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How To Avoid Startup Failure

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Startup Success

The majority of startups will fail within the next several years. Some businesses fail right away, while others have brief success before they crash and burn. No matter the reason, many startups sink before they can swim. Social media and crowdfunding make it easy to start a business. There are many aspects that affect business’s success, such as demand, economic swing, and market factors that are out of their control. However, there are business features that new entrepreneurs can control to avoid startup failure.

Research and Planning

Startups that do not have a business plan and direction fail. Without research, you do not have a good grasp on what the market wants, and your product is not suited for the market. New entrepreneurs think that many users mean profitability, but that does not equate to revenue. In order for user numbers to translate into profitability, startups need to define value proposition and why your product is different from the competition. Long term planning keep startups on track for success. It helps navigate unexpected challenges that businesses face as they grow.

Underfunding and Overfunding

Businesses need capital in order to start. However, underfunding causes serious and sometimes fatal consequences. It can be the reason businesses fail to meet customer demands. It is better to wait until you have enough funding than launch a watered-down version of your product. Overfunding also causes problems for startups, because it produces tremendous pressure to perform well. A good example is SearchMe a text-based search engine launched in 2009 that had raised more than $45 million. The market at this time was largely untested and SearchMe was unable to produce results fast enough, causing disappointment and resulting in failure.

Ignoring What Your Customer Wants

Customers are the reason why you are in business. In fact, businesses exist to satisfy their customer’s wants. The problem occurs when businessmen fall in love with their vision and fail to see the market’s needs. Take ZipCar, a simple way to rent cars short term, and GoLoco, a ridesharing service. Both companies provide a unique way to access transportation in major cities. Go Loco’s cofounder, Robin Chase, later admitted that he made a mistake in creating GoLoco saying, “we built the website first and asked our customers about it later”.

Poor Management

Poor management is often cited as the top reason why startups fail. New entrepreneurs usually lack management and business skills in finance, production, purchasing, hiring and managing employees. Unless entrepreneurs realize that their business is not doing well and find help, they will face disaster. Management also requires constant research for what the market needs. This does not include other managerial activities like controlling, organizing, staffing, and planning. A successful manager is a good leader that creates a good work environment and encourages productivity. The secret to avoiding startup failure is finding an entrepreneur who is prepared, well organized, innovative, and armed with determination and positive attitude. When it comes to finding success as a startup the secret is you, the business owner.

Growth Hacking

10 Super Foods You Need To Add To Your Diet Today

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smart food

Super foods are named because of their abilities to fight diseases and deliver nutrition, but do not contain as much calories as other foods. Many health brands are known to carry different kinds of super foods. However, to beginners the different and oftentimes exotic sounding foods all seem confusing and are sometimes expensive. If you don’t have any idea about super foods, it can be hard to know where to begin. Luckily, you don’t have to wade through different kinds to find out which ones are the best. Check out these super foods that you need to add to your breakfast smoothie or meals today.

Chia Seeds

Are some of the best smoothie staples. It’s not hard to eat them. you can simply to your favorite smoothie recipe and you’re set for the day. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which can help improve brain function and healthy heart.

Coconut Oil

Can be great oil for you if you’re looking to lose weight. The high fatty acid content of this oil can help boost your metabolism to help melt fat faster. One teaspoon of coconut oil in your breakfast smoothie can help you look slimmer over time.

Flax Seeds

Are high in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Omega-3 and fiber can help boost cardiovascular health, immunity and joint function. Fiber can also help in eliminating toxins from your body. Add 1 teaspoon to your favorite breakfast smoothie.

Goji Berries

Have more than 20 vitamins and minerals. They have been used in Asian culture for centuries to improve eyesight, balance hormones and fight viruses. Add ½ cup of goji berries to sweeten your smoothie.

Spirulina

Does not taste delicious but it is rich in omega -3 fatty acids and protein. Use two teaspoons of spirulina in your daily smoothie.

Cacao Powder and Nibs

Make a very delicious chocolate smoothie. These antioxidants can help boost your immune system so you can fight flu, colds and cough faster. Add 2 to 4 teaspoons of cacao powder in your daily smoothie and top with nibs for warm chocolaty goodness.

Avocado

Can be eaten as a fruit or you can make them into guacamole. This fruit contains 20 vitamins and minerals and can make your smoothie extra creamy. It is loaded with hearth healthy fats and keep you feeling fuller longer.

Leafy Green Vegetables

Like kale, chard, beet greens, collards and spinach are rich in chlorophyll which is a really powerful antioxidant. Eating lots of green leafy vegetables will not only boost the immune system but also make you feel fuller.

Bee Pollen

Is one of the mightiest super foods unless of course if you’re allergic to bees. Bee pollen has 96 different nutrients and is an amazing source of energy. Eating bee pollen can also help decrease seasonal allergies. Eat it plain, add to your breakfast smoothie or toss it in with your salad to enjoy.

Camu Berries

Have more vitamin C than any other fruit or vegetable you will ever eat. Camu berries come from Peru and have been linked to better immune systems and better skin. Its tart taste goes well with different kinds of fruit making it easier for you to add to your daily smoothie.

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How To Create Content And Build Your Audience Online

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During a recent conversation about networking and cross-promotion, a colleague expressed doubt about her ability to promote my business because she had little traffic on her website and social media. She said creating content would be futile because nobody would see it. The implication was, “I need to build an audience before creating content.” She had the equation totally backwards. Create content first, and the audience will come, over time. In this article we will go over several strategies that show you how to create content and help you build your audience online!

Introduction to Content Creation

Consider this analogy. You just moved into a house and want to host a party. Are you going to invite guests over to an unfurnished home? You need couches, chairs, tables, food, music, activities, etc. Is your website or social media page an unfurnished home? Do you provide anything to entice people to stick around? If not, don’t expect many people at your party. Would you visit an online magazine without any articles? How do you feel about a website when the last entry on the Blog was 18 months ago? I get a mental image of tumbleweeds blowing through a ghost town.

People are attracted to websites and social media pages that provide engaging, valuable, current, and relevant content. We live in a time where we can create and publish our own content whenever we want! We don’t need the Yellow Pages or an advertising firm to share our message. If you want to promote yourself and build your brand, content marketing is paramount. There is no excuse for failing to create content. If you are passionate about your project, there are plenty of formats you can choose to broadcast your message, including:

Blogs 

If you enjoy writing, this is a great vehicle to share stories about your product or service, and to share yourself. You can incorporate pictures, link to other sites, and share on social media.

Social Media 

You can share your product or service on several outlets, both on your business and personal page. Share stories about the evolution and improvement of your product or service. Post pictures and show your product or service in action.

Shared Content 

Share articles relevant to your project, but it is critical that you add your own commentary. Don’t just Share, Comment and Share!

Videos 

People want to know the real you, and this is a great vehicle to share yourself while sharing your product or service. People need to know if they like and trust you before they decide to buy from you. Live videos are starting to explode on social media, so get out of your comfort zone and try it.

Cross-Promotion 

Find strategic partners and cross-promote each other. Write guest blog posts, share each other’s content on social media, shoot a video together, or even create a page on your website where you promote and link to your partners.

Regardless of your preferred medium, the following factors are critical to creating quality content: Value, Patience, Relevancy, Non-Monetization, and Storytelling.

Value

It’s all about your audience, not about you! You need to give them real value. Don’t waste people’s time talking about how great you or your product/service are. Talk about how your product/service will improve the reader/viewer’s life by filling a want or need. When I’m scanning a website, I’m looking for content that provides value to me. I’m subconsciously looking for content that makes me think, “I need to read/watch that.” I am looking for content that is conducive to my growth or appeals to my needs and wants.

Your titles and substantive content should demonstrate how the material will appeal to the reader/viewer’s self-interest. When reviewing content, I take about 15-30 seconds to decide if I’m receiving any value. Time is too precious and attention spans are too short. I’m sure cat video metrics might suggest otherwise, but I venture that most people don’t go online looking for cat videos. When I find myself sucked into trivial content online, it’s almost always by accident, and I get out of there as soon as I recognize I’m wasting my time.

Give your content real value. Don’t lure people with the promise of content as a ruse to grab personal information or even worse, hit them with a pay wall. Don’t do the bait and switch. Have you ever been tantalized by a link description, you click, and then presented with a landing page demanding your email address before revealing any content? When this happens, I know the content is just bait, and I will have to manually opt out from daily email blasts to escape the funnel. You might generate some leads that way, but you aren’t giving value or building a positive brand. Provide value on the front end, no strings attached, you will draw more people in over time, and you will build a brand that people appreciate. This leads into my next point.

Patience

It takes time to build a brand, so manage your expectations. Even if content unexpectedly goes viral, your fame will be short lived if you don’t have other content to entice people to stick around or return.

You cannot have a mindset or expectation of immediate gratification. I once shared with a friend that I boosted a blog entry on FB, and he smugly responded, “What’s your ROI on that?” I wasn’t looking for immediate ROI! I boosted a blog post I thought would resonate. It led to hundreds of clicks, dozens of likes, and new followers on my business page. Certain people didn’t know about my business before, but they knew about it after. That’s the ROI I was looking for. Immediate business would have been great, but I am patiently building a brand here.

When you are creating content for your business, whether it’s a blog post, video, or social media post, don’t expect an immediate ROI. If you’re doing paid advertising, then you certainly want to track ROI, but this article is about content creation, not advertising. Content marketing is a long game.

Don’t get discouraged if your content receives little or no engagement at first. Keep plugging away, keep improving your craft, keep putting your message out there. The mere existence of substantive content on your website improves your SEO. Some people need to see you post multiple times before they click and check you out. Some people need to review your content several times before they engage or buy. Those people never would have engaged if you decided, after posting a couple videos, that you weren’t getting enough ROI, and shut it down. There is no instant gratification or overnight success in business, and anything violating this rule is likely illegal or immoral.

Relevancy

Simply put, your content must be relevant to your business’s mission. By all means, have some variance in your content. Change it up. Be original. Push the envelope, but ensure that all of your content is somehow relevant to your business.

For example, if you own an auto body repair shop, don’t post about politics! (Avoiding politics is good advice to any business.)  If you own a nail salon, don’t post about gardening; if you’re an SEO consultant, don’t post about woodworking. You get the gist. I know someone in the printer repair business who shares random content on social media having no relation to his business, and every share includes a preamble pitch for his service. The shared content and the message have no synergy or place together. Would you prefer grapefruit with your steak, or mashed potatoes with your steak? The whole point of content marketing is to increase brand awareness. This purpose is frustrated when you post irrelevant content.

Monetization

The subtext of your content is for people to create a mental association with your brand. You want people to associate your product or service with their need, and quality content creates that connection. This is a legitimate quid pro quo. You provide valuable and engaging content, and consumers provide brand recognition and loyalty. Over time, that leads to revenue for your company. This kind of monetization is subtle, indirect and takes time, but is very powerful because the consumer ultimately initiates the sale.  

People are turned off by content that is overtly monetized. Unless one is shopping or sees an ad with cute animals, people do not actively seek advertising. Remember, people view your content because they are enticed by the proposition of receiving free value. People are guarded when they feel they are being sold, especially when they did not expect a sales pitch.

I once attended a “seminar,” where the ostensible purpose was to teach about marketing, but the speaker could not stop interrupting himself to pitch his coaching service. He would tease with some marketing nuggets, then pull away saying we could hear the best parts if we signed up for his program. “Seminar” was written in quotation marks because I felt I was attending a live infomercial against my will. I got fed up and walked out. I feel the same way when I’m viewing disingenuous content online. Don’t publish thinly-veiled advertorials. The value of your content is tainted when it is overtly monetized.

Don’t get me wrong here. There is nothing wrong with selling. If you want to overtly sell your product or service, then go for it! Just don’t be deceptive.

Story Telling

Facts tell, stories sell. Couch your messages in terms of stories, and people will engage with your content on a deeper level. People remember stories that touch them emotionally, and they remember the source of the story – your business. People are attracted to stories, it’s just human nature. Most people lack the attention span to delve into dense factual material, and you’ll lose most of your audience

Do not wait for an audience to build before you start creating content for your business. Start creating and publishing content now, and you will grow a following over time. If you seamlessly weave facts about your product or service into a story, while giving value and avoiding overt monetization, you can create powerful content and a powerful brand.

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Why Rest Is Important For Great Ideas

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importance of sleep

Rest is good for us in many different ways. Whether it is relaxing, sleeping, or just reading during your downtime, rest has many benefits including better health, weight control, and disposition. There are many studies that state that sleep can help improve creativity. It is clear that we all need to rest regularly. Here are our views on the importance of rest:

Finding Solutions

Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that people who got adequate rest are better at finding solutions to their problems. According to their studies, people that sleep more than 8 hours a day got enough rest and come up with creative solutions most likely from the connections made in their dreams. This is probably where we got the expression “sleep on it”.

Expands Perspective

According to Albert Einstein, “Once you stop learning, you start dying.” Taking time to read is not only restful, but also gives you the opportunity to learn something new and see things in a new perspective. Reading lets you experience things that you would not normally experience, even if it’s just from a third-person point of view. It is also a good way to get out of your world and immerse yourself in something you’re not used to. In fact, bibliotherapy is being used in the treatment of mental and psychological disorders, because it can be therapeutic and supports mental health.

Better Health

Did you know that lack of sleep can make you fat? According to studies, people who have shorter sleep duration tend to weigh more than people who get 8 regular hours. This means that sleep deprivation can lead to obesity. Lack of proper rest, in this case sleep, leads to hormonal imbalance, which in turn leads to weight gain or obesity.

Improves Concentration and Productivity

Proper rest can lead to improved concentration and productivity. Rest supports various brain functions such as cognition, productivity, performance, and concentration. Without proper rest or sleep, all of these functions can be affected negatively. Getting proper rest does not only improve concentration and productivity. It can also help boost problem solving skills and memory performance in children and adults.

Reduces Risk of Stroke and Heart Disease

Quality rest and sleep can help lower your risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke. Studies show that short sleepers have a greater risk of heart disease compared to people who got 7 or 8 hours a night. Aside from this, short sleepers also have reduced insulin sensitivity, which can result in Type 2 diabetes. A study was conducted where young men were restricted to 4 hours of sleep for 1 week. At the end of the experiment, the young men showed signs of pre-diabetes which was resolved after 1 week of restful sleep.

Boosts Immunity

If you get colds often, this could be the result of a lack of proper rest or sleep. Studies showed that people who got less than 7 hours of sleep at night are three times more likely to develop a cold compared to those who slept 8 hours or more. If you are prone to colds consider getting enough rest and sleep. Eating citrus fruits and garlic can also boost your immunity as you recover.

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