We all use headsets every day; they are part of our lives. That is why it is necessary to choose the ones that best suit our lifestyle, needs and musical tastes.
How to choose your headphones correctly?
Music is an important part of our lives. Our parents and grandparents enjoyed music very differently; today’s life is much busier; so we do not usually have the privilege of listening to the music so relaxed at full volume in our house. That’s why headphones have become our most used tool for listening and enjoying music. Some headphones can provide very good sound quality for a very affordable price, one of best examples is Jabra 2300. What’s most important, you do not have to deal with the acoustics of the room, the location of them, their amplifiers, etc.
Choosing a headset according to our needs and musical tastes is not a simple task. To choose a headset, we recommend these steps:
Narrow your budget.
The first thing you have to choose is the money you want to invest in your headphones.
Choose the type of headphones you need.
Touch to choose the main use of our headphones. The main types of headphones are these:
They are the headphones that we must insert into our ear canal. They are the ideal to accompany us when it comes to exercise, walking or listening to something in bed. Although not as comfortable as full-size headphones, good quality headphones have different-sized ear buds that perfectly fit your ear canal, sealing it, isolating it from outside noise and preventing it from moving or even falling. Do not buy button headphones as they do not isolate the noise, they are uncomfortable most of the time and their size is not adjustable.
They do not enter our ear canal, they are placed on our ear and they are usually resistant, light weight and above all very easy to carry. They are the ideal headphones to carry in your bag or
backpack when going to study, work or travel. This type is recommended for being used in office. For more info you can see business office headset review here.
Full-size headphones cover the entire ear and are the most common ones.
Circumaural and supra-aural.
Circumaural: they are the ones that completely surround the ear. The main characteristic of these headphones is that, being slightly separated from the ear. They generate a greater natural feel of the stereo field and a reproduction of frequencies more linear and precise. They are also more comfortable as they do not pose in your ears. You can find some good models of circumaural headset by using the Internet.
Supra-aural: The supra-aural headphones cover the entire ear but not around, so they lie on it. They usually isolate a little worse if compared to the circumaural ones, but are usually more portable.
As you can see there are many types, the main thing is to choose ones that suit what you want.
Are you game in staying in a hut? Yes, there are some huts where you could have stayed during the World War 1. These were called Nissen huts – they were first introduced first by Peter Norman Nissen – and were built for soldiers to stay in.
These huts were tunnel-like in shape or they had a semicircular shape and thus helped deflect any bombs or sharp parts of any bomb, and hence were the best bomb shelter for the troops. These huts were built by steel structure and had a roof that was half circle in shape. These huts were easy to construct within a short time and hence they were so popular in their peak.
Strong and durable huts.
The designs of these huts were based on the strength of the materials and they were not aesthetically pleasant. There were different sheets of various strong metals that were bent to form a shape of a cylinder while building a Nissen hut. This sheet was then placed on the ground to erect the hut. The corrugated steel sheets were used to make the outer walls of the hut. The strong material of the outer wall made it safe for the troops. In some huts there used to be an interior lining of different metals and this depended on the reason the hut was going to be used for.
Steel structure for huts.
These huts were built in short time period but they were popular for their security. They were also durable and so lasted for a long time. There were huts that had windows and other such structures added to it. The huts were built on wooden bearers that were laid on the ground. These bearers demarcated the length and the breadth of the hut. Then they had curved steel structures nailed and bolted on the bearers on both side of the length. There were wooden purlins attached to the steel structures. These steel structures were called ribs.
Inner and outer walls.
The next step was the joists that were made of wood. The joists used to be very strong for support of the goods and people who lived in the hut. These were placed on the wooden bearer and they gave support for the floor structure of the hut. Then they built the walls. Often there were inner lining for the huts and these were made of thinner corrugated sheets. These were attached on the ribs for proper support and strength to the walls. The outer walls had vertical shaped corrugation and were placed over the lining that was initially placed.
The hut now had the walls placed in but the both sides remain open. These sides were covered with boarding that was placed over the joints. The whole structure becomes so strong that it was not possible to destroy it by normal means. This strength of the huts made it popular as a store for goods or as a shelter for troops. These were used mostly during the Second World War Even these days there are demand for these huts. They find building a Nissen hut for sale is a good way to earn money.
E-commerce might as well be one of the easiest ways to become a young entrepreneur, but it’s not a field that doesn’t have its difficulties. There’s a lot of competition in this growing sector of retail, and getting to the top would require you to successfully traverse a digital minefield where many young entrepreneurs’ business ideas failed.
Do you need to be scared? Of course not. But you need to be careful and vigilant. A couple of small mistakes can snowball and make your time spent in e-commerce much more difficult than it should be.
For that reason, here are five sentences which, if you ever hear yourself saying them, will be a sure sign you’re heading for trouble.
1. They’ll Find It Eventually.
No, they won’t. Whatever it is that you’re hoping your website visitors will find, they won’t. And it’s not because it’s not possible, but because people have better things to do in life than spending their time looking for things you’ve hidden in your e-commerce website.
Poor search function and lousy website navigation are two things your website’s visitors will not tolerate. They go hand in hand with slow page loading and other things that will cripple the speed at which they are able to find and purchase the products they want. It’s never a good idea to force your customers to wait for too long or jump through too many hoops on their way to a purchase. So, invest in a custom search engine for e-commerce, and start creating intuitive navigation menus.
2. I Can Just Use the Manufacturers’ Product Descriptions Instead of Writing New Ones.
No one in their right mind would reprimand you for trying to cut corners and minimize the overhead when starting a fledgling business. And there are plenty of things you can give up in the critical first couple of years when your e-commerce site is trying to stand on its own legs.
Custom product descriptions are not one of the things you can get rid of. Without them, you’re left without one of the most useful sales and SEO tools — good copy — and by the time you figure that out, you’ll stoop to using the product descriptions from the manufacturers. And then you’ll get slapped with a penalty that will ruin your site’s visibility because the manufacturer is probably using its own product descriptions online, and you’ll be in trouble for pushing plagiarized content.
3. There’s No Need to Have User Reviews on the Site.
The problem with user reviews is that they’re sometimes bad. Of course, they would be completely useless if they were always good, but to some online retailers, those bad reviews are the stuff of nightmares. And bad reviews can hurt a company’s reputation or make a product less desirable, that much is true.
But should you purge all user reviews from your site just to avoid getting the negative ones? Of course not. User reviews are an important trust signal for your users, and they can help your store thrive. So maybe let the good reviews be, and learn how to deal with the bad ones.
4. We Should Focus on Desktop.
E-commerce and focus are two words that go together particularly well. If you have an e-commerce site, you focus on your key demographics, you focus on one kind of digital marketing that gets you the most visitors, you focus on offering great service. But there are also some things you don’t focus on, such as lowering your conversion rates. And desktop.
The best time to focus on desktop was the time when desktop was the only thing to focus on. Right now, if you’re thinking up different ways you can futureproof your e-commerce site, you have to include as many features as possible that make it mobile friendly. You shouldn’t discount desktop traffic yet as it’s still there, but your focus should be on what’s ahead. And desktop isn’t.
5. It’s Not Outdated, It’s Classic.
On one side, you have familiarity and cost savings as the reasons for not updating your website’s design or features. On the other side, there’s the fact that the world is rushing by you, and that the businesses you compete with are doing their best to stay on top of web design trends. Which strategy should you choose?
You’ll see the signs that your website needs a makeover. You’ll have complaints from the customers, or you’ll notice that the bounce rates are higher than usual. You might also do some competition research and find out that you have the ugliest website on the virtual block. In business, you’re either going forward or you’re falling behind — there’s no standing in place. And being behind is not a good place to be, so move in the right direction and keep your website up to date.
It’s never been easier to start your own business, no matter how small or large you might want that business to be. But while you’re waiting for everything to fully come together for your business idea, you’ve got to keep food on the table with your current job, and you might also be completing classes at an institution like Maryville.
In any case, here are a few tips to help you successfully fit your side hustle into your current schedule.
Decide Whether You’re Fully Committed.
There are few better feelings than being your own boss and owning your own company, but you’ve got to decide whether you’re fully dedicated to your vision. Your side hustle will undoubtedly take time away from your personal life and any other projects or commitments you have in your life. Decide now if you’re truly ready to jump into the deep end of the pool or if your side hustle is going to stay on the sidelines for the rest of your life. Putting in a minimum of effort is guaranteed to result in a minimum of results.
There are bound to be times when you drop the ball on your business idea, whether because you’re feeling unmotivated or because you allow life to get in the way. To better prevent this from happening, figure out ways to hold yourself accountable. You can do this by meeting up or working with other entrepreneurs and industry professionals. You can all share progress and success and encourage each other. Knowing you’ll soon be expected to share how things are going with your hustle can be the kick you need to get to work.
Look for experienced and established professionals in your niche or industry who can act as mentors and professional connections. Is there anyone at your current job who might be able to provide you with a bit of insight? Stay focused on learning from these people and tapping them as sources of inspiration rather than how much money you might be able to make from them. Even if you know this person is connected to people you’d like to be introduced to, stay focused on learning as much as you can from the individual first before asking for those introductions.
Develop a Plan to Fight Off Stress.
Anyone who owns a business can tell you the experience is just as rewarding as it is frustrating and stress-inducing. Rather than wait for that stress and frustration to rear its head before you deal with it, develop a plan now. You know how you respond to stress, you know what triggers stress and you know how you beat stress. Create a plan of action before you’re flustered so you can get back to work ASAP. Additionally, it’s best to do what you need to do to keep stress from building in the first place. Remember that preventing a problem is always preferable to resolving a problem that already exists, so head such issues off at the pass.
Create a Schedule.
Start working on a schedule on how you’ll divide your time between your current job and your side hustle. Specifically, know when to wake up, when to go to bed, how long it takes you to commute to work, when you’ll eat, when you’ll take time just for yourself and how many hours you’re able to realistically commit to your side hustle. You should also map out how you’ll use the time devoted to your side hustle. What needs to get done? When does it need to be done? What needs to be completed to help you get it done?
Planning and preparation are everything when it comes to having a side hustle. Make sure you know where you’re going and how to get there, and be sure to use these tips along the way. Best of luck!
by Amanda Setili, author of “Fearless Growth: The New Rules to Stay Competitive, Foster Innovation, and Dominate Your Markets“
Growth has always been fundamental to business success, but it’s never been more critical than it is now. Rapid changes in technology, shifting customer expectations, disruptive business models, and quickly evolving regulations force organizations to innovate quickly and invest in new lines of business that will fuel future growth. Problem is, the same forces that make growth imperative also make it incredibly daunting.
When the rules you used to live by become obsolete overnight, it doesn’t exactly foster calmness and confidence. Leaders have to wrestle with some tough strategic dilemmas: Should we disrupt our own business before someone else does or focus on protecting it? Do we develop new capabilities internally or partner? Do we craft a careful plan or simply plunge right in? And yet, we can’t afford to let fear, uncertainty, and doubt paralyze us.
To be able to respond quickly and intelligently to the fast pace of change, all levels and functions in your businesses must be creative, responsive, and agile. You’re going to feel fear, sure — and yet you must act in spite of it.
In other words, you must practice fearless growth. In my work as a strategy consultant, I’ve found seven rules fearlessly growing companies live by:
Rule #1: Embrace uncertainty.
People are wired to fear uncertainty, but it’s important to capitalize on uncertainties in your market, rather than letting them slow you down. Companies that grow fearlessly know that highly predictable markets often create situations in which all competitors look alike and margins are thin — thus, market uncertainties can create new opportunities for them to differentiate themselves. These companies are willing to take prudent risks and know how to manage risk. In short, they operate confidently in uncertainty.
Uncertainty creates opportunities to pull ahead of the competition. Having the right risk mentality and moving quickly gives you an advantage over competitors that are slower to respond. Take a cue from the film industry and try placing multiple small bets. Repeat past successes and keep budgets realistic and proportionate to projects. You can also target niche customer groups that you can uniquely please.
Rule #2: Get in sync with your customers.
Your customers are a powerful yet often underutilized source of ideas for new products and services, improved current offerings, and new ways to do business. In fact, they’re often willing to contribute by giving product improvement ideas, technical support for other customers, videos, reviews, referrals, content related to your products, and other marketing value; all of which helps you stay in sync, mitigate risk, and remain prepared for whatever the future might bring.
You can stay ready for the future by collaborating with customers, paying attention to outliers, and observing how customers customize and use your products. Even top executives are getting involved in customer interaction. Home Depot executives work in the stores, helping customers and providing advice just as a typical store associate would. But there are plenty of other ways for companies and customers to collaborate.
When you allow your customers to customize the products and services you sell, you’re able to learn a lot about them. This gives you the information you need to innovate new products and services and ways of doing things, and stimulate growth. You can also observe and cater to your outlier customers — the ones who use your products and services in unusual ways — to gain insights. They can provide you with a window into emerging market trends and ideas for new products and services.
Rule #3: Partner, borrow, and share.
In the past, businesses needed to own or take responsibility for every aspect of their value chain, from research to development to operations to sales and marketing. Not anymore. Today, businesses that grow fearlessly crowdsource, outsource, and make use of freelancers, bloggers, microbusinesses, individual innovators, and myriad partners to achieve far more than they could on their own.
You don’t need physical assets to grow huge in terms of reach and value. Alibaba is the most valuable company in Asia, but it has no inventory. Airbnb has a greater market capitalization than Marriott, but owns no hotels or real estate. Uber is the world’s largest car service, but owns no cars.
If you can collaborate with others outside your company, you can experience rapid adaption when the market changes. Plus, it benefits you to outsource things that are not your distinctive competency. All of this can leverage the ideas and capabilities outside your organization, while strengthening the people, processes, and capabilities inside it.
Rule #4: Connect and strengthen your ecosystem.
When you create the right ecosystem for your company, it will take on a life of its own and grow itself. Look at Airbnb: Before they came along, staying in someone’s home was risky business because guests did not know who to trust. But Airbnb solves this problem by creating a platform for guests and hosts to score each other. And many guests enjoy making friends with their hosts, having access to advice about local haunts, great places to eat, and how to escape the tourist trail.
Once an ecosystem gets going, it becomes self-sustaining and enables fearless growth. Figure out who’s already in your company’s ecosystem and whom you would ideally like to have there. Then determine what value you would like each member to both give and receive. Consider creating a technology platform to enable richer interactions between ecosystem members and facilitate and nurture their real-life relationships with each other as well. Building the strength, size, and participation in your ecosystem can fuel growth, build customer loyalty, and insulate your company from market upsets.
Rule #5: Open the floodgates of employee creativity.
Employees want to be engaged in their work and want to contribute to something greater than themselves. Too often, however, employers squander their talent by over-measuring, micromanaging, and failing to inspire. They may even punish employees who get too far ahead of company management, instead of rewarding them for their initiative. It’s important to facilitate employees’ natural desire to collaborate with others and to grow their own skills. By giving employees the freedom, knowledge, and network they need, you will unlock vast power.
There are many steps you can take to get the best from your employees. First, don’t be afraid to say, ‘I don’t know.’ Revealing your own ignorance welcomes people at all levels to share their opinions and perspectives. You can also energize them by instilling a sense of purpose, which will especially appeal to millennials.
Be sure to continually pose new questions and challenge assumptions by introducing competition or games to stimulate new ways of thinking and free people to take risks. Allow new ways to work by encouraging collaboration and forming project-based groups, rather than top-down structures. Finally, communicate your values clearly and frequently, so employees know what you expect, even when no one is looking.
Rule #6: Learn fast and fearlessly.
Fast learning, coupled with an “experimentation mindset,” is the most valuable competitive advantage a company can build. For example, UPS knows that regulations may someday require lower emissions and improved fuel efficiency, so it has a “rolling laboratory” of 11 different types of alternative-fuel and advanced-technology vehicles in use today. UPS is ahead of regulations in learning how to optimize each vehicle for the various driving conditions — from dense urban driving to remote rural driving.
Keenly observing the business environment, taking action before you feel fully ready, and incorporating what you’ve learned immediately into your strategy are all tickets to playing in today’s fast-changing global economy. Make sure you are constantly experimenting, learning from successes and failures, and applying your knowledge. Anticipate the changes in your business environment and set specific learning goals based on those changes. Take action and begin learning the moment you know what you need to learn to be successful.
Rule #7: Build trust into all you do.
Trust is the ingredient that enables the growth of relationships with employees, business partners, customers, and those in your work community. By trusting that your colleagues will do their part, you can set more aggressive goals, place bigger bets, and have a bigger imagination about what may be possible. When there is trust between coworkers, everyone feels comfortable engaging in the debate and disagreement required to make sound decisions. Trusting your business partners means you can move faster together, navigating uncertain terrain with greater confidence.
Trust speeds innovation and growth and improves efficiency. To begin building trust, work to neutralize fear in your organization, making it psychologically safe for employees to voice their ideas and opinions, make decisions, take action, gain new skills, and try new things. When you give people challenging but realistic goals, act in a transparent way, show vulnerability, grant people discretion about how they do their work, and show appreciation for work done well, you’ll be amazed how much your team can accomplish. Finally, foster and expect creative conflict by encouraging employees to disagree and challenge each other.
If you’re starting to get the picture that the old ways of doing business no longer work, you’re exactly right.
Like it or not, it’s time to throw out the old rule book and start fresh with approaches that make sense for the new economy. The strategies that help you facilitate trust, learning, creativity, and partnership seem counterintuitive at first, but will soon pave the way to success not only for you but for your team and your customers as well.
Amanda Setili, author of “Fearless Growth: The New Rules to Stay Competitive, Foster Innovation, and Dominate Your Markets“, is president of strategy consulting firm Setili & Associates. An internationally acclaimed expert on strategic agility®, she gives her clients unbiased and laser-clear advice on how to respond quickly and intelligently to a changing marketplace. A past employee of McKinsey & Company and Kimberly-Clark, Setili served as an executive with successful disruptive technology startups in the U.S. and Malaysia.
by Steve Owens, Founder and CTO of Finish Line Product Development Services
The lean start-up movement has been based on a single insight – which the purpose of a start-up is to discover a business model that works. Instead of the “entrepreneur that knows what the market wants”, we move to the “entrepreneur that knows how to discover what the market wants”. This subtle difference has been key to the success of companies like Groupon, Dropbox and Intuit to name a few.
In this article we explore the unique challenges of a lean start-up and how Outsourced Product Development (OPD) can be used to overcome them. Specifically, we show that OPD leads to:
The Lean Start-Up Environment.
Start-ups are very different from established businesses. Established businesses understand the competitive landscape – they know their customers and they know their competition. The primary challenge (ignoring disruption) is to find ways to better service their customers at lower and lower cost. The focus of the management team is largely internal – how do we cut cost without impacting the offering?
A technology start-up is very different. Even though the goal of a start-up is to become an established company, its start-up role is much different. The objective of a start-up is to discover a business model that works. The primary focus of the management team is external – what does a customer think about this product/service?
Both start-ups and established businesses need to conduct product development; however, the environment in which each operates necessitates a different approach to this same function. While the established companies’ needs are focused on endless iterations of long established products, start-ups need the ability to iterate quickly and pivot.
An established company needs long term technical employees that have deep knowledge of the product, its history, how customers use and value its features and the processes used in its manufacturer. Outsiders can often “compliment” this core team, but they cannot replace it.
A technology start-up has very different needs. It does not have an established product, and thus no history to “know”, nor does it currently manufacture anything, or even yet know what technology should be manufactured. This environment makes it difficult to understand the core skills needed in the product development team.
Start-ups also have a high likelihood that things will not go exactly as planned. The insights from the Lean Start-Up movement have led to the assumption that there will be periods in every start-up’s history of significant change (The Pivot). The idea is to develop a product, see how it fails, and then pivot based on this new learning.
The traditional model of largely in-house product development teams is not suited well for the environment that a start-up operates in. Nimble, quick acting, re-forming teams of outsourced product development teams meet the challenges of the start-up environment much better.
Pivot is a lean start-up term that refers to the concept of introducing a product, understanding how customers react to the offering and then changing the offering to better align with the customer needs based on the learning from the product introduction. A basic assumption around the idea of pivoting is that “some things can only be learned by actually attempting to sell a product to a customer”. By no means does this mean a fully refined product is introduced – in fact, Lean has introduced the idea of a Minimally Viable Product (MVP) to our lexicon. The MVP idea is to develop a product “just enough” to understand the customer reaction as compared and contrasted with established company philosophy of introducing a flawless product.
To established companies, the idea of a failed product launch would be hard to accept let alone actually plan for – and for good reasons. Established companies have a long history of product launches to learn from. Established companies launch incremental products that increase the offering (more features) for less cost and/or introduce products that more correctly align with an ever-increasing vertical niche within the larger market (the “sports luxury” automobile vertical for example). Established companies have enough knowledge about the product offering to take a straight-line approach to product development. This environment translates to a large budget, concurrent engineering/manufacture, and a focus on making the product “bug free”.
If a start-up were to take the same approach, and the product fails, there would be little runway left on which to pivot. Sure, the product may be perfect, but if no one is willing to buy, it does not matter. Millions would have been wasted on tooling up manufacturing and conducting design verification test. The inevitable lay-off and the downsizing of the company would consume management – leaving few resources left to understand how the knowledge from the failure can be used to introduce the next product.
In a Lean Start-Up, the investment in the product development would have been just enough to understand the customer’s reaction to the product – the MVP. Very few resources will be used to “perfect” the product, and the product development team would be temporary. Once the learning has been conducted and the pivot identified, a newly formed product development team would again create a new MVP. This process continues until a viable product (and business model) can be discovered. Then, and only then, does the formation of a “permanent” product development team begin to take shape.
Outsourced Product Development teams are a more effective tool for the pivot than traditional internal product development teams. OPD teams offer several advantages:
If you’re a newly funded start-up, you need to develop the first MVP quickly. Your runway is only so long, and there is no telling how many iterative MVPs you may need before you discover a viable business model. In all likelihood, your team is not large, and may or may not have the skills required to fully develop the MVP. You will necessarily have to spend time recruiting new skill sets, setting up new procedures, labs, IT, CAD/CAM, etc. All of this effort takes time away from your management team. It distracts the management team from the external focus it needs to discover a viable business plan.
An OPD team is already in place and ready to start work. In all likelihood, this team has been working together for years, already has a lab, CAD/CAM, procedures, etc. They are, in essence, ready to go the day you call them. Your management team remains focused externally on the customers and development of the viable business model.
Many argue that since their goal is to become a large company, they might as well hire the team early – because they will be needed down the road. However, if you buy into the concept of “lean” and that you do not know your business model/product until it is discovered/proven, then hiring early could be hiring the wrong person. If there is a possibility of a Pivot, the person you just hired may not be the right person after the Pivot.
Culture is Important.
If you have been around product development activities for any amount of time, you are likely to have heard about NIH syndrome. NIH stands for “Not Invented Here”. This is nothing more than the engineering term for “group think”. It is well documented in the business journals as occurring to any type of team. Teams develop specialized knowledge and skills, and they do so at great cost. Managers are trained to maximize invested capital, which explains why businesses often miss disruptive technology that cannot be produced with existing invested intellectual capital. Similarly, product development teams resist changes away from existing specialized knowledge because they have so much invested in the existing knowledge.
OPD teams often have a similar culture of preference to existing technology. Indeed, one of the primary reasons to use an OPD team is the team’s base of experience in specific technologies. Many suffer from a similar affliction of “if you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. The reality is that it is rare to have a culture of change – and one of the primary qualities of an entrepreneurial team is its ability to embrace change
Extending the Runway.
By its definition, a start-up has no existing revenue. Even when it does start to produce revenue, it is often not profitable revenue. A startup has a limited amount of time, or a limited amount of money (often both) in order to produce profitable revenue. This limitation is often referred to as the runway. There is only so much of it available.
Reducing time to market and lowering product development cost will extend this runway. The cost of developing a product is almost entirely a people cost. Reducing cost is a function of reducing the time necessary to design the product. OPD companies are particularly adept at this cost reduction largely because they “recycle” design elements from project to project. Because they generally start “half done”, cost and time are reduced.
Most products are composed of several sub components. In a large company, these sub components are highly optimized – you may spend $50,000 reducing the cost of a sub component by $0.50. This makes sense because there is almost certainty that the $50,000 investment will be returned in a few months. In a start-up, you will likely only make a few MVPs and then pivot to a new MVP. Optimizing a sub component makes no sense, as the investment will not likely be returned – ever.
The Lean idea is to produce a few MVPs in order to test the market’s response and learn what the next MVP should be. Optimization comes after the business model has been discovered.
An OPD company may not have the optimized technology for the final product, but they are very likely to have something good enough. In the lean start-up environment, getting the MVP done quickly and for a reasonable cost is more important than producing an optimized product.
A start-up operates in a different environment than an established company and has very different needs when it comes to product development. Start-ups should avoid extensive hiring until it is clear what the final offering is, that is, once the business model is known and proven. Instead, they should utilize OPD companies to do the heavy lifting of the product development activities. Utilizing this strategy increases runway, allows the management team to maintain the required external focus and decreases the time to market.
Steve Owens, Founder and CTO of Finish Line Product Development Services, has over 30 years of successful product development experience in many different industries and is a sought after adviser and speaker on the subject. Steve has founded four successful start-ups and holds over twenty five patents. Steve has worked for companies such as Halliburton and Baker Hughes. He has experience in Internet of Things, M2M, Oil and Gas, and Industrial Controls. Steve’s insight into the product development process has generated millions of dollars in revenue for start-ups and small businesses.
Digital marketing an essential tool for any business out there, whether large or small. Competition is typically stiff in any market, so a brand’s long-term success usually hinges on effective online marketing strategies.
Whether you’re in the business of selling clothes online or offering your expertise in services, it’s crucial that you take advantage of digital marketing to get an edge over the competition.
Here are four interesting methods to get the job done without breaking the bank.
1. Tap into the blogging community.
Product endorsers nowadays come in the form of “influencers” – online bloggers and personalities that have a following with large niche audiences.
There’s a lot of these influencers on social media and video streaming platforms. Some of them – especially the up-and-coming ones – are keen to do product endorsements. Look up these personalities, check their work, and if their reputation fits your brand’s image, reach out to them.
Contact specialized “product blogs”.
Building on the earlier method, there are more specialized sites out there called “product blogs” that regularly publish articles about new and interesting stuff. Enlisting their aid might drive more traffic to your business.
Since these blogs usually target a specific industry and demographic, it’s best to do your homework before asking for their help. The more popular blogs probably won’t do it for free, so that’s another thing to consider. If you’re looking for free exposure, it’s highly likely you’ll find it on the newer product blogs.
3. Spy on the competition.
Web services like the Open Site Explorer allow users to take a peek at any web page’s backlinks – basically where their traffic originates from on the Internet. Researching a competitor’s audience is part of the marketing equation after all.
Take advantage of the information and tap into these backlinks. Blogs, as discussed earlier, are particularly useful for marketing promotions because they’re easy to engage with. They’re also cost-effective, compared to the usual digital marketing methods.
4. Harness the power of forums.
Popularly-visited community forums like Reddit can be a great source of consumers, so get to building your brand’s reputation there. These sites have massive traffic and even feature targeted advertising for those willing to go the extra mile.
Always be aware of these channels’ rules and regulations, as they can be very strict when it comes to moderating their forums. Remember that your identity on these sites is the face of your brand. Always be respectful of other users and always engage them with courtesy and professionalism.
Digital marketing is a powerful tool that can be used without spending too much. There are a lot of cost-effective strategies for the task, so pick out the methods that are best suited for your business and your budget.
While you can get by relying on free marketing exposure, it’s important to realize that it has its limits, especially in a competitive market scene. Be ready to invest some of your company’s resources into digital marketing when the need arises.
by Andy Cunningham, author of “Get to Aha!: Discover Your Positioning DNA and Dominate Your Competition“
Customer experience isn’t for everyone. Really. If it’s not part of your corporate DNA, you shouldn’t make it the focal point of your business. That should be an expression of your DNA. If you’re truly a customer-oriented company, or a “Mother” (in the parlance of my new book, “Get to Aha!: Discover Your Positioning DNA and Dominate Your Competition“), customer service should be paramount. But if you happen to be a product-oriented company, or a “Mechanic,” product features and value need to take center stage. And if you’re the bearer of a world-changing concept, or a “Missionary,” your Next Big Thing or Cult of Personality should reign supreme.
DNA is at the root of everything — in people as well as companies — when it comes to competitive advantage. Just think about professional athletes and how their DNA influences their performance. Businesses should reflect the substance of a company, not an image dreamed up by the marketing department.
Yes, companies need to attract customers and keep them. But not every company succeeds with that because of the customer experience they’ve crafted. There’s a belief out there — a misplaced philosophy — that all companies must be customer-centric, what I call the Customer-Centric Conundrum. Customer-centricity is a popular trend that causes companies to work outside their corporate DNA; it’s a fad that’s gotten out of control. It’s easy to see how that happened. It sounds so warm and fuzzy to delight the customer, to be customer-centric, to listen to the customer, and so forth. Who wouldn’t want to do that?
But winning in business is about understanding what makes your product or service better than the competition and then leveraging that in your quest to conquer markets and keep customers.
If you discover that you are, in fact, a Mother, and you choose to differentiate and win because of the experience you offer your customers, you’ll need to nourish your company’s propensity to nurture customer connections. How you hire people, how you compensate those hires, how you measure individual and group success, what you talk about in meetings, your choice of language and tone of voice, your corporate structure—everything must be geared toward maintaining those precious customer relationships.
Here’s what Mothers like Disney, Lyft, Nordstrom, and Zappos do every day. They focus on customers in management discussions, measure success in terms of relationships—not just sales, initiate tracking studies and market research to get to know their customers, create a customer experience that transcends product offerings, measure profits against customer segments, drive marketing through brand and customer loyalty, motivate employees to excel at customer service and work tirelessly to ensure that their value proposition delights customers.
Is your company a Mother? If so, make sure every single thing your company does is geared to support Mother DNA. Otherwise, you’ll be expending energy on the wrong things. Knowing what you’re made of helps you make something of it.
*Originally published on the McGraw-Hill Professional Business Blog
Andy Cunningham is the founder and president of Cunningham Collective, a marketing, brand and communication strategy firm dedicated to bringing innovation to market. She is also the author of “Get to Aha!: Discover Your Positioning DNA and Dominate Your Competition“.
by John Valiton, CEO at Reemo Health
While leaps and bounds beyond what we saw even five years ago, the health tech industry has yet to be fully explored. There is such a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs to use their technical abilities to advance the way individuals deal with their health — especially in terms of aging care. To put the space’s potential into perspective: the senior care industry is projected to reach a worth of $400 billion by next year alone.
While we’ve seen numerous startups come into the scene that focus on easing the challenges adult children and family members face as their loved ones age, there is still a huge gap that needs filled with technology that specifically delivers everyday value to individual seniors. And this isn’t just a job for those entrepreneurs already immersed in the healthcare space. Entrepreneurs coming from outside of traditional healthcare should consider leveraging their knowledge and experience to achieve novel solutions that would not have been delivered from inside the traditional health ecosystem.
Why? First — their solutions can have meaningful improvements on seniors’ day-to-day lives and the quality of their care. Second — the 74.9 million Baby Boomers have more wealth than any other generation and are looking for ways to maintain their independence and quality of life. They may be slower to adopt technology than Millennials, but show plenty of appetite for tech that can support their health and wellness.
So, how can entrepreneurs muster what it takes to enter the senior care space? Like any successful business venture, there has to be a personal element to the venture. As I and the founders of my company quick found out, there’s a lot more motive to create a solution that vastly increases care when it’s directly impacting a loved one. Once you’ve identified that area of senior care that sparks your passion, it’s time to start doing your research.
Take time to identify if that need is something that others struggle with, then dive even deeper. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty, and take the time to sit down with individuals to gather personal anecdotes about their struggles or victories. Once you’ve learned all the ins and outs, specific challenges, and developed deep empathy for that specific need, you’ll be in a position to truly make a difference — and your chances of actually succeeding will be substantially better, because your solution will resonate with people. Stay open and listen to the voice of the users. Your product and your business will be better for it.
John Valiton is CEO of Reemo Health, a senior health technology solution designed to empower caregivers with actionable insights to improve the aging experience. He has been an avid technology enthusiast since an early age, and applied his interest in all things tech at the intersection of IoT, wearable technology, healthcare and data science through his position as a strategic advisor, Chief Revenue Officer, and now CEO for Reemo.
Technology has made positive changes in every industry in the last few years, including the healthcare industry. This is one of the main reasons why more and more people with innovative ideas and unique approaches to healthcare are interested in creating startups. Obviously, creating a healthcare startup is more than a business – it’s an opportunity to help people.
So, it’s not an exaggeration to say that healthcare startups are among the most attractive ventures today. If a healthcare startup is something you’re interested in creating, you should take a few things into consideration.
Analyze Laws and Regulations.
As a future entrepreneur, you shouldn’t forget that the healthcare industry is highly regulated. These regulations are put in place to keep the privacy of patients safe and to protect patients and public health. This is where many people give up on their idea because they simply don’t have enough time to go through all these regulations and they believe that they can’t meet the requirements. HIPPA, the Affordable Healthcare Act, the FDA…these are just some of the many regulatory bodies and reforms that you should consider. But, those who think that they can overcome these issues can go on to build a successful startup like Maryland Addiction Recovery Center.
This center was founded by Samuel Bierman and Zachary Snitzer a few years ago as part of Polaris Recovery Centers. Samuel Bierman has worked for a few reputable treatment centers like Caron Renaissance and Caron Treatment Centers before he decided to start MARC. Today, he is the executive director at MARC. Zachary Snitzer is the director of business development at Maryland Addiction Recovery Center. He was working as a director of online marketing for a local company and for local TV before the MARC project.
Understand the Highly Competitive Market.
We would like to highlight the fact that healthcare startups are not the same as other types of startups, especially tech startups. It is not easy to become visible in this market because there are many well-established organizations with decades of experience. That’s why entrepreneurs should embrace a unique approach – instead of competing against these reputable companies, they should find a way to cooperate with them. There is always room for cooperation in this field, so this should not be a difficult task.
Use Mobile Technology.
Mobile technology is probably not the first thing that crosses your mind when thinking about healthcare startups, but the truth is that this technology is already playing an important role in this field. In recent years, with so many people utilizing mobile devices, patient centered care has adopted mobile technology to better serve patients. Leveraging tools like mobile apps, text communication, and telehealth services is a smart, modern way to boost communication and patient satisfaction. The way you innovate doesn’t have to be related to mobile technology, but you should definitely use it as part of your business model. In this way, you will boost productivity and make things simpler.
We hope that these tips will help you get a clearer picture of the current situation with healthcare startups.