Business

Reading your Boss & Peers: Body Language 101

Disney and Pixar cartoons have always impressed me with how expressive they can make animal characters even without gifting them with speech. Add eyebrows and voila! Facial expressions can tell a whole story without a single word being spoken.

Non-Verbal behavior.

In the animal kingdom, body language – not just facial expressions but posture and non-verbal behavior included – is king. We are constantly giving off non-verbal cues, which is part of why managers tend to make up their mind in job interviews in under 10 minutes. It is also why you can watch TV on mute and probably still have a sense of what is happening.

Being aware of this non-verbal communication and taking the time to understanding even just the basics when it comes to body language in humans and what it all means can feel akin to mind-reading.

So how can you leverage this at work or during networking events?

Without having to read a whole book about it (though if you want to do that, I highly recommend this book), here are some things to look out for. Before you jump to overhasty conclusions however, remember that context is crucial – someone crossing their arms in a cold room may just be trying to conserve body heat, whereas the same gesture in the middle of a conversation is more likely to convey defensiveness or that the person is closed-minded about the topic at hand.

Positive signs.

At a networking event or cocktail party, look at people’s feet. They will naturally point to whoever they find to be the most interesting person.

When you’re talking to a colleague, a potential investor, or even a journalist, is s/he leaning forward? If so, that’s a good sign and means they feel engaged by the conversation.

Taking it a step farther, someone with open arms (as opposed to someone with their arms crossed) will generally be open to the ideas you are sharing.

Another sign that someone respects you is that they may subconsciously mirror your behavior. This is a tricky one because it’s easy to over-interpret, but it’s an interesting element to look out for in group dynamics regardless.

And if you haven’t heard of power poses, fix that right away – they are easy and they work! (Amy Cuddy’s TED talk is a great way to learn about this.)

Other things to look out for.

As you can imagine, if leaning forward is good, leaning back in their chair may be a sign that the person sitting across from you or members of your audience are slightly disengaged or unconvinced by what you are saying.

Similarly, if someone you are talking to has their arms crossed and the room is not blasting with AC, they are probably on the defensive or disagree with what is being said. Quick tip: if you hand them something or ask them to pick up a pen you’ve dropped, the fact that they are physically uncrossing their arms will contribute to their mind opening too (crazy but true).

Body language can also betray subconscious thoughts, so if a colleague puts their hand or fingers in front of their mouth, they may be trying to hold back an opinion. That can either be an opportunity for you to ask them if they want to share any thoughts, or keep going and make a note to talk to them later.

In that same vein, if someone touches their face or their hair, it means they are subconsciously trying to reassure themselves and boost their self-confidence. It probably doesn’t work as well as striking a power pose, but it’s also much more discrete.

So… now what?

Like anything, your interpretations of body language may be a bit rough around the edges at first, but over time and with a bit of practice you can get a lot of insights into people’s thoughts and behaviors from understanding what subtle (and not-so-subtle) gestures might mean.

Keep practicing, and eventually you will learn to trust both your interpretation of body language and your instinct to know whether a presentation you are doing is grabbing people’s attention, which aspect of your pitch connected with investors and which ones made them doubt, and so much more.

Just be warned: reading body language is as much an art as a science, so don’t expect instant miracles or fool-proof conclusions. Instead, take it as one more tool to add to the arsenal of what makes you that much better at what you do.

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Importance of Mobile Website for Your Business in 2018

Mobile users are rapidly increasing and as a result, developing websites that render well on mobile devices has become the need of the hour. Statistics show that 57 percent of users surfing your website from mobile devices will leave your website if it does not load in less than 3 seconds. Another study shows that 30 percent will not complete the purchase if the shopping cart is not mobile friendly.

Secure mobile websites.

It is equally important that your mobile websites are secure and enable safe transactions. Every website owner should take mobile website security as a priority and buy SSL Certificate to make sure that data transfer takes place security between the browser and the server. EV SSL Certificate is one of the most popular and effective security certifications for websites. Website security has become more significant after the announcement of Google that HTTPS is considered as a ranking signal.

If you are wondering what exactly a mobile website is, let us share some insights into it.

A mobile website is mainly designed to render well on the small screens like smartphones, tablets, iPhones, etc. Desktop websites would not appear properly on mobile devices so, in order to ensure that the website content gets adjusted according to the screen size and device used, mobile-friendly websites are a must. These websites have larger text that is easily readable, touch-friendly buttons, faster download speed and page elements in sync with mobile devices. In order to generate more leads and improve the brand personality, mobile websites are quite necessary. Keeping in mind all these factors, it is imperative that your website is optimized for mobile devices in 2018.

To determine whether your company website is mobile optimized or not, you should check the website on various devices. The content should get scaled based on the device. You should carry out the mobile-friendly test offered by Google if you want to figure out whether your website is mobile optimized or not. This is the website: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

If you find that your website is not mobile-friendly, you may have to approach experienced web developers who would help you out with that. You can go ahead with the already existing content and design, and get it coded for mobile responsiveness. As an alternative, you can even plan a redesign with a full upgrade to the mobile website.

Here’s a deeper insight into why business owners should have mobile websites.

  • Better browsing experience for your visitors

With maximum users accessing your website from mobile devices, mobile-friendly sites enrich the browsing experience for the visitors. It makes your site navigation a cakewalk with easily readable content. It is also possible to share the content through the web.

  • Compatible with different devices

Responsive websites compatible with mobile phones render properly on all devices and the diverse platforms like desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and notebooks. As a result, you do not lose out on customers because of mobile incompatibility.

  • Serve the huge mobile user market

Some statistics have shown that half of the local searches are all carried out on mobile devices. Mobile devices are mainly used for online search by 50% of users worldwide and 57% of the customers don’t prefer buying from companies who have a poor mobile website. All these studies reflect the fact that you ought to have a mobile website to have a successful business in 2018.

  • Enhance SEO rankings

As mobile optimized websites are SEO friendly, search engines like Yahoo!, Google, and Bing put these websites first. It is not advisable to have multiple websites with the same content as it would lead to plagiarism and get your content plagiarized.

  • Amplify the visibility in the mobile market

You can increase your reach to more number of users worldwide by having a mobile-friendly website. Maximum customers are checking out your website on their mobile phones and to cater to these users, the best idea is to have a mobile website.

  • Build brand reputation

Giving a smooth mobile browsing experience can build your brand reputation and make your customers trust you. If your website does not look good on the small screens of mobile devices, it may disappoint your prospective customers, and you may end up losing them to your competitors.

  • Amp up the website conversions

A good mobile experience can help you acquire new customers as well as retain the existing customers. Three-fourth of the shoppers would return to your website if you offer a mobile-friendly website. That said, if you want to increase the conversions for your business, a mobile-friendly website is a must-have.

  • Increase the average time on website

Our lives are getting exceedingly busy and in such a time, if your website takes longer to load, it is obvious that your customers will leave your website. On the contrary, if your website gets loaded quickly, it increases the average time of your visit on the site. It is easy to navigate through the pages of mobile-friendly websites.

  • Speeds up the loading time

A website that is not mobile friendly takes a longer time to load, while a mobile website gets loaded quickly as the coding has been done in accordance with the mobile rendering. Customers abandon a webpage that takes longer than 6-10 seconds to load.

  • Helps to stand out from ordinary websites

It is quite likely that your competitors are using mobile responsive websites. If you do not have a mobile website, it would hamper your business growth and you would lose on the ROI. To have an edge over your competitors and an upper hand, you should invariably have a mobile-optimized website.

Wrap Up

For businesses looking for greater customer engagement, a mobile website is something that cannot be overlooked. Your website should be able to serve the mobile users if you want to influence the impulsive shoppers who are most active on mobile devices. In a nutshell, sales, ROI, traffic, engagement, and SEO are the main advantages of mobile websites and it is surely something that you have to consider if you want your business to progress.

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YouTube: How a Failed Dating Website Created Success

YouTube started as a dating website. Most people don’t remember that or had no idea that today’s second-largest search engine got its start with the aim for romance.

Good thing that didn’t work out. Instead, the three PayPal employees who started the video-sharing website became millionaires, and YouTube has changed the Internet.

More video content is uploaded to YouTube in a 60-day period than the three major U.S. television networks created in 60 years. YouTube was part of Time’s Person of the Year in 2006: You, and has since continued to grow.

YouTube’s creators have since laughed while explaining their initial thoughts behind the site. When no one wanted to upload dating videos, they opened it up to anyone. “Why not let the users define what YouTube is all about?” one founder said.

That one thought is the difference between a failed dating website no one has ever heard of and the billion dollar site we watch today.

Stumbling Into Success.

YouTube’s creators aren’t the only ones who wandered their way into the business history books.

  • PayPal was initially supposed to be a cryptography company. Later its leaders tried focusing on transmitting money via Personal Digital Assistants. It took years for them to become the online payment system we know today.
  • McDonald’s started as a carhop business, selling mostly barbecue sandwiches.
  • When Facebook first launched, it was only open to college students. While some users probably preferred that, it left little room for growth.
  • Odeo began as a network where people could find and subscribe to podcasts. Today we call it Twitter.
  • Nintendo once sold all sorts of things, including vacuum cleaners and instant rice, and operated a hotel and a taxi company.

Common Themes: What Made Them Successful

At Imaginovation, we’re interested in that fine line between failed and successful enterprise. After all, what if YouTube’s founders had just given up on the idea? After reading some of these “stumbling success” stories, here are the themes we notice:

  1. The Pivot – The McDonald’s noticed that burgers were the most popular item on the menu. Rather than focusing on what got them started, they switched gears and dumped the barbecue. Similarly, YouTube’s founders realized the people were telling them what YouTube should be, not the other way around.

    Kleenex has a similar famous story; it was invented as a disposable cleaning cloth. Women wrote in saying they found it valuable as a disposable handkerchief. Founders of many companies are hung up on their idea, one they “just know people will love,” and yet never achieve success because they don’t listen to what customers want.

  2. Chance – Everyone has random bits of good luck in life. Not everyone uses them. Isadore Sharp, who founded the Four Seasons hotel chain, worked in construction. A friend hired him to build a motel. But then he took a chance and opened one himself.

    Later, another opportunity came along: working with the builder of the Dorchester, an upscale hotel in London. Then, he had the chance to hire that builder for his next project. “Many parts of our lives are circumscribed by chance events and coincidences,” he said.

  3. Determination – You might call it grit. The founders of Google tried to sell their new project to Excite in 1999 for $1 million. They were turned down. J.K. Rowling is famous for having submitted her book to dozens of publishers before getting a deal. Those who succeed typically keep going, even in the face of what appears to be a setback.
  4. Connections – It never hurts to know people. Arthur Murray of dance lesson fame was a private dance instructor until he was asked in 1914 to teach Baroness de Kuttleson. Word of this spread and eventually led to the franchise. Whether the person you know is famous or not, the connections you make can take you in new directions.

Business success also requires some skills. Talk to us about a technical solution to push your business forward.

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Creating Lead Generation, Product and Sales the Easy Way

Two years ago I made a shift in my marketing agency and moved from consulting, implementation and development. We were all a connected, growing and extensive team. 

We determined to move to another model where we would offer technology first and add consulting and implementation to the technology.

We could see that the technology was very scalable. The technology is basically, a platform that can sustain in the same way 10 clients or 100 clients. All of this activity is hosted in a cloud environment and will consume only the resources requested by the clients at any certain moment.  

A learning phase.

At that time, when discussing our ideas with the clients I seemed to be putting forth the idea that I am not a technical person. However, by continuing my work in this way, I’ve found out what works better for my company.

I used excuses instead of applying myself to learning that which I did not know.

After a while I realized that it was only an excuse to say that I was not technical. It was showing my lack of availability to myself and to the progress I owed to myself to learn more in the technology area. I determined to work out the way in which I could teach myself a lot in the areas I felt I was lacking in — and that especially included technology. By finally making this shift in myself and my personality, I’ve observed some very interesting things. 

The competitive business world.

1. A lot of clients are too comfortable and prefer to use “horse and carriage” type of solutions having bigger costs, delays in execution and sometimes big or small incompatibilities with the actual web standards. Practically, some decision makers are more interested in keeping their comfort zone than the good of the company and I find this not acceptable in today’s very competitive business world.
 

2. Also, I’ve observed a lack of understanding that the technology, in general, is better and better, more secure and cheaper at the same time. We must learn all the technology that we can in order to become faster and better at what we do and the services that we provide.
 

3. I’ve met companies who wish to have all “information security” for their database  — and yet will send everything they have to secure to an external processor. The external processor then takes care of the operation of sending newsletters. Using this process is basically losing the control over your company security.

A more appropriate way of doing this action from a security standpoint, and even from a cost and execution point of view — would be for the company (or client) to secure their own information with a username and password in a rented platform. Possibly even consider the notion of using a private server. 

This process can then become an asset for the company to utilize an external processor to manage the newsletter or whatever the case may be. In the case of e-mails, there is another potential problem: the deliverability of them to the inboxes of the recipients. It’s better to work with a specialized provider. 

4. I saw many ignorant clients buying things sold as 100 percent custom made but they were buying just arranged templates and personalized open source platforms. I witnesses that 70 percent of the work was already performed.

Of course, this is all about honesty first and then the creativity that has to be provided no matter what. How good the technology is without a great copywriter and an amazing idea will generally produce nothing or less than nothing.

I saw a happy client who bought a WordPress blog that was 100 percent customized — or so he supposed — when actually, WordPress is a free open source software. You can even buy a theme with less than $30. I saw ZERO type of any actual type of personalization — and ironically, this “custom” equipment remained with the creator’s link in the footer. 

We must find better ways to do our work. We must study and know well that which we purchase. 

The purpose of this article is to show you, the startup founder, owner or marketer — that there are better and more effective ways of doing things.

Today’s theme is how to create lead generation pages, product pages, and sales pages.

A Facebook Ad or Google Adwords can be directed towards a page where there is offered something — possibly a “lead magnet.” Some companies exchange this for the name, e-mail address and the phone number. Some companies will allow you to sell something and show you, “we have a sales page.”

The e-commerce platforms, the ones for online stores have well standardized the pages for product presentation and even the ones for lead generation. But when selling products and services outside these platforms the problem is how do we build a sales page or opt-in page.

Those services can be created in-house or externalized towards an agency. The added value of an agency will come, not from reselling the technology based on the fact that the client is not informed, but from the creativity of the message and execution. Without the creativity and the know-how technology will not produce even two cents in advertising.  

Yes, I’m repeating myself — the technology exists already and it better and better and cheaper all the time. We need to be in a position to know when the right time to take advantage of the technology and apply it for our work. 

The Clickfunnels Platform: a small startup from the USA sensed the demand from companies and agencies to create pages for lead capture, sales pages, and sales funnels. You can test the platform free for 14 days and after that, the cost is only $97/ month.

On top of the base services – the page builder there are also available upgrades – autoresponder system, membership portals and affiliate programs. The platform contains already templates for Facebook Ads, Google Adwords and e-mail marketing optimized pages which are adapted for potential conversions.

These pages can be installed on your private domain or they can work on a clickfunnels subdomain and are hosted on the company’s servers. More details here: http://clickfunnels.eu

WordPress Profit Builder: it is ideal for WordPress fans and it works in the form of a plugin and theme which can be customized. When you attach the plugin there will become available the templates for the optin pages. There are also the sales pages and the presentation pages (product reviews) so you will just have to change the text and photos and of course you can alter the design.

It can simply be installed on your own domain. The product can be purchased with a license to be used on 3 to 50 websites for your own projects or for the clients having also developer rights and doesn’t have a free trial period. The price is one time fee – between $67 and $147. More details here.  

Convertri: the main advantage of Convertri is the speed of loading the pages created and hosted on the company’s server, important element especially during the paid campaigns where you have literally a fraction of a second to attract the attention of the user.

If the page is loading slowly — then the results can cause you a lot of trouble with your clients — and can be pretty bad with very low or nonexistent conversions. The platform has a trial period of 14 days for which you have to pay just $0.01  and after the trial, there is a monthly fee ranging from $59 and $199 for the agency version. Convertri has also a plugin version for WordPress which is included in the price. More details here

All three solutions have integrations with CRM systems, autoresponders, payment processors and others and you can be up an running with your company’s offers in a matter of hours. You gotta love the new technologies.  

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Is an ICO (Initial Coin Offering) the Right Move for your Startup?

ICOs, short for Initial Coin Offerings, have been quite popular over the past year. They’ve upended traditional angel investments and VC funding to become the most popular platform for early-stage startups to raise money. For most of 2017, startups used ICOs to raise an average of $100 million monthly throughout the year and over $3 billion for the year, surpassing traditional VC funding for early-stage startups.

These have been popular for a while now.

ICOs are popular for a number of reasons, but perhaps the most significant one is their ability to avail cash to startups quickly and without the red tape found in mainstream fundraising platforms.

In its basic form, an ICO allows a startup to create and sell its own cryptocurrency in exchange for bitcoin or ethereum. But unlike traditional IPOs (Initial Public Offerings), investors don’t get a share of the company, but instead get access to a unique product or service and an opportunity to sell the tokens once they go live – in case their value increases.

Success is not guaranteed.

But, despite the alluring nature of ICOs, success is not often guaranteed, and many startups have crashed and burned after failed ICOs.

Here is a brief checklist to help you determine if an ICO is right for your startup.

1. You don’t mind the competition.

It’s difficult nowadays – almost impossible even – to watch a full YouTube video or scroll through Facebook without getting bombarded by a promo ad about an ICO token sale. Startups are putting up lots of cash into their ICO marketing campaigns, all to woe investors that are finding it harder to invest in an over-saturated ICO market.

Big players are coming onto the board.

Plus, with many big players coming on board, the competition is only going to get fiercer going forward. Eastman Kodak, the photography company, announced at the CES 2018 that it will be launching an ICO and get into bitcoin mining this year. This is on the heels of another announcement by Telegram, the messaging startup that released plans to launch a multi-billion dollar ICO within the year. 

Fierce competition.

Because of the fierce competition, it’s never just enough to come up with a good product or service and wait for investors to trickle in. You should be ready to put up a marketing campaign consisting of TV appearances, PR campaigns, YouTube and Facebook reviews, and listings on ICO websites.     

2. Your startup can function within the boundaries of regulations.

When ICOs eventually hit the billion-dollar mark in valuation early last year, Wall Street and government institutions felt the need to act. In all fairness, ICOs had become a breeding ground for con artists and fraudsters, especially after a string of scams saw ICO investors lose millions of dollars in investments.

China is taking the extreme route.

Different countries around the world put in different regulatory measures, with China taking the extreme route by banning ICOs. In the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) outlined measures to regulate ICOs and has even netted some suspicious ones within the past few months.

So regulation isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does present new challenges for startups that want to get into the ICO game. For starters, you won’t be able to just wake up and launch an ICO without oversight by authorities like it was before.

Plus, as the blockchain sweeps through other industries, ICOs will have to adhere to new niche-specific regulations. For instance, an ICO in the real estate business that deals with storage units or rental apartments will have to observe location-specific laws and codes to stand a higher chance of passing the litmus test for investors.

3. It’s a totally different game.

Cryptocurrencies trading, another booming trend associated with ICOs, is fundamentally different from standard trading on stock exchanges in many ways. In the same vein, while ICOs have some similarities with IPOs, VC funding, and angel investments, they are also different. Traditionally, you’d have to come up with an idea, pitch to different investors, and sacrifice a chunk of your company to those that come on board.

With ICOs, you maintain a good amount of control over your startup.

With ICOs, you maintain a good amount of control over your startup, including the business model and funding process. The due diligence process that startups have to go through with venture capitalists and angel investors can sometimes be a distraction for the startup and doesn’t guarantee success for the startup.

With the freedom that an ICO can give you, your company has a much higher chance of raising funds and succeeding – as long as your product or service offering is structured around a watertight business model.

So, if you feel like an ICO is the best option for your startup, gather all the materials you’ll need for a whitepaper and smart marketing plan.

Remember.

You’ll need a killer strategy to stand out from the crowd.

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Jeremy WebbIs an ICO (Initial Coin Offering) the Right Move for your Startup?
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Having a Headphone for Business is a Must

Does the startup atmosphere make you dream? You imagine yourself already in full creative emulation in vast high-tech offices, flashy colors and contagious good humor? You may be disappointed.

Indeed, contrary to what one might think, open spaces are not synonymous with hubbub and effervescence but are now real places of silence and concentration. The reason; the systematic use of the headphone is just under 30 years old.

The Headphone: the New “Office” of the Younger Generations

The advantage of having the headphones on the ears is the calm they provide in a place where it is difficult to isolate and focus. But studies puts more emphasis on the disadvantages of this practice by lamenting “the misunderstanding of pepper and salt colleagues” who can no longer communicate with the new generation.

According to US executives and executives interviewed for a survey, the headphone is the new wall, the new closed door. “Headphones are a way to tell colleagues “Do not talk to me, I’m working!” according to Dave Snyder, Creative Director at Firstborn. Even worse, according to Vann Graves, founder of FL & G, some even say “shut up” when you try to talk to them.

But let’s not throw the stone too fast at the Y and Z generations. A few years ago, getting your own office was a “rite of passage” in a company. The standard today is large collaborative spaces, with rooms available for meetings or private communications. Young workers have never had other references than open spaces. Headphones improve productivity and wearing them is therefore natural and instinctive for them. We are far from the antisocial act described by Graves.

According to researchers, listening to music promotes the release of dopamine, also known as the “hormone of reward”. This completely biological process allows us to work faster and more efficiently. Ambient noise tools can reinforce the influence of this simply natural cause.

To enjoy music during your business hours, good headphones is necessary for your comfort first and also for those around you who may not appreciate the music as much as you do.

Most workers use headphones or a headset connected to their computer or phone. The bottom line is to find comfortable material for your ears. The music you need to focus and increase your efficiency, the material should not be a source of inconvenience. Opt for a material adapted to the appearance of your ears.

When we consider that the space per employee has gone from 46 m² in 1970 to 18 m² in 2010 in the United States (preferred country in terms of office space), it is a safe bet that our professional space continues to decrease with the time, and that the headphone still has a long life in front of him.

Listen to music to dispel noises or to motivate yourself

In short, listening to music at work, either to get away from the usual noise nuisance, or to motivate oneself is very good for focusing and efficiency in tasks.

According to each of our attributions, music has multiple effects on each of the areas of our brain that it stimulates. In practice, it promotes the diffusion of a neurotransmitter that acts on our potential for concentration and creativity.

For some people, however, music may interfere with their work because of certain memories or emotions related to certain songs. There are also genres of music that will complicate the memorization and understanding needed in tasks for some people.

The key for music at work is to choose songs that do not hinder our concentration, namely your favorite tracks, music without words at a gentle pace.

Many sites and applications also offer sound creations that immerse you in totally peaceful environments to improve your concentration. And to fully enjoy and make your work experience an extraordinary experience, it is advisable to choose a good audio equipment.

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Ways in Which You Can Fund Your Startup

When you are starting a business, you really have your work cut out for you in terms of getting everything planned and organized. One of the many things that you will need to look into before you can get your venture up and running is how you will fund your startup. The best thing you can do for yourself is to fund as much as you can out of pocket.

The costs.

Some startups require little to no capital to be on their way to success, but others may require money upfront so that they can get the ball rolling. Some startups are especially expensive if they are going to involve manufacturing or software that must be built.

If you need funding for your startup business, there are a number of different options that are available. By choosing the right one for your needs, you can ensure that you get the most affordable type of financing and that the borrowing is suited to your needs and that of your business. Remember, as a startup, it is important for your business to save as much money as possible so finding affordable financing is essential.

Some of the finance options that you can choose.

It is important for you to consider your needs and look at factors such as your credit score and repayment abilities before you decide on the type of finance that you will apply for. This makes it easier for you to make an informed decision. Some of the finance options that you can choose include:

  • Personal loan:
    Choosing a personal loan or signature loan is a good choice, as you do not have to risk any assets because the loan is not a secured one.  All that is required is approval and your signature to get the loan, so as long as you meet the eligibility requirements you should have no problems. You should make sure you compare the different loans available, as the interest rates and repayment terms can vary from one lender to another. This will then have an impact on the amount you repay each month and the amount of interest you pay overall.
  • Credit card:
    Some people decide to use a credit card to fund their startup business. This is fine if you have a high enough limit and can get a low or 0 percent card that you can repay within the interest-free period. If not, you may find that the interest rate is crippling and that you end up paying a fortune for your borrowing over time. If you do opt for a credit card, check the interest rates and whether there are any annual fees. If you plan to repay the balance in full within the interest-free period it is well worth looking at one of the rewards based cards on the market.
  • Secured loan:
    If you are a homeowner, another option you have is to get a loan that is secured against your property. However, you need to bear in mind that if you fail to keep up with the repayments of the loan you could be risking the roof over your head. Therefore, this type of loan should be given very careful thought before you make a decision.

These are some of the key finance options that you can choose from if you need to raise capital for your startup business.

Learn and prepare.

Whatever type of financing you determine is best for you — get some advice from someone that knows the territory better than you do. Speak with someone who has nothing to gain from their advice. 

Spend time reading business articles and books on this subject so that you don’t go into this part of a business unprepared. 

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17 Strategies to Make a Better First Impression When Networking

Have you ever been to a networking event? If you’re a professional with more than a few years of experience, and you haven’t, you’re missing out on a critical opportunity. Professional networking is one of the best ways to improve yourself and build your network of contacts, but if you aren’t prepared to make a good impression during your course, you might not be seeing your true potential.

The “How” of Networking.

Making a good impression involves two stages: first, you need to make a strong first impression (since you only get one, and it tends to stick). Second, you need to ensure that your impression sticks and is reinforced in the future.

So how can you make that happen?

Why Networking Is So Valuable

First, let’s explore why networking is so valuable in the first place:

  • Contacts. The first and most obvious benefit is the potential to expand your professional network. Every new contact you make has a chance of being a future partner, coworker, lead, employee, or client, so it’s worth building up your rolodex.
  • Exposure. Networking also gives you the potential for personal brand exposure; when you make your presence known at several public events, and you attend networking events regularly, you’ll start building a reputation for yourself. With enough reiteration, and a wide enough network of contacts, you could become a low-key local celebrity.
  • Knowledge and experience. Meeting new people gives you the chance to learn something new, whether it’s a new skill or simply a new perspective on the professional world. The more people you meet, the more knowledgeable and experienced you’ll become.

Making a Good First Impression

Evidence suggests we start to form a first impression about a person we’re meeting within a tenth of a second of meeting them; that’s not a lot of time to get your act together. How you interact with someone in those crucial first few minutes could dictate how they think of you in the future, and guide the rest of their interaction with you, so it pays to make that first impression as positive as possible:

  1. Dress for the occasion. One of the easiest things you can do is to dress for the occasion. If you’re attending a loosely casual event, dress in business casual attire. If you’re attending something more formal, wear some of your best clothes. Make sure you have custom-fitted clothing in your arsenal, and wear something unique enough that you stand out in the crowd—but appropriate enough that you don’t look out of place. That’s a hard balance to strike, even for the fashionably savvy, but it’s important if you want to make the right impression from the beginning.
  2. Groom yourself. This should go without saying, but you also need to reasonably groom yourself. Spend some time making your hair look good, and get a haircut earlier in the day if you get the chance. If you have facial hair, make sure it’s trimmed. Make sure you’re clean, and try to smell nice for the occasion.
  3. Be on time. Most networking events are informal opportunities to socialize with other people, so punctuality isn’t the highest priority, but for any event with a schedule, make sure you time your entrance appropriately. If you arrive at the event too early, when nobody’s around, you might have a hard time settling into the event. If you arrive after festivities have started, people might see you differently, or worse, brand you as “the one who showed up late” before they even have a chance to meet you.
  4. Control your body language. Your body language makes a bigger impression than you might realize. Holding yourself with good posture, with your back straight and your shoulders back, for example, can make you appear more confident. Opening your arms and legs can make you appear like a more open, trustworthy person.
  5. Vary your tone and inflection. While speaking, make sure to vary your tone and inflection. The words you say are important (as you’ll see further down this list), but you also need to control how you deliver those words. Speaking in a monotone voice, or speaking without natural accents and variances, makes you seem uninteresting and less colorful; it may also make your words less impactful.
  6. Give a good handshake. When you started this article, you probably imagined reading about the power of a good handshake, so we’d be remiss if we didn’t include it on this list. The psychology of a handshake has surprising depth to it (and you can find out more about it here), but suffice it to say, the “classic” two-pump, firm handshake is one of the best ways to cement your reputation with someone new. Master it before attending a networking event.
  7. Make eye contact. Another classic on this list is mastering the art of eye contact. Making eye contact with someone makes it easier to connect with them, and shows that you’re paying attention to what they’re saying. The only caveat here is that you should avoid making prolonged eye contact, as it can make people feel uncomfortable and make it seem less “natural.”
  8. Choose your words carefully. Recent evidence shows that people respond to trustworthiness more than confidence in first impressions; that’s to say, it’s more important to present yourself as a trustworthy person than it is to project confidence. Don’t try to dominate the conversation or use big words unnaturally; just be polite, be yourself, and let the conversation flow.
  9. Abandon your distractions. Nothing can wreck an otherwise good first impression like burying yourself in your phone or getting distracted by something else in the room. When you meet someone, your focus needs to be on them for the duration of your interaction; otherwise, you risk losing that contact altogether.

Making a Lasting Impression

A good first impression is critical to your success, but you also need to make sure your impression lasts. You can extend the duration and endurance of your impression with these tactics:

  1. Have a promotional product. If you want to make a lasting impression, you should give your new contacts something lasting to remember you by. For most professionals, that means handing out business cards, but if you want to take it to the next level, hand out promotional products. Inexpensive promotional products like lanyards, pens, and keychains, are relatively practical, and can help people remember you. Find out more about lanyards and other promo products before you make the investment.
  2. Come to the event prepared. It also helps if you come to the event prepared. You should have some knowledge of how the event came to be and why most people are attending, so you have something to talk about. If there are any requirements or suggestions for guests, you should be familiar with those too.
  3. Be yourself. The old adage to “be yourself” applies here. You may be tempted to put on a more “professional” or more likable persona, but you’ll probably end up coming across as insincere or fake. It’s much better to be yourself, albeit a version of yourself that’s appropriate for a general audience. People will be far more likely to remember you.
  4. Tell a personal anecdote. If you can, try to work a personal anecdote into your interaction. Tell a story about one of your past experiences, or about your current job. If it’s unique, and possibly amusing, people will have an easier time remembering you.
  5. Develop a connection. Try to forge a personal connection with the people you meet. You can do that by finding something you share in common, going through an experience together, or providing them with help in some way. This connection doesn’t have to be big or powerful; anything can serve as a tether to make you more memorable.
  6. Make people laugh. People will remember you if you make them laugh. You shouldn’t go out of your way to become a comedian, but knowing a good joke or two is bound to help you in these situations. People love to laugh and will associate you with positive feelings if you can make them do it.
  7. Use people’s names. Once you learn someone’s name, try repeating it a few times in the span of your conversation. It makes people feel closer to you, and has the added bonus of helping you remember their name in the future.
  8. Follow up. One of the most important ways to cement your impression with a new contact is to follow up with them a few days after the event. You don’t have to say or do much; simply reaching out and telling them it was nice to meet them is often enough to make your memory endure. While you’re at it, try to set up a coffee meeting or lunch in the near future.

These strategies may seem like a lot to remember, but once you’ve practiced them at a handful of networking events, they’ll become second nature to you. Networking is like any other professional skill; the more you practice it, the better you’ll become, and the more comfortable and confident you’ll feel doing it. Accordingly, you should attend as many networking events as you can, especially early in your career, and make your presence known.

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Jeremy Webb17 Strategies to Make a Better First Impression When Networking
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On Bitcoin: A Concise Explanation

Upon spending some hours researching on Google Scholar and other relevant resources, this is the most simplistic overview about Bitcoin you’ll ever read. Period.

The sole purpose of this article is to share knowledge among readers who are enthusiastic about cryptocurrency and fintech.

  1. Assume Bitcoin to be a limited resource similar to a gold mine, but think digital. Its very much visible and individuals who potentially want to reap of the profits, want to gain ownership of it while the prices are low. Upon ownership, the person has the ability to spend, invest or transfer it at will. But hold on a second! You need to carry it in something, right?
  2. So, eager individuals like you and I need digital wallets to carry a multitude of currencies. These may include other coveted cryptocurrencies as well, such as Ethereum, Ripple and Lightcoin which are relatively cheaper alternatives to Bitcoin. There are separate wallets to hold each cryptocurrency.
  3. Additionally, you can exchange bitcoins with other people who own bitcoins as well, sort of like Pokemon cards (throwback to the 90s and 00s, huh?). Only caveat is that there are no duplicate cards to share; hence, using financial jargon, double spending is not allowed when it comes to crypocurrency. Ideally, the owner cannot spend the same bitcoin anywhere else after a transaction is confirmed, regardless of the amount being transferred. This is necessary to stop any possibility of online fraud.
  4. Coming back: Wallets are locked by a “private” key which is only in your possession. The key is long line of jumbled up characters , which mainly goes like this: “cB45a213Ds…” The Wallet signs transactions through this key in order to verify it. This is so that no hacker or third party illegally acquires ownership of bitcoins through the network.
  5. Remember the gold mine from point one? There are a number of individuals now who have installed insanely powerful supercomputers that run sophisticated softwares to mine bitcoins. The software solves intricate mathematical problems for the sole purpose to either verify pending bitcoin transactions or discover hidden ones in the digital space. The incentive is, the puzzle solvers receive bitcoins in return for a correct solution.
  6. Once the transaction is verified, the bitcoin block is added into a “public registry” called the blockchain. The Blockchain is an ever growing book that contains all transactions that have ever taken place since the Bitcoin first arrived at the financial scene in 2009.

In Satoshi Nakamoto’s comprehensive white paper, he describes this novel concept, this new and disruptive idea of Bitcoin in the following abstract:

“A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”

As you read this and having gone through step-by-step explanation of Bitcoin prior to the statement above, you can almost visualize the long term target cryptocurrency is aiming for. Basically to remove the middle-man in exchanges, which are banks and financial institutions in this regard.

Technology enthusiasts can find the complete technical guide about Bitcoin in this link here.

About Bitcoin Platforms

Next, let us proceed towards the methods to exchange and accept bitcoins. People have multiple options to be a part of this fast growing network. Navigating across Bitcoin.org and reading up user comments on reddit.com’s “Bitcoin” subreddit, I picked out some of the authentic sources targeting various platforms.

  1. Web Platforms: Coinbase, cex.io and Greenaddress are among the safest platforms providing the most convenient user-experience for their customers and investors. (Personally I’m going to use Coinbase when I shift to the states).
  2. iPhone Users: Blockchain is popular among iPhone users with the highest rating otherwise people use Coinbase which is mentioned above. Breadwallet is also an option but has faced rate inconsistency issues in the past.
  3. Android Users: Several options available for Android phones namely: Mycellium, Electrum and Airbitz among others.
  4. Hardware: People looking for a hardware wallet can go for Trezor or LedgerWallet. It is reviewed as secure and supports all major cryptocurrencies.
  5. Desktop Softwares: Electrum, Bitcoin Core

The diagram below gives provides a visually informative way of using bitcoins, generally showcasing how a transaction occurs which I have explained earlier.

                                          Figure 1: A pictorial overview of how bitcoin transactions work.

Conclusion

Cryptocurrency, is already making a mark in the digital age. We are living digital and we are making use of services that were otherwise unavailable 15–20 years ago, not restricted to cryptocurrency. The stage for advancements in fintech is set and we’ll surely see more APIs, web apps and services make an appearance that make cryptocurrency relatively more convenient and easy to use.

I am stoked of what 2018 will bring to us in the technology space. The real question is, are you?

Spread and share knowledge. If this article piqued your interest you may contact me.

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7 Facebook Marketing Mistakes Healthcare Marketers Must Avoid

Over time it has been proven that Facebook’s user base and the engagement rate is high as compared to other social media channels. According to recent statistical report, the social media giant has recorded 2.07 billion monthly active users in the third quarter of 2017.

On an average American user spends 28 percent of their time on Facebook which is indicative of the fact that for reaching your target audience promoting your brand on Facebook is indeed a great idea. Facebook as a marketing platform is unavoidable for businesses of all size and specialty.

From increasing exposure to driving more traffic to your business, creating loyal customers, and generating leads and sales revenue, Facebook advertising if done with proper planning and efficient execution of what you have strategized can lead to successful returns. But often marketers in particular healthcare marketers fail to unleash the real potentiality of this social media platform.

Here are some common mistakes committed by healthcare businesses when they go on for leveraging Facebook Advertising as their social media marketing strategy and end up screwing things up.

1. Targeting the Wrong Group of Audience.

Healthcare marketing is targeted towards a specific group people who are medical professionals like C-level hospital executives, decision-makers, physicians, nurses, pharmacists, influencers and others working in the medical industry. Hence, while using Facebook advertising, you should be clear about who is your potential customer and avoid targeting the general public. This would be the same advice for any business sector. Stay in your niche.

For example, if you are a seller of dental equipment, then your target audience will mainly be dentists who are in need of those related medical supplies and not pharmacists. Also if your medical supplies are used by a specific group of medical professionals, targeting other categories makes no sense at all. So, stop targeting everyone from the industry in general with your campaigns.

Approaching customers who have nothing to do with what you sell will end up wasting the budget and the effort you have put into a specific Facebook ad.

2. Publishing Irrelevant Content.

What can be a bigger blunder than posting content that has no relevance to the industry or the product you sell? Remember that audience engages with different brands selling the same product and are always on the lookout for information that addresses their concern or requirement. Any irrelevant content posted on your Facebook brand page can disappoint visitors, leaving an unsatisfactory impression on their mind.

Facebook marketing will work wonder for your business only when it is supported by useful and contextual content that can keep your prospects engaged and serve their purpose of visiting your Facebook page.

3. Improper Use of Hashtags.

When a user clicks on a hashtag, messages with similar hashtagged keyword shows up opening a search list with multiple options for the user to choose from and get to know about in detail. A hashtag is much more than just a symbol. It expands your reach to a broader audience and gives you the visibility among millions of users searching for the services and medical products you offer — and by the same token, any business use should have the correct hashtags.

First used in the year 2007, hashtags have gained immense popularity in all these years across various social platforms like Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Correct and relevant use of hashtags on your organic Facebook posts can take your business to users with related needs and let them know about your brand and what you specialize.

Some common medical hashtags include #mhealth, #HealthReform, #patientengagement, #physicians, #healthcareprofessionals, #medicalindustry, #digitalhealth, #healthcareemailmarketing and more.

4. Less Engagement with the Audience.

The purpose of social media is to help individuals interact with each other. Responding to customer queries, acknowledging their comments and reacting to their likes and shares is an essential element that cannot be missed out. If your client is active in interacting with your brand, then you too need to reciprocate the same. Failing to do so may build a sense of distrust and disappointment among the followers.

Moreover, your active online presence may help you in understanding your customers better and using that insight you can frame your marketing strategies, content and thus refine your customer approach for good.

5. Not Using Images that Resonate with the Followers.

While running ads on Facebook about your medical practice or healthcare product, remember to check the relevance of the images used in it. For instance, while posting a campaign that focuses on a new medical device launch, you need to use the device image that justifies the post and fits perfectly into the context. The picture used should be visually compelling and meaningful to be able to catch the attention of your targeted prospects and stay fresh in their mind for a long time.

Also, be particular about the image size of your Facebook Ad. Blurred and unclear images will only create a negative impact on the viewers and make the campaign look unprofessional.

Here is a helpful size guide for images to be used on Facebook:

•    For organic post, image size should be 600px x 600px

•    1200px x 627px size is for static images

•    The size for multi-image is 600px x 600px

6. You’re Not Creating Mobile-friendly Ads.

Most of the users access Facebook profile on their mobile devices. The ease and flexibility of mobile have increased its usage to a great extent. From viewing emails to chatting with others on social media platforms, people prefer using mobile devices the most.

Hence, the need to create a mobile-friendly website, email and social media campaigns are undeniable. Perhaps, many healthcare marketers forget to give due importance to this factor, and that is why they continue to get poor results from their Facebook ads.

7. Forgetting to Mention Call-to-Actions.

Facebook has some Call-to-Action (CTA) buttons for the advertisers to choose from which are generic and may not be helpful in extracting any action from the user. So, to ensure that users coming across your ad campaigns react to it and gets back to you regarding the same, healthcare marketers can mention the CTA button somewhere in the title or within the message associated with the ad.

What is the use of investing in campaigns that do not compel users to call back to know more about it? CTA is a necessary part of your social media advertising and hence, make sure that your ads have clear CTA button.

A Concluding Note.

Facebook is an ever growing and expanding the platform. Moreover, Facebook continually keeps changing and updating the algorithms, ad design, features, and usage guidelines. So, healthcare marketers need to be attentive to the latest changes and be aware of what’s happening on the platform so that they can craft their marketing and advertising strategies accordingly.

However, next time when you plan your Facebook ad, make sure that you avoid committing these silly mistakes to prevent your social media campaign from going out in vain — or worse, losing you business.

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Jeremy Webb7 Facebook Marketing Mistakes Healthcare Marketers Must Avoid
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