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4 Steps to Save Your Business

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Steps to Save Your Business

Startups often end in a failure and sometimes, it is best to just make amends with this fact and start planning for your next business project. However, this definitely isn’t the attitude that will help you in the corporate world. Sure, knowing when to call quits is an important skill in both business and gamble, but calling it too soon is never a good idea. You need to fight until the bitter end, like this is your last chance at business success (even if it is not). Should things start going downhill, here are four steps which may save it.

1. Face the Truth

While it is completely possible for the outside factors to cause the downfall of your company, most likely this won’t be the case. In most cases, someone has made a mistake and you will need to know who and how. There are so many things that can go wrong with your business without you even realizing it, from the unmotivated sales department to outdated marketing or risk aversion. All in all, in order to fix things, you need to know exactly where it all went wrong. Nonetheless, statistically speaking, the problem is most likely money related.

2. Look for an Influx of Capital

The problems your business will encounter will often be of a financial nature. You’ve gathered enough funds to launch, but the costs of actually running the business are much higher than you’ve previously anticipated and now this is causing your startup to collapse under its own weight. In order to solve this problem, you will need an influx of capital. Seeing how you may have already taken one or two loans to start the business in the first place, doing the same thing again is probably out of the question. After all, the interest rates alone would consume all your profit. This is why you may want to look for an alternative solution in the form of private capital. There are always those willing to invest in exchange for equity.

3. Scale Down Your Idea

Every business starts ambitiously. Upon their first week, new businesses usually intend to overthrow the competition, revolutionize the industry and climb to the top. What happens next? Well, the reality strikes back. In real life, things are not as they appear on paper which causes quite a disappointment. The biggest problem in this situation is that, although you are now fighting for sheer survival, your goals still remain the same, and this will prevent you from moving forward. In order to get on the right track, you may want to scale down a bit on your objectives and focus on achieving those instead.

4. Find the Money for Marketing

It is understandable that the budget will be tight at the beginning, but marketing is not where you should try to make a saving. Even the best service or product won’t mean a thing, as long as no one knows you have it. Furthermore, seeing how your company is in dire straits, you will have to make yourself appear stronger than you actually are. This is why you need marketing in the first place; modern corporate world is no short of a battlefield, and you need to fight as well.

Conclusion

In most cases, your problems won’t be as bad as they may appear. Even the businesses in a seemingly desperate state can still be salvaged, as long as you take the right course of action. Of course, this might force you to look the truth in the eye and even pull some quite unpopular moves, but desperate times often call for desperate measures.

Dan Radak is a marketing professional with ten years of experience. He is a coauthor on several websites and regular contributor to BizzMark Blog. Currently, he is working with a number of companies in the field of digital marketing, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies.

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Guest Post

3 ways Gamification will Revolutionize your Business

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Gamification in business

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated employee engagement levels. A recent Gallup study shows that employee engagement had increased from 36% in 2019 to 39% in 2020. There are various reasons behind this sudden jump, such as:

a. 45% of employees said they got feedback in 2020 compared to only 26% in 2019.

b. 38% of employees working from home were more engaged than 32% of those working on-site.

But the same study shows that 14% of employees are actively disengaged. Although the engaged to actively disengaged ratio had gone down from 2.7-to-1 in 2019 to 2.6-to-1 in 2020, companies need to identify the vacant spaces and fill them.

Gamification is an excellent strategy for increasing employee engagement levels to all-new higher levels. Many statistics show that employees who have fun at work are more productive and engaged and finish their work well before deadlines.

a. Research by Catapult shows that absenteeism costs UK businesses £554 per employee. Absenteeism can significantly decrease when employees have fun at work.

b. A survey sponsored by Alfresco shows that 65% of employees interact and collaborate with their colleagues multiple times a day. Thus, if employees enjoy time with their colleagues, they will work better and communicate more effectively.

c. According to a study by the University of Warwick, happier employees are 12%-20% more productive than those who are not.

These statistics prove why gamification is essential for your business. Now, let’s see three use cases of how gamification can revolutionize your business.

1. Make your training sessions compelling instead of grueling.

We all know how boring training sessions can get. I have participated in several L&D programs sponsored by the companies I have worked in. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that most people are either busy chit-chatting with their colleagues or sipping extra cups of free coffee. Thus, the primary purpose of training sessions is somewhere lost.

And, why do you think that happens?

People can give various explanations, but the primary reason is boredom.

Employees get bored of training sessions because there are no fun-filled activities to hold their interest.

This is where gamification comes in. Instead of after-session surveys or post-training tests, you can provide real-time polls to check what they have understood and what they have skipped.

And it has never been as easy as it’s today. You can ask the participants to install apps when they enter the L&D room, where they will take polls, surveys, and tests.

You can plan some group activities and hands-on sessions where learners move their hands and legs, as it has several therapeutic benefits. A mild physical activity will go a long way in helping participants to drop boredom.

2. Start a “boredom removal program” at your workplace.

Yes, you heard that right.

A “boredom removal program” is similar to a “pest removal program” frequently conducted by municipal corporations. Boredom is not very different from pests. The latter contaminates the external environment while the former infects our minds, but they function along the same lines.

Follow the steps below to cut of the roots of boredom in your company:

a. Arrange for face-to-face meetings (or online conferences if physical meetings aren’t possible) with managers and junior executives to find out reasons for boredom.

b. Avoid asking closed-ended questions that have simple “yes” or “no” answers. Instead, learn the technique of asking open-ended questions that brings emotions into the equation. You can better judge the employee’s psyche by understanding their feelings.

c. Gamify your interactions. Instead of reading out notes or displaying dull PowerPoint presentations, say what you want to say in the form of games. Online Games have a unique power to engross players for hours. Give puzzles, assign collaborative tasks, and do some physical exercises to suck the boredom. In short, allow the participants to think. Employees who think and come up with innovative solutions never get bored.

d. There is nothing else that gets people more excited than competitions. No matter how much you see, listen to, or talk about equality, people still like winning and watch others losing. Our brains have reward centers that activate when we win a competition. Moreover, our minds are hardwired to experience the thrill of winning over and over again. So, organize branch- or nation-wide competitions and you will be surprised to look at the results.

3. Gamification stimulates the ideas creation process.

Companies conduct pre-market release surveys and research to get an idea of how their products will perform in the market. Gamification can completely transform this process by augmenting our mental processes that dictate our ability to analyze, respond, and react in different situations. There are two ways of doing this: alternate reality games and live-action role-playing games (LARP). Let’s discuss them one by one.

In alternate reality games, the players remain as they are, but the reality around them changes. Jane McGonigal, a gamification expert, has developed a game called “World Without Oil” to show how companies can stimulate the ideas creation process. In the game, the participants become part of a world with an extreme oil shortage. The players receive reminders about the change in oil prices, notifications of oil shortages, and alerts about countries fighting over remaining oil reserves. Players constantly share insights about how the new changes in the world are impacting their lives. This data is collected and is used by different industries for long-term planning scenarios.

On the other hand, in LARP, players take on new roles but the reality around them may or may not change. A new role allows players to shed off traditional social norms and observe the world without predefined criteria and beliefs. For example, researchers at the University of California developed a game called Battlestar Galactica to study the impact of wearable devices.

In this game, the players act as the survivors of an alien attack on their home planet. They need to adjust to new communication patterns based on mental and physical health signals that originate from the clothes they wear. Through this game, researchers gain valuable insights into how wearable technology can positively change human interactions.

Conclusion

Companies across a broad range of industries are using gamification techniques to significantly improve their processes and give a powerful voice to their employees. Gamification plays a vital role in holding the employees’ interest by fostering creative thinking, re-imagining resource consumption, and exploring future challenges interactively. Traditional industries like the automobile industry can also use the gamification technique to understand the benefits and drawbacks of electric cars and the strategies they can implement to emerge as industry leaders.

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Guest Post

4 Benefits of Using an Online Research Community

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Online Research Community

The business world is growing very rapidly and becoming competitive day after day. With so many businesses offering the same products and services, it has become a challenge to attract customers and let them see the value they get if they make the decision to choose you. Technological innovation has played a huge part in ensuring that businesses have something to work with when it comes to understanding key things about their audience. 

With the help of online community platforms, a business can easily do research, collect data, and analyze this data. In this article, I am going to highlight the importance of online research community platforms and the benefit they offer to businesses around the world. So, without further ado, let’s jump right into it so that you can take your business to the heights of success. 

  1. Bring People Together 

The very first and the biggest benefit of an online research community platform is that it provides you with an ideal place to bring different people together. It doesn’t matter what kind of industry you belong to or what kind of a business you are running; you can easily use such platforms to connect with your customers.

The platform lets you get insight into what they want and expect from you so that you are able to transform your business accordingly. It goes a long way in making sure that the people who are using your products and services are actually satisfied with what you are offering them, and they feel as if they contribute to your business in a positive way. 

  1. Create Brand Ambassadors 

Another benefit of online engagement platforms is that you can use them to create a following for your business. A platform lets you engage with your customers on a daily basis, which allows you to let them be a part of your VIP community where you share important information about your future plans. 

These VIP customers act as brand ambassadors and create a positive word about your products and services so that everyone in their circle knows what you are offering. It is a great way to advertise your business without spending a lot of money on it. 

  1. Increase Your Reach 

One of the most important parts of running a business is making sure that you consistently make new customers while keeping the old ones happy. Engaging with your existing customers in a positive way helps other people see that you truly care for your audience and want to keep them happy. 

Engaging with your customers on these platforms and sharing important information about your business is going to improve your brand recognition and customer loyalty. By developing a good relationship with your customers, you promote other people to connect with you, which ends up going a long way in improving your overall reach. 

  1. Understand Customer’s Behavior 

Last but not least, I can’t stress the importance of tapping into your customer’s mind and finding out what he really wants. Your customer’s buying pattern and behavior are going to give you an insight regarding what kind of products he likes. You can use this information to create better products and drive better marketing campaigns that have better success. 

An online research platform not only allows you to connect with your customers but also lets you dig deep into how he is feeling. You can ask important questions regarding his experience and get feedback from him to improve your business. It is a great way to understand his motivations and desires and then use this information to market your products in a better way. 

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Guest Post

4 Virtual Office Christmas Party Ideas

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Virtual Office Christmas Party Ideas

Regardless of whether this would have been your company’s first Christmas party or the twentieth, you were probably putting plans in motion for a while now and hoping that COVID-19 would have been handled by the time the holidays arrived. However, seeing as how we are still in this situation where social distancing is recommended and many of us still work from home, your plans for the office party have probably changed. If you’ve decided not to cancel the cheer this year and opted for organizing a virtual party instead, you might be looking for some ideas and tips on how to make it a success even if you can’t all be in the same place. Keep on reading for some suggestions.

Socialize over cocktails

Even though you’re not all in the office or a place you’ve rented for the party, it doesn’t mean that you can’t set a time and date for the party and get fancy. Provide everyone with the platform you plan on using, whether it’s Zoom, Skype, or something else, and give them instructions on how to dress. You can either simply dress for a cocktail party or give the party a theme, such as wear your worst Christmas sweater. Seeing as how you’d be paying for drinks anyway, you should consider food and drink delivery to everyone’s home so that you can all have the same experience. When it comes to décor, allow the participants to do as they please, as it’s possible that some don’t celebrate Christmas or just don’t want to put up decorations. If you work in different time zones, it might not be time for cocktails everywhere so you can opt for coffee and snacks instead of drinks.

Play party games

Video calls also make it easy to play various party games. When planning the event, make sure to come up with these games in advance so that you know if there is anything that needs preparing beforehand. Luckily, there are many games that don’t require any preparation. For example, charades don’t require anything but a willingness to have fun. With a simple notepad and pen, you can also play Pictionary. Then, if your employees are a creative and talented bunch, you can organize a company talent show. Keep in mind that some workers are more introverted and might not want to take part in showing off their skills, so consider appointing them to be judges. Something else to take into consideration is giving out silly prizes to your team members – just make sure no one is overlooked.

Organize a Secret Santa exchange

If you were planning to do a Secret Santa gift exchange, you can still do that. You can find an organizer and generator online to help you get everything ready. When it comes to gifts, you should probably set a budget and rules as you don’t want some people to be disappointed by only getting a Christmas card and someone else getting a new laptop. Remember that you are also taking part in this and that you have to get a gift for one of your colleagues. If you get a female coworker you respect a lot, you should browse the internet for some Christmas gift ideas for her before you make a purchase. However, if you don’t know her all that well, a hamper full of sweet and savoury delights as well as a drink or two might be the solution you are looking for. Remind everyone to send their gifts on time so that you can all open them during your video call.

Make cookies together

Sometimes, a Christmas office party doesn’t have to be a party at all. If there are only a few of you in the company, you might be only looking for a way to spend some quality time together. One way to do that is by setting a time when you can all make cookies together. Maybe one of you is an expert at baking and is going to teach the rest how to make tasty treats for their families. Make sure you tell everyone which ingredients are necessary and what other equipment they might need. If you all agree on this, it’s essential that you are all relaxed as tension has no place at a Christmas party. In case someone can’t follow along, be patient and help them keep up. If baking is not your company’s forte, you can opt for other types of crafting projects, such as making your own decorations or gifts for other people.

While you can stick to the regular party setting and have everyone sip on cocktails from the comfort of their own home, you can also make the most of this new reality and come up with something new for your office holiday party. Who knows, maybe this new approach of baking together or playing games online turns into an annual thing.

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