Category Archives: Business

How to master video conference calls

Video Conference Calls

More and more, businesses have a growing number of employees and customers from around the world which is leading to the increased use of video conferencing. Video conferencing is not only making communications channels easier for businesses but it also saving time and money.

Video conferencing is the next best thing to meeting someone in person and allows participants to see facial expressions, body language and product demonstrations. Video conferencing is quickly becoming a business standard and is an integral part of business communications today.

Even-though you are no longer meeting face-to-face does not mean that it is slacker time. Normal meeting etiquette needs to he adhered to in addition to some additional courtesies.

Here are some of the best practices and etiquette tips you should observe during conference calls:

Test and make sure your systems work – It is important to test and make sure that all conferencing systems function and work properly prior to the meeting. This could mean the downloading of software or app, and making sure that it runs smoothly on your device, browser and operating system.

Stage your room – Make sure that the room you are holding the conference is tidy and that no inappropriate displays or items are visible. If you work from home, don’t hold a conference call from your bed.

Introduce yourself – If you in a group call without video, it is important to introduce yourself before you talk so that others know who is talking.

Check your audio – Not only is your image quality important, make sure that you have good audio quality. For best audio quality, it is best to use headset to minimize broadcasting ambient noises.

Video setting – Make sure to test and adjust any video setting for best quality. Make sure that your camera is not too low or too high. The camera should be at eye level.

Dress for the office – It is best to wear conservative colors and styles given that others have to view you on a screen. Remember that everything is bigger and bolder on video. Dress as if you are going to a job interview.

Provide the correct details – Make sure that you provide all conference participants simple, clear and correct details and instructions before the meeting and request that each participants set up and test their equipment.

Do not multitask – Never check or reply to your email messages. There is nothing worse than hearing someone typing during a video conference. Not only is this impolite and unprofessional, it also disturbs the conference call hearing your fingers tapping away at the keyboard. Remember that

Adequate lighting – Natural light is best for video conferencing but a well-place light can do the trick. Avoid backlighting such as a window or lamp behind you.

Stay focused – Since you are on camera, it is sometimes easier to let your focus wander given that you are not face-to-face. Think of yourself as being a news presenter with the whole world watching everything you do and say. Turn off your cellphone and never place it on the table.

Keep noises to minimum – Extraneous noise can impact the call quality as well as distract those participating. Close all doors and if you are working from home, make sure that everyone in your household knows that you are on a conference call and should not disturb you, especially if you have children running around.

Take note of your presentation skills – When it is your turn to speak, make sure that you speak with a clear voice and always look into the camera rather than looking at yourself on the screen in the little window. Think of the camera as your coworker and maintain eye contact at all times and be aware of your body language.

Mute your microphone – When you are not speaking, it is best to mute your microphone even if you are alone in the room to avoid any background noise and distractions.

Top reasons for Startup failures

Success and failure

Do startup companies have all the fun? They create new markets, disrupt old ones, receive enormous amounts of venture capital, have the best office building – and more. Is it really that easy to start a business and reach stardom.

Statistics show that the vast majority of startups fail. Reasons for failure could be because of premature scaling or for doing things correctly but in the wrong order or at the wrong time. There are many opinions and experts who will provide different advise and reasons as to why startups fails and how to keep a new business afloat in the perilous waters of the entrepreneurial sea.

All entrepreneurs have made mistakes, are making mistakes, and will continue to do so. Generally, it is not one mistake that sinks a startup, rather multiple reasons. There are, however, some key factors that can certainly weigh down a business and possibly sink it forevermore.

Research by CB Insights highlight the top reasons for startup failures:

Startup failures

How to make the perfect pitch to investors

 

Investor Business Pitch

Entrepreneurs and business owners have to raise money by pitching their ideas to investors, and many trip up due to their lack of experience or lack of presentation skills.

It takes a lot of effort and hard work to land meetings with potential investors. To land a meeting with a potential investors to pitch your business idea, you need good targeting, persistence, and to find a way into the office of your investor. To succeed, business owners and entrepreneurs need to put as much effort in preparing their pitch as they do in securing their initial meeting with investors.

Often business owners and entrepreneurs tend to make decisions to protect their ideas , however in the end, land up sabotaging their pitches.

Here are few common mistakes and things to avoid when pitching to investors:

  • Never send unsolicited emails, executive summaries, and business plans to investors.
  • Always pitch an idea to an investor that they interests in.
  • Don’t ask an investor to review your 50 page business plan.
  • Make sure your elevator pitch is no longer than one minute.
  • You must be able show investors the market opportunity of your idea and how your business idea can scale and become meaningful.
  • If you go with a team to pitch your idea, make sure all team members get a say in the meeting. Investors want to know that you have a good team.
  • Avoid pushing your product or service too much and causing your investors to shut down.
  • Never tell an investor that there is no competition. This is unrealistic and naive.
  • Never show uninteresting and unrealistic market projections. Investors want to see how your business can grow significantly and develop into an exciting business.
  • Never enter a meeting and ask the potential investor to sign a non-disclosure documents. If you have confidential information, simply don’t share it.
  • Make sure your presentation explains how the investor will make money. Never overlook providing a realistic exit strategy.
  • Practice your pitch before your present it to investors and prepare short, concise answers to potential questions.
  • Always include in your pitch what problem your business idea will solve for your customers and target market.
  • Avoid discussing unrealistic valuation expectations of your company in the initial meeting.
  • Don’t take criticism personally. Investors generally ask direct and tough questions
  • Keep your presentation short and no more than 15 PowerPoint slides. If investors are interested you can always provide more details at a later stage.
  • Investors are interested in the team behind your idea. So highlight your team’s experience and credentials.
  • Make sure your presentation is well-structured highlighting your central idea.
  • Always provide time for questions and answers at the end of your presentation.
  • Make sure to proof-read and check your presentation for typos and inconsistencies.
  • Place a copyright notice at the bottom and add the phrase “Confidential and Private.”
  • The best way to succeed is to give a demo of your product or service.
  • Make sure you convey your understanding of customer acquisition costs and long-term value of your customer.
  • You need to understand the potential risks of your business idea and the processes and mitigating precautions you might take.
  • You must be able to articulate the key assumptions and be able to convince the potential investor that they are realistic and reasonable.
  • Always show how your business idea is differentiated from other competitors.
  • Have a detailed and coherent marketing plan and strategy.
  • If you have already made some market traction and already landed some customers, make you talk about this with investors.
  • Always tell investors in detail how you will be inviting their capital and how far their investment will go.
  • You must be able to clearly describe what the your company’s product or service consists of and why it is unique.

Practical ways to become a better entrepreneur

Entrepreneurial Skills

Do you want to become a better entrepreneur? Every entrepreneur wants to learn and improve in some way or another. There is no one magic answer or solution to become a successful entrepreneur. However, one common trait of most successful entrepreneurs is their desire to self-improvement.

No matter how you define success, there are many common characteristics that are shared by successful business people. Even if you don’t match up to all of these characteristics, don’t worry; most can be learnt with practice and with a winning attitude. Set realistic goals and apply your mind through strategic planning. Make sure you set incremental goals and measurable stages.

There are many things one can do to become a successful entrepreneur. Some of fairly obvious, while other may not be. Here are a few ideas on how you can become a successful entrepreneur:

  • Follow your passions and do what you what you enjoy. If you don’t do what you enjoy, this will most likely reflect in the success of your business.
  • Invest in yourself and take a short course and continuously build and grow your skills.
  • Hire a coach to guide and mentor you.
  • Understand your strengths and weaknesses. Confront and work on your challenge areas.
  • What ever you do, make sure you believe in what you do and take your business seriously.
  • Constantly write and publish a blog to improve your personal brand.
  • Use a professional high quality headshot for your social media account and place a face to your name.
  • Create a competitive advantage and differentiate your business from your competition.
  • Make sure to develop a realistic and effective plan.
  • Review the reason you started your business every quarter and think about your goals and objectives you have set for yourself.
  • Balance your work and personal life.
  • Accept criticism, no matter who gives it to you.
  • Remember that your business is all about the customer. Get to know your customer and offer personalized attention.
  • Learn from your own mistakes.
  • Learn from other people’s mistakes.
  • No business can succeed on its own. So surround yourself with a top-moth business team.
  • You don’t always have to innovate; there is nothing wrong with copying.
  • Don’t let emotions cloud your decisions.
  • Update and optimize your LinkedIn account and profile.
  • The lifeblood of any business enterprise is cash flow, so manage your money wisely.
  • Find and read some inspirational books and grow your knowledge.
  • “There is an app for everything”, so let the app do the work for you.
  • Avoid taking shortcuts that might appear to be shiny opportunities. True quality is only achieved through focused effort over an extended period of time.
  • Don’t be afraid to have those difficult conversations both at work and home.
  • Take the time from your busy schedule to pause and reflect.
  • Take care of your health and exercise. Exercise transforms the brain by enhancing blood flow, oxygen, and increasing mental energy.
  • Present yourself in a professional way. Be aware of how you dress and look.
  • Never be afraid to try new things and accept failures along the way. Any path to success has bumps along the way. Failure is a way to improve your ability to succeed.
  • If you work from home, don’t forget to create a regular work schedule that includes time to stretch your legs and take lunch breaks, plus some days off and scheduled vacations.

Hopefully these suggestions will help you improve your entrepreneurial skills. Improving yourself does not happen by accident or overnight. If you truly want to be a better entrepreneur, grow your business, make an impact and difference, then you need intentional about changing.

Tips and advise for first-time entrepreneurs

Entrepreneur Advise

What does it take to enter the world of entrepreneurship today? It is very easy for first time entrepreneurs to easily be overwhelmed with the plethora of advice, books, blogs and ideas out there on how they should be, look and feel about their startup.

Starting your first business can be an extremely stressful experience—you’re exploring new waters and you’ll soon have to take risks at a level that you’ve probably only ever dreamed of before. Managing that stress and staying productive during your first entrepreneurial adventure is key to the success of every business owner.

Here are a few tips and words of advise for any entrepreneur:

  • Start a business you are passionate and knowledgeable about.
  • Pick a business idea that has a big market opportunity.
  • Nail your mission and vision.
  • Raise as much startup funding as you can.
  • Constantly monitor your finances.
  • Find a solid teammate asap—two brains are better than one
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions—it’s the only way to learn.
  • Look for patterns in advice—then filter, prioritize, and take action.
  • Research the competition
  • Commit to a regular workout schedule.
  • Use Linkedin and other social media to spread your personal and business brand.
  • Ask for advice from other entrepreneurs.
  • Eat healthy and exercise on a regular basis.
  • Build your personal brand—authenticity is key.
  • Surround yourself with inspiring people—avoid naysayers.
  • View all feedback as a compliment—time spent is a gift.
  • Be open to advice.
  • Work with people you like.
  • Develop a great elevator pitch.
  • Hire the right people.
  • Never stop networking.
  • Provide great customer service.
  • Hire an experienced startup attorney.
  • Get comfortable with public speaking.
  • Focus on building a great product or service—but don’t take forever to launch
  • Market and then market some more.
  • Hold yourself accountable.
  • Find the fun—in even the most menial tasks.
  • Just Do It