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Tech Trends Changing The Way We Do Business

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tech trends

Whether you’re an established name in the business world or you’re just making your start, you ignore the march of technology at your own peril. For companies with even the smallest footprints, some of the tech trends emerging today may be life-changing. Here’s a brief tour.

Cleaner Materials, Packaging and Standards

With just a few stubborn exceptions, most folks in America and throughout the world agree: Life on Earth can’t continue if we keep squandering our resources. Developments in more energy-efficient production equipment save us cash money on our utility bills all the time and bring us ever-closer to true energy independence. The materials being pursued are lighter, stronger and cheaper base materials to make products more durable and inexpensive to manufacture. What about some of the other exciting opportunities in new packaging and packing materials? Besides looking potentially awesome, these outside-the-box ideas help us remove lots of the more harmful chemicals and plastics from our supply chains. This action will keep them out of the hands of our clients and customers — and out of the environment for good. Tech trends that include better technologies, plus social pressures, let us design less wasteful and more appealing products and packaging all the time to ultimately help raise our shared definition of excellence.

Crowdsourced Design and Troubleshooting

Maybe it was inevitable, but modern technology has given businesses something they just didn’t have in decades past: the opportunity to get their customers to do some of the work. We’ve all had to become citizen journalists, the needs and wants of our globalized world mean we’ve also had to become hobbyist creators in our own small ways. Plus, it’s just really fun to take part in the creation process! Kickstarter was the first company to take “democratized creation” — to borrow/turn/re-coin a phrase — mainstream, but that kind of crowdsourcing is just the tip of the iceberg. Current tech trends has made product creation a more social process from nearly top to bottom, letting brands from all types and sizes a chance to engage with their intended audience. This allows brands to gather valuable feedback about the development phase of product design. Engaging directly with the most creative minds in your audience also lets you iron out any kinks as they crop up and effectively “rev” a brand-new product for a more confident official rollout.

Direct-to-Consumer Delivery

Nobody likes the middleman. There are growing tech trends of brands working to engage directly with you through smartphone apps and push notifications. It’s also why we’re seeing more subscription-based and home delivery services pop up all the time. It took a tech giant like Amazon to throw down the gauntlet in the home grocery delivery space, and more are continuing to lead the way as consumers demand more convenience from the products they want most. For example, Marketview Liquor will not only help you find the best wine for the season, they’ll also deliver your wine right to your door. The whole point is that customers know how to do research. If you’ve made yourself visible and your presence suggests a superior product without the hassle of brick-and-mortar shopping with the middlemen, and if you provide truly measurable incentives like cheap or free shipping for repeat customers and discounts for recurring deliveries, they’ll probably choose your expert wine curation or your hand-selected ski bindings over those offered online by a more faceless corporate brand every time. For the faceless corporations, all of this works for you, too. A major point here is that each of the tech trends on this list are, in their own way, leveling the playing field. The little guy, more each day, has the means to compete with “known quantities” and familiar retailers.

Hobbyist Home Production

We’ve talked a little bit about how crowdsourced design like Scooterboard can help lead to more thoughtfully designed products in the run-up to a major product hitting the market. Thanks to 3D printing and other technologies, the very act of producing some of those projects is also vastly more open and accessible. Today, you can pick up a 3D printer with limited capabilities for around the $300 markConsider the nearly countless advantages of allowing consumers to print their own “OEM” replacement products — or even modifications to existing products. Then there’s this: What if you don’t need to ship them a product at all? This is one step beyond even direct-to-consumer delivery: It’s a state where consumers could purchase blueprints for general product types, add their own features and embellishments to then build it right in their home using 3D-printed components in a variety of plastics and metals. This is the future. It’s not quite here yet, but it’s coming. If you sell a physical product yourself, how might you take advantage of this situation?

Apps and Subscriptions

Information powers our lives. But information isn’t a physical product. Apps have changed everything about how we consume products and do business. Back when there was a physical counterpart — a CD, DVD or even a thumb drive — to the software we used, you paid once and had access to a “finished” product for a year or so. Some of us even remember waiting in line for Mac OS X Tiger on DVD! Now that “app culture” is here, it means consumers expect a constant drip-feed of new products and user experiences. That means subscriptions. Those colorful little squares on your smartphone are now windows. You can open and look through some of those windows for free, but the view you enjoy takes a lot of hard work to maintain. It’s a rich garden full of features with diligent developers trying to keep features bloat and bugs at bay while refreshing the UI often enough to keep you interested.

App-based subscriptions have had a shaky rollout, with even seasoned fans giving their favorite developers “the business” for pivoting to a subscription model instead of sticking to the pay-once-and-receive-updates-for-life model we’ve all been enjoying until recently. Smartphones are nearly indispensable in our personal and business lives. Now, those of us who use them will need to be more selective about the companies we do business with, and become patrons of the ones who truly excel in their field. For business, it’s a huge challenge as well as an opportunity. Apps like Ulysses and Weather Atlas are now available via subscription, ensuring their talented coders a chance to eat and their users in getting new products as soon as they’re ready. Even websites like Medium and The Atlantic are trying out new membership platforms to monetize information and business in a world where technology has delivered users from advertisements. Publishers still need a revenue stream however.

Your primary product may not be an app at all. App culture is a tech trend that gives you an opportunity to turn your presence on somebody’s Home Screen into a money-making, brand-expanding opportunity. Make yourself indispensable.

Technology, Business and Destiny

To say technology will let us achieve our dreams would be a flowery statement. We’re all still trying to make sense of most of it, but it’s clear that there are exciting tech trends in front of us all — most particularly for excelling in business. For the many reasons touched on above and lots more, it’ll pay off in the end to stay informed about new technologies as they emerge. If you’re not, somebody else definitely will be.

Business

Tips On How To Manage An Online Business

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Having the right e-commerce site can make shipping and tracking your inventory easier. IT is constantly changing and it is important to have a secured site to make sure your customer’s data is safe. Following these steps will seem daunting at first, but remember that success will come if you keep pushing towards your goals. America was built by small business owners and with faith, you can have a profitable online business.

Determining your target audience.

The first step in opening an online business is determining who will be your target audience.  It is important to research your competition online and find out who will be buying your products. There is a lot of competition online, so you have to find a way to stand out. I suggest coming up with a unique business name or signature product. Separating yourself from the rest of other online businesses is important to succeed long term.

You also have to decide if you want to sell a product or provide a service. Once you have identified your business model, you will need to come up with the terms of your business. I suggest seeking legal advice, so you can protect your company. It will need to be clear to your customers who you are as a business and what service you provide. It is also important to outline how you will provide customer service and solve any problems that arise.

Selecting the products you want to sell or determining which services you want to offer.

Before you start selling products or offering services, it is important to get registered with the state you are in. There are many advantages of becoming an LLC or incorporating your company. I recommend researching the options that are available in your state. It is important to protect your brand and make your customers trust you as a business owner.

In order to succeed as an online business, you need to have a strong vendor list. Being a licensed company makes more vendors’ want to work with you. Once you have added companies to your vendor list, you need to decide how you want to market your business. You can either hire a SEO company, marketing firm, or you can learn how to do it yourself. There are hundreds of free online tutorials on how to market your company for free on social media sites and YouTube. You can also use Google AdWords and Adsense to help promote your business. There are also several apps that can help you manage your social media sites as well.

Making sure your e-commerce site is effective.

I suggest hiring a website developer or technology company to build your site. There are several user friendly e-commerce sites that are very easy to set-up yourself. Having the right IT support to very important, because they can quickly resolve any issues that may arise.

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15 Ugly Truths About Entrepreneurship Everyone Should Know Before Starting a Business

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Becoming an entrepreneur isn’t everything you see on Instagram or what you see in most interviews. There’s no map and what has worked for another company may not work for you. You’ll constantly find yourself in a state of despair and hopelessness but still have to keep your head above water in order to not look like a failure to everyone who has believed in you. 

1. Most things don’t work the first try

Just about everything you do seems to somehow “not work”. If you’re developing an App or software, expect it to turn out completely different than how you explained it to your developers. If you’re running an online store or business, expect emails to your customers to go straight to spam for some reason. Things never seem to work the first, second, or sometime the 50th times. But you keep going and keep fixing until it works!

2. The REAL stressor that breaks you

You obviously expected a certain level of stress. But we bet you never expected WHERE it will come from. Your startup will without a doubt give you plenty of stress to deal with, however most of that is eustress and good for you. Solving business related stress makes you feel good. The stress of dealing with everything else around you is what will ultimately wear you out. Your business is starting to grow and now moving higher up your ladder of priorities. Other things are starting to become less important but you still need to take care of them. And taking care of them starts to become more stressful and mundane without yielding much reward. 

3. Losing friends

Expect to lose the majority of your friends. Being an entrepreneur is hard and making time for your friends will gradually become harder. You can only bail on your friends and families so often before they stop inviting you out. 

4. It’s a REALLY long journey

Don’t expect your business to take off overnight. Most entrepreneurs expect their idea to take off and exit within a year or two. Having that kind of expectation will often lead to feeling like a failure and losing faith in your business. Tony Robin says, “Most people overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can do in a decade.” 

5. Regrets

Oh yea…expect this to happen real soon. And expect it to happen often. You will regret all the sacrifices you’ve ever made for this business when you start considering choosing tofu over chicken just to save a few bucks at Shoprite. 

6. Anxiety Competition

It’s normal to worry that somebody out there is executing the same idea. Having anxiety over potential competition is natural. Don’t let this drag you down. Let it inspire you to work harder and become better than your imaginary competitors.

7. Other People Depend On You

It’s not just about you anymore. It’s not just your life and your future that’s at risk. Once your business starts taking off and you become an employer, you’re responsible for everyone you employ. 

8. You’ll see people’s true colors

Will Smith once said, “If you’re absent during my struggle, don’t expect to be present during my success.” Unfortunately those closest to you may act differently depending on where you are in life. Those who are true to themselves are worth their weight in gold. 

9. It never gets better for those closest to you

This is a strange one because it’s both a good and a bad thing. You’ll eventually make promises to either yourself or a significant other that things will get better and you’ll take them on some exotic vacation etc. Unfortunately it never truly gets better. At first you’ll struggle to get your FIRST client. After that, you’ll stress out on getting your 10th client. And before you know it, you’re constantly chasing bigger and bigger things. That’s your nature as an entrepreneur, you’ll always want more. 

10. Leadership is hard

Once you start having people work for you, you’ll quickly realize how difficult it is to get a group of people to work productively together to achieve a common goal. Leadership is a lot harder than you think because it’s not just doing a few things. True leadership require years of commitment, hard work, and self discipline to prove yourself a competent leader to your team. 

11. No Appreciation

If you’re a good leader, then you’ll know that appreciation is what YOU give to others, not what you expect to receive in return for your hard work. No matter what you’ve done and what you’ve sacrificed, you won’t be appreciated for it. But it will be demanded of you. 

12. Meditation becomes your best friend

As silly as it was in your teens, meditation now becomes a ritual you can’t live without. It becomes the only few minutes in your day where you can think clearly and not be bombarded at every angle. 

13. Dealing with being sick

At first you’ll be invincible and can do just about anything to your body and deprive it of sleep for days on end. After a while…you’ll actually get sick. It’s a weird feeling being sick and not having insurance because your company isn’t quite there yet. But this will be one of the many challenges you’ll have to overcome as an early stage founder. 

14. Realizing that you’re actually “stupid”

This may or may not come as a shock to you but you’ll eventually realize how stupid you are or have been with your business. There will be plenty of “Aha!” moments where you asked yourself “how could I have been so stupid?!” These are character defining moments that you need to cherish and take notes of for your future self. After all…if you know everything, why aren’t you rich yet? 

15. You’re going to look back and cringe

These are the best moments. At some point in your business you will look back at posts, photos, tweets, text messages, and notes and just…cringe. Similar to feeling stupid, these are also character defining moments that you should cherish. What’s the difference between this and #14?  This is absolutely hilarious and your fellow team mates will die of laughter while you die on the inside. 

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5 Ways To Create An Amazing Employee Experience

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There is no perfect formula when it comes to running a business and managing employees. Every environment is different from the next and each employee should be treated in a unique way. If you survey 100 employees about the things that would motivate them to quit a job the majority would point to management in some aspect. In order to avoid some of the missteps that come with maintaining an employer to employee relationship, you must know what your employees need. These 5 tips are going to provide valuable information into creating an amazing employee experience:

Communication/Employees Being Heard

The most important aspect of any relationship is to communicate effectively. Communication helps to avoid small issues that can snowball into bigger issues. It is imperative that employees are not only kept in the loop, but are provided clarity when miscommunication issues arise. Miscommunication at work can turn into a game of telephone and spawn untrue rumors that can spiral. In addition to keeping an open line of communication with management, employees must feel that they are being heard. It can be very frustrating when you have ideas that you want to be heard but feel dismissed by management. This calls for a bad employee experience. Dialogue is healthy, so keep talking.

Utilize skills correctly

Any successful business person will tell you that many times resources are not as important as how you utilize them. The same goes with the people that are helping to grow and operate your brand. You can have as many good people on your team as possible, it is pointless if they are not being utilized based on their strengths. Some people may fear being outshined or having their employees outgrow the company, but it will do the opposite. If everyone is allowed to flourish by doing what they are best at, you may unlock growth in the company and the employees that you didn’t know was possible. Pushing people to discover their full potential will benefit you because everyone will be putting their best foot forward.

Flexibility

Many people have demanding schedules outside of work that don’t necessarily allow them to adopt conventional schedules at work. When employees are not allowed the flexibility to attend to things outside of work it can affect them negatively at work. Of course, people are responsible for managing their time effectively as adults, but every occurrence cannot be planned for. Allowing remote work, or even telecommuting which is becoming a growing trend, employees can better manage their schedule around work. This eliminates certain stressors that can affect time at work, morale, or even home life. Everyone has to sacrifice certain things when taking on a full-time commitment, however employers have the ability to make things a bit easier.

Positive Culture

A fun, positive culture is necessary to keep up morale at work. Team building exercises, keeping everyone in the loop, even respectful disagreements are all healthy in workplace culture and creates a positive employee experience. Some people spend more time in their office or workspace, then they do at home, meaning your employees should enjoy their time at work. Spending the majority of the day with people that you barely know or don’t get along with affects work performance as well. Employers must realize that you can have the most beautiful office space, the largest salaries, etc but if your team is not clicking you’re going backwards. Sometimes stepping back from work in an outside environment can help people to get to know each other in a different, more relaxed way.

Challenging Work

Nobody wants to be bored at work or feel as though their job is meaningless. It is important to make sure that employees feel challenged and look forward to coming to work. Not feeling challenged can cause employees to lose motivation, which can directly result in declining performance due to the negative employee experience. A domino effect, which can be avoided by communicating with employees about what can make them better. Growth is a critical component to forward movement in life. If employees feel that the work is complacent they will start to become complacent. Implement incentives, have friendly competitions, make things interesting so that boredom is not an option!

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