5 easy ways to get organized and work smart

work smartMost entrepreneurs and business owners have this misconception that the harder they works, the more successful they might be. Working hard and long hours is the thing of the past. Times have changed and also the way we do business. In order to achieve goals (long term and short term), one must work smart and always remember the importance of efficiency and time management.

Here are 5 easy ways to get organized and work smart:

Remove the clutter

The less you have around you, the better you think. Too many things around you always act as distractions and can hinder focused thinking. This could be hard but try to avoid the urge to browse the Internet, or keeping looking at your smartphone, make personal phone calls, run personal errands during the workday, or allow other distractions to get in the way of competing important work related tasks. The other important element is to keep work at work and personal stuff at home. That way you’re more likely to accomplish what needs to get done during your work hours, and this will make your personal time at home more relaxing and enjoyable.

Create a routine

This is the most fundamental aspect of smart working. It is highly recommended that we prepare a routine and try to stick to it. This is where time management and prioritization comes into place. Schedule errands, meetings, and appointments in such a way that that you aren’t venturing out of the office multiple times a day. Get more organized and incorporate your breaks into this period, and you can lay out exactly how much time you are going to spend on each project daily.

Create a to-do list

In addition to your daily or monthly routine, it is important to highlight the most important tasks that need to be finished. Make a note of the most important things that need to be done each month, and then assign the tasks needed to complete them to specific weeks and days on your to-do list. This is the most effective way to be sure that a huge project won’t get overlooked and that your time is being used as effectively as possible. In a project based environment, you could also highlight project milestones and important deliverable for the complete month and/or year.

Delegate and/or Outsource

You can never be good at everything and delegating and outsourcing is the key to smart working. Don’t let yourself be held back from tackling the important things by mundane work. Look in-house first–are there other people on your team who can take these jobs off of your hands? If not, there are many websites available, such as Fancy Hands or Odesk, that offer relatively cheap services for monotonous day-to-day tasks, and they are more than happy to take your work.

Keep your emails short and simple

Yes, it is always better to keep it short and to the point. There is no need to send a paragraph convey an important message when one sentence will do. Not only does it waste your and the recipient’s time, but people tend to respond more quickly to email messages that are direct and concise. Not to mention, always be polite and courteous.

Get more Creative

bulb-on-the-ceiling-1495500-1280x960In an era where things change by the second, it is necessary that we prepare our minds to ideate instantly and also productively. The time spent in bringing an idea to reality is getting shorter every day, and this means that one has to always be wearing their creative thinking caps, which will help them get more creative in their thought process. This will help them come up with better and more effective ways to plan and implement their ideas. Creativity is essential to the success of any person or company, large or small. But how do you get more creative? How do you keep innovation coming, and new ideas flowing, especially when you feel like your day-to-day tasks have gotten you into a rut?

Becoming creative is a gradual process, and you can get better at it with practice and patients. Here are a few tips to follow that can gradually make you more creative in your approach to your ideas:

Ask questions and suggestions from everyone

We are living in an age of concepts and ideas so it is always important to keep an open mind to people and their thoughts. No matter how big or small a company might be, every individual in your company is adding some form of value and therefore has a mind of their own. Every individual thinks differently. People with different backgrounds, personalities, and interests bring different contributions when discussing new ideas. Also, the more questions we ask, the greater the chances of coming up with something new or connecting two things that hadn’t been connected before. It is important to inculcate a culture of creative thinking, because if each and every mind in your organization is thinking, then there is a better chance for you to get that unique idea or solution that you were looking for.

Get uncomfortable

Yes, that is correct! We are so caught up and relaxed with our daily routines that our mind has stopped thinking and being inquisitive. When you feel uncomfortable or are in an uncomfortable situation, your mind and body has to react differently than it normally does. Your mind goes into a rapid thinking mode and starts searching for answers or solutions. This can bring new ideas not only to your inception or business, but to your life as well. Such uncomfortable stations helps your brain dig into new topic and become more inquisitive and this can eventually help you to take a dive in a new direction to find new ideas. An example of an uncomfortable situation is to try to learn a skill that you hate i.e. something that you think you could never learn or master.

Stop multitasking

Multitasking reduces efficiency and the quality of work, also recent research shows it actually lowers your IQ. So when you have to get something done, just focus on the task at hand for best results. Also, one needs to keep in mind that a human brain can only focus and concentrate for 90-120 minutes at a time, before it needs a break. So you might be doing a lot of things at the same time, and without breaks, but not quiet effectively. Focusing on one task or job in hand can help you improve your concentration and focus, and eventually take less time to complete. Also, coming back to a job after a quick break can help you fresh up your mind to look at things with a different perspective, and hence give your better ideas and solutions.

The Bilingual Entrepreneur

bilingualDigital connectivity has changed the way we do business. As we become more interconnected and technology savvy, we are seeing the world become smaller as countries are becoming more dependent on each other. Global travel has become fast and easy, which makes it more important for entrepreneurs to become aware and adaptive to different cultures.

Global trade has also changed, it has become easier to buy and sell goods around the world. Technology has made it easier for entrepreneurs to connect with suppliers, partners, and customers and helped business truly grow to its full potential, and open doors to markets that might otherwise have remained out of reach.

In such a global environment, it is important for entrepreneurs to understand the importance of learning a foreign language. Nearly 80% of business leaders surveyed believe their overall business would increase notably if they had more internationally competent employees on staff and knew how to speak at least one foreign language.

As an entrepreneur, while looking at learning a foreign language for the purposes of business, one needs to look at which ones will best fit their needs. Here is a list of the top 5 most languages all global-minded CEOs should be learning.

1. Spanish
Spanish has official status in 21 South American countries and also the official language of Puerto Rico. Spanish is also now the second most popular language at A-level after French, having overtaken German in 2005. Mexico has over 20 per cent of all first language Spanish speakers, while the USA, with 30–40 million native speakers of Spanish, is the country with the largest Spanish speaking minority.

2. Arabic
Arabic is a Semitic language. With over 230 million native speakers and a further 100–200 million people across northern Africa and western Asia for whom it is their second language. It also ranks as the fourth most widely spoken language in the world. Arabic is used as an official language of the United Nations, International Criminal Court, African Union, Arab League amongst others.

3. French
Popularly know as the Romance language, French is spoken by more than 70 million people as their first language, although it is estimated that a further 100–200 million people around the world speak French as a second language. Also, in terms of internet usage, French is currently the language of choice for 60 million users, making it the eighth most widely used language on the internet.

4. Mandarin Chinese
The language with official status in China, Taiwan, and Singapore, Mandarin Chinese (Putonghua), is the most widely spoken in the world with 800 million speakers, mostly in China. By 2020, China will be one of four countries accounting for over half of the world’s population of 18–22 year olds making it a priority country for international education.

5. German
It is one of the working languages of the EU and an official language of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. German is the sixth most common language on the internet, with more than 75 million users.

Reference: Languages of the future.

Smart City calling

Smart CityWell, have you ever wondered what makes a city smart? Or what is so smart that is happening in these cities? Or why are these cities more ahead of the one that you live in? In definition: a smart city uses digital technologies or information and communication technologies to enhance quality and performance of urban services, to reduce costs and resource consumption, and to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens.

In relation with economy or jobs, the phrase “Smart City” is used to describe a city with a “smart” industry. That implies especially industries in the fields of information and communication technologies (ICT) as well as other industries involving ICT in their overall processes.

The use of technology such as artificial intelligence within a city helps create a better way to engage with the people. It also helps in building a larger community and facilitates e-Governance due to active community participation. Some of the key highlights of a smart city are:

• Robust information technology services for connectivity and digitization of services.
• Improved safety and security of the people due to enhanced surveillance.
• Larger community growth due to the participation of citizen using technology.
• Effective urban mobility and ease of access to public transportation.
• Increased healthcare and civil awareness

Pillars of a Smart City:

Primarily, the 3 most important pillars of a smart city are: its Institutional Infrastructure (including Governance), Physical Infrastructure and Social Infrastructure and the focal of attention for each of these pillars is the citizen. Therefore, a Smart City works towards ensuring the best for all its people, regardless of social status, age, income levels, gender, etc.

How do you identify a Smart City?

Smart Technology: Includes more efficient use of physical infrastructure through artificial intelligence and data analytics to support a strong and healthy economic, social, cultural development.

Smart Economy: Encourages entrepreneurship and productivity, economic progression, a flexibility in the labor market, and an overall culture diversity and innovation.

Smart Governance: Meaning the involvement of the public in decision-making, public and social service, and government transparency.

Smart People: A mind-set and culture of life-long learning, social and ethnic diversity, flexibility, creativity, and community participation.

Smart Living: Proper educational facilities, quality health conditions and public safety, accessibility to quality housing and social integration.

Smart Environment: This includes using natural conditions, sustainable resource management, reduction in pollution, and an increased awareness of environmental protection.

The top 10 Smart Cities of the world:

These cities have been categorized on the bases of various factors related to Innovations, Sustainability, Use of Information Technology, Digital Governance, Quality of Life, Efficient use of Resources and Energy Savings.

– Vienna
– Toronto
– Paris
– New York
– London
– Tokyo
– Berlin
– Copenhagen
– Hong Kong
– Barcelona

In the past few years, major technological, economic and environmental changes have generated interest in smart cities, including climate change, economic restructuring, online retail and entertainment, and pressures on public finances. This has made governments and economies work towards a better approach on being more “smart” with its use of technology and policies. Therefore, in the coming years, we would be seeing more cities getting “Smart City” certified.

Q&A with Rimjhim Ray

RRWhat motivated you to turn an entrepreneur?

I had an interesting and varied work life spanning consulting, advertising and digital implementation across the world. The experiences had stimulated me and I was looking to do more, go beyond the job description, to create, to disrupt. At the time of developing the concept for Unmarketeer, an experiential and creative digital firm, I was working with the Leo Burnett group as a business head. While there are a number of digital agencies offering the run of mill social marketing solutions, we wanted to solve a more fundamental problem. Creating next gen connected experiences using the new media. The motivation to create something transformational, something new, to take complete onus of my creativity was a strong impetus to turn an entrepreneur.

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

The adrenaline rush that comes from making the next breakthrough be it roll out of the next product version, converting the next big client or making an impact at the next funding pitch. Also, the fact that you can ignite the dreams of others and create employment opportunities, makes you a direct stakeholder in the progress of the nation.

How do you ensure that you bring in the right people for your team?

As a startup building a team which is as passionate about your vision is a key challenge. You are not looking for a skill match alone. You are looking for a match of attitude, of temperaments, of values, of DNA. In our first year we have had some interesting experiences with bringing in new people. On one hand you had people looking for quick profits and instant fame. These are the kind that you should run from. Look for people who believe in a common purpose, whose value systems match, who share the entrepreneurial bend of mind. We have long, honest conversations with potential partners or hires. We explore synergies and long term matches. Individual brilliance is very important for us so we have partnered with leading B schools such as IIM and SP Jain to identify the right talent.

How do you generate new ideas?

Serendipity! A lot of our ideas are born out of brain waves that come from random observations. We believe in keeping our minds open. Also as a startup we are very democratic. So anyone can come with an idea and the whole team will be at it to take the idea and turn it into something concrete we can offer our customers.

How bright is the future for technology startups in India?

While the IT revolution happened in India we have not really been known for original products. All this is now changing with original research and innovation happening in India. At Unmarketeer we are working on next gen customer experiences using augmented reality and gamification, still niche fields in India. We meet several startups working on tech products or tech driven platform. It is really inspiring to be among so many bright minds which are turning India into a viable product nation. Who knows the next Google may actually be created in India.

Could you share some experiences on raising funds for startups.

As a startup, getting the right funding is important from 2 aspects. A. It solves your cash flow problem and adds muscle to the budget helping you expand and grow. B. It gives you a certain amount of credibility, having been vetted by the right VCs. It is important that you spend a lot of time figuring out your funding strategy. We have for example bypassed accelerator rounds and are looking straight at pre series A funding. Our initial funding came from our own savings, family and friends. Plus we also generated a decent amount of revenue in the first year. So right now we want to partner with the right VCs to help us expand our product portfolio and enter new markets. We are therefore looking at synergy in vision and not just the funding amount.

What are the most critical challenges you face as an entrepreneur?

Cash flow is the main one i.e. keeping the morale up as you spend days without the certainty of a regular monthly income. Also putting together the right team is a huge challenge.

What has been your greatest failure or mistakes?

Think we made some hiring mistakes early on. We focused on the expansion velocity and made some rapid fire hiring which proved to be costly mistakes. The lesson learnt was that it is important to balance velocity with sustenance. Another important lesson we learnt is payments can often be dicey. We have started reworking our contracts to ensure advance payments and also built in default penalties accordingly.

What are the 3 greatest qualities of an entrepreneur?

Creativity, grit & persistence.

Rimjhim Ray is a Columnist at the The Huffington Post and the Co-founder of www.unmarketeer.com

Twitter: @globeslother 

Online Marketing Tactics for Small Businesses

ONLINE MARKETING on price labelsIs your Online Marketing strategy setup with the latest trends?

It is a juggling act maintaining a successful business while learning about all the necessary marketing updates, trends and tricks.

In this article, we’ll go over some of the most recent and popular tools, strategies and content that might help with your online marketing efforts.

Video and Broadcasting

This is one of the most important and current tools for your business: video or video broadcasts.
Youtube is definitely the most important video tool and you MUST learn it and use it as well as optimize it in order to be found on search results. Since it’s a Google product, you have double the opportunity to be picked up by search engines.

While YouTube is the ruler of video, Periscope and Meerkat are a close second and have become some of the most useful apps for quick updates. Not only convenient for on-the-go business owner, but also connected and streamlined with Twitter and Youtube!

They allow you to live broadcast updates, usually announced via Twitter or through the app infrastructure.

The Power of Personality and Emotion

It’s important to keep in mind that most of your viewers, no matter their demographic makeup, tend to interact with content that speaks to them on an emotional level as well as content that conveys an opinion or personality.

Therefore it’s important to generate creative, emotive and personal updates throughout your social networks and blog/video updates:

• Quotes that relate to your industry
• Inspirational, how-to and quick guides with images
• Polls and contests that can be posted throughout your social networks
• Asking for feedback on products and services
• Featuring employees and other staff

Hashtags, hashtags, hashtags

What are hashtags, exactly? This is a question many of my clients have asked me before. For practical purposes, I’ll go over a quick list of what I consider hashtags to be in the Online Marketing Sphere:

They are..

– Searchable keywords
– Trend representations
– Mood manifestations
– Current events and news updates.

They can be used on basically all social networks with the following format: keyword +hashtag. You want your keyword to represent the subject you’re talking about.

While many make valuable connections by using 10+ hashtags, I highly recommend using only
3-5 max. Why? I think it feels a little spammy otherwise.

Tune into Live Events

This goes hand-in-hand with using hashtags.

Twitter and Facebook are great platforms to use when commenting on live or current events. Are you attending an industry conference? Why not research the event page for a hashtag of think of a relevant one like #DenverPharmaConf2015  or #AustingComicCon2015 (capitalizing isn’t necessary, but I always recommend it).

Most sponsors or event organizations will include a hashtag on their promotional materials.

Want to take it one step forward? Take photos of the conference along with a little opinion or blurb about key points or favorite subjects along with the hashtag.

Leveraging the Power of Relevant Networks

Many businesses are quick to adopt the Social Media basics. Not knowing much about them, their real purpose and whether or not they’re relevant to their industry.

While most eCommerce businesses can greatly benefit from Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, they might not necessarily find it profitable to invest much time and energy on LinkedIn. Same goes with a law firm, that might actually greatly engage on platforms like LinkedIn provide valuable content updates about the latest employee insurance changes.

Consulting with a Online Marketing expert might help making this decision easier as well as helping small business owners create a laser-focused content strategy incorporating the most essential and profitable networks.

It’s important for your business to have a personality ‘behind curtains’ in order to relate to potential clients or customers. By using the most relevant and up-to date tools  as well as creating engaging and targeted content, you can reach many more potential leads and continue building your online engagement.

1279306

 

 

Authored by Ana Rodriguez – Founder of anabalp.me

Enterprise Search

Enterprisesearch Search is the technology through which information and/or data is retrieved with an organization generally through an intranet platform. The information can be presented in any form or format – such as links, documents, emails or simple data. Enterprise search is a boon to the modern corporate environment as it gives easy access to information, increases business performance and contributes towards optimizing the workplace. The quality of enterprise search results is dependent upon the description of the data by the metadata. The fundamental concept of an enterprise search is very much like that of a web search engine i.e. it indexes data and documents from a variety of sources such as: file systems, intranets, document management systems, e-mail, and databases.

Content Awareness – Push and Pull model

The core functionality of enterprise search depends on content awareness or “content collection”, that uses a push or pull mechanism. In the push model, a source system, more like a master repository of information, is integrated with the search engine in such a way that it connects to it and pushes new information and/or content directly to its APIs. This method is used in the case where real-time indexing is important. In the pull method, the enterprise software gathers or collates content from varied sources using a connector such as a web crawler or a database connector. This connector typically pulls the source with certain intervals to look for new, updated or deleted content, and presents data to the user.

The 3 key benefits of enterprise search:

1. Business Intelligence: Enterprise search is now acting as the bases of business intelligence i.e. data and information is becoming easily accessible and available for better business decisions.
2. Social: With the advent of enterprise search capabilities, social features are also getting more and more important. Enterprise search capabilities are now also providing features for collaboration and knowledge sharing.
3. Big Data: Volume and Variety of the data we have to process also needs a new approach. Enterprise search is contributing towards Big Data tools and constantly feeding information into a larger pool/database. Modern organizations are also tracking data and information related to employee behavior and preferences, with the help of search keywords and criteria.

The Future:

Enterprise search products that offer an improved user experience and mobility along with the prospect of a low cost of initial entry will continue to be deployed and used strategically. Corporations and active users of search technologies are already seeing evidence from major players, innovators, and relative startups that the information access setting is changing radically to meet business requirements. It is estimated that Enterprise Search industry is growing at 15-20% per year, and will continue to grow. The current state of enterprise search is modular and fragmented. A successful search platform should be coherent and have the ability of represent more mixed data. The convergence of search and text analytics is definitely a corner stone for next-generation (enterprise) search engines.

So the future of enterprise search is changing dramatically and the technology is here to stay!