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(showing articles 1 to 43 of 43)
(showing articles 1 to 43 of 43)

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Business Consultant experienced in helping small businesses.
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    For a business to be 100 percent effective, it’s leaders/executive team and employees must learn to adapt and change to ever-changing, mutable industries. From technologies to target audiences, som…

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    Business experts have a number of tools at hand to analyze company performance. Here are six frameworks that consultants and business analysts use, and that you might consider adding to your own set of tools.

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    Management analysts, often called management consultants, propose ways to improve an organization’s efficiency. They advise managers on how to make organizations more profitable through reduced costs and increased revenues.

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    Clinical research scientists perform medical research in labs, seeking better ways to diagnose and cure a wide variety of illnesses. Read on to learn how to become a research scientist, what kind of research scientist degrees exist, medical researcher salaries, and more.

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    Learn how to become a healthcare manager. Research the education and career requirements, training and common job duties, as well as the experience required for starting a career in the healthcare management field.

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    Those figuring out how to become a healthcare administrator usually need to start with a bachelor's degree and some work experience in the field. Here we discuss the necessary degrees, what a healthcare administrator does, and more.

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    A medical receptionist is a specialized doctor's office receptionist who typically has training in medical terminology, billing, and more. Learn how to become a receptionist and the specific job duties and career info for a medical receptionist.

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    Learn how to become a clinical nurse specialist. Research the education requirements, training information, and experience required for starting a career as a clinical nurse specialist.

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    Medical billing and coding clerks are responsible for interpreting the information on a patient's chart and generating invoices using the corresponding codes from insurance companies. Find out how you can become a medical billing and coding clerk, the courses and training required, and the available certification options.

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    Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a chief administrative officer. Get a quick view of the requirements and details about degree programs, job duties, and necessary skills to find out if this is the career for you.

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    Overhauling Your Business Model? 15 Steps You Should Take To Begin The Process

    Look At Your Historical Data

    Deciding if a particular model is working or is effective is not a matter of perspective, it is a matter of data. A company that has been in existence should have access to historic data that lends itself to in-depth analysis. The only real question is who should examine the data and provide conclusions: I happen to be a proponent of using external entities for such evaluations to avoid bias. – Kamyar ShahWorld Consulting Group

    Originally published at https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/09/26/overhauling-your-business-model-15-steps-you-should-take-to-begin-the-process/#3ab395f56af7

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    There Are Rational, Not Just Emotional, Reasons To Leave

    The first step in making such a determination is to establish your personal criteria. Evaluate based on how it makes you feel versus the reality of facts. Such a determination is vital in that decision-making process. And remember, my reality is not the same as your reality. An environment that you may consider toxic because of its hyper-competitiveness may be the optimal setting for another person. – Kamyar ShahWorld Consulting Group

    Originally published at https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/09/27/13-signs-your-workplace-is-toxic-enough-to-warrant-quitting/#6b49021551dc

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    12 Ways To Get Out Of Your Head And Combat Entrepreneurial Loneliness

    Change Up Your Routine

    It is no secret that daily routines are detrimental to long-term productivity. That being said, combating this particular issue is not complex: allow for change within the routine by adding and subtracting variables. One day make a call to an old mentor; next day, catch up on some fun readings; the next day, have lunch with a friend. The gist is rather simple. Even routines can accommodate loneliness. – Kamyar ShahWorld Consulting Group

    Originally published at https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/09/30/12-ways-to-get-out-of-your-head-and-combat-entrepreneurial-loneliness/#3cb96ca2aaf7

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    13 Coaching Professionals Explain How To Ask For And Negotiate A Raise

    Present The Theoretical ROI

    Among many other ways, I have seen work is to show your impact by calculating a theoretical ROI. Since most employees don’t have access to employer financial data, it may be hard to calculate one’s impact. However, with a bit of creativity and solid reasoning, one can create a compelling illustration of your contributions. It is worth mentioning that such a method would rely heavily on proper reasoning. – Kamyar ShahWorld Consulting Group

    Originally published at https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/10/02/13-coaching-professionals-explain-how-to-ask-for-and-negotiate-a-raise/#17828a6713fc

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    Here's How To Take Business Risks Responsibly, According To 12 Professional Coaches

    Start Small To Achieve Proof Of Concept

    Innovation, and even scaling a business, is inherently a risky proposition. One of the most time-tested ways of managing the risk is to start on a small scale to achieve “proof of concept.” Though it doesn’t magically eliminate all the risk, proof of concept will allow for proper analysis and preparation for larger rollouts. – Kamyar ShahWorld Consulting Group

    Originally published at https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/10/03/heres-how-to-take-business-risks-responsibly-according-to-12-professional-coaches/#ad3fcc07badf

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    Know Your Audience: 15 Strategies For Creating Your Ideal Client Profile

    Interact With Clients Face-To-Face

    When considering all the available tools and methods, it is easy to forget that end users are human beings that can’t be reduced to ones and zeros. Though it may be considered outdated, I have found that there is no real replacement for face-to-face interactions. Lack of resources may prevent face-to-face interactions, but it should be considered the top method in truly understanding customers. – Kamyar ShahWorld Consulting Group

    Originally posted at https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/09/24/know-your-audience-15-strategies-for-creating-your-ideal-client-profile/#59c63e971597

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    Dermatologists are a type of medical doctor who focus on the health of the skin. Find out more about how to become a dermatologist and whether or not this career is right for you.

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    Learn how to become a banker. Research the various education and career requirements, licensure, and experience required for starting a career as a banker.

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    Find out how to become a loan officer. Research the education and training requirements and learn about the experience you need to advance your career as a loan officer.

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    14 Major Considerations For Leaders Planning An Employee Retreat

    Get Your Team’s Input

    Balancing corporate outings is not difficult if the basics of the end goal are the starting point: teamwork. Considering that the most likely goal of such an endeavor is to improve both individual and team performances, the planning should involve team feedback. Using both individual and team input in planning is going to inherently result in more interest and better outcomes for the event. – Kamyar Shah, World Consulting Group

    Originally published at https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/10/04/14-major-considerations-for-leaders-planning-an-employee-retreat/#54d1a53d67f4

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    These 13 Nonverbal Cues Could Hurt You During A Job Interview

    Being Unenthusiastic

    Though one would think that being enthusiastic in an interview is a no-brainer, I have witnessed the opposite. In my experience, the candidate too often concentrates on appearing knowledgeable but misses the vital aspects of enthusiasm. It is almost equally a problem with employers. All the knowledge and expertise in the world cannot replace the enthusiasm needed to overcome daily obstacles. – Kamyar ShahWorld Consulting Group

    Originally published at https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/10/16/these-13-nonverbal-cues-could-hurt-you-during-a-job-interview/#2f08ee1449bd

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    15 Coaches Share How Introverted Leaders Can Succeed In An Extrovert World

    Don’t Let Your Introversion Limit You

    Yes, introverts have it harder when it comes to some aspects of a business. That being said, it is no different than any other obstacle that can be overcome by a wide range of solutions, including adjusting client acquisition and contact point workarounds. It is an issue that can be limiting, but only if it is allowed to. Don’t allow it to limit you. Limit its impact. – Kamyar ShahWorld Consulting Group

    Originally published at https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/10/17/15-coaches-share-how-introverted-leaders-can-succeed-in-an-extrovert-world/

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    Missed Deadlines

    One of the rather reliable ways to diagnose potential excess in workload is to match progress to initial timelines. Once the “noise” is cleared up, i.e. reasons that could have affected progress, it is simple to see what delays were caused by time or resource limitations. Combine that with frontline feedback and the data set for decision making is sufficiently usable. – Kamyar ShahWorld Consulting Group

    Originally published at https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/10/29/is-your-business-overwhelmed-by-heavy-workloads-here-are-10-signs-to-look-for/#1d8ef357290a

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    To be an effective manager at work takes far more effort than meets the common eye. It is challenging to consider the needs, goals and unique personalities of multiple people while also completing the necessary tasks that you have each day. Despite the challenges, it is mission-critical to gain employee respect.

    While your position of power puts you above them in your organizational hierarchy, it does not mean that they will automatically look up to you. Instead, you have to create the conditions to gain employee respect. Taking the time to learn and put into practice the types of habits that will yield positive working relationships and more productive employees is well worth the effort.

    Here are eight steps you can take to gain employee respect and form a more effective team starting today: is well worth the effort.

    1. Get to know them personally.

    The first step to gaining respect from your employees is to demonstrate that you care about them. When they feel important and thought of, they will be more likely to appreciate and listen to you.

    This involves getting to know them outside of the work setting. Learn about their interests, their family, their past experiences and other aspects that make up their character. Doing so will enable you to connect on commonalities that you have.

    In knowing a person better you will also be better able to understand them. It gives you a greater idea of their motivations, what they have going on outside of the office, and why they act in the ways that they do.

    This heightened sense of empathy goes a far way in garnering respect. You will be able to treat them well and give them the support that they need. That can establish trust and, consequently, respect that you are fit to be managing them.

    2. Demonstrate expertise in your realm without pretending.

    People respect those that they want to emulate. There is a reason that you are in the manager role and they are employees. You should not flaunt your successes, but you should be thoughtful about what they know about you.

    Be open about your past successes and expertise in the realm. Maybe you previously excelled in their role or you have spent a significant amount of time at the company and understand the business quite well.

    When employees believe that you have something to offer them and that you deserve to be in your role, they will respect you more.

    There are also times when you will have people working for you that have skills you do not. It is okay for them to be better than you at certain things. Your job is to empower them to excel, not to outmatch them in everything. There is, therefore, no need to pretend like you have skills or knowledge that you do not.

    People appreciate honesty. Although they might be more proficient than you at certain tasks, you can still thrive as a manager and gain employee respect.

    3. Treat them as equals.

    There is no need to treat your employees poorly — or ever as if they are below you. Strict adherence to organizational hierarchy can create resentment.

    Instead, treat them as equals. They will respect you for putting them on the same level as yourself. This means having faith in their competency (unless proven otherwise), talking to them as equals and not taking steps to put yourself above them.

    Having faith in them will enable you to create a stronger relationship with each individual and earn you far greater respect.

    4. Understand their personal goals.

    Each person working for you is spending a chunk of their life committed to your company, and their job plays a large part in their self-concept. They each have individual goals, and it is crucial to understand these.

    The best managers help their employees accomplish their dreams. When your employees know that you want to help them succeed, they will have much more respect for you. Although it can be challenging to lose a top performer to a different job or team within your company, employees will come and go no matter what.

    Having their best interests at heart will make them want to work for you. It will ensure them that their hard work will pay off, and, consequently, increase their happiness as well as output.

    5. Be receptive to feedback.

    Some managers commit the fallacy of thinking that they need to maintain a perfect image in front of their employees. In fact, though, doing the opposite will yield greater respect.

    Be receptive to feedback and make sure your employees know that. This will make them more comfortable being open with you, and it will give you an opportunity to improve. Plus, it will create a positive mindset for them. If you are trying to change and become better each day, then they should as well.

    This willingness to be self-critical and change over time will create a much more positive environment while also earning you more respect.

    6. Discuss the bigger picture.

    You do not have to share everything happening in your world, but it can motivate your employees to share information with them.

    Keeping them up-to-date on some of your work and the decisions being made above them can accomplish a few valuable things. First, it is energizing. It helps them see the big picture of the company and gives them a greater “why” for the work that they are doing. It also earns you more respect as they see the role that you are playing in those decisions.

    When you are working on challenging problems, this is especially the case. They will respect the difficulties you are facing. Plus, by having these conversations, you never know when a creative idea or solution could be proposed.

    7. Give them responsibility and trust.

    You have to let your employees run with their work. It is easy to micromanage and ensure that everything goes the way that you want. Although it is more comforting at the moment, doing so is much more challenging to sustain. It can be exhausting to have to watch out for every detail.

    When you micromanage, your employees are not able to do their best work. Giving them autonomy will make you both happier. An employee will put more effort into their jobs, and they will respect you for empowering them as opposed to holding them back.

    8. Never take things too seriously.

    Work is important; there is no doubt. Sometimes there will be high-stakes events going on around you. Regardless of the situation, though, you should not take things too seriously. There are typically more important things in the world than your job or the problem at hand.

    People immediately have greater respect for those that make them feel good. If you are constantly stressing your employees out, they will not enjoy working with you.

    By being light-hearted, you are showing them that they can enjoy their work. This will make them happier to both be at your company and to be working for you.

    The post 8 Ways to Gain Employee Respect appeared first on Due.

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    There are numerous benefits to freelancing. You pick your own hours, you are your own boss, and you get to choose the type of work that you do each day. Plus, if you find a good niche, you can make large amounts of money in short amounts of time. That means it’s possible to become a millionaire.

    A possible negative or con to managing yourself is that you have to be a self-starter. Once you secure a project, you have a timeline you will have to meet it by. It is entirely on you, though, to find new clients. You have to hustle, create a good reputation for yourself and do high-quality work in a timely manner.

    That being said, you can excel as a freelancer with a few simple steps. There is the internal component, which is putting in enough work and effort on your end. Assuming you will do that with vigor each day, the bigger challenge is finding enough business to make large sums of money. If you follow these nine steps, you can become a millionaire in under five years freelancing.

    1. Launch a professional website.

    When someone is deciding whether to give you a project, the only indicators they have about your quality of work are your previous projects and customer testimonials.

    Creating a website is a great place to showcase your past projects. You can, subsequently, exhibit the work you have done in the past and add some flair based on your personality. Make sure the site looks clean and professional. Despite how great your work might be, if your website does not look good, you will lose potential customers.

    A high-quality site will give you a great place to direct new clients. This will, consequently, help close more deals.

    2. Get reviews from past customers.

    In addition to showing off past work on your site, you should include customer testimonials. Prospective clients love to see that others have worked with you and enjoyed their experience.

    After you finish up a project, especially one in which your client was happy, you should ask them for a testimonial. You can, then, include this on your site and give new clients greater trust in what you will be able to offer them.

    3. Do cold outreach.

    You also have to hustle to find new clients. No matter how good your work is, it does not matter if nobody knows who you are. Therefore, you should frequently do cold outreach.

    You can pay $20 a month for a cold email tool and spend another $20 to find lead lists that fit your target demographic, for example. Then, you can reach out to them and see if they need any help. Even if you score just one client out of 100 emails, it will be worth your time.

    Furthermore, test different demographics and copies of the email. That will, subsequently, allow you to hone in on the most effective approach to finding new clients. In turn, you will build a sustainable route to continuous new business.

    4. Always expand your network.

    Spend time expanding your network. This means meeting people in the local area, getting your name out there in different communities and connecting with others in similar spaces as you. For one, this will teach you new things. Surrounding yourself with others who are best-in-class will provide great learning and improvement opportunities.

    In relation to your freelance work, networking will give you more chances to find projects. Frequently, people are approached by friends or colleagues asking if they know anyone who could help with a certain project. They, subsequently, scavenge their memory and will refer anyone that comes to mind.

    The more people you know, the more projects you will be referred to. In addition, these come in without you having to even look for them. Not to mention that you are also doing your friend a favor. It makes them look good to whoever asked, and they might even get a finders fee.

    5. Reach out to accelerators.

    Accelerators are a great place to find new business. They just brought in a handful of companies that are in growth mode and have already, or are likely going to, receive funding.

    Depending on the work you do, you should be able to find a niche group of companies that would benefit from your work. It is, consequently, a no-brainer to reach out to accelerators, or, companies within them, offering your services. These are highly-qualified leads and can turn into significant new business.

    6. Set up retainer deals.

    Working on a project and making $10K is nice, but it is much nicer when you can continue doing projects for a client over long periods of time. This provides consistent income without you having to find new clients after every project you finish. Plus, while freelancing is great, you could find yourself with a full-time offer from a company. In the right circumstances (high-growth company, stock options, etc.), it could make sense to take the gig.

    7. Establish a referral program.

    Create a public referral program. With past clients and even friends, you can share that you will give them a fee if they refer you to a project. This creates an incentive on their end and will give you new business without much work finding it.

    8. Leverage freelance sites.

    Getting your name on freelance websites can be very helpful. Although the sites tend to take a fraction of the cut, it is an easy way to find new business. You can always reject projects if you do not want them.

    9. Find additional ways to make money.

    As a freelancer, you have to get creative about ways in which you bring in money. This includes finding ways to upsell current customers. It also includes passive income streams. That could mean creating a ‘how-to’ video or book. It could be speaking at conferences, helping teach people or a variety of other things.

    These alternative revenue streams are quite nice and give you a great financial boost to become a millionaire.

    The post 9 Tips for Freelancers to Become a Millionaire in Less Than 5 Years appeared first on Due.

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    In the last several years more and more companies have become more receptive to hiring remote workers. In fact, it’s being predicted that by 2027 58 percent of the U.S. workforce will be freelancing.  As a business owner who relies on remote employees, I can tell you personally why this is no longer a taboo. In fact, for most of my employees — it is a definite perk. Employing remote workers allows you to hire from a wider talent pool that’s not restricted by location. What’s more, remote workers tend to be more productive and satisfiedRemote work also helps your bottom line. Companies can save $10,000 annually in real estate. Additionally, telework programs have 63 percent fewer absences, which saves businesses $1,800 per employee per year.

    The Signs You’ve Outgrown Your Remote Team

    While I’m a big proponent of having a remote team, there may come a time when you’ve outgrown your team. In order to be prepared, instead of being caught-off-guard, here are the signs that you should be paying attention to.

    You need a full-time staff.

    Unless you’ve specifically hired a full-time remote worker, you’re relying on freelancers. That’s not a bad thing at all. Hiring freelancers is a cost-effective way to get quality work done on specific tasks while you focus on growing your business.

    At the same time, they’re running their own business. That means they have other clients and may not always be accessible. Furthermore, if you’re investing in training or the position requires oversight, then it might be time to bringing a full-time employee.

    There are also some tax implications. If you have control over what the worker does, a written contract, and provide benefits, that individual is classified as an employee and not an independent contractor.

    In short, if you need a worker to be there full-time, and they’re classified as an employee, remote workers may no longer cut it.

    There’s a communication breakdown.

    With virtual workers you just can’t pop into their office to ask a question or see how they’re weekend is going. Remember, since they may have other clients or live in different time zones, communication is limited.

    This may not have been an issue in your early days. But as your team grows and you’re asking more of them, miscommunication can happen more frequently. That’s not good for productivity or morale.

    Remote workers don’t feel like part of the team.

    I’ll be honest. It can sometimes be a challenge to build a relationship with remote employees. Again, communication is limited and you don’t have the chance to get to know them over a cup of coffee. Even more, business owners occasionally tend to treat their remote workers like second class citizens.

    This may not be intentional. But, we often exclude them from company updates or events. While using tools like Slack and inviting them to join your newsletter helps, it’s not always the same when building your company’s culture.

    Less direct oversight.

    Traditional supervision usually isn’t possible with remote workers. Instead of directly observing their work, you’re focusing on the product of their work, as well as the results they achieve. As such, status updates become increasingly important in order to establish milestones and troubleshoot issues.

    This isn’t a problem when working with a smaller team, but it becomes more difficult to manage as your virtual team grows. It’s a definite sign that you have outgrown your remote team.

    Collaborative overload.

    Collaborative overload is a term coined by Rob Cross, Reb Rebele, and Adam Grant in a Harvard Business Review article. It describes how emails, meeting requests, and other frequent interactions disrupt highly knowledgeable and highly approachable employees.

    In fact, studies show that employees who are considered the most valuable collaborators within an organization often possess the lowest levels of job engagement and career satisfaction. That’s because the constant stream of requests prevent these employees from finding the time to do their own work. As a result, their quality of life is impacted.

    Constant communication is essential when working with remote workers, but if they’re being bombarded so much that it’s distracting and overwhelming them, it’s time to get some full-time employees.

    Remote team members are becoming less engaged.

    Remote employees may not have the distractions that the traditional office employee does. But, they do have their own issues to address, such as staying motivated, childcare, and home maintenance. As such, they need guidelines, expectations, and status updates to keep them engaged.

    As mentioned several times already, this becomes more challenging as your team grows. If you notice that your remote team is becoming less engaged because you can no longer motivate them, it may be time to make a change.

    Everyone can’t attend team meetings at the same time.

    Not every team member is expected to attend every meeting. That’s one of the ways that meetings can waste your time and money. However, there are times when you’ll want all hands on deck. You can help these remote employees feel like a part of the team by having them attend your team meeting through some avenue such as Google hangouts, or zoom.

    Of course, that’s not always possible with a remote team. If you live in New York and schedule a meeting at 9:00 a.m., you’re asking your employees in Seattle to attend a virtual meeting at 6:00 a.m. That’s not exactly fair to that employee — and I bet they’ll skip the meeting.

    If you’re requiring meetings where you need employees to be in attendance, it’s probably a better option to have an in-house team so that you’re positive they can attend.

    Customer service is lacking.

    For smaller businesses, you can outsource customer service. It’s a great way to enhance the experience of your customers without breaking the bank. However, outsourcing your customer service can backfire. Keep in mind that these employees may not know the ins-and-outs of your business and they may not have all of the information to assists a customer.

    Additionally, customer service doesn’t just stop with responding to questions or inquiries. Customer service also involves meeting deadlines, fulfilling orders, and building relationships with customers.

    If you notice that customer service is slipping, then you’ve most likely outgrown your remote team.

    It’s time to bring some tasks back home.

    Remote workers are ideal while getting your business rolling. However, as your company grows, it may start making sense to bring back certain tasks in-house.

    The aforementioned customer service is one example. But, so would be IT specialists just in case your network, website, or app crashes. You’ll need to resolve those ASAP.

    Resources aren’t a problem.

    In other words, do you have the money to pay a full-time staff? Can you afford a large enough office space? If so, this is an excellent long-term investment. It’s a sign that you have outgrown your remote team.

    Once again. Full-time staff has a deeper understanding of your business that’s useful when growing.

    Can’t leave the workplace.

    We all need to step away from work occasionally. Whether if it’s because you have a business trip, family emergency, or just need a mental day-off, you want to make sure that business runs smoothly while you’re out. That may not be possible when you have a remote team.

    If you find that you can never leave your workplace, then hiring at least even one employee to hold down the fort is worth the investment.

    The post You May Have Already Outgrown Your Remote Team appeared first on Due.

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    For the average investor, focusing on juggernauts like Apple or Amazon makes sense. They’re not only household names; they’re also proven game-changers. They have also tended to consistently perform well in the markets. However, smart investors pay attention to startups who are developing new technologies that are changing the game.

    Startups For Smart Investors

    While there are hundreds of amazing disruptive startups out there that deserve investing, here are ten that smart investors definitely shouldn’t ignore.

    1. Calendar

    Sure. You can live without a calendar. But, why would do such a foolish thing? After all, calendars create and track key events, activities, to-do-lists, and goals both individually and for companies.

    While there’s no shortage of amazing online calendars out there, the fact is they really haven’t evolved to meet people’s modern needs. That’s where Calendar comes into play.

    Created by serial entrepreneur John Rampton in 2017, Calendar is harnessing the power of machine learning in order to generate smart suggestions for when, where, and how a meeting should take place based on historical and real-time data. But, that’s just scratching the surface with this dynamic new innovation of a calendar.

    The Calendar app also sends reminders and notifications for your most important daily tasks so that you’re working smarter and more productive. It also can also be used to collaborate on schedules, assign tasks, and calculate the fastest route to your next appointment. Calender even integrates with most time tracking, project management, billing, and invoicing platforms.

    Simply put, this app has the potential to innovate your time management.

    2. Duo Security

    Founded by Dug Song and Jon Oberheide in 2010, Duo Security is a cybersecurity company that creates two-factor authentication for companies. When initially pitched, the co-founders were told that they would have to relocate to Silicon Valley from Ann Arbor. Seven years later, Duo provided them wrong, which is something smart investors should pay attention to.

    Duo has become Ann Arbor’s first unicorn company after raising $70 million this past October. The company has also reported that it has doubled its revenue for the past four consecutive years. Even more impressive is that companies like Facebook, Etsy, and Yelp are using Duo to handle their cybersecurity needs.

    3. Wag

    Smart investors know that consumers spend a lot of money on our pets. In fact, in the U.S. alone, pet owners spend close to $70 million a year on their furry family members. So, whenever there’s an interesting startup in this industry, you might want to take notice.

    Wag is an app that connects dog owners with trusted, certified dog-walkers. It was launched in 2015 in Los Angeles and New York after being founded by Jason Meltzer and Joshua Viner. Today, the on-demand dog walking app has expanded into over 100 cities. It also recently raised $300 million from the SoftBank Vision Fund.

    4. Tilr

    Established in 2015 in Cincinnati, Tilr was founded by Carisa Miklusak, Luke Vigent, Sam Pillersdorf, Stephen Shefsky, and Summer Crenshaw. The Ohio startup is hoping to revolutionize the hiring process by eliminating bias during the hiring process.

    Here’s how it works. Employees use an app to be matched with companies based on their skills, as opposed to keyword matches or titles. When there’s a match, the job seeker can accept or decline the position. If accepted, they can show up at the designated time and location to start working.

    Tilr is only available in four markets but is planning to expand into 12-15 new markets in 2018. Furthermore, the company has recently partnered with BlueCross BlueShield to create Anthem, an insurance program for the “gig” economy workers.

    5. Soofa

    Soofa isn’t the first company to think about smart city technology. But, this Cambridge-based startup is reinventing the idea. This is because of the creation of its solar-powered charging bench that contains cloud-connected sensor brain that’s approachable for anyone.

    Founded by Sandra Richter, Jutta Friedrichs, and Nan Zhao, Soofa was spun out of the Media Lab at MIT in 2014. Since then, it’s technology has expanded to more than 100 different cities. It was also voted as one of the Best Visions of the Future at CES 2018 by Engadget.

    To further help build communities, the company also created the Soofa Sign. Richter described this as “an off-grid digital community bulletin board that furthers our mission to create urban ecosystems that inspire.”

    Richter also said that 2018 has gotten off to a strong start. Soofa just launched a project in Las Vegas and is currently hiring.

    6. Keybase

    After founding OkCupid and SparkNotes, Chris Coyne and Max Krohn are trying for the hat trick with Keybase.

    This is a free app that allows people to encrypt their messages, chats, and file sharing across mobile phones and computers. Think Slack, but only private and protected. The company takes this seriously, which is why it noted in a blog post that, “At no point does Keybase have any private keys for any file or chat data. Your device keys never leave your device.”

    Since it’s launch in 2014, Keybase has raised $10.8 million in funding.

    7. Uptake

    According to a PitchBook report published in February 2017, Uptake became the fastest company ever to reach a $2 billion valuation. That shouldn’t be shocking considering it was founded by serial Chicago entrepreneurs Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky. If those names sound familiar, it’s because they also founded a little company known as Groupon.

    As for Uptake, it’s a predictive analytics software provider. It analyzes sensor data so that it will keep industrial machinery running smoothly by making real-time, actionable suggestions. As such, it ranked number five on the 2017 CNBC Disruptor list.

    Uptake secured $117 million in series D funding, during which Keywell said in a press release, “We’re on a growth trajectory now where there is virtually nothing standing in our way from being the predictive analytics market leader across every heavy industry, from oil & gas to mining and beyond.”

    “The opportunity is too significant for us to not double down right now.” Smart investors are sure to appreciate that.

    8. Zume Pizza

    Considering that pizza is a $32 billion industry, there’s definitely a market here. But, how can you differentiate yourself from every other pizzeria? How using robots?

    Founded by Julia Collins and Alex Garden, this Mountain View-based pizzeria uses robotics and automation while on the delivery truck. This way the pizza cooks while en route so that it arrives piping hot since orders are filled more accurately and quickly. The startup also only uses non-GMO ingredients from local farms.

    “We want to make sure everyone has access to high-quality, affordable food,” says Collins. “We wanted to identify places where humans were overtaxed physically, bored, or whether the job they were doing was not safe, like sticking their hand into a 600-degree oven for six hours a day.”

    So far, this innovative startup has scored $50 million in funding and could usher in a new era of automated food delivery. Zume is planning to serve the entire Bay Area by the end of the year, but the startup plans to go national as well.

    9. Forge

    Founded in 2015 by Stacey Ferreira, Talulah Riley, Scott Ferreira, and Lloyd Jones, Forge is an on-demand application that allows businesses to create more flexible schedules for employees — similar to the flexibility that gig workers and Millennials are enjoying. It also tracks the performance of employees.

    “Forge is creating an entirely new way for companies to source, hire, and schedule their hourly talent while providing complete flexibility to the employee,” Ferreira told Hatchpad.co. “In the Forge model, [multiple] companies in a [single] geography are using the Forge shared scheduling ecosystem, which allows them to upload the available hours when they need individuals to work in their stores.”

    Ferreira added, “They’re then onboarding their existing workforce; those workers have access to see all the hours and select which hours they want to work.”

    The company has raised $2.6 million in seed funding and is being used by companies like Amazon, Banana Republic, Target, and Dunkin Donuts.

    10. MoveWith

    This fitness app, which was founded by former Apple executive Holly Shelton along with Tricia Choi. It’s aiming to change how people exercise. How? By delivering audio workouts from well-known coaches directly to your personal device.

    With MoveWith users can take a range of classes for their body (like cycling), to yoga to meditation. It also encourages new trainers to join and build their business by creating a social following, while sharing a portion of the profits.

    MoveWith has raised $3.8 million in funding and is growing 100% per month, which is attractive to smart investors.

    The post 10 Startups Smart Investors Are Watching appeared first on Due.

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    Are you a business owner who has thought about taking your business international? If so, what is stopping you? Do you believe that only enterprise-level businesses can succeed overseas?

    The fact is that a whooping 98 percent of exporters in the U.S. are actually small and medium sized businesses.

    And, for good reason. Going global allows you to have a diversified and expanded customer base. As a result, exporters are able grow faster and are less likely to go out of business. It also makes you more competitive and ensures that you’ll have cash flowing in case of changing market tastes or unstable home conditions.

    While going international definitely has its perks, not every business may be ready to do so. So before blindly entering the global market, you should first make sure that you have what it takes.

    You’ve analyzed your bottom line.

    Before getting too far ahead of yourself, go over your bottom line. You want to make sure that you have the resources, capital, staff, scaleability, and reputation to take your company global.

    It’s going to take time and money to go international. If you don’t have the bottom line to properly conduct market research, for example, then you should probably wait until you have the resources to do so.

    You have the capabilities, but you’re not busy.

    Let’s say that you manufacture umbrellas. One day you walk your factory floor and notice that your employees are just hanging around. Even though you’re cable of producing hundreds of umbrellas a day, you just don’t have enough work to keep your team busy.

    If you want to get those production lines moving and keep your workers busy, then definitely look at overseas markets.

    International customers are beating down your door.

    Not literally, of course. But, have you noticed an influx of daily emails from global customers asking if your business is available in their country? When you attend industry events, like trade shows, are you constantly approached by international visitors?

    If so, then it’s time to start conducting some market research to see if there’s an opportunity in these international markets. I’ll discuss this in more detail momentarily.

    One final note here. You don’t necessarily have to wait for prospective international customers to contact you. If you’ve been monitoring your business, there could be social mentions of people using your products/services differently than what you intended. Reach out to these individuals to see how they use your business in their everyday lives. This could lead the way to discovering a new market.

    You’re experiencing a sales plunge.

    You’ve done everything right. You’ve created an awesome product or service, have been engaging with your audience, and have provided excellent customer service. Yet, sales are starting to drop.

    What’s the deal?

    The culprit is that your market is maturing. It’s no fault of yours. It’s because of competitors or new and disruptive innovations. It also could be because you’ve saturated the market and don’t have many prospective customers left.

    If you notice this, then it’s time to look overseas. If you wait too long, you’ll appear desperate.

    It’s time to reduce your dependence on existing markets.

    Think long-term. Business may be booming now, but what about five years from now? How about ten years from now?

    While you can’t predict the future, you can ensure that in case anything goes wrong domestically, such as slowdowns, economic headwinds, or seasonal problems, you still have your international customers to keep your business operational.

    You’ve done you due diligence.

    Think market research.

    You want to make sure that your products/services will sell overseas. Start by examining the success or failure stories of businesses similar to yours and understanding your target audience.

    Furthermore, you want to be aware of all possible hurdles. This includes:

    • Language and cultural barriers.
    • Tax codes and compliance issues.
    • Local competition.
    • Working at slower pace.

    Doing your homework ensures that there’s not only demand, but also that introducing your business to a new audience will be as smooth as possible.

    For example, outside of the U.S., Dominos sells the most pizza in India. This has been possible because the company understood that customers love shared plates, but also had to strike a balance between “serving local needs and retaining a patina of Western ‘cool.’”

    Without conducting this type of research, Dominos probably wouldn’t have had this success in India.

    Tips for when you are ready to go international.

    Are you ready to go international? Here’s a couple of pointers to get you started.

    • Before going international, prepare an international business plan. This will evaluate needs, set your goals, and ensure that you have the resources to go global.
    • Again, conduct though market research and learn about the culture of your new market. Use resources like the Department of Commerce and local partners who can inform you about the culture, laws, and can contact with you local business contacts.
    • If you sell products, determine how you’ll distribute your product. This could be opening a company-owned foreign subsidiary to working with agents, representatives, and distributors to setting up a joint venture.
    • Determine how you’ll price your products and be prepared to negotiate deals and navigate the murkiness of legal exporting.
    • Locate foreign and private sources of financing, like the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Also don’t forget to find a payment platform that allows you to accept global payments, while being complaint.
    • Finally, start selling your goods or services in your new market. But, don’t forget to follow regulations when packaging and labeling since they can vary from country to country.

    Still not sure if you have what it takes to go international?

    Then, take the SevenTudes Survey. It’s not an exact science, but it can help let you know if you have the attitude, aptitude, magnitude, latitude, rectitude, exactitude, and fortitude to decide if you are ready to go international.

    The post Is Your Business Ready to Go International? appeared first on Due.

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    If you’re a freelancer, invoice day is definitely a happy day. It’s basically like payday so long as your clients pay on time. It’s unfortunate, but many freelancers struggle with late payments from clients of even non-payment.

    To avoid this, you definitely need to carefully vet your clients ahead of time, but the day and time that you choose to send an invoice can also play a significant role.

    So what’s the best time to send invoices? Here are a few popular options to consider.


    The first/last invoicing method is pretty standard. It ideally means that you’ll send clients a invoice at the beginning of the month (first day) or at the end of the month (last day).

    Either option is a good one because at the end of the month, clients are often tying up lose ends and checking off their to-do lists. The first day of the month often represents a fresh start for clients. They may get paid from their sources, coordinate a fresh new list of projects, or set up a new business budget and take care of your invoice quickly to continue working with you.

    The 15th

    Sending your invoices on the 15th isn’t a bad idea either. If you’d rather get paid on a bi-weekly basis, sending invoices on the 1st and 15th can help regulate your income as well.

    You won’t have to wait 30 days to receive payment if you don’t want to. Just let your clients know about this invoicing schedule upfront first.

    When the Client Wants

    When does the client prefer to receive an invoice? You don’t have to cater solely to their needs and wants, but the client may have a preference based on their cashflow.

    For example, if your client is getting paid on the 1st of the month and reconciling other accounts, you may see a delay in your payment. However, if you mutually agree to invoice on the 5th of every month, that may be a smoother process all along.

    See if you can compromise if this applies but don’t feel the need to push past your comfort zone. Clients should still be paying you regularly and in a timely manner.

    As Soon As You Turn the Project In

    Sometimes it’s just best to send an invoice as soon as you complete the project. This is helpful if you have several clients and could potentially forget to send an invoice. Believe it or not, this has happened to me before and it’s not fun trying to backtrack.

    Another thing I see some people do is send an invoice in advance at the start of the project. Asking for all or even just 50% of the money upfront is a definite way to make sure you get your invoice paid on time.

    Morning vs. Evening

    If you’re wondering, what’s the best time to send invoices? you may want to consider the time of day carefully. While this may not seem like a huge factor, it still plays a role in when you can get paid. I’ve been sending invoices for several years now and have concluded that the best times of day at in the morning or the evening.

    This isn’t to say that your invoice won’t get paid if you send it at 3 p.m. It probably will, but there’s a higher chance that your client won’t be near their computer or may be caught up in another project at the time – thus delaying your payment.

    I find that it’s best to send invoices first thing in the morning when people are often checking their email and crossing off short tasks. You can also send invoices in the evening after you complete your work for the day. That way, your clients can see them first thing in the morning when they check their email.


    Sending invoices often means payday is near, but be care to consider when and how often you send invoices if you want to get paid quickly. Try some of these strategies out and see how they make a difference.

    You may want to try to automate your invoices as well each month to make it easier on yourself.

    The post What’s the Best Time to Send Invoices? appeared first on Due.

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    “The gig economy is currently estimated to be about 34 percent of the workforce and expected to be 43 percent by the year 2020,” Intuit (INTU) CEO Brad Smith said during an earnings call in September, 2017. “We think self-employed [work] has a lot of opportunity for growth as we look ahead.” Successful gig workers already know that.

    Smith wasn’t exaggerating. It’s also been found that on-demand workers in the U.S. is expected to double in the next four years. That means there will be 9.2. Americans working in the gig economy by 2021. For comparison’s sake, there will be more gig workers than those in finance or construction.

    Gig workers — which is a term borrowed from the music industry — has been driven by a surplus of independent contractors and freelancers who are choosing to work on-demand instead of becoming full-time employees. This has only been possible thanks to the technology that lets them find gigs via a digital marketplace. As a result, gig workers have the flexibility to choose who, when, where, and how to work.

    Tips From Successful Gig Workers

    Of course, for successful gig workers to thrive they also need to become proficient with the same technology that gave them this opportunity in the first place.

    These 10 tips will help you see what you will have to know and understand in order to make your own IT-gig business.

    1. They identify and strengthen their skills.

    In order to be successful gig workers, you first need to possess the skills that you can provide clients. In the past, they may have gained these skills by attending a class in-person. Today, however, there are a variety of online courses you can use to identify and strathern their skills.

    Let’s say you wanted to code. You can learn how to on sites like Codecademy or Coursera. Even if you work for Uber or TaskRabbit, you can take virtual classes to improve your skills. For example, Uber’s Quality Course helps you strengthen your customer service skills to discovering hotspots in your area.

    2. They tap into the power of analytics.

    Gig workers also harness the power of analytics. That’s because this data can be used to identify and understand your demographic. With this knowledge, you know where and how to connect with your audience online.

    Analytics can also be used to improve your performance. If you checkout ratings, for example, then you know what areas you need to improve-on to become a more effective gig worker.

    If you have a website, then Google Analytics should be your go-to analytics tool. You don’t have a website? No problem. Search for a third-party tool like SherpaShare. It’s a useful app that can help Lyft and Uber drivers earn the most from their trips.

    3. Build their portfolios and brand themselves online.

    Regardless of the target industry or specific skill that independent workers offer, it’s necessary to have an online portfolio. This gives prospective clients a chance to view the contractor’s work, accomplishments, and testimonials.

    With Behance, Coroflot, Portfolio Box, and Adobe you can easily create your own online portfolio — by the way, most of these tools are free.

    On top of building an online portfolio, gig workers brand themselves. This varies from industry-to-industry, as well as from worker-to-worker, but it usually involves having a strong social media presence. This is usually achieved by creating and sharing relevant and engaging your target audience online by asking questions or commenting on blog posts, forums, and Q&A sites.

    You may think that this is easy for the professional freelance accountant who focuses on LinkedIn, but think of what works best for you. For instance, if you pick-up gigs on Instacart, use Facebook Live or Periscope to show how quickly you can locate products in the grocery. If customers can see that you know you’re way around the grocery, they’ll more inclined to hire since they’ll know you can be on-time.

    4. Use an online calendar and scheduling tools.

    While having the luxury to create your own schedule is a major perk of being an independent worker, you also have to remember that it’s your responsibility to keep your schedule organized. If not, you’ll end-up double-booking projects or meetings. Additionally, if you don’t use these tools, you won’t be able to create a healthy work-life balance.

    So, if you rely on appointments, you can use Square Appointments for clients to book your services. If you need to plan a meeting, then a calendar app suggests when and where you and a client should meet. Once a meeting is set, the event will be added to your calendar.

    5. Are educated about staying secure.

    Security should be a major concern for gig workers. Not only because much of their work is online, but also because they’re transferring sensitive data like their customer’s payment information.

    As such, they take the time to educate themselves on effective security precautions like:

    • Not leaving their devices unsupervised in public settings. They also don’t use strange USB drives or devices since they may contain viruses.
    • Using secure connections including HTTPS and a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
    • Getting a public/private key so that they have a unique, digital signature.
    • Encrypting all files — especially when emailing them to someone else.
    • Using strong passwords. They’ll use a tool like LastPass to manage and even share these passwords if needed.
    • Being aware of scams like phishing.

    6. Use the right communication channels.

    Unlike traditional employees, gig workers can’t just pop-in their colleague’s office to ask a question or collaborate on a project. As such, communication tools have become absolutely essential.

    These tools include Skype, Slack, and Google Drive. Each tool has a different function, such as to call, message, and share documents with clients and colleagues. Hangouts and WebEX are used for virtual meetings, while Trello and Basecamp are popular project management tools.

    7. Gig workers think mobile first.

    Gone are the days where you’re stuck behind a desk all day. At the same time, you’re expected to respond to clients and colleagues ASAP. As such, gig workers think mobile first.

    This doesn’t mean that they just have smartphone to respond to emails, texts, or direct messages. All of their tools are mobile-friendly so that they can effectively run their business wherever and whenever they are.

    8. They embrace the cloud.

    Storing data, such as receipts, invoices, contact information and project files, can be expensive. Between the cost of paper, filing cabinets, and the time to manage these files, relying on paper files can cost you thousands of dollars per year. But, you already know. That’s why you’ve moved to the cloud.

    This not only eliminates those costs, but it also allows you to access and manage these documents from your mobile device. And, if your device ever crashes, your files are still these since they’re on the cloud.

    Storing your data on the cloud can also get pricey. It’s been found that storing a single TB of file data is $3,351 a year. Thankfully, there are free cloud storage options like Google Drive, Mega, Box, and pCloud.

    9. Know how to to get paid quickly and reliably.

    Unless working with a third party, independent workers use the right tools to get paid quickly and reliably. For some, that could be through gateways like PayPal or in-person payments like Square or Flip. Other times they’ll need an invoicing tool that also accepts a variety of payments.

    10. They stay up with emerging trends.

    Finally, successful gig workers keep up with emerging trends that will improve their business. For example, they’ll look into AI-powered chatbots that can handle customer service inquiries and schedule meetings. It can also be used to provide real-time support, such as tax advice for freelancers.

    They’ll also pay attention to technology like the blockchain. This could make receiving payments faster, cheaper, and more secure. Additionally, it could be used to create smart contracts and help become aware of the tax, legal, and other regulations within their country.

    The post 10 IT Tips That Successful Gig Workers Understand appeared first on Due.

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    As a business owner, I’m sure you’re always on the lookout for gaining a competitive edge. While delivering excellent products/services and providing top-notch customer service is a must, so is being socially responsible. Being socially conscience is essential for your survival. Customers, Millennials in particular, expect and prefer to support businesses that focus on company social causes to make a difference.

    Company Social Causes

    Additionally, being socially responsible can improve your bottom line by:

    • Expanding your target market size.
    • Encourages customers to pay a premium price.
    • Increases customer advocacy.
    • Improves your team’s morale and productivity.
    • Improves employee retention and attracts better candidates.
    • Makes your business more attractive to investors.
    • Provides opportunities for financial grants.

    As you can see, it just makes sense to get behind company social causes. The thing is, how can you make sure that you’ll follow-through so that it doesn’t fall by the wayside.

    Align with the right company social causes.

    Entrepreneurs are known for wanting to make the world a better place. We’re also known for having a million ideas at once. So it shouldn’t be surprising that you probably have several social causes you want to support.

    However, just like when starting your business, you first need to select one idea and run with it. You may want to help the homeless, protect the environment, and improve education. But, that’s spreading yourself way too thin – which in turn will make more challenging to follow-through.

    Before you start championing a specific cause, you first need to match your company with the right cause. Sometimes this is obvious. If you sell pet products, then you would want to support a local animal shelter. If you operate a food truck, then you could help feed the homeless.

    Other times it may be personal. If you come from a military family, then your social cause could revolve around helping veterans.

    Still stuck? The good people over at Classy have an excellent article on how to find the right cause for your company.

    Here’s some of the highlights:

    • Find a nonprofit whose mission statement and values align with yours. For example, if you sell health food, then team-up with an organization that’s fighting diseases. This will involve conducting some research.
    • Consult a professional. If you don’t have time to conduct research, then hire a company like One Hope Foundation. They specialize in matchmaking so that you’ll be working with the right non-profit.
    • Find a social media savvy partner. Does the organization have a strong social media presence? If so, it’s beneficial for both parties since that can help gain more exposure, spread the word about your partnership, and increase fan, donations, and website traffic.
    • Survey your employees. You could also ask your team what they’re interested in supporting. You can also ask how they would like to help. Do they want to volunteer or raise money?

    Focus on you and your team’s skills.

    “Spending too much time in your weaknesses wears you down. Spending more time in your strengths helps you renew your energy and find your flow,” writes J.D. Meier on Time.

    So how does this apply to sticking with your social causes?

    If you find a cause where you can put your talents, or your passion, to good use you’ll be more motivated to stick around. For example, if you can code then help build a website or app for the non-profit you choose. If you enjoy cooking, then offer to cater fundraising events.

    Know what you want to accomplish.

    Whenever you want to successfully follow-through with something, you need to do some up-front prep. The first place to start is knowing the goal that you want to accomplish.

    When it comes to social responsibility, Susan S. Davis writes on Chron.com, that the “business goal of social responsibility is to encourage the company’s actions toward the positive impact of consumer, community and employee responsibility.”

    Here are some examples:

    • Instituting a hazard control program looks to “protect the public from exposure to hazardous substances through education and awareness.”
    • Setting up a foundation to improve the community, such as planting a community garden or repairing a local school.
    • Raising money to “aid local charitable, educational and health-related organizations to assist under-served or impoverished communities.”
    • Creating Shared Value. As Jocelyne Daw at JS Daw & Associates explains, is “when companies generate economic value for themselves in a way that simultaneously produces value for society by addressing social and environmental challenges.” For example, if you manufactured shoes, you could launch a line specifically for underprivileged people.
    • Spreading social awareness. For instance, if you were a payments company you would create content informing people how to protect themselves from cybercriminals. This also shows that you follow compliance and ethical business standards.

    Nikki Korn, principal of Cause Consulting, adds that in order to create an effective social responsibility mission for your company you should;

    • Be authentic.
    • Think locally — even if you’re national or global company.
    • “Focus on an effort that promotes teamwork and passion among your employees. In most cases, the staff plans the vision.”
    • Make social responsibility a part of your company’s DNA.
    • Promote your cause.

    Understand the sacrifice.

    When you start devoting resources your social cause, it’s going to take some resources away from somewhere else. For example, you might have to sacrifice a family dinner here and there. As for your business, you may lose out on some profits.

    According to a Florida Atlantic University study, companies that “do good” are likely to find that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is bad for their bottom lines.

    This shouldn’t be all that surprising since you’re diverting time and money from your business to your social cause. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the long-run, but if you don’t have the resources now, that could spell trouble.

    Make social responsibility work for your company.

    “Giving back” doesn’t cut it these days. Instead, you need to be a good business that does good things. Toms Shoes, Annie’s Homegrown, and Warby Parker are just a couple of businesses that have achieved this goal. In other words, as mentioned above, it’s a part of their DNA.

    So, how can you make social responsibility work your company?

    Start as early as possible. Being socially conscious should be tied into your brand’s mission. Once you determine what you want that to be, you’ll be associated as a “good” business. Of course, this also means promoting your social mission.

    Also, don’t forget to get your customers involved. Encourage them to come out volunteer or allows them to choose where cause dollars will go. This makes them feel more empowered and engaged.

    Set deadlines.

    Setting a deadline is a great motivator. That’s because it lets you know whether or not you’re on track for achieving a goal. For example, let’s say you want to raise a $1,000 in two weeks. You’ll use that deadline to hustle so that you’ll reach that goal.

    Even more, make that declaration public on channels like social media. As noted in The New York Times, “Publicly committing to meeting a deadline is a powerful motivator because it puts your reputation on the line.”

    Establish charity rewards and bonuses.

    Finally, use incentives like rewards and bonuses to stay committed. As I mentioned in an article for Entrepreneur, this could be offering unlimited time-off for volunteering or connecting donations to sales figures. You could also launch a referral program “where employees who refer people who make charitable donations or complete charitable hours.”

    The post How to Ensure Company Social Causes Don’t Fall by the Wayside appeared first on Due.

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    We often look at every billionaire and write their success off to luck or natural ability. It is a huge fallacy to commit this type of thought, though, and, it is actually detrimental you. Making excuses for others’ success gives us a reason not to work hard. It is easier to think that people who have accumulated wealth have done so because they were lucky or genetically gifted. It is harder to look in the mirror and ask why we have not been able to accomplish similar things.

    The reality is that almost everyone that has become successful has worked extremely hard and smart to get there. They were once in your shoes. We just tend not see them as they are working their way up. We only see them at the top.

    Be Like Every Billionaire

    A great way to start working towards success is to look at famous people and see what they did before they became rich. Those tactics give you a starting point and can be emulated.

    Here are 6 habits, specifically, that almost every billionaire formed before becoming famous that you can begin today:

    1. Build and maintain a strong network like every billionaire.

    Since day one, every billionaire has been working on their network. They are extremely thoughtful about maintaining relationships with people who they want to stay connected to. They also reach out to those they believe they can learn something from.

    This works best when it is a two-way street and you are able to offer value in return, as well. Your network is drastically important because it is through connections that you might score a new job, a big sale, or even a company acquisition.

    All successful people have thanks to give to those around them. It was themselves, though, that created the network that opened those doors and opportunities.

    2. Wake up early.

    The mornings tend to be the best time of the day to get work done. There are exceptions to this rule, but most billionaires have developed the habit of waking up (and going to bed) early. They take advantage of the time in the mornings when there are minimal distractions, and they have learned how to get their days off to a perfect start.

    Plus, they do not waste time at night. There will always be interesting television or sports to watch. In order to be more productive and efficient, cutting out unnecessary television is a must. The most successful people have had such an accomplished and positive day that by the time night arrives, all they want to do is sleep.

    Not only does it save them time, but they sleep well since they are exhausted once they put their heads down.

    This tendency becomes even more important after achieving success because the number of distractions that enter life will only go up. Having proper habits enables billionaires to maintain their high productivity, even when the noise around them increases.

    3. Constantly learn.

    The world contains infinite knowledge. The best people are always taking advantage of it. They read, listen to podcasts, audiobooks and explore their intellectual curiosities in other ways. This tendency has paid large dividends for every billionaire.

    First off, it allows them to pick up new hard skills whenever they want. It also gives them a wider perspective to tackle problems. They are able to bring together knowledge from a variety of disciplines to help inform their decision making.

    Many people look at billionaires and say that they are very intelligent. While that is true, it is not out of pure genetics. They have developed their brains through constant learning. These are the habits that enable them to think creatively and diversely.

    4. Frequently set goals.

    Setting goals gives a sense of urgency and direction for your time. With unstructured time, it is easy to get side-tracked or work inefficiently. When you set goals, on the other hand, you are pushed to get things done in a timely manner. This creates urgency and promotes harder (as well as smarter) work.

    Plus, setting goals helps align your actions with what you truly desire. Successful people figure out what they want from a young age and make decisions accordingly.

    5. Forget conventional thinking.

    Society tells us to act in certain ways and it places a higher value on certain professions or lifestyle choices. Every billionaire, though, has had to stand out to achieve their success.

    From an early age, they were able to forgo traditional thinking. This allowed them to pursue unique ideas and careers that led to their massive success. They spent significant amounts of time doing what they wanted to do. That enabled them to both make unique choices, and also spend time on something sustainable that they enjoyed.

    6. Be surrounded by other great people.

    Very few people have been able to rise to the top by themselves. They have, rather, needed a strong support and mentor network. This gives them love and support through hard times, as well as people that can push them to be better each day.

    There is a reason that successful people frequently end up having been friends before they were famous. We need to surround ourselves with the best people in order to stay motivated and learn at a fast rate.

    From an early age, every billionaire sought out others like themselves and they used each other to propel their success and efforts.

    The post 6 Habits Almost Every Billionaire Formed Before They Became Famous appeared first on Due.

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    Regardless if you’re searching for a job, seeking a promotion, or growing your business, building a personal brand can help you achieve these goals. More importantly, having your personal brand makes a great first impression and prevents others from tarnishing your good name. With that in mind, let’s dive deeper into the benefits of having your personal brand on social media and how you’ll be able to effectively create one.

    Why You Need to Brand Yourself on Social Media

    Do you really need to have your personal brand on social media? Why, yes — yes you do. Here are the reasons why.

    Makes a strong first impression when introducing yourself.

    Even if you have a million customers, there are still people discovering you for the first time (you hope). If you have a brand, you can make a great first impression since it helps determine how you want to be perceived.

    For instance, let’s say someone shares a piece of content you wrote years ago. That may sound great. But, what if you hadn’t yet discovered your voice or strengthened your writing skills? That’s not going to leave a great first impression.

    But, if people are sharing your awesome, high-quality content, that’s going to definitely build-up your personal brand.

    Establishes you as a legitimate, authority figure.

    In the world of “fake news” it’s more important then ever to prove that you’re an actual person. Even more, your social media brands demonstrates that you’re an authority figure. As such, it assures others that you’re more than capable of tackling a job, speaking engagement, or providing advice.

    Shows how you can provide value and what makes you different.

    This is key. People want to know how you can provide them with value. If you cannot put why you are of value in a couple of sentences, companies will often  turn elsewhere for help with their projects.

    Additionally, branding differentiates you from other brands in your industry. For example, there are a million pizzerias out there. But, what makes your pizza stand out? Is it because you used a family recipe that’s been passed down? Is it cooked in a brick oven? Or, is it gluten free?

    Counters newsjacking and negative reviews.

    Newsjacking isn’t something you probably have to be concerned with since it usually applies to extremely well-known people. However, if you have an established brand, it guarantees that your audience won’t approve of this tactic.

    Furthermore, having an established social media brand can help counter any negative reviews you may receive. While it’s likely you will have some bad review here and there it does protect you from those fake and malicious reviews.

    Let me also add that negative reviews can be beneficial. They can help you improve your business and strengthen relationships with your audience. However, some people like to cause trouble and blast you for little reason. With a consistent brand, your audience can tell the difference between legit and fake reviews.

    Helps you engage with your audience.

    Alfred Lua explained this perfectly on the Buffer Blog. Lua states that engagement is the future of social media because social media users are preferring more one-on-one communications. This is because of chatbots and using social media for customer service.

    Let’s not also forget that algorithms are now prioritizing engagement. So, the more engaging content you share, the more interesting you appear. And, when you seem interesting, social media channels will show your posts to more people.

    Building Your Personal Brand on Social Media

    Are you ready to create your brand on social media? Then let’s get the party started.

    Create your social media persona.

    First things first. Determine your values, passions, and key traits. You’ll use these to build an authentic voice when creating and sharing content. It will also help guide you in how you’ll engage with your audience.

    You should also jot down a list of relevant keywords and phrases that describe you and your brand. This will help you describe yourself and tell your story. These keywords will help search engines find you.

    Don’t forget to also get a professional headshot, create a unique signature, and include a link to all of your contact information, social media accounts, and website. Make sure that you’re consistent across the board. For instance use the same tone and headshots on all of your social media channels.

    Choose networks that support your brand image.

    There are hundreds of different types of social media channels out there. Instead of attempting to build your brand on each one, focus only one the networks that fit your brand and where you audience is. For example, if you’re an accountant, you should focus on channels like Facebook and LinkedIn as opposed to Snapchat.

    Equinet has a handy list of the pros and cons of the top social media networks if you need help determining which platform to use.

    Build your online presence.

    Secure the URLs and social usernames for your personal brand before someone else does.This is especially true if you have a common name.

    If the URL and usernames are already taken use dashes, underscores, or numbers. You can also go back to your list of keywords. If you’re a photographer named Joe Smith, then try to obtain something like Photographer Joe or Joe Smith Photography.

    You can use tools like knowem and NameChk to check the availability of your name across hundreds of social communities.

    Make sure that the URLs and social usernames are the same across the board to prevent any confusion.

    Provide valuable and shareable content.

    The best way that you’re going to build your brand’s reputation is by creating and sharing content that your audience finds entertaining or useful. It should also fit your brand. For example, if you’re a serious professional, it probably wouldn’t make sense to share a ton of memes.

    I would suggest that you use a lot of visual content. Visual content not only reinforces your marketing messages, it also encourages more engagement.

    Create a content calendar.

    As mentioned several times, when it comes to social media, you need to be consistent. Posting sporadically doesn’t encourage relationships. While you’re not sharing content or engaging your audience, your competitors are.

    Having a content calendar ensures that you regularly update your social channels with that amazing content you produced.

    How often should you post?

    Coschedule examined 14 different studies and came-up with the following suggestions:

    • Facebook – 1 post per day.
    • Twitter – 15 tweets per day.
    • Pinterest – 11 pins per day.
    • LinkedIn – 1 post per day.
    • Google+ – 2 posts per day.
    • Instagram – 1-2 posts per day.

    The good news is that you can use tools like Buffer, Zapier, and IFTTT to automate your social media posts. Just make sure that you schedule the time to interact with your audience personally by leaving comments, asking questions, or sharing other types of social content.

    Conclusions About Your Personal Brand

    It’s imperative that you build your personal brand on social media. It puts you in control of your image and content so that you can effectively reach your audience. Once you do, you’ll be on your way to becoming an influencer who can take their brand to unprecedented levels.

    The post How to Influence Your Personal Brand on Social Media Before Someone Else Does appeared first on Due.