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The Vagrancies of Modern Love

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Vagrancies of Modern Love

Freedom. 

The world we live in today is all about freedom: Freedom of expression, the freedom to be who we are, the freedom of choice. The impact of this ideal of choice on our civilization has been staggering. The average consumer is spoiled for choice by businesses and brands competing for their attention and patronage and egged on in their search for perfection in everything. 

Speak a word against the ideals of freedom and choice and you are a pariah. However, sometimes I wonder if the wave of commoditization created by the overabundance of choice is always a good thing?

I first started thinking about it while speaking with a dear friend. Successful, intelligent and witty, he is doing very well in his life. However, he is lonely, to the point that he calls me up everytime he gets drunk to talk about his latest romantic misadventure. These calls are a weekly occurrence now, and on every call I find that the subject of his affection and subsequent heartbreak has shifted. 

She was a wonderful person really, but our schedules didn’t match.”

“We had so much in common, but our political views were completely different.”

“I thought I had found the one this time, but she told me I was too cold.”

After every such conversation, he dives back into the latest trending dating app to continue his search for perfection. Ironically, while each of these heartbreaks chips away at his faith in finding his forever, they also make him more grimly determined to push on. 

Paradoxically, because almost everyone puts their best foot forward in the initial few days of the relationship, he and others like him find themselves in a position where their list of what they want and do not want in their partner continues to grow, courtesy of their growing list of experiences until now, where his expectations from his would-be partner are so extensive that I honestly and regretfully doubt anyone’s ability to fulfil them. 

I tried gently pointing it out to him once: “Life isn’t like legos, you don’t just find someone who fits you. You have to be willing to work with them to mould each other to fit each other, while giving each other the time and space to grow and evolve in your own right. There will be challenges and even fights, but you have to be willing to work through them.”

“But it is hard, and what if the person you spend all that time and effort on is not the one? There are so many options available on these apps, why not rather spend that time finding someone who fits me as closely as possible?”

In short, modern dating apps are like the lottery or a get-rich quick scheme. You can strike luck, but unless you are willing to put in the work on strengthening your connection, prioritizing the other person and working with them to get to a point where both of you add value to each other’s life, you are just setting yourself up for disappointment after disappointment.

And unlike the lottery, the costs here can very well be higher: Not just your time, but also your emotional capacity and mental well being, as like Sisyphus’ labour in the underworld, we window shop and skip from person to person in a fruitless search for true love on dating apps. 

I recall a line from Anurag Mathur’s delightful book The Inscrutable Americans, where a naive Indian student on his first trip to the States is advised by his much more experienced American friend after his first heartbreak to “staple the pieces back together and move on, just don’t do it too often!”

Of course, dating applications have a lot to recommend them too. They are an easy way to find love, and get the opportunity to connect with diverse people. However, the way they have commoditized one of the strongest and most vital human emotions has brought us to a pass where we wouldn’t recognize love if it was staring us in the face. Our generation is much more likely to move on to swiping right again at the first sign of trouble, instead of putting in efforts to make things work with the person we are with. 

This is not a call to stay in toxic or unhealthy relationships, merely to recognize that relationships are like seeds, they must be nurtured and require effort, time and care to grow, a fact that is increasingly being lost in a world of super likes and boosts, and temporary infatuations that end in a moment of anger. And in a world where everyone is rigid, where everyone thinks they are right, and where everyone wants to win, the victory can often come at the cost of this true love all the poems and stories talk about. 

I will leave you with an excerpt from a poem by Frank Mandarano: 

Trials are not easy, and you feel there’s no hope.

There are times when you feel you’re at the end of your rope,

But you must go down deep in the pit of your heart.

Let it stop your despair and give a new start.

For true love for each other is a gift some never get,

So when that trial comes, don’t ever forget

That there is a rare thing we share that had to come from above,

And those trials will end; what got you through was pure love.

But hey, what do I know? I am a loser too!

Mudit is a former entrepreneur, author and technology journalist. Currently working as a corporate marketer and consultant to Fortune 500 firms, he also writes about the challenges of growing up in the 90s India, and as a millennial, keeping pace with the changes sweeping across our way of life. He has contributed to publications like TechInAsia, VentureBeat, Business Standard, Financial Express etc.

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6 Steps for Starting a Successful Cafe Business

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Steps for Starting a Successful Cafe Business

Let’s get it honest – people love their cup of coffee and the kick they get out of it. And who can blame them – with so many varieties, flavors, and different types to choose from, this small dose of caffeine-laden productivity offers someone for everyone. According to recent research, people around the world drink more than 2.5 billion cups of coffee a day.

So, if you wanted to start your small coffee shop, the market is definitely out there.

On the other hand, as we can see from Starbucks and other similar brands, the people are not coming only for coffee. They also look for a unique experience, interesting brands, and fun, engaging business models. Let us take a look then if we can help you crack these business-related issues and help you start your café gig.

Pen down the business plan

Essentially, every successful business starts with good business plans – cafes are really no different. This document also gives you an opportunity to start solving some of the challenges like your target market, competitor analysis, revenue projections, milestones and goals, and other critical topics without actually putting your money on the table. The more thorough you are, the fewer things you will leave to chance once you take off. Also, this is an opportunity to make a final decision on some of the popular business models:

·         Coffee kiosk

·         Coffeehouse

·         Internet Café

·         Café bistro

·         Coffee roaster

·         Mobile coffee cart

Find a killer location

Seriously, the location can make or break your coffee shop business no matter how thoroughly you have covered the previous step. So, make sure the premises you rent meet the following requirements:

·         The store is located in a busy area and accessible via different means of transport

·         The location is visible and sees constant and abundant foot traffic

·         The environment fits your branding vision

Furthermore, if we take a look at Australia as an example of a trendy country we will see the growing presence of services like coffee subscription and roasted coffee delivery. If your company is going to utilize these services, the premises need to be able to support seamless logistics and company car fleet.

Find a middle ground between familiar and unique

As we have briefly mentioned in the introduction coffee shops live and die on the experience they are able to offer to their visitors. You need to offer something fun, engaging, stylish, laid back, and pleasant. If we, once again, go to Australia for an example, we will, for instance, see the enduring popularity of bentwood chairs in Melbourne and other metropolitan areas. No wonder, since these pieces are very traditional pick and cozy, but still leave enough room for playing with other styles and design elements. In the same vein, your coffee shop should strike that sweet middle ground between familiar and unique.

Start defining your brand

Of course, to do that, you will first need to conduct thorough market research that will give you an idea about who are your ideal target clients. Try to assess what they seek, what they need, and how you can solve some of their problems. For instance, if your coffee shop will be located in the vicinity of a University your guests will probably need some room to socialize, plug in their devices, and maybe even a quiet corner to repeat the lessons. This knowledge, in turn, will help you give your brand a more clearly defined voice and start working on the unique traits that will set you apart from the competitors.

Nail down the menu

Figuring down the menu will be one of the most responsible tasks you will need to handle before the launch. And even though this chore may sound mundane, the menu composition and pricing will have an influence on all facets of your company ranging from budgeting, and marketing to space requirement and physical location. So, start by getting in touch with local vendors and looking at how your competitors handled this problem. If you have a problem finding a functional financial model, consider expanding the menu with traditional moneymakers like wine, snacks, food, and beer and refocus your branding efforts.

Choose the right employees

Last but not least, we would like to remind you that employees make the backbone of any hospitality company and your café business is really no different. Also, the people who you hire prior to launch will one day hopefully take more responsible roles. That is why, aside from meeting the requirements like focus, motivation, and meticulousness, your future staff should genuinely enjoy coffee, know the industry, understand the concept of your coffee shop, and simply enjoy the company of like-minded people. Your visitors will be able to tell the people who are there just for the gig and they won’t like it.

These were some of the most important steps you will need to take to get your café business on a good start. Of course, you will also need to open a bank account, apply for necessary permits, and so on, but these tasks are not really related to the core of your future company. The people who like to visit the coffee shops come for the experience and service just as much as for the hot beverage itself. That is why your primary task should be to offer your clients that unique experience.

The tips we gave you will definitely point you in the right direction.

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How to Start and Scale Your eCommerce Business

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How to Start and Scale Your eCommerce Business

Emily Newton is the Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized, an online magazine showing how technology is disrupting many industries.

There has never been a better time to own an eCommerce business, but knowing how to start and grow one can be challenging.

Success in eCommerce depends on your business’s ability to stand out and form genuine connections with your customers online. Having a plan to start and scale your eCommerce business will make sure you have a strong foundation from which to grow.

Getting Started in eCommerce

Before you can scale your eCommerce business and expand, you will need to get off on the right foot. In many ways, starting an eCommerce business is much like starting a conventional business. However, there are some unique challenges and considerations that come with starting an eCommerce business.

Find the Right Niche

The first step in starting any kind of business is identifying the niche your business will focus on. This is a twofold challenge: you need to find the niche your products or services will be in and the niche of customers you hope to serve. When starting an eCommerce business, you also need to consider virtual niches, such as online communities.

To identify the right niche or niches for your eCommerce business, you will need to carefully consider the products or services you plan on offering. What problem are they meant to solve? How will they improve the lives of customers? Who might benefit most from buying what you have to offer?

Register Your Business

In order to start and scale your eCommerce business, you will need to take care of some important technical steps. Every business needs to be legally registered in the U.S. and eCommerce businesses need to have a registered domain name.

You’ll need to apply for a federal employer identification number (EIN) for tax purposes. Your state will have its own unique registration requirements, as well, so make sure to check with your local Department of State for details. Usually, business registration can be done online.

Make sure to verify that your business has a unique name, as well. You can check to see if another business has a name similar to yours by visiting your state’s online database of businesses.

Create a Strong Business Plan

One of the most important, but challenging, parts of starting a business is creating a business plan. This is an important step if you want to be able to scale your eCommerce business down the road, since your business plan acts as a foundation for how you will operate and grow.

There are different ways to approach writing a business plan, but most include a few core components. Examples of common components include:

  • A company description
  • Market analysis
  • The legal and organizational structure of the business
  • Your marketing and sales strategies
  • Financial projections.

Set aside plenty of time to write and do research. Investors, lenders, partners, and other stakeholders will appreciate a detailed and thorough business plan.

When starting and scaling an eCommerce business, you’ll also need to take into account things like inventory management and shipping. For example, the specific type of boxes you use for shipping is an important part of your business, financially and logistically. Similarly, you’ll need to research things like shipping carriers and costs as well as storage space for goods or supplies.

Get Your Website Set Up

If you want to start and scale your eCommerce business successfully, your website should be one of your top priorities. The first thing you’ll need is a domain name. Choose one that’s easily recognizable and identifies your business’s specialty. When you purchase and register your domain, you’ll be able to confirm that no one else is already using the name you want.

When you are just getting started in eCommerce, you’ll want a web hosting provider that offers convenient web design tools and accessible customer service, especially if you don’t have previous web design experience. Take some time to research web design basics while you’re setting up your site. The UX (user experience) of your website will be a major factor in how it performs in search engines and whether or not customers trust your business enough to make a purchase.

You’ll also want to ensure you have reliable cybersecurity. When you’re starting an eCommerce business, you’ll need more than consumer-level antivirus software. Cyberattacks have skyrocketed since 2020, so your office or home office will need strong defenses to keep your customers’ data safe.

Make a Scaling Strategy

As you iron out all of the initial details, you may begin thinking about scaling your eCommerce business. Early on, it’s important to focus on getting a good start first and foremost. It’s a good idea to have an idea of where you want to go, though, and how you plan to get there. Your scaling strategy will give your business a direction to grow towards.

Form Connections in Your Niche

One of the best things you can do to scale your eCommerce business is network. Forming a community within your market or niche will help build up a good reputation that will allow you to expand and reach more customers. There are a few ways to network as an eCommerce business.

For example, working with relevant influencers is a great way to build trust with potential customers. If you run an eCommerce business that sells craft supplies, you might do a sponsorship with an influencer who runs a successful crafting blog or YouTube channel.

Similarly, you could connect with local groups, even if your eCommerce business doesn’t have a physical storefront.

Adapt to SEO and Algorithms

When scaling an eCommerce business, SEO (search engine optimization) and algorithms can either be your best friends or your worst enemies. Search engines are how many people will discover your business. You’ll need to adapt as the algorithms for search engines and social media change. Stay up-to-date on SEO and continually work to optimize your site for search engine performance.

This is where the initial UX design for your business’s website becomes extremely important. The appearance and functionality of your site have a major impact on how trustworthy it appears to customers and algorithms alike.

Think of UX and SEO the way you might think of presenting yourself in a boardroom. You want to demonstrate that you are professional, trustworthy, and knowledgeable. Adapting to SEO, algorithms, and web design needs is how you do this in eCommerce, and it’s vital for growth.

Bring in the Right People

Part of scaling your eCommerce business is physically growing your team. Scaling successfully relies on bringing in the right people to help your business reach its goals.

It is possible to find good talent as a small business. Focus on identifying areas where you could most use help and search for people with the right balance of skills and mindset. Remember: new skills can be learned on the job, but interest in your audience and enthusiasm for your business is harder to find. So much of scaling an eCommerce business is about having a supportive, resilient team behind the scenes.

Building a Career in eCommerce

Starting your own eCommerce business can be an exciting and rewarding experience. It will be challenging, but it can also be an opportunity to learn and bond with a community that is enthusiastic about the same niche you are. Going in with a plan will ensure you get started on the right foot and have a roadmap to start and scale your eCommerce business successfully.

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How to Handle the Workforce Conditions in 2022

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Living and operating any business in the post-COVID era, we have to think about health threats, as well as workforce metamorphosis that happened due to these threats. As owners or managers of any business in the world, this is something of extreme importance.

The rise of the COVID-19 pandemic forced many companies, as well as small businesses, to reduce their workforce. This change pushed people to think about freelancing, more than ever before. Because of it, companies are relying on freelance workers and outsourced firms to complete lots of different tasks.

Is this good in the long run? How can a serious company be sure that they will always find available freelancers, if everybody is hiring them and their power becomes stronger every day? Or should employers think about how can they make their own workforce happy to stay where they are? Let us explore some options which could help keep the employees, as well as freelancers, satisfied and doing their jobs better than ever.

Work on your employee’s engagement

Employee engagement involves the degree to which a worker is passionate about the things they do for your company as well as the commitment they show and the effort they apply.

When an employee knows their exact role inside a business venture and the company and if they are well-driven as well as determined to do good, then their performance will go sky-high. On the other hand, if your employees are not engaged enough, their performance will go down and, eventually, the rest of your business will follow down that path.

Well-being of every worker is crucial

When so many people are deciding that they can be their own boss and still do quite well, then there is not much that can stop them from quitting the job where they are not appreciated and their health is disregarded as unimportant.

We are currently operating in different conditions than ever before because of what happened during the recent pandemic. So, any serious CEO will take care of their workforce’s needs when it comes to health insurance, health code in the work facilities, crisis measures and precautions, as well as mental health of the employees.

With the COVID vaccines being easier to get, people are starting to feel safer but there are still different kinds of concerns to have and you must always be sure to keep your employees’ health in mind. There is, of course, an option to work remotely, we will talk about it in one of the next tips.

Keep the company/freelancer relationship firm and legal

Along the way, you will surely do business with outside workers and companies, depending on them to deal with all the workload your own employees cannot handle at this point. However, you must always have the state regulations in mind.

Many companies engage some freelancers for multiple tasks but they don’t report those expenses to the government, which can lead to all kinds of trouble. Tax evasion was maybe easier before but it was never a safe choice, nor recommended. Now, with new regulations, and the IR35 compliance being introduced in 2021, be sure to always include your freelance workers when calculating your taxes and  hire a competent consultant for the IR35, in order to have all papers clean and your company and workforce safe and sound.

Support your remote workforce

While lots of company owners and CEOs continue to nurture hope for a return to close-to-normal as soon as possible, it is important to explore the “new normal” as well. The anxiety that happens when returning to regular working conditions after the pandemic of COVID-19 can be a huge burden for both the workforce and the management.

Considering this and the growth of freelance opportunities, a huge percentage of workers are asking for benefits like working from a remote location and flexibility concerning working hours. This, of course, initially comes from the desire for a somewhat flexible work-life balance but also from the fear for one’s health.

Therefore, it’s wise to examine the possibilities of making the right conditions for remote work happen as well as make a plan of how that could benefit your business in the future years. With the help of the latest technology, we can now operate through video calls, emails, text app correspondence, etc. We are also able to have fast, secure, international money transfers. So, obstacles that were once slowing down the work process are now hugely diminished through these simple sidesteps.

Always think about inclusivity and diversity

While diversity and inclusion are pretty much normalized when employing new people and in the treatment of the workforce, there is always space to work on it more. With international actions like the Black Lives Matter movement, this topic is at the top of many CEOs’ minds, of course, for good reason. The work on equality in the workplace seems to be a never-ending endeavor but it can be done.

Of course, an employer must never forget that the work doesn’t stop there and that they must try to work on inclusion as well. Ensure that every worker has what they need for a safe work environment and if a person has a disability, help them feel included and able to finish tasks fast.

Follow these pieces of advice, keep your workforce happy, and you will be sure to see good results in this new era that’s not so easy to adapt to.

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