5 Tools for Boosting Your Startup’s Launch

They say that every beginning is tough, however, the problem with this lies in the question: how does one define tough? Is it merely an effort to end result-wise or when observed from the standpoint of personal stress endured? Both of these aspects can’t be measured objectively, which means that the launch of your business is only as tough as you allow it to be. With that in mind, by utilizing proper tools, you can make your initial efforts much more effective, as well as reduce the amount of stress you’re supposed to suffer from in this pivotal stage. Here are five tools that could help you in this regard.

1.     Google Docs

Eventually, you’ll need a collaboration tool, yet, the choice of a collaboration tool might influence the structure of your projects. This is why it is not something you should pick straight away. Look at all the options out there and, most importantly, ask your team for their opinions. For the time being, most of the sharing, scheduling and collaboration can be done in a tool as standard and simple as Google Docs. Apart from this, Google Docs is a completely free tool, which is why there are virtually no downsides to using it. Even when you do embrace a collaboration platform, you can keep it as a side-tool.

2.     Google Analytics

The next challenge you’ll encounter is the one of your web presence and market research. Both of these things can be handled through Google Analytics. Sure, you can go to business blogs and read about experiences of businesses belonging to the niche you’re currently trying to penetrate, nonetheless, there’s no guarantee that the same will happen to you. With Google Analytics, you’ll be able to thoroughly study your own audience and get actionable first-hand data on their online behavior and habits.

3.     Dibz

As soon as you start, you’ll need to spearhead your digital marketing campaign and one of your first stops will be the issue of SEO. On-site optimization is just one part of the problem, but it is also something you can handle in a matter of hours. Off-site optimization in form of link building is something that takes a lot more time and active effort. This is also why you need adequate link building tools and Dibz is one of the amazing options for you to go for. Needless to say, this platform is great for both the process of link building and influencer opportunities research.

4.     Skype

If you’re running a remote team, you need a tool capable of hosting conference calls. Now, while some may argue that there are better tools for this than Skype, there are several perks of this software that simply shouldn’t be underestimated. First of all, it’s constantly updated, worked on and has an amazing customer service. Second, it’s compatible with various devices, which makes it even easier for you to stay connected with your team, your partners and even your clients at all times.

5.     Wave

Finally, when it comes to the issue of money, your overhead may not be that great but the sources they come through may be quite numerous. You might deal with a number of subscriptions, as well as invoices (both as account payables and receivables), which is why you need a tool that will allow you to monitor and manage this at all times. Due to the fact that money management is the most stressful part of your job as a fresh entrepreneur, this should take a huge burden off your back.

Conclusion

The perk of each of these tools lies in the fact that you don’t need to be an IT expert to use them. After all, Skype and Google Docs are probably the platforms you’re already using, while Google Analytics and Dibz have an incredibly beginner-friendly learning curve. This leaves you with Wave, which, although not familiar, is fairly easy to master and has a dashboard that will help you manage all your incomes and expenses quite effortlessly.

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6 Most Common Ways Startups Are Leaking Money

In order to grow or even function, startups need to spend money, however, spending and leaking are not the same things. The greatest difference here lies in the efficiency of the investment. Every time you pay more for something that can be done with less, you are putting yourself further away from the break-even point and diminish the chance that your business will make it. In order to avoid this, you need to get familiar with six most common ways in which startups are leaking money.

Canceling your landline

Try to record every single time you receive a phone call and look at the report at the end of the month. One of the things you might notice is that, when compared to your website’s chat box, your email or even IM/DM service on your social networks, you receive relatively few calls via phone. In other words, having a landline is an option you can simply do without. Sure, if the majority of your customers belongs to the baby boomer generation, this might not be a sound idea. In any other situation, however, just outright canceling your landline might be a good idea.

Paying bills in person

Paying bills in person costs you somewhere around $12 per bill. Considering the number of bills you pay on a monthly and yearly basis this may amount to a small fortune. Most business owners, unfortunately, accept this as the inevitable expense of doing business without stopping to consider the possibility of paying these bills online. In this way, you could reduce the cost of paying for a single bill to $1,50 only, which makes this move incredibly frugal.

Inefficient marketing

The thing about marketing is that, in the past, it was nearly impossible to pinpoint its efficiency. Sure, you hire a marketing expert, let them work and experience a boost in sales, traffic and popularity. However, were you really able to tell which of the 10 techniques they used actually caused the increase? This is why John Wanamaker once said that although he knows that half of the money he spends on marketing gets wasted, he can never know which half.

Nowadays, in the era of digital marketing, such a thing is not necessarily true. For instance, when hiring SEO experts, you can insist on elaborate SEO reports on a regular basis, and thus be able to evaluate their efficiency. Even a complete digital marketing layman understands metrics like traffic, number of first-time visitors and conversion rate. In this way, you can stop spending money on areas that aren’t yielding you a decent ROI.

Not automating customer payments

In order to become reliable, customer payments need to be automated and organized into a subscription-like system. With present-day platforms and digital tools, this is fairly easy to achieve. In this way, if people forget to renew a subscription, even for a function they use every single day, you’ll automate this process so that it automatically renews. This will also mean that customers will need to cancel the subscription manually, which, on its own, might be enough to dissuade some people who are still on the fence when it comes to canceling.

Hiring unqualified people

Training people takes time and money and waiting until they acquire enough experience may cost you even more. In other words, hiring unqualified people is a clear money leak for your business, and one that can be avoided by setting just a bit harsher hiring criterion. Sure, this will diminish your talent pool or even cause more problems if you need to make an emergency hire, however, thinking about this in time is definitely a money-saving practice.

Web hosting

When it comes to web-hosting, you need to walk a thin line between free and too expensive. The first one may paint a bad image of your business, whereas high-end web hosting (although providing great ROI in the long run), may not be something you can afford. Luckily, the number of options out there is simply staggering, which should allow you to find a perfect choice, provided that you’re willing to invest a fair amount of research.

Conclusion

Apart from these six solutions, there are other ways to save money. Still, what makes the above-listed suggestion unique is the fact that it doesn’t diminish the efficiency of your research. Eliminating same-day delivery, lowering the quality of your products by skimming on supplies and laying people off directly affect your appeal and productivity. With the above-listed six examples, you get to save some money while not having to face a single significant downside.

Highly Effective Tips for Business Success for Startups

Highly Effective Tips for Business Success for Startups

“Starting your own business is like riding a roller coaster. There are highs and lows and every turn you take is another twist. The lows are really low, but the highs can be really high. You have to be strong, keep your stomach tight, and ride along with the roller coaster that you started.” – Lindsay Manseau, Photographer and Entrepreneur

According to Problemio, there are over 28 million small businesses in the U.S. However, the problem is almost 50% of startups fail during the first year. And the chances of reaching the end of the road only increase with each year on the market.

But why do so many companies face the risk of failure? The answer is not so simple although it all comes down to the issues entrepreneurs haven’t anticipated. So in order to get acquainted with corporate requirements and preventing possible business threats, we offer you a list of highly effective tips to help you secure the startup success and enhanced growth.

Know Your Goals

One of the biggest reasons why small businesses fail is because they didn’t research market demands. Before anything else, entrepreneurs need to be familiar with the industry, target audience, and competition. Who is your perfect customer? How are your products or services different from the rest? What is the ultimate business objective? And is the time for launching your business right?

Offer People a Deal They Can’t Refuse    

When first starting out, it’s important to offer quality. The business should be built around consumers because they are the backbone of every successful brand. Instead of focusing on sales, research what people need in the moment and then invest and promote deals customers will prefer.

Don’t be Afraid to Outsource     

Outsourcing has become the industry standard. Nowadays, those who wish to reduce costs, enhance customer experiences with the business, increase productivity and improve the quality of products and services in general, turn to outsourcing. Outsourcing back office operations, front office processes and marketing business processes are the main and highly rewarding options startups should definitely include in their business plan once the company begins to gain a broader awareness.

Keep a Close Eye on Cash Flow

The major liability that can ruin both a small business and a large enterprise is cash flow. As according to Nelson, a real estate business owner,  you need to have a clear idea of where the money goes and why. The business expenditure should be aligned with the main objectives while retaining a portion for unplanned situations. In other words, keep in touch with your accountant and have backup cash reserves as a safety cushion in case of shortfalls.   

Surround Yourself with a Motivated Team

The employee expertise is equally important as their motivation to complete tasks on time. Look at your staff as a well-oiled machine working towards a common goal which is, you guessed it, business successes. However, don’t forget that they are also people with hopes and dreams. Meaning you need to treat them with respect, include them in every step of the way, and provide opportunities for further occupational growth.

Share Your Success

It’s crucial to be transparent with your employees and customers. People feel more related and open to entrepreneurs who are not afraid to share their successes stories. Not only that transparency could help you raise productivity, but it can also build the necessary trust between a business and its audience. Plus, exchanging stories and listening to other ideas provides a chance to learn something new and to form loyal relationships along the way.

Leverage Technology into Your Advantage

Automation is the key to optimizing business processes. Digital technology and mighty software solutions can help to prevent human errors, enhance collaboration across departments, and better engage consumers. The good news is that you can take advantage of free online programs and affordable systems specifically designed to support SMBs. Just be sure you are picking the right tool for your business. Identify areas within your company that consume a lot of time and effort and use them as references.     

Learn to Move On

Taking care of every single thing and micromanaging projects can be stressful and damaging for the business. Some mistakes are bound to happen but if you want to overcome bumps on the road, learn to move on and trust your team to efficiently complete tasks. To put it simply, learn from mistakes but don’t fixate on problems.

Meet Your Investors

The majority of startups require investments to kick the business off. If you can relate, it’s recommended to find out what investors prefer and where can you find them. Doing online research is a good start, but still, work your way up in the entrepreneurial community and get involved on social media platforms. But before you contact investors, try finding or getting in touch with your mentors. They can tell you if your idea needs some touch-ups and prep you with the essentials investors expect to get from thriving entrepreneurs.  

 

Final Thoughts

“What I learned from Rockefeller that’s off-the-hook important is: You need to know exactly where you stand in a business at all times. Measure everything, because everything that is measured and watched improves.” – Bob Parson, GoDaddy Founder

All you need to succeed is a strategic head and a passionate heart. You need to be aware of everything that’s going on with your business at every moment. However, that doesn’t mean you should be too controlling and focused on every single detail.

Also, once the company experience successes, try not to become greedy. Remember, if you build your business on knowledge, respect, and a well-designed strategy, you will diminish the risk of becoming just one of the businesses who couldn’t keep up with evolving market requirements. Good luck!

Common HR Mistakes Startups Make

Regardless of how small or large your business is, the team that you assemble to work for you is an essential component to its success. As soon as you begin hiring staff members to join your startup, you must take on important human resources responsibilities. In many cases, hiring and developing talent as well as maintaining relationships with each team member can be stressful and challenging, and serious mistakes can be made.

Approaching the hiring and management tasks professionally from the start is essential for the success of your startup. It can reduce the number of issues that you run into and their severity. This means that you need to develop and follow effective human resources policies and processes immediately, and these should be scalable to accommodate growth in the years to come.

Identifying common human resources mistakes that startups make can help you to avoid making these same mistakes yourself. These are among the more common mistakes that startups make in the realm of human resources.

Not Seeking Professional Assistance

It may seem like hiring an employee to join your team is a relatively straightforward process and that you require little to no help with it. However, hiring a human resource professional as soon as possible to facilitate the hiring and management processes can help you to choose the right individuals to join the team. This step could also help you to retain the talent that you have worked so hard to recruit.

A good rule of thumb is to add one HR manager for every 50 employees on your team. This ensures that each individual on your team is properly managed. It also can help your HR team to identify potential issues that need to be addressed, answer their questions to promote happiness in the workplace and more. It is wise to have your HR professionals hired before adding even more individuals to join the team.

Hiring the Wrong Individuals

Entrepreneurs may be stressed with many responsibilities related to starting and growing a young business. With this in mind, it is understandable that you may take the approach of hiring any individual to join your team who has the right skillset and experience. However, there are many other factors to consider when making a hiring decision than simply the credentials on a resume. For example, a new-hire should have the right mentality to fit into corporate culture, solid personal skills to be an asset to the team and more. Your hiring process should successfully screen applicants in all relevant areas.

When you hire the wrong individuals for your positions, you may have operational issues. These individuals or others in the team could become discontent when new-hires are a poor fit, and your employee turnover rate may escalate. This type of employee experience could ultimately cost the company a substantial amount of money. To combat this, you need to have a solid financial plan for your business, and you need to stick to it. This plan should focus on standardizing the hiring process and creating clear, effective criteria to make a hiring decision by.

Not Having Strong Company Culture

Many of the largest and most successful corporations have a strong and identifiable company culture. For example, Apple is known for its outside-the-box thinking and for hiring creative individuals with fresh perspectives. You may assume that a company’s culture simply develops over time on its own, but the reality is that culture is created by the business owner though individualized decisions. For example, the interactions between team members and management can lay the foundation for culture. Without culture, your business may flounder.

Because of how important company culture is in even small companies, you need to understand how to create it. Choosing policies and processes that are aligned with the culture that you want to achieve is important. Your management team’s interactions with staff members also should represent culture. As you create corporate policies and business processes, the concept of corporate culture should also be in mind.

Failing to Develop the Team

While you may go to great lengths to hire new team members by focusing on their experience and skills, the business world is constantly changing. You need your existing team to be dynamic, and their ability to grow to meet changing needs is directly tied to the training opportunities that you provide to them. Keep in mind that your team members may also be personally interested in advancing within their career. They do not want to feel as though their skillset is outdated, and they may have a goal of climbing the corporate ladder within your company.

Developing your team begins during the onboarding process, which is a time when a new-hire learns about company culture and professional development programs available to him or year. These development programs could include in-house training and mentoring, assistance obtaining certifications, college tuition reimbursement and more. Development opportunities should be offered, encouraged and available to team members free of charge.

Final Word

While many aspects of your business operations require constant attention and thoughtful effort, hiring the right individuals to join your startup team is essential. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs make serious hiring and management mistakes, and these can ultimately be detrimental and costly to the business. If you are preparing to hire team members soon or if you are facing HR and management challenges, it may benefit your business to reassess your human resources efforts and strategies.

5 Tips for Running a Startup from Your Home

Starting a new business out of your home is a financially-savvy decision in many cases. Approximately 69 percent of entrepreneurs make the decision to base their startup out of their home, and for good reason. When you run a new business out of your house, you can save a tremendous amount of money on overhead. With substantial technology now available to facilitate a work-at-home environment, many entrepreneurs are not hindered in any way by running operations out of their house.

In fact, many of the most successful companies known around the world today were started at home. Just a few of these include Apple, Google, Amazon and Hewlett-Packard. As smart as it may be for you to launch a business from home, there may be some challenges to overcome. These helpful tips will guide you on a surer path towards success with your new home-based business.

Establish an Organized Work Area

Even through you are launching a business from home, you still need to have a professional, dedicated space to conduct your work activities. This should be a space that is free from distractions and that will not co-mingle with living activities for you and other occupants in the home. One idea is to remodel a spare room and to transform it into a functional home office space. This space ideally will hold all of your business equipment and furnishings. For example, you may need a computer, a printer, a copier, a landline phone, a desk, a work table, seating for clients, storage space, shelves and more.

Remember to also focus on the environment. For example, lighting and temperature can affect your productivity level and your ability to concentrate. As you remodel your space to create a home office, remember to focus on these important elements.

Create a Realistic and Practical Work Schedule

One of the many benefits associated with starting a business from home and being your own boss is the ability to have a flexible schedule. With a flexible schedule, you may be able to enjoy a better quality of life and better manage a work-life balance. However, this type of schedule may also lead to the likelihood of wasting time throughout the day. For example, you may be inclined to sit down in front of the TV for a quick break, but that break could easily extend for an hour or longer unintentionally.

To avoid wasting your valuable work time and to maximize productivity, it makes sense to create a schedule for your workday. Select a firm starting time as well as a finishing time. You can give yourself small breaks during the day, but most of your personal activities should be tackled outside of your work hours. There are some excellent time management and project management applications and programs that you can use to schedule your time as well as to monitor your breaks and non-work activities.

Find Support

Some entrepreneurs try to handle every task associated with running and growing their business. This requires them to wear many hats and to try to be an expert in everything that they do. This essentially can pull your attention away from the tasks that you are truly good at and that require your personal attention. Some tasks may easily and successfully be outsourced to professionals. Because of their expertise, you may enjoy better results and be able to use your time more effectively in the process.

When you search for independent contractors or freelancers, look for individuals who have expertise in an area that you are weak at and who charge affordable rates for their services. An outsourcing relationship should ideally add value and help you to work more efficiently.

Connect with Others

It is easy to feel isolated and closed off when you work from home, but it can be detrimental to your efforts to seal yourself off. Reach out to other home-based business owners in different ways. These may be individuals in a related field that you may be able to work with professionally. It may be people in unrelated fields who you simply socialize with to get support as needed, get recommendations for service providers and more.

While there are online groups that you can join, try to find live support groups or networking groups as well. These could be professional groups and clubs, or the y could be informal groups that you pull together on your own and that grow over time. You can even use these groups to casually promote your products and services.

Choose Cost-Effective Marketing Strategies

Regardless of whether you run a home-based business or your base of operations is in a more professional environment, marketing is essential. However, you likely decided to launch your business from home at least partially to conserve funds. Understandably, you also want to conserve money on marketing without negatively affecting business profits and growth.

There are many cost-effective marketing options to consider, such as through social media, email marketing, cold calls, networking events in your local area and more. Remember to use your professional network to get the word out as well. You could spend a fortune on marketing, but a cost-effective campaign that is based on thoughtful, focused effort may have just as large of a return.

In Conclusion

When you run your own business out of your home, you have the flexibility and freedom to manage your activities in any way you desire. While there are no hard and fast rules regarding most aspects of your operations, you can see that these tips can help you to remain as productive as possible while also bolstering your chances for success. As you move forward, keep these tips in mind.

Five Lessons Learned From 100 Years of Human Resources

Human resources departments are invaluable assets when it comes to protecting companies from potentially devastating losses or game-changing mistakes. All too often, career-ending mishaps could have been avoided with a quick trip to HR, but even the department has occasionally had to learn on-the-job, as it were. After 100 years of HR, you’d think that we’ve learned all there is to know about what companies can, can’t, and really shouldn’t do. Still, here are five lessons that always seem to be a surprise whenever the ball gets dropped.

The Trap of Ignoring Morale

Morale is crucial to working environments. Happy employees are productive employees, after all. When markets move against companies, however, the metrics-based focus of “crunch times” can cause severe loss of focus on this important consideration. As HR, it falls to us to remember to keep the “human” part of human resources in mind at all times. Amazon.com recently found itself under fire for warehouse and worker conditions after metrics-based performance incentives cut the legs out from under the company’s morale. Amazon’s perception in the media and public at large also shifted negatively when word got out about the conditions many workers face in the organization.

The Risks of a Politicizing Company Culture

Company culture can, and often should, change over time. Dramatic shifts, however, should be democratic and involve workers at all levels. When a company decides to make a move that brings it into the political spotlight, it can have repercussions well beyond its own halls. Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments, learned this the hard way when he announced a $70,000 minimum salary for his employees. The move thrust him into the spotlight surrounding minimum wage arguments in the nation, clients cancelled their work because of differing political views and lawsuits were filed against the company. This came on the heels of the decision to raise wages for employees by slashing his own.

The Snare of Insider Trading

One of the great cautionary tales of HR comes at the expense of financier Ivan Boesky, who in 1986 made over $200 million investing in corporate takeovers. Unfortunately, his seemingly smart predictions landed him in jail as they turned out to be based on insider trading. HR departments around the world send regular updates to stockholders who may have insider knowledge to help them avoid this type of disaster. Boesky also paid over $100 million in fines for his illegal actions.

The Dangers of Old Buildings

When the real risks of asbestos and its link to mesothelioma were exposed to the public sector, companies poured millions into removing the material from walls, ceilings and other key infrastructure. Unfortunately, removal of the material often freed it into the air, causing workers to inhale the substance and suffer effects years, potentially even decades, down the line. It falls on human-resources personnel to make sure that the right persons are responsible for all disaster and cleanup operations, lest the company be found responsible for damages due to its well-intentioned policies of replacement and repair of worn-down structures.

The Pitfalls of Miscommunication

In the BYOD business world, communication moves at about the speed of light (over optical networks). This means that it’s nearly impossible to bury bad news, especially using press releases of good news. HR and PR departments must work shoulder-to-shoulder to make sure that the press doesn’t feel hoodwinked by a show of good news when bad is developing, as happened when Walmart made its grand announcement about its new $11 an hour minimum wage. Unfortunately, the same day, the closure of over 50 stores became public knowledge. The news about the closure spread quickly, as employees are rarely slow to share such information, and bad press followed closely on the heels of the closure news, offsetting any gains from the minimum wage announcement.
As companies strive to keep top talent and protect themselves against lawsuits and game-changing errors, HR departments are more critical than ever. Savvy human-resources professionals aren’t afraid to speak up against bad policy or advise on important matters, and the best are more than willing to go to bat for the future of their companies. With 100 years on the job, HR pros understand what is at risk and have the tools to keep businesses going strong in the decades to come.

How do you Retain your Talent the right way? Being Human.

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Question for the start up world.

When you walk into a start up and the first thing they say to HR is “we want a sustainable culture yet, the hyper growth that Facebook or Google went through”. Red flag alert. As the expert, you should already know that these two elements do not happen at the same time. You need to ask them, “Is it Acqusition or Retention?”

This is a conscious effort from your leadership, you simply cannot do this alone. One thing we need to get right is the people in your company defines the future, and this means EVERY SINGLE HIRE you have brought in, and retained.

Acquisition:

You start off with acquisition. Take a company through hyper growth. Hire for headcount show, not for PURPOSE. Your leadership tells you, “hiring slow affects business”. And so, you make it the only agenda in your job to Hire, Hire, Hire, because yes, you were told you can and should do so. They know that it is the talent they have who build their product. It is the talent they have who connects the product to their customers. They know that it is the talent they have who is going to give their customers a better world. So, THEY MUST HAVE IT.

This is the most exciting part of a start up, the expansion phase. Of course it is! You’re selling a great dream every single day. You even end up believing in it yourself. The propaganda.

So now, you think if I can hire all these great people, I can retain them too because we’re all in this together.

WRONG.

Retention:

All these great talent, all of these great people you have just brought in to build this dream are also very smart people. If they weren’t, you wouldn’t have bat an eyelid at them at the first instance. Their experiences are top notch, their technical skills are second to none. But you forgot to ask, “what is YOUR DREAM?”

Every employee has a dream, GREAT employees CHASE their dreams. If you want to retain greatness, must give them the work, life satisfaction they seek.

Because they are human, just like you.

Let’s put it this way, a satisfied employee is an engaged employee. We all know that high engagement brings profitability to the company, because losing people costs you ££. Don’t be daft, of course it does.

Losing talent is not something to be proud of.

So what do you need to do? 2 things.

Empowering your employees:

Oh, did I hate it when Steve Jobs put A,B,C players in boxes and he used to say that Apple is successful because their A players run circles around other B,C rejects from the company. I cannot help but felt how derogatory this is to the majority of people who were never given the opportunity to graduate from Stanford. Great leadership encourages self improvement instead of firing low performers. They listen intently and believe in them. I know this because I’m empowered every day and it’s not a fairytale. Man, am I lucky.

Trust and respect:

Give your employees generous boundaries. Contrary to conventional wisdom, boundaries don’t restrict team members; it means you TRUST them. Let them have autonomy, and let them prove to you they can do it too. No one was born to know exactly what to do with their lives, but they learn along the way. Credible leadership believe in their employees, and let them get on with it.

Needless to say, employees who are engaged shows better performance because they hit your happiness index right at the mark you want them to be. So leaders need to remember, their success is your greater success. Treat them how you want to be treated.

Stop making excuses. Humanise your company now.

5 Tips for Startups for Achieving Global Reach

Sometimes, your product or service will be such that there’s no practical reason to restrict your operations to your local region. In this situation, it might be more lucrative to aim for global reach. Sure, you don’t have to appeal to the whole world at the same time, however, sometimes it’s enough just to make your product universally available. In order to get the most out of it from the very start, you need to learn how to achieve a global reach with your startup in the simplest, most cost-effective way. Here are five tips that might help you out.

Build a highly graphic brand

One of the first lessons that every startup should take is one made by one of the world’s largest brands Coca-Cola. During their Ramadan campaign, they removed all the labels from their cans, yet all the world was still able to clearly recognize their products. The color of the cans, as well as the iconic curved white line in the middle, is as clear of an indicator for the brand as its logo, however, unlike the logo, it is completely language-independent. Of course, the chance of a startup reaching the same level of brand recognition isn’t that high, however, what you can do is set your mindset in this direction. For instance, you can try to tell your story in images rather than verbalize it and in this way breach the language barrier.

Outsource

In the present-day business world, achieving a global reach is nearly impossible without outsourcing. This is due to the fact that you simply can’t reach that quality of service with your in-house team without some major investments. Subsequently, if you reach a certain level of expertise in your own field of specialty, you will start outsourcing certain features, and in this way more than justifies this deficit. As for the quality of services, outsourcing significantly expands your talent pool. For instance, you get to work with a renowned Hong Kong SEO company, collaborate with customer service experts from India and manufacture products in China. In other words, you get a much higher department cost- efficiency on every level possible.

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Remote workers

Aside from working with remote agencies, you can resort to hiring individuals in the same manner, as well. With remote workers, you get to increase your talent pool, which can help you get the most efficient experts on your team, without going through too much trouble. However, aside from this transparent efficiency in productivity, you also get to diversify your operations. In other words, you get to further diversify your company, which may give you a greater insight into a greater number of regions. All in all, in a situation where you decide to include another market to the list, you get the privilege of knowing at least one local professional that you can rely on, even if it’s just an advice you need.

Competition

One of the greatest misconceptions about the competition is the idea that this is somehow an exclusively bad thing. In reality, this is only true if you have nothing fresh to offer. Competitors that come before you can prepare the market for your arrival and even make a contrast in favor of your superior offer. Upon your arrival, the local customer base will compare you to your competitors and, if you have a superior offer, you will be regarded more highly than if they had no point of reference whatsoever. Moreover, a healthy competition indicates a well-developed market, which often turns out to be much more lucrative.

Providing customer support in more languages

Finally, there’s no better way to show the local market just how highly you value them as customers than to address them in their local language. While creating a local version of your website (with a local extension) is a great idea it is even more important to include a customer support in their language. This is due to the fact that such a thing provides a direct value to your customers, which is something that they are bound to appreciate. In the era of chatbots, this can be pulled off even without having to hire local customer support representatives or outsourcing to a local customer support agency.

Conclusion

Keep in mind that each region has its own rules of the game and that sometimes startups have a hard time penetrating their local market, let alone becoming an international trend. Sure, starting a campaign for every single region is certainly more efficient but it isn’t necessarily worth your while. For the time being, establishing a global presence through the above-listed five methods might be your safest bet.

5 Ideas to Give Your Startup a Tech Boost

When faced with a productivity problem, instead of having to expand your workforce, try to come up with a less-risky solution. After all, a workload increase might be just a fluke, which means that hiring more people might not work out for you in the long run. Furthermore, you might be surprised just how many aspects of your business could use a bit of improvement. That being said, here are five ideas you can turn to in order to give your startup an immediate tech boost.

Automated finances

The first thing you can do to introduce your business into the 21st century is automating your financial processes. Namely, you can start by paying your bills online. An average business spends about $12 on paying a single bill, whereas, if done electronically, this can be reduced to as little as $1,5. Apart from saving you a small fortune over the course of years, automating your finances like this will also save you a lot of time.

Apart from this, you might want to automate your payment collecting system which will make it much easier for you (or your accountant) to make financial estimates and projections. A lot of people downplay the importance of doing this in digital form. However, it gives you a greater overview of your company’s incomes and outcomes. In other words, if there is any foul-play in your company or an irregularity of any kind, it will be much easier to notice it. That is to say that, as long as everything is running smoothly, handling your finances will take a lot less effort.

Digital marketing

The next aspect of your business that is in desperate need of digitalization is your marketing. First of all, digitizing your marketing is nowhere near as difficult as you might have assumed. Sure, SEO, PPC marketing and Facebook advertising may require a bit more finesse and expertise, but you can easily establish your social media presence, reach out to influencers and start blogging on your own. In fact, businesses on a budget have so many free tools and resources available, that it becomes plain reckless not to use them to your benefit.

The greatest advantage, however, lies in the availability of reliable learning materials. Never before was it so easy to acquire a skill, whether through independent internet research or by taking an online course. All in all, improving your digital marketing is definitely a tech boost that your company needs and stands to benefit from greatly.

Proper office hardware

In previous two sections, we went to lengths to discuss the way in which your company can benefit from various tech trends. However, the way in which these platforms run and perform greatly depends on your hardware. While renting out office hardware may seem like a growing trend, it is still more reliable to simply purchase your own equipment.

Keep in mind that different laptops have different keyboard sensitivity, screen size and other similar properties, which is why you want to appease the majority by getting their preferred brand. For instance, you can get Lenovo X1 laptop for those staff members who need high-end machines.  

Customer service

When it comes to the general user experience (UX), there’s nothing more important than customer service. This, however, is a double-edged sword. Sure, showing professionalism can do wonders for the overall brand loyalty and help your audience pay more attention to you as a business. Apart from this, it can also make a massive improvement in your damage-control efforts (a sizeable PR boost). However, its absence can harm your brand in more ways than you can imagine.

There are two tech-savvy solutions to this problem. The first one, that is much more popular, is the idea of outsourcing your customer service to countries such as India that particularly specialize in this area. The second, more cost-effective option, is to look into chatbots. Throughout the years, these chatbots have grown much more reliable and sophisticated. Moreover, they respond instantly, which is always a huge plus.

Collaboration

At the end of the day, by properly utilizing the trend of telecommuting, you can expand your talent pool and run a more frugal business. First of all, you won’t have to pay for travel expenses (which also reduces the carbon footprint of your company). Second, you won’t have to lease a bigger office, seeing as how a significant part of your workforce will be operating from their own homes. All in all, hiring remote workers and freelancers is much easier if done through specialized platforms. Also, collaboration tools will help you coordinate these teams when working on massive projects.

Conclusion

One of the first things that you might have noticed is the fact that there is a tech solution for virtually any potential problem your company might be faced with. However, whether or not you manage to embrace and enforce it in your office depends exclusively on your own managerial skills, as well as how tech savvy you are. Nevertheless, even if you don’t intend to use most of these trends, just knowing they’re available can be quite reassuring.

Unleash 2018 – The next wave of Digital HR

The formerly known HR Tech World celebrated its re-birth this year in London from 20th to 21st of March after the official rebrand to “Unleash”. Marc Coleman, Founder, and CEO of UNLEASH said, “The UNLEASH community will look to become more open to leadership from across organizations and to engage with the people that are making big differences in the world of work, creating communities that enable disruptive workplace innovation and learning.”

The general set up remained very similar. A jungle full of HR tech vendors including the well-established ones but also many small and upcoming startups that presented themselves. The HR tech market has seen lots of movement over the recent years also welcoming lots of fresh players. Especially technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) but also blockchain will further disrupt the HR market. Having algorithms support companies to find better candidates or having the new contract being issued in a blink of an eye with the help of blockchain technology.

So it came with no surprise that these topics were heavily discussed in the different breakout sessions along with other hot topics such as GDPR, Brexit, leadership, learning 2.0, diversity and inclusion, mentoring and many more.

Keynote speech by Skype co-founder Jonas Kjellberg

Jonas Kjellberg says about himself that it is disrupting an industry that gets him up in the morning. Jonas Kjellberg is one of the co-founders of Skype. He has a successful past in disrupting industries, most famously the telecommunication industry. He described how hard it is to invent in the zeros but that’s what he did with Skype. The highest valued startups such as Uber or AirBnB invest in the zeros as they simply offer a platform but do not own the product anymore. The bottom line of his speech is if a company wants to survive in this highly disruptive market it needs to re-imagine its organization and make innovation the heart and soul of the company’s DNA. This also includes hiring different profiles and giving them the room to be themselves.

The big HR tech vendors all to be found right after the entrance

After making it through the registration and the entrance to the stands that were located right on the ground floor visitors were welcomed by the big players in the HR Cloud market. For Oracle it was all about the new UX this time including its new “newsfeed” landing page. Employees can now highlight the data and details they care about most.

Another big topic of this year’s Unleash was data and people/workforce analytics. HR has been for many years looking in the rearview mirror, rather than looking forward and being able to predict events that will occur in the future. With the help of the latest and greatest analytics solutions, for the first time HR has the chance to really understand who is their workforce and being able to abstract relevant information and match these against business outcomes. Knowing who is at risk, or who should be taken into consideration for a promotion, predicting these events lets companies better plan and develop their workforce for the future.

The startup corner hosted the disruptors of the future

At the end of the main hall the HR startups were to be found. More than 40 startups presented themselves. The common ground for all these companies is that they want to contribute to the Future of Work.   Innovating in their area of HR and leading the way to the next generation of HR.

Next to the Startup Zone the competitions took place. The 5 HR startups finalist had the chance to present their ideas and products to a selected jury. With the help of Unleash the winners will get access to further support and access to influencers.

We are all looking forward to discover other innovative HR propositions and to further uncover the innovation happening in the HR market.

For more insights, please visit hr-jump.com

Author: Mats Nemelka – HCM Solution Consultant, Oracle

Mats advises companies in the HR space on how to handle HR transformations best with the help of a cloud software solution. Views are his own. Follow @matsnemelka