The end of the year holiday season is considered the best time for businesses to shut shops and re-look at their objectives for the coming year. The holiday season acts as a boon for many entrepreneurs, as business is a slow and this is the time when you can focus on redefining or re-engineering your business for the coming year. The time is best to rejuvenate your mind and the best way to do it is to indulge in some good read for learning and inspiration.
Here is a list of the top 5 books that will inspire you and get you geared for the coming year:
1. The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us
This landmark book is written by award winning poet and writer Diane Ackerman. The content of the book talks about the human relationship with nature and how it has radically changed the way we do things. How man is on the verge of exhausting all possible resources on planet earth. The writer takes us on an exhilarating journey through our new reality, introducing us to many of the people and ideas now creating and shaping our future and that of our fellow creatures. At the end, the book allows the reader to think about the ultimate future of humanity.
2. Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China
A non-fiction book written by Evan Osnos, a staff writer at The New Yorker, the book is a firsthand account of the authors travel in China, where he interviewed people swept up by economic, political, and social change. This book is considered to be a vibrant, colorful, and revelatory inner history of China during a moment of profound transformation. A must read for all westerners as it gives a unique insight into the radical change that the country is currently going through and how it is shaping the future of business.
3. The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age
This unique book is written by documentary filmmaker and activist Astra Taylor. If you use the internet, then this book is a must read. The book analysis how the Internet changes and affects today’s culture, from journalism to music. The author lays out one of the smartest arguments about the nature and effect of technology in our digital age. This remarkable book talks about how the internet is slowly becoming the people’s platform and the ongoing changes that it is brings with it.
4. Everyday Sexism
Or more popularly known as The Everyday Sexism Project, is a website founded on 16 April 2012 by Laura Bates, a British feminist writer. The objective of the site is to document everyday examples of sexism as reported by contributors, later adapted into a book. This bold, jaunty and ultimately intelligent book documents the verbal and physical abuse a lot of women have to put up with, predominantly by men, almost on a daily basis in the UK & US. This is a wonderful book that details the struggles that women face in everyday corporate life due to sexism/misogyny. It is eye opening and well researched.
5. Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain
Written by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, this book teaches us all to think more productively, more creatively, more rationally i.e. to think like a “Freak”. The author’s argument ranges from business to philanthropy to sports to politics, all with the goal of retraining your brain. With their trademark blend of captivating storytelling and unconventional analysis, the authors ultimately induce the reader to think with an open mind and come up with unique concepts and ideas.
BRIC – alternatively known as the “big four” is an acronym that refers to the newly advanced countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China. Goldman Sachs was the first to introduce this acronym in one of their reports in 2003, stating that by the year 2050 these four economies would be wealthier than most of the current major global economic powers. Some sources have also predicted that by the year 2027, the Big Four economies will even overtake the G7 economies.
Unlike the countries affiliated to the European Union – that have more of a political alliance – the BRIC nations have the potential to form a powerful economic coalition. Recent statistics show that in the coming years, China and India will become the world’s dominant suppliers of manufactured goods and services, while Brazil and Russia will become equally dominant as suppliers of raw materials. Further, due to the lower labor and production costs, many companies are looking at the BRIC nations as an opportunity for foreign expansion.
The BRIC nations have realized that the development of small businesses and enterprises are the most important factors for overall economic development and have accordingly prioritized the growth of the SME (Small and medium enterprises) sector. These countries feel that SMEs are of utmost importance, as they provide benefits such as employment, exports, entrepreneurship and productivity.
Internationalization is another factor towards the growth of SMEs in the BRIC nations. Due to the rapid advancements in telecommunications, transportation and the Internet, the firms of these nations are becoming international much faster. Recent developments show that Governments of the BRIC countries are nurturing the SME sector by providing them adequate funds and also supporting their technological needs.
From an investor’s stand point, the word “BRIC” has become a synonymous for “emerging markets”. Larger companies are eyeing these courtiers for investment and business expansions. The BRIC nations have also become pioneers in global competition and job creation. According to a recent study conducted by the Oxford University, finding talent for global expansion is the new imperative for these nations. With a population of almost three billion people in total and a combined GDP of US$14.8 trillion, the BRIC countries have become the most talked about nations in the world economy.
Last but not the least; technology and R&D have become the most important factors that have contributed to the development of the SME sector of the BRIC nations. These nations have realized that technology is helping them achieve longevity and sustainable growth. From the year 2002 to 2007, the BRIC nations have doubled their spending on R&D and science research, raising their collective share of global R&D spending from 17 to 24%.
So, as a business owner or investor, it is important to keep a close watch on these developing nations, as they present great potential and opportunity for business expansions. It is about time that businesses around the world start recognizing the potential that these nations have to offer in terms of market growth, cost savings, cheap labor, technology and a rapidly growing educated population.
We have entered into an era were technology is taken over our day-to-day lives! Gone are the days when we wished that things were more automated, technology and knowledge was more readily available and people were more internet savvy. As consumers and human beings we are now in a stage where technology has become an integral part of our LIFE. The year 2014 brings with it new trends and new ideas that will pave the path of a future where technology and the internet would be the two most important elements for survival.
Here are the top 5 technology trends of 2014:
Internet for all things: There was a time when we saw our computers, tabs and mobiles seamlessly connected through the internet, but now the future holds greater possibilities – Tvs, cars, glasses, fridges, our keys, the electric meter etc., gradually everything is now been connected through the internet. With the coming of the wi-fi technology, internet is now become more of a necessity, rather than a luxury. All and everything is going to be connect by the internet! These devices will not only be connected, but will also offer high-end contextual relevance and a user-friendly experience, thereby offering more adoption rate.
Augmented reality: Or to put it more simply, connecting the physical world with the virtual world. This is not a futuristic phenomena, but something that is currently taking shape in our day-to-day lives. With the advent of Augmented Reality, we will basically be able to turn the whole world into a digital space where we can use the power of technologies to discover new digital horizons. According to a recent research done by Juniper Research, the market for augmented reality mobile apps is predicted to grow rapidly this year and revenues will reach $5.2 billion by 2017.
3D printing: There was a time when 3D printing was considered an expensive proposition, but with the decline of the cost of 3D printing in the last couple of years, is has now become easy not only for companies but also for private users to take advantage of this new technology. The creative possibilities of this technology has huge potential and possibilities, ranging from architecture to interior design to education and art. 3D printing also holds a great future in industries such as healthcare and manufacturing. Any product that can be seen in the form of a 3D simulation, even before its been designed will help in saving huge costs or research and development.
Wearable devices: The year 2014 would see the coming of wearable technology driven devices. Things like activity bands, smart helmets and the famous Google glass will become a part of our daily lives. There will be a time when our complete body will be interconnected with devices powered by the internet. We have already seen smart wearable watches launched by some of the big mobile giants such as Sumsung. We will also be seeing the Google glasses become more affordable and adaptable by average day-to-day consumer. Technology will also merge with clothing, such as the smart shoes from Adidas – it will have an integrated accelerometer, a gyroscope and Bluetooth, with the aim of motivating the user to exercise.
Electric Cars: This year we will see many national and international car manufacturers, launching full electric car models. Unlike older vehicles, the electric cars of the future will be fully equipped with computers, sensors and wireless connections, allowing cars to know more about the driver – information that could be very useful for car manufacturers. Something that would look similar to the high-tech cars from the Hollywood movie – Total Recall.
Often the image of a modern day entrepreneur is someone who is a college dropout with a high inclination towards technology, social media and smartphones – typically a male in his 20s! However, recent study shows that over half of the upcoming entrepreneurs from last year were all 40 and older.
According to the study conducted by Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a nonprofit, entrepreneurs who were over 40, faced “age bias” on the part of investors and clients.
The reason: older entrepreneurs have a tough time getting the attention of investors, especially in the Internet and mobile industry. Many believe that older entrepreneurs—folks who really didn’t grow up with smartphones and social media—don’t have the zeal or intuition that is necessary to make the brilliant viral consumer-tech companies and apps of tomorrow.
The flip side: Younger entrepreneurs, who have never even had a job, find themselves sought after by investors, venture capitalists and all sorts of other sources of capital, apparently because in this new internet savvy economy, young founders make up for their lack of corporate and management experience with a mastery of the new world of technology, therefore attracting interest from investors.
How important is experience and reputation?
If experience and reputation are the foundation of an entrepreneur’s skill set, then age will eventually become a true advantage. One crucial advantage of age is the experience gained from years within one or more industries. Not to mention, building a solid reputation takes years, and older entrepreneurs are at an advantage as they have established reputations within their space.
Innovation has no age requirements!
As we all know that the key element of innovation is to challenge authority and break rules, so today’s youth doesn’t hesitate to question the norms, think outside the box and come up with unthinkable ideas, but such ideas are not the only foundation of a successful enterprise. Its more about translating these innovative ideas into successful ventures, for which you would need to manage teams, understand markets, collaborate and obtain financing, all of which can only be achieved with experience and time.
So the point is that young ideas go hand-in-hand with appropriate industry experience and market knowledge. In the coming years, we will see a shift in the age group of entrepreneurs. Early 30s seems to be the ideal age as it comes with experience, adequate industry knowledge and young mindset.
We have reached a stage where digital technologies have become a part of our day-to-day life. Over 2 billion people are connected digitally through the internet and almost 2/3 of businesses around the world have a web/digital presence. The internet is the biggest contributor toward the digital age and has become a bridge, making the world look flat. It has offered a platform for companies, societies and governments to adapt a more digital and real-time presence.
In a more basic theory, digital transformation is more of a concept of “going paperless”.
It is the third and the final stage of embracing digital technologies:
Digital competence → digital literacy → digital transformation
The last stage means when digital usage enables innovation and creativity and not just acts as a support to traditional methods. The other point to note is that successful digital transformation does not happen from bottom up. It must be driven from the top i.e. by the top decision makers and executives.
Major digital transformation initiatives in a business context are centered on re-envisioning business models, customer experience and operational processes. Companies and governments are changing how functions work, redefining how functions interact, and even evolving the traditional boundaries.
Business and governments are increasingly transforming from multi-national to truly global operations. Digital technology coupled with integrated information is allowing firms to gain global synergies while remaining locally accessible. Managers and business owners of digitally transformed companies feel more empowered to make decisions autonomously, and have gained a broader view of the business through centralized data.
Businesses, societies and governments from around the world are experimenting and benefiting from the practice of digital transformation. Whether it is in the way individuals work and collaborate, the way business processes are executed within and across organizational structures, or in the way the businesses understands and services customers, digital technology provides a wealth of opportunity.
A three-year study conducted by the MIT Center for Digital Business and Capgemini Consulting concluded that around one-third of companies globally have an effective digital transformation program in place, and the number is rapidly increasing. So what are you waiting for? Ask yourself this question – Are you digitally transformed yet?
A professional online presence has become the most important elements of any business. Smart devices and location-based applications have brought customers closer to their local businesses. Over 15 million Canadians use their smart device to access information on local businesses every day. So it is crucial that local businesses take advantage of this opportunity of instant and effective online visibility via local search engines and local citation sites.
Here are the top five online business directories where you could instantly list your business for quick visibility and a long term online presence.
Yellow Pages Canada:
YelloPages Canada is among the top 10 websites viewed in Canada. The websites has quiet a substantial amount of user traffic both online and on mobile devices. It also supplies its data to partner sites such as Canada411.ca thus enhancing an business or brand’s exposure in a local niche.
Though not a business directory, Kijiji is a free classified ads site for Canadian local businesses. Posting your ad on this site is free. Kijiji has a huge amount of user traffic and also has an awesome social media presence, thus proving its popularity among Canadians.
HotFrog Canada is an international brand operating in around 38 countries across the globe. The site has around 15 million page views every month and over 670,000 unique site visitors. You can add your business description and even create coupons that will be visible to the web traffic specific to this site.
Profile Canada is one of the most visited local search sites in Canada, connecting customers to local businesses every month. The user traffic on the site is considerably high compared to other online local search websites. It also offers a set of tools to promote your business online called the BOB (Better Online Business).
This directory has information of more than 20,000 business registered in Canada. CanadaOne was Launched in 1998, and has since become one of the most popular directories for local businesses. The website also publishes articles, which in-turn attracts more user traffic.
Businesses are changing and so are marketing methods.
The science of digital marketing has brought different challenges and opportunities. Animation as a marketing tool is emerging as the most cost effective and favorable tool that can help any business market a message, a brand or an objective.
The power of animation is increasing and it’s highly recommended that all business owners take notice of this innovative and emerging new trend.
Online advertising in specific is using animation videos to market their business with a touch of creativity and imagination.
There was a time when animation was limited to those with massive production budgets, but current technology trends has introduced new opportunities and you no longer need a big studio or access to television broadcast channels to create and distribute animation.
The three important benefits of animation in the digital marketing world:
- Animated videos help viral marketing & easy video sharing: Viral video marketing campaigns increase click through rates by almost 800%. 70% of people who watch online videos will, in turn, pass links for these videos onto their friends, hence making your content go viral.
- SEO and animated Video go hand-in-hand: Google owns You Tube, so a presence on You Tube or any of the famous video sharing websites such as Vimeo, Dailymotion etc, gives you almost 60% higher likelihood of a Google front-page search result. You can also add keyword tags to your animated videos so that the Google crawling mechanism works most effectively on your content.
- Exponential increase in conversion rate: 70%- 85% of people are more likely to purchase after watching a product animation video. On an average, people will stay 1.5 minutes longer on your website when engaged with an animation. You have a chance to grab their attention and communicate using a powerful mix of pictures, motion, text, voice, sound effects and music in a short amount of time, and all of this is possible through a simple animation.
There is a difference between live action video and an animation and the key is “Imagination”! A well thought of script with a marketing plan is important while creating an animation video. So always plan and prepare for production, and remember, Animation has no boundaries!
We at Small Business Pool, work with some of the most talented designers, script writers, 3D artists and animators from around the GLOBE. Our consulting approach helps you clearly understand and plan your animation video campaign. Our cost effective approach will help you achieve your marketing objective in no time.
For a quick plan of action quote, contact us TODAY!