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Company Culture – Cold and Professional or Warm and Approachable

June 22, 2018

Management

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Every workplace has its own microculture as a result of its sector, its location in the world and the diverse range of individuals who make up the workforce. Culture isn’t just a case of ethnicity, though, it’s a way of thinking and acting. At an individual level, we might define culture as being the way a person thinks, acts or speaks based on their experiences and background. At a group or company level, however, the culture can generally be seen as the historical experiences and collaboration of the people that make up the group.

Unlike an individual, who we assume has some control over their experiences, thoughts and general way of thinking, corporate culture is often guided by group guidelines and rules. Another, potentially larger, influencer on corporate or group culture is internal hierarchy. The ‘higher ranked’ or ‘louder’ parties of the group often sway the culture to follow their experiences and beliefs. The opinions or thoughts of the ‘lower ranking’ or ‘quieter’ members of the group are often deemed less important by the group en masse. This, ultimately, also becomes part of the group’s culture.

This discussion regards corporate or group culture and how establishing, both actively and subconsciously, a company’s culture can impact external and internal perceptions of that company. In particular, we are looking at the differences of a cold ‘corporate’ and perceived professional company culture versus a more relaxed, warm and approachable, business model.

Of course, everyone who works anywhere always strives to be professional – that’s how it should be. However, some companies seem to believe that being professional also means being cold, unapproachable, target-driven and competitive rather than being supportive, approachable and co-operative.

Is this the right way to drive up profits? Does a cold, competitive environment achieve targets at the expense of workforce morale and happiness? Is it sometimes worth losing staff members if, at the end of the day, they’re merely seen as dead weight because they can’t keep up?

The answer is that it depends…

Cold and professional and warm and approachable work best in different industries and sectors. The financial sector, for example, is best served by an unemotional, facts and figures-driven workforce. It’s also important to meet targets and to break barriers and this can only realistically be done if everyone’s focused on the job rather than organising their next potluck meeting.

A similar culture has to prevail in a company that’s innovating, disrupting or making big changes. Amazon is probably the best example we have right now. The fast-paced, unforgiving workplace culture there, from the warehouse floor right up to Bezos himself, is legendary. The culture in Amazon is described as ‘gladiatorial’ which is what you need if you’ve decided to take on every retailer everywhere in the world and change the way they’ve always done things forever.

This approach still needs professionalism, however. Amazon isn’t a swashbuckling pirate but a well-organised, fine-tuned and exquisitely well-informed machine. No real room for feelings there. You might see this as cruel, hard, unfair or wrong, but Amazon will simply tell you you’re in the wrong arena…

What about warm and approachable?

Where do pictures of the harbour bridge, posters of Thai celebrities cute puppies and fluffy kittens fit in? Apparently, according to Japanese researchers, ‘kawaii’ helps people to get the job done and done better. Interestingly, the 2012 study found that photos of adult cats and dogs improved people’s focus and diligence only slightly. It’s almost as if people have a need to nurture; well, actually, they do.

In some industries and companies, warm and approachable will get the best results which leads to increased professionalism and profits. Of course, in some places if you were caught staring at kittens in order to improve your performance, you’d be out on your ear for time wasting.

Other companies, however, like Netflix, see kitten-staring, chatting about issues and taking whatever time off you fancy as time invested, not wasted. This company sees nurturing and developing its people as the key to its profits. Oddly enough, it seems that giving people a bit of leeway and letting them set their own targets and have a gripe at the boss also works. People at Netflix are also professionals. Hmmm…

Similarly to how a ‘colder’ culture may enforce both internal & external trust and confidence in a financial company, a ‘warmer’ culture should allow for greater exploration of creativity. Artistic based industry; design, marketing, photography, musical, creative, etc, are probably more likely to see an increase in productivity and efficiency in a more relaxed, emotional environment.

As a Director myself, and as I write this article, I’m finding myself analysing my own company; what our culture is and what I’d like it to be. I own a small digital agency in Bangkok, Thailand. As a creative company, I’d like to think we fall more on the warm, approachable side of the scale. That’s definitely the side I’d like to sit on at any rate. We don’t wear suits to the office, we don’t have punch cards, we listen to music, drink way too much coffee and love a good chat.

Can you be warm and professional at the same time? I’d like to think so. We’re fairly relaxed and I’m fine with that for my type of business. Of course, that isn’t to say we don’t have systems and methodology. It isn’t to say we don’t have rules and guidelines and it certainly doesn’t mean we aren’t professional in the business we conduct. In our case, the warmth and approachable vibe we convey is helpful to the type of service we provide. Design and marketing is a personal thing, different to each of our clients and I think we wouldn’t be able to do our job as effectively if we were teetering on the colder ‘professional’ side of the cultural fence.

Where do you find yourself and your business? Is it what you want to portray? Is your company culture the best for your clients and staff?

Ultimately you can take your pick, it seems, because both models work. Be advised however, the larger and older the company, the harder it may be to change that company’s culture. How you may want to appear and act, and how your staff and clients see your business may be two different things.

How Start Ups Will Be Benefited From Data Analytics

June 22, 2018

Marketing

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The key differentiator between two startups is pace. Things need to be done at a faster pace for startups to be competitive against large companies. And, in order to react to market conditions and changing consumer trends, startups today rely heavily on data analytics. The power of being able to gather, identify, understand and execute upon patterns of data is critical for long-term success of companies as well as for advancement of humanity.

Any organization can leverage the exponential data growth but size is on the side of smaller businesses that are perfectly suited to act on data-derived insights with speed and efficiency, unlike large organizations that are often less nimble and hindered by clunky, legacy IT infrastructure. All that’s required is somebody in the business that understands two key fundamentals: data analytics and data science.

For example, for a startup organization, product marketing act as a growth catalyst in establishing brand value in the market, which is very costly and usually eats up a huge part of the budget.

However, while a business can be built on a combination of inspiration and perspiration, being able to manage analyses and interpret data requires a very specific skill set that will actually enable innovation and drive it forward. From predicting and reducing churn to winning business from new and existing customers, the opportunities are endless.

Data Analytics can help startups in identifying and reaching out the right target market for launching product(s) and providing better return on the marketing investments. Moreover, it can also help in understanding the customer needs and leveraging their requirements for designing or updating offerings.

Advertising and marketing without data based insight are akin to trying to hit a target in an unfamiliar dark room with only 2 to 3 bullets in your gun. While Big Data science is evolving, and is not fully precise, it does tell you the direction in which to shoot, so that your probability of hitting the target is higher.

Whether you are looking for funding, thinking about the best way to deploy your latest round of investment or a scale up looking to fuel growth, here’s five quick ways analytics and data science can help you:

Evidence-based decision making: One of the rarest commodities when a business is in the growth stages is time. Decisions are taken in days, sometimes hours that in more established organizations would take months. Young businesses especially spend most of their early stage time probing the market and looking for the right product offering to execute upon. Unlike an established company, one mistake can cost its future so having a data scientist on board is the key to being able to gather and analyses data from multiple channels to mitigate risk and improve decision making.

Test your decisions: Making decisions and implementing change is only half of the battle; it’s vital to know how those changes affect the company. A data scientist can measure key metrics related to important changes and quantify their success (or lack thereof) so that learnings are made and substantiated when it comes to playing back results to investors and moving the business forward.

Perfecting the target audience: Everything from social media profiles to website visitor reports contains data which can help a startup pinpoint its target audience – and therefore target them more effectively. Even if it has gone as far as roughly identifying its demographics, a data scientist can identify key groups with laser precision through careful analysis of disparate data sources. This in-depth knowledge can help tailor products and services to key customer groups.

Making use of the information: Data has to be at the fingertips of every decision-maker, which are usually most people in the business at its early-stage. This is reflected in the data science and analytics space right now with predictive modelling and machine learning both attracting huge amounts of interest – a sentiment underlined by the recent acquisitions of DeepMind. It is not hard to see why when this particular type of data management enables real-time responsiveness when it comes to translating the raw data into insights, which can be transformed into actionable applications to propel business growth.

7 Ways to Get Maximum Marketing Results at Any Time

June 22, 2018

Marketing

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Here is something many entrepreneurs need to understand when it comes to marketing: there is no such thing as guaranteed results.

There are too many factors about your marketing campaign that no one can control. Among them, there is the behavior of the overall market, competitive pricing, demand for offers like yours, current events, and others.

It would be anti-ethical for any marketing agency or freelancer to guarantee ABC results if you invest XYZ amount of money. But it does not mean that there are not ways to get the most out of your marketing budget (according to the circumstances).

Here are seven ways you can maximize your marketing efforts – whether we are in a recession or a booming period.

Do Not Confuse Marketing with Networking

If you are marketing your business, you need to understand the difference between connecting and communicating with your community and sharing / promoting your business.

Do not take to social media or networking events to present your sales pitch right away. People do not like it when you sell stuff to them. Instead, connect first by hearing about their problems, and communicate with them in ways they can solve those problems.

There will be time for you to promote and share on social media and at networking events. But you need to build a relationship first. That way, your audience would not feel like you are selling to them, but that they are taking advice. Because they trust you.

Market Efficiently

I am a firm believer in A/B testing. It is the best way to keep your marketing campaigns rolling and not waste your budget.

You do not want to throw money away with marketing that is not appealing to your market. That is why it is imperative that you constantly test your letters, ads, and emails to see what is getting the attention of the market, and what is persuading them into buying.

Cut What Does Not Work

Once you start testing your marketing efforts, you will know what to keep and what to drop.

You do not need to be everywhere at once. You need to be where your market wants you to be.

Do not waste your time on Facebook if the people are not responding. Stop sending letters if there are no sales coming from them. And please, do not waste two million dollars on a TV spot that won’t produce any ROI.

Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing

I believe both inbound and outbound marketing have a place and are beneficial to every business. But they have their place in the marketing process.

Outbound marketing should be the focus when you are starting out. You need to let people know that you are there to help them. Thus, you should be sending emails, making phone calls, and making the first step to connect with the market.

Once you have set up a reputation for your business, then inbound marketing takes over. Because people will be looking for you. They will look at your website, your blog, and your social media channels.

So, do not disregard either marketing strategy. Just place them correctly according to the level of growth of your business. Outbound marketing when you are looking to prove yourself, and inbound marketing when you have an established name in the market.

Cold Calling as a Marketing Tactic

Most people are afraid of cold calling. Honestly, I believe “terrified” is a more proper term.

That is the reason many dismiss this tactic from their marketing strategy. But I think cold calling is as practical a marketing tactic as any of the others.

You need to make that first connection. And if the market is not coming to you, you might as well go to them.

And cold calling is not as bad as people make it out to be.

All you need is a good script and some thick skin (to handle rejection). And after a couple of times doing it, you will feel comfortable approaching targets and converting them into leads.

Hire Professionals

You can divide any marketing campaign into three facets: strategy, content, and design.

If you have experience in marketing planning, website design, and copy and content writing – then, by all means, go for it. Although I would recommend getting a critique from a professional on each, just to go safely.

But, if you are marketing your business, and have no prior planning, writing, or designing experience, your best bet is to hire professionals for each endeavor. They will know what to do to present your product in the most appealing way possible to your market.

There is also the choice of learning things yourself, but if time is not on your side, then I suggest hiring the professionals anyway until you can take over after getting some marketing seasoning.

Plan Your Marketing

You might have expected this to be tip number one. But I wanted to make sure you understood some things before we got into time management.

But now that we got the small details explained, here is a template to develop a weekly marketing schedule:

Mondays: Market research to find targets

Tuesdays: Prospecting

Wednesdays: Content marketing

Thursdays: Automation

Fridays: Website updates

Every day: Networking on Twitter and LinkedIn

Make sure to separate (at least) an hour every workday to do your marketing. You can perform a marketing task each day to keep your efforts moving. Also, make room for at least half an hour of networking – online or in person.

Why Business Analytics Is Essential for Running a Successful Business

June 22, 2018

Business

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WHY IS BUSINESS ANALYTICS IMPORTANT?
The foremost goal of any organization is profitability, and customer satisfaction is a huge component of the success of a business. When an organization innovates and stays ahead of its competition, it fulfills and goes beyond customer expectations. Many businesses still rely on ineffective, time-consuming traditional techniques for decision making processes that cannot keep pace with the competition.

The use of “Gut feel” in taking strategic decisions still plays an important role among business leaders. But does reliance on “Gut feeling” and “Traditional techniques” make for smart decision-making? What’s the best approach?

The technology boom has given rise to innovations in how data is used. Business analytics is the solution and the best move to ensure competitiveness in today’s era. To define the term: “Business analytics, one of the emerging fields in the data science, refers to the methods and various statistical and quantitative techniques used by an organization for informed decision making and business modeling”.

Analytics is the change that helps you to get your business on track. It assists the businesses to convert the humongous amount of generalized data into observation, patterning and vision.

BENEFITS OF BUSINESS ANALYTICS
What was discussed above is just an academic definition. Now let’s discuss why one needs to adopt it in business operations:

  1. Fast decisions are easily taken, but what matters is smart decisions taken in a short period. It helps to inculcate faster and smarter decision making into business culture of your organization. With the help of business analytics, the company can empower a team for data analysis to extract targeted information. When a company accesses accurate and essential data, undoubtedly, it will take the right decisions.
  2. Analytics helps in quantifying business values.
  3. Most businesses provide training programs for fresh recruits or older employees where the core business values are imparted or refreshed. Instead, companies should go a step further and undertake the help of business analytics to translate business values into numbers. This is a more cost and time efficient undertaking.

CAREER PATH OF A BUSINESS ANALYST
A business analyst is one who assists organizations in the process of business analytics. The career path of a business analyst is not strictly defined as there are several options based on industry, qualifications, interests, preferences etc.

  • Training provides trainees with the skills and knowledge needed for a proper understanding and interpretation of data.
  • Training courses help students in getting exposed to data systems and tools like R, SAS, Python etc. making them eligible for various analytical jobs.
  • The best incentive for undergoing a course is that the industry-best average salary of a business analyst is Rs 491,522 a year. There are various skills that can increase the pay scale of a business analyst like project management, SAS etc.

5 Ways Courier Companies Help Businesses In Goods Transit

June 22, 2018

Business

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There is really no business segment that doesn’t rely on courier and delivery transportation. From consumer goods manufacturers to retail stores, automotive and parts repairing houses to offices, hospitals to educational centers, courier services are an integral part of all. While there are hundreds of courier companies reigning everywhere to provide assistance to them, there are myriad types of delivery services to cater to each of the organization’s specific requirements. However, here are illustrated the five most common types of courier delivery solutions offered by the transit companies.

International Courier Services

It is the primary and most common form of service found in every advanced or commercialized area. It refers to the transportation of goods/services across the geographical borders. As the companies offer transportation from one country to another, irrespective of the distance between them, the charges are obviously very high. The users of these services comprise of multinational organizations, manufacturing business brands, retail brands, and even households.

Same-day delivery services

This is the newest form of delivery services that came to the forefront with advancement in transport vehicles and reduction of freight charges. Moreover, it was brought into action to pay heed to the last-minute needs of businesses, hospitals and for other emergency services. Delivery is deliberately made on the same day the order is sent, and it is mostly availed for the transit of crucial documentations.

Online Shipment Services Booking

While everything is moving to online and mobile space, why not courier and delivery services? Users no longer have to wait in long queues to book services from the front desk of the courier companies, nor have they to take their packages to the nearby service outlet. They can now book their shipment online via their mobiles or desktops directly from the company’s website.

Pallet courier services

This service assures the fast and prompt delivery of goods using the pallets at extremely reasonable rates. It is availed mostly by the businesses or clients who have strict delivery rules and have fixed time limits.

Warehouse courier services

A much new concept in the delivery and logistics industry, warehousing services soon left a profound impact on the goods manufacturing businesses. It is helping companies or manufacturers to store goods, inventory at a warehouse and supply them to customers or dealers as and when required. This is found extremely useful for companies who do not have warehouses. Besides helping businesses to speed up their delivery service to customers, they also manage stocks, help in picking, packaging and dispatch and keep tracks of stock levels.