Archive for : business owners

Decision Making for Startups

Like it or not, decision making is part of life. We make decisions everyday, whether it’s to decide what’s for lunch, when’s a good time to get out of bed or the seemingly bigger ones like a choosing an investor or hiring a new talent – you get the drift.

Why is it that we can’t make decisions?

1. It’s people. As decisions sometimes affects others, it can be rather complex. It involves managing all the information going around, the emotions of the people involved and expectations of someone else.

2. It’s you. The fear of disappointing someone, failing, insecurities or simply just lacking knowledge and experience in the subject matter.

“No one makes perfect decisions. The idea is to choose to move ahead.”

Because of these fears, people tend to hold back, keep quiet, and wish for someone to say something.. or to look wise by saying “let’s think about it”.

The problem with thinking about it is that nothing gets done. Nothing. The problem is still there and you’re merely putting it off! More often than not, people get distracted by other priorities and eventually leads to not thinking about it – until it’s time to make a decision again.

Reality is also such that you don’t only make one decision per day. In fact, you make tons of them daily and by putting them off, you’re brewing a recipe for disaster as decisions piles up, and sometimes even snowballs from something harmless to something apocalyptic. And when it haunts you, you are cornered into deciding on whatever that helps, leaving little room for mistakes and time to rectify them.

Bad stuff.

What can you do to make decisions easier?

#1: Stop taking in information

The more you take in, the more you’re going to confuse yourself. Do your research, consult others, listen, but put a limit to the amount of information you’re taking in.

#2: Talk to yourself

Play out a conversation with yourself and be your own devil’s advocate. There’s magic in speaking out loud and you’ll be surprised at how you can land on an answer just like that.

#3: The 60-second rule

When it comes down to it, instead of saying “let’s think about it”, make a decision in 60 seconds. Sometimes, that won’t be the final decision, but it triggers a response from others and that brings you a step closer to what needs to be done.

#4: Vote

This isn’t my favourite but in a group of opinionated people, voting can weed out less popular ideas and get to the end quicker. However, note that the majority isn’t always right.

#5: Prioritize, divide, and conquer

In a situation where there are tons of decisions to be made, start with the easier ones (e.g. with smaller impact). You and your team strives on wins, getting smaller decisions out of the way generates the energy and synergy for the more critical ones.

#6: Build the “T”

In short, weigh the pros and cons by splitting them into each side of a “T”. List down all the possibilities that you can think of and make a decision out of them.

#7: Map your thoughts

This is my favourite. Like a mind map, start by placing your problem at the center and draw out questions like: Why is this a problem, what is the impact of this decision, who are the stakeholders, what are their goals, what are the potential solutions, what if I do otherwise, and the list goes on. Keep going until you’ve exhausted your thoughts and have sufficient information in front of you to proceed.

Stop thinking and decide!

Check out the presentation slides on SlideShare: http://www.slideshare.net/janwong/decision-making-for-entrepreneurs

3 Simple Ways to Build Your Net Worth With Social Media

The term ‘net worth’ is commonly used as a reference to monetary value – through accumulating of assets. However, building your net worth the same way by accumulating huge number of social media accounts, fans or followers isn’t exactly it.

The thing is, many companies, businesses and individuals are going about accumulating fans and followers thinking that it is a volume game. Sure, creating an audience is a part of the process but is that really your net worth? So, you may have 100,000 fans or followers to date but how much value are you to them? Are you credible?

Value and Credibility. That is net worth.

I’m referring to your value to your customers, fans and followers; your credibility in the industry and among your competitors. How do you stand out from them? Or rather, how can you stand out from them? Thankfully, we have a myriad of social media platforms to our disposal and here’s how you can use them.

#1: Create Your Own Content

Create Relevant Content

The type of content you generate defines who you are on social media. The moment someone opens up your Facebook page or Twitter profile, your status updates and tweets creates that first impression – so use that to your advantage.

Create content that are relevant to your interest and expertise. This way, you are subtly positioning yourself as an expert in that domain and people will recognize you for what you have been posting  – whether they are videos, articles, photos or soundtracks.

#2: Share Content from Others

Share Relevant Content

In the midst of creating your own content, spend time sharing relevant content from others too! Not only will this build your network, it extends your credibility and net worth by demonstrating your resourcefulness and passion towards the industry.

This will also work great for you that may not be inclined to create your own content. If this is you, share, share and SHARE content that you’re passionate about.

#3: Connect With Likeminded People

Connect With Likeminded People

Now that you’ve generated content (whether by creating or sharing them) that is relevant to you,  it’s time to get connected to people of similar interests to grow your network.

When I say ‘connect’, I don’t mean just adding them as a ‘friend’. Actively connect with them by genuinely getting to know them. Participate in tweetchats, try contributing ideas on other people’s content by leaving a comment or by sharing their content. Take genuine interest in what they are doing and you’ll be off in building a great relationship.

Now what?

The thing about building your net worth is that it takes a lot of time and commitment, and there is no one fixed formula in making it happen. However through this, your credibility in the industry will be established over time.

Now head over to your social profiles if you haven’t already and take a look at whether you’re sending out the right message to the public. If you aren’t, start today!

Post header photo credit: Stephen Chukumba

Are You Integrating Your Social Media Marketing Efforts?

With the adoption and acceptance of social media among businesses and consumers continue to grow, it is likely that your business already has a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter handle, a YouTube channel or a Google+ page. That isn’t bad at all but let’s face the fact – it is getting a little crowded on social networking platforms, yes? Your competitors are on it and perhaps your small business seems to be on the losing end when compared to your larger counterparts. Alternatively, maybe you’re raking in the “Likes” or the “Follows” and you’re thinking that you’ve succeeded in becoming social. Either way, you thought wrong and here’s why:

Social media is not just a game for the large in size.

Unlike certain sports such as American football where physique does matter, social media is a fair game. It also favors small businesses a lot. And by that I really mean, a LOT. Sure, your competitors may be a digit away in the number of ‘Likes’ compared to you but that doesn’t mean they’re doing it right simply because: 1. likes / followers can be bought (very affordable too!), 2. their fans aren’t responding to them (no conversations), 3. their page is deprived of updates (a ghost town), or worse, 4. their page is populated with updates that aren’t theirs (spam) So, are they successful now? Probably not. The thing is, you as a business owner or a marketer should be looking out for opportunities to integrate the power of social media into existing promotional avenues, or to create new ones.

Here are three (3) integration points of social media to get you thinking on your next marketing campaign:

wallmart facebook receipt

Social Media Attribute #1: Networks

What value do social media networks have if you cannot build your own networks on them? Your marketing campaign should incorporate ways that can assist you in growing your networks whether it is on Facebook or Twitter, it is always good to have an established network BUT, don’t stop there. Take it a step further to build your database by understanding your followers by collecting more information such as their email address to create an audience profile or just to keep in touch with them. Interestingly, research shows that consumers that follow your page / profile DO intend to hear more from you so use this privilege to your advantage. Don’t abuse (spam) them! Integration ideas: current e-newsletters, in-store promotional standees, press advertisements, roadshows / exhibitions, opt-in registrations, seminars / talks / workshops, pre-releases, product launches and etc.

Social Media Attribute #2: Conversations

Building your own network on social media platforms organically can be tough, and it is an on-going process. One of the key drivers of social media is that it allows you (or your business) to be social, and that means be conversational. Many businesses out there think their job ends at amassing “Likes” but the question is: “What’s next?”. Get conversations going with your followers. Ask questions, brainstorm for ideas, leave wishes on their profiles, share photos with them… and the list goes on. The trick is to be human and talk as a human, not a corporate figure. Integration ideas: FAQ page, website / blog (via comments), festive greetings, follow-up content (from other advertising sources), polls for consumer feedback and etc.

Social Media Attribute #3: Sharing

Your next marketing campaign should be something that has the ability to tap into the existing networks of your fans (or personal friends if you just got started) to get them to reach into their own networks. It can be something that they can easily share or actively participate.  It could be a simple contest, a video, fun facts or even some behind the scenes action behind your business. However, before going into the idea of creating something viral – let me also say that you cannot create something viral. Because viral just happens. It cannot be created on purpose. Most creators of viral content (including videos and games) often say that they did not expect it to become viral. Integration ideas: in-store promotions, website / blog, roadshows / exhibitions, mini games, videos, contests, seminars / talks / workshops, pre-releases, product launches and etc.

Are you ready to kick start your next marketing campaign with social media?

Keep the above in mind and you should be getting on right track in your marketing plans.
Activate your fans, don’t just collect them like baseball cards. – Jay Baer, Convince & Convert