatest risk are.
Under the umbrella of accounting tools are also tools for invoicing, accounts payable, tax management, and more. It may feel overwhelming to get a massive suite of finance software, but in most cases, it’s not quite as overwhelming as managing it all via spreadsheets.
Making sure your employees can collaborate with each other is critical, especially now that many people are working remotely. Email is fine for non-urgent needs, but when employees need to communicate in real time, an instant messaging client like Slack is necessary. Many collaboration tools expand past instant messaging and also allow for file sharing, project management, and more.
Along the same vein, you probably also want to choose a video chat client. Whether it’s Google Meet, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or something else, it’s helpful to keep your preferred video chat platform consistent across the company. That will make meeting scheduling and management easier.
6. Project Management
For a company to be productive, everyone needs to know what’s expected of them and when it’s expected by. Miscommunication can sink any promising project. Project management software prevents that miscommunication by keeping everyone on track.
Some platforms, like Trello, have free online versions. Other popular ones include Jira and Basecamp. Each of these tools have their own pros and cons, but common features include the abilities to break large projects into small tasks, to assign specific team members to certain tasks, and to assign deadlines to each individual subtask. Team members can receive alerts when a certain task is ready for them, when someone comments on a task they’re assigned to, and when their deliverables are due.
Running a small business is difficult, but technology can make it easier. Getting tools in these categories can help you manage your business more effectively, make better use of your team’s time, and, ultimately, grow your business.
Illuminate your space with the First 3D Luminous Colored Wooden World Map 17 May 2021, 12:21 pm
A family-owned company since 2014, Enjoy The Wood comes from humble beginnings. What started as a small idea for a decorative map skyrocketed into a $533,000 Kickstarter campaign in 2019 that allowed the company to launch the World’s first 3D Wooden World Map and catch the attention of Forbes, NewsWeek, The Guardian and more.
Now, Enjoy The Wood is back with a bigger, better and brighter map: The First 3D Luminous Colored Wooden World Map. Their latest map is packed with new features including 17 new colors, a glow-in-the-dark, magnetic background and a remote-controlled LED backlight.
Enjoy The Wood’s patented world Maps are the perfect gift for the travellers, map-lovers and decor-enthusiasts in your life. They bring awesome colors to any space, hold all your memories and photos, glow in the dark, twinkle with LED lights and so much more! As with their previous map, the First 3D Luminous Colored Wooden World Map is carefully crafted with eco-friendly materials, easy-to-install and available in several different sizes.
All of the maps by Enjoy The Wood are handcrafted in Ukraine at their own manufacturing facility and come with a lifetime warranty. Enjoy The Wood’s goal is to bring the best quality possible to their customers, constantly perfecting the process and improving their product’s quality and adding new features. That’s why Enjoy The Wood has more than 100,000 happy customers all over the world.
The First 3D Luminous Colored Wooden World Map is now on Kickstarter and has raised over $197,088 with 923 backers. Pledges of $69 or more will receive their very own Map with all of the latest features. Production will begin in July with delivery of rewards for backers beginning in September 2021.
The First 3D Luminous Colored Wooden World Map comes with tons of new features and improvements including:
- 17 new color pallets to match your vibe: From bright to muted, textured to smooth, Enjoy The Wood’s innovative printing technology delivers the highest resolution and incredible precision and detail — so you can see much more on the same scale.
- Luminescence: Now the Map can glow in the dark. The darker the room is, the brighter it shines! The paint charges during the day and can glow up to 2 hours at night.
- Magnetic surface: The new Map now holds magnets so you can keep your best memories nicely displayed on your wall.
- LED Backlight: The simplest and smartest way to bring LED lights to your decor. Easily-installed with no tools or special appliances needed and remote-controlled from your phone with 7 different modes.
- Four sizes: Medium, Large, Extra Large, and Double XL.
- Add-ons: Special event markers; upgraded sight-seeing pins including the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower and more; Antarctica; flags; and planes.
Interested? Enjoy The Wood is gearing up to launch their latest Map filled with tons of cool new features with the support of their Kickstarter backers. Visit their Kickstarter page to learn more.
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Officium: the one-stop-shop for turnkey customer experience solutions 14 May 2021, 1:49 pm
It seems like everyone these days is talking about customer experience – and for good reason! Customer experience is rapidly becoming one of the most crucial parts of any business strategy, and it’s no wonder that companies well-known for their customer-facing approach are reaping the benefits of increased engagement, sales and customer loyalty.
What makes a great customer experience strategy? And how do companies create and implement this strategy to stay on top of today’s vastly competitive markets? Luckily, Officium Labs is here to help brands deliver incredible customer experiences with a holistic approach and turnkey solutions.
Officium Labs is bolstering brand’s customer experience strategies, and even building them from the ground up, with our very own ServiceStack framework. ServiceStack allows us to work with your company to develop a unique, tailored solution to help your customer experience operations succeed.
It all begins with our Maturity Model, which our team of CX experts uses to assess your organization’s current state of affairs and build a best-in-class transformational plan. We work with your team to develop a holistic solution based on what matters most to your company.
Now this is where ServiceStack comes in. Officium Labs offers three services in the ServiceStack framework to help your organization build a robust customer experience operation: Connect, Transform and Innovate.
Connect is a network of qualified, on-demand, front-line customer service resources that allow you to handle spikes in volume, maintain service-level agreements and avoid backlogs effortlessly. Even go from no customer service to a fully operational team in just a few days. Fill gaps of all types in your evolving CX organization with our Connect specialists.
Connect offers customer service agents, community and content moderation, social engagement/support, game testers, quality assurance specialists and more.
Transform is a network of on-demand customer experience specialists who can provide staff augmentation, management, thought leadership and consulting for your customer service organization. Clients can harness the power of customer experience with services including customized service models, data and analytics, AI and automation.
Innovate is our technology platform designed to help companies measure and execute customer service best practices. This includes leading assessment workshops, building “get to green” plans and guiding you through your transformation and certification process, all while leveraging our AI, WFM and Analytics tech.
In just 20 months, Officium Labs has helped over 22 clients deliver exceptional customer experience and realize significant BPO savings and increases in customer satisfaction. Our client’s success allowed Officium to achieve $8M in gross revenue and $1.4M in net. Now that we know our solution is matching the market’s demand, we’re ready to scale!
Officium Labs is shaking up the CX space with a tailored approach that puts the power of CX strategy in your company’s hands. We’re transforming customer experience from a cost center into a profit center with our unique ServiceStack approach that allows our clients to build a customized CX plan to help their organizations flourish. Visit us at https://www.officiumlabs.io/ to learn more.
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Deliver Incredible Customer Experiences with Officium 14 May 2021, 1:40 pm
It’s hard to forget those moments where you had a truly exceptional customer experience. Whether over the phone, online or in-person, we’ve all seen first-hand the value of customer service that shines.
While getting a best-in-class customer experience is worth a great deal to any customer, it’s equally valuable to any brand or organization, too. In fact, bad customer service is costing U.S. companies $75 billion every year, contributing to global losses totalling over $339 billion annually.
Officium Labs is banishing bad customer service by helping brands connect with their customers in amazing new ways. Our best-in-class people, products and practices are delivering great customer experiences from beginning to end and shifting customer experience from a cost center to a profit center.
We are here to connect, transform, and innovate through our patented ServiceStack framework designed to help clients build outstanding customer service organizations through the use of best practices, a technology service platform and a network of front-line and expert human resources.
Connect is a network of qualified, on-demand, front-line customer service resources. Our clients can submit resource needs, pricing information and timeframes for us to coordinate recruiting, a pay-as-you-go plan and talent on-boarding. Our future vision for Connect is to provide direct access to a talent place of worker profiles and other staffing needs within an online client portal.
Through connect, you can avoid overpaying outsourced vendors to handle your volume spikes or seasonal demand. With our talent, you can provide burst flexibility inside of your service center and bring on additional resources as-needed.
Connect offers customer service agents, community and content moderation, social engagement/support, game testers, quality assurance specialists and more.
Transform is a network of on-demand customer experience specialists who can provide staff augmentation, management, thought leadership and consulting for your customer service organization. Clients can harness the power of customer experience with services including customized service models, data and analytics, AI and automation.
Innovate is our technology platform designed to help companies measure and execute customer service best practices. This includes leading assessment workshops, building “get to green” plans and guiding you through your transformation and certification process, all while leveraging our AI, WFM and Analytics tech.
Our innovative approach has generated plenty of buzz: Since our launch in July 2019, when we were just four people with a $150,000 loan, Officium Labs has achieved $9 million in gross revenue as of February 2021 and $1.4 million in net profit in 20 months.
Officium Labs has helped countless brands and organizations connect with their customers and provide better customer experiences. To name a few:
Officium Labs is shifting customer service from a cost center to a profit center by reshaping the way brands engage with their customers. We’re only 20 months in with 22 clients, $8M in gross revenue and $1.4M in net revenue. We hear the call loud and clear and now we’re ready to scale like crazy. Come see for yourself at www.officiumlabs.io/.
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