Keep up with Industry Trends – Don’t get left behind

How you been in moments where a friend or business neighbor shared information with you that may sound new to you. But, in reality, this information has been out since last year. Personally, I’ve been caught in this situation many times.


Trend

a general direction in which something is developing or changing.” 


What are ways to keep up with industry trends?

Social Media

Start by following key leaders who share knowledge about the Industry you are in. There are options to keep you notified when a key influencer posts information. Check your social media account settings to enable notification alerts. A good source to quickly stay informed of industry trend is twitter.

Subscribe to blogs

Subscribe to blogs is another way to keep up to date with information. This is usually the preferred way in really diving into industry trends. Bloggers tend to share insightful information with a personal opinion on top of the topic they are talking about.

Attend a conference

This option can come with a price tag, but you definitely get to the opportunity to network. Connecting and sharing knowledge about your industry can benefit both parties. You might get lucky and get a chance to talk face to face with a key influencer in your industry. Make sure to get your free t-shirts!

Join an organization

Joining an organization can help you stay informed of legal information that can affect your industry. A big plus of being part of an organization is the community events. This can help your business develop an organic presence within the community.

Being connected with industry trends is a big part of being a successful business owner. Constantly seeing where your industry is leading, what kind of technology is available? Looking into how your competition is doing. Remember, information is king when it comes to making decisions for your business.

If you have suggestions on how to keep up with industry trends. Please leave a comment below.

5 TED Talks for Small Business Owners

TED talks for small business owners

TED talks – you probably heard of this website and watch few of them or none. They share an array of topics that can leave you informed and inspired. But, today’s post topic is looking at these 5 videos if you are someone who owns or works at a small business should watch.

Here are the 5 Talks you should look into:

  1. How great leaders inspire action

“Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership — starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers …” – TED Talks

  1. The way we think about work is broken

“What makes work satisfying? Apart from a paycheck, there are intangible values that, Barry Schwartz suggests, our current way of thinking about work simply ignores. It’s time to stop thinking of workers as cogs on a wheel.” – TED Talks

  1. The single biggest reason why startups succeed

“Bill Gross has founded a lot of startups, and incubated many others — and he got curious about why some succeeded and others failed. So he gathered data from hundreds of companies, his own and other people’s, and ranked each company on five key factors. He found one factor that stands out from the others — and surprised even him.” - TED Talks

  1. Two reasons companies fail — and how to avoid them

“Is it possible to run a company and reinvent it at the same time? For business strategist Knut Haanaes, the ability to innovate after becoming successful is the mark of a great organization. He shares insights on how to strike a balance between perfecting what we already know and exploring totally new ideas — and lays out how to avoid two major strategy traps.” – TED Talks

  1. How data will transform business

“What does the future of business look like? In an informative talk, Philip Evans gives a quick primer on two long-standing theories in strategy — and explains why he thinks they are essentially invalid.” - TED Talks

There you have it. Check out these five clips to get in the rhythm of learning new things from industry leaders. Yes, this post could have been called “9 TED Talks That Anyone Working in Small Business Should Watch” I believe one of these talks will be informative in your daily small business activities, and hopefully inspire you to keep seeking ways to improve your skills.

If you have a video that would benefit small business owners please share it with us.

Why We Love Business

There is something thrilling when starting something new. Especially if you have no idea where to begin.

In the beginning

Remember the first time you learned how to ride your bike? You definitely asked for help or asked one of your family members or friends to teach you how to ride. How many times did it take, until you were able to ride on your own? Once you mastered riding a bike it felt like you could ride anywhere.

What you learned from that experience is humility . Asking family and friends to help you reach your goal (riding a bike). Learning from your failures, until you were capable of riding on your own.

Learning experience

Same goes for a business. Starting your first business can be thrilling and in the beginning, you don’t have a clue where to start. What makes starting and sustaining a business exciting is that it challenges you to step out of our comfort zone. Constantly having to go the extra mile to reach your goals.

Looking for experts who gone through your experience and learning how they overcome their obstacles. You will be surprised by the amount of support you can get if you ask for help. Friends and family want to be around successful people, on top of that they want to be part of your journey.

We can agree that in business, cash flow is the primary source to keep operations moving, but the heart of your business is you.

People are not buying from your business services or products. People are trusting you, they believe in what you can do for them. It’s the connections we make through our business journey that makes it all fulfilling. The skills we learn as we conquer new challenges, keeps us moving forward.

And most of all, what we get out of our failures is what gives us the advantage against the inexperienced business owner. These skills you possess cannot be taken from you. This makes you valuable within your own company and colleagues.

Love for business

This is why many people love business. The customer fulfillment we generate gives us the inspiration to keep going. When a customer leaves a good review, it keeps you wanting to keep producing excellent products and services.

Share a thought why you love business by leaving a comment below.

Telecommuting and Co-Working Spaces

Technology has evolved so much in many areas that it has certainly has affected the way the workplace operates. The advent of the “cloud” allowed by broadband connections to the internet has generated an abundance of services and tools that are transforming the workplace as we know it. A couple of trends that stand out and are possible due to the cloud, are telecommuting and co-working spaces.

Telecommuting

There are many companies and industries for which a telecommuting workforce is not feasible, like in the construction industry, agriculture, among many others. On the other hand, there are many other industries that could benefit greatly by allowing employees to telecommute. There are several advantages to having your employees work from home, here are a few reasons:

  • It increases employee’s satisfaction because a gives them a little more flexibility and a lot of time if saved by avoiding the commute.
  • It will help your company retain your employees since there is a rising percentage of employees whom would consider looking for a new job to work closer to home and to avoid the commute.
  • Telecommuting increases productivity. Believe it or not, there are a lot more distractions in the workplace than at home. Since telecommuters save time on commuting, they tend to work longer hours than their office-bound counterparts.
  • Telecommuting saves employers money. Fewer employees in the office mean employers can lease smaller office buildings.
  • If your business is set up to accommodate telecommuting employees your will be able to dissolve the distance barrier when looking for talent. Your business will be able to hire new talent from virtually anywhere.
  • You will also be helping the environment by putting fewer vehicles on the roads. You will also be reducing traffic jams and potentially be lowering the rates of traffic accidents.

Not all the aspects of telecommuting are positive. If you want to learn more about the cons to telecommuting please look here.

hotdesk

Co-working Spaces

Co-working spaces are an option that telecommuters might see as advantageous when they don’t have a home office or a space they can work from home. Co-working spaces usually offer a hot desk (non-reservation-based) and amenities usually found in office spaces, internet connection, air-condition/heating, etc. These places have become more and more popular since 2005 and as of late have become quite affordable. Also, they are practically available in every city with a significant workforce. The reason I even mentioned co-working spaces on this post is because sometimes telecommuting goes hand in hand with each other.

What does all this have to do with my small business?

I wanted to share these two trends with you merely to raise awareness. I’m not trying to influence the way you run your business, but I do firmly believe that these trends will continue to rise in popularity and eventually might be concepts that you might be open to adopting in your small business.

Health Tips for the On the Go Small Business Owner

Health

Health is not at the top of your list. As a business owner, there are so many things going on in your business. Talking to customers, running to the next meeting, and keeping track of the books. Exercise can quickly fall to the bottom of your list.

 Start moving

Studies have shown an array of health hazards caused by sitting for eight hours a day. Sitting at a desk can cause a chain of problems from head to toe. For example organ damage, muscle degeneration to back problems and brain fog. Consider finding opportunities throughout your daily business activities such as standing during a conference call. And rather than having a sit-down meeting, take your meeting for a walk. Look for opportunities to move your body as much as possible.

Finding your workout niche

Going to the gym to lift weights or get a cardio workout can be discouraging. Maybe by signing up to a sports league can be very rewarding, especially if you are the competitive type. Taking a hike at a nearby state park can help you focus on the surrounding scenery while keeping you in motion. There are many activities than just showing up to the gym. Check to see what your city has to offer in regards to physical activity.

Get plenty of rest

You probably hear this from every blogger who talks about health tips. I’m going to sound like a broken record, get plenty of rest before starting your day. More energy equals better focus and efficiency. Adults from 26-64 years are recommended to sleep 7 to 9 hours. Make sure to get your beauty sleep before heading out to the streets.

Those are the health tips. You might have read these suggestions from other bloggers. And just here to remind you to make sure you are at your full capacity. As a small business owner, you have to be fully energized to execute your day-to-day goals.

If you have health tips that you would like to share, please leave a comment below.

Does your business have an Instagram?

Instagram for Business

If you haven’t noticed Instagram is becoming a critical piece of business branding. Your business identity is being looked up (and judged). Having a strong Instagram presence gives the younger generation of consumers a sense of trust and credibility.

Are you looking into creating an account, but do not know how it can help your business goals?

Start by looking at other businesses within the same market and see how they engage their users, both for inspiration and competitive intelligence.

Set your Instagram goals, which should reflect your business goals. Which could include the following:

  • Increase product sales
  • Increase traffic to your website
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Increase branded hashtag mentions

Decide exactly how you want to take the approach in reaching your business goals.

Establish a content calendar to keep a consistent pace in when to post and how often to post can keep you from bombarding your users. Usually, one to three posts per day should be a good.

Is all about visuals! Consider the visual style you want for your Instagram brand. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different visual styles and filters. Eventually, you will find what your followers engage to the most.

Hashtags

A popular technique used by brands is the branded hashtag. It does not mean using your business name as a hashtag. Rather, associating a clever hashtag that embodies your Instagram brand. This allows followers to connect your business when they share an experience with your business.

There are many sources out there giving compelling examples why businesses should be on Instagram. It doesn’t hurt having another channel in where existing or potential customers can engage with your business.

Check out our account to get an idea on how we connect with our users and the type of visuals we share with them.

Entrepreneur or Business Owner?

How often before heading to your daily task, you look in front of a mirror and ask “I’m for financial gains or I’m for change”, or both? The reason why you took upon this task can be clear at first. Later down the line, you are blocked by barriers that a lot of times disrupt your initial objective. Having to change direction constantly, can result in being confused in exactly what you want to achieve. Asking yourself if you are truly an entrepreneur or truly a business owner?

Entrepreneur

An entrepreneur. This individual will take on risks like no other. Constantly looking into new projects to develop. Will sell out their company and move on to the next ‘big thing’ in their agenda.

Business owner

A business owner. This individual seeks in creating a sustainable business. Creating relations with returning customers. Having about 10-20 employees not eager to grow, unless customer growth shows that your company needs to expand.

Which one are you?

An entrepreneur is always looking for ways to reinvent the wheel when it comes to day-to-day operations.  While a business owner takes an existing product or services and takes it straight to market.

Both entrepreneurs and business owners share the initial risks when starting out. But as time goes on, the risk as an entrepreneur become riskier than a business owner establishing their presences with its existing customers.

They are both exciting fields to take on. Before you decide the path you would like to venture in. Take a moment to reflect your initial goals and truly ask yourself what you want to accomplish. Are you someone that wants to make changes in how things are done? Are you someone who has a business mind and wants a sustainable business?

If you have gone this path before and would like to share your experience. Please leave a comment below.

Treat your business like a rock band!

Band (your marketing team)

Do you remember the first time listening to your favorite song? Think about how it got your attention. Did the musicians play it in such a way that it made you feel different? As the song progressed, it took you into its world and fulfilled you with its melody. As the song comes to an ending, it delivered a powerful message.  Songs like that are what make impressions on people for a very long time.

Intro

Why do I say to treat your business like a rock band? The CEO or business owners are the lead singers of the band. They are responsible for communicating the story and purpose of the business’ existence. In order to get the message out to the audience, business owners are going to need help from their band mates (company team). How can your team (band), help get the word out about your companies message? Just like any song’s intro, it has to make an impression. Think of ways you can get people to listen to your message. Observe how the audience is receiving your message. And just like any great band out there, make sure to constantly practice in how to better improve delivering your message. Make sure your band is on the same page.

Melody

Once you have your audience hooked. Your band needs to keep them interested in what you have to offer.  Coming up with a compelling melody (marketing strategy) is how you keep your audience listening and wanting to know more about your products or services. Take them on a journey to fulfill their needs. What are ways to constantly keep your audience engaged with your melody? Look into new ways to improve your user engagement, for example, drip campaigns can help you navigate your users to a  ‘call to action‘.

Outro

The ending part of a song. Just the way you made an impression in the beginning of your song. You should also have a strong ending. Once your users went through the journey of understanding your products or services. They are aware that the song is coming to an end. This is the piece that is very important, whether the user is going to add your song to their playlist (pay for your products or services), or not. What are ways to capture the user listening to your song and having them add it to their playlist?

Again, treat your business like a rock band. Make an impression in the beginning of your song. Drive your band into creating awesome melodies that lead into strong endings. Eventually one of those songs you create with your band will be a hit single.

Does your small business have a recognizable brand?

Brand

How many businesses can you name off without even thinking to hard about it? Think for a moment here, what gave you the initiative or spark to think of that particular business. How do they attract ‘top of mind awareness’?

These businesses that generate ‘top of mind awareness’ have put a lot of effort in creating a community around their brand.  But, what is a community to a business and how does it create brand recognition?

Connection

People like to relate with one another or have some sort of connection. Think about how you personally connect with your friends and family? If you are curious, ask them what they value about you. Understanding why you have these values tide with your family and friends can really come in handy in how you approach current or prospective customers.

Value

Deliver value. Value is not the cheapest prices in the market. Focus your business on product leadership(having the best products in the marketplace, like Apple), great customer service (Zappos). Look into ways to improve your services or products.

Story

If done right, storytelling has a far-reaching impact, and it offers excellent brand building benefits. This is the very DNA of your small business and why it exists! You know exactly from day one why you created this business. Day after day, sleepless nights you went the extra mile to achieve the goals you have for your business. Sharing your story and lessons can shape your brands recognition.

Remember

Look into ways you can connect with your audience. Value – Think in ways to improve your product or service(s). Get your story out to the public. Who doesn’t like a good story to hear? These three words – story, value, and connection are essential in building a recognizable brand.  Always have an open ear to hear what others are saying about your business.

Small Business – Adapting to Mobile Devices

Small Business via Mobile

Many businesses are depending on their mobile devices to effectively communicate with their employees and customers. The number of smart phone users in the United States is estimated above 200 million (statista.com).  Making a move in using your smart phone to effectively communicate with potential customers is an essential part in any small business practice.

Having the ability to access your business information through your mobile device gives you incredible advantages over having to physically show up to an office.

You could technically run your small business from your smart phone. But, the point here is how you can adapt smart phones with your employees and customers?

How easy would it be if your customers are given an access portal, or app to receive or send messages to your company? Better yet, rather than sending an email of a new product. Notify your customers by pushing a notification to their mobile devices. There is now flexibility in how you engage your customers or potential customers.

Adapting smart phones as a daily practice in communicating with employees can have its benefits. Many times employees are away from their desk. Keeping your team in sync with upcoming company information can help in how they execute their day-to-day tasks.

Looking in ways you can adapt smart phone devices into your small business can be rewarding. Finding exactly what you need at your finger tips can differentiate how your small business operates.