Saturday, November 7, 2015

6 smart ways to Market your Company

Be heard without screaming; be visible without cluttering.
Branding is much more than orthodox advertising. It is about recognition and establishing trust.
How, you ask? Read on.

Today, your start-up's existence depends on branding.
If you've thought, "At least I've been getting my name out there," of the advertising budget that you've spent without knowing what benefit you've gotten, you're not alone.
Advertisements work, but if you can't trace incoming revenues to the ads that generate them, you're wasting time, effort and money.
This article refers to low-investment marketing methods that will grow your new start-up without unwanted budget leaks.

Press releases
Eye-catching, informative press releases give television news channels, newspapers, and magazines free filler material and you get a credible story about your company.
First, find something newsworthy to report about your business and you.
Do you have information that is timely, dramatic, captures readers' interest, or provides a noteworthy benefit to even a layman?
Craft a story that includes your business in one of these ways. Perhaps you've created six new jobs in your hometown or even a metro city you live in. You might be holding an upcoming open house.
Your company might save people time or money.
Never assume that people know which brand is the leader, that's the first step to failure.
Next, determine which media will be interested.
If the local newspaper's readership is primarily upper-income investors, it won't care about saving customers a small amount a year by buying your widget, but the same press release for a college publication may be perfect. The media you choose must speak to your target audience.
Use attractive letterhead. The upper margin, or banner will contain your company name, address, and phone number, a contact person who can answer more questions about the information, and the current date.
Immediately below the banner, centred and capitalised, it should read 'FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE' or specify a release-after date.
Skip a line, and write an article that could be used as-is.
After its conclusion, skip another line and type '# # #' to inform the editors that nothing more follows.?
Deliver it by e-mail, fax, in person, or via postal delivery.
Brands are built by companies and maintained by its customers .

Online forums
Find your clients' online forums. If you sell athletic shoes, get on message boards where you can post updates about sales, new arrivals and educational information.
The college/school's sports team's social networking page is one way to connect with local people who regularly purchase running shoes, for instance.
An IPL site would be worthless unless you're selling nationally.
Post regularly, not repetitively. Alternate messages that ask for sales with ones that offer useful information and light humour.

If you provide newsworthy items, you'll gain customers' trust and confidence.
A brand becomes stronger when you narrow its focus.

Non-competing companies with similar target markets can be your best source of customers. That's why realtors and lenders often work jointly.
Athletic shoe stores can partner with sporting goods stores to share advertising costs and customers. Jewellery stores, bridal boutiques, and wedding planners all work well together.
What businesses complement yours?
Consider exactly what you can offer and what you want to see in exchange.
An effective pitch is specific.
"I'd like to print ninety 30-page how-to booklets for these high school sports teams. I'm including articles about styles of running shoes, tips on selecting the best brands, and a calendar of their cricket tournament for the year so they'll keep it handy.
"If you'll pay half of the Rs 60,000 printing cost, you can write up to 15 pages of information about the sporting equipment they can get here to help them have a great season."
Think simple: what branding builds, sub-branding can destroy.

Sponsoring a group that has high interest in your product can be highly beneficial.
If your shoestore pays for year-end trophies, you can negotiate to have your company's banners placed at every game.
Conversely, sponsoring unrelated events won't have much effect.
Reminder ads work great for mature companies like Coca-Cola, but a start-up shoestore won't see sales from sponsoring a Formula1.
The crucial ingredient in the success of any brand is its communication.

Ongoing communication
Service providers empower customers and build relationships by caring about them.
Follow-up phone calls let customers know they matter to your company.
Drip e-mail, text messaging, and social media can be inexpensive and beneficial if used sparingly and in a way that the customer values.
Like online forums, you'll need to provide useful information, not simply put out messages that say,
"Hey, look at me!"
If you sell expensive items likes houses or cars, personal contact is vital.
If you operate a discount store, you can ask for two-way customer feedback occasionally to communicate your concern for your buyers.
A start-up is built overnight. Success is measured over the years.But a brand is sculptured in decades.

Bartering may provide the solution you need.
Will the high-traffic petrol pump let you set up an advertising display with a new car in exchange for fuelling your cars there?
Finding the right trade can be challenging, but also can offer high payoffs if planned well.
If you remember the principles presented in the acronym, you'll be adept at marketing your business on a shoestring budget, without sacrificing your hair growth.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Essential Life Skills for a Functioning Adult

Life is funny. Isn't it !

No one gets a handbook upon turning 18, complete with all the rules they'll need to memorize and competencies they'll need to acquire.

Somehow you're just supposed to know that you should have more money coming in than going out and you shouldn't wear a fuzzy orange sweater to a job interview.

Put together your own handbook of sorts, which lists many of the skills you'll need to survive as an adult in the modern world.

Listed are the life skills as under, expand it into a composition.
  1. Accepting feedback gracefully
  2. Apologizing sincerely
  3. Managing your time wisely
  4. Using keyboard shortcuts
  5. Saying 'no' respectfully
  6. Empathizing with others
  7. Communicating through body language
  8. Making friends in any environment 
  9.  Mending your clothes
  10. Speaking a second language
  11. Sticking to a budget
  12. Using basic Photoshop
  13. Spending time alone
  14. Public speaking
  15.  Negotiating
  16. Cooking Basic Meals
  17. Making small task
  18. Backing up your electronics
  19. Asking for help
  20. Picking up a date 
  21. Dressing appropriately for a job interview
  22. Waking up on time
  23. Giving a good handshake
  24. Power napping

Monday, September 21, 2015

Essential Skills in an Employee

Over the last fifty years, average life expectancy of a human being in most developed and emerging economies has increased by about 20 to 25 years to become 70 to 80 years.
This also means that the work-life span ranges from 35 to 50 years.
Fast technological changes are also causing likelihood of work profiles spanning across at least 2 to 4 different industries.
This necessitates each employee to manage and develop themselves into better professionals and adapt to ever changing demands of new age jobs.
Here is a set of ten soft skills, essential for work-life effectiveness and professional growth.
1. Teamwork 
Being able to operate efficiently and effectively in a group draws on a number of other skills; the ability to encourage and inspire other team members to perform better; being able to compromise and ignore one's own ego; communication and other interpersonal skills such as negotiation, influencing, advising and interpreting.
2. Build networks 
Connecting with people possessing common professional and personal interests can help enrich each other with ideas, explore new business opportunities, collaborate, understand diverse perspectives and make better decisions.
Attending seminars, conferences, networking dinners, and using social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter can be effective methods for building extensive network of contacts.
It is also important to build internal cross-functional networks within your own organisation.
3. Play on your strengths 
The famous management guru Peter Drucker opined that a person could perform only as per his/her strengths.
One cannot build upon weaknesses.
It is important to know your strengths and concentrate on them instead.
4. Focus on etiquette 
It is the law of physics that any two moving objects in contact with each other create friction. This is also true for all human beings.
Paying authentic compliments to others by using simple words like 'Please' and 'Thank you' go a long way towards building lasting relationships.
Listening to others speaking and not interrupting them, avoiding cross talks, promptly responding to emails or SMS also demonstrates respect for others.
5. Clear communication 
This includes verbal, written, telephonic, email, letter, meetings or while making a presentation.

It is vital to be clear about what you want to communicate, choosing the appropriate medium, words, correct language, infographics, imagery, structured flow, and attention to details.
Ability to listen to others and seek to understand their point of view is valuable in the long run.
6. Ability to work in a boundary-less organisation 
Organisations have become flatter and distributed.
Often managers have to work together with customers and suppliers across functions and geographies.
In this networked and extended organisation, it is critical to get consensus across functions and get the work done.
Ability to design and manage as well as participate in such processes is a critical success factor.
7. Think like an owner 
Thinking beyond your current role is a key differentiator.
Apply a leadership or an owner mind-set to your role and it will enlarge your perspective, enable your solutions to fit in with the larger team goal, and help you weigh the interests of other stakeholders in the decisions being made.
This will ultimately help you garner bigger responsibilities.
8. Create a global mind-set 
The first dimension of this is the ability to adapt with people from diverse cultures and their cultural norms, without violating your own sense of self.
Check out the range of acceptable behaviours and comfort zones; and how will you tailor your response to particular situations?
This will give you a global perspective.
The second dimension is the ability to organise your work in line with the 24X7 time zones, when you work with colleagues, customers and suppliers distributed across the globe.
9. Work ethics 
Ethics refer to values and behaviours which people feel are moral.
A positive work ethic is the collection of all the values and actions that people feel are appropriate in the work place.
Individual attributes that can significantly impact your work performance are habits such as honesty, integrity, positive attitude, cooperation, respect, compassion and taking ownership.
10. Keep learning and teaching 
Aristotle had said, 'Teaching is the highest form of understanding.'
The more you educate yourself, the faster you will move.
By teaching others what you have learned, will urge you to keep learning.
It is also important for you to know what is the best way to learn.
One of the biggest hindrances to learning can be your own ego.
Analysing your mistakes and successes is also a great way to learn.
So display a commitment to learn and develop yourself, as well as invest in developing other people.
This may not be a comprehensive list, nor very original.
Yet this compilation of powerful skills required at the work place will enable you to stand out amongst your peers and define your growth prospects.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Handling criticism at work

Feedback is essential for the growth of aspiring and practicing professionals. But are they - rather you equipped to handle it well?

Dealing with criticism in a positive manner is extremely important.
At some point in your professional life you will be criticised. It may seem unfair and difficult. But you can use it in a positive manner -- as a means to better yourself, or in a negative manner -- causing yourself stress, anger and lowered self-esteem.

Follows are the ways in which one must handle criticism:

Is it really criticism?
Mostly people get their defence up the minute they feel somebody is giving them an opinion not necessarily aligned with their own. It is important to understand if the opinion is criticism or constructive feedback.
Instead of being extra sensitive, it is essential to absorb the person's outlook and analyse whether it can be incorporated in anyway.
Do not reject any idea by labeling it as criticism. It might be a stepping stone to bettering yourself.

What is the intent?
You need to evaluate why are you being criticised.
Is it for the betterment of your task quality, behaviour, productivity, or is it simply done to ridicule you?
In case the feedback is in your best interest, utilise the opportunity to learn and outperform your previous efforts.
However, if the person's intent is to simply pick on you, you must be assertive and stand up for yourself.

Accept that you are not perfect.
'Nobody is perfect; neither are you.
If you are good, there is scope to become great.
If you are great, there still is scope to become outstanding.
Take feedback with a pinch of salt and do not get offended. Look at it as an opportunity to stretch your boundaries and explore further into your potential.

Do not get offended easily.
Do you find yourself getting hurt, crying at the drop of a hat or stressing out the minute anybody criticises your work?

The solution is not to cut the critics out of your life but to toughen up.
Do not be over sensitive. Listen intently to what the person is saying.
Weigh the significance before dismissing the person.

Is the feedback accurate?
Be completely objective and unbiased in assessing feedback.
Just because it is different from your line of thought, doesn't necessarily mean that it is wrong.
Think of every piece of feedback/criticism as a means of improving your knowledge, skills, attitude and efficiency.
If it doesn't help on any of these parameters, brainstorm your ideas with the person before putting your foot down and rejecting it.

Stop making excuses.
Do you display strong displeasure whenever someone is pointing out something to you?
This will lead to conflicting situations with the person or discourage the person from walking up to you and sharing his/her honest and possibly valid feedback next time.
Either way, your relationship will suffer, along with any future probability of getting fresh perspective on self-improvement.

Is the criticism destructive?
If you are sure that the intention behind the criticism is destructive, try to find the hidden motive and communicate with the person.
An open communication serves the purpose majority of the time. Be assertive and yet empathetic when you do so.
Trust yourself and be confident of what you bring on the table. Let the critics not succeed in pulling your morale down.

Remember: If you have received criticism that was delivered in a warm manner only to bring a positive shift in you, take the effort to display your gratitude and appreciation to the person.
Thanking people who give you honest criticism is a sign of maturity.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

5 Ways to Increase Your Annual Income

5 Ways to Increase Your Annual Income

Invest in Enriching Your Life and Increasing Your Income
Increasing your annual income has many benefits- mainly, ability to afford a quality lifestyle for you and your family, and also the ability to manage unexpected money requirements.
Here are five practical ways to increase your annual income.

#1: Invest in Yourself – Add Value to Your Self Worth
Investing in yourself will give you disproportionately high return on investment- both for the amount of money invested and the time you spent.

Do It Yourself Tips to Invest in Yourself
  • Leverage the power of learning. Add a new skill, learn a new language, or try something that’s been on your bucket list.
  • Set aside time on a daily or weekly basis to read informative blogs, articles or books.
  • Attend a workshop, webinar or training to stay updated on the latest trends.
  • Explore your creative side to exercise untapped areas of your mind. This will open up different doors of perception- personally and professionally.
Invest time in taking a sabbatical – Retrospect, introspect and regain your focus
How Does This Increase My Annual Income?
Better skills, greater knowledge and wider perception, all lead to a higher level of opportunities.

#2: Invest Smart – Monetarily not Momentarily
Talking about increasing income is incomplete without considering the actual monetary aspect of investing smart.

Do It Yourself Tips to Increase Your Future Annual Income
  • Start early-as early as you possibly can
  • Invest for the long term
  • Make the right investment choices- for long term goals (more than 5 years), invest in equities and short term (less than 5 years), invest in debt instruments.
How Does This Increase My Annual Income?
Increase your profits by investing wisely. Instill a long term perspective to evade myopic results from a short-sighted plan.

#3: Invest in a Long Term Career Path – Map Your Progression Professionally
Mapping your professional interests can help you strategically build your career path.

Do It Yourself Tips to Chart Your Career Path
  • Do a SWOT analysis on your professional traits. Determine your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. In this way you can identify the best opportunities that can help you progress with purpose.
  • Inculcate a long term vision. Do not let short term challenges come in the way of building your potential in the future.
How Does This Increase My Annual Income?
Being at the right place, at the right time with the right capabilities, tactically improves your career prospects.

#4: Invest in Rewarding Risks – Zone Out of Your Comfort Zone
Taking risks can snap you out of your comfort zone.

Do It Yourself Tips to Zone Out of Your Comfort Zone
  • Take a chance to challenge yourself. Push your limits beyond the monotony of mediocre tasks. It is a bitter truth that machines will replace you eventually.
  • Focus on work that allows you to build your capabilities, even if it means making a drastic change.
How Does This Increase My Annual Income?
Stepping out of your bubble automatically unlocks new possibilities

#5:  Invest in Health – Focus on Your Physical, Mental and Social Well Being
The real wealth is in the health and well being of your body, mind and social interaction. While the increase in disposable income may translate to a higher standard of living, it could also lead to increasing health issues.

Do It Yourself Tips to Enrich Your Wealth in Health
  • Physical Health
    • Exercise. If not for the physical benefits, it also helps in reducing your healthcare bills.
    • Eat healthy. A home cooked meal is not only healthier but also lighter on the pocket.
  • Mental Health – Many occupational lifestyle diseases are creeping into urban population. Maintain a good work-life balance to avoid mental problems such as depression, hypertension and neurological issues.
  • Social Well Being – Whether you admit it or not, who you interact with socially and your lifestyle have a big impact on your personality. The social environment you choose to be influenced by will affect the way you think and the decisions you make. Choose wisely.
How Does This Increase My Annual Income?
You become the environment you live in. Make it clean, green and lean on the body, mind and wallet.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

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