Is Social Media Marketing worth the hype?

Social Media Marketing has been quite in vogue since the onset of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and many others. Facebook and Twitter are largely being used by all types of big and small business organizations as a marketing tool. This latest technique is considered as a great way to enhance the interaction with customers. But is really social media marketing worth the hype?

Is-Social-Media-Marketing-worth-the-hypeWell there are various points of views by different experts on this issue. Some think that social media doesn’t play the marketing role well enough and it is being used by only a small percentage of entrepreneurs all around the world. Because of the low cost or free advertisement on these sites, mostly small businesses use this approach much widely than bigger organizations. A different set of thoughtful experts argue that although it is a new way to advertise and promote your products but social media actually plays a smart role in developing a loyal customer following even for bigger organizations. The low cost advantage will stay there for almost any entrepreneur making these sites one of the best tools.

Well obviously, the users on such sites have increased to billions over the recent years. And if you put a constant effort of promoting your brand to such a diverse customer range, you are definitely going to reap the benefits. But there should be a constant and systematic approach to the social media marketing. It is not for people who try once and twice to give up because they don’t have the patience and time. It is for people who are consistent, have something amazing to offer and believe that they can make a great customer network through such sites.

So what makes marketing work on these social sites? The basic customer first attitude and a great story that will attract people will stay the landmark like any other type of advertisement. Just because you managed to get 1000’s of “Likes” from users in return for some incentives or discounts does not mean your job is over. A company should take the social media networking as a direct communication between them and their customers. This is a great way to increase mutual understanding and insight.

The best way to promote your products and services is to develop conversations with customers and making your presence felt on the social media. Be authentic and true in every update that you give and you will definitely win over loyal customers around the globe. If you talk with authenticity, there is a high chance that you will gain more followers through the network of your existing followers.

Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are definitely excellent sites to start marketing. But if you want to market to other businesses, LinkedIn is a great social website to focus on. Basically, you need to set your goals and use the social media systematically to achieve them. Social media marketing will surely bring some level of influence both directly and indirectly on your business.

 

5 iphone Apps to increase productivity

If you are an iPhone user like me, I am sure you would agree that it’s a great way to boost your productivity and power through the day using some of the awesome apps available at the marketplace. Nowadays professionals on-the-go generally use their smart phones much more than their computers or laptops for conducting their business. iPhone is one of the best smart phones for this purpose. It has almost 200,000 apps in store for you. Now, most of them maybe completely useless to you but you can find some absolutely amazing apps on your iPhone to help out in your routine work and increase productivity.

5-iphone-Apps-to-increase-productivitySo what are the best iphone apps to increase productivity?  Well, it depends on your particular needs. But here are the top 5 best ones exclusively tested out for you:

1. EverNote:

EverNote is an absolutely free application that will surely help you save a lot of time when you are on-the-go. It is the most favorite app of a huge number of iPhone users. It basically jots down your notes quickly and retrieves them later. You can capture your notes and images through the camera and then tag them to your desktop. All your info will be stored in the cloud for you to search later. You cannot get the option of editing the text though. But honestly, it is still at the top of all the apps available on iPhone for its ease of use.

2.      eMeetme

How to create iPhone AppsIf you are a very busy person with an extremely tight schedule, this application will make you shed off some of the stress. It will highlight all your important meetings and time slots on a calendar to help you decide in a minute where can you fit in your next meeting, date or appointment. Not only this, this application will help you choose a perfect slot and forward the time to the whole group via email. Handy, isn’t it?

3.      Simplenote:

You can get a lot of options for making notes on the iPhone and you can even use the in-built note taking app. But when you will use the free simplenote, you will definitely forget any other note taking app. The reason is that this app will synchronize your notes and make them available on the cloud so you can access them from any browser anywhere. You can take quick notes like URLs, phone number and to-do’s with ease.

4.      OmniFocus: 

Omnifocus is one of those apps that surely make your life easier. It is basically a task management device which is designed to quickly store your thoughts into actions. The best feature of this app is that it allows the user to make location based tasks using its GPS navigation system. And you can further synchronize  Omnifocus with your Mac to get a easy transfer of your task list.

5.      Pastebot:

Pastebot is clipboard manager for your iPhone. This app will save your text history, your photos and other information that you copy on your phone so that it can be accessed later. It can also be used to paste the information on other apps or places in the phone. It is very handy for data entry and organization.

These are the apps that I use personally and I am sure there are lots of other good options too. I would love to hear about your choices and the apps you use to increase your productivity!

Managing a Virtual team

As we all know, that world has become a global village with the onset of internet and telecommunication advancement. Internet has brought the whole world together with the click of the mouse. The vistas of business world are expanding widely with the fast communicating world. Now you can build, expand and manage your business online as efficiently as you do it at your office. For every successful business, you need a team of highly skilled and motivated employees. Now hiring and retaining employees can be an expensive deal and most small business owners struggle with this important aspect of their business. Most of the internet savvy business owners are resorting to hiring employees online and getting their work done through this virtual team. It not only saves office space and other overheads, it also gives them access to a vast talent pool for affordable prices.

Managing a Virtual TeamBut managing a virtual team can be tricky sometimes. You can’t just walk over to their desk anytime and see the work progress or monitor their work. So how do you make sure you get the work done on time and as per your guideline? Below are a few tips that might be helpful in managing your virtual team:

  • Establish Flawless Communication:

The first rule of managing a successful virtual team is to establish a flawless communication system. Keep in touch with your team members via email, phone or Skype. It is a great practice to have a combined conversation or a virtual meeting once a week. This will develop an insightful team spirit when all the members know each other well. Make it a point to motivate and encourage your team members virtually through these meetings. And keep your communication systems flawless. Have a high speed internet connection and try to remove all communication hurdles

  • Set team objectives and goals:

Like a real team, set your virtual team’s objectives and goals clearly. Then plan every step to achieve those goals. When your team knows about their goals, it will strive for achieving them harder.

  • Manage workload on weekly basis:

It is a good practice to give your team member a weekly schedule ahead of time, this way it becomes easier to manage the workload. Daily workloads often get into technology mishaps, so try to manage your work on weekly basis. You can also manage your work 5-6 days a week and give a day or two off for rest.

  • Give regular feedback:

Always keep in mind to encourage and keep your team members on the road to success by giving regular feedback. This will make their work easy and after some time they will work better than your expectations. Be extremely polite and professional in giving feedback so as not to discourage your team members.

  • Keep Time differences in mind:

When you are managing a virtual team from different corners of the world, always keep in mind the time differences. Do not make anyone feel left out because of their time clash. Always keep rotating the meeting time to involve everyone in your meetings at different time.

  • Be sensitive about the cultural differences:

When you are managing a virtual team, the members will be from different cultures and might need work days off according to their culture and rituals. So be sensitive about these cultural differences. Never show prejudice to any of your team members because of his/her cultural background.

  • Be available to your team members:

If you are heading a team, you ought to be available to your team members all the time. Even if you are not in office you can use technology to be connected to your team members on the go. If you can’t do that, either keep a virtual assistant or hire a team leader for this purpose.

At the end of the day, managing a virtual team or an employee’s team in your real office is not that different. You have to keep the basics in check – communicate, prioritize work, motivate employees and have a good incentives scheme for your high performing employees. The only difference is how you manage to do so with a team which may be miles away physically and I hope the above mentioned points help bridge that gap.

Tips for better Work-Life balance

Work-Life balance is a real problem in this fast-paced work environment and should be handled with great care. It is a common observation that most people in demanding jobs can’t really manage both quite well, hence adding to the stress of routine life. Off course managing a job successfully can highly stressful but one should always keep in mind that the job is for the happiness and security of personal and family life.
Work-life balance tips At the end of the day, no job or business can give you as much satisfaction as spending some quality times with your family and friends. You will certainly regret the moments you could have spend with your loved ones if you spend every waking moment stressing about your work.

So let’s see how you can manage your work-life in a better way. I have a few tips for you, which are quite simple yet extremely rewarding:

  • Plan your day with some quality family time. When you plan your day ahead and tell yourself that you will spend some quality time with your family, you will bring a lot of balance in your life. Maybe just an hour or two would be enough for a great family time, but if you don’t plan ahead there is a possibility that a lot other things will get in the way.
  • Try to finish your work during office hours. If it gets really necessary to bring office work at home, keep a separate work area away from dining or family area. This way you can completely focus on finishing your work rather than dragging it during your family time.
  • If you are being over burdened some days with huge assignments, you can always ask for help from your colleagues. And they will surely help you if you return the favor during their time of need. Try to manage as much as you can but if you are working way over time and can’t seem to control the work load then you can have a chat with your boss to diffuse the workload.
  • Outsource some of the work that sucks your energy or time. Nowadays, there are many responsibilities that can be handled by someone else easily. Try to think of ways on how you can make your work load lighter. Also, try to stop all the diversions like mindless internet surfing or office gossip.
  • Get up early in the morning. This will refresh you and keep your mind in focus. Those who get up late and go straight to work take a great deal of stress with them. If you get up early, take a nice long walk, enjoy some family time over breakfast and you will feel much better and energetic to start your work day.
  • Learn to say no even if it is hard for most of us to do so. If you are being over burdened with work or dragged into a useless party, just say no and save that precious time for yourself and your family.
  •  Take out some “me time” for yourself and do whatever you like – exercise, meditate, take a yoga class, paint, play a sport – whatever helps you unwind. In a tough routine, it usually gets hard to even think of taking care about you, but it makes a great deal of impact on your overall stress management. Take a yoga class or go for a run early in the morning. If you feel great, you can manage your work better too.

I would like to end this post with a quote by Lao Ztu:

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
– Lao Tzu

 

Dealing with difficult clients

Every new client brings a new experience and helps you get a better market exposure. Some of them are absolutely perfect, understanding and never get in the way of your expertise but others will surely make your head spin with their behavior. Dealing with difficult clientsSuch clients are not rare and you should be armed with techniques and clichés to deal with them.
Are you having difficulty in handling a client? Then you surely need to understand the definition of a difficult client first.

 

  • They come in the way of your expertise and constantly brag about their knowledge
  • They don’t trust you and often tell you that they can find a better option
  • They keep changing the project details every now and than
  • They  are very controlling and authoritative about the project
  • They  message you and want updates from you more than it is required

You will find many clients giving all these troubles or some will pick a few of these but whenever you notice such behavioral problems, beware – you are dealing with a difficult client!

Let’s see how to deal with such clients, after all we want our projects to go through smoothly and we cannot drop each and every project. You should maintain a good repute even with handling such clients.

  • Keep documentation record:

The first and foremost rule in handling clients is that you should never go easy with the written documents. Whatever you do, keep a written record. From the start of the project, get all the details in a document. Then you can safely complete your work without any fear. You can always show your client these documents at any point in case a conflict arises.

  • Understand the Psychology:  

Try to understand the psychology of your client and deal with them accordingly. Give regular updates and ask for feedbacks. If they are not confident over your abilities, try to make win them over by being extra smart. If your client is impatient about the work, you just need to update them regularly and politely assure about the work progress. If a client is too pushy and authoritative, you need to show some authority yourself. Remember you need to show authority to a bully to shut them up. So just observe tentatively about your client’s psychology and then act.

  • Give Respect:

Even if your clients are aggressive and ultimate nightmares, always give them respect. You should always act bigger than the other person to win the situation. So never lose your control and always respect the client.

  •  Don’t Argue:

Never argue with your client. Try to show them your perspective in direct ways like on a document or drawing for easy understanding. Tell them the pros and cons of their decisions. If they still insist on a wrong decision, then let them because after all it is their work. Arguments always worsen the situations, so keep away from them.

If you follow these basic guidelines and of course your own intuition, you should be ready to deal with the client from hell!

 

How to be a better Leader?

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality”.
Warren G. Bennis

The above words by Mr. Bennis really define leadership and a leader. A leader is not only a charismatic person with a flattering tongue, as we usually imagine him to be. A great leader has to have a far reaching vision on which he has firm belief and strives to turn that vision into a reality by the help of well organized plans through highly skilled people. Being a leader is really not as easy as it sounds; you have to muster a great amount of potential and skill, in addition to an extra ordinary vision. 

How to be a better leaderI just remembered another quote about leadership which states that leadership cannot be taught, it can only be learned. In this quote, you can actually find out the first step to be a better leader. Can you see what I am talking about? You got it right! You need to open yourself to learn about leadership. No one is going to come and teach you. It is you who have to take the initiative and actively observe great leaders to understand the art of leadership.

When you will start observing the traits of great leaders, you will understand that leadership is basically the art of making others do what they wouldn’t do if they are not led. In other words, a great leader is a master of people’s minds. Here we are going to discuss four principles to improve your skills for making people work for you happily and make your visions come true:

1.      Trade Minds with your subordinates:

This one basic principle is going to work like magic because it makes you think like the one whom you want to influence. Trading minds means getting into the shoes of other person and thinking out their reaction about a particular situation. You can forward your instructions better and inspire others to take action if you speak their language rather than your own. You can become a great speaker if you talk about the interests of your audience rather than babbling your own interests. You can influence anyone if you keep in mind their background and talk accordingly.

2.      Be a human not a machine:

Let’s admit something universal, nobody likes to be treated like a machine. Most of the times, people hate their bosses just because they are treated like mere machines than humans. If you want to be a great leader, treat people like humans. Keep a Be-Human approach in every situation.

3.      Think improvement and strive for higher standards in everything:

A leader’s mind sees what others don’t, that is what makes him a leader. Think progress; strive for improvement and better ways to do everything. Think ways to add value to your services, your subordinates and customers. Push for improvement and maintain higher standards in every aspect of your command.

4.      Take out time to confer yourself:

You have the solution to every problem if you use your inner wisdom. Try to tap your supreme thinking power daily to solve all your problems and get creative ideas.

Use these extremely simple yet powerful tips to be a great leader.  Have some tips of your own? We would love to hear them in the comments sections.

Naming a New Business

How important is a business name?

When starting a new business, one of the huge challenges you encounter other than creating a business plan is choosing the right business name. Your business name is very important for your business identity. If you want to create a mark in the market as well as make your customers remember your business, you have to come up with an effective business name. Keep in mind that your business name can play a substantial role in making or breaking your business position.

Naming a new businessFor every business, the business name is the only one that remains constant over a period of time. And that is one good reason why you have to have it right the first time. Your business name is what is usually remembered by customers and it creates the recall value of the product or services you are offering. As a result it gives value to your business and often the name of your business is an asset in itself.

Choosing the Right name for your Business

Creating a name for your business is actually not as easy as giving a name to a child or a pet. Proper consideration is needed to make it as effective for your business as possible. Before starting a new business, you have to come up with a business name that says more about your company’s expertise, products or services you offer and its distinctiveness from others. Creating a business name definitely needs several days of brainstorming. There are many factors that should be considered before selecting a right and an effective name for your business.

Your business name should be direct to the point and not just a charming one-liner which only you or your partners can understand. Make it short and easy to be remembered and be understood by customers. Customers should be able to distinguish the name of your business from your other competitors. Make it short and concise. If you need to think outside the box, then do so. With the many rising new businesses today, no doubt almost all words in the dictionary have been trademarked. So it has become a big challenge to come up with a unique name for your business. But with some innovations like tweaking of original words and spelling, you can create a name that is meaningful, unique and appealing to customers.

Getting the experts’ help

If you are a new entrepreneur and just starting a new business, turning to experts is also a good idea. You can always seek an expert’s advice in naming your business. It is very important especially if you are in the line of business that has a wide range of competitors. It makes your business name much more crucial in influencing your success. Getting around with some trademark laws is an important of creating a name. And having a business naming expert will make the process easier for you.

Naming a new business requires great effort on your part. The name of your business carries a potential for success in your company. It influences how your potential and existing customers will remember you. Since a name can prove a lot for your success, take your time in choosing one. And after choosing the right one, get on to your business and make that name be known.

How to write a business plan?

Do you want to start a business or improve the cash flow of your current business? Most people get so worked up in setting a new business or day-to-day worries of their current business that they don’t think twice about the direction they are moving towards. But you cannot run blindly and succeed. Anyone with a successful business will tell you that the first step towards success is to determine a business plan for yourself. If you want to be a great entrepreneur, don’t let yourself flow with the tide. Sit back and analyze your business goals and requirements. First think hard, than act and you will stay on the road to success.

How to write a business planSo stop procrastinating, pick up a pen and paper and start writing your business plan. It is not as difficult as most people imagine it to be. Just brush aside your worries and concentrate your mind on your business endeavors. A good business plan has generally well-determined form and content. It can be easily divided into three basic parts which are as follows:

  • The concept of your business which is more like your vision statement
  • The marketplace which concerns your competitors, and your target audience and customers
  • The financial section which circulates around your cash flow

Now you have a basic plan to ponder upon. As you can see that all these three areas are extremely vast, so for a more focused approach, a good business plan is further divided neatly into seven components which are explained below:

1. Executive summary: This is the outline and title page of your business plan which will determine your aspirations, goals, requirements, achievements and basically a summary of your business plan. It should read like an introduction page to an interesting book, giving all the important clues of what is in the book.

2. Business description: As the word ‘business description’ depicts, this area of your plan describes every aspect of your business. Determine what you will do and how you will make profit.

3. Market Strategies: Here you will describe your market, what will be your market shares, what will be the position of your business, how will you price and distribute your goods, what will be the promotional plan and where you will sell.

4. Competitive Analysis: In this section, you will search and determine your competitors, their strengths and weaknesses, their costs and products. You will analyze all your key competitors and formulate strategies to outshine them.

5. Development Plan: Nothing is perfect and can never be, there is always a room for development. Draw out development plans in this section including market development, product development and organizational development.

 6. Management Plan: Here you will determine about your day-to-day organizational needs including your staff structure, tasks assigned, your capital requirements, cost of goods and your organizational expenses.

 7. Economic and Financial components: In this last section, you will keep a check on your financial and economic data. Keep income statements, cash flow statements and balance statements under this section.

 Now that you have your business plan, the next step is to put your plan to action!

 

 

Steps to incorporating a company in India

India is expanding its borders for investors and providing maximum opportunities for business ventures in all fields. With the ever rising GDP rate, now is a high time for anyone to take the cue of rising financial horizons and dig into the business world for a shining future.

How to incorporate a company in India?If you are one of those future optimistic persons, it is the right time for you to setup a business in India. India offers flexibility to set up different types of business entities Like Private corporations, Public Corporations, Unlimited Company, Partnership, Limited Liability Partnership, Joint venture, Branch office, Joint Venture Company, Subsidiary Company, Sole Proprietorship and Liaison Office. You can start any of the ventures confidently by following some simple steps and procedures. The first brick that you lay on venturing a business in India is to incorporate it. This process of registering your company is under the charge of Registrars of Companies (ROC) appointed under the section 609 of the Companies Act. Their main duty is to register the companies in their respective States and territories.

For preparing to incorporate your Private limited company or Public Limited company in India, the steps are as follows:

  • The first step is to select a list of names that will show the objectives of your company. Also make sure that your name is not resembling any other business entity in India or Violating the Emblem and Names law. You may want to check whether a name already exists on the MCA website here.
  • You also need to apply for Director Identification Nubmer (DIN) (http://www.mca.gov.in/MCA21/Din.html). No one can be appointed as a Director unless they have been allotted a DIN.  Also every document prescribed under the Companies Act, 1956 need to be signed digitally with a Digital Signature of the Director., so it is compulsory to apply for and obtain digital signatures of atleast one Director.
  • Then you need to apply your chosen company names to the concerned ROC of your State to ensure that your selected name doesn’t already exist. For this you will have to apply in the General Rules and Forms with Rs.500 Fee.
  •  Then you need to arrange for Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association. Also arrange to stamp your Memorandum and Articles. Make sure your documents are dated after the stamp dates.
  • Get both these documents signed by at least two subscribers or more, in front of a witness.
  • You also need to get three additional forms and fill them accordingly. These forms include the Declaration of Compliance, Notice of the Office location of registered company and information about the director and managers of the company.

With the following documents prepared and filled, next step is to present them to the ROC with a registration fee. The exact provisions include:

  • 3 copies of Stamped and signed Memorandum and Articles
  • Three additional forms
  • If you have agreement regarding Memorandum and Articles, present it
  • If you have any agreement with the prospected director or manager, include it.
  • The Company name availability letter, which was issued by ROC
  • Power of Attorney by subscribers given to a particular person for correcting errors in the given documents and papers
  • The registration fee

After you submit these documents, your documents will be processed and you will be awarded with the Certificate of Incorporation by ROC.

 

For a public limited company formation, the procedure is the same with some additional steps listed below:

 

  • Submission of Form No.29 which is basically a Consent to act as a Director
  • Arrangement for payment of application and allotment money on shares already taken or agreed to be taken by the Directors.
  • Filing of the Statement in Lieu of Prospectus with the ROC in schedule-iv of the Companies Act.
  • Filing a declaration in Form-20
  • And finally obtaining the Certificate of Commencement of Business.

 

The process of registering a company in India takes around 40 days. If the steps seem daunting, you may even take help of professional CA’s and lawyers who can help you with all the procedures. You can do a research on Google to find reliable professionals for this important task.

You can find more information about the various process, rules and forms involved in incorporating a company on the Ministry of Corporate Affairs website.