Dec
16

Why Your Business Should Always Have A Start-up Mentality

By SME Empowering SMEs

A start-up is supposed to be an organisation that is designed to rapidly develop scalable business model. Start-ups chase their goals by deploying technologies and many other legitimate options in order succeed and when they do, they become talk of the town.

A start-up is usually innovative, they do not sit their laurels. They find ways to always improve on what that which is always on ground.

Even if your business isn’t a start-up, you cannot afford not to think like one.

Below are some start-up mentalities that your business cannot afford to forego no matter the size or age of your company.
Innovative:

Your company should always think to improve on whatever it already has on ground. No doubt that the initial idea that led to you starting the business is a great one and have a good market acceptance rate for it, but we know that tastes and preferences of people are constantly changing. Everyone wants some more. So the more frequently you come up with newer innovations that meets the ever changing tastes of the consumers of your brands, the more you keep them and even catch more.

Sitting on one great idea will stall your business eventually as you wouldn’t evolve or improve. Do not also wait before its too late before you innovate always think of a new idea as often as possible. Always analyse your customer base and come up with ways to make them happier before your competitors do.
Embrace Change:

Always be ready to move with the trends. We see that the rate of technological advancements and innovations are almost on an hourly basis. Technology is taking over the way of doing business.

Not open to a new way of doing things can be so disadvantageous to your business and brand. An example is Kodak. Kodak was once the giant in the image space long before the digital era. In 1975, one of its employees invented the digital camera and digital film. Due to the fear of the new technology cannibalizing the existing products, the company did not accept this new innovation instead they went to get a patent for their existing brand.

After some years, the patent expired and today the once well known Kodak has phased out and we all know what we can do with the digital camera today. Kodak could have being the principal owners of the digital camera if it had embraced the change.

When technology is moving in a new direction, make deliberate efforts to move with it. Always take the chance to create something new, though it comes with some risks but a startup always moves above its fears.
Always See a Potential:

There is always am potential in every idea and as a start-up or a business, you should always strive to see this potential. A start-up doesn’t spend time ranking, it develops products fast and sends them out, letting customers decide their worth.

How did Steve Jobs develop the computer mouse? He simply saw it in a new way.

Oct
21

Starting all over isn’t bad

Helen Ese Emore
Business & Infrastructure Project Development Specialist

There are so many reasons why you have to consider starting all over in your business or career. Most times things aren’t going as well as planned in your business or career. You suddenly discover that the business you thought you could run is not satisfying, you do not find fulfilment in running it. Your job that was such a great source of joy is now a huge burden. You have done all you can and nothing seems to be working.

That is a good time to review strategy, plan, processes and procedure for better results.Even after doing that and things just do not seem to be working out as planned, then it may be a good time to start all over again.

Starting all over is tough and painful, it sometimes makes you ashamed like you could do better. But we are all human and no one is perfect. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Sometimes we feel like it is beneath us to learn a new skill or start a new business with humble beginnings. We are scared that may not work, we worry about consequences, sometimes we begin to lose self esteem and confidence in our abilities.

The truth is, we all make mistakes, sometimes things change beyond our control and we have to change too. One of the things that will lead to success is if you are not afraid of starting again. There is no need to be scared, start all over again this last time, think through it carefully, seek wise counsel, stay focused and determined…. it will work if you don’t give up.

Oct
19

Selling to Gen Y: The biggest challenge for marketers is to delve deeper to connect with them

Curled from The Economic Times

The 400 million-plus millennials in India will have an increasingly active role to play in the economic and consumption story. The world over, millennials and post-millennials are influencing most aspects of business for brands and retailers. A need for a similar focus on the millennials is being acknowledged by the Indian business world as well. So, what is it that really makes them different, especially in the Indian context? Four key areas stand out:

Synced: The smartphone is their connect with the world — at work, with friends, it is their hyperlink to reading, shopping, entertainment, banking, eating out, dating. Unlike the older generations, the millennials are comfortable living in a virtual world. Therefore, technology and a virtual connect at various levels are now business hygiene when addressing this generation.

Self-confidence (though sometimes misplaced!): Millennials are India’s most confident, opinionated and expressive generation in India as yet — all of us have experienced that by now. This largely stems from being more educated than their parents, easy access to all forms of information, learning and technology, and growing up in a more economically secure environment than the previous generation. They are open to sharing their opinion, be it political, social, at work or at home. It also enables them to follow their dreams, and be more open to taking risks vis-a-vis the earlier generation. It becomes important for the brands and companies to engage the millennials through a two-way communication, for them to feel appreciated and connected.

Also read: How Gen Y’s spending patterns differ from previous generations

Individualistic: An offshoot of higher self-confidence, millennials are very comfortable in their skin and being their own person. Unlike the flower power generation of the 1960s, this individualism is a fine balance between conforming with some aspects of life and tradition and choosing to follow one’s own path. This reflects in almost all facets of life — education, vocation, lifestyle, work-life balance, relationships, family, religion, participation in groups and communities, social causes, Indianness, affinity to brands and many more. There is also a much higher acceptance and tolerance of others choices and individualism. It gives an opportunity to brands to personalise and customise to the “market of one”.

Own vs Shared: Millennials are comfortable with shared or gig economy, be it cars, travel, homes or office spaces, among others. The emphasis is on comfort, convenience and low investment on the basics of life, while they focus their energies on following their work, dreams and passions.Unlike the previous generations, who spent a large part of their life planning and investing for the future generation, the millennials are more comfortable living in the present and deferring planning for the future to another stage of life.

Millennial entrepreneurs have felt and spotted this need, and have innovated technology-led, new, shared economy businesses, including Uber, Airbnb, BlaBlaCar, Flyrobe, RentoMojo, to name a few. It is a growing opportunity for brands and companies to build on. Since millennials are the future drivers of consumption across products and services, it is imperative for all businesses targeting the Indian consumer to delve deeper into their mindset and connect with them at all levels.

(The writer is the president of Technopak, a retail consultancy firm)

Oct
19

Facebook is testing advert rates in Naira. The implications for Nigerians.

Article by VICTOR EKWEALOR

Maybe you have noticed; Facebook is now displaying advert rates for pages and businesses in Naira. If you have not, it is probably because of the gradual roll-out process the social network applies to test updates on the platform.

Usually, when Facebook introduces an update, a few users are granted first access for an unspecified period. If the update achieves satisfactory results, other users are then allowed access. This method varies from Twitter’s where only users on the beta testing programme are allowed exclusive preview of updates before others.

There is no selective rhyme to Facebook’s update test. As one of the selected few to receive the update, I decided to take an observatory look at the intent of the currency change for Facebook ads.
The update came nearly two weeks ago, I waited to see if it was a transient experiment but apparently, more user accounts for Facebook ads are being changed from the normal Dollar rates to Naira.

The change in the currency does not affect the rates as charges are still calculated at the official conversion rate — $1 = ₦310.250. However, prices still reduce as the number of ads increase.

What is not exactly clear is if after paying for an advert, your account will be debited at your bank’s normal rates or the advertised official rates (₦310). I already setup a mini ad campaign; I will update this accordingly as soon as my banks sends an alert.

What the fuss is really about

Nothing. The usual rates for Facebook ads are shown in Dollars are charged to your account at your bank’s rate. Facebook recently released figures that quote 4 million businesses as actively advertising on its platform. According to the report,

“….the fastest growing region is South East Asia with the following countries: Vietnam, Indonesia, Greece, Ukraine and Philippines. The top five countries based on yearly growth are: U.S, Brazil, Vietnam, Mexico and the United Kingdom. Over 85 per cent of business Pages use mobile and 40 per cent of active advertisers have created a Facebook ad on mobile. Findings have also shown that more than 30 per cent small and medium sized business pages on Facebook are women owned. Facebook’s simplest tools have helped convert these businesses to advertise. Two top examples are boosted posts or promoted pages.”

It is uncomfortable not seeing an African country anywhere in the metrics. It is equally cringe worthy that the most populous black nation on earth did not get a worthy mention most especially with the rise and rise of the internet business machine in these parts.

If Nigeria’s exclusion from this metric is worrisome, it is probably safe to say this inclusion of the Naira is Facebook’s actionable worry — a means to make the currency relatable to attract more Nigerian businesses to advertise on the platform.

Have you paid for adverts with the new Naira rates? If yes, please share your experience in the comment section below.

Jun
04

Top 5 Entrepreneur skills you need today

Being an entrepreneur can be both fun and challenging. Before you venture into the world of entrepreneurship, find out if you have the entrepreneur skills that will help you succeed in your new arena?

The business world has become very competitive so you will need specific skills even if you decide to venture into a home business. As an entrepreneur, you need to have organizing and management skills that will take your business plan to the next level. But more than that, you need to have that thirst for accomplishment which could only be satiated once you have established your business.

Here are some of the entrepreneur skills you would need to run your business successfully:

Jack of all trades

This figure of speech may leave a bitter taste in the mouth nowadays but this is exactly one of the skills you would need to start your own business and to see it grow from scratch, minus of course the “master of none” part. The original meaning of the phrase referred to being a generalist, not a Renaissance man like Leonardo da Vinci who was exceptional in a variety of disciplines, but someone who is flexible enough to know the business fundamentals and how each independent aspect works. Among all the other entrepreneur skills, this one gives you the capacity to see how things are interconnected and allows you to run the show.

Managerial and administrative skills

Most of the multinational corporate ventures employ hundreds of people with their own specializations. Forget about that if you are starting small like most entrepreneurs. Even hiring an assistant is a luxury you would not be able to afford, so basic entrepreneur skills in the administrative department would come in handy for posting in your daily income and expenses, making your receipts and even for making sure you pay your bills on time. On top of that, you need your managerial skills to be at the top of the situation when you business starts to operate. It means making a sound decision about approving a certain account while answering the phone as part of your customer service.

Planning skills

Planning is one of the entrepreneur skills you should arm yourself with especially if you are starting a home business. Better yet, hone your time management skills so that you do not waste your time puttering in the house when you have loads of unchecked emails in your mailbox. Your planning skills would make sure you have, not only an idea of what you have to accomplish for the day, but you are bent on sticking to your plan. The hardest thing for a one-person business, much more a home-based one, is the overwhelming task ahead of you everyday. Multitasking is clearly the name of the game and you have to be really good at it to accomplish things
Financial skills

Since you are in business not only to render service or to fulfil a dream but also to make money, you need to brush up on your financial skills to make ends meet. and more than that. One of the most essential entrepreneur skills you need to have even for small business ventures is the ability to manage your finances so that at the end of the day, you have money to pay for your business and incidental expenses and have some left for your profit box.

People’s skills

Establishing a business will require you to deal with people from all walks of life and this is one of those entrepreneur skills that will take your business far. Every successful entrepreneur has people’s skills and those who do not have it hire someone else who does. You will always deal with people at any phase of your business so make sure you are inherently interested in people and how they work.

Entrepreneur skills are the abilities, inherent or learned, that will make or break your business. Having these skills from the start will reduce the challenges of starting a business but being able to use them strategically will ensure that your business stays on even when competitors come in.

Jan
16

Using Evernote to Plan the Success of your Business

Welcome to a sparkling new year. It is indeed another opportunity to set bigger goals for your life and business, I trust you have already done so or plan to do so before the end of the month. If you have not yet planned then its fine, today is still early.

Planning is at the heart of every achievement in life whether at the level of setting goals or just running an enterprise, you must make planning a part of your entire decision making process both as a professional employee or business owner. I get to do a lot of planning and in the digital space which we all knowingly or unknowingly operate today, we mostly rely on our mobile devices heavily and what this simply means is that we should start to plan on the go.

Over the last couple of years, I have taken planning to my virtual world and I use Evernote to manage virtually everything that concerns me today. I have been using this tool free for many years and I believe it will be of benefit to small business owners who need to plan on the go like me.

evernote-logo-square-150x150Evernote is a productivity tool that makes it easy to remember things big and small from your everyday life using your computer, phone, tablet, and the web. Click here to register for free today.

Would you like to go paperless? Evernote is the e-filing cabinet that will help you achieve that. You can use it to do virtually anything, from note taking, to book writing, to running a paperless system, to physical bills collection (in this case you would need a scanner or smartphone with a good camera).

One of the most interesting things about Evernote is that you can use it seamlessly on all your devices as it syncs automatically saving your data on Evernote’s secured server. The blackberry version is so sweet and handy. Why should I want to type anything on my PC or phone notepad when I have my evernote that will keep my content safely in the cloud?

I find evernote to be so useful that I use it to achieve a lot in any given week including planning all the content on this page.

Let me just briefly share how I use mine:

  1. SME Toolkit notebook – used to store all my past and future SME Toolkit articles including this one.
  2. Book Project – for all my book ideas as they come.
  3. Punch Newspaper – I also use this to store all my present and past articles for the newspaper.
  4. Ideas Bank – a place to store ideas
  5. Receipts – for all receipts received, I simply snap and store in Evernote
  6. And the list goes on, I have close to a 100 notebooks for different areas of life and business all stored in my evernote account and accessible on all my devices.

I trust you’d find Evernote pretty useful as you plan you way to success. I wish you all the very best indeed.

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CFA is an author, expert public speaker, consultant and columnist the Punch Newspaper. Visit his personal blog www.CFAgbata.com or business website www.CFAleverage.com or Call Wale on 08053533156 BBM: 7C5FB662 – order a copy of his latest book here.

 

Dec
10

Why Marketing Consultants are more than what you Need

Have you ever asked yourself why marketing consultants are more than what you need? I am sure you have. Most small businesses if not all usually start by doing all that needs to be done on their own. In other words: it’s a one-man ship. They spontaneously step into the role of a sales team, the receptionist, the accountant, and the determined service provider etc.

But as soon as the business starts showing the remotest signs of growth, we instantly badger to learn the art of outsourcing a number of challenging functions which we are either not really born or trained enough to execute professionally. This is the process which helps us seek out experts who instinctively know how to convert our businesses into a profit making machine.

To give you an example from personal experience; take a look at some of them who I believe many business owners would have an enigma doing without.  A short list of experts includes:

1. Your Accountant 

Many call them the sleeping pill, and perhaps rightly so. The proactive advice of accountants has saved many a business loads of uncalled-for expenses. On many an occasion, an accountant with strong opinions and sound advice has halted us midway in our tracks from standing between our own business progresses. So you are always going to need one around, least of all for that tiny bit better performance. My first business crashed simply because I underestimated the need for an accountant.

2. Experts, obviously Your Customers, as well

When starting a new project, smart businesses insist on bringing in a few experienced outside consultants or experts. This perceptibly helps in contributing an external view point. So whether you prefer dealing with a specialist who comes armed with specific knowledge about various distribution channels, someone that particularly specializes in new technology trends, or maybe it’s one of your own creative customers who use your product or service; drawing upon external perspectives is guaranteed to stimulate fresh thinking as well as create inimitable input points which are commonly a scare commodity and rarely found elsewhere by your customers.

Why Marketing Consultants are more than what you Need

3. Your Contractual Help 

Consultants you can least do without are usually the ones you will never consider to fit that role. Seen from another angle, relationship management and contract relationships that require endless follow-up and supervision are generally vendors, least of all your partners as such. Yet, these indispensable individuals are a seamless part of your business. Look at your accountant of last many years. He is probably the one who helped to take your company out of economic crisis on several occasions, helped you built your house and save for your kid’s college. Your technology partners who helped you encounter a diverse range of modern needs, from data integration to the open source development of your website.

This list of countless creative subordinates could drag on forever and ever, if you were to include freelancers, interns, marketers, sales people and a host of others who work side-by-side with you; unselfishly thrusting your enterprise and business to endless glory and fame.

PS: I love to hear your thoughts and views about Linkedin, please leave a comment below and do not forget to add me on Linkedin (ng.linkedin.com/in/cfagbata/)

CFA is an expert public speaker, consultant, author, facilitator as well as a UK certified business and life coach who can help you & your team make the most of life and opportunities using ICT and other life skills. Visit his personal blog www.CFAgbata.com or business website www.CFAleverage.com or Call Wale on 08053533156 BBM: 7C5FB662

Creative Commons Courtesy:  SalFalko

Nov
19

Generate Advertising Revenue through Online Marketing for Your Small Business

You are less likely to find someone today who would not be aware of just how important online advertising is for small business enterprises. Looking at both sides of the coin, small businesses that are striving to sell their products or services as well as consumers who need and are ready to buy these products or services through online marketing channels, simply overwhelms.

For that matter, the informed public is nowadays by no means solely confined to TV advertising or obliged to follow mailing pamphlets. Neither are these consumers in any other way compelled to chase around on wild shopping sprees in order to acquire the knowledge about diverse products being offered in various marketplaces in the form of new offerings.

Today, you can browse pretty near everything that takes your fancy. All that needs to be done is turning on your PC and there goes! In a blink of your eye, the entire world appears before you. There are numerous astonishing ways in that you will find online marketing simply great. People in search of a particular product or service can now easily connect with companies promoting the same. Besides, there are so many different venues for other interested parties to also benefit from this interaction.

As it happens, should you so desire or perhaps even have the need to do so, you can also conveniently benefit from advertising the sites of other promoters through links on your own website by displaying their banners, buttons on, or just plain text.

Generate Advertising Revenue through Online Marketing for Your Small Business

Photo Courtesy: onlinecommerce.com.mk

To get you off the track, simply proceed by creating an account with a reliable promoter of a product or service.

If your credentials meet the criterion set by that company, you will immediately be entitled to start advertising their respective brand or brands through your own website. People by their thousands have started recognising the unlimited potential and significance of this great online marketing strategy today. Moreover, its application continues to grow as every single day passes.

I am confident you must have by now also heard about this great online phenomenon. Yes, there is indeed an authentic and proven method by which a lot of smart small business enterprises have succeeded in generating grand revenues. In very simple words, it’s commonly known as online affiliate marketing. Small businesses now make use of a potential web platform that helps them to conveniently tap into an ever growing affiliate market. If you are not too sure of how one goes about it; there is no need to be disheartened. We are here to show you the ropes!

CFA is an expert public speaker, consultant, author, facilitator as well as a UK certified business and life coach who can help you & your team make the most of life and opportunities using ICT and other life skills. Visit his personal blog www.CFAgbata.com or business website www.CFAleverage.com or Call Wale on 08053533156 BBM: 7C5FB662

Oct
25

4 Indispensable Case Studies and Marketing Research Reports for Small Business Strategy

By the nature of their trade, content marketers must essentially be tech-savvy, detail oriented and emphatic. There may however be another more important attribute, which obviously is agility. As pointed out by Corey Eridon of HubSpot, nimbleness can be termed as a state of your mind which demands that you speedily adapt to every new trend and change. There is simply no such thing as a winning strategy in content marketing if you prefer following the old SEO rules, or if you insist on promoting your blogs to a buyer who is probably a wrong persona.

What is critical here is the ongoing education phase. Again, that is the precise reason why the following ten most inspiring and brightest case studies and research reports can be said to have hit the Internet in the last few months. Now if you were to make it your business to read at least one if not more of these free and amazing resources over the next week or so, have faith, there can be no one who will be able to stop you.

Case Studies and Research Reports

1. CMI: Must-Know Benchmarks and Trends

Wouldn’t it really surprise you to know that small business enterprises actually win where content marketing adoption is concerned? Well, according to a study carried out by CMI or the Content Marketing Institute, small business enterprises reserve as much 31 per cent of their total marketing budget for content, in comparison to just 24 per cent reserved by larger companies. It is certainly worthwhile noting how other SMEs are creating content and using various platforms.

2. IBM Global

The latest annual report from IBM includes data obtained from more than 1700 CMOs on a global scale, in addition to an extraordinary analysis on explicitly why a specific brand of marketers succeed where other don’t. Their findings evidently point out that sensitivity shown towards your customer’s feedback plays a far greater role then the budget of your company.

4 Indispensable Case Studies and Marketing Research Reports for Small Business Strategy

3. Target

Servio, the eminent copywriting team backing up the amusing product descriptions for Target, was confronted with the challenging charge of transitioning products in their several thousands onto an entirely new platform. In expert opinion, the project was estimated to take about 9 months, yet Servio astonishingly managed to deliver it in only three. As Target can by no means be reckoned as being small, this case study in marketing offers an earnestly brilliant lesson in how smart technology can be aptly adopted for optimum results.

4. Dive Rite

In every practical aspect, Dive Rite could definitely be termed an archetypal small enterprise. With just a single professional marketer and 18 employees on its staff, this upcoming brand was confronted with the challenge of selling diving equipment to a rather tech-savvy target audience, through a rundown website. What’s more, the company was further faced with the arduous task of creating a potential content strategy, starting from zero. Without exaggeration, they brilliantly succeeded against heavy odds, while deploying just limited resources.

Marketing may to some extent be changing. Yet it’s really the consumer behaviour landscape that is taking a much faster turn. So, whether you are insourcing, outsourcing, or somewhere in-between; it’s high time to follow the trailblazers. And we are always ready to show you the way.

CFA is an expert public speaker, consultant, author, facilitator as well as a UK certified business and life coach who can help you & your team make the most of life and opportunities using ICT and other life skills. Visit his personal blog www.CFAgbata.com or business website www.CFAleverage.com or Call Wale on 08053533156 BBM: 7C5FB662

Oct
15

Where and How to Start Blogging

There are a number of reasons for blogging, with several good ones among them too. But first, it’s important to focus on where best you should start your blog; keeping in your mind the fact that sharing actually highlights your desire to care for others.

In this contest, the key points shown below serve as a useful guide for starting your first blog:

1. Reality Check

Carry out a reality check. This will help in establishing why you need to blog in the first place. Furthermore, it also plays a decisive role in helping you decide the ultimate design for your blog, in addition to catering to its content as well.

2. Your Supporters

Establish who your supporters are in real terms and the sort of relationship they have with your potential target market. Not only will you be sharing your content with them, it’s just as probable that they will be heavily involved with your potential target market as well.

3. Your Potential Target Market

Carry out a research on what your potential target market really cares for. Establish for yourself what these prospective viewers commonly read and share online. Design a graphic chart and then fill it in with essential topics and key phrases that can be proven to show some distinct impact on your potential target market. By selecting appropriate keywords, you can enhance the visibility of both your blog as well as website.

Where and How to Start Blogging

Photo Credits: ~C4Chaos

4. Content Calendar

Create your own content calendar, with a single blog post for each month being more advisable. In what would otherwise be deemed a best case scenario, churning out one high quality blog post every hour on the hour, similar to that accomplished by a well-lubricated news agency, would be simply idealistic. That would however be less feasible for every business type. So, it would be best to select 12 key topics on which to blog, and allocate one month for each respectively.

5. Word Spilling

Simply adhere to your writing and keep spilling out everything you have onto a word document or a sheet of paper. Select the points which you intend putting across to your target audience and proceed by supporting each one of them with four to five well established facts. At this stage, it’s not really important to antagonise yourself with the blog title, page linking or images. That’s the next step.

6. Editing & Refining

After having finished writing your content, giving it a title, giving it appropriate pages links, and adding images if desired, put in the final finishing touches. You can if deemed necessary still go back to initiate any essential changes, even after your post is actually live.

Now start sharing the blog post on any social media platform that you favour. But refrain from auto publishing! Facebook is not Twitter, Twitter is not Pinterest, Stumbleupon is not Google Plus – hope you are getting the picture! If you need any help, simply drop us line.

CFA is an expert public speaker, consultant, author, facilitator as well as a UK certified business and life coach who can help you & your team make the most of life and opportunities using ICT and other life skills. Visit his personal blog www.CFAgbata.com or business website www.CFAleverage.com or Call Wale on 08053533156 BBM: 7C5FB662

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