Startups communityIt may sound like a pretty obvious thing to say but the single most important people for a startup is its users. While it is true to say that investment can criticial, and staff help drive a business, a service or product has to have users in order to attract both of those in the first place – with very few exceptions.

All startups are inherently focused on their users to help them grow, but that same focus needs to be maintained when companies are in a less successful position, or perhaps even a downward spiral towards closure. …Continue reading →

by Matt Kaludi on October 9, 2012

I’m a geek and given the choice I will always choose to hangout with my own “kind”. Having launched a product and started a service business I quickly realised that I had to break out of my habits and start going to where my customers really are. That’s why, when I was given the opportunity to speak to an entrepreneur and startup founder about this subject, I immediately jumped on board.

Jeremy Kagan is the founder & CEO of Pricing Engine. A web service that helps the “little guy” make the most of online advertising by optimising their resources and budget, while making suggestions on what ads they should invest in. Last May, instead of going to Internet Week in NY or TechCrunch Disrupt, Jeremy decided to build a group of experts and go to where their customers were. …Continue reading →

by Matt Kaludi on October 9, 2012

Ingvar Kamprad is not merely a multi-billionaire and the top guy of company employing well above 100,000 people worldwide – he’s is also a happy person, and he’s not afraid to show it.

The same goes for many other top executives like Tony Hsieh of Zappos, Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp of LEGO and Brin&Page of Google. Richard Branson of Virgin is perhaps the most famous example of a top exec who isn’t afraid of being happy, enthusiastic and funloving.

Would you dare to? Can people tell that you’re happy from looking at you? Are you walking the halls of your company with a smile on your face, a cheerful outlook and an unflagging faith in the future? Or have you, like so many other managers, bound yourself to an identity that requires a professional, cold, serious, disparaging and businesslike appearance?

Happiness pays off. Happiness at work is catching – and when the boss is happy, it’s downright infectious. If you, the person in charge, seem unhappy, you dampen the mood of everyone else in the company. This leads to more sick days, more stress, higher staff turnover and lower efficiency. On the other hand: When you radiate energy, curiosity and enthusiasm, you inevitably pass on your attitude to your employees. They grow happier and more creative, and they’ll ultimately end up providing better service to your customers.

Happy managers also gain a natural rapport with their employees, and people are much more eager to go the extra mile for a happy manager than for an unhappy one.

However, there’s one downside to being happy that you should be aware of: You may be regarded as less competent. In an exciting psychological study, participants were asked to read an article and subsequently assess the smartness of its author. Half the participants got an article with a negative, critical attitude towards a certain topic – the other half got an article on the exact same topic, but worded in a much more positive way. The study showed that the author of the negative article was perceived as the more intelligent of the two.

by Matt Kaludi on October 9, 2012

Social networking sites account for the most referral traffic to all websites just behind organic search. So you better be optimizing for more sharing. But it’s not just slapping a Tweet button and producing link-bait content that people will Like and Retweet.

Here are 5 fresh user experience ideas for boosting how much your site gets shared:

1. Package Bite-Sized Content That Can Be Easily Shared And Tweeted

People are happy to share (good) content. Social networks have made it generally frictionless with instant publishing via distributed share buttons. But it’s up to you to also package (not just produce) content that people want to share.

It’s one thing to write a detailed, insightful blog post. It’s another thing to allow visitors to quickly Tweet specific insightful quotes from your post, or tweet out the best comments from the discussion. Users already do this manually by editing default Tweets with the content they want to include. But imagine if that work were already done FOR users, and they knew sharing would be a work-free experience… Full article

by Matt Kaludi on October 9, 2012

Subject Line – Your subject line is the first obstacle to having an effective email newsletter. Is it compelling? Will readers want to open it or put it in the trash folder? Are you using these fifty characters to their highest potential? Are there spam words or symbols that may trigger the spam filters? Is it in all caps? No one wants to be shouted at, so NEVER have your subject line in all caps. Once you have decided on an effective subject line, try it on by sending it to friends or co-workers who will give you an honest opinion.

Put Your Best Foot Forward – Most people can only see the first part of a newsletter before they open it. By including your most important information at the top, you can inspire interest in your newsletter that will encourage readers to open it.

Use Links to Bring Customers to Your Website – By using links to bring your readers to your website, you can increase web traffic as well as sales.

Use White Space Effectively – Don’t use every inch of space. This only makes it look crowded and confusing. By using the white space, your newsletter will look more open and inviting, giving it an organized feeling that inspires confidence in its contents.

Graphics Are Great – But Not Too Many – While graphics can add character, flair and excitement to a newsletter, they can also be overpowering if used too much. Use graphics reasonably so that your text will be the main focus, instead of too many warring pictures.

An effective newsletter can encourage customer loyalty as well as inspire new potential clients. By using these tips you can increase the effectiveness of your email marketing software, seeing quick, improved results in your website traffic and revenue stream.

by Matt Kaludi on October 9, 2012

Facebook provides multiple ways to utilize its site. Personal pages are vast and numerous, and usually very simple to manage. You can also set up a business site, but that might seem impersonal or even limit what you want to achieve. Why is a business page more effective than a personal profile when it comes to applying yourself to an online social outlet? The truth is that there are several reasons why a business page trumps a personal profile. It’s always about opportunity and what you do to make the most of it.

To start, you can be liked- you don’t have to worry about friending. Friend requests do slow down how fast your image spreads. Additionally, when searching, personal profiles are not as likely to come up as a business profile. When you are discovered, all the viewer has to do is like you (plus this appears on their personal site for their friends to see). This works well for word of mouth marketing strategies.

Then you have other strategies that are open to business but restricted from use by personals. You can run contests and operate uniquely as a business. You can also provide special offers through your business profile. When offers are accepted by a customer, their friends see what it was and who it came from. You can’t do that with “friends.” Additionally, personal profiles tend not to look as professional. You want your business to appear established and thorough.

Make the most of opportunities

Now you must also consider limiting opportunity- personal profiles have a cap of 5000 friends, but business profiles have no cap. Anyone and everyone can become a viewer of your business profile. Then consider how Facebook functions. Profiles are initially set to default to view “most” of what their friends post (most individuals are not aware of this). This isn’t the same for business pages. You can reach more people with a business page than with a personal profile. More visual opportunity opens new doors for potential customers.

You’ll also have connection to Facebook Places. Give yourself a marker on the map. Personals rely on “places you’ve been,” so why not make yourself one of those places that your clients have been. This is a tool that is often underrated, but works incredibly well.

by Matt Kaludi on October 9, 2012

One of the biggest secrets behind the success of every published author is an incredible marketing plan for their book. Even when looking at book proposals one of the things that a publisher will look for is a solid marketing plan. First I would recommend you look at this post by Ryan Holiday. It’s his book marketing plan in a nutshell and considering you couldn’t browse the web without running into his name the week of his book launch, I’d say it was well executed.

1. Guest Posts

The same way you grow your blog by guest posting on sites with audiences bigger than yours, guest posts are an integral part of a promotion plan to raise awareness of your book. This is why you’ll notice guests posts from the same author across a several blogs you read the week their book launches. It’s what Michael Ellsberg refers to as the Tim Ferriss effect.

2. Email Blasts

If you’ve done everything right, you should have a solid e-mail list. Most authors prepare their audience for the launch of their book by sending several emails about their book prior to the launch. If you don’t prepare your email list for the fact that your book is coming, it’s a bit like inviting people to your birthday party on the day of and being surprised that nobody shows up.

by Matt Kaludi on October 9, 2012

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