What the World Economic Forum Got Wrong about the Future of Jobs

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Photo by Dominik Scythe

[ TL;DR ]

  • By 2022, WEF estimates technology will create 133 million jobs and eliminate 75 million, for a net gain of 58 million
  • Pollyannaism can leave us unprepared for long-term, structural changes to the workforce
  • The relentless progress of automation can destroy the jobs it creates next
  • Reskilling large numbers of workers in time may be impractical or impossible

The World Economic Forum released its annual Future of Jobs Report, outlining important trends poised to disrupt the global economy over the next five years. The biggest takeaway: by 2022, new technologies and automation will create 133 million jobs and eliminate 75 million, for a net gain of 58 million.

What’s driving growth? Ubiquitous high-speed mobile internet, artificial intelligence, widespread adoption of big data analytics, and cloud technology.

Automation is rapidly expanding and machines are working harder. By calculating task hours, we can compare the total time humans and machines spend on their respective tasks:

“In 2018, an average of 71% of total task hours across the 12 industries covered in the report are performed by humans, compared to 29% by machines. By 2022 this average is expected to have shifted to 58% task hours performed by humans and 42% by machines.”

The World Economic Forum has called this era of technological change the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, according to the WEF, will be one of massive job automation but even greater job augmentation. With some worker retraining, the future should be bright.

But here’s what the rosy WEF report missed.

1. The automation steamroller

Businesses surveyed by the WEF report varying rates of technology adoption:

Adoption, the vertical axis in the chart above, is only half of the innovation equation. New technology development, the horizontal axis, accelerates in parallel.

As a result, the pace of automation is faster than the rate of technology adoption. The more we automate, the faster we will be able to automate the jobs of the future.

Uber, for instance, has automated ride sharing, which has given rise to over two million jobs. But as Uber and Google pursue autonomous vehicle technology, these newly created jobs are the very next jobs on the chopping block.

Uber drivers face an odd existential crisis — they know their employer’s future strategy is to put them out of a job.

And let’s take a look at other newly created jobs today, like data scientists. Will their repeated task, such as data wrangling and data visualization all be automated by services of the future? Digitally enabled new jobs are particularly at risk, because they are already enabled by software and create a data footprint that can be run through machine learning for optimization or automation.

Even if software and machine learning simply augment the productivity of workers (as opposed to eliminating the jobs entirely), the unavoidable fact is that it it will take fewer and fewer people to manage the total work — a total reduction in the number of employees required over time for any specific function.

Are the 133 million jobs created just the next ones to disappear?

2. The reskilling bottleneck

With the rate of technology adoption, it’s unsurprising that the outlook for software developers remains strong. We’ve known that developers are increasingly important for decades now. And non-profit organizations, like Quincy Larson’s freeCodeCamp, will even teach you to code for free.

So why are developers such a scarce resource? According to a recent Stripe report, companies view developers as a bigger constraint than capital when it comes to innovation.

While technology may create a large number of new jobs, those jobs may be difficult for large populations of the workforce to learn and perform.

Even worse, reskilling bottlenecks and automation exist in a feedback loop. The greater the bottleneck, the greater the incentive to automate those jobs or to diminish the number of jobs created by augmenting worker productivity.

3. The Luddite fallacy and Pollyannaism

The WEF report is largely optimistic about the future of jobs. Marc Andreessen concurs, saying, “It’s a fallacy….It’s a recurring panic. This happens every 25 or 50 years, people get all amped up about ‘machines are going to take all the jobs’ and it never happens.”

But a pollyannaish view, if incorrect, can dramatically reduce the amount of time needed to respond to a mass loss of jobs.

There may be reasons why this cycle won’t play out like the industrial revolution. Software is already the backbone of nearly every medium to large company, allowing automation unprecedented reach.

In addition, as services, devices, and platforms proliferate, workers across nearly all industries and positions can become increasingly productive, reducing the total number of jobs available.

As a result, job loss can be far more rapid than jobs created and worker reskilling.‍

‍We can all hope that the WEF and Marc Andreessen have it right. But if they don’t, we need to start planning for the creation of real, sustainable jobs in the face of constant technology advancement and automation.

Thanks for reading. If you’re a developer, see what you can learn from your coding data at software.com.

Software | Track code time in your text editor or IDE


What the World Economic Forum Got Wrong about the Future of Jobs was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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The Rise of the CTMO: Applying Product Techniques to Marketing

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Marketing isn’t what it used to be. I always say that Marketing used to be a lot like Mad Men. The marketer sat down, drank some whisky, smoked a cigar and decided which was the messaging needed for a marketing campaign, the copy for a landing page, what to write in the blog and what events to go to.

Those times are mostly dead. Most marketing strategies and tactics can now be measured, except for Brand Marketing and DevRel. Most marketers are now asked to measure everything and show ROI, but nobody ever talks about how to improve the strategies and tactics’ ROI. I’ve learnt throughout my career that one of the best ways to do that is to apply the newest product techniques to do so. We’ll learn more about it in this blog post.

Product Techniques TL;DR

Marty Cagan explains what a Product Manager’s (PM) job is beautifully in his Inspired book. In sum up, I’d say a PM’s job is divided into 2 big buckets: Discovery and Delivery.

Discovery is all about finding out what we need to build. We should build something that adds value to a customer and moves us closer towards the outcome (goal) we set at the company. In the discovery phase, we need to iterate very fast with different type of prototypes/interviews/surveys/questions to learn the fastest we can.

Delivery is all about building what we’ve discovered in discovery (pun intended :P). It’s also about measuring whether we got closer to our expected outcome, and use this information as feedback for more discovery. “Product-oriented engineering teams wait to celebrate their wins until after they’ve shipped product and are able to measure the results.”

Even though they seem like “isolated” stages, high functioning product teams are constantly doing both discovery and delivery at the same time.

Applying discovery in marketing

I’m an Engineer who started to work on Marketing some time ago. I remember that back then I was asking other marketers what I should focus on. Their answers were: * You should be doing more ads * You should build your social media accounts * Create a blog and invest hard in SEO

These answers make absolutely no sense. How can they tell me what tactic to do with so much certainty if they don’t know my prospects and customers? How can they be so sure that what worked for them will work for me?

This is where Discovery comes into place.

For Marketing to work, it needs to tap into your customer’s habits. In order to do so, I decided that the best option was to do interviews within our target market to understand what their habits are.

I looked for people to interview through Twitter or LinkedIn and offered them an Amazon gift card in exchange for their time and told them I’d not mention nor try to sell our product even once.

My questions usually are: * How does your typical day look like? When do you use each device? What apps do you use the most? * What would you like to learn about? Are you interested in Authentication? Why? * Where do you go to learn those things? Google? Forums? Meetups? Conferences? Analysts? Which ones

I use the information from these discovery questions to inform what strategies and tactics we should experiment with.

For example, by interviewing developers who use React, I learnt that they usually read things about authentication when they’re stuck and they Google for them. I’d probably think of experimenting (in the delivery phase) using the following hypothesis: “If we create blog content that’s targeted to the SEO keywords that react developers use when they get stuck, we should be able to increase traffic and signup to Auth0 X%” Another example could be Product Managers from Fortune 500 companies who go to Product Tank Meetups and are interested in learning about Blockchain. I’d probably think of experimenting with “decentralized identity” talks at one of those meetups.

As part of the discovery phase, I usually do “user testing” with a “mockup”. I go back to them with an outline for a talk or a blog post and ask them their early thoughts with it. Other times, once I have delivered something (a talk, a blog post, an analyst content), I usually go back to the people I interviewed or some new people and do more “user testing”. I ask them to read the content and share their thoughts as they appear as well as how and where they’d like to read that type of content. Remember that as I said before, discovery and delivery often overlap.

Applying delivery in Marketing

Once you’ve done enough discovery, it’s time to start delivering value to your prospects and customers.

My rules for delivery are:

  • Focus first on an experimental MVP: Think what’s the minimum effort you can do to test your hypothesis and see whether it’s worth investing more in it or not. For example for Auth0’s blog, we have a baseline metric for visits, signups and form fills. We set up experiments on specific topics using 2/3 blog posts during a span of 1 to 2 months.
  • Have goals and KPIs: It’s important that before you start the test you have KPIs that you want to measure and a goal you want to hit.
  • Learn, Learn, Learn: You only fail a test if you don’t learn anything. Make sure that if your test doesn’t get to the desired goals, you don’t just discard it, but rather work on learning what happened. This will help you create more discovery opportunities for future experiments. Also make sure to dig deeper into experiments that worked. You may be able to make them even more successful with further discovery.

Let me tell you a good delivery example we had at Auth0: Once we interviewed a couple of developers, we learnt that they read content when they got stuck implementing authentication. So we tried writing 3 blog posts about how to use Auth0 with Angular if you got stuck implementing auth. We set a target for signups from this blog post during a certain period of time. The experiment was a complete failure. We didn’t get to our goal. However, we learnt that we had a lot of visitors, but our conversion rate to signup was really low. Upon further research, we found that it was because all visitors were returning, and had already used Auth0. Thanks to this information, we went into discovery again to see if developers would be more interested in greenfield content vs Auth0 related content. By retesting, we were able to validate this new hypothesis.

Conclusions

I hope this post has helped you better understand how to use known product techniques to continually create new strategies and improve existing ones’ ROI using both qualitative and quantitative data.


The Rise of the CTMO: Applying Product Techniques to Marketing was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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DO THINGS THAT DON’T SCALE: 4 Inspirational Startup Examples

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Have an idea that you haven’t been able to kick-off? Early stage founder thinking of the big league before you start? Here’s some inspiration from highly funded start-ups on how they validated their initial idea.

Start small. Start now. Just start..

In no particular order, here we go:

  1. Doordash

Y Combinator-backed, DoorDash is one of several technology companies that uses logistics services to offer food delivery from restaurants on-demand. Here’s a small excerpt from the founder, Stanley Tang on how to get started and doing things initially that don’t scale at all.

Zero to one, real quick. Here’s how:

Landing page in an afternoon and they were doing restaurant pick-ups and deliveries by the night (all by themselves and while in college!). Yes, within the day.

Key takeaways: Consider this as an experiment, just get it out there and validate! Your aim, in the beginning, is to get feedback and make sure it’s not a personal bias that you’re solving for! The best part of doing this is you will also get a chance to talk to your users and get real-time feedback! This might not work for everyone but for the other 90% of the ideas that you’re sitting on waiting to build a “finished & shiny” product before you launch, well..

If you’re solving a real problem, you don’t need any algorithms or perfect web pages. A clean landing page, hacking together stuff to make things work is ALL you need.

Here’s my favorite slide from the video:

May sound really basic, but definitely important.

2. Teespring —

Again YC backed, Teespring is a platform for custom merchandise, where you can design your own clothes and set shop, the team takes care of everything else and keeps a percentage of the sales. Walker Williams, Founder of Teespring, covers interesting techniques that worked for them on acquiring their initial users while doing things that were not scalable at all.

Doing things that don’t scale are essentially things that won’t last you long, won’t end up with you till your millionth user — it’ll break for sure, but you’ll get your desired outcome, spending much lesser time and money.

Key takeaways: There’s no silver bullet for user acquisition. You aren’t going to get to hundreds and thousands of users overnight. 1 in a million products go viral and their story is different. But it doesn’t mean that the rest don’t survive, some of them do. And one thing common among those is the fact that they build one user at a time. It’s going to be tough initially, there aren’t going to be any success stories to sell, but as a founder, it’s your responsibility to bring those users yourself even if that takes YOU getting on the phone with the customer.

When you get started, the incline is the steepest and hopefully, eventually, you get to a point. It might take time and you won’t see the ROI on your time, but focus on growth. Give your initial users the best experience possible, delight them with an experience that they will remember so that they become champions and advocate for your product. Walker still services up-to 20 CS tickets a day, and reads through all of his twitter feed and his communities — it’s important to know what your customers are talking about, the good the bad and even the ugly so you can fix it.

Reach out proactively to current and churned users, this will help you find the pain points and solve them for the current ones.

“Problems are inevitable, do whatever it takes to make it right”

All it takes is one detractor is shoot down tons of momentum. Just bite the bullet and do everything you can to make it right.

Lastly, remember this!

Rule of Thumb: Worry only about the next order of magnitude.

When you’re at 10, think about 100; when you get there worry about the next 900. Do not jump or optimize directly for two-three levels above that. They say necessity is the mother of invention — you will figure it out, I promise you.

3. ProductHunt

Following Ryan Hoover on Twitter, I’ve learnt the importance of moving from idea to a live, working MVP real quick and the value of shipping fast and getting customer feedback.

The next one is another example from one of my (our!) favorite startups — ProductHunt — a website that allows users to share their favorite products and discover new ones across the globe.

Exploring around, I found this on Hoover’s blog-post dated early 2014, sharing his update on raising $6.1M Series A funding and the journey that it’s been.

He shares his humble beginnings — Quoting Ryan

“Product Hunt began as an email list. I threw it together one early morning, invited some friends to contribute, and shared it online.”

Bit by bit, from friends and network, they started building and shipping the MVP rather than putting hours together and pondering on the idea. The email list started getting great user feedback and building the “real” PH only happened months later with Nathan Bashaw!

In another article that Ryan posted about doing things that don’t scale and how they got to 2000 users in the process. In this case, he shares how important a successful beta can be and how manual, slow growth is a far richer driver to long-lasting company than the hockey-stick curve. He also shares how important email can be as a tool (and while there is tons of automation today, a well-written email in the right context can help to a large extent in the early days! Growth Hackers, take note!)

Key takeaways: The final product is going to look, feel 100% better than the first one you launch. (in most cases will solve for different things as well). Hence, start early, ship fast, gather feedback and do that right over. Also while building out your MVP, it’s important to start building out the distribution in parallel: A Twitter following, an email list, anything that’d help get the word out 🙂

4. Airbnb

Airbnb, an online marketplace to arrange or offer lodging, primarily homestays, or tourism experiences, probably has the most talked about articles, podcasts and videos in the how-they-did-things-that-didn’t-scale but got them to where they are today (the most famous conversation Chesky had with Graham plus the other anecdotes out there that they’ve shared openly about)

Taking one out of the book “Hacking Growth” by Sean Ellis:

“While growing the company, to their surprise, Brian and Joe discovered that New York City although being touristy, was underachieving. Reviewing their listings, co-founder Joe Gebbia recalls that “the photos were really bad. People were using camera phones and taking Craigslist-quality pictures. Surprise! No one was booking because you couldn’t see what you were paying for.” Enter Paul Grahan of YC, one of their earliest investors, who recommended that the two experiments with a hack to improve bookings that were low tech and high effort — but it was fast to execute on and wound up incredibly effective.

Chesky and Gebbia rented a $500 camera and went door to door, taking professional pictures of as many listings in the city as possible. Then they compared the number of bookings for the listings with the improved photos versus the rest of the New York listings and found that the new photos led to between two and three times more bookings, instantly doubling the revenue they were seeing from New York.

With their hypothesis proven, they extended this to Paris, London, Vancouver, Miami — all of them showing similar results. So, Airbnb decided to create a photography program that allowed hosts to schedule a professional photographer to come and photograph their listing. Launching in the summer of 2010 with 20 photographers, it grew to more than 2000 freelance photographers, taking photos of 13,000 listings on 6 continents by 2012.”

Key takeaways: All the other methods would’ve probably helped in scaling, but Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia stuck to things that things that didn’t scale at all, but helped them in understanding the real problems that users were going through. It’s easy to lose your North Star Metric in pursuit of the vanity or irrelevant growth ones, but it’s important that you stick to the basics and focus on where you want to be.

Doing things that Don’t Scale Resources:

  1. Paul Graham essay — Stripe, Airbnb, Pinterest, Apple, Pebble, Meraki
  2. Doing things that don’t scale (YouTube playlist) — Airbnb
  3. While looking around, found a brilliant resource on ProductHunt by This is KP — A crowdsourced collection of unscalable startup hacks and stories!
  4. Doing things that don’t scale by Buffer

Couple of folks are working to make this way more easier for the rest of us, sharing some of them I absolutely love following on Twitter and what they’ve been upto!

Have an idea? Just want to validate it real quick without any coding? Here’s where you can start > Credits to Ben Tossell 🙂

💻 Personal Page/ Landing Page: Carrd.co
🖥 Want to build the next Airbnb + no-code: Webflowapp
💵 Payments: Stripe Atlas/Razorpay
🛠 Automate Automate Automate: Zapier
📊 Database to website/ Sheets: Airtable
🎨 Wireframing/Prototyping: Sketch app / Figma design
📝 Roadmapping, Planning: Trello
📛 Buy a Domain: Namecheap / Google domains
📧 Newsletter: Revue; Email campaigns: Mailchimp
📸 Free high-quality photos: Unsplash
📈 Analytics: Google Analytics, Baremetrics
💌 Inbox: SuperhumanCo; Forms: SurveyMonkey, Typeform
📄 Docs: Google docs, Notion, Dropbox
🖼 MIT licensed illustrations: unDraw
📹 Easy video conversations: Appear

You should also check out his MakerPad (earlier was doing something cool at NewCo) for some awesome Carrd tutorials or how you can build x in the easiest way possible!

And if you haven’t already come across Startup Stash — do check it out once, awesome set of resources across different verticals! Maker Bram Kanstein is now taking that forward with NoCodeMVP to help you guys do everything way, way more easily!🚀🚀🚀

Last but definitely not the least, sharing another wonderful initiative that Pat Walls has come up with — #24StartUps — a journey that enables you to move forward and build it out in a short span in case you needed that external motivation!

And as always, if I can help you with anything on your journey or if you just want to bounce off some ideas, feel free to connect or drop me a message — happy to help 🙂


DO THINGS THAT DON’T SCALE: 4 Inspirational Startup Examples was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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America’s Reduced Regulatory Burden

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Something amazing happened in 2018. For the first time on record, the estimated cost for Americans to comply with federal regulations will go down instead of up.

That’s the word from Dan Bosch and Dan Goldbeck of the American Action Forum, who found that for the first time since the AAF began tracking their cost in time and money back in 2005, Americans will see a net savings of $7.8 billion in having to comply with newly issued federal regulations.

The chart below shows how that compares with every previous year for which the AAF has compiled data.

Changes in Cost of Regulatory Burden by Year

On the downside, Bosch and Goldbeck also found that complying with the 324 regulations that were finalized in 2018 will collectively burden Americans with a net increase of 9.9 million hours of time to complete new paperwork.

Most of that additional paperwork will very specifically burden all the American businesses and farmers who have to deal with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s newly issued National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, which will require an estimated 20.5 million hours of their time.

Bosch and Goldbeck indicate that this 20.5 million hour increase time cost is an extreme outlier, however. Most other federal agencies issued rules that will reduce the amount of time that the Americans spend with their regulatory paperwork.

Looking more broadly, the year in paperwork was still rather deregulatory on the whole. If one were to exclude the bioengineered food rule, the various paperwork burden estimates in 2018 amount to approximately 10.6 million fewer hours. The rule that cut the most red tape was a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rule that cut more than 5.5 million hours. As AAF has noted before, CMS has been one of the more prodigious agencies in cutting paperwork as a part of otherwise mundane payment schedule rules. In fact, out of the top 10 rules in terms of paperwork cuts, six are CMS payment rules that collectively include nearly 11.6 million hours of paperwork reductions. Such a focus on this aspect of the administrative state likely contributed toward the Department of Health and Human Services (which houses CMS) claiming the title of “Biggest Saver” amongst agencies in fiscal year 2018.

Bosch and Goldbeck give credit where it’s due for the achievement in the net reduction in the cost of complying with federal regulations.

The Trump Administration ramped up deregulatory activity in 2018, resulting in government-wide net regulatory savings for the first time since AAF began tracking. It achieved this by more than doubling its final deregulatory action rate. It will have to continue this trend if it hopes to achieve the projected net savings target of $17.9 billion identified in its fiscal year 2019 regulatory budget.

Since I normally cover the government spending and waste beat, coming across this story was an unexpected and pleasant surprise. I’d love to see it become something more than a once-in-fourteen years achievement.

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Free-Market Ideology?

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, newly minted New York Democrat, is touting a “Green New Deal,” that would eliminate nearly all fossil fuels by 2030, jack up marginal tax rates to 70 percent, and guarantee a basic income. The plan enjoys support from at least 40 members of the House and some likely presidential candidates, but as it turns out, not much about this deal is new.

Justin Haskins of Fox News finds similarities with the “Leap Manifesto” touted by an axis of socialists and environmentalists in Canada. These include Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism Versus Climate, The Shock Factor: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism and other books. Klein is also a contributing editor at The Nation, where she wrote in 2011 that “arriving at these new systems is going to require shredding the free-market ideology that has dominated the global economy for more than three decades.” In 2014 she told the New Statesman, “I do view free-market ideology as essentially a cover story for greed. I don’t think it’s an ideology that should be taken entirely seriously.” And so on, but there’s a problem here.

Free and uncoerced exchange among individuals is not an ideology. The notion that a wise elite can plan a society for the greater good of all, with little if any downside, is indeed an ideology. As F.A. Hayek showed in The Road to Serfdom, knowledge about allocation of resources is dispersed among many people, and no individual or group of experts can hold a monopoly on such knowledge. This is why socialist regimes from the USSR to Cuba to Venezuela have been economic basket cases.

Under socialism, Hayek explains, the worst get on top and suppress public criticism and “everything which might cause doubt about the wisdom of the government or create discontent will be kept from the people.” As Haskins notes, “Leap Manifesto” supporter David Suzuki wants the government to jail those who deny global warming. In similar style, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) wants to deploy RICO laws to prosecute global warming skeptics.

Ideology involves the presumption of superior knowledge, imposed and enforced by a powerful elite. Individuals acting in a free market is not an ideology and has a better record of preserving both liberty and prosperity than the ideology of socialism.

Meanwhile, “democratic socialist” and Green New Deal promoter Ocasio-Cortez is on record saying that “capitalism will not always exist in the world” and that “unemployment is low because everyone has two jobs.”

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Why Customer Satisfaction Is The Foundation Of Business Success

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Dozens of aspects contribute to the success or failure of a business; customer satisfaction is one of them. It is therefore critical for companies to monitor their customer satisfaction rates and integrate measures to ensure that clients are not just happy with the solutions they receive, but are also willing to refer other clients.

One thing is sure – if you don’t go the extra mile to show the clients you care, don’t expect them to care about your solution.

So, why is customer satisfaction so important? Why is it termed as the foundation of business success? If you are interested in uncovering the answers to these questions, read on.

But first, what is customer satisfaction?

Simply put, customer satisfaction is a measure of how solutions supplied by a business meet or exceed the expectation of the customers. By solutions, we mean products and services.

Here is why it is critical:

It’s cheaper to retain happy clients than finding new ones.

The stiffening competition in the market has seen companies up their marketing strategies to drive clients into their business, and hopefully, make sales. However, it beats logic to go through all this stress and expenses only to lose the client, and resume the cycle. It’s much easier and cheaper to deliver what you promise or even better, so the client has no reason to leave.

It’s not about the price.

Customers do not want to feel like another number – they want to know they matter. According to research, a majority of clients prefer working with a company that charges higher prices but goes out of their way to make them satisfied, than those that offer cheap but low-quality customer services. For that reason, you should take it upon yourself to always deliver excellent service because it’s critical than shoving low prices on the clients’ faces.

It helps you differentiate yourself from your peers.

If you think about it, everyone is looking to sell more and make more money. But you don’t have to join this bandwagon – make your solutions customer-centric. This way, your brand becomes associated with stellar services. Before you know it, you’ll be attracting more customers and potentially making more money than your competitors.

It promotes customer retention.

A satisfied client is a happy client – and this is the best guarantee that they will come back whenever they need a service you provide. After all, you have everything they are looking for, on top of excellent customer service – why would they think about going to your competitors? In addition to retention rates, customer satisfaction also promotes loyalty – they will keep coming back, and sometimes, with a friend or two. And that’s how your business grows, through referrals.

It increases customer lifetime value (CLV).

Customer satisfaction is critical to your bottom line. A study by InfoQuest revealed that a client who is fully satisfied contributes 2.6X more revenue than one who is fairly satisfied. Successful companies know how significant the customer lifetime value is – so, they dedicate their resources to increase their CLV.

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4 Twitter Profiles That Young Entrepreneurs Should Follow

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If you’re a young entrepreneur, you probably have a few highly successful entrepreneurs that you follow to the T. After all, if we want to attain incredible success, it’s a good idea to follow in the footsteps of those who already have. I’ve found quite a bit of value in following successful Twitter profiles. The character count limit ensures that the message is received quickly. While some aren’t so good at making use of the minimalistic approach to communication, some are incredible, and give young entrepreneurs a new chance to learn every day.

Here are 4 Twitter profiles that young entrepreneurs simply must follow!

Profile #1: T. Harv Eker.

Harv Eker is, for all intensive purposes, a normal guy. He wasn’t born into riches and he had to work hard for everything he has. However, what he’s got over the masses is an incredible rags-to-riches success story. His journey from zero to millionaire took only two and a half years. Today, he makes his millions teaching others how to follow that same journey.

Harv’s Twitter profile is filled with great snippets of information. He regularly shares advice with regard to money management, motivational quotes, tips on how to become a happier individual and tips on how to become more successful. So, if you’re not already following him, now is the time to start.

Profile #2: Kevin Rose.

Kevin Rose is a serial entrepreneur with quite a bit of success under his belt. He is the co-founder of several startups, including Revision3, Digg, Pownce and Milk. Today, Rose enjoys positions as a member of the Board of Directors at the Tony Hawk Foundation and an advisor at Google Ventures.

Kevin’s Twitter profile is an interesting one to say the least. As with most entrepreneurs, he uses the platform to share his favorite new products and services. He’s also very engaging. He commonly asks his followers questions and provides details about his personal life. Finally, Mr. Rose offers plenty of opportunities to learn with quick snippets of tips from a successful mind.

Profile #3: Randi Zuckerberg.

If the name sounds familiar, don’t worry it should, and yes, there is a relation. Randi Zuckerberg is the sister of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg. However, she’s not riding on his coattails. In fact, Randi is an entrepreneur in and of herself. In fact, she’s the CEO and founder of Zuckerberg Media and has been noted as a powerful voice for women.

If you’re looking for introductions to other entrepreneurs, following Ms. Zuckerberg is a good idea. She is known for sparking conversations with her followers, and creating a conversation that becomes a group chat. She’s also known for introducing entrepreneurs that follow her to others and sharing helpful business lessons. Don’t worry, she also sprinkles in plenty of personality with plenty of bubbly, optimistic posts.

Profile #4: Steve Blank.

Finally, we have Steve Blank. Blank is a serial entrepreneur and professor at Stanford, Berkeley and Columbia. Noted as one of the most brilliant minds of today, he’s definitely worth following, especially if you’re interested in tech.

On Twitter, Steve Blank shares plenty of tips and hints that entrepreneurs will likely find valuable. He often shares posts about product marketing, enterprise software, creativity, venture capital and plenty more topics to help his followers reach success.

Final Thoughts.

If you want to reach a high level of success, one of the best things that you can do is follow those who already have. The Twitter profiles above are chock full of tips, hints, and inspiration to help followers become happier, more successful, and all around better people. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get your follow on!

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7 Common Mistakes Made By Newly Founded, Fast-Growing Startups

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Launching a startup is not easy – at any phase.

Founders have many things to think about and decisions to make, most of which need to be made on a dime.

It is not rare for entrepreneurs to buckle under the pressure and start to make poor decisions, some of which set their plans back or critically hurt the company’s potential.

There is not some magic solution to obtaining small startup success.

However, one can avoid several common and debilitating errors countless other new and seasoned business owners make regularly; mistakes that lead to very negative and at times game-ending results for their companies.

Here are seven mistakes to avoid as a newly founded startup.

1. Do Not Fear Failure.

Potential entrepreneurs most commonly fall victim to the fear of failure. Failing is what helps people succeed at some point.

To be successful, you must overcome your fear of failure.

This quality of facing one’s fears and jumping right in is a very positive quality for business people to have, especially in the world of startups, where risk-taking is the name of the game.

But not only that, one should be able to know how to learn from their mistakes and pick up right where they left off.

2. Overlooking the Planning Phase.

Most people find planning of any kind to be tedious and mistakenly think they can “wing it.”

However, without a thoroughly thought out plan, one ends up working in the dark and at the whims of chance.

A few of the most important plans to focus on is a financial plan, business plan, and a marketing strategy.

3. Not Setting Clear Goals.

People set goals to give them a direction towards an end – that end being a successful business.

Goals act as a sort of GPS that keeps one on course throughout the course of day-to-day operations.

Furthermore, applying “smart” goals to a business plan work by allowing one to identify where they want to head while outlining specific steps that they hope to take in order to get where they want to be.

4. End Up Misinterpreting the Market.

Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of going through with the launch of their business before fully grasping the market.

Whether it could be considered misinterpreting, underestimating, or overestimating certain aspects of their target demographic or poorly measuring the demand, a misinterpretation of a market can potentially kill a business before it gets going.

5. Allowing the Business to Get Behind On Debts.

Whether it be credit or tax-related, when a company allows debt to get out of control, it can significantly set the entire operation back to square one.

The most detrimental of the two for any small startup is falling behind on taxes. Once one finds themselves in such a situation, it is vital to tax debt relief before things get too far out of hand.

6. Trying to Do Too Much on Your Own.

Small business owners may start off doing a lot on their own, and many are proud to be looked upon as a “Jack of all trades,” but it does not have to be that way.

Further, it is not efficient. Employing a well-strategized delegation of tasks is the best, tried and proven method of business building.

In some cases, one need not hire or contract human help but rather the assistance of various digital programs.

In addition to that, not all human help must be on site; there are plenty of freelancers and remote services that handle everything from accounting, website development, logistics, among other things.

7. Not Pacing the Company’s Rate of Growth.

When choosing an investor, be sure to pick them based on their principles rather than the amount of money they are offering.

No one is saying money is not important – money to a business is very important. However, some investors may have unreasonable expectations of you and your company.

In many cases, this translates to them pushing you to expand your business before you or your business is ready for such.

If it turns out you cannot deliver on their expectations, the investor(s) may end up holding you liable, as they will view it as a breach in the supposed agreement.

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How To Choose A Window Decal For Your Business

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When you are choosing a window decal, there are many factors to consider. Some of these include where exactly you want it to go, what kind of look you want it to have, the design, how large you want it to look, and much more. That is why we are here to help you choose your final product. 

Here at our store, we are used to helping businesses choose their window decals. Keep reading to learn more.

Window decals are an excellent part of a marketing and sales strategy for any business. They grab the customer’s attention without having to do anything after putting up the decal. Whether you want to put one up for branding purposes, trying to let a future customer know about a sale you are having, or you want to capture their attention with your name, a window decal is a great idea to add to any business.

Make sure to check with your landlord about creating the design first. Sometimes they can be specific about what they will allow. If they do have a specific rule you know what you need to work around. It’s also important to verify the laws in your state prior to creating one.

There are four different types of window decals that most people choose from. Here they are:

The first type is a standard window decal. This is what you typically will see in windows. This is great for using long-term use. One large negative about them is they are not reusable. Although they can be taken off easily, they cannot be stuck back on in another spot or at another time. They can stay up there multiple years, but once you take them down you will put it in the trash.

The second style is static cling window decals. These are great if you want to catch the attention of people because you have a large promotion or an even going off. For example, if it is a Christmas sale, you may want to choose a static cling window decal. These are best used indoors however try and stick them to the window and not to wood or drywall as they will not stick as well. Make sure to care for them correctly and they could end up being up for a year or two (or just during your sale).

The third style is frosted window decals. These are great in the window months and has a similarity to opaque and clear. They also look like they have been created in the glass which allows the light still to go through them so people can see in the store if you want. These can last up to five years and are better inside than outside.

The fourth and final type of decal is a perforated window decal. This allows you to see right through so you can see what is going on on the other side of the window. These are perfect if you want the decal to go on outside. These can also last up to three years, so they are worth your money.

After understanding more about each type it’s time to find out what would be the best option for your type of business. In order to do this, you should ask yourself a couple questions.

  •         Do I want it to be seen inside or outside?
  •         Am I promoting something specific like an event?
  •         How long do I want it up for?
  •         Do I want people to be able to see through the glass or do I want my privacy?
  •         Do I want it to be able to be reusable?

After answering these questions, you will be able to get a better understanding of what you are looking for and match it up with the various options.

Here are a couple items to keep in mind prior to putting up your new window decal:

  • Make sure the window is spotless before you put up the window decal.
  • Start putting the window decal on in two opposite sides. This will help ensure there are no air bubbles between the decal and it lays smooth and straight.
  • If you can, hand wash the decal prior to laying it. This will help avoid it from peeling early on.
  • Try and have the advertisement temping for future customers. Let them know the sale is only running for a short amount of time and they should act now.
  • When removing the decal make sure you are gentle to peel it. Start at the top and work your way down. Remove any leftovers that stay on the door by putting soap and water and scrubbing. If they still do not come up remove it with a razor blade.

Remember, there are professionals out there that are willing to help you. Our staff all understands that you want the window decal to look the best it possibly can. We want to help you get there. If you contact us we will be sure to listen to your needs and help you match it to the best decal. If you already know what you are looking for and you simply want an additional ear to ensure everything sounds good, we are happy to do that too.

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Four Ways To Expand Your Startup

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Expansion is a great word for new companies, because it means that you have done something so right in your business model that you have been deemed worthy by the general consumer. Expanding, however, can be a mighty step to take. Expanding when you do not have the right systems in place can result in your downfall. You need to know that you are ready, and then proceed to take the necessary precautions and preliminary steps to expand on your own terms.

Don’t go over budget, and instead follow this guide:

Before You Expand.

Before you expand you are going to want to ask yourself two main questions:

  1. Are You Ready?
  2. Do You Have the Right Systems in Place?

Whether or not to expand is a tricky question, but generally speaking if you have the infrastructure in place and the demand, you should be successful in your expansion efforts.

How to Expand Your Startup.

Now that you know your company is ready to expand it is time to get the job done. There are many ways a startup can expand, and some of the best ways to do it (and on a budget) include:

1. Introducing an eCommerce Platform.

Having a website is entirely different from having an eCommerce platform. Websites are absolutely critical for every company, but eCommerce platforms are what will sell your products to a larger audience. How well they look and function, however, is key, so it is best to skip the trial and error and instead turn to the professionals at blackbeltcommerce.com. They can help you transform your BigCommerce online store into something unique and beautiful.

2. Partnering with Stockists.

A great way to expand without blowing your budget by opening a store is to simply partner with other sellers. If you sell a niche item, for example, you can get in on the community and become a household name simply by selling your products to small stockists. If they like and want to sell your products, they will buy directly from you and then sell their product on to customers in their local area. It’s an easy way to go global!

3. Setting Up Multiple Shipping Points.

Another way to become global is to set up multiple shipping locations. By partnering with shipping companies and having an off-site storage unit of your products, you can sell to local areas without having a store open up there.

4. Setting Up Global Offices.

When you want to expand globally properly, however, you will want to open up an office and to create a network in that country. Start with countries that have your largest demographic or customer base, and remember to hire locally so that you can succeed on foreign soil. Assuming you know how to market to those from a different cultural background to you is a mistake. Hiring locally is the way to succeed.

Knowing when the time is right and which methods are right for your company will dictate how successful your expansion efforts are. Leave no stone unturned and do what you feel is right.

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