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Why Simplistic Design Is Most Effective

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Does simple design really work? To answer that question, yes. Take a look at iPods. They are simple in design and easy to use. In fact, they are a very popular product. If you take a look at many products today they are designed simply because people do not want to waste time reading a manual to figure out how things work. The same is true with gadgets and even in web design. In a study conducted by Google, results showed that users judge "visually complex" websites as less beautiful than their simpler counterparts.

But why?

Prototypicality is a mental image the brain creates to compartmentalize everything you interact with. It is a basic image of how everything looks and feels.  So when you say furniture, your brain builds a basic image of what it should look and feels like for you. Call it a mental template.When you move to other things like websites, your brain breaks it down to smaller categories. A person has different but specific images for blogs, social media, or e-commerce sites. If a particular website is missing something from your mental image, your brain will subconsciously reject the website.This is partly because your brain craves familiarity. If you are used to blogs having opt-ins at the bottom of the page or e-commerce sites having high resolution photos, this is what your brain is conditioned to think. Your brain came up with certain standards and deviating from said standard puts you in the "less beautiful" category.

Simple Is Easier To Process

The reason why simple designs work is because it does not require the eyes and brain to physically work hard to decode, store and process the information. When you look at a website, the retina converts the real word image into electrical impulses, which travel to the photoreceptor cells to transmit color and information to the brain. The more complex a design, the more color and information your eyes have to transmit to the brain.The simpler an image, gadget, or website is, the easier it is for the brain to process.

Working Memory

All of these lead us to how visual information find its way to your brain. Working memory refers to the part of the brain where temporary information is stored. This is what allows you to focus, resist distraction and guide you during decision making.Research by psychologist George A Miller of Princeton discovered that adults can store 5-9 chunks of information in their short term memory. The point of simplicity is to guarantee storage in short term memory. By reducing the amount of "noise" in an image, the more it is retained.On a low complexity, high prototypical website, information like price, product description and guarantee are just some of the things your short term memory is trying to process. If the working memory can stay focused in understanding information, the faster it can reach a decision.Most of the time, the brain isn't really trying to "judge" your website or gadget as simple or complex; it's just wondering why some things aren't where they're supposed to be. This is not good if you’re trying to get them to buy stuff or try a new product. This is why a simple design is the best. It doesn't stress the brain and helps it process information faster.

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Secrets to Getting Consistent Sales For Your Startup

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No matter what industry you're in, sales is your oxygen.  Without consistent sales, most startups simply can't function. Unfortunately most startup companies don't invest enough in their sales process until it's too late. Here are the strategies successful startups have adopted to consistently meet their sales goals.

Building a Stronger Network

Consistent sales doesn't happen automatically.  For larger accounts, it's often best to start with referrals and be introduced organically to your prospect instead of cold calling.  And having a well connected network of friends and peers willing to help support you is the key to getting more organic referrals.  Meeting someone and getting their business card is easy. Maintaining your relationship and keeping yourself relevant is the real challenge. If you're not already using LinkedIn, now's a good time to start.

Focusing on Weekly Results

Without setting weekly goals, your team may believe staying busy and filling their calendar translates to sales success. Unfortunately activity doesn't convert into sales unless it's focused. Get into the habit of setting achievable weekly goals for your team. Weekly goals provide your team a compass to follow and keeps their attention laser focused on just a few important items. Try to make your goals specific, realistic, and achievable. Ambitious vague goals are often demoralizing instead of empowering.

Do The Unnatural/Uncomfortable

It's our natural tendency to avoiding people and things that make us uncomfortable. Success is usually found outside our comfort zone, not within it's confined walls. Having the courage to withstand natural discomfort will allow your team to reach more daring goals and achieve results outside their normal capabilities. Get your team into the habit of doing ONE thing each day that they're normally uncomfortable with.  Just make sure they're staying well within the confines of your state and federal laws.

Under-promise Over Deliver

No one likes to be lied to.  And no one likes to be promised something and have it delivered sub-par.  It's often easy to over promise a customer just to get the sales in and be overly enthusiastic about it.  Be honest with your customer and lay out all the unknowns and what they're REALLY going to get.  They will trust you more and can feel your sincerity.  Now after that's done, make sure your team over deliver.  Your client will be 10x happier and be more likely to refer you.

Ask Directly

Ask your client "Are you ready to begin today?  I can have the paperwork ready in 30 mins".  Don't be shy or give your client too much time to think over everything.  It may be uncomfortable at first, but asking directly can help you seal the majority of deals that otherwise would've been lost. Even the most secure and sure deals can often fall in between the cracks if we missed the opportunity to strike while the iron is hot.Any startup can learn and adopt many of the strategies above. Despite their simplicity and low financial investment, the strategies above have only yielded success when they're consistently followed and built into the work culture. As with any sales or marketing strategies, consistency is key to achieving desirable results.
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Growth Hacking

Why You Shouldn’t Be Ashamed Of Self-Promotion

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Many of us were told growing up that if we worked hard at school and at work, our efforts would be recognized and we would be rewarded. The sad news is that this is not the way it always works in real life. Sometimes you have to do some self promotion to get noticed. A
 little self-promotion can go a long way. The real world is very competitive and noisy. Singing your praises once in awhile can generate the attention you need to get ahead. So, here are reasons why it’s OK to self-promote.

It’s The New Normal

Your LinkedIn profile and other social medial platforms are essentially self-promotion tools. Nowadays posting about your success is the new normal. How many times have you seen a friend rave about a new job promotion or a company talking about their new product in social media? We expect to see these kinds of posts because it's what everybody does and we like cheering for them. So why not get some cheers for you too?

Not Everybody Is Aware

Your mom might know about your new blog or new job but you can’t assume that everybody knows about it. Sometimes you have to tell the world about your triumphs in order to get more clients, sales or recognition. While everybody has their own agenda for self-promoting, sometimes you just have to make everybody aware of your achievements to get what you want.If you're a small start-up, you need your audience to be aware of what you are and what you’re selling. Self-promotion is a low-cost and efficient way of letting people know who you are.

It’s Necessary

If you’re an architect, photographer, web designer or singer; self-promotion is part of the creative process. Why? Because you can’t expect people to be aware of your talent. You have to tell them if you want to get their attention.Self-promotion will give you not only the recognition you need but also the limelight. When you're creative, you want people to be aware of what you can do so that you can be made aware of the opportunities your talent can open.

It Motivates You

Now that everybody in the world knows about your talent or skills, you need to be able to back up your claims. When this happens, it can motivate you to do better. Self-promoting will lead people to have expectations because you chose to broadcast your achievements. This can also lead to better opportunities. When a manager needs somebody to do a job, he or she will think of you because they’ve heard that you’re doing great things.

It Can Help Other People

When you are confident enough to self-promote, it can help other people overcome their fear of self-promoting. A friend might say that if you can do it, then they can too. When you are self-promoting, doors and opportunities not available could suddenly open and this could be true for other people too. Giving others confidence to believe in themselves makes the world less scary.

Boost Confidence

Doesn’t it cheer you up every time somebody likes your posts about your achievement? Doesn’t it give you a confidence boost? It might just be the something you need to help you finish a very hard project or a confidence booster when you’re facing challenges.

Information Dissemination

People need information and one of the best ways of doing so is through self-promotion. Sometimes, the best information comes from the source. Communication lines can get muddled and consumers end up with the wrong information. What better way to avoid this than by self-promotion. You can start by spreading the word yourself before letting other people handle the information. This way, you have it right the first time.Never be ashamed of self-promoting even it's about you or if the idea is yours. Self-promotion is now the new default and thinking that it is shameful might be hindering you from opportunities. People who are afraid of self-promotion might be afraid of being scrutinized. So if you’re not one of these people go ahead and start promoting.
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Business

How To Do Business Marketing For Free

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Any entrepreneur that's just starting out will tell you that one of the most difficult things you need to face is the challenge of reaching and retaining customers. Marketing a new product can be a costly and time consuming task, which are some things many entrepreneurs do not have. Business m
arketing is basically the process of letting your customers know about your product. Small businesses and startups generally do not have the luxury of outsourcing their marketing needs to the professionals. But instead of waiting around for your product or service to get noticed, there are things that you can do to promote your business and drive business to your door. Here are great examples of marketing practices that don’t require you to burn through your valuable resources.

Local Awareness

Start educating your customers by starting locally. Get local news coverage and build a website. Starting small can help increase name recognition early and educating customers about your business will help with customer acquisition. Many big businesses will not shy away from hiring expensive business marketing agencies and public relations firm. However, small businesses and startups can get a start with simple DIY PR.Start by doing research on your local paper. Know which writer covers local businesses. Once you know who's in-charge, get to know them and create a pitch around your business to pique their interest. For example, you're a local web design company. Explain how your business will impact the local economy and how other businesses in the area will benefit by subscribing to your service.

Be Present In Social Media

Social media is not just about reconnecting with your old high school buddies. If leveraged correctly, social media can become a powerful and affordable business marketing tool. You can maintain identities in all social media platforms or a select few. Whichever you choose to establish a presence, be present and active. According to a study conducted by Mashable and their webcam eyetracking study, Facebook users spend the most time looking at a brand's wall compared to other elements on the page. Being active on social media allows you to engage your customers better. Better engagement allows you to be on top of your brand while encouraging positive reviews and dealing with negative ones.Using social media also gives you the platform to provide your customers with something useful, sharable and interesting. Start with a few posts per week to know your audience and understand who is using your content. Once you find out what they want, you can ramp up your efforts.

Use Your Customers

Satisfied and happy customers are the best business marketing tool. You can make personal connections with brand advocates and turn this into a mutually beneficial relationship. For example, you can pitch you business to a well-known writer. In exchange for your services or products, the writer will mention you in his or her blogs. This tactic can lead to a stronger relationship between you and your customers. Once you have an army of satisfied customers telling other people about your product, you can save a lot of money on PR and marketing because happy customers will be very glad to tell other people about your product.According to marketing experts, a customer singing your praises to other people is the cherry on the icing. This is free marketing at its best.  When you take care of your customer, they can take care of you by telling their friends about your product. However, this is the tricky part. You need to keep them happy and build a brand they can trust. If they don’t trust you and are not happy, they will not endorse your product to other people.Marketing is a sensitive but vital part of a business' growth. If you have a new startup you probably have not broken even yet. This is the time to be extremely smart about your marketing budget. Frugality is a skill many new entrepreneurs need to learn and by looking for smart and affordable ways to market your business, you are cultivating a habit of wise spending. The marketing strategies outlined above require little time and money. However if they are done correctly, they can be successful without draining your precious funds.
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