Business

Yes, Your Logo Still Matters

Your logo is an extremely important aspect of your business. Not only does it visually represent your brand and your products, but it can tell a story and portray a vision as well. There has been a lot of focus on things like content creation, SEO, and other marketing strategies, but your logo is still as important as ever. It represents your drive for innovation and creates a deeper connection with your audience.

Your Logo

When I look at a logo, I don’t just expect to see a company name in nice colors. I expect to understand what that brand does—what their goals are, what their products are for, and how I fit into the whole picture. Sure, that’s a lot to expect from a simple logo, but it can definitely be done.

Some of the tops brands, like Nike, are prime examples. Nike is all about movement and getting out there and working your body. The swish in their logo says movement to me—it represents the purpose of their brand. You don’t have to be a big-name brand like Nike for your logo to make a statement, though. There are a lot of different brands that understand just how much a logo matters, and they’ve used theirs to tell a story and really connect with their audiences.

Today’s Branding

Today, companies have so many touchpoints with customers across screens and social media platforms, that it might be tempting to skimp on effort when it comes to designing a logo that communicates your mission and story, while also working across multiple screen environments. So many brands, startups especially, don’t want to spend all of their seed funding on devising a logo when they know that they’ll have to churn out multiple images and graphics every day.

But a logo (especially a well-designed one) still reigns supreme. And it is possible to create an impactful logo without going broke. Platforms like Deluxe’s logo-maker are built with small business owners in mind, because the program allows users to add customized elements to tried-and-true designs.

If you’re still tempted to bypass the logo process, take a look at some brands who manage to effectively tell their stories and resonate with audiences through their logo designs; in turn, their logos have become the cornerstones of their companies.

Brands Whose Logos Really Work

Young Living Essential Oils

Young Living Essential Oils is a direct sales company producing essential oils and essential oil-based products. The company was established by a couple who started their own herb farming and distillation operation in the 90s in an effort harness the incredible power of essential oils and make them available to others.

Today, it is a multi-million-dollar company with farms all around the world, and they even allow visitors to come and watch the entire “seed to seal” process. Their logo reflects that process and represents their oils’ purity in the form of an essential oil drop falling from a leaf.

San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo is a place where families can go and enjoy an entire vacation without ever having to leave the park. They have numerous exhibits where children can see exotic animals in real life, great restaurants, and shopping options where families can take a break and relax. They even offer experiences, like “Animals in Action,” “Early Morning with Pandas,” hosting children’s birthday parties, and more.

Their logo shows just how important a custom font can be to your overall design. The San Diego Zoo’s playful, hand-drawn font is reminiscent of an animal paw print and showcases the zoo’s “wild” vibe.  

FedEx

Everybody is familiar with FedEx. They deliver thousands of packages every day and make sure that shipments arrive at their destination promptly and safely.

Their logo may not seem like much more than their name, but if you look closely, you’ll notice a right-pointing arrow formed between the E and the X in their logo. Like the San Diego Zoo, there is a lot of nuance to this carefully executed font.

The Guild of Food Writers

The Guild of Food Writers is an association established in the United Kingdom in 1984 and made up of food writers and broadcasters in the area. It now has over 400 authors, broadcasters, journalists, and other communications professionals among its members.

The benefits of joining The Guild of Food Writers include access to the online food forum for lively debate, a listing in the Annual Directory of Members, invitations to captivating food workshops, and much more. Their logo cleverly represents both the food and writing aspects of the organization by portraying an ink pen with a spoon inside.

Goodwill

You’re probably familiar with Goodwill, an incredible organization that has made it possible for people to donate gently used (or unused) items to stores where people in need (or who just want a great deal on thrift store trends) can shop and save. The organization is also a major employer of individuals with disabilities, giving back to the community in a variety of ways.

The logo displays their name and appears to have a smiling face up above it. If you look closely, though, you’ll notice the smiling face is actually the same lowercase “g” in the Goodwill font. This brings a human element to the logo and represents the countless people the organization has served through its 115 years.

In Conclusion

Your logo still matters — even more than you might realize. You don’t have to be a big-name brand for your logo to be important, and you don’t have to have some fancy, complex image to tell a story. Looking at some of the examples in this article, you can see that sometimes the simplest ideas can tell the most important stories.

Jeremy Webb Blog | Startup Grind https://www.startupgrind.com/blog/yes-your-logo-still-matters/

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Why Data is Important for a Startups Sales Cycle

“In today’s age, data is the new currency.” For those working in sales, this quote holds dear. A good leader realizes the significance of data in sales. When any product is sold its sales team properly follows the sales cycle and strategies for the very product that has just been sold.

During all this process, data plays a key role in selecting or dismissing any strategy. Let’s try to understand this idea from the point of view of a startups sales cycle — and the role data plays in it. In this article, we discuss how and why data is crucial for any startups sales cycle, and we also provide few tips to enhance and boost your own sales cycle — using analytics.

1. Data is useful for evaluation.

A sales cycle usually starts with finding a lead and their qualifications — then adding more effort — and finally closing the deal. Data helps in narrowing down this process by reducing the unwanted contacts and lets us focus time and energy on those leads who better qualify for conversion.

Using data we can know who is our actual potential lead and thus spread out the sales funnel accordingly. Knowing your target audience is very vital. Researchers and studies help us figure out the most needed and useful statistics.

Let’s say a survey tells us that a particular age group is more oriented towards your product. Your market campaigns and sales content can then be carefully drafted and directed to resonate with the mindset of that particular group (in whatever this groups’ diversity calls for — be it age, location, a particular sport, etc.).

2. Easy to use and inexpensive.

While there is a buzz around cool features offered by the latest technological tools such as analytics, many consider leaving the data option due to the unfortunate misinformation surrounding it. The misinformation is that the data costs too much. There are numerous options available in the market. There are always selections that can be garnered at a price that is much more reasonable than one might imagine.

There are many free tools available that should be taken advantage of. Watch just how much these analytics and data show you. When considering the prices for startup sales cycle the aim is to keep the cost less in the beginning.

Yes, your money is essential for many processes in your business. Investing in data has proven more rewards than the investment cost itself and they are easy to use. With the correct tools, you can make and identify your more favorable leads by category and give these strong “potentials” more time and attention. You can now consider your sales cycle as a key weapon to your company’s growth-hacking.

3. Cut short the long sales cycle.

Often the sales cycles are long and ultimately the success may depends on the closing ability of your salesperson. The sales may even depend on the mood of a customer. For these reasons, there is a concrete argument that a startup’s sales cycle should be short. A new startup cannot afford to have too long of a sales cycle. These long sales cycle often do not give any scope for deviation.

Only when the sales cycles are narrowed to specific set of people interested in buying the product — and verified by data — can the cycle actually be shortened, still guaranteeing a profit.

Data is needed in all stages of a sales cycle and should not be limited to only the beginning nor relegated to the very end. Data can be used to track the inbound leads. The data will study and analyze the reasons behind the last successful or unsuccessful sale. Data provides a holistic view of users’ choice and purchasing decisions.

You want to know exactly why your leads converted — so that you can replicate the process. If someone didn’t convert — competitors don’t seem to be shying away from the usage and help of data. Every organization whether they are a startup or an established business, should consider how they can immediately take hold of data-driven success in their sales cycles.

Jeremy Webb Blog | Startup Grind https://www.startupgrind.com/blog/why-data-is-important-for-a-startups-sales-cycle/

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Top 5 Things E-commerce Entrepreneurs Find Most Challenging

At some point or other, all entrepreneurs face a fair share of challenges in their business. And when the initiative is e-commerce, things become even more tricky. The world of e-commerce has its unique set of challenges.

When you consider that up to 80% of e-commerce businesses fail, you realize just how unforgiving this industry can be, to the unknowing and the unprepared.

Fortunately, this is an industry of tremendous promise. Global e-commerce spending has risen to over $2 trillion over recent years. Analysts predict it to reach over $4 trillion by the year 2021.

In this write-up, we highlight some of the prominent obstacles that e-commerce entrepreneurs find the most challenging. If they successfully overcome these, the road ahead is relatively easier.

#1: TECHNOLOGICAL DIFFICULTIES

Sometimes the appeal of e-commerce stems from not having to deal with the tribulations of managing physical business premises. Do not be fooled, as the technical difficulties of an online store can be just agonizing.

a) Basic Issues

E-commerce stores constantly have to deal with day to day tech problems.

  • Website speed
  • Maintaining server and support
  • Database limitations
  • Data privacy, security issues, among many more

Technical difficulties are not just a huge annoyance. The slightest technical problem with your site can see you lose scores of potential long-term customers before they have even given your business a fair chance.

A recent Google study has found that 53% of mobile visitors will abandon a webpage if it takes longer than three seconds to load.

This is why e-commerce entrepreneurs should carefully select and sample their service providers. Hosting service and support has to be first grade. 

Having a secure and solid IT support system from the very start helps to run the show smoothly.

b) Lack of Integration between Operational Systems

E-commerce operations deploy data management systems, spanning across multiple departments. If these systems are not properly integrated, it could be a disaster.

Receiving orders, validating the customer details, followed by the physical side of arranging and packing the products and shipping out on time, it is a huge chain.

Every team and process should be streamlined to work in complete sync. 

#2: ATTRACTING AND RETAINING CUSTOMERS

Mastering the sales funnel for e-commerce sites may require a different approach.

a) Attracting the Customers

Getting the attention of potential customers of an e-commerce store differs tremendously to that of physical stores.

These prospects are not going to stumble upon the store by chance while walking along the street or in a shopping mall.

Bringing them to your online store requires a strong marketing strategy, involving several and ever-evolving digital techniques.

It’s important to remember that starting a business is easier but generating leads and customers is most difficult. That’s why the marketing department always remains on its toes.

b) Converting Site Visitors into Sales and Leads

Getting potential leads to a site is only half the battle, with e-commerce conversion rates ranging from 1% to 3%.

An e-commerce site needs strategic design and optimization to hold the interest of the average online consumer and to close the sale.

c) Retaining Customers

There is no dearth of competition. With customers fleeing at the slightest technical or logistical annoyance, e-commerce entrepreneurs must invest in building customer loyalty.

Addressing voice of every customer is very significant.

#3: SECURITY

Security is a big concern that often disturbs online customers.

But as much as the customers are wary of it, e-commerce businesses to want to provide their customers with a foolproof shopping experience. 

Consumer fraud is on the rise in the e-commerce world, with US retailers alone losing $32 billion in 2014 to consumer fraud.

E-commerce entrepreneurs can remedy this through undertaking fraud education and implementing customer and payment verification measures.

Customers should only be asked for details that are essentially required for completing the purchase. Databases should be made robust using the latest technological tools.

#4 CUSTOMER SERVICE

Knowing that 78% of consumers will abandon a transaction because of poor customer service will make you want to pay special attention in this department.

Especially so, when this reality is combined with that of stiff competition in this industry.

a) Lack of Personal Assistance and Personal Contact

This is where e-commerce businesses may be at a disadvantage. They lack the face-to-face contact on which physical stores thrive.

E-commerce businesses need to establish ongoing, open lines of communication with their customers.

b) Personalization in Client Liaison

E-commerce lives on customer interaction that is purely personalized, such as sending on-going personalized emails, addressing support, sharing special offers and schemes.

This needs a lot of care. Modern day customers are smart. If they don’t get personalized attention, they switch.

#5 LOGISTICS OF INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS

Tapping the near and off-shore customers is the new potential in the e-commerce market. But catering to global customers isn’t easy and can be highly challenging.

a) The Legalities and Logistics of a Borderless Economy

Selling and shipping items across various countries can make it tricky to deal with:

  • The varying and complex government regulations on items entering cross borders
  • Managing transactions between with numerous international currencies, all subject to ever-fluctuating exchange rates
  • The accounting and tax management of a “stateless income”

b) Localization and Globalization of Products

Shipping products to an international market certainly do expand the customer reach but it also creates the added operational cost of having to localize products to different markets.

E-commerce stores shipping to international destinations have to find the balance, continually, between localizing and globalizing their products to meet the needs of an international customer.

c) Shipping Logistics

Shipping can be a thorn in the side of both e-commerce customer and business. E-commerce loses billions of dollars each year to shipping returns. The US retail economy alone experienced  $351 billion losses to returns in a single year.

Online shopping has significantly higher item return rates of 30-40%, as compared to 10% return rates of physical stores.

Long shipping times and high shipping costs also repel many potential customers. In fact, surveys show that up to 80% of consumers consider free shipping a major factor in their purchasing decisions.

There are many elements of shipping- such as varying shipping costs, varying shipping laws, and delayed shipping times- that are mostly out of the control of e-commerce businesses.

However, business owners can take measures to implement smarter shipping policies, which reduce these costs to a reasonable extent.

d) Staff Management and Collaboration

The lack of effective staff communication and collaboration is a continual struggle for most businesses.

When multiple geographical locations, a lack of face-to-face contact, language barriers and varying time zones enter into the mix, this does not get any easier to manage.

Final Thoughts –

E-commerce certainly yields well because the products and services have a greater reach. But running it effectively can be a daunting task.

E-commerce businesses continually need to invest in terms of organizing processes and resources. From ensuring a smooth website to delivering a product and inviting customer loyalty, all need efforts.

Regardless of brand popularity, the ability to handle on-going bottlenecks determines its long-term, business success.

Jeremy Webb Blog | Startup Grind https://www.startupgrind.com/blog/top-5-things-e-commerce-entrepreneurs-find-most-challenging/

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How Being Socially and Environmentally Friendly As a Business Can Be Leveraged

The number of companies that have started to value their impact over profits is growing. This is a huge change from past generations when profits were all that mattered even if it came at the expense of the environment.

Technology has made it possible for things to be shared all over the world in a matter of minutes. This has caused many companies to take a step back to look at how their tactics of making money impact their public perception.

In many cases corporations have done better while being more socially or environmentally friendly as people make their money do the talking. The following are advantages a business can have by being socially or environmentally friendly.

Incredible PR Move

People are much more informed about how businesses operate now than they were in the past. Companies that were using underpaid labor overseas have seen drops in sales once revealed. With smartphone technology the treatment of employees as well as the environment has improved.

Announcing the different social or environmental initiatives the company is taking part is can help improve customer loyalty. Companies that produce something of high quality but also are conscious of the waste they produce should be promoted.

A section in a monthly newsletter about the green initiative might not seem like much but those that care deeply about the environment will take notice.

Listing Your Business as a B Corp

A benefit corporation identity or B Corp simply means that the business goal is to benefit the public in some way. The regular business model is to increase profits year after year. A great B Corp example Giving Assistant listed quotes in their announcement that are values of other B Corporations and are below.

“Businesses should compete not only to be the best in the world, but to be the best for the world.”

“All business ought to be conducted as if people and places matter.”

“World business leaders must realize that everyone is dependent on each other for the well-being of our global community and natural resources.”

“A company’s products can and should benefit society in their production, practices, and profit.”

As anyone can see these are not the traditional value statements of businesses. A B Corp also allows a company a form of trust from the public as their final goal is not to profit as much off of the public as possible.

Another great benefit of becoming a benefit corporation is that of attracting top talent. Many of those in the job market are willing to take a lower salary in order to make a real difference. Being able to help the public instead of the bank account of investors in the corporation help reduce stress that usually is present at regular corporations.

Social Media Justice Warriors Will Leave You Alone

The rise of social media allowed people to voice their opinions about things that they might not have any idea about. One of these persistent people with a gripe with a company might point out all of the things that they might not like.

This could be production tactics or even something like how much you pay employees. Taking the green route or one that stresses helping people socially will keep their keyboard warriors away. Make sure that you have an employee that embodies your corporate values working the social media accounts.

People can say hurtful things but the last thing that you want is an employee losing their temper which will reflect poorly on the company.

Doing business the correct way might not always be the best for profits but in the long run will be beneficial to the company. Take a few hours to look at processes to see where you can reduce waste. Often times this is a quick fix that will have little to no impact on production. ​

Jeremy Webb Blog | Startup Grind https://www.startupgrind.com/blog/how-being-socially-and-environmentally-friendly-as-a-business-can-be-leveraged/

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10 Landing Page Growth Hacks Converting Website Visitors to Leads

Most of my readers are business owners who are heavily reliant on their biz websites to generate sales and leads.

I feel really sad whenever I see their websites not converting because of the lousy on page user engagement and conversion rate optimization.

Let me directly start by taking 2 scenarios as references that most of us can relate to.

1st Scenario: How do we generally drive targeted traffic?

Suppose you’re running an Adwords search campaign and bidding $5 on a particular keyword to drive targeted traffic. You’re getting 20 clicks a day and it’s costing you around $100 a day (though the CPC is fluctuating). You’ve passed the hard part of driving super targeted traffic to your landing page. Kudos!

But, the bitter part starts once you look into the insights.

Out of 20 visitors, only one converted and signed-up to your offer. 

You might be okay with that 5% conversion rate, but what happened to those 19 visitors who turned down your offer? Even though they had the same buying intent as the one that converted (all being derived from the same search ad campaign).

2nd Scenario: Why didn’t the remaining 19 visitors convert?

The number of possibilities is endless. But for the sake of this scenario.

Maybe because –

You placed your call to action or lead capture form below the fold at 25% of scrolling. 

Maybe the user landed on your page, scroll down only 20 percent and bounced back. These are the users who never see your call to action or contact form. And why didn’t they scroll down more than 20 percent? 

Because you put a wall of text in the above-the-fold and they didn’t bother to read it at all. They might have filled out your form if they would have seen it by scrolling down the page. 

But they didn’t, period.

There are a ton of other minor and major factors that affect conversions on a landing page. By not optimizing your landing page for conversions, you are leaving a great chunk of money on the table.

So, let’s try to save those $95 by converting more visitors into leads, just by testing & tweaking your existing landing page here and there.

In this post, I won’t exaggerate on general optimization techniques like optimizing page load speed, mobile responsive design, or using catchy images, videos and charts to support your copy.

So without further ado let’s jump right into the real strategies to optimize your on-page user engagement and conversions eventually:

1) Personalized Landing Page

Let me start the list with the best and most advanced tactic for a high converting landing page.

Personalization.

Just log-in to your Amazon account and see how they are nailing it at account level personalization.

They personalize the homepage based on what products you’ve viewed but haven’t bought yet, product suggestions based on your previous purchases. 

You can start small by –

Personalizing based on the source of traffic –

Like if someone landed on your website from ProductHunt.

You can personalize the page saying something like this:

“Hope you have already upvoted us on ProductHunt 🙂 If not, could you please upvote and leave your constructive feedback there. It means a lot to us since we just launched ProductX on ProductHunt.”

Personalize based on geo-targeting –

You might have seen this in many places, especially on hotel booking sites. Mention user’s location on your landing page and say something like – “Book a hotel in Las Vegas”. Or on an e-commerce site – “We ship to Montreal for free”.

Personalization based on previous search history –

Capturing users’ search data (obviously within your website) can be the real gold for you because you’ll know exactly what they are looking for and start suggesting similar or complementary products from the very next page on your website.

A personalized landing page also helps in lowering the cost of PPC ads because you start converting more leads. More conversions result in higher CTR and lower CPC.

The possibilities with personalization are endless. It’s just a matter of your A/B testing based on your industry, offering, and visitors.

2) Navigation Menu

Keep your navigation menu minimal not only on landing pages but on the homepage as well.

In fact, try avoiding the navigation bar altogether on targeted landing pages.

Keep the bar sleek so that it doesn’t capture much of your above-the-fold area. 

Need proof that sleek navigation bar works better? 

Just head over to those high traffic websites like Facebook, Twitter, linkedIn, Amazon and check out how sleek and minimal their navigation bars are. Those are tried and tested on billions of users. 

3) Multi-Step Contact Form

If your lead capture form is long and you need more than 2 or 3 form fields. I advise you to A/B test your contact form by changing it to a multi-step form that captures and stores lead information in short steps.

The guys at CTO on Demand use this technique of multi-step forms to boost their form submissions and convert more leads.

Why it works: Because a long form usually put the visitors off and overwhelm on the first impression.

On the other hand, multi-step forms move users through small steps towards the final submission instead of slapping them with 10 form fields at once.

4) Copy That Converts

Your words have power, use them wisely.

The most persuasive thing that you can put on a landing page is – your text copy.

Don’t go over the board with that old style 10,000+ words sales pages. To me personally, they feel like a bit scammy these days (but it’s always better to A/B test the length of your copy to analyze what’s working and what’s not).

5) Show People’s Face Behind the Company

Be human and sound authentic.

The study shows that web visitors get attracted and influenced by happy human faces. So don’t hide behind your product or offering, and make a human connection with your audience to gain credibility. 

Highrise – a CRM company ran an A/B test on their landing page by putting a smiling picture of one of their clients along their optin-form and saw a whopping 102.5% increase in conversions against their previous version.

6) Strong Call to Action

Those age-old “Click Here” or “Sign Up” call to action buttons are no longer enticing to click. Everyone is losing attention towards those generic and over-used web elements.

7) Above-The-Fold Optimization

Above the fold is the area on your landing page that captures the most eyeballs and holds the highest potential of converting a visitor into a lead.

Keep it simple and make sure your text is concise and adds value. No one wants to see a wall of text right on the first view of the page.

A value-packed punch line with a call to action and some trust signals are all you need in the above-the-fold area for higher conversions. 

Remember: Less is more in the above-the fold.

8) Gain Trust

When you drive cold but targeted traffic to your landing pages, most of them are first-time visitors who haven’t heard of your brand before. So, it’s your job to leave a lasting and trustworthy impression on them.

Think like a consumer, what are some of the trust signals that usually influence you in making a purchase or hand over your contact information.

Reviews and ratings that you get on your website or on some other platform, press mentions, business partners, guarantee seals etc., are some of the trust signals that influence user behavior on web pages.

9) Testimonials that Boost Conversions

It’s easier to add marketing claims with buzz words like reliable, trusted and smart on your landing page.

But backing these claims with evidence is where the conversion is hidden.

As I already mentioned before, people are getting web blind to certain generic elements that are being abused everywhere and the same applies to these empty claims.

So, instead of relying on these meaningless marketing claims, let your previous customers do all the talking for you. Grab some enticing testimonials along with their happy photos. And voila! You are ready to A/B test the results.

10) Precise Grammar

Sometimes a small mistake is enough to turn off a converting visitor.

Whether you’re in B2B or B2C, grammatical errors can easily take away from your website’s credibility.

Just take care of your visitor engagement and you’ll see your conversion rate grow day by day. Keep doing A/B tests and implement what’s working in your favor.

Jeremy Webb Blog | Startup Grind https://www.startupgrind.com/blog/10-landing-page-growth-hacks-converting-website-visitors-to-leads/

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7 Ways Laws Can Avoid Killing Startups

The great Sir William Blackstone was an English jurist and professor who produced the historical treatise on the common law called Commentaries on the Laws of England. He once said that, “the law, which restrains a man from doing mischief to his fellow citizens, though it diminishes the natural, increases the civil liberty of mankind.”

What this means is that the purpose of the law is to help a society remain fair and just. For a city to become great and startup-friendly, it must maintain a legal environment that facilitates innovation and disruption.

1. Signaled Stability from Legislators

Having elected officials who signal a stable environment that is conducive to business is paramount to a successful startup city. An example of this would be when Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona made public and written statements that Uber and Lyft could safely operate in Phoenix without being hassled by burdensome rules and regulations.

For innovation to happen, innovators need to know that their products or services will be respected by the law and not hindered.

Elected officials can have “business freedom tours”, meet with CEOS of high job, revenue, and growth companies. Not only that, meeting with Venture Capitalists, Angel Investors, and Incubators can help encourage growth and innovation within the city. 

2. A Consistent Government

Having a government and legislature that is consistent, is also crucial to creating a city that is startup-friendly.

If a government fluctuates between massive regulation and open freedom, it’s hard for the startup to determine if it will be hammered or helped by the government.

In other words, minor deviations are fine and the expected norm of society, but there needs to be a general consensus in the government if it will support startups or not. If a city really wants to create the startup culture, then it needs to recognize the role of government, which is to maintain fairness in the marketplace and enforce contracts, not pick winners or losers among companies.

3. Rethink Non-compete Agreements

Perhaps one of the most limiting factors in startups and innovation are non-compete agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and non-circumvention agreements.

Yes, these all can be viewed as good, from the perspective of the employer. Taken from the perspective of the consumer and marketplace, these are bad.

And yes, every big company has these, and that’s a problem. Many entrepreneurs have fantastic industry experience that they can leverage to create new companies, but are restricted because of these agreements. Remember, the point of these agreements it not to serve the public, it is to protect the company.

Barriers put up by these agreements can be reduced by making changes to existing laws and employment agreements. A better way to increase innovation and reduce competition is to create a company and workplace that fosters these two things, while creating the proper incentives that motivate people to stay, instead of go off and build their own companies.

4. Reduce Professional and Occupational Licensing

Before you cry out, “what about public safety?!”, consider the following. The purpose of licensing is to protect the profession by limiting the number of folks within the profession. This translates to higher wages for those within.

Sure, licensing and registration can be great if you’re already within the profession. But for those starting out, entrepreneurs, and low-income people, these arbitrary licensing agreements are disastrous, preventing good people from getting into the marketplace.

This isn’t a Republican or Democrat thing. This is back to the idea that if a city wants to cosmic growth and an environment that creates startups and innovation, it has to make the hard choices that actually facilitate this.

If you want innovation in the areas most precious to people’s lives such as healthcare, education, government, and energy, then the barriers to entry must be reduced.

5. Create a Regulatory Hiatus

Lastly, moving, operating, and growing companies is difficult in itself. If a city wants to market itself as the place to be for startups, it needs to create a 12-month regulatory hiatus so that transplants can adjust and build a foundation. 

Even better, lower the amount of rules, regulations, and taxes enough that a hiatus isn’t necessary, so that regulations don’t hinder small businesses.

6. Streamlined Approvals and Guidelines

Rules are tough to follow and laws are difficult to ascertain. If you don’t believe me, spend 10 minutes trying to understand your state statutes.

First, make the guidelines, rules, and processes as simple as possible. This means eliminate paperwork. Make everything able to be done online, quickly, and cheaply. 

Don’t put people on hold, don’t force entrepreneurs to go in-person, and don’t make it take forever to get something approved.

Second, things like land-use and zoning regulations are often reported as big concerns for entrepreneurs. Part of this is because many entrepreneurs start their businesses from their homes (to save money). A starting point would be to have zoning be as local as possible with clear and transparent guidelines as to what it takes for approval, with a quick-decision at the end of it.

Think about it this way, difficult and long waiting times are in many ways a de facto rejection and denial to do business, because entrepreneurs are forced to float cash, postpone ideas, and delay customers.

7. Smart Traffic Laws

In 2013 traffic congestion cost Americans $124 billion in direct and indirect losses, this number will rise to $186 billion in 2030. Evaluating both direct and indirect costs, the study found that in 2013, $78 billion resulted from time and fuel wasted in traffic (direct costs) and $45 billion was the sum of indirect costs businesses passed onto American consumers.

This is bad. Real bad.

The purpose of roadways is to create a conducive way to travel. This means that commuting is efficient, safe, and common-sense. Laws increase speed limits, enforcing “stay right to pass“, and penalizing bad drivers should be enforced.

One of the worst things a city can do, politics aside, is remove 1 lane from traffic during peak hours of house (morning & evening). Basic economics would tell you that if you take away one lane during the busiest time of day, you’ll have worse traffic. We’ve all been on the freeway, bumper to bumper, while the HOV or carpool lane is wide open. This is crazy.

Cities should be concerned with how to most quickly get people to and from work safely and efficiently. The metric should be commute-time.

Your Next Steps

Be involved, get to know your elected officials. Spend the time reading and understanding what is behind somebody’s politics and what political decisions actually help startups. 

When a city decides to be a home to startups or not, there are laws associated with this. Be smart, be aware, and be an advocate for your startup community.

Jeremy Webb Blog | Startup Grind https://www.startupgrind.com/blog/7-ways-laws-can-avoid-killing-startups/

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Using Advanced Warehouse Management Systems

Warehouse operations need to evolve regularly to meet the varying market conditions and customer expectations. Imbibing industry’s best practices of warehousing and being innovative with operations management that suits the nature of business ensure dynamic market performance and customer satisfaction.

A cutting-edge warehouse management solution helps enterprises automate warehouse processes, function efficiently, keep the operational costs low and save time and money. Unless the WMS brings breakthrough results in the current warehouse management system, while being flexible to accommodate market scenarios and best practices across the industries, it may not produce much value to an enterprise.

Uniware, a cloud-based WMS fits all kinds of businesses irrespective of their size and nature of the trade. It is effortlessly scalable and requires considerably low investment.

As warehouse operations are an integral part of supply chain management, it defines how a business is run and affects profits margins.

Here’s how an efficient WMS contributes to business productivity.

  • Synchronises online and offline orders

The WMS that synchronizes orders across all the sales channels effectually impacts the order fulfillment cycle time. The feature assures every order is registered and processed in time. 

  • Automates order allocation

Once the orders are centralized, the warehouse system automatically allocates the orders to nearest warehouse for fulfillment. The automated procedure of order management increases the operational productivity and curbs likely order processing mistakes.

  • Integrates logistics function

The pre-integration of shipping providers eases the order allotment for dispatch. The automatic feature picks the best-suited logistics partner to ship the order and assigns the order delivery. The order dispatched from the warehouse facility is trackable in real-time so that you have better control over the process.

  • Automates inventory replenishment

The warehouse automation tool centralizes the inventory across multiple locations and manages it efficiently. The optimum stock level and replenishment threshold are entirely automated saving lots of time on inventory management.

  • Manages purchase orders

The WMS sends automated purchase orders unless the manual override is necessary. The PO details are promptly tracked and updated in the system. The automation of stock replenishment and PO release ensures steady stock availability and visibility across sales channels and avoid overstocking or stockouts. Prints bulk invoices, labels and manifests

An up-to-date warehouse management solution does not lose time in carrying out the routine, yet the necessary function of printing invoices, labels, and manifests. It prints bulk invoices including current tax calculations, generates proper invoice serials, and dispatches a copy to respective marketplaces. The quickest and bulk printing of manifests, labels, and invoices speeds up the order fulfillment cycle.

  • Integrates barcode scanning

Integration with RFID barcode scanning elevates the productivity of warehouse floor workforce and affects the entire warehouse operations positively. The zone/bin allotment for put away stock is carried out systematically. The aged inventory is detected in time and moved swiftly. This process ensures the warehouse space is optimally utilized.

The handheld barcode scanners enable the order locating process simpler and quicker. They uncomplicate the regular stock audits so that you plan the inventory rotation more efficiently.

  • Dispatches orders in bulk

The imbibed advanced features of automated order allotment, bulk printing of invoices, labels, and manifests and using of barcode scanners for locating orders increases the operational capacity to handle bulk order dispatch in the most efficient way.

  • Effortlessly manages order returns

Since the automated WMS upscales the operational competencies, both order fulfillment and order returns are handled effortlessly.

Unicommerce’s warehouse management solution works intelligently to sort the type of returns, whether it is warehouse return or a return to the point of origin along with product details. The WMS integrates with accounting ERP and vendor accounts to update the returns details in the respective systems.

  • Integrates with other ERPs

Flawless integration with existing ERPs is mandatory for a new-age WMS. Seamless integration with sales, and accounting software platforms ensure smooth flow of information and accurate understanding of business operations.

The Uniware – WMS fits both B2B and B2C businesses. The seamless integration with systems, vendors, processes, and end-to-end automation of warehouse operations makes the tool superlative in warehouse management arena.

Jeremy Webb Blog | Startup Grind https://www.startupgrind.com/blog/using-advanced-warehouse-management-systems/

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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.

Jeremy Webb Blog | Startup Grind https://www.startupgrind.com/blog/reading-your-boss-peers-body-language-101/

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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.

Jeremy Webb Blog | Startup Grind https://www.startupgrind.com/blog/importance-of-mobile-website-for-your-business-in-2018/

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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.

Jeremy Webb Blog | Startup Grind https://www.startupgrind.com/blog/youtube-how-a-failed-dating-website-created-success/

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