All posts by Mr Executive

5 Ways FinTech Is Driving Advances In Insurance

We are now living in a tech-savvy world, where everyone ­– urban as well as a large section of Tier II, Tier III cities – has access to smartphone and internet. This has become the key to do everything, anywhere, anytime, with just few simple clicks and in practically no time. Consumer behavior and expectations are also changing, and so is the manner of evaluating and accessing goods and services. This has influenced financial industry including insurance and we can say that technology is disrupting the way we chose insurance products (of any type) today. The consumers are adapting to this change because of, inter-alia, the convenience and empowerment factor, which comes from ease, unbiased decision-making, and speed of transaction.

Because of  the rapidly evolving situation and aggressive demand by consumers, many insurance companies are partnering with FinTech companies  that provide solutions to catch up in broadening the spectrum of services and transactions that customers can do over their mobiles and other hand-held devices.

Such partnerships come with huge customer benefits:

Consumer Empowerment

What was earlier about just signing the dotted line as directed by an insurance broker(and no questions asked) has become about taking well informed and most importantly, independent decisions for the consumers.

Convenience

Today, customers only have to key in their requirements at the insurance marketplace and check the eligibility criteria to get instant offers to compare all life, general and health insurance companies and thereafter buy the products completely online instantly. Technology is ensuring that the all the customized insurance offers available in the market are made accessible based on the customer profile on one screen, instant and real time, to help customers make the best selection.

Cost effectiveness

The online virtual nature of the marketplace does away with the need of brick-and-mortar structures and associated work force, bringing down the establishment costs for the insurer. This benefit gets transferred to the customers in the form of lower premiums and processing costs.

Data Security

Security is paramount when it comes to finance, and FinTech companies take a very serious view of security. A marketplace like BankBazaar.com, which has the highest data security standards in place and a no-spamming policy, makes the customer feel confident about transacting online.

Process Familiarity

Another convenience of the online model is consumer’s familiarity and acceptance to the process, because is it same as any other online shopping experience. For this reason, the pressure to innovate technologically is high in the insurance sector, and correspondingly, so are the expected returns.

On one hand, these potential benefits for customers are putting pressure on insurance providers to go digital. On the other hand, going digital can bring in several positives, and not just in costs, to the insurance companies themselves that they cannot afford to neglect. Partnering with an online marketplace is the first step that the insurers can take, as it is a viable solution that can provide substantial results with a low investment. Here are five excellent ways technologyis driving insurance and improving it for the better.

Products diversification

The online space is an impetus to the insurers to develop simpler and more targeted products that are easier to understand by providing a larger-than-ever platform that comes equipped with the tools to help insurers reach these products to the right audience.Such simplified products are important for not only first time buyers of insurance but also those who look for systematic savings. Moreover, such products are also lower in loaded costs and commissions and, hence,are a win-win for both the insurer and the insured.

Cost

Online presence increases touch points and reduces the costs both for the customers/policyholders and for the insurance companies. This shields the insurance companies from high operational cost pressure – something that is a cause of concern for most of the companies, except the top seven and few others. Unless they attain the critical mass of new business and have a healthy renewal book, profitability is still far away. Operating through brick and mortar offices across the country is not yielding results and the expected reach. A digital strategy, on the other hand, can not only increase the business reach but also take the company towards profitable growth.

Paperless

E-KYC, E-sign and stamping, and finally e-policies are making steady inroads,and with the changing mind-set, the time is not far off when insurance will be purchased instantly with no physical paper exchange. Automated claim processing and upload of documents from anywhere anytime is becoming a reality that will help in processing claims faster.
Further, the proposed central repository for KYC and Digi lockers will also help all financial institutions to access the KYC records of a customer centrally as well as allow them to e-sign documents. A platform that allows you to provide your customers with all these facilities and more in a highly secure manner can make life much simpler, not to mention faster.

Reach

A platform like BankBazaar.com, which sees over 9 million visitors per month on an average, provides enormous visibility – something which you would be hard-pressed to replicate. This becomes true when one considers the cost factor associated with doing things in-house. Apart from that, the proliferation of mobile internet is rapid in both urban and rural areas. At BankBazaar.com, we have seen a lot of traction from tier-2 and tier-3 cities and the number of online visitors from these locations is growing exponentially. This opens an entire new geography for insurers to target without depending on brick-and-mortar set-ups.

Growth

FinTech is a rapidly growing sector. Moreover, the business model of strong FinTech companies, unlike other online service providers, is very stable: For instance, there are no discounting schemes to eat into margins; stock and inventory expenses to be factored in; or order fulfilment or distribution capabilities to be worked out. These and many more such factors increase the possibility of making the business profitable. So, partnering with a strong FinTech company with a credible strategy and a clear growth trajectory can prove mutually beneficial to both.

Hence, Insurance and technology partnership will defining the future of Insurance policy purchase as the advantages are obvious. These opportunities are strong reasons for Insurance companies to align their strategies and leverage FinTech to the maximum. And it is just the beginning. The future belongs to AI-based virtual insurance agent that can provide real insurance quotes and recommendations based on clients profile/need analysis and underwriting of policies on the basis of data provided by wearable technology, i.e., step and heart beat monitor, driving, calorie counters, exercise and other social habits of prospective consumer.Adaption of e-Aadhaar/KYC, selfie for photograph, Video-based IPV, e-sign, e-stamping of policies, and app-based policy management, all of which will virtually reduce human interventions at every stage as well as increase reach and turnaround time, is around the corner.

This is one of the reasons regulatory bodies such as the IRDA are working on policies and initiatives to increase the reach of insurance sector and online is one such means. Between the E-KYC circular of UIDAI and Web Aggregators regulations of 2013 to the Revised Guidelines on Insurance Repositories and electronic issuance of Insurance Policies in 2015 and the Exposure Draft of the Insurance e-commerce Regulations in 2016, the IRDAI has been enabling regulations like distance marketing, telemarketing, web-aggregation, e-insurance platforms/e-commerce guidelines (proposed) and e-insurance accounts/repository framework.

The FinTech sector, with its paperless, simpler, faster turnaround model will be a game-changer. As drivers of technology, a strong FinTech company would be leading this trend. The first movers in the insurance industry would be able to create a large channel in itself of online users and buyers. And why not, the advantages overweigh the traditional methods of selling and servicing. The insurance and FinTech sectors working together cohesively as one unit drawing on the strengths of each other can provide exceptional services to the consumers. Ultimately, that would be the biggest win for both insurers and customers.

original article:www.entrepreneur.com

Don’t Make These 3 Technology Mistakes

Interacting with customers is one of my favorite aspects of owning a business. It’s exciting for me to engage them in conversations about the future of their own companies. Finding the right mindset and technologies to help others envision what that future might look like is among the most rewarding experiences any businessperson can achieve.

Entrepreneurs tend to also be consultants and trusted advisors. I’ve found that even in Fortune 500 companies with very large teams and budgets, leaders rely on their business partners’ guidance to make smarter decisions. In my line of business, that means using analytics to understand how collecting and evaluating the right data can help transform business insights and processes.

In the larger context, I also guide people to make decisions about rapidly changing technology. Depending on a customer’s willingness to adopt new methods, this can be an alternately mind-numbing or head-spinning transition. Even the most astute and progressive business leaders can’t keep abreast of every new solution or application. The technology landscape is too vast. At the same time, companies are adapting, too. This makes it difficult to find the perfect alignment between business goals and the best technologies to support them.

I’ve learned that while advancements in analytics have proven very valuable to businesses, critical decision-making often gets left by the wayside. Companies reaching for new tools or analytics applications often buy into the potential of a buzzword. This leads to implementing technologies for which the business is not yet ready. Sometimes, companies incorporate technologies that proved successful for other enterprises but might not deliver the right outcomes for their particular business or the specific challenge they’re trying to address.

Here are three common misconceptions that trip up business leaders.

1. My business needs big data.

I hear this from clients all the time. They call us, wanting to know how they, too, can benefit from big data. The fact is, they don’t need big data. … yet. The real issue is they’re not seeing enough return from their existing data.

Businesses looking to address their most critical business issues first should focus on the data in hand. They must extract every insight they can from existing data before they think about collecting more information. Yes, data is created with every click and interaction — but not all data has business value. Think about which types of data will be most useful. For example, do you seek to increase customer retention, improve customer loyalty or capture more cross-sell and upsell opportunities? Maybe it’s all of the above.

Tap into the richness of the data you already have within your organization. You might find you need to augment what you know with data from new data sources. Either way, collect only the data you need.

2. Analytics can replace leadership.

Analytics is a driving force in every business sector. It’s also leading to new insights in every area of the business, from logistics and operations to sales and marketing. It’s easy to see why. Analytics helps people make better, data-driven decisions.

Businesses shouldn’t confuse analytics with a basic business tenet: Leadership means everything. Companies with a solid culture grounded in leadership, vision and strategy use analytics to inform all of areas of the business, but they don’t look to analytics to lead the way. Data analytics can help measure, monitor and predict. Integrating analytics with data-driven initiatives in other areas of the business will help you figure out what’s working well and what isn’t.

Still, the single most critical factor to success is leadership. It provides the foundation on which a data-driven culture is built and the business lens through which data must be viewed.

3. Automation and AI are going to upend my business.

Many people are talking about artificial intelligence’s potential to replace human workers or eliminate much of the need for human oversight in different business areas. It’s true that certain business aspects can be automated. Processes and tasks that can be automated, should be. These include monotonous or mundane processes as well as those that require computing or organizing large quantities of data.

But much like business leaders can’t expect analytics to work miracles on its own, companies shouldn’t rely on automation and AI to replace uniquely human qualities. On average, about 90 percent of today’s analyses are done by humans, with 10 percent performed by machines. This will change as we build technology to help machines get smarter. In another 10 years, some projections peg machines to run 50 percent of all analyses.

It’s important to understand that experiments with AI will take place on the periphery of most businesses, where the cost of a mistake is lower. If your entire model is based on algorithms — like Netflix — you might trial AI in more central components of your company. Nevertheless, any business decision that requires judgment, prioritization, reasoning or weighing pros and cons will require human intelligence until machines get much better at running these types of problems.

Each of these typical tech misunderstandings offers a fundamental lesson: Just because a technology exists doesn’t mean it’s the right solution for your business. You must carefully evaluate your business challenges and goals against the outcomes a technology or application realistically can produce. Learning from mistakes is part of being a leader. So is avoiding the critical mistakes you shouldn’t make in the first place.

original article:www.entrepreneur.com

5 Tips on Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur-Tactics That Can Help Your Business Grow

Being a successful entrepreneur means that you often blaze your own trial, having no career guides, counsellors or maps that will guide you from one step to another making it up as you continue to go. There are a lot many opportunities available for entrepreneurs in order to create and make money from their business ideas. With such great opportunities, entrepreneurs easily make mistakes, mistakes that are made by others before them.

Love What You Do:

The road to success to any dream is the most difficult one. It’s a lot easier if you are passionate about your business purpose. If you don’t love what you do it’s really hard to be successful. This in turn helps you stay positive maintaining your optimism and once that’s gone it’s done.

Getting others to do the work for you:

Just like every successful entrepreneur on earth will make use of his/ her skills to get their goals accomplished, in the same way you could hire a virtual assistant in order to check things off your to-do list. So if you need to establish your brand or just improve your current website hire best developers and designers who will have help you get the best out of it.

Obtain The Gold:

Success is what defines an entrepreneur. You can never call yourself an entrepreneur if your business turns out to fail. It is said and believed that success breeds more success. In short, the more you try and accomplish through entrepreneurship, the more you begin to learn. As our surroundings are going through rapid transformation then you must also adapt to the change in order to get gold.

Outlining what exactly it takes to reach your goal:

As an entrepreneur, you need to define ideas that will help you in making the business successful. It’s only you who can control and know how to deal with it.  You will have ideas that will help your business go successful but it’s only when you experiment you know what works and what does not. Building your success stories requires you to first define what works.

Creating a delightful customer experience:

Several components come together in order to create a delightful customer experience, and everyone in the company needs to know their own role in gaining and retaining their customers. It’s a mission that everyone understands and knows how they will fit into the brand and what brings the value delivering a greater customer experience.

Quickly learning from the mistakes of others:

Mistakes are considered to be inevitable and the key is to learn from them fast. You can save some valuable time from re-inventing the wheel if you research properly on what others in the similar field did and the problems they failed. You have the advantage of knowing where they went wrong and save valuable resources in trying that. Pick from where they left off.

To conclude, it’s obvious that we as individuals will not be experts at everything.  So work hard in order to know and find out which are the most misleading things the entrepreneurs try and do on their own leading to issues for them and their organization.

original article:www.entrepreneur.com

The Basics of Multi-Location and Franchise Marketing

Owning a business that is part of a franchise or that has multiple locations can be a positive business venture when done correctly. That said, there are a lot of things to consider before purchasing a business that is part of a larger corporation. The last thing you want to do is invest in a company where the marketing has been handled irresponsibly. If you’re in charge of your own marketing, don’t go in blind not knowing how to advertise. This will cause your investment to tank, and all your hard work and money will go down the drain.

In other words, it’s important to make sure you do your homework and understand all that goes into owning a franchise or a multi-location business before making a purchase. And if you decide to invest, take the time to learn how to market correctly. This article will explain the basics of what you need to know in order to protect your investment.

The before.

In a recent study, The 2016 Franchise Marketing Survey found that franchise marketing can be a tricky venture. Any time a large group of people get together and have to agree on how to handle money, there are risks. There will be different opinions about how the money should be spent, with each person thinking about the best interests of their own business, and not necessarily the corporation as a whole. On the flip side, franchise marketing can also be a huge bonus for businesses because it gives access to a large pool of money that can potentially be used to improve marketing for everyone involved. Here are some things to consider before purchasing a franchise.

You need to understand what franchising is.

This may sound obvious, but it’s important to understand exactly what franchising is before getting into it. Many people think franchising is it’s own industry. It’s not. It’s more of a way of doing business. It’s a hybrid business plan that combines working for yourself and working for somebody else. This is why it’s a good fit for many people, but not for everybody. You won’t have complete autonomy over your business, but there will also not be someone higher up telling you what to do every minute. It’s a team effort.

You must be willing to be part of the team.

According to Franchising.com, “Franchising means working for yourself, but not by yourself.” This means that everyone involved has the responsibility to operate their own successful businesses long term, and that the success of the brand as a whole depends on each team member’s individual successes. You have to be willing to operate as a whole group with the brand’s needs at the forefront. If everyone is only thinking of their individual businesses, the brand as a whole will suffer, and everyone will lose. This may mean coming together to create and decide on a shared marketing plan that will positively affect all the businesses involved.

In order to make money, you will have to put out money.

This is a concept that is hard for some people to swallow. According to Franchising.com, franchise fees range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands. Royalities range from five to eight percent, with the marketing and advertising cost running you an additional one to three percent. Despite the steep fees, many people still choose to invest because they realize the potential to make more money in the long run as part of a franchise than they would just working on their own.

Again, this goes back to being willing to work as part of a team even though you are still responsible for your own business. A company-wide marketing fund means you won’t have complete autonomy over how your businesses is advertised and what exactly happens to that large fund to which you have to contribute. You will be able to voice your opinion, so it’s important to understand the basics of franchise and multi-location marketing.

The after.

If, after you’ve done all the necessary research, you still want to buy into a franchise or expand your business into multiple locations, your work isn’t done. In fact, it’s just started because now you need to understand the intricacies of marketing for more than one location and how to optimize your results so that your investment continues to be a positive one. Here’s some marketing tips.

Keep customers at the forefront.

In the end, customers are what will keep your business thriving, and so it only makes sense that they should be considered at the top of your marketing plan. Don’t be afraid to try something new — just make sure to evaluate whether or not your strategy is bringing more customers through the door. If the answer is no, move on and think of something else.

Be prepared to debate strategies with the other members of the team. It’s ok to argue, as long as everyone is keeping the customer’s wants and needs in mind. Ultimately, this is the only thing that’s going to make everyone’s businesses successful.

Consider customer reviews.

This is something that is often forgotten at the corporation level — make sure you don’t forget! The unfortunate truth is that most reviews are left by unhappy customers who feel the need to voice their opinions. Happy customers tend to stay quiet. This paints an unfavorable — and often unfair — picture of the business online. Don’t be afraid to get out there and ask your loyal customers to leave reviews. It’s the only way that your business has a chance to accurately portray their reputation.

In addition, encourage these customers to utilize your Google my Business page. And don’t forget about citations that allow reviews, like Yelp. Citations often show up first in search results listings that target your keywords, so it’s important that those reviews are favorable as well.

Create a quality website.

Your business website should be at the center of your marketing campaign. It’s where your customers go to find out information about your product, as well as where, when and how to reach you. It’s ultimately what will bring customers through your front door. Make sure each store has an individual locations page that is optimized and can be indexed by Google. These locations pages should be up-to-date with accurate information about your business — address, operating hours, contact information, etc.

Finally, make sure the site is well-run overall. It should be optimized, run quickly, be clear and uncluttered, have a quality mobile version and provide well-written content that customers are looking for.

Make sure the franchisor elicits input from the franchisees.

Although the franchisor ultimately has the last say in how marketing money is spent, you should be part of a corporation that asks for the opinions of the franchisees. Some businesses have an elected board of franchisees that meet with the franchisor regularly to discuss the wants and needs of the whole group. Regardless of how this is done, the individual franchisees should have the opportunity to contribute their opinions into the overall marketing plan. After all, they’re the ones who deal with the customers directly. A good franchisor will recognize this and seek out opinions from franchisees.

Marketing money should be allocated appropriately.

Typically, a large company marketing fund gets distributed into three different areas — the costs of administering the marketing effort, the cost of the advertising materials themselves and the media purchases to place the advertisements. A good multi-location/ franchise marketing plan will dispense funds equally into these three areas. Be wary of any plans that seem to tip the scale in favor of one area over another. All three of these departments directly impact each other, so they should be treated with equal importance.

Two common types of advertisements are brand building versus customer attraction. Both are good for business and should be used when creating a marketing plan. One should not be deemed better than the other.

Don’t forget about SEO, especially local.

While local searches tend to benefit local, single location businesses tremendously, they don’t always have the same effect on multi-location or franchise businesses. Because of the nature of local searches, it’s difficult for the latter to rank as well as single location companies, but it’s not impossible as long as you pay attention to the rules of SEO. Don’t ignore local SEO principles. As I said before, each location should have an individual local landing page. You should also take time to make sure you have clear, positive citations.

Evaluate whether or not the marketing plan is working.

Last but not least, remember that any marketing plan can look good on paper. That doesn’t mean it will be successful when put into practice. It’s important to analyze your results and determine if your efforts are, in fact, increasing brand awareness and bringing more customers through your doors. Consult your team for their opinions and to find out how the plan is working for them. Remember, two heads are better than one, and ultimately it needs to have positive results for everyone, or the brand as a whole will suffer. In the end, it’s your livelihood that will suffer if the marketing plan doesn’t work, so put in the necessary effort and due diligence to evaluate it’s effectiveness and make changes when necessary.

original article:www.entrepreneur.com

With This Startup, India Is Showing An Interest In Online Jewellery

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With the increasing use of technology, today’s startups are coming-up with innovative ideas to fulfil the desire of masses. From shopping, to buying of grocery, everything today is done online. And if you thought jewellery would be one domain that would lag behind, you were so wrong!

Today, online jewellery in India is seeing a rapid growth, as Indian consumers are buying jewellery online, just like any other product of daily usage. Though the ticket size is smaller in number, but still there is a lot of scope to tap this market.

Sensing the opportunity, Arnaud Lorie, founded Joolz; an online jewellery community and a marketplace to facilitate retail jewellery. This startup is helping consumers to discover prices and options online and facilitate the offline process of buying the jewellery.

Inception

Born and brought up in Belgium, the diamond capital of the world, Lorie moved to Israel when he was 18 to join the army. He then joined his family’s company- International Gemological Institute (IGI), and has now been living in India for the past 3 years. After training in one of the largest diamond factories in Navsari, Gujarat for 12 months, he started working on this new business venture – Joolz.

Founded in May 2015 with total team of 9, Joolz is an India-focused community and marketplace that brings together leading jewellery brands on a single platform. The startup aggregates and curates high-quality jewellery inventory and offers its consumers an unmatched discovery and shopping experience.

Business Model

Joolz is more than just an online sales platform as it enables two-way interaction between jewellery buyers and sellers through discussion, discovery and education. It is accessible as a smartphone app on Android and iOS platforms and also via its website.

“Buying jewellery is so closely intertwined with Indian culture that the act of simply selling it online is not going to create any significant impact in the market. We, therefore, want to be the single biggest facilitator of jewellery commerce, whether online, or more importantly offline,” said Arnoud Lorie.

Funds Rolling In

Recently, Joolz has secured a funding of $500K as a part of its Pre Series A round led by ah! Ventures, to go with the other bunch of investors.

The current seed round was also led by Mahesh Ahuja, CEO, Brittman India, Powerhouse Venture’s MD, Peddu, Deepak Kasthwal of M&S Partners, ex- CFO OLA Cabs, PKX Thomas – ex Technology Head, Cleartrip’s Neha Shah and angel round by GSF Accelerator.

The venture plans to utilise these funds to boost operations, products, marketing and further build-up its team.

Commenting on the recent investment, Powerhouse Ventures’ Managing Director Peddu said, “What attracted us most was the company’s rich understanding of the jewellery space and the passion with which they are planning to transform the way consumers interact with jewellery, online and offline.”

Future plans

As offline jewellery industry is valued at over $40 billion, there is a huge opportunity for Joolz and other such startups to grow significantly,by using the untouched technological initiatives. Joolz specifically, plans to reach a new group of brands and investigate new revenue models, and not just remains a company that is solemnly focused on the online traction.

“The online jewellery market in India is expected to grow at $3.6 billion over the next three years, which in itself makes the sector a lucrative one to invest in. In addition to that, given the background of the founder and their in-depth understanding of the business, this enterprise has from the very beginning started off on the best foot possible,” said Harshad Lahoti, Founder and CEO of ah! Ventures.

original article:www.entrepreneur.com

Why Smart Social-Media Marketing Is Brilliant SEO Strategy

Occasionally, I’ll hear online marketing experts attempt to describe various marketing strategies in discrete contexts and to an extent, this is appropriate. Content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing can all be planned and executed separately. You could hypothetically pursue each one as an individual endeavor.

However, it’s far more effective if you use these strategies in conjunction with one another, complementing and enhancing your efforts. Content amplifies your SEO campaign by attracting more links and optimizing for certain key phrases and social media feeds into your content campaign by amplifying its reach. But how exactly does social media play into SEO? Can your social media campaign improve your organic search rankings?

Profile information.

One of the first steps you take in a social media marketing campaign is claiming and filling out your social profiles with information about your company from your name and type of business to your address and phone number. This is indexable content and it can indirectly help your local rankings; many third-party review sites mine social media profiles for local business information, which they then compile into entries on their site. Google then uses these entries to form its own standard formatting for local business, which means filling out your social media profiles could improve the visibility and accuracy of your business online.

The power of inbound links.

There are two main factors that Google considers when ranking results for a given query — relevance and authority. The relevance of an entry is how appropriately it meets the needs of the given search query, while the authority is how trustworthy or respectable the source is. Authority is determined, in large part, by the inbound link profile of the page (and its domain) in question. To ridiculously oversimplify things, the more, higher-authority links you have pointing to you, the higher you’re going to rank.

This principle is the single biggest reason why social media is important to SEO and it’s all because of social media’s operation as a syndication platform. The links in Facebook posts, tweets or other social posts don’t have an impact on your search rankings directly, but the amplified reach they provide your content can result in it attracting more inbound links from sources that do make an impact.

Social media as a syndication platform.

The greatest advantage social media has as a marketing channel is its ability to distribute content and links to a wide audience — and an ever-increasing one if you know how to build your following. Syndicating an article on social media could instantly open it to hundreds or thousands of new eyes and those readers could share it further. This alone won’t do you much good from an SEO perspective, but every interested reader could be a blogger, journalist, editor or otherwise have the potential to build a natural link to your content as they reference it in their own work — which means social media can and will greatly increase the breadth and potential of your inbound link profile.

Furthermore, posting your content on social media could open the door to another path of social media visibility. Google now indexes content from Facebook, Twitter and presumably more social media platforms to come. If your timing and relevance is right, your post could directly show up in search results.

Social signals.

There’s been some debate in the SEO community about whether or not “social signals” can affect your search rankings, and what, exactly, “social signals” are in the first place. This is mostly because Google has both explicitly confirmed and explicitly denied the presence of social signals in its search ranking algorithm. The hypothesis is that articles that receive a high number of social media shares will get an additional boost in perceived authority — which makes sense on paper, but the empirical evidence varies.

In Searchmetrics’ “Top 5 Ranking Factors for 2015”, Google+ +1s had a correlation of 0.31 with rankings, with Facebook shares at 0.28, Tweets at 0.23 and Pinterest pins at 0.23. Moz released its report with similar numbers around the same time. While it’s not possible to equate correlation with causation, it’s safe to say that articles with more shares tend to have more visibility, traffic and inbound links, so there’s a real SEO benefit there either way. If you’re interested in the rest of the ranking factors from the two studies, see this infographic.

Influencer marketing and publishing opportunities.

Social media is also a conduit for making new connections, with influencers who already have a sizable following and reputation as well as external publications who might work with you to publish your content as a guest post. If you can attract the attention of users within these two categories, you can greatly increase your range of influence. In this context, social media is a tool you can use to earn more diversified SEO opportunities.

Keys for long-term success.

The bottom-line answer is yes, your social media campaign can and will improve your search rankings, so long as you bear the following best practices in mind for long-term success:

  • Fill out your profiles. This should be your very first step. You never know what information could be useful, so fill in every field completely.
  • Promote your content via social media (and beyond). Content promotion is your greatest shortcut to greater search engine visibility, so make the most of it and syndicate every piece of content you develop. For help, see Content Unleashed: The Ultimate Guide to Promoting Your Published Content.
  • Encourage shares. Publish content that has a high potential for shareability, and encourage your users to share them. This will earn you more social signals, more inbound links, and more audience members to support you in the future.
  • Engage with influencers. Finally, go out of your way to find and interact with influencers. They represent major opportunities to multiply your audience and brand visibility.

With these best practices and your social media campaign integrated tightly into your content marketing and SEO efforts, you’ll see an impactful increase in every area of development. Social media may only be a peripheral component to your strategy, but that doesn’t leave it with any less potential.

original article:www.entrepreneur.com

3 Performance Lessons From PV Sindhu’s Final Match

I will not be surprised if sports shops see a surge in the sale of badminton rackets and shuttles. I will not be surprised if the demand for badminton coaches surge dramatically. Most youngsters and equally their parents would start seeing a career and opportunity in sports in India.

That’s the power of your influence and inspiration PV Sindhu.

It was a treat to watch the Women’s single badminton final match in Rio Olympics. PV Sindhu and Carolina Marin were at their best. One of the best matches we have seen in the recent past.

PV Sindhu becomes the first women to win the Silver for India. And she is just 21 years of age. She has many years and lot of badminton left to further deepen her mark on the game and on the generation.

The question is what helped her to reach at this level and play one of the finest games?  The other one is can we, in our respective work areas benefit from the traits she has displayed?

Consistency of training her body and mind:

The game has to be played well. Very well. This requires commitment and discipline to practice. While profiling Sindhu’s career, a correspondent with one of the reputed print media wrote:

“The fact that she reports on time at the coaching camps daily, travelling a distance of 56 km from her residence, is perhaps a reflection of her willingness to complete her desire to be a good badminton player with the required hard work and commitment.”

Her coach Pullela Gopichand says “the most striking feature in Sindhu’s game is her attitude and the never-say-die spirit”.

While running your business or while handling different challenging assignments at work, it’s good to check ourselves through these filters.

Importance of having a role model and a coach:

One of the newspaper headlines says ‘PV Sindhu will finally be allowed Phone, Ice-Cream by Pullela Gopichand’. Just imagine the kind of influence a coach has on the life of a sports person. An attitude of subordination is equally important if we want to excel in our professional and personal life. So whether you work for an Organisation or have your business, check if you have a role model and a coach. Importantly check if you are willing to give controls to him or her so that the process helps you in enhancing your personal effectiveness and scale up to the next level of performance.

Calming down :

Aggression and calming down has to go hand in hand. This may appear to be paradoxical. But just think if you are able to practice and master this skill? Do you think it will benefit you In your personal and professional life? In the Rio Olympic semi- finals for example, in the second set against Okuhara of Japan, neither Sindhu, not Okuhara wanted to give up. There were situations where the scores were 7-7 than 8-8 and soon 10-10. This was the moment when Sindhu needed to calm down, minimize her errors and wait for the opponent to show signs of mental and physical exhaustion. PV Sindhu did follow this strategy. The result. She defeated Okuhara to reach the finals.

So here are the three things that can help us greatly in our personal and professional life :

  • Consistency, attitude, and never-say-die spirit
  • Having a role model and a coach. Role model will give the benchmark and coach will help us unleash our true potential.
  • Developing the skill and the ability to speed up and slow down at the same time.              
  • original article:  www.entrepreneur.com

This Is Why You Need to Talk Money With Your Employees

Compensation is sometimes a taboo topic between employers and employees. It’s one of the main motivations for employees at work, yet nobody talks about it. But keeping conversations on pay closed has created an alarming gap in perception, PayScale’s 2016 Compensation Best Practices Report found.

Among nearly 7,600 business leaders surveyed in the U.S. and Canada 73 percent said their employees are fairly compensated — but just 36 percent of employees agreed.

If employees don’t consider their pay fair, chances are they may be dissatisfied, disengaged, and looking for greener pastures. It’s time to open a dialogue about compensation. Here’s how:

Adopt a transparent policy.

A major reason employees may think they’re paid unfairly is because they don’t know what fair pay for their job looks like. In fact, an April 2016 Glassdoor survey found that nearly 70 percent of the 8,254 employees surveyed globally wish they had a better understanding of what fair pay is for their position and skill set at their company and in their local market.

But even when employees know the industry standard, they still want to know how their pay is determined within the company — it’s critical to satisfaction. After all, the same PayScale survey revealed that 82 percent of employees would be satisfied with below-market pay, as long as the employer was transparent about the reasons.

Open up conversations about compensation by embracing transparency. Build a communication plan that trains managers how to speak with employees about their salaries. Explain to employees the reasoning behind their salaries, bonus structures and more. The more information shared, the better.

Companies like Buffer, an application used for social media management, even share employees’ salaries, pricing models, revenue information, and fundraising processes with the company — and the outside world.

While every employer doesn’t need to be that transparent, some openness is still necessary.  Instead of shrouding salary in secrecy, address it upfront with both candidates and current employees.

Provide ongoing feedback.

Performance evaluations are often the determining factor for pay raises and bonuses, but the system is flawed. They typically only happen once a year, and employees aren’t give much of a chance to participate in the conversation. In fact, a March 2016 survey of 100 employees from TINYpulse found that 12 percent feel evaluations are one-way conversations.

That means employees don’t have many opportunities to even discuss their pay with their managers. As part of a transparent culture, employers need to encourage open dialogues about performance, which will then impact compensation rates.

These should be two-way conversations, where employees self-assess, share their perspective on management, outline an action plan that helps build their strengths, and set goals for themselves. Management should also outline new expectations and empower employees to set goals that align with their role and with the larger scale company-wide goals.

This way, employees are involved in the process and feel like they have a voice in the compensation conversation.

Find a fitting strategy.

Strategies for determining and managing pay and benefits shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all — they should fit the company culture and employee needs. The main goals should be to motivate current employees to continue to grow and to attract new hires.

Start with a budget allocation to determine how money will be spent on benefits and other incentives. Define salary ranges that are competitive. Research the local area and industry and benchmark similar roles to create a pay structure. Plan to perform routine salary audits to ensure the ranges offered remain competitive as the industry changes.

Then, use data to determine bonuses and pay raises. Performance metrics are crucial because they provide concrete evidence on how employers and employees are performing their daily job duties. With powerful, insightful analytics, companies can establish a compensation strategy that works best for them.

Performance management platforms help employers find compensation strategies that improve employee engagement and productivity so annual goals are hit.

original article:www.entrepreneur.com

Maintain work-life balance with these 3 steps

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If only I could get a nickel, every time someone told me that one must love their job, I wouldn’t have to work anymore. Though I do agree with the fact, that if you love the work and not the job or company specifically, that’s all right too. But amidst all this job-loving and working too much, do you actually get time to appreciate that job? Or get a better life, via it?

We are not counting people who are sick of their jobs; they actually don’t care anyway. But those who do like it even remotely, make themselves so busy in their work that they start to hate it and eventually lose interest, which curbs the employee’s productivity. The reason being, they just don’t get any personal time for themselves to be able to rejuvenate back the next day, to give their best in the office.

Here we have 3 tips you could bring the balance of rope walker in your work and life apart from work.

Keep it transparent

You shouldn’t be like an open book exactly, but be transparent enough that you don’t come across as a shady person or an over-inclusive one. Keep your office relationships transparent and be open about your needs, especially to higher executives.

As soon as you join, make sure you have an open dialogue with the manager or executives to share what’s your purpose there and about your style of working. If someone who is not working properly is affecting your work, feel free to talk to them or if you have a prior family engagement, don’t wait till the last minute to get permission. The more open you are, the better it will be for you.

Everyone has their boundaries

This is something people don’t even understand in life in general, let alone at work. People, especially in India, find this concept of respecting people’s boundaries alien and hence, they don’t bother to even consider it.

Respecting people’s boundaries doesn’t mean you can’t stop to ask about their day. It’s when you get into the tiny details of the problems they are facing with their family, spouse or friends. Calling up people from work at 11 PM is highly not recommended and so is showing up at their place at 3 AM. Jokes apart, maintaining boundaries means, sticking to your work and not over-indulging in other people’s lives. Not because it’s wrong, but because it’s none of your business. If they want you to be a part of it, they’ll ask you.

Respect ‘me’ time

You can love your job as much as minions love bananas, but if they keep eating it day and night, they’ll get over it too.  That’s what will happen with you if you don’t give yourself enough time and just concentrate on your work. Every once in a while, push that off button of your laptop and mobile phone and let it all go like Elsa. Work accordingly that when you do take an off, there is no one pestering you and even if they do, have enough will power to ignore it.

Give your family and friends the attention they deserve on vacations and don’t be the party pooper.

original article:www.entrepreneur.com

10 Free SEO Resources Every Marketer Should Use

Search engine optimization (SEO) requires special attention to a number of moving parts, all at the same time. You need to know your goals, your priorities and your progress in each of a dozen or so different areas. And those targets are constantly moving due to internal and external pressure. It’s a stressful position, but fortunately, you don’t have to do all the work yourself.

SEO is, at its core, a way to use technology to your advantage, and there are lots of technologies that exist to make that route easier and simpler to follow. Some of these exist as paid platforms, but there are plenty of free options for the frugal marketers and entrepreneurs of the world — and they happen to be some of the best tools, regardless.

These 10 tools are free, easy to use, beneficial and available to everyone:

1. Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is the granddaddy of all free SEO tools — and you can tell it’s good because it’s offered by Google itself. Completely free to manage dozens of different websites, all you have to do is install a custom generated analytics script on your site to start tracking tons of detailed information about your traffic, including where your traffic is coming from, the behavior it takes on site and even monetary factors like your conversion rates. It’s one of the best tools for figuring out how effective your campaign really is and ways you can improve in a number of different dimensions.

2. Google Webmaster Tools.

Google Webmaster Tools is a nice complement to Analytics, providing you with more in-depth and technical information about your site’s current performance (as well as recommendations for changes within the search console). With Webmaster Tools, you’ll get warnings if your site is down or broken, or if you’re in violation of any Google policies. You’ll also be able to access information like how Google is indexing your site and recommendations on onsite SEO factors like your title tags and meta descriptions if they aren’t in order.

Related: These 9 SEO Tips Are All You’ll Ever Need to Rank in Google

3. Open Site Explorer.

Moz’s Open Site Explorer has a more specific function than analytics, specializing in the analysis of inbound link profiles. Sometimes professed as the “search engine for links,” Open Site Explorer exists to help you uncover and analyze all the links currently pointing to your site. This is incredibly valuable for determining your domain and page authority growth, as well as spying on competitors to determine what SEO tactics they’re using. It’s best used as a way to weed out bad links and identify your strongest potential paths for backlink development.

4. Google Keyword Planner.

Google’s Keyword Planner is meant for use with AdWords, but it works just fine for organic keyword research too. With it, you can generate tons of new ideas for target keywords and phrases, discovering information like search volume and competition level for your prospective targets.

5. Moz’s Keyword Explorer.

While it is beneficial, Google’s Keyword Planner isn’t perfect. Moz’s Keyword Explorer attempts to bridge the gap with a number of extra keyword research tools, such as more accurate information about factors like search volume and more concrete recommendations for which keywords to go after.

6. BuzzSumo.

The free version of BuzzSumo doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the full version, but it is worth using for your content strategy. Here, you can investigate the popularity of various content topics and discover influencers who can help support your campaign.

7. SEMRush.

Again, SEMRush has both a free and paid version, but the free version is still helpful. Here, you’ll be able to investigate your relative SEO positions and your competitors’ positions, guiding your tactics in more competitive directions. SimilarWeb deserves an honorable mention here for these capabilities as well.

8. QuickSprout.

QuickSprout offers the best free SEO audit tool on the web, so it deserves a place in this list. Use it to analyze your website’s SEO, traffic and competition metrics with the click of a button.

9. Spider View Simulator.

Google indexes sites in its search engine through the use of spiders, or web crawling bots that scour the Internet for information. These spiders can be directed in a number of ways, both positive and negative, to form an impression of your site. For example, they may skip over an entire section of your site if you accidentally block it.Spider View Simulator allows you to see your site the way a spider would, so you can identify and prevent these problems proactively.

10. SERPs Rank Checker.

Just a decade ago, search rankings were the number one indicator of SEO success, but thanks to Google updates like Panda and Hummingbird, keyword-based rankings aren’t quite as predictable, linear, or reliably valuable as they once were. Still, it’s helpful to see your ranking patterns for your target keywords over time, and since Google won’t offer you that information directly, your best bet is a tool like SERPs Rank Checker. Here, you can monitor your rankings for a number of keyword terms and phrases, and see how you stack up to the competition.

Together, these tools can help you plan, execute, measure, and refine your SEO strategy in easier and more productive ways. There’s a learning curve with most of them, to be sure, and not all of them are going to suit your brand or your personal preferences, but each of them has something unique to offer, and since they’re free to use, there’s no risk in trying them all out. Experiment with these tools to see how they can best fit into your strategy, then use them regularly for the best effects.

original article:www.entrepreneur.com