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Why failing can be good for your career

Failure is often considered a sign of weakness or defeat. However, it is also known to be a natural stage in an entrepreneur’s career and a stepping-stone to success in the world of business.

Embracing the failures that arise in your career will help you to pinpoint ideas, strategies, etc, that were not working and learn from these past errors. It is often through analysing what did not work in the past that allows us to evolve and find the right strategy for success in the future.

Facing these challenges also builds life experience and diminishes the fear of failure. If you have failed and picked yourself back up again, what is there left to be afraid of? This idea helps us to build qualities like tenacity and persistence, essential characteristics needed to be a successful entrepreneur.

Consider adopting these ideals should you ever face failure during your career:

Remember, it is often through making mistakes that new opportunities pop up and take us forward.

Posted on 15 June '18, under business. No Comments.

Social media marketing trends

Social media platforms continually introduce new features and functions that change the way digital marketers create and distribute content. Maintaining awareness of popular social media trends helps to stay competitive and utilise trends to your business’ advantage.

Here are three social media trends to watch out for:

Influencer marketing
Influencers are taking over the social media landscape, particularly on Instagram. Influencers are generally bloggers or celebrities that have the power to influence their target audiences. The benefit of using influencers is that they can deliver a message to a large amount of people. This can help to increase awareness and reach new audiences. Influencers are also credible and trustworthy in their follower’s eyes, making their message more impressionable on their audience.

Instagram Stories
The growth in the use of Instagram Stories is hard to ignore. Over 200 million users use Stories each month, which has overtaken Snapchat. Instagram Stories allow a user to upload a photo or video for their followers to view which expires after 24 hours. Businesses can use Stories to highlight their products/services without having to upload them to stay on their permanent profile. Stories can be useful for competitions, blog posts or advertising a product as a link to your website can be added.

Rise of artificial intelligence
Special filters on Snapchat and Instagram are just one example of the rise in artificial intelligence. Many brands are tapping into special filters with their own branded custom filters. Artificial intelligence is also assisting businesses with managing their communication, i.e., chatbots on Messenger or websites designed to answer all sorts of queries.

Posted on 7 June '18, under business. No Comments.

Using storytelling to build your brand

Storytelling taps into your customers’ emotions, builds trust and can help form a stronger connection with your audience.

Many businesses are now using their business’ story in their marketing efforts to engage their current customer base and attract new customers to their brand.
Here are three ways to incorporate storytelling into your business’ marketing:

Share your story
Where did your business start? Talk your audience through your beginnings, including where your idea to start the business came from and how the business unfolded over time. Explain your approach to your business, your mission, highlights, and stories where your business made an impact. Your story does not need to follow a chronological timeline, for example, it may only include the challenges your business has faced and how you overcame them.

Provide insight
Stories can be compelling, but only when told effectively. Give your audience insight into your business by being transparent, authentic and even entertaining or humorous. Feature your valued customers in the story and share their experiences, showcase community activities and events you have been a part of, give your audience a behind-the-scenes look at your business, and so forth. The aim is to give your audience insight into your business’ core values and personality.

Inspire your audience
Your story should either invoke inspiration or provide a take-home message for your audience. This is why it is critical to be genuine in your storytelling efforts. Whether you are sharing your personal story or that of your team members’, try to relate it to the audience and avoid unnecessary and dull details. Rather than sharing a story which is self-promoting, focus on the heart of the message and what you’d like your audience to gain from hearing the story.

Posted on 25 May '18, under business. No Comments.

Why your business needs a mission statement

A compelling mission statement will give your small business the purpose it needs to grow. In just a few clear and succinct sentences the statement should announce your driving business strategy.

However, it is not enough to merely generate a statement and slap it on your website. A mission statement will do little to impact your business unless you take active measures to embed its ideology into the workplace culture.

Apply your mission statement as a guiding principle when making any strategic decisions at management level.

This approach will influence you and your team to plan long-term by focusing core strategies on things that will remain constant, rather than those that will not.

Invest all your time and energy into things that are always changing, like technologies or the competition, and you will continuously need to revise your core strategies.

It is critical to use your driving purpose to form long-term strategies for your business that way they will still be relevant in five years from now.

While impacting the way you create strategies at a management level, the guiding principle must also influence how your staff complete their everyday tasks. In this way, the ideology can be embraced at every level in the workplace.

Posted on 17 May '18, under business. No Comments.

Morning habits matter

How do you like to begin each day?

The daily routines of successful entrepreneurs prove that ‘when’ and ‘how’ you choose to start your morning significantly impacts the rest of your day in the office.

Incorporating positive habits into your morning routine will help to increase your productivity and creativity throughout the day, and lead to a healthier and balanced lifestyle.

Regular sleep patterns
Consistently sleeping 7 to 8 hours every night is fundamental to leading a healthy lifestyle. As an entrepreneur, you may deal with long days at the office, and it is important to give your body and mind the most appropriate amount of time to refuel each night.

Rising early
Many high-profile entrepreneurs make a habit of always rising early. Getting out of bed provides more hours in the day to achieve your goals. Consistently rising early helps to form a disciplined routine.

Morning workouts
Waking up earlier allows time to exercise in the morning. Working out as soon as you wake up is a great way to get moving and start your day on a high. Studies show that consistent exercise can boost brain activity better than coffee and other caffeinated drinks, giving you a higher level of focus throughout the day.

Eating breakfast
Breakfast matters. Your mind and body require nutrients to keep running until lunchtime. Eat a healthy and nutritious breakfast after you complete your exercise routine. This will help you to avoid becoming tired or irritable at work.

Remember, consistency is essential.

No same morning routine is right for everyone, but the best routines are the ones that are followed every day.

Posted on 11 May '18, under business. No Comments.

Succeed in the workplace

Although workplaces require different skills and personality traits to fit into the role and culture of the business, there are some universal attributes that can help you succeed in the workplace.

Consider the following:

Effective communication skills
Having effective communication skills is critical as it determines how well you get along with colleagues, management and other stakeholders in the business. Verbal and nonverbal communication skills are key, i.e., active listening, maintaining eye contact, articulate speech, excellent writing skills and good phone manner.

Planning and organisation
Setting SMART goals in the workplace can help you to achieve more success. However, these goals must be accompanied by a plan of action. If you are new to goal setting, start by setting small, achievable goals that are “doable.”

Emotional intelligence
Controlling and regulating your emotions can have a big impact on the work you produce and your ability to work alongside others. For example, managing stress and avoiding procrastination can help you to meet deadlines and work more efficiently as a team member. High levels of emotional intelligence can also foster good relationships with your colleagues, community members and customers.

Posted on 27 April '18, under business. No Comments.

Succeed in sales

Closing a sale is the end goal for many business owners but often knowing how to close the deal is a challenge.

Here are three ways to improve your sales approach:

Remove your agenda
A sales prospect can usually identify when a salesperson is running off an agenda. The salesperson comes across as pushy, they don’t match the prospect’s concerns with the product or service on offer, and they don’t give the prospect much time to talk. This approach can appear insincere and impersonal, thereby creating the opposite effect and driving the prospect away.

Ask questions
Dive into the prospect’s concerns and challenges by asking them questions to see if your product/service is suitable. Find out what is important to them and their expectations. If your products/services are a solution for them, pitch them or provide alternatives. Do not expect that your product or service is going to be a solution for everyone.

Show value
Value is a critical factor in a prospect’s purchasing behaviour. Using value-based selling can be helpful at generating more sales as it focuses on addressing the prospect’s problems by showing them the benefits of your product/service. Furthermore, providing examples of results, client testimonials and so forth can demonstrate more value to the prospect.

Posted on 18 April '18, under business. No Comments.

How to improve efficiency

Efficient businesses create more with less. They are driven by highly-motivated employees and inspirational leaders. They understand the power of time-management, organisation, and most importantly, managing their resources.

To improve the efficiency in your small business, consider the following:

“Eat the frog”
Starting your day by “eating the frog first” helps to tick off the important items on your to-do list and avoid procrastination. Completing your hardest or most urgent task first is critical in developing self-discipline and meeting your deadlines. Once you do “eat the frog” all subsequent tasks will seem a lot easier and manageable, helping to get you into a more productive workflow.

Create boundaries
Technology is one of the biggest distractions in the workplace, so it is important to create clear boundaries with how you will use it while working. For example, you may choose you hide your phone or not attend to emails for certain periods of your working day.

Work in intervals
Studies show working in intervals rather than large time blocks is more effective in boosting concentration and overall productivity. Encourage staff to take regular breaks, and to work in intervals for higher levels of problem-solving and creativity.

Reduce meeting time
Wasting time in meetings not only decreases productivity but can destroy morale. Staff have competing priorities and endless jobs waiting for them after the meeting, so if it can be sent in an email reconsider calling that meeting. If the meeting is necessary, stick to an agenda and ask for questions to be held to the end.

Provide feedback
To maximise efficiency, staff need to know where they are excelling and what areas need improvement. Checking in with your staff regularly helps to ensure the team is on the same wavelength. Brainstorming new ways to improve efficiency with your team is also useful in making sure no one becomes complacent.

Posted on 16 April '18, under business. No Comments.

Recovering from a blunder

Mistakes happen all the time, and although they can be embarrassing, you can recover from them.

Whether the mistake was minor or costly, handling the error with professionalism can save your dignity and credibility. Next time you forget to hit send on that important email, rest assured you can recover quickly by adopting the following tips:

Gain some perspective
It is only natural to feel ashamed or distressed when you make a mistake at work but looking at the mistake in a broader context can help you let go of these negative emotions. Most mistakes, unless they are life-threatening, can be corrected so forgive yourself and move on. Instead of wallowing, look at ways to rectify your mistake immediately.

Acknowledge and apologise
If your mistake has affected someone else or negatively impacted the business, acknowledge your wrong doings and apologise. Admitting you made the mistake shows self-awareness, responsibility and accountability. Try to avoid justifying your actions or over-apologising.

Restore trust
The best way to show you care about what has happened is by learning from it and ensuring it does not happen again. Correct the mistake as soon as you can and evaluate what you can do differently next time. If you continue to deliver great work, more often than not your mistake will be forgotten about.

Posted on 28 March '18, under business. No Comments.

Ways to improve your business

Business owners should always be on the lookout for ways to improve their business. It can be easy to fall into a trap of complacency, especially when business is doing well but having strategies in place can ensure your business continues to remain successful.

Consider the following tips to improve your business:

Stay current
Keeping up with trends in your industry, technological advancements, product developments and so on is critical if you want to stay ahead of your competitors. Staying relevant also helps to ensure you are providing the most up-to-date advice, products and services for your customers and are known as a leader in the industry.

Hire someone new
If there is a skills or knowledge gap in your business, it needs addressing. Yes, you can take this on yourself but realistically you would be better off delegating to someone else. Spreading your time and energy too thin can see you burnout easily.

Add value
Any business that is thinking long term should be considering how they provide value to their customers. Without value, customers are more inclined to turn to a competitor. Some ways of providing value include delivering excellent customer service, engaging with followers on social media, adding premium products and services, and so on.

Posted on 23 March '18, under business. No Comments.

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