Monthly Archives: August 2016

Some Tips to Help Overcome the Obstacles to Success

Wouldn’t it be nice if all we had to do to succeed in business was “follow the yellow brick road?” If that were the case, the traffic on that path might be worse than Interstate 405 in Los Angeles at rush hour
Unfortunately, most roads to success include a lot of curves, bends and detours. Personally, I think the detours exist to make each of us show how committed we are to success. How bad do we want it? These obstacles can also be a great opportunity to take a step back and see the bigger picture of what we are doing.
What happens when your company hits a plateau or obstacle? What do you do when sales have leveled off, company morale has slipped and employees seem to be going through the motions at work? How can you get past the wall in front of your business in order to continue your climb to success?
Here are three simple suggestions for dealing with detours and obstacles to success:
1. Evaluate the situation.
What’s the problem? Is it something small, or was the path in front of you completely blown up? In most instances, the problem is usually minor, but don’t simply dismiss it as nothing. That’s when minor problems can become major issues. You may want to look for problems that become trends—whether it’s with your employees, vendors or customers. Trends can turn a $50 problem into a $5,000 nightmare.
Lastly, is your obstacle a “false wall?” Sometimes we can create our own detours out of fear. We may be afraid of success and create excuses as to why we can’t move forward.
Takeaway: Evaluate your situation to determine what is impeding your path to success. You can’t beat something if you don’t know what it is.
2. Generate possible solutions.
Problems can provide great learning opportunities for employees to make decisions. You can empower them to evaluate the situation and come up with possible solutions. This may be the first step in creating new leaders in your company.
However, you may not want to go with employees’ first response; make sure they’ve looked at the problem from every angle. It’s imperative to make sure your team has all the information they need to assess the situation and make the best possible decision.
Takeaway: By empowering your employees to address the obstacles in your company’s path, you’re helping to create confident leaders who can help take your business to the next level.
3. Attack the problem.
Once you and your team have decided on a solution for the problem, attack it. The last thing you want is to have a problem, once thought handled, come back and wreak more havoc on your business. Recurring problems or detours may slow down your workforce productivity and potentially create morale problems. No one wants to deal with the same issues over and over again.
Takeaway: One of the biggest factors in a company’s success may be its ability to successfully deal with obstacles in its path to growth. Don’t let recurring problems or obstacles derail your business.
What are the current obstacles in your company’s path to success? Are you doing everything you can to bust through them, or are they slowing you down? Make the obstacles a priority, attack them and notice how much smoother the path becomes.

Tips to Clone Your Best Employee

Do you have an amazing, incredible employee who stands out from the rest of your staff? You may have a problem.
It doesn’t sound like a problem, of course. You wanted to hire someone incredible, and you did. But if you’ve ever wondered what you would do without them, you can start to see your potential crisis. If you have an employee you consider virtually indispensable, and that employee quits or retires, you don’t want to be in a position of having your company crumble around you.
In other words, you should be doing everything you can to clone your employee. Here are some tips to help you do just that.
Have your best employees train new employees.
You might feel you should do all the training, or that a middle-range or lesser performing employee should be breaking in someone new, while the best employees keep the company running.
But that would be a huge mistake, claims Kathy Stokes, who co-owns a PostNet franchise in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, with her husband, Terry. The Stokeses have six full-time employees and have owned their franchise for 18 years. Her first employee, Karlyn Wagner, still works for her, and whenever Stokes makes a new hire, Wagner is the primary trainer.
“You want to create a culture in your business where everyone is encouraged to have good staff behaviors,” Stokes says, adding that she has found that “as long as I have those one or two rockstars who get it, and really understand what the business is about, then we can always train the new ones coming in.”
Let the subpar employees go.
Obviously, you should give employees a chance, in a culture where people can be free to make the occasional mistake without fear of reprisal.
“Working and business should be fun. Many employees are not being paid enough, but they will stick around a quality work environment,” says Bruce Brown, who owns Brown Marketing Consulting and is a consultant in Los Angeles specializing in sales training.
But at the same time, if some of your employees turn out to be hateful and are bringing down the business with their negativity or poor performance, it’s important to not let them hang on for too long.
“If you allow sour grapes into the environment and people who don’t follow the company’s culture, then that’s what the new employees will learn. Pretty soon, you’ll have a new culture, one that you don’t necessarily want,” Stokes says.
Be careful about singling out your star.
It’s one thing if you have a small staff and your model employee has been around for years. They’re likely going to expect that longtime employee to be, for lack of a better phrase, “teacher’s pet.” But if your star employee hasn’t been around awhile, holding that person up as someone to emulate may backfire.
“My suggestion is, don’t hold one employee up as a model. That will cause resentments and break down team relationships,” says Kelly Drake, who owns Resolve, a conflict and workplace mediation company in Charleston, South Carolina.
Jonathan Ceballos, human resources director at USB Memory Direct, a Cooper City, Florida-based company that creates custom USB flash drives and has 23 employees, agrees that you should tread carefully here. He explains that one of the company’s star employees now trains the new hires, but before she did, Ceballos made sure everyone knew the employee was going to go through her own training program.
“Since she herself had to go through our training on how to train others, it made it feel like everyone was on the same boat and so we also never ran into any employee resentment problems,” he says.
Even though the star employee’s training was different—she was trained on how to train people—going that route “makes it clear to everyone that no one is above anybody else and that this is something that is going to help everybody out,” Ceballos says.
Michael Lastoria, CEO of &Pizza, which has 11 restaurants in the Washington, DC, area, recommends that if your star employee is training other staff, they use the word “we,” not “I.”
The word “we,” Lastoria says, “encourages camaraderie among the tribe and helps drive success by making it about the shop and not the individual.”
Reward employees.
If you have a fairly large and unmotivated staff, Brown agrees there may be a danger in highlighting someone as the best and making everyone resent their fellow coworker—but not if you do it in a way that rewards everyone for following your model employee. In other words, make the focus on rewarding good behavior and work habits, rather than on one employee being more skilled than the others.
“I always suggest bribes of some sort,” Brown says. That could mean an extra day off with pay, a gift card or a free lunch of somebody’s choice every Friday for a month, “or any number of possible pay-offs.”
And if you think your employees shouldn’t be rewarded for doing something they should be doing anyway, Brown argues, “bite the bullet and give them a bribe that does not cost more than the savings or additional profits gained from the cooperation.”
Keep your star employee happy.
You could find that your star employee resents everyone else, or you, if you’re constantly rewarding everyone else. Wagner at PostNet has “been here 18 years. She can work whatever hours she wants,” Stokes says. “If she needs time off, she gets it. She works remotely when she wants to. Now that she has kids in middle school, that helps greatly with her.”
Stokes also says that the raises are built on a bonus system, and she offers a paid vacation and other benefits.
“We’re a small business, but we try to give our employees a reason to stay a good long while,” she says.
Lastoria agrees with the notion that you should give back to the employees who give their all to your company. He says that particularly when it comes to their employees who demonstrate a stellar work ethic, he and his leadership team “are constantly listening to feedback and doing what we can to encourage their growth and development.”
And it seems to be working. “Our strongest performers, our best cultural fits, those people who we really felt had the most potential, have not left,” he says.
And if you do that, you may find that even if your star employees do eventually leave, you’ll get far more advance notice than the standard two weeks, Stokes says.
“When we hire people, we make them understand that we know some people won’t stay, that this is just part of the path of their life,” she says. “We let them know that because they’re such a valuable employee when they decide to go, the more notice they can give us so we can collectively find a replacement for them, the better.”

Want To Be Successful Entrepreneurs You Must Never Do These 7 Things

In a business person’s day, there are always more tasks than hours. The key to being successful is not to do more multitasking in an effort to cram more into each day. It’s not to work harder with longer hours to get everything done. What separates very successful people from the rest of the pack is not what they do, but actually what they never ever do. For example:
– Never Hold on to the Past
Successful people don’t let the future get shaped by what happened in the past. They don’t hold a grudge. They evaluate results of their success or failure, let go of it and move on within 24 hours of any event. Successful people realize that there is more opportunity in the future than the past.
– Never Make Big Decisions
They never bet the company all on one action. They prevent this by making small incremental choices. Successful people test every result and then make another small decision to get to where the business needs to go.
– Never Focus on Perfection
It costs too much to achieve and there is that constant nagging feeling of failure. They would rather be done than have the job be perfect so they can learn from the results. This doesn’t mean successful people ever do a bad job, but rather, they do 100% and then move on to the next opportunity.
– Never Do it All Themselves
Successful people know that small business is truly a team sport. They know how to leverage each opportunity using other people and outside resources to accomplish their goal. Successful people realize that this is the key to building a company that is not just about them.
– Never Say Yes to Every Customer Request
They know what their company is good at and carefully choose the problems they solve for their customers that will show the most value. As a result, they are able to honor existing commitments. In addition, successful people do not work with every interested customer and fire the ones that don’t match their culture.
– Never Multi-Task
Successful people know that multitasking only gets more things done poorly. They focus on the tactic at hand and then move on to the next one. They know how to block out common distractions like email and social media notifications. Successful people can intensely focus for short periods of time.
– Never Hang Out with “Negative Nellies”
Successful people don’t keep company with other folks that are constantly telling them why something can’t get done. They don’t feed the neurosis of complainers who always want to say that the sky is always failing. Instead, successful people work with a team that has a can-do attitude where anything is possible.

Things to Consider When Starting a White Label App Business

White label goods and services have been around for decades. In every industry you could imagine, businesses create products which are rebranded by their partners to sell as their own.
The technology industry, and the app sector in particular, is no exception. As consumers go mobile in their tens of millions, digital agencies and entrepreneurs are rushing to catch up, and cash in.
Digital agencies have to make decisions about their mobile offerings to their small business customers: do they want to create custom apps or create apps with a white labeled app builder? Often the cost differential is persuasive as white label app builders dramatically cut down development time and cost, but before making a decision there are a few questions you should ask yourself.

Things to Think About Before Opening a White Label App Business
Is it Your Strategic Focus?
Are you turning to white label app builder because it’s the market you want to serve, or do you think white labeling your app would enable you to diversity income?
App developers often turn to white label when their original strategy to build their own platform struggles, or they’re running out of money. The white label market is littered with apps that attempted to diversity income streams, but found the time, money and effort required to make it successful damaged their core business.
If your heart isn’t in it, if you haven’t oriented every part of your development to white labeling including sales and customer support, then the chances of success aren’t good. Everything needs to be oriented to your new business proposition, from the functionality of your app to marketing.
That’s a lot of work, and a time suck with no guarantee of success. If it is genuinely a great strategic opportunity, then go for it. But if you’re reacting to external pressures on your original strategy and you just want out, then maybe it’s not the way to go.

Do You Have Competitive Advantage?
The white label market is maturing quickly, and new entrants are flooding many market segments. Large white label app businesses with a ready-made platform, extensive templates and a wide reaching reseller market are waiting to take care of your while labeling needs. They have first mover advantage and the benefit of an established reputation.
If you are starting from scratch as a white label business, do your research in the various markets. Some of the most popular market segments are already maturing such as conference apps, online dating, directories, and loyalty apps.
If you already have an app you want to white label, or, if you’re still in the development stage and are testing various ideas for white label apps to launch, consider the following:
1. Who is your competition in your chosen market segment?
2. What is the value of the market?
3. How does your competitors’ functionality compare to yours?
4. How price sensitive is the market?

If your app is delivering superior functionality and is sufficiently differentiated from your competitors, if the market is undeveloped (or developing) and there is potential for growth, then you may have a business opportunity.

What is Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?
What is unique about your white label offering and is it something your potential customers and the end users will value?
If you are offering a ‘me-too’ product, and competing with competitors already in the market, it will be difficult to gain any traction. Markets are not kind to followers no matter what product they’re selling. There are established companies in the white label market that are already reaping the rewards of first mover advantage.
To have any success in a competitive market you have to be offering a genuinely disruptive app that delivers a leap in functionality, service, and/or design. Incremental improvements in functionality won’t cut it, especially if that functionality can be easily replicated and can’t be protected by a patent.
Entering a market segment with less competition will make it easier to differentiate your app and offer greater opportunity to build market share. If you already have an app and you are serving a market segment that is already competitive in the white label sector, such as conference apps, it will be difficult to build significant market share.

What Do Your Customers Need?
Your customers are resellers, often web developers or web designers, advertising or marketing agencies. These resellers, your partners, use your white label app and rebrand it for their customers, often businesses who serve consumers.
The white label app business is a business to business (B2B) market and, as such, your app must serve the needs of several participants:
– Your resellers’ needs – they need to decide it’s worth buying from you and be convinced their clients would buy your solution off them. It has to have a great user experience at the back end, so it’s easy for your reseller to create an app for their clients.
– The needs of your reseller’s client – they need to be prepared to pay for an app to launch under their company name. Does your app provide them with a business opportunity, will their customers (the end users) use it?
– The end user – your app has to appeal to them. Why should they use it? What does it offer them?

If your app has the functionality and user experience the participants need, your app has the potential to be successful.

Your Service Proposition
You have a great product, its serving a market segment that has lots of sales potential, and it serves the needs of all decision makers from reseller to the end-user. Congratulations, it’s a great start. But there’s more you need to consider.
In the white label app businesss, you can’t just upload your app to an app store and promote it. You need to offer services as well, as a minimum you need to provide training to your resellers and ongoing support.
It’s important you really consider the nuts and bolts of your reseller agreement. An innocuous clause offering unlimited support may seem like a no-brainer, but white label apps often find the after sales process is a huge drain on resources.
Consider what are you going to offer as standard, what rights are your resellers buying, what is a custom add on, and how does this compare with your competition? Seek out reseller agreements with other white label app providers (you may need to be resourceful to get your hands on them) and do your homework.
Remember, you may also find yourself competing with your own customers. If you are marketing your own branded app and using white label sales as an income stream, your customers/partners will be in the same market. Consider how you are going to handle that, can limitations in your reseller agreement help you avoid this situation? For example, if your market focus is in North America, could you limit your resellers to other territories such as the Far East?

The Sales Cycle
When a B2B buyer sources a product for their clients, they are putting their reputation on the line. They are badging your product as their own, and they are usually extremely risk averse when making a decision to back a white label app.
As a result the sale will probably have a long lead time, and the higher the cost of your app, the longer the lead time will be. The fact is, you will be doing a lot of work to achieve a sale with no guarantee of a return. Your potential buyer has no obligation to purchase your white label app even if they have made you jump through expensive hoops to demonstrate how great it is.
You will need to invest considerable resources into closing sales, and be prepared for the costs to build up before you even achieve a sale. Factor in the cost of developing a professional sales pitch that demonstrates the value of your app, developing sales materials, and bringing in personnel with the sales skills (if your team aren’t good at direct sales) capable of closing the deal.

Be Sure You Can Access Customer Feedback
The success of your white label app, like any app, rests on how attractive it is to the end user. In the white label market you are selling your app through an intermediary, and as a result there is a chance that you will not always get direct feedback on your product. You need to make sure that you choose a company that allows you to gather customer feedback.
The wrong company spearheading your white labeling efforts can wreak havoc on your white label business—particularly within the feedback realm. The continuous development and improvement of your app can become difficult if you are not privy how customers feel about it. The traditional business model when selling direct to the end users is to continually improve the app over time, after evaluating end user requests and feedback.
The loss of this direct relationship will affect your development process, and could affect your market valuation. If you are seeking to white label your app to diversify your income streams, rather than as a strategic direction, then the company you use should be a big consideration in your decision—make sure you have access to customer feedback.

Decide Whether White Label Apps are a Viable Business Opportunity
Deciding to enter the white label app market is a strategic decision that could fundamentally change your business. If you are building your own platform with your app, but want to diversify into white label apps to build an alternative income stream, carefully consider how this decision will affect your core business. Consider whether your app can earn sufficient market share in its niche and whether there is a genuine business opportunity.
If you are a new start up, research your white label app ideas thoroughly, some market segments will already be highly competitive and it will be difficult to build market share in these. Understand the marketplace and consider the needs of every participant in the sales decision when developing your app.
Remember the cost of selling into the white label market can involve significant upfront costs, and your customers will expect ongoing training and support.