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27Jun

Being the Kind of Leader Your Brand Needs

Posted by Pamela Swift in Branding

Your brand is anything you want it to be, and it might be anything you want to brand. Whether you are a business owner, an entrepreneur, a blogger, or anything in between, your brand is your business. Understanding what your brand is, what it has to offer, and what it provides is imperative. You must understand you are part of your brand, and that means branding yourself. You must be the kind of leader your brand needs to thrive, and that means understanding what makes a successful leader.

Be Open

The best leaders are the ones who are open and honest. Your brand requires your transparency. When you’re dishonest, people see right through you. It’s a good idea to just tell it like it is, admit when you’re wrong, and learn to take responsibility for things both good and bad. Your reputation and brand suffer far less when you make a mistake you’re willing to admit to and apologize for than it does when you try to place the blame elsewhere. Transparency is what your brand requires to grow and thrive.

Be a Team Player

Any executive assessment test will tell you being a team player is the best thing you can do. You are a leader, and you are the boss. The best boss is the one who doesn’t treat others as though he or she is in control and everyone else simply answers to them. The best boss is a leader who works with his or her employees as a team. Team players help brands grow. Would you rather your company be one with employees who don’t necessarily like working for you, or would you rather it be one where people love working with you? The happier they are, the better your reputation. It’s that simple.

Listen

If you want to become the kind of leader your brand needs, you must learn to listen. It’s very simple, and it means really hearing people. Start by being intentional when others are speaking to you. When it’s your turn to respond to them, repeat what they said in a short summary, answer their question or respond to their statement, and make a mental note of the conversation. It’s also imperative you remember listening isn’t always done with your ears. A good leader listens to body language, to moods, and to what’s going on around him or her. It’s up to you to take this, listen to what you see and hear, and apply what you learn to your brand.

Communicate

If you cannot communicate well, you’ll never be a good leader. A good leader speaks up when he or she is unhappy. You will speak up when you are happy. You will state what’s on your mind rather than allowing your upset to become worse. You’ll keep your employees and customers in the know, and you’ll keep the lines of communication open. A good leader is one people feel they can speak to without fear or worry.

Offer Flexibility

Leadership is a role you cannot take lightly. One way to do that is to offer flexibility. Never forget to put yourself in the shoes of those around you, and be sure to offer flexibility when situations call for it. If you can do this, you learn to create a balance that everyone in your brand deserves. Life is rarely smooth sailing, but learning to be flexible with things that go wrong, things that go better than expected, and circumstances you didn’t see coming makes being a leader that much simpler.

Being a good leader doesn’t mean being everyone’s best friend. It means being someone who listens to them, stands up for them, and it’s a person who helps others grow. If you want to be the kind of leader your brand needs, take a look at the people who were leaders in your own life and pick their best attributes. Apply those to your brand, and watch as it becomes your personal dream come true.



 
  


Article Contributed by Aloukik Rathore,

Before talking about how to succeed really, I need to speak a bit about failure and its outcomes. In the Business Industry, failure is often praised, especially when you fail fast. One thing that our elders have teaching for centuries is that you learn from your mistakes.

Amusingly, most of the pioneers in the Silicon Valley with their successful businesses had no real history in the market and very less or negligible experience. Indeed, the ignorance of the potential pitfalls seemed to be the catalyst and what enabled them towards success. As well all know that Success isn’t a good teacher, it’s the failure that makes you humble.

Keeping that mind, here are some of the best tips for my fellow hustlers and entrepreneurs that would help you towards the road of success.

  1. People are more prominent than strategy.

One simple way towards being successful is surrounding you with the people who are talented and like-minded. If you constantly are in the company of such people, chances are you’ll end up with great ideas together that will work for sure. If you are initiating with an idea and then try and find the required skills, chances are you’ll be putting a square peg in a round hole at the end.

  1. Be the Customer and know what he wants.

All the MBAs and Business schools preach about the importance of listening to customers. That’s great if you know what to look for. Most of the times, customers don’t know what they need but can easily describe what they want or what they hate. You can simply sell a product if the masses don’t demand it. Whatever business you are in, it is steered by the ability to know what people want and not what they say they want.

  1. Know about the size of your Market.

During my pitching and hustling times, most of the time when I was encountered by the VCs for investments, the first question that popped was to get the intel about the forecast of the potential market. Dominating a subtle market may take ten times the effort. Work out how big your opportunity is and what piece of that market you think you could own.

Most of the grooming and beauty startups initially target a particular kind of audience and knowing their potential growth, they expand, even to the different niche products as well. Remarkably, it works most of the time because of the investment in the market research.

  1. It’s all about the Timing.

You can never sell an umbrella on a bright shiny day. One of the most crucial reasons businesses succeeds or fail decided by their timing. Entering the market at the right place and at the right time matters a lot. All of which leads to my first point about not fearing the failure in life because you don’t always know until you try. Before there was a Facebook, there were numerous other social media platforms. Anyone remember Orkut? It was quite big in its time. Then Facebook came, and the rest is history. Facebook didn’t create a dramatically better a social media as it was all the same, but Mark did create it at the right time.

  1. Growth should be your Power.

We have all wondered that what we’ll do if we win any lottery. When initiating your idea into a startup or business, you need to think about what happens if it rises exponentially. How will you ascend? Who would you hire? Would you franchise the business in other cities as well? There’s a saying that if you are trying to build the plane while flying it, don’t be astounded if you crash.

All in All, never stop innovating. If you’re nourishing in the right culture and you are hiring amazing people, and consistently putting yourself in your customer’s shoes, then as an entrepreneur you’ve built a company that should endure. I am raising this last point because I believe as a company, you have two choices: either you innovate, or you die. It’s that much simple.

Author – Aloukik Rathore, Content Marketer and a Hustler

Email – aloukik.r@gmail.com


27Jun

4 Tips for Expanding your Outfit Overseas

Posted by Pamela Swift in Operations

Smart businesspeople gain successful by embracing new business ideas and expanding them into the international markets. However, being able to forge a business idea into a renowned company that has a large market share percentage in the global market is not a simple feat.

There are several international business protocols, cultures, and market trends that ought to be observed for an internationally expanding business to realize success or be competitive. Here are vital tips to guide you through the journey of expanding your local business into the international markets:

Check for a strong customer base in the countries of interest 

It’s very critical to set out enough time to assess the availability of potential customers for the product or services that you are offering in various countries. Obviously, if you intend to go global, you already have an idea of the countries of interest where your product can bear the same appeal as it does in your country. You ought to be sure that there is a need for what you’re offering in that country and whether they will be inclined to purchase from your organization.

You should have a clear understanding of how your company might fare with the local competition before investing your hard earned money in expanding unnecessarily. It’s safe to conduct a research and test your product in the foreign marketplace before investing so as to make a sensible investment.

Assess market compatibility and availability of necessary resources 

Even though the business environments are not identical, you should analyze how the new markets are compatible with your home country’s markets. For a seamless business discussion, you ought to look for markets that are quite similar to what your current target market looks like. Evaluate currency fluctuations, cultures, competition, and shopping trends of the potential foreign markets. Structural and financial stability is crucial in supporting the expansion so as to make it viable.

Check out tax codes and compliance issues 

Tax codes and compliance regulations in the international business markets are very complex and intertwined. You’ll only realize that they are more sophisticated than what you may experience in handling business transactions from state to state. Certain banks in various countries fear the administrative burden that comes with running a US-based bank account. Hence you may be required to open a foreign business entity and bank account before you start running a business legally. Depending on the type of products that you deal with, you may be required to comply with certain strict labeling and packaging standards before you start operating. The US taxes worldwide and the IRS will impose a reporting on the income as well.

Localize to the languages and cultures of the foreign markets 

Language and labeling are also another critical consideration to be made. For instance, you are required to use English, Spanish or French in the US when labeling your products, but in Europe, you might be compelled to use multiple languages on the pack of your products making the cost of production hike. In other words, packaging costs, labeling and compliance issues can be very costly if not approached keenly. You can hire bilingual staff to help in the smooth running of the business by doing back and forth translations or go through multilingual subtitling services to enable you to advertise your business digitally in various languages available in the foreign markets.

Know how to beat the local competition 

Renowned American brands like Starbucks or McDonald’s have achieved this by attracting millions of foreign customers to their various chain stores across the world. Beating local competition and being champions in their turfs is not an easy success. Your business can only attract these foreign markets by employing unique and practical business strategies. Also, check the available ESTA agreements (electronic system for travel authorization) to be sure whether you will need a visa or not and the type of visa in order to work in the country of interest.


Twitter is an excellent way to keep with people in your industry. It’s also a way to chat casually with people. It possesses the photo-sharing features of Pinterest, but invites more conversation. It also mimics some of the conversational aspects of Facebook, but keeps the chat short, making it easy to chat on a lunch break. If you’ve not really used your Twitter account to its fullest, you’ll want to try these five suggestions to get yourself up to speed on the chat.

1. The Right Bio

As a business owner, your bio should be more than a bio. It should be a 160-character explanation of what your business can do for others. The Xyngular bio provides a good example of this elevator-pitch bio. From this short piece, you know the company is into a holistic approach to health that will quickly get its customers the results they want.

When you’re writing up your bio, make sure that you tell would-be clients exactly what your product or service can do for them. Use actionable verbs. Write and rewrite it until it encapsulates your business philosophy in a nutshell.

2. Use Your Header Graphic

Your Twitter account’s header should be like a billboard of sorts. The Social Media Examiner suggests using this space to tell your story. To do this, you can either repeat your bio or add information.

This is actually a helpful step and maybe not for the reasons you think. Many business owners make the mistake of asking people to buy their product in every tweet. Instead of doing this, carry on conversations with people. Let them see what you do and follow up. The 80/20 rule is good to follow. Eighty percent of your tweets should be helpful and conversational. Twenty percent should be promotional.

3. Join a Twitter Chat

Twitter chats are an underutilized tool. If you’ve never joined a Twitter chat, make a point of doing so. They’re simple in concept. Basically, a person or organization organizes an open conversation on Twitter. Followers of the chat follow a special hashtag (the pound # symbol) that allows them to keep track of the conversation.

For example, if you’re a restaurant owner, you may want to participate in the #foodiechat on Mondays. This chat is organized around the topic of food and often, food-related travel. Foodies from all over the world show up, post pictures of their favorite dishes, and get to know one another. Of course, food-industry people use this time to interact and get new clients, too.

The good news is you don’t have to be a foodie to do a chat. You can search Twitter for chats in your industry, using keywords plus the word “chat.” You can also do a Google search for Twitter chats. There are quite a few websites that list known chats. Find some in your industry or organize your own.

4. Follow the Right People

This is a corollary to the above suggestion. Who you follow on your Twitter account determines the quality of your Twitter wall. It also shows you at a glance who you might want to tag when you’re having a Twitter chat. It additionally allows you to keep track of your customers, your suppliers, industry experts, and other opinion leaders.

5. Link to Your Website/ Blog

You’re given a couple of opportunities to link to your blog or your website. In the bio section of your Twitter account, there is a place for a link. You also have the option of putting your blog’s URL in a tweet. (Be sure to use a URL shortener like Bit.ly or Goo.gl. You only have 140 characters to work with. A long URL will take up most of the tweet.)

It goes without saying that you’ll put your link in promotional tweets, but not all tweets have to be promotional. If you’re participating in, say, #MondayBlogs, put a link back to your blog on that tweet in a non-promotional way. Anytime you can legitimately link to your site because you have helpful information that’s not promotional, you should do it.

Twitter can be a great business asset if you know how to use it. If you haven’t been using it to promote your business, you’ll want to set up an account and start tweeting. Although this list gives you a good starting point, you should invest some time into learning how to use this tool. Your business will benefit in the long run.


26Jun

Globalization: Expand a Business Globally

Posted by Pamela Swift in Operations

Globalization is today’s buzz word. Many believe that if you expand a business globally you will make untold riches – it’s not that easy! There are many things you have to do before you can even consider going global with your business. Knowing how to go global is just one of these.

Sure, you may have a great product, or even range of products, that sell well in the USA, or Europe or even many parts of Asia. Will it sell outside of your own country? Is it possible for you to go global? Do you even know how to expand a business globally, even if globalization would suit your business?

Here are 4 very important aspects of globalization that you should consider when deciding to expand your business outside of your own country.

  1. Check Out Global Markets

What do you mean by ‘globalization’?  Do you understand what it takes to expand a business globally?  What are your global markets? Is there a worldwide market for your products, or would they sell only in specific countries?  First, you must check out local products in your overseas market sector. Are the locals in these countries genuine competitors? Would you be able to compete and take the percentage of that market you need to profit?

Identify your potential local competitors and carry out a SWOT analysis on each of them. Can you compete against them at a profitable price?  Keep in mind that you have to transport your product to their country – that costs money. Are there import taxes? Will it take you long to promote your product in a local market?

  1. Compile a Business Plan and Sales Strategy

Analyze what the local competition does to attract their market. Set up a business strategy including short-term, medium-term and long-term goals – and how to achieve them. Devise a means of measuring success – or lack of it! Determine whether your products are suitable for this market or if they have to be changed in some way to meet local preferences.

Do you need no more than a branch of your existing business to be set up abroad, or will you a completely new division to meet export needs? Perhaps your product will have to be changed for the new market. Maybe you will need local sales staff. Maybe there is a language issue, and your product has to be changed to meet that?  Will Cyrillic, Arabic or Chinese characters be needed to match the product to the market?

  1. How to Go Global: Local Issues

Is your product compliant to local or even national government regulations? Certifications and various form of compliance can vary between areas in a country, not only between countries. Here are some of the issues that you could face should you decide to go global. They apply even if you try to export to one other country, let alone go global and try to sell worldwide.

  • Health and Safety regulations: Make sure your product meets the needs of western H&S regulations. US and European regulations are strict, and if your product meets these then it should be OK for other markets.
  • Testing Certification: Make sure you are aware of local quality standards, and that your products will meet these.
  • Patent and Trade Mark Regulations: Some companies are known for breaching patent law and getting away with it in their own country. Make sure you have reviewed the patent or copyright situation for your products in the countries you want to do business with.
  • Language Standards: Check that your products conform to language standards in other countries. Most accept English, but others require dual language marking on equipment; English plus their own. This is understandable, but can be costly to make products language-specific in certain countries.
  • Logistics and Distribution: What are the distribution costs? What are the costs of getting your product to where it will be sold? In fact, who will sell these products? Your own subsidiary abroad, or a distributor already located in that country?

These are just some of the factors you will need to address if you intend to expand a business globally. Knowing how to go global is just as important as having the products to do so. Your product must be ready for globalization, but so must you and your company’s administration system.

  1. Legal Aspects of Globalization

So, you have done the market research and are confident your product will sell abroad. You can meet local and national regulations, and have a sales team set up to market your product in a number of countries. Keep in mind, globalization is not an American firm selling in the UK or in France. It is selling to a worldwide market.

You may need a legal team to ensure you are meeting all the legal aspects of globalization. You may need local commercial agreements, have to maintain corporate records to a specified standard and may also have to comply with a plethora of local and national regulations as explained earlier.

It usually pays exporting businesses to put these aspects of expanding a business globally into the hands of professionals. The same applies to the maintenance of financial and employment records. These can vary between countries, and a professional can make sure you do not default on any local law – with potentially disastrous results.

How to go Global: Conclusions

These are just a few of the more important globalization factors you must consider if you want to expand a business globally. They do not explain how to go global, but they will keep you on the right track. In fact, these points can be summarized in three words:  employ a professional!



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