NOT TO DOs

People always write about successful habits and traits of successful entrepreneurs and organizations.

What about the MUST NOT DOs??

5 Things Your Business Must Stop Doing to Be Successful

There are 5 things a companies need to put an end to this very minute.

 

1. Stop neglecting your customers

Most companies will spend a lot of effort prospecting but neglects the potential of loyal customers. You better be granting wishes if you want to neglect this part!

 

2. Stop marketing your product and start telling your story

People are bombarded with marketing campaigns. Don’t sell to them the product but sell them the understanding of your brand. People don’t spend money on information, but they’ll buy experience.

 

3. Stop setting unrealistic goals

Setting unachievable goals will only kill your spirit. Identify achievable steps and celebrate small milestones.

 

4. Stop micro managing your employees

When you micromanage, you are taking ownership away from your employees. Everyone knows that the best employees are the ones who take ownership of their given tasks, so why would you want to take that from them? Just communicate your visions clearly and explain the expectations within a given period of time, then leave them alone.

 

5. Stop compromising on your vision, purpose and core values

If you know where you are going, it’s a lot easier to get there. Create the right company culture; build a great culture by rewarding success and learning from failures.

 

 

Reference: What’s Killing Your Company? (http://ofleadership.com/whats-killing-your-company)

5 ways to breathe lives into Start-ups

Except for the moment of conception of your new business idea, when is the second most exciting milestone?

Opinions may vary, but I’d say it is safe to assume that it is when you receive your funding.

 

That feeling of getting funded, in other words receiving validation from seasoned veterans with track records, that moment when potentiality becomes a semi-reality.

As exciting as this sounds, the truth is that this is not an experience easily encountered by most of the entrepreneurs. It’s not easy to source finance to get startups going nowadays.

 

Entrepreneurs are forced to seek for more innovative platforms to gain exposure and to receive funds.  Where are the entrepreneurs looking??

 

Before we dive into it, please realize that there really isn’t a cookie cutter approach to receiving funding. Every business will have different requirements, therefore, different suitable approach to getting funded.

 

1. Alternative Lenders

Ability to receive loans from online sources are getting easier and quicker. This method maybe the right solution for you if you are confident about meeting the repayment schedule. If not, be aware that your credit score may be affected negatively.

 

2. Crowdfunding

With notable success of potato salad campaign, this method of receiving funding is definitely on the rise. The platform acts as a broker between your company and a large group of donor and investors. Using crowdfunding websites, you can collect funding in increments from large number of participants.

Notable Crowdfunding platofrms are: Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Rocket Hub, Crowdfunder, Corwdcube

 

3. Online Angel Investors

This platform is suitable for entrepreneurs looking to be connected to key angel investors based on expertise and suitability. Instead of receiving only monetary support from an investor, you can receive expertise, mentoring and network of your investor through these types of platforms. If you want to be picked up here, you better be on your best.

 

4. Government Grants

While complying to specific criteria can be difficult, there are ample government grants and support for entrepreneurs (which include one-off grants, financial incentives, mentoring and assistance with loan seeking).

 

5. Peer-to-peer lending

P2P lending is quite self-explanatory. It is an alternative way of putting your “savings account” to work. P2P lenders like Zopa (www.zopa.com) offer APRs of around 4.7% on loans.

 

 

Reference: Where’s the money? (http://ofleadership.com/wheres-the-money)

Of leadership..

For quite awhile I’ve written about leaderships within the entrepreneurial world, however, have never really gone into details about the qualities of great leaders.

For today’s post, I would like to touch up on some of the core foundation and attributes of great leaders.

leadership

There are many types of leaderships as I may have mentioned in the previous post, these qualities which will be shared below are perception of Kris Valloton’s. Kris Vallotton is one of the great leaders of our time and has been known for his prophetic ministry.

 

1. Great leaders don’t fear the people they are leading. They are peacemakers not peacekeepers.

2. Great leaders have a vision and they have faith to accomplish it.

3. Great leaders are forerunners who are willing to make mistakes.

4. Great leaders give people something worth sacrificing for.

5. Great leaders are not intimidated by the strength of others but instead they celebrate and develop them.

6. Great leaders take responsibility for things that are not their fault.

7. Great Leaders bring out the best in others.

8. Great leaders understand the seasons of their lives. Like geese, they take turns at the front and honk from the back when it’s their time to rest.

9. Great leaders are gifted and they also have character. They live from virtues and stances and not just circumstances.

10. Great leaders are skilled at confronting people honorably.

11. Great leaders empower people and refuse to control them

12. Great leaders are aware of their weaknesses, honest about them, and find strong people to fill these gaps.

13. Great leaders are courageous and they rise in dark times.

14. Great leaders leave a legacy and live with a 100-year vision. They honor the past, live in the present, and look to the future.

15. Great leaders know how to see beyond the giants and are risk takers.

16. Great leaders are proactive not reactive. They understand ecosystems and refuse to create symptomatic cures.

17. Great leaders will live in a high level sacrifice to accomplish their divine destiny.

18. Great leaders have passion that’s contagious and inspires others.

19. Great leaders develop their own successors.

20. Great leaders are good at the art of goal setting.

 

How many of these qualities do you possess?

 

 

Reference: Of Leadership (http://ofleadership.com/of-leadership)

Sniper rifling vs Shotgunning

They say that there’s only 1 department in a company which makes money: Sales & Marketing department.

As important as this department is, many small and big companies still don’t fully understand what the most effective method is to bring in sales.

 

The marketing tactics used by companies differ widely depending on the operator’s perception of what’s most suitable.

These various tactics can be separated into outbound and inbound marketing.

 

It is hard to determine which exactly is the superior method above the other, however, here are some facts.

Inbound-marketing-how-social-media-can-be-your-startup’s-strongest-and-cheapest-lead-generation-machine-01

The study shows that inbound marketing saves marketers on average 12 percent the cost per lead and 5 percent the cost per customer.

Then why isn’t inbound marketing widely adopted? It sort of is, however, for the ones that are unable to do so is most likely because the company doesn’t believe that result of inbound marketing is measurable.

 

Here’s the answer.

Inbound-marketing-how-social-media-can-be-your-startup’s-strongest-and-cheapest-lead-generation-machine-02

 

Alright. Let’s just say that we’ve established the importance of inbound marketing strategy and take a look at how this works.

 

1. The ability to create specific content

Every audience has its own needs and wants right? Using Social Media enables you to craft and tailor the marketing messages to a very specific targeted audience. This is a strength of social media marketing, impossible to be matched by traditional form of marketing tactics.

 

2. Automated nurturing of leads

It’s true that leads don’t fall from sky and land on your lap. Leads require crafted messages to answer to many individual queries of your potential clients. This is a shift of perspective, you can answer and nurture your leads.

 

3. Help your leads along their buying process

Same principle mentioned above applies here as well. You are able to walk your customers through their buying experiences. Instead of crafting random messages wishing it lands. You can snipe your targets into becoming your customer.

 

 

Reference: Social Media Marketing: Sniper’s Approach (http://ofleadership.com/198)

Choosing who you go to war with

At my last startup job in Canada, my boss used to always  say that people’s identities and how they are perceived by other people are just like brands.

What you promise, how you act, and everything that you do is important because the reliability as a brand is reflected in your performances.

partnership

This is especially true when bootstrapping or picking a handful of members to start a business with.

In startups, passion and ability of entrepreneurs are the lifeblood to a long lasting business and for fair reasons it is important to evaluate your partners carefully.

 

Here are some tips to best utilize skillsets of people around you in business:

 

Take Inventory

1. Is your partner providing value to your business?

2. Is your partner maintaining performance expectations?

3. Do you trust your partner to protect your information?

 

Integrate vendors/partners into your strategic plan

In some cases looping your vendors into your strategic planning can lead to a more refined solution. It all depends on what your partner can offer, so it is important to always consider the skillsets of your partner when choosing them.

 

Build a performance plan for your partners

When you build a performance plan, you align expectations with your partner and maintain a set of mutually agreed goals. It is also much better to identify and correct measured performances than to bring up a “constructive criticism”.

 

Probably the most important of all of the above, constant communication is the real key to any long lasting relationships.

It’s important to be available for your partners always, truthfully they are your most valuable growth assets and they need to be nurtured and set up for success.

 

Reference: Choosing your partners carefully (http://ofleadership.com/choosing-your-partners-carefully)

 

 

Rags to Riches

Time to time some people need a little “pick me ups.”

 

For entrepreneurs time to time we need a little “kick in the butt.”

This article is a little kick in the butt for those who are getting burnt out.

 

When people ask me, “what is your favorite genre of a movie?”

I say that I’m not genre specific, but what wows me are the real life stories of triumph.

 

I believe the concept of “rags to riches” is something that everyone gets genuinely excited about. I mean Hollywood has been glamorizing this concept for as far as I can remember.

 

Lives of entrepreneurs are no different when it comes to going from rags to riches. Usually being an entrepreneur means that you are turning your back on security for vision of greatness.

 

 

Haruhisa-Okamura-founder-Adways

This is Haruhisa Okamura, the founder of Adways, is one of the youngest founders to bring a company from zero to IPO in Japan.

 

At age of 16, Okamura dropped out of school and began working as a door to door sales agent and learnt to master the craft of sales.

 

In year 2000, when Japan was hit by the internet burst, he was inspired by the industry and wanted to get in on the action.

He applied to work for CyberAgent, which at the time was a notable internet company in Japan, but was rejected.

 

This rejection gave him the determination to begin his own online marketing company.

 

He spent most of his own money trying to get the company lifted off the ground but was unable to do so, therefore, he had to bootstrap his way which a lot of entrepreneurs can probably relate to.

Then his company just took off, and Okamura shares how this happened.

 

3 Key Points:

1. Adways had an affiliate model, which meant that clients only had to pay for result. This made it easier for Okamura to acquire clients.

2. Adways recognized and moved with the trend quickly. They changed their business model to mobile marketing just after 4 months of starting the company.

3. Adways recruited the best engineers from Japan to build the backbone of all its products.

 

Now Okamura is 33 and is in a great spot to keep expanding. He shares his opinion at the end, “We have to read the trend in the internet industry. Everything is fast and going up and down. Entrepreneurs need to go with the flow.”

 

Reference: Rags to Riches (http://ofleadership.com/rags-to-riches)

 

New age of Selfies

hh-3hh-4

There just doesn’t seem to be an end to the photo app industry.

Check out Phhhotos, its an iphone app which “breathes life into your stale selfies.”

 

You would think with scientists linking selfies to mental health conditions and narcissism, entrepreneurs would cease to build on the world of selfies.

Truth is far from that, with Phhhotos app now taking selfies is more interesting than it has ever been.

 

Instead of having a static photo, this new app allows you to take series of photos then connecting them to motion enhanced GIF.

 

The User Experience is similar to Instagram, you choose your features point at yourself then shoot.

There are FEED, HEART (LIKE), COMMENTS & sharing via FACEBOOK. Nothing complicated.

 

Only downside is that this app only has normal view and black & white filter, but surely we can expect someone to fill that gap soon.

 

 

Reference: Welcome.. The age of moving selfies (http://ofleadership.com/welcome-the-age-of-moving-selfies)

How do you know you are wired to be an entrepreneur?

As people began  associating entrepreneurs with words like; passionate, dedicated and optimistic

 

The word “Entrepreneur” has become a very fashionable vocabulary in the recent years.

The word “entrepreneur” gets thrown around as an introduction as a description and as sometimes as a status.

 

However, some of the most successful entrepreneurs explain the fuel behind their fire.

 

1. You take action

Entrepreneurial quality is more genuine when entrepreneurs are forced to invent as they go rather than spend time writing a business plan. People with problem solving ability will beat overanalyzing people.

 

2. You’re insecure

“Many entrepreneurs judged as ambitious are really insecure underneath,” Corcoran says. This fear of failing is what gets an entrepreneur hyperfocused on the tasks and becomes the fuel to win at all costs.

 

3. You’re crafty

The character MacGyver is a great description of how a successful entrepreneur operates. It’s not about having resources but becoming resourceful with what you have.

 

4. You’re obsessed with cash flow

In the early stage of most startups the name of the game is bootstrapping. During the bootstrapping stage cash flow becomes an obsession to all entrepreneurs, because the minute you run out of money to spend is the day your business goes out of business.

 

5. You get into hot water

Do you find yourself asking for forgiveness instead of asking for permission? Many entrepreneurs have the tendency to react to opportunities first, before asking permission form higher-ups.

 

6. You’re fearless

Entrepreneurs are extreme optimists. Many times they take chances and operate under the belief that one day their investment will pay off

 

7. You can’t sit still

They are eager, excited and energized about business. They love to get things done.

 

8. You’re malleable

Entrepreneurs don’t believe in one answer. They consistently reinvent, tweak and evolve their business as needed.

 

9. You enjoy navel gazing

Sometimes entrepreneurs are not given the benefit of having supervisors and guidance. They need to learn and understand the need to constantly evaluate themselves so that they are able to improve.

 

10. You’re motivated by challenges

Entrepreneur looks opposition and thinks its an opportunity

 

11. You consider yourself an outsider

The feeling of not being accepted and rejected becomes the aggressive energy that drives you towards success

 

12. You recover quickly

Fail fast, but get up faster. That’s how entrepreneurs win

 

 

Reference: 12 Definite qualities of successful entrepreneurs (http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/235378)

Alibaba’s new venture

When face tagging blew up, it was only a matter of time before entrepreneurs evolved the concept into this..

Alibaba-social-network-Fun-01

Fun, is like Instagram but focused on tagging brands in the photo.

This mobile application is Alibaba’s latest effort to connect users with brands and vendors.

 

How this app work is simple, snap a photo tag the brand you’re in and share! Smart modern approach, since user generated information has much more strengths nowadays versus traditional advertisements.

 

For example, if you go to the Cartier’s page you’ll see page of Cariter tags, just as you would see a person’s page on Facebook.

cartier

 

This app is currently included in Tmall app, a platform which work closely with Alibaba already and the alliance seems logical.

Alibaba representative refuses to comment on the vision of Fun yet, however, we can all assume close operation with its parent company Alibaba.

 

 

Reference: No surprise here (http://ofleadership.com/no-surprise-here)

 

How these companies are winning

According to Quora, there are approximately 189 million registered companies around the world. Likely a lot more unregistered businesses as well.

To stand out in a crowd of this size, your business better have a large marketing budget or have abundance of creativity.

 

For this week’s weekly review of Asian tech companies on the rise, let me introduce few startup companies that is winning through creativity.

 

1. Skillshare (http://www.skillshare.com)

Skillshare is an online education platform founded in 2011. Their winning innovation was pivoting from $20 a la carte model to $10 all you can eat model.

Lesson: Leverage the intelligence and expertise of normals to create a massive intellectual marketplace.

 

2. Warby Parker (https://www.warbyparker.com)

Warby Parker took their ecommerce platform back offline to brick-and-mortars and cutting out the middleman. Warby Parker has presented their prescription glasses as if they were fashion items and enjoyed a great success.

Lesson: Change the way people see an industry.

 

3. Zady (http://zady.com)

Curation is nothing new when it comes to the fashion industry. What Zady did was told a story of their curation giving it life or personality.

Lesson: Storytelling — and the goods’ path to consumers — matters, and people will pay a premium for it.

 

4. Popsugar (http://www.popsugar.com)

Popsugar contents cover a wide variety of interests. What’s innovative about this company is how it pulls off the difficult task of diversifying widely then mastering.

Lesson: Content drives commerce, and people love a one-stop shop.

 

5. Birchbox (http://www.birchbox.com)

Considered the mother of all subscription services, this beauty startup was one of the earliest to build on the joys of surprise and delight and the idea of discovery eccomerce.

Lesson: A little curation goes a long way in a crowded industry.

 

Reference: How creativity manifested in crowded industries (http://ofleadership.com/how-creativity-manifested-in-crowded-industries)