5 Of The Greatest Marketing Disasters In History & What We Can Learn From It

In this post, I share with you 5 of the greatest marketing disasters in history & what we can learn from it. Marketing blunders and disasters happen, and these can give future marketers and aspiring ones to learn from them and avoid the same mistake.

Everyone makes mistakes, even marketers. Usually, we learn from them and move on with our lives, maybe escaping without the general public noticing. But what happens to those companies that make mistakes on a much greater scale and cost their company millions in clout or even dollars?

Every company has a marketing budget that they use to pay the best and brightest in ad campaign creation to create terrific new branding initiatives, slogans and commercials. The goal is to always motivate the customers to buy more of their products or services. While it often works out, sometimes these companies fall flat on their faces. Some setbacks are easy to recover from while others can lead to the downfall of an entire brand.

Even the most reputable companies make marketing blunders which they have to pay for in many ways. There are many different reasons why something like this can potentially happen.  As customers we may not often realize, but marketing campaigns actually play a big part in whether or not we make purchases.

Here are 5 of the greatest marketing disasters in history & what we can learn from it:

1. Coca-Cola

In 1985, Coca-Cola tried to introduce a new, sweeter version of their beverage to combat their new competitor, Pepsi. As people preferred the taste of Pepsi over Coke in blind taste tests, Coke felt the need to regain market share with a new recipe. So, how did it turn out?

Not well. Public response was so negative that people were hoarding the old Coke and selling it on the black-market for grossly inflated prices!

Why were people so upset? Coke’s brand embodied classic American traditions and people didn’t want new a version of Coke. They wanted that classic beverage whose secret recipe was guarded under lock and key in Georgia for so many years! After finally retiring the “New Coke” recipe, sales of the old classic Coke were significantly higher.

What do we take away from this marketing mistake? Learn what your customers want before spending time and money on a top-secret product or service change!

2. The New York Times

In December 2011, the New York Times sent an email to people who recently canceled their subscription asking them to reconsider by offering them a discount to sweeten the deal. Sounds like a great idea to get a customer back, right? Too bad an employee accidentally sent it to 8 million subscribers instead of the list of recent unsubscribed users they had.

Subscribers instantly assumed that this spam email was the result of hackers and some were even mad that they weren’t getting the same discount as a loyal customer. Of course, employees responded immediately apologizing and telling people it was an unfortunate human error. Still, this is every email marketer’s nightmare and it serves as a much-needed reminder to always double check your list before clicking ‘Send’ on any campaign.

3. The Cartoon Network Bomb Scare

In 2007, The Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block launched what would become the penultimate example of a guerrilla marketing gone wrong. In a clandestine effort to promote the first full-length film based on the absurdist cartoon series Aqua Teen Hunger Force, a group of artists posted these Lite Brite-like circuit boards featuring the show’s pixelated Mooninite characters Ignignokt and Err on public structures around the city of Boston. What they and Cartoon Network’s parent company Turner Broadcasting failed to take into account was that such a stunt wouldn’t be possible in the age of 9/11 without causing an incident. Many mistook the unorthodox ads as bombs and Turner had to pay $2 million to the Boston Police Department for the resulting investigation.

Guerrilla Marketing can appear random and spontaneous to the public, but it shouldn’t when the local authorities have to get involved. Always inform the local police of what you’re doing and get the permits and licenses that are necessary from the city to pull off such public spectacles. One of the mistakes the PR firm behind this campaign made was that they still didn’t tell the police or Homeland Security that this was being used for an ad campaign for a movie.

4. Ford Edsel

Often called the worst car of all-time, the Edsel is one of those legendary failures of automotive history. However, it wasn’t the car that had problems. Instead, it was the marketing. After all, the car may have been a gas-guzzler and a tad overpriced, but it was no less functional than a Mercury and that’s part of the reason why Ford lost $400 million within three years on that car. Part of the problem was the Edsel suffered from overblown advertising hype. Claims such as the car could float on air were spread. However, the car was almost identical to Ford’s Mercury without adding anything new. Mercury and the Edsel were manufactured in the same factory, which led to a mix-up of parts that resulted in technical issues that killed any demand there ever was. Top that with 1957’s recession and the Edsel was doomed before it ever launched.

Of course, the recession was a factor beyond Ford’s control, but it could have managed its quality control better and it could have made the Edsel different enough to appeal to the American public. As a business, you can never rest on your previous successes, you must always be innovating and as a marketer, it’s important to sell the reality, not the hype.

5. Ayds Candy

Ayds was a popular diet candy in the 1970s and early ’80s until it was saddled with the unfortunate luck of having the same sounding name as AIDS the disease. Not only that, but those battling the disease lost copious amounts of weight, so the product’s purpose became a cruel joke in more ways than just its name. Of course, the diet chew could not recover from the unavoidable association and eventually went out of business.

The story of Ayds is a lesson in rebranding and not doing it soon enough. The moment its product was confused with the disease, the company should have relaunched it with an entirely different name as if the old product never existed. When things change, you have to pivot fast. There is no sense in going down with the way things are when you can adapt and try to save yourself.

Conclusion

Marketing blunders and disasters happen, and these can give future marketers and aspiring ones to learn from them and avoid the same mistake. In this post, I shared with you 5 of the greatest marketing disasters in history & what we can learn from it.

7 Bad Habits You Must Give Up In Order To Be A Good Leader

It pays to be aware of your own habits, despite their tendency to slip by unnoticed. Giving up bad habits will improve your leadership and productivity. In this post, I shared with you 7 bad habits you must give up in order to be a good leader.

Professionals often assume that becoming a leader requires adding new skills or habits to your arsenal. While this can help, doing the opposite can be just as effective. Giving up simple things and habits is crucial if you want to be a good leader. Simply put, leadership requires great sacrifice.

Success isn’t always about dominating the landscape. Sometimes, to be successful, you have to be prepared to give up some counterproductive behaviors that are holding your entire organization back. Most of the time, these are all old habits and old habits are often the hardest to break.

As an entrepreneur, success is not negotiable. Unfortunately, despite your knowledge, ambition, and talent there are a few disastrous personality quirks that can hold you back from realizing your full potential. Here are 7 bad habits you must give up in order to be a good leader:

1. Micromanaging

The opposite of delegating, micro-managing wears people down, wastes your time and turns you into a petty tyrant. If this is a habit you suffer from, it might mean that you don’t trust your team to get things done on their own. If you have a good reason to feel that way, maybe it’s time to trim some fat. On the other hand, your micro-managing may just be a nervous habit. If that’s the case, you need to work on it before you drive everyone else away.

2. Being Reactive Instead of Being Proactive 

When you only work reactively, you’re only acting upon things once they happen. The key is to deal with things long before they even start flying your way. You need to foresee trouble and find ways to deal with it long before it spirals out of control. If you’re not proactive, you’re very easy to throw off balance and a prime target for your competition. Be ready for problems before they happen. Good leaders mitigate disaster long before it happens.

3. Indecisiveness

As a leader, you’re under a lot of pressure to make the right decisions that drive your business forward. However, there’s something worse than making the wrong decision, which is making no decision at all. If you have a list of to-do items that you’re postponing simply because you aren’t yet sure what to do with them, you might have a problem with indecisiveness. This inability to commit to decisions leads to a halt in productivity for your entire business. Commit to decisions, even if you’re not 100 percent sure of the outcome. A bad decision is still better than no decision.

4. Not Doing What You Say You Will

Leading a startup or a new company is exciting and there are a lot of different offers and opportunities that will come your way. But until you are sure of something, be cautious about announcing it to the company. It’s understandable that with new companies, things will change, but the more you can stay true to your word and correctly set expectations, the more credibility you will have with your employees. Do what you say and say what you mean. Having credibility with your staff not only boosts morale, but it will also increase overall productivity and camaraderie.

5. Lack Of Humility

The person who acts as though they can do it all and are the only one who can do it right is unlikely to rise to be a great leader. There is a fine line between confidence and cockiness. Arrogance is never good for leadership, but confidence is a necessity. Find the right balance between the two and you can be a very successful leader.

6. Failure to Inspire And Motivate Others

The number one most devaluing quality of ineffective leaders is their inability to motivate their team. Most leaders know how to push to get results, but very few understand how to pull. Leaders with this bad habit of only pushing and not pulling have been described as autocratic and micro managers. Others were described as unenthusiastic and passive. Energizing people and inspiring them to peak levels of performance is the most challenging struggle for many ineffective leaders.

7. Being Too Risk Averse

Nothing worthwhile happens without either risk or commitment. You need to know when one is going to work better than the other. If you’re afraid of risk, you may try to compensate it by committing yourself to the regular, diligent effort. Obviously, there are greater vices in the grand scheme of things. However, failing to recognize those moments when the value of a given risk is optimal can make you non-competitive in your industry.

Conclusion

It pays to be aware of your own habits, despite their tendency to slip by unnoticed. Giving up bad habits will improve your leadership and productivity. In this post, I shared with you 7 bad habits you must give up in order to be a good leader.

8 Body Language Hacks To Utilize When Meeting Someone New

Body language plays an important role in making a good impression towards a prospective client or business partner. Being aware of the proper body language to use in the first meeting is vital to the outcome of the meeting. In this post, I shared with you 8 body language hacks to utilize when meeting someone new.

Meeting new people could be awkward for many of us. While some of us bask in the glory of meeting new people, it’s hard for many people to get out there and make a solid first impression. The way you present yourself in your first meet could potentially make or break your long-term relationship with that person.

In the business world itself, the first meeting can determine everything. If you’re pitching a client or looking for investors, how you behave and portray yourself during the 30 to 60 minutes you get is vital. One of the most undervalued things about making a good first impression is body language. Successful people are able to effectively tell people exactly what to think of them by controlling their body language and facial expressions. They use people’s instincts to their advantage.

Here are 8 body language hacks to utilize when meeting someone new:

1. Greet Them With Your Best Smile

A smile does work wonders during an initial meeting. A genuine smile delivered correctly signifies that you care for the person. A big and warm smile adds more richness and depth to the way a person perceives you.

A friendly smile has the ability to change a meeting from cold to warm really fast. People feel far more comfortable when they see that their counterpart is happy. Smiles are not only a great way to acknowledge someone, but it’s also a solid way to let the other person know that you’re enjoying their company. Cracking a smile in between conversations helps keep the mood just light enough.

2. Embrace The Power Of Touch

Gentle touches on the forearm or the shoulder of the other person while greeting them is another way to create a genuine and friendly approach. When first meeting someone, it’s all about doing little things to ease any possible tension that may be in the room.

You will understand how important a bit of touch plays in meeting and greeting a new person. A tap on the shoulder will also give away a feeling of warmth and friendliness. This shows that your care is genuine and it breaks down the barriers of communication, letting you get closer to this person.

3. Keep Your Posture Upright, Not Rigid

The secret to maintaining confidence while speaking is to have your spinal cord completely straight. A straight and firm back lets you articulate your thoughts correctly and gives you further confidence while speaking to someone new. Try to keep your body lose and your back straight without being rigid.

A Harvard study concluded that people who hold expansive poses and take up larger areas exhibit better levels of confidence as compared to those who don’t. Never shrink yourself in, because it may give out the impression that you lack confidence. Keep your chest out, back, straight and relax your body because these are all signs of a very confident person.

4. Point Your Feet Toward The Person You’re Talking To

In social settings, people pay the least amount of attention to their feet. I mean, why would you be thinking about your or someone else’s feet? You wouldn’t. That’s largely because the feet are furthest away from the eyes allowing nobody to see them (unless they blatantly look down).

However, since people don’t consciously pay attention to their feet, you can learn a lot about what someone is thinking subconsciously by looking at their feet. You can also improve your body language and first impression by paying attention to what your own feet are doing.

5. Make Your Neutral Face A Happy Face

Ever heard of ‘resting bitch face syndrome’? Some people claim their face at rest looks annoyed/angry, which makes people perceive them as unapproachable. You preferably wouldn’t talk to a person with that kind of an expression on their face or would be far less likely to approach them with a question.

It says nothing about the actual person though. However, it’s still a massive disadvantage to a person with that look in a business setting. Make sure that your face at rest (e.g. when you are working on a laptop) looks relaxed, if not happy. A simple trick is to have a look on your face like something is mildly amusing to you.

6. Don’t Break Eye Contact Instantly

People have a habit of looking away if they meet a person’s eyes. Try not to do this. Keep eye contact and smile. Often people will look away, though some people will hold your gaze.

–    Doing this has multiple effects:

–    People perceive you as more open

–     You will feel more confident

Please note that when you hold someone’s gaze, be sure to smile. Looking impassively can be perceived as very creepy.

7. Use A Firm But Gentle Handshake

Men are very judgmental when it comes to handshakes. A weak or ‘dead fish’ handshake will instantly cause another person to perceive that man to be lacking confidence or strength.

–    Don’t just ‘offer’ your hand; a handshake requires teamwork

–    Use the pressure you would use to grab the stick of a heavy pan

–    If a person is offering you a ‘dead fish’ handshake, don’t squeeze too hard (respect them)

8. Pivot Completely Towards Them

This is something that should be taken care of the most. In environments where multiple people meet and greet, your attention should be towards the one you want to make an impact upon. Once this person approaches you, try to pivot yourself towards that person completely and not just your face. Doing otherwise can convey a negative message that you don’t care enough about the person and are only conversing with him/her as a formality.

Give the person your undivided attention and completely turn towards them. To further improve it, try leaning in just slightly towards that person giving an impression that you are eager to listen to their thoughts. We only like people who respect us and show us that they really care for us by being attentive.

Conclusion

Body language plays an important role in making a good impression towards a prospective client or business partner. Being aware of the proper body language to use in the first meeting is vital to the outcome of the meeting. In this post, I shared with you 8 body language hacks to utilize when meeting someone new.

A CEO’s Guide To Being A Top-Notch Leader

There is a thin line between a LEADER and a BOSS. For a CEO to become a top-notch leader, he needs to act more as a leader and learn leadership. In this post, I shared with you a CEO’s guide to being a top-notch leader.

Having great leadership qualities is not about winning a popularity contest. Good leaders may not always be liked, but they are always respected. Most importantly, a leaders job is to create harmony in an environment where people want to work together.

Learning how to become a leader is essential to your success. Whether you own a business, teach at a school, manage a small group, coach an athletic team or are working to advance a worthwhile cause, you need to get help from others to accomplish your goals. This not only requires you to hold a vision of what success is, but it also requires you to practice coaching and training skills that will inspire others to want to help you reach that goal.

Here is a CEO’s guide to being a top-notch leader:

1. Adaptability

The best leaders adjust their management style to suit the needs and personalities of those on their teams. For instance, they might hold brainstorming sessions to generate new ideas on a business process, but also welcome suggestions in writing, which may encourage less vocal employees to participate.

As a leader, you have to survey the team that you will be leading. Access all the individuals in the group and how you have to adjust yourself to best lead this group. Leaders who are stubborn or unwilling to change their ways will struggle to be good leaders.

2. Strong Communication Skills

Top-notch CEO’s promote open, two-way communication with staff members. They’re able to convey complex information effectively, both verbally and in writing. They also listen intently to feedback from employees and follow through with appropriate action.

As a leader, you have to constantly communicate. Whether you’re communicating to your team or to potential customers, you will always have to utilize your words to get what you want. Learning how to communicate properly is going to be crucial to your success.

3. Ability To Inspire

Leaders set the example for their teams by arriving at work each day eager for the challenges and opportunities ahead. They work one-on-one with employees to identify career paths and provide the necessary support for people to be successful with their goals.

As a leader, you have to serve as a role model. What time do you come into the office? What time do you leave the office? It’s tough for a leader to ask their employees to work hard if they don’t do the same. It’s one thing to talk the talk, but can you walk the walk as a leader?

4. Vision

Respected CEO’s also stay one step ahead of the curve with business developments. For instance, when making purchasing decisions, they look for products that will suit their team’s needs many years down the road. They also explain to employees how their work ties into the firm’s goals and priorities so they feel connected to the company’s long-term success.

CEO’s are also visionaries because they have a vision that they need to carry out. In order to carry out this vision, they have to convince others to buy in and help them execute on it. As a leader, you need to know exactly what your vision is and how you want it carried out.

5. Trust

When it comes to leading a team, you have to be willing to go out on a limb for your employees to show you have their back. Exhibiting a genuine interest in your team’s well-being shows you care and are willing to protect them when necessary.

When you build trust, it demonstrates that your interests and actions will never supersede the goals of the organization or your employees. The best leaders also know they can’t handle all of the group’s key projects themselves. They delegate authority to employees, giving them the power to do what is needed to accomplish their assigned tasks without being micromanaged.

6. Decisiveness

When you undertake the responsibilities of being a leader, you have to be comfortable making big decisions and sticking to them. You can’t be afraid to be decisive and make tough calls when circumstances require it. Ensure your choices are not just beneficial to you, but with the organization’s goal in mind.

Strong decision-making abilities are also essential. You have to quickly review all the information pertaining to a decision and move forward. Respected leaders can make big decisions and they are also willing to live with the consequences down the road if things don’t work out.

7. Respect

As a leader, how you treat people is everything. And while books and the internet may be filled with tons of advice on how to handle employees, it all boils down to one word – RESPECT.

Leaders who respect their employees will never look/speak down to their employees, they will give their employees a voice, they won’t make assumptions about anyone, they’ll respond with compassion and they are respectful towards everyone. Having these types of qualities as a leader will allow you to achieve massive goals on a large scale.

8. Self-Awareness

Great leaders know that self-awareness is essential to their effectiveness. They weren’t born on a special planet. They haven’t always been models of self-discipline and productivity. They haven’t always been satisfied or proud of how they’ve handled every situation. They’ve made their share of mistakes.

The one thing they have in common is their constant attention to their behaviors and its impact. Top-notch leaders study themselves and the people around them to see themselves through the eyes of others and learn why they do what they do. Not only that, but they are truly interested with what works and what doesn’t, how to control their least productive instincts and how to handle every situation better.

9. Take Accountability

We’re all human. Mistakes will happen. But it’s not always easy to own up to mistakes and be receptive to feedback and change. Business growth involves taking risks that don’t always pan out. Be willing to stand up for your employees and their decisions when expectations aren’t met. This will motivate your employees to take risks knowing that the ownership team will have their back.

A good leader has to support and assist the team through thick and thin. Give them the confidence to take risks and speak up without being punished. When the mistake is yours, take ownership. Be credible because people want to follow an honest leader. Be candid about why things didn’t work out, learn from the mistake and move on. People will trust someone who actively holds themselves accountable for their mistakes.

10. Have A Mentor

No matter who you are, it’s always helpful when you have someone to look up to who is experienced with strong leadership capabilities. Rarely will someone offer to be your mentor, you’ll likely have to do the courting. It may be someone in your business area, but a great mentor relationship doesn’t necessarily need to be in your same industry.

Identify potential mentors who have similar values. Be prepared to explain what you hope to learn, why you value their insight and expertise and what you bring to the relationship. When faced with a big decision or obstacle, imagine how your mentor would handle it. Think about what they’ve done to overcome similar situations. This can help point you in the right direction when you find yourself being challenged.

Conclusion

There is a thin line between a LEADER and a BOSS. For a CEO to become a top-notch leader, he needs to act more as a leader and learn leadership. In this post, I shared with you a CEO’s guide to being a top-notch leader.

8 Secrets To Success I Uncovered In My Entrepreneurial Journey

I consider my extreme impatience to jump in the entrepreneurship one of the best things that could have happened to me. I was able to start my entrepreneurial journey at the age of 17! As a result of that, I have realized that I’ve been pursuing my own dreams for the last 7 years without ever looking back.

What is it that makes people successful? Are successful people smarter or do they work harder? Are they risk takers or do they have powerful and influential friends?

I have been able to learn numerous secrets, tricks and strategies in regards to what it takes to be successful as an entrepreneur. I have learned from my own experiences, from being mentored by other successful entrepreneurs and simply from educating myself on various topics. Here are 8 secrets to success I uncovered in my entrepreneurial journey:

1. Success Only Comes From Hard Work

We all know that there is no such thing as overnight success, but many of us fail to believe it regardless. For every successful person you see, they had to work and sweat behind the scenes for years before getting to where they are today. The only easy success comes from winning the lottery.

People with luck will tell you there’s no easy way to achieve success purely based on luck. Getting lucky is about working your ass off and having opportunity meet your hard work at the right time. Successful entrepreneurs always give 100% of their efforts to everything they do. If you know you are giving your best effort, you’ll never have any reason for regrets. Work like others are unwilling to work and you will find yourself achieving success.

2. Trust Your Instincts

There are times when you’ve got to stick to your ideas and beliefs. Then, there are other times when that’s the worst thing you can do. In most situations, there never really is a right answer. Even if there is a right answer, you won’t find out until later down the line. So what do you do?

In business and entrepreneurship specifically, you’re going to be faced with tons of dilemmas. Rather than sitting around trying to figure out the best answer, trust your instincts from time to time. Successful entrepreneurs are ones who can make a decision based on their instincts and live with the consequences later.

3. Be Willing To Adapt When Necessary

Sh*t happens and that is a reality of any entrepreneurial journey. Businesses changes, industries change and various issues arise on a daily basis. Running a business can be very unpredictable and can end up throwing a serious wrench into your plans.

Regardless of what challenges or obstacles you face, it isn’t the smartest or the strongest entrepreneurs that survive. Just like Charles Darwin said, it’s those who can easily adapt to their circumstances. As an entrepreneur, you have to see what is happening around you and utilize logic to make the best decisions possible. This will often times require you to change and adapt even when you aren’t comfortable doing so.

4. Rely On Your Team, No Individual Can Do It All

The quickest thing I figured out from being an entrepreneur was that no matter how hard I worked, I couldn’t do it alone. I needed help to really be successful in the long run. Successful people develop and nurture a network of partners and employees that share a common vision as them.

Everyone has limitations. The quicker you figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are, the better your odds of success will be. Find employees or partners to fill in your weaknesses and focus on your strengths. That’s what I have done for the past few years and I’ve seen my success amplified as a result of it. Best of all, I don’t feel as burned out as I did when I first started out because I’m not stressing over things I’m not so good at.

5. Enjoy The Journey Because It’s Going To Be Long

Every entrepreneur who has come before you and has become successful will tell you that you need to focus on your journey to success. Along with focus and determination to succeed, you also need to enjoy the journey. The journey will take a long time, maybe even a lifetime for some depending on your goals. Enjoying it is part of being successful and reaping the fruits of success later on. What is a success if you are not having fun with it? When you have fun, you are more likely to attract people who want to join you.

It’s the journey that changes you. The journey is how you grow, expand yourself and how you have fun. The journey is how you learn to cope with struggles and get back up when you’ve failed. Embrace the entire process because it’s great!

6. Make Tiny Improvements Each Day

Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out. There is a continuous process of improvement until you reach your goals. We don’t become the best or great at anything overnight. We need to improve our craft constantly. Ultimately, we need to do our best each day while always striving for excellence. It’s all about how much effort we put into our tasks and what kind of results we want to achieve. If we want to succeed, we need to be willing to do everything it takes and never give up.

The road to success is a tough one. There will be challenges each day and accomplishments along the way. Not every day is ever really the same, but we can make sure that we put our full effort in each day. Learn from each day by reflecting on what went well and what went poorly. After that, improve day by day and you will see yourself achieving far more in a 24 hour span than ever before.

7. Go The Extra Mile

There is one sure way to get what you want in life, but few people do it. Put this practice firmly into your day to day business activities and you will have an advantage at anything you do for the rest of your life. Successful people realize their life long dreams by doing things that most people are not willing to do.

Going the extra mile is part of a small business success mindset. It’s your business; you are ultimately responsible for the results. Setting deadlines for yourself and writing down your goals makes it easier to go the extra mile. With everything you do, don’t just put in 100%. Instead, put in 200%!

8. Don’t Stop Networking

Networking and going to events around the clock for me was one of the toughest things to do. I couldn’t be at the office working and it was rather tiring. However, the connections that I was able to make along the way were vital to my success. I like to say that it’s important what you know and who you know in business.

Understand that networking is crucial to success in most industries. As an entrepreneur especially, you can build lots of valuable connections. I met investors, employees, partners, clients and much more just from putting myself out there. Networking is very important regardless of where in your entrepreneurial journey you are.

Conclusion

Every individual who wants to succeed and has already succeeded has secrets that they followed to achieve their goals. In this post, I shared with you 8 secrets to success I uncovered in my entrepreneurial journey.

10 Awesome Productivity Tools That Will Add More Hours To Your Day

Saving a few minutes throughout the day can make a big difference in a person’s productivity. With the help of apps and software, they can help you save time and reduce the costly errors and give the opportunity to provide a top-quality service to clients and customers. In this post, I shared with you 10 awesome productivity tools that will add more hours to your day.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could get twice as much done in the same amount of time? Productivity is not just getting more done as many people think it is. It’s an upward spiral of getting better at what you do. The pillars of productivity are organization, creativity, efficiency and stress management.

It’s natural for a professional to feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. This is especially true for entrepreneurs building a business alone. Being forced to handle the multiple daily tasks associated with running a business can easily push a person to the breaking point. With so many tech tools available, solopreneurs and consultants can automate processes, eliminating the need to hire additional staff or contract processes out. With so many tools available, it can be hard to choose just one. I will share with you 10 awesome productivity tools that will add more hours to your day.

1. Asana

Asana markets itself as a team productivity tool, helping everyone stay on-task and organized. It probably isn’t very useful for solo workers, but if you’re on a team, Asana will help you keep all projects and tasks in one spot, assigning various users different jobs.

Asana is the easiest way for teams to track work and get results. From tasks and projects to conversations and notifications, Asana enables teams to stay up to date with work from start to finish. It’s simple to get started, but powerful enough to run your entire business.

2. Google Analytics & Google Webmaster Tools

These tools are necessities and are considered as some of the most important tools out on the market. These online marketing tools provide ultra-valuable insight about your website’s performance, traffic, referrals and conversions. Together, these tools will help you monitor and maintain your website to ensure it is internet-optimized and Google-friendly.

3. Trello

Trello is an online productivity tool that is far more than just lists and check boxes. It’s a visual task tracking program that allows you to see at a glance where you are with your projects, what needs to get done and what you’ve completed.

Trello uses the kanban paradigm for managing projects. Projects are represented by boards, which contain lists (corresponding to task lists). Lists contain cards (corresponding to tasks) and these cards are supposed to progress from one list to the next (via drag-and-drop). For instance, it’s supposed to mirror the flow of a feature from idea to implementation. Users can be assigned to specific cards and everything can be grouped by organizations.

4. Google Drive

If you regularly collaborate with clients or colleagues on documents, Google Drive is essential. You can even use it to plan events, create spreadsheets or pages that assign tasks to various participants and allow them to update their progress along the way. Google Drive is not only free; it’s accessible to anyone who has a Google login.

Google Drive incorporates a system of file sharing in which the creator of a file or folder is, by default, its owner. The owner can regulate the public visibility of the file or folder. Ownership is transferable. Files or folders can be shared privately with particular users having a Google account, using their @gmail.com email addresses. Sharing files with users not having a Google account requires making them accessible to “anybody with the link.” This generates a secret URL for the file, which may be shared via email or private messages. Files and folders can also be made “public on the web,” which means that they can be indexed by search engines and thus can be found and accessed by anyone. The owner may also set an access level for regulating permissions. The three access levels offered are “can edit,” “can comment” and “can view.” Users with editing access can invite others to edit.

5. Google Adwords Keyword Planner

The Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool is a useful resource for building strong keyword lists and helping to get your PPC campaign off to a running start. A free-to-use feature within AdWords, its tools for generating keyword ideas and bid estimations can help you plan your marketing strategy. By using the AdWords Keyword Tool, you can search for keyword and ad group ideas, see how a list of keywords might perform, and even combine keyword lists to create new ones. It can also help you choose competitive bids and budgets to use in your campaigns.

The AdWords Keyword Tool can help you identify terms, phrases, and words potential customers are searching for related to your business that you may not have thought of before.

6. DocuSign

DocuSign provides electronic signature technology and digital transaction management services for facilitating electronic exchanges of contracts and signed documents. DocuSign’s features include authentication services, user identity management, workflow automation, data integration, forms and templates and payments.

7. LastPass

LastPass is a freemium password management service that stores encrypted passwords in private accounts. LastPass is standard with a web interface, but also includes plugins for many web browsers and apps for many smartphones.

A user’s content in LastPass including passwords and secure note  is protected by one master password. The content is synchronized to any device the user uses. Information is encrypted with AES-256 bit encryption with PBKDF2 SHA-256, salted hashes, and the ability to increase Password Iterations value. Encryption and decryption take place at the device level. LastPass has a form filler that automates password entering and form filling, and it supports password generation, site sharing and site logging, and Two-Factor Authentication.

8. WordPress CMS

WordPress is a free and open-source content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL. WordPress is installed on a web server that is either part of an Internet hosting service or a network host in its right.

WordPress has a web template system using a template processor. Its architecture is a front controller, routing all requests for non-static URIs to a single PHP file which parses the URI and identifies the target page. This allows support for more human-readable permalinks.

9. OfficeTime

Tracking your time just got easier with OfficeTime. You can use this program for loads of things such as tracking to see how long it takes you to do certain tasks, organizing your to-do lists, tracking your time for client projects and running reports that turn into detailed invoices.

10. Goods Order Inventory

If you sell products, you need a way to track each item. Goods Order Inventory lets you manage, track and transfer stock whether it’s in shipment, in your garage or on the way to customers. If you’re a one-person operation, it’s especially important to be able to pinpoint an item’s location whenever the need arises easily.

Conclusion

Saving a few minutes throughout the day can make a big difference in a person’s productivity. With the help of apps and software, they can help you save time and reduce the costly errors and give the opportunity to provide a top-quality service to clients and customers. In this post, I shared with you 10 awesome productivity tools that will add more hours to your day.

10 Entrepreneurial Traits You Must Have To Succeed As A Young Entrepreneur

Achieving success in the world of entrepreneurship is never easy regardless of your age. However, with the right approach and mindset anything is possible. In this post, I shared with you 10 entrepreneurial traits you must have to succeed as a young entrepreneur.

Being a successful young entrepreneur today requires a different set of personality traits than it did a hundred years ago. So why are Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie still held up as models for young entrepreneurs to emulate?

In a rapidly changing world, being agile is all about your responsiveness to change. Taking control of your career and not being at the mercy of a corporation is the ultimate hedge against a changing marketplace.

Successful business owners have many traits in common with one another. They are confident and optimistic, while also being disciplined self-starters. They are open to new ideas that cross their paths and successful entrepreneurs are disciplined enough to take steps every day toward the achievement of their objectives.

Entrepreneurs whether young or old share a set of characteristics that help with their successes in the business world. Here are 10 entrepreneurial traits you must have to succeed as a young entrepreneur:

1. Confidence

The entrepreneur does not ask questions about whether they can succeed or whether they are worthy of success. They are confident with the knowledge that they will make their businesses succeed. They exude that confidence in everything they do.

Self-confidence is a key entrepreneurial trait. You have to be crazy sure your product is something that the world needs and that you can deliver it. The naysayers will constantly doubt your ability to execute, but having that self belief is extremely important.

2. Passion

It’s commonly assumed that successful entrepreneurs are driven by money. However, most will tell you they are fueled by a passion for their product or service. Not only that, but their main interests lie in getting the opportunity to solve a problem and make life easier, better,cheaper. Most entrepreneurs believe they will change the world and that’s the right attitude to have.

You need to be driven by a clear sense of purpose and passion. Typically, that passion comes from one of two sources: the topic of the business or the game of building a business itself. Why do you need passion? If you’re going to be an entrepreneur, be ready for a lifestyle change. With any lifestyle, you must love it if you want it to be your 24/7.

3. Tolerance Of Ambiguity

This classic trait is the definition of having the ability to take risks and to be able to withstand the fear of potential failure and uncertainty. It all boils down to being able to manage fear successfully. Capacity to control fear is the most important trait of all to become successful.

Smart entrepreneurs develop an intuitive ability to sniff out and mitigate start up business risk. You know that failure is an option, but you have to feel comfortable with the fact that you’re going to learn from your failures and adjust as you go.

4. Self-Starter

Entrepreneurs know that if something needs to be done, they should start it themselves. They set the parameters and make sure that projects follow that path. They are proactive, not waiting for someone to give them permission.

Not only that, but they don’t need to get motivated from outside sources. Instead, they are self-motivators who give themselves the push necessary to be successful. That is extremely crucial if you want to be the best at anything!

5. Determination

Entrepreneurs are not thwarted by their defeats. They look at failure as an opportunity for calculated success. They are determined to make all of their endeavors successful, so will try and try again until they achieve their goals. Successful entrepreneurs do not believe that something cannot be done.

If you are persistent and stay determined regardless of the challenges and obstacles that you are met with, success is inevitable. If you want to achieve great things in the world of business, you have to move forward with unwavering determination.

6. Resiliency 

If you’re going to build a startup, you’ll need a spirit of determination coupled with a high pain tolerance. You’ll need to be willing and able to learn from your mistakes – to get knocked down repeatedly, get up, dust yourself off and move forward with renewed motivation.

People will constantly tell you that you won’t be successful or that starting a business is impossible. You should listen carefully and be open to constructive criticism, but don’t let people kill your dreams. The best entrepreneurs can take their failures and surround negativity to do their best work.

7. Decisiveness

You’ll need to develop a level of comfort with uncertainty and ambiguity. Entrepreneurs gather as much information as they can in a short period, and then MOVE, MOVE, MOVE! The attitude is that it’s not going to be perfect.

In business, you’ll be met with numerous challenging decisions. However, the most successful leaders aren’t the ones who are always right but rather the ones who can make decisions on the spot and live with the consequences. As long as you are decisive and can make decisions based on logic and ration, you’ll be successful in the long run.

8. Creativity

If you’re going to change the world, you’re going to have to do something that nobody else has done. That requires quite a bit of creativity and vision to make it happen. You don’t necessarily have to be a great artist to be creative. Creativity is about seeing things in ways that others may not see it.

Entrepreneurs often come up with solutions, which are the synthesis of other items. They will repurpose products to market them to new industries. In order to do something like this successfully, it requires quite a bit of creativity on your part.

9. Competitiveness

Many companies are formed because an entrepreneur knows that they can do a job better than someone else. They need to win and be better at some point. Any entrepreneur who wants to be successful has to have the hunger and thirst to be the best. To do that, you must be a competitor at heart.

While some people are born competitive, others need to develop it. Often times, it’ll require the right kick in the butt to bring out someone’s competitiveness. Nonetheless, you have to be a competitor to make it in the world of business.

10. Balance

To survive as an entrepreneur, you’ll need a strong sense of perspective. The best entrepreneurs are able to balance emotions and their business throughout everything. Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster ride and it takes quite a bit of balance to make it through the ups and downs.

Not only that, but as an entrepreneur you have to balance your personal life with your business life. If you get overwhelmed too easily or cannot handle things under pressure, it’s going to be tough to succeed as an entrepreneur. You have to develop a sense of calming balance within you to be successful long-term.

Conclusion

Achieving success in the world of entrepreneurship is never easy regardless of your age. However, with the right approach and mindset anything is possible. In this post, I shared with you 10 entrepreneurial traits you must have to succeed as a young entrepreneur.

20 Tips For Creating A Strong Social Media Strategy That Will Work

In this post, I shared with you 20 tips for creating a strong social media strategy that will work. When it comes to improving your social media presence, you need to follow strategies that will enhance and lead your business to success.

Social media is one of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal. If it is used correctly, it can create a strong personal connection with prospective customers. However, marketers often make a mistake of diving into social media without a clear plan. It can be a waste of time and can even possibly trigger a PR disaster. To benefit from social media, you need to build a clear strategy that takes into account what you are trying to achieve, who your customers are and what your competition is doing.

Developing a robust social media marketing strategy will help boost brand awareness, increase the numbers of followers you have, drive traffic to your website and generate leads for your sales funnels. No brand should be without a plan that actively places their business on social media.

Social media is an excellent place for brands to have some fun while achieving results. A strong social media strategy should work in tandem with the rest of your business strategies and processes.

To ensure that your social media marketing campaigns contribute to your brand’s greater business objectives, here are 20 tips for creating a strong social media strategy that will work:

1. Ensure That Your Social Goals Can Solve Challenges

Goal setting is a staple to all marketing and business strategies, including social media. With social media, you can be easily distracted which can make it difficult to determine exactly what your objectives. In order to stay on track, you need to look at the challenges before you and set goals based on the obstacles you want to tackle.

2. Extend Efforts Through Your Organization

Social media has long lived within the marketing department. It does not mean that it can’t have a hand in nearly every business function, from human resources to research and development. To create a fully integrated social media marketing campaign, you’ll need to involve and integrate multiple departments, especially if your goals have a direct impact on them. Work with your team to determine how you can best support each other’s goals and identify the key performance indicators that are important for you.

3. Focus On Networks That Add Value

Billions of users does not necessarily mean it will have a direct contribution to your brand’s objectives. Instead of trying to be everything to everyone, you need to focus your efforts on social networks that hold the key to your target audience and objectives. Each network has its strengths and weakness, and each social media marketer should carefully pick and choose which networks they want to take advantage of.

4. Create Engaging Content

It isn’t all about hard selling your audience on social networks at every turn. Instead, you should be focused on creating content that they can relate to and engage with. Build a funnel rather than focusing on converting every post into profits for your business.

5. Identify Business Opportunities Through Social Media

With millions of messages being sent across social channels every day, there is no doubt conversations are happening around your brand. Social media monitoring should be an essential part of your social media marketing strategy. Not only can you mediate situations involving your business, but you can collect a lot of important data to further grow your company.

6. Engage With Your Customers And Don’t Ignore Them

Whether someone is commenting on a post you’ve made, writing on your wall or mentioning you on Twitter, it’s important always to stay engaged. If customers are consistently ignored, they’ll eventually ditch your brand and they will look for an alternative. Be sure to respond to clients who have left negative feedback about your brand as well. Too many companies have lost favor with their fans by trying to delete the message and sweeping things under the rug.

7. Understand Your Goals

The first step in creating a social media marketing strategy is to understand where you want to go. What is the purpose of your social media marketing efforts? Do you want to create or raise awareness of your brand? Are you looking to increase sales, website traffic or both? Is your goal to build customer loyalty and improve retention? These goals aren’t mutually exclusive, but you should focus on one or two. If you spread yourself too thin, you’re not going to accomplish anything.

8. Look At The Competition

When it comes to social media, your competition can tell you a lot about what works and what doesn’t. After all, they’re targeting the same customers as you. If you ignore your competition, you’re giving up a fantastic opportunity to learn from their successes and mistakes. To research your competitors, start by picking three or four of the top ones. Find out which social networks they’re active on and study their content.

9. Develop Your Messages

Once you know what your marketing approach is, you need to build a message around it. What is going to be your mission statement? How are you going to craft a message that is going to benefit your brand? There’s nothing wrong with adopting some of your competitors’ successful messaging ideas, but also try to create original messages that can set you apart from them.

10. Choose Your Channels

Not all social media platforms are the same. You need to sometimes even cater different content marketing strategies based on the network you are on. You may find that one type of content performs better on one platform versus another.

11. Be Clear on Your Target Audience

Knowing and understanding your target audience is the prerequisite to a strong digital marketing strategy. It’s important to know who you’re aiming to reach in your marketing so you can focus your efforts on engaging and connecting with that audience.

12. Be Social

Don’t simply share your content and hope people will interact with your business. Be social – it is after all called ‘social’ media. Comment, like and share your follower’s content. When fans respond to your content, highlight them in the comments. You can also message customers and prospects personally to show appreciation for their support. You’ll be amazed at how these small personal touches can give you an edge with your audience.

13. Increase Daily Updates

Ensuring that your posts and updates have a good chance to be seen by your target audience is an integral part of a content strategy. For example, it’s recommended to post around 5-10 times a day on Twitter and 1-4 times a day on Facebook for optimal impressions. Almost all research highlights the best posting hours to be from 8 am to 8 pm.

14. Follow Social Media Changes

If you’ve used Facebook for your business for some time now, I’m sure you’ve been frustrated numerous times. Why? Well, Facebook likes to change their algorithm and those changes aren’t often favorable for business owners. If you don’t constantly adapt and keep up with the changes social media platforms are making, you’ll very easily be left behind.

15. Make Everything Mobile-Friendly

People are more attached to their mobile phones now. Whether it’s your sales funnel, landing pages or a piece of content you share on social media, make sure it’s mobile-friendly. More social media content is used on mobile than on any other device right now.

16. Introduce Content With Creativity

With social media, you can introduce new content in many different ways. Whether it’s in the form of infographics, videos, blog posts or something else, there are tons of ways to do it. Lock in on what works well with your brand and your audience. After you figure that out, you can create a ton of good content from that point forward.

17. Present Your Human Side With Photos

Photos and other types of visual content are highly shareable on social networks. When you post photos of your team, it helps to show your business as a human brand and build relationships with your community. Social media has made it possible for you to share information about your business in a multitude of ways. Photos can show your serious, productive, silly, creative, successful and charitable sides while keeping things very personal.

18. Question Readers for More Engagement

Questions are a good example of engaging content and have become a frequent go-to tactic, especially on platforms such as Facebook. I have gotten tremendous advice for my businesses just by asking my audience questions. Survey your audience when you need to for engagement and education!

19. Utilize Online Tools

There are tons of online tools readily available on the internet that can help you with your social media efforts. Whether you’re looking for a tool to grow your audience or to schedule posts out, there’s something there for every business owner!

20. Use a Conversational Tone For Engagement 

Social media has changed the way businesses communicate publicly. Explore your culture, community, and conversation as you develop your social media voice. Rather than being overly formal like many of us have been taught to be, you can have fun and be yourself with social media. Believe me, your audience will appreciate and connect better with you.

Conclusion

When it comes to improving your social media presence, you need to follow strategies that will enhance and lead your business to success. In this post, I shared with you 20 tips for creating a strong social media strategy that will work.

10 Characteristics of Entrepreneurship Self-Made Individuals Share

Successful entrepreneurs have different characteristics that have helped them reached their goals. These characteristics are also applicable to aspiring entrepreneurs. In this post, I shared with you 10 characteristics of entrepreneurship self-made individuals share.

Have you ever wondered how successful self-made entrepreneurs achieved their goals? Aside other from hard work and dedication, every self-made millionaire has a story behind their success. They also have the traits that they shared that made them who they are now.

Regardless of how a person defines success, there are a great number of common characteristics that are shared by successful businesspeople. If you want to be like these successful individuals, you can see which of the following traits and characteristics you have in common. You can check if you possess the same characteristics as those successful people and if you don’t, you can always improve yourself.

To be successful, you don’t have to always possess the same characteristics as those who became successful ahead of you. Most of these characteristics can be learned through practice and by developing a winning attitude, especially if you set goals and apply yourself. You can do this through strategic planning to reach your goals in incremental and measurable stages.

Not all entrepreneurs are created from the same blueprint. They can come from different geographic locations, upbringings, income brackets, social classes and education levels. There has never been a bulletproof guide to entrepreneurial greatness, but one thing is consistent – they all possess common traits that made them successful.

Here are 10 characteristics of entrepreneurship self-made individuals share:

1. They’re Filled With Determination 

Becoming a successful entrepreneur requires you to constantly set goals along the way. Growing the business, increasing sales and hiring new employees requires you to accomplish several smaller before making massive progress.

Sometimes an aspiring entrepreneur loses his or her determination to pursue the dream of being successful. This is one of the challenges that aspiring entrepreneurs face and even successful ones have encountered. However, if nothing phases you and steers you away from what you want to achieve, you’ll eventually be successful. Be determined in everything you do!

2. They Enjoy What They Do 

When you enjoy what you do, doing it feels comfortable and you end up being more productive. If you focus on your passions, you’ll be much more successful because work won’t feel like work. Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle so find something you can put in as many hours as you need to.

If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, it will be reflected in your approach. Self-made individuals don’t become too focused on chasing things such as money. Instead, they focus on finding something that they are passionate about and believe in while allowing the money to follow from their efforts.

3. They’re Serious 

You cannot expect to be efficient and successful in business, unless you truly believe in your business and in the goods and services that you offer. Many business owners fail to take their businesses seriously enough. As a result of this, they are easily sidetracked and do not stay motivated.

Not only that, but often times they also fall prey to naysayers who don’t take them seriously either. Starting a business and stepping out on your own is a big step. Don’t rush your decision and truly follow something that you can get serious about. If it’s a joke or something you’re doing as a hobby, it’s probably not the best option.

4. They Take Risks

Entrepreneurs are risk takers. They are ready to dive into a future of uncertainty. However, not all risk takers are successful businessmen. Successful entrepreneurs are willing to take big risks, but they are calculated risks.

Successful entrepreneurs evaluate the risks and rewards of each decision before they take the plunge. To be successful in life, you have to take a risk at some point. Comfort and change do NOT go together. As a result of this, you have to be willing to give up your comfortable if you really want to change your life.

5. They Can Manage Money 

Entrepreneurs are risk takers, but they also know how to handle their money. Successful entrepreneurs realize the need to properly manage their cash. They understand that they have to plan for the present and the future at the same time, which requires a fine balance.

Even if they are already financially secure or their business is already operational, self-made entrepreneurs constantly keep a close eye on cash flow. Whether it’s making intelligent decisions within the business from a financial standpoint or in your personal life, self-made entrepreneurs are on top of their money and make smart decisions.

6. They Have A High Level Of Confidence

Entrepreneurs that have a high level of confidence can get the job done even under the most stressful conditions. They understand that big challenges breed big rewards. Not only do entrepreneur need confidence, but they need self-confidence to be successful.

If you don’t believe in yourself, it’s going to be very hard to get others to believe in you. Be confident in your skills and beliefs if you ever enter into business. While most people focus on the challenge, a successful entrepreneur focuses on the finish line and the end reward.

7. They Know Failure Is Part Of The Game 

If success was easy, the world would be filled with millionaires everywhere. As a result of this, self-made entrepreneurs understand that failure is part of the game. In fact, failure is one of the secrets to success, since some of the best ideas arise from getting thrown around.

Understanding that failure is part of being an entrepreneur is very important. Most people end their dreams early because they give up after failing once or twice. However, successful people are willing to take failures and use them to their advantage. You can failures as a learning experience and shift your game plan to better your odds of success each time you try.

8. They Plan Everything

Planning every aspect of a business is not only a must, but it’s a great habit that everyone should develop. Business planning is very important for a business to be successful. Not only should you be planning for the best case scenarios, but you need to have a backup plan if things don’t go as planned. My motto has always been to hope for the best, but to also expect the worst.

As a business owner, this requires you to analyze each business situation, research and compile data so you can make more informed decisions. The most intelligent self-made entrepreneurs are always planning for the best and worst case scenarios!

9. They’re Highly Adaptable

In business, surprises are always around the corner no matter how well you can plan for it. Successful entrepreneurs are extremely flexible. They have the ability to respond quickly in any situation. Best of all, self-made entrepreneurs don’t think with emotion but instead with logic and rationalism.

By doing this, it allows them to make decisions that can navigate them out of trouble and allow them to thrive in environments that would sink most others. To be successful, you have to adapt to any situation that is thrown your way.

10. They’re Prepared To Exit 

Not every attempt at creating a business will always be successful. An entrepreneur will experience failure at some point in their career. Yeah, even the smartest and most experienced entrepreneurs have dealt with challenges along the way.

One trait that a successful entrepreneur has that makes him or her outstanding is the ability to accept failure and be willing to take the exit, if necessary. If a concept or a business is sinking and it can’t be revived, you have to be willing to accept defeat and move on.

Conclusion

Successful entrepreneurs have different characteristics that have helped them reached their goals. These characteristics are also applicable to aspiring entrepreneurs. In this post, I shared with you 10 characteristics of entrepreneurship self-made individuals share.