Category: Business Skills

The copycat approach – why imitation could sink your business

Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or an executive of an established business, at some point you may have thought of how to ‘uberfy’ your business or ‘Netflix’ your profits. But the graveyard of copycat business ideas is full – remember Zune? Or Amazon Fire Phone? Or even Google+? As an entrepreneur, jumping into a new market or expanding in a highly competitive existing one is not easy. So, let’s look at some high-profile companies and their copycat products that failed miserably – and what you can learn from them for your businesses.

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App attack – the business applications that can help your SME succeed in 2018

Is there an app that can genuinely help your small business? It’s a big question. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the ‘app’ – those handy little pieces of software that help us navigate our day-to-day needs – sometimes needs we didn’t realise we had. It’s hard to imagine life before them, but even harder to imagine the numbers involved. Last year saw 197 billion downloads around the world, a figure expected to surpass 350 billion by 2021. So how far have we come in those 10 years when it comes to business use?

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Who are millennials exactly? And is it true they make bad workers?

Like other generations, millennials are subject to stereotypes about their attitudes, behaviours and work ethic: perhaps even more so than other generations. But to what extent do these stereotypes hold true (a 2016 article in The Guardian newspaper highlighted some pretty derogatory adjectives), or are they simply no different to any other generation? Most importantly for your business, what are they like to work with?

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Five reasons you’re failing at business negotiation and how your body language can turn things around

Negotiation in business is an art. And like any form of communication, it’s also a delicate balance – one wrong turn and your objectives and reputation can be jeopardised and damaged. We can all recall failed negotiations and awkward interactions vividly; you may have experienced one quite recently. Frequent mistakes cost business, but first you need to ask yourself – why are you failing at business negotiations? Do you have a process in place to identify mistakes, and what methods do you use to correct them?

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Worth the wait? Billionaires who failed before they succeeded

According to the market-leading Wealth-X billionaire census there are nearly 2,400 billionaires in the world, with combined wealth of USD 7,400bn. It’s a select club. All the billionaires in the world would fit into four Boeing 747s with room to spare. These extremely wealthy men and women make the shrewdest moves, have the best ideas and spot the savviest investments. They never seem to put a foot wrong. Or do they? The same Wealth-X report reveals that last year, while 207 new billionaires appeared, another 283 actually lost their billionaire status. In this article we look at the qualities of those who got knocked down, but got back up again.

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In or out? When is outsourcing right for your company?

If you want something done right, do it yourself. It’s a well-used business maxim. After all, nobody cares for your business as much as you do. But what happens when things get too much to deal with on your own? The challenge of overseeing a thriving, growing business is a nice problem to have. But you can’t be everywhere at once. So how do you get more person-power on board? Of course one obvious route is to hire additional staff. But another option is to look at which parts of your operation you could be doing elsewhere. Outsourcing is growing but if it’s not done properly, or your suppliers fail to deliver, you risk damaging your reputation and your business.

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Is receiving too many emails sucking the life out of your working day?

Email has revolutionised business communication in the last 20 years. Its speed, efficiency and relatively low cost has seen usage balloon, with the estimated daily volume of emails in 2017 coming in at around 270 billion, up from 182 billion in 2013. Yet, we’re increasingly relying on email for things it was never designed to do. The inbox has become our task manager, to-do list, de facto project management tool and, for many of us, our essential data archive. Your inbox shouldn’t be a place to store emails: you wouldn’t store regular mail on your doormat… Yet that’s how we treat email. In this article we look at some of the ways emails are affecting our working lives and what we can do to reduce their impact.

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Likeability in business: What is it and where can I get it?

What are the traits required to be a business success? A capacity for hard work, certainly. An appetite for risk, no doubt. Determination and a resilience to set-backs, absolutely. What about likeability? Plenty of entrepreneurs out there will have grown up in the belief that ‘nice guys finish last’, that business is no place for the weak and, therefore, you have to put on a tough exterior if you are going to come out on top. This may have been true once upon a time, but attitudes are changing and the value of traits such as empathy, understanding, and self-awareness is rising all the time. In this article we look at what likeability is in business and how you can achieve it.

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Tell tale signs you cannot handle your company’s finances

Every entrepreneur needs finance skills. But not every entrepreneur has them. Most entrepreneurs will have bags of acumen and expertise in their chosen sector – if they didn’t they wouldn’t be there in the first place. But managing a startup’s finances often proves to be one of those things that is learned the hard way. To be clear: cash flow can be used to predict the success of a business in 83% of cases. So what behaviours, tools and techniques can you use to help you move in the right direction? 

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What can entrepreneurs learn about marketing from industry giants?

For entrepreneurs wanting to take their company into the big league, there’s much you can learn from those who have already made it. You don’t need to be able to match their budgets to learn from the marketing strategies of industry behemoths. The core messages are the same, whether you’re spending USD 1,000 or USD 1m, it starts with this: know your audience. Marketing spend is not all glitz and glamour, TV ads and product launches. It’s customer surveys, sales analytics and feedback forms. Ultimately, your message comes from your market – so get to know your customer and the rest will follow.

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