3 Mistakes to Avoid When Running a Crowdfunding Campaign – Roy Morejon

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When Retro Computers turned to Indiegogo for crowdfunding, it promised $100-level funders a handheld gaming device called the Vega+. With promises from the company that the device would come equipped with more than 1,000 games, the console quickly gained a following, and more than 3,600 people pledged $100 each to receive one.

The successful campaign gained U.K.-based Retro Computers more than half a million dollars.

But when the time came for those backers to receive the handheld devices, Retro Computers wasn’t able to deliver. Legal battles and production issues caused hiccups. The promised September 2016 delivery came and went. Users began getting upset — more and more publicly.

Finally, after unwanted media attention and, just this month, a lawsuit, Indiegogo intervened. The crowdfunding platform announced on June 6 that it was siccing debt collectors on Retro Computers in an effort to reimburse its donors.

Despite that tale of woe, entrepreneurs can’t ignore the potential of crowdfunding. Kickstarter has hosted nearly 150,000 successful projects, raising $3.7 billion since 2009, and Indiegogo has raised more than $1.5 billion since 2008. Done correctly, crowdfunding could provide the perfect building block for your next venture.

The ups and downs of crowdfunding

Crowdfunding’s popularity is not all hype. It can yield benefits beyond financial backing, helping your company build a loyal customer base and establish credibility before you’ve even launched. But you can’t just set up a Kickstarter page and watch the money roll in. The right strategy is essential to reap the rewards.

Pebble shows how it can and should be done. One of Kickstarter’s most successful campaigns of all time, the company raised more than $20 million from 78,000 backers — exceeding its goal by 4,068 percent. Pebble turned that consumer confidence into more than 2 million sales of its smartwatch and was ultimately bought out by Fitbit.

But when it comes to crowdfunding, there’s more to consider than whether your project will meet its fundraising goals. Even a successful campaign without serious forethought and planning can encounter challenges that will sink a business before it gets off the ground.

Coolest Cooler, on the other hand, might be one of the most disastrous campaigns in Kickstarter history. The company raised $13 million, but it wasn’t prepared to operate in the wake of such success. Coolest Cooler couldn’t fulfill rewards for its 62,642 backers.

Remember: It’s not just about hitting the goal. Even in successfully funded projects, 9 percent fail to deliver on promises to backers. That’s a hard hurdle to overcome in the beginning stages of any new business.

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Campaign mistakes to avoid

It’s easy to think of crowdfunding as easy money, but campaigns should be hard work if you’re doing them correctly. If you want to start your project on the right foot, avoid these common mistakes:

1. Kicking off without leads in place. Crowdfunding campaigns have short time lines. What’s more, campaigns rely on a momentum of interest. You’re going to have difficulty hitting your goal if you don’t have leads in place ready to back your campaign on day one. Not gathering enough leads before launching is the problem partially to blame for nearly every failed project.

Set up a landing page ahead of time describing your product and promoting your upcoming project. Include a contest in which people can enter their email address for a chance to win your product. This will give you a list of already interested folks to reach out to the day you launch your campaign.

2. Ignoring Facebook for potential conversions. Platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo have large audiences, but if you rely solely on the backers already there, you probably won’t hit your goal.

So, look elsewhere. Facebook advertising is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach a highly targeted group of people that is likely to convert.

Consider the PEEjamas Kickstarter campaign, which my company mounted. That project hit its $14,000 goal early on, but my company wanted to see how far we could go. Funding increased from around $26,000 when we started the ads, to $227,469 by the time the campaign closed. I highly recommend working with a team of Facebook Ads specialists who can make the most of your ad budget.

3. Failing to consider scale. You might have a goal in mind, but what happens if you exceed it? Is your business model scalable? Are you going to be able to fulfill rewards? Don’t be Retro Computer or Coolest Cooler.

Make sure the price of each of your rewards is sufficient, whether you hit your goal exactly or raise more than you anticipate. Have a plan in place for shipping and fulfillment. Examine your profit margins closely as you set your funding goal, and determine product pricing. Consider factors such as minimum order quantities, manufacturing costs, marketing costs, platform fees, shipping costs and more.

One last thing to consider: Kickstarter and Indiegogo both have a 5 percent use fee and a 3 percent to 5 percent processing fee. Factor this into the goal you initially set.

Platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo have broadened the horizons of startups and consumers alike, but getting the most value out of crowdfunding requires forethought and planning. There are plenty of Cinderella stories out there but also just as many cautionary tales. Avoid their mistakes to make the most of your fundraising endeavor.

If everyone who read the articles and like it, that would be favorable to have your donations – Thank you.

 

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Ten Bad Habits That Are Killing Your Credibility – Liz Ryan

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The way to break any bad habit is to starting by paying attention to the times when your bad habit shows up. Try to notice every time you fall into the rut and repeat your bad habit. Ask your friends at work to pay attention and remind you when you’re apologizing for nothing.

As you become aware of the times and places where your bad habit typically emerges, prepare for those situations in advance. Prepare for someone to ask you, “Do you think you’ll have that report ready by Friday?” Practice a response that doesn’t involve an apology, like this one: “Friday sounds perfect — you’ll have the report then.”

Apologizing constantly is not the only bad habit that many people bring to work. Here are nine other habits that can kill your professional credibility:

1. Interrupting people, or not listening to them while they speak but bursting in at the first opportunity after they’ve spoken, in order to share your opinion. If you have this bad habit, practice consciously listening to your conversational partner and then asking them, “Would you like to say more about that?” before sharing your own thoughts.

2. Failing to use “Please” and “Thank you” in your interactions with your teammates, your manager, customers and vendors and everyone else you interact with at work.

3. Leaving details to the last minute so that you have to run around averting a crisis instead of planning ahead.

4. Being a suck-up to the boss, spying on your coworkers and reporting back to your manager or sharing one set of opinions with your teammates and a completely different set with your boss.

5. Using “uptalk” — speech that ends every sentence with an ascending inflection, like a question. Here’s what uptalk sounds like:

You: So, I have to finish this report by Friday? I have to get it to the VP so he can put the pricing plan together? That’s why I asked you to meet with me, so we can go over it before I present it to the VP? If we can just go through it quickly that will be great? I really appreciate your time?

6. Making a point of staying later at the office than everyone else and arriving earlier in the morning than anyone else does. Effective employees get their work done during the work day. You will never become more credible by working longer hours to show the boss how dedicated you are.

Acknowledge yourself whenever you make it through a day without repeating your bad habit, and give yourself a break when you slip back into the habit. It takes time to train yourself out of a bad habit and into a new, better one.

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Be sure and let Brenda know that you’re taking her feedback to heart and that you appreciate it. Tell her that you’re working on the over-apologizing thing and you are grateful for her support.

7. Forgetting to write down details and note appointments and commitments in your calendar.

8. Taking credit for your coworkers’ ideas and accomplishments.

9. Gossiping.

10. Conducting loud, personal phone conversations in earshot of your teammates. Nobody wants to hear you arguing with your sweetheart or booking your spa treatments. Save those calls for a time when you’re outside the building, or use text instead of voice.

We don’t always know when we are irritating the people around us. Brenda did you a favor when she pointed out how your over-apologizing habit may be holding you back.

Now you have a project to dive into. Take Brenda’s coaching seriously and begin to notice when you’re tempted to apologize although there is nothing to apologize for — and you will overcome this small hurdle in no time!

If everyone who read the articles and like it, that would be favorable to have your donations – Thank you.

How To Boss It Like With Claire Davenport – Kitty Knowles

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There are a handful of business leaders and industry figures who are changing the world.

We’ve previously asked CEOs, founders and thought leaders like Alex Klein (the cofounder of Kano), Clare Gilmartin (CEO at Trainline), and Justin Rosenstein (cofounder of Asana), how they get so much done in an impossibly short amount of time.

Today we find out “How To Boss It Like” Claire Davenport, CEO at HelloFresh UK, the meal-kit company based in Berlin.

Davenport cut her teeth working in banking at Goldman Sachs and JPMorganChase, before going on to work for digital leaders like Skype, FutureLearn and VoucherCodes.

Today, when she’s not heading up HelloFresh’s British division, she’s sharing her knowledge at pivotal events like this week’s Etail Europe.

What time do you get up, and what part of your morning routine sets you up for the day?

Most mornings I get up at 7 a.m. and have breakfast with my two daughters before cycling down the canal from my house to Oxford train station. I pick a quiet carriage so I can catch up on emails and news and prepare for the day on my commute into London.

Two mornings a week I have breakfast blocked for mentoring or networking. Doing everything I can to level the playing field for people from different backgrounds—to realize their full potential in their career or with their startup—is very important to me. I try to help with introductions or advice or just giving a confidence boost where needed.

Saturdays and Sundays I run on Port Meadow in Oxford with my running buddy, Alison. We run 4-5 miles to stay fit and catch up on the week.

What smartphone do you have?

iPhone 7 with 128 GB capacity (lots of photos and videos). Normal black with a HelloFresh cover.

What apps or methods do you use to be more productive?

I have tried various productivity apps over time but find having a system I stick to with my emails and trusted Moleskine notebook works best for me.

Sometimes I like to be offline or away from my phone. Okay, that’s not true.

But sometimes I happen to be offline (train or tube or once I have gone to bed or when I am trying to set a good example for my daughters) and I still have ideas and thoughts I need to get down, so a paper notebook is essential.

How many people, outside of family, do you meet in a day?

Every day is slightly different. On any given day, there are normally around 100-200 people working at our Shoreditch office or around 200 at our distribution center in Oxfordshire.

Both workspaces are sociable places, and I sit in a different seat most days so that I can really understand what all the teams are up to. I like the variety of sitting in our customer-care area and listening and speaking to customers on the phone one day to spending time with our marketing team the following day.

We keep meetings short at HelloFresh so I have in-depth conversations with 20 people a day roughly. I regularly meet customers as we like to host events at our office to learn more about their experience with HelloFresh.

A couple of evenings a week, I like to meet up with friends or people in my network.

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What book have you read, either recently or in the past, that has inspired you?

The Emotionally Intelligent Manager by David Caruso and Peter Salovey is a book I return again and again. It really changed my thinking on EQ and people management. I’ve bought copies for our offices because I think it’s a book everyone can benefit from.

I also like Act Like A Leader, Think Like A Leader by Herminia Ibarra, which is great for people thinking about their leadership style and is lovely and practical.

What advice would you give for people who are eager to get into your industry?

Go for it. It’s better to take an opportunity and get the experience it gives you rather than procrastinating and losing time. You can always pivot when you see what you enjoy about the opportunity.

When do you work until? Are you still sending emails in the night? Or do you have a wind-down routine?

Most evenings when I don’t have events, we eat a HelloFresh meal together as a family around 8 p.m.

My husband or daughters often start cooking while I am commuting home—I am guilty of emailing or reading news or Facebooking until late, but then I listen to audiobooks to wind down before I fall asleep.

I have a history of waking up with an idea at 3:30 a.m. and, at one time, I had quite a reputation for the 4 a.m. email among my colleagues.

After a while, I learned how scary it is for my team to receive a 4 a.m. email from me, and now I just save it as a draft and, if it still seems as important in the morning (about 10% of the time), I send it then instead.

If you could ask your idol one question, who would it be, and what would you ask?

I’d ask Barack Obama for his best piece of advice on leadership and his awesome public speaking.

What do you think your industry will look like in 10 years? 

I think more and more people will rely on meal kits in the future as it’s just such a convenient way to cook and enjoy nutritious food. Personalized nutrition will become a bigger trend as consumers are able to access data and food that meets their specific needs. And delivery will continue to develop, and we’re likely to see more and more automation in this area.

I believe my grandchildren will be bemused by the idea of owning a car or going to a supermarket to shop for a week’s meals in advance!

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4 Pitfalls to Avoid When Choosing Tech for Your Business – Jonathan Herrick

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Technology is often thought of as the antidote to business woes. Once you get the right tech in place, the thinking goes, you’ll start doing whatever it is you do much faster, better and more efficiently. The thing about technology, though, is that new advancements hit the market daily.

Just think about how much artificial intelligence has advanced in a very short period of time. We went from Microsoft’s now-iconic Clippy to Google unveiling a chatbot with humanlike tendencies, Apple releasing an augmented reality upgrade to counter smartphone addiction and researchers from Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania developing an autonomous robot that can complete high-level tasks by sensing its surroundings.

Innovations such as these aren’t just fueling competition in the tech industry. They’ve made many companies question their relevance. Some would argue that they’ve led to a full-blown fear of missing out on the latest tech.

So not only are the options near endless (Harvard Business School professor Clay Christensen estimates that upward of 30,000 products launch each year), but the pressure can also be so strong that you might invest in a solution that isn’t a great fit. And when you’re lacking the underlying strategy that ensures technology adds value, you have no real way to tell whether it was worth the investment at all.

An ounce of cure?

Even when you do pull the trigger on tech, the right choice may not stabilize the business like you thought it would. Sure, chatbots can provide 24/7 customer service, even using a caller’s preferences and past order history to inform interactions. But if you often have to engage in complicated, nuanced conversations with your customers, a chatbot probably won’t be able to deliver.

Similarly, smart devices can provide companies with real-time data. If you were to install sensors in your brick-and-mortar store, for instance, you could track customer traffic patterns to determine the best locations to place displays. But at the same time, employing them opens you up to risk. Should sensitive information in your system fall prey to hackers, you could be looking at a class-action lawsuit.

All that’s to say: If you’re going to chase technology, you must ensure that it’s not only a good fit for your business needs, but also that you fully understand the risks and rewards. This, then, leads to the question: How do you choose and use tech advancements to move your startup forward? The following tips are a good place to start:

1. Go full Sherlock on the competition.

Competitive analyses have been around for decades, but even still, few companies widen the scope beyond potential threats, barriers and vulnerabilities. If you already monitor rivals, why not see what technology they’re leveraging? AI has a way of making all things equal and allows a startup to go head-to-head with its Moriarty. Besides, more than 50 percent of business and tech professionals are considering implementing AI, according to Forrester Research. But again, invest only in technology that fills a hole or makes business sense.

2. Seek validation from your VIPs.

You know your customers. Most marketing, communication and product development decisions are already based on what appeals to them. But these customer insights can also help prioritize your technology needs and shed light on where to improve the user experience.

For instance, statistics from Kik reveal that chatbots have a fairly limited audience, with 60 percent of users being in their teens and the majority (81 percent) living in the United States. So if you speak to an older audience, chatbots might not be the best fit. Think long and hard about your product and audience before investing in any technology.

3. Make your money matter.

Choosing tech is like any other business decision: You need to do your due diligence. Yet research from the Queensland University of Technology published in The Conversation has shown company leaders often make poor decisions when it comes to technology because they don’t accurately weigh the benefits with the costs. You’ll be bound to your investment — and it’ll be an investment — for years to come. So consider what you gain by choosing one thing over another. Will it free up time to focus on other priorities? Or is it just a novelty with a short shelf life?

4. Don’t assume your job is finished after implementation.

Many advanced technologies require more than a financial investment; they demand your time. You can’t rely on technology to take over completely. When machines are left to generate tailored messaging from customer data, for example, there’s definitely room for error. Remember when Microsoft’s AI chatbot set off a racist tweet storm?

To avoid such a mistake, you must add a human component to all interactions and constantly do A/B tests to determine the best options. According to the previously mentioned research from the Queensland University of Technology in The Conversation, businesses grow when technology and human capabilities come together to meet consumer needs.

Trying to be on the cutting edge of technology is a great ambition for any business — big or small. But as you sleuth out your options, make sure to spend some time actually evaluating whether this tech will move your company forward.

If everyone who read the articles and like it, that would be favorable to have your donations – Thank you.

Everything I Taught You About SEO Was Wrong -Neil Patel

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Before I get into why everything I taught you about SEO was wrong, let me first give you some context on how I (and many marketers) became SEOs.

When I started off with my entrepreneurial journey, I didn’t have much money.

I was working at a theme park where I cleaned restrooms and picked up garbage.

Although most companies grow through paid ads, that just wasn’t possible for me because I was making $5.75 an hour.

I had no choice but to learn SEO and get good at it if I ever wanted my site to generate traffic and hopefully make money.

And just like most SEOs, I always thought that the keywords that people spend the most money on tend to convert well.

Just think about it: If a company is spending $50 a click for certain keywords they have to be making money.

So, wouldn’t those be the keywords that you would want to go after?

Here’s how I taught people how to do SEO over the years

Back in the day I would use keyword tools like Ubersuggest, find all of the high traffic keywords within my space that had a high cost per click, and write tons of blog posts on them.

ubersuggest seo

And then I would go to Ahrefs to look at all of my competitors, see what their most popular pages were, look at their traffic value number, and, of course, write longer versions of their post that were better so I could take over their rankings and traffic.

hubspot top pages

By using these 2 tactics your traffic would grow over time.

Extremely fast too if you could crank out the content fast enough… just look at my search traffic per month over the years.

(Yes, there is more to SEO than these two tactics, but they work really well.)

traffic overtime

Can you guess how much more revenue I’ve generated as my search traffic grew?

Well, according to SEMrush, the search traffic that I generate in the United States alone is worth $1.2 million.

traffic cost

If I had to buy all of that traffic, it would cost me $1.2 million a month in pay per click fees.

That’s crazy considering that traffic generated me $408,000 in revenue last month (not profit… revenue).

And if you go back a year ago, I had 340,268 visitors a month from Google and that traffic generated $362,495 last year.

In other words, I grew my search traffic by 123% while my revenue only grew by 12.5%… not a good deal.

Luckily for me, I didn’t have to spend $1.2 million to generate that traffic but there are costs involved as SEO takes time and resources.

Now, let’s look at my buddy’s site, Legion Athletics.

He’s in the B2C world and is selling fitness supplements. His traffic is only up 3% from last year.

traffic growth

But his revenue has grown by 44% because he is focusing on traffic that is causing sales. In other words, he no longer cares to increase his total traffic, he only cares to increase the traffic that is generating sales.

Neil, you must have known better!

Why yes, I did know that growing my search traffic by double, triple or even 10x wouldn’t grow my revenue at the same pace.

I’ve been doing SEO for over 16 years now… it took me a while to learn this, but not that long. 😉

See, with my business, my ideal customer is a large corporation who already has been doing marketing for many years.

That doesn’t mean I can’t help and won’t help small businesses… I just prefer the larger ones because they have much bigger budgets.

For me to continually grow my traffic at a rapid pace I have to go after newbie terms, such as how to get indexed in Google. But traffic from those kinds of posts won’t convert visitors into customers.

These newbie terms make up over 81% of my search traffic, but I go after them because I believe in branding and the long play (the rule of 7, which I’ll go into later in this post).

And I have multiple business units/revenue streams, so I am willing to spend capital to generate brand awareness that may pay off 5 or 10 years from now.

But, I never taught you how to think about SEO from a strategy standpoint because it’s much more complex than just ranking for highly sought after key terms.

Why doesn’t more traffic equal more sales?

To rank really well on Google, you have to write long-form, informational articles. It’s why Wikipedia ranks for everything.

wikipedia

This doesn’t mean you can’t rank product pages (ecommerce) or lead generation pages high up in Google, it’s just harder. Much, much harder.

Now let’s do a quick Google search. Let’s search for the term, “auto insurance.”

According to Ubersuggest, the keyword gets 201,000 searches a month in the United States and companies pay $63.15 per click when it comes to PPC ads.

Here’s a screenshot of the Google search results page that I see, searching from Las Vegas, Nevada.

google search

And here’s what the first paid ad from AAA looks like:

AAA insurance

And here’s what the top organic listing from Nationwide looks like:

nationwide

Do you see why the AAA version would generate more sales?

Their landing page is simple and clear. You just choose the insurance option and you are off to the races.

But obviously, that page would never rank organically because there is little to no text. Seriously, there is nothing on it… they are barely giving Google any information.

The average web page that ranks on page 1 of Google contains 1,890 words. From what I counted, the AAA landing page has 73 words. It’s a bit far off from the 1,890 number. 

content length

And the Nationwide example has so much text on the other hand.

So much so, Nationwide will still generate sales, but nowhere near the percentage of that AAA PPC landing page.

Does this mean you shouldn’t do SEO?

I’m not saying that SEO is useless.

I am just saying that it won’t ever convert as well as paid advertising because you have to please the user and Google when it comes to SEO. That means your pages will be text heavy and won’t focus as much on closing the sale.

I know they say SEO traffic has more trust, so it converts better… but you have to keep in mind that an SEO landing page can’t be optimized for conversions as aggressively as a paid landing page.

Hence Google makes over $100 billion a year (mainly from paid ads).

Sure, the text on your SEO landing page or blog post could be persuasive and salesy, but if it was purely salesy you wouldn’t rank high on Google organically.

So, if I had to teach you SEO again from the beginning, I would take a different approach.

I wouldn’t tell you to do paid advertising or to ignore SEO. And I wouldn’t teach you any tactics at first.

Instead, I would teach you marketing strategy at the beginning, which would lead you to a more successful SEO campaign.

I would tell you to first set up your conversion tracking in Google Analytics.

Once you have your goals set up, I would have you log into your Google Analytics, click on your site, in the left sidebar click on “Conversions > Goals > Overview.” There you can then see where your conversions are coming from.

tim sykes conversions

By knowing where your sales are coming from, you can focus on marketing efforts that are working and stop the ones that aren’t.

Then I would teach you how to go one step further by finding out the exact pages that are driving you new search visitors that are converting into sales. (If you aren’t sure how to do that, follow this tutorial.)

Now that you know what pages are driving your sales, you should then focus all of your SEO efforts on first optimizing those pages. I know this won’t get you the most traffic, but it will bring you the highest amount of sales.

And you don’t have to implement 100 different SEO tweaks to optimize the pages that are driving your sales.

Start off by following this one SEO hack that I describe in the video below. (It will provide a nice boost and it’s easy to implement.)

And once you implement my Google Search Console tactic, I would then have you work on more advanced SEO techniques.

Conclusion

The chances are you are like me and have made the mistakes above.

I know this because you are reading this blog, and I’ve spent the majority of my time blogging on tactics instead of teaching you strategy.

SEOs are brainwashed from day one… they are taught that higher rankings and traffic are the most important things.

In reality, more revenue is what’s really important… that’s why PPC experts have the correct mindset. They optimize for revenue, sales, leads, and ROI instead of pure traffic.

At my agency, our VP of Marketing Services, Todd, keeps telling the team we need to focus on ROI.

Even though our team averages more than 100% increase in search traffic within the first 6 months, Todd cares more about revenue. If you can’t provide an ROI in the long run, it doesn’t matter how high you rank a site. Period!

Now, if your traffic keeps growing, but your revenue isn’t, all hope isn’t lost. You’ll have to be a bit more aggressive with your marketing, especially when it comes to conversion optimization.

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eBay Gives Rural and Small Town Businesses a Global Presence, Report Shows – Michael Guta

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For rural small businesses, the ability to expand beyond their local market is extremely challenging and important. The impact eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) is making on this front just came to light as the company partnered with a team of economists from Sidley Austin LLC to analyze the sellers on its platform.

According to the report (PDF) from the eBay Policy Lab, online marketplaces give small businesses and entrepreneurs access to outside economies in these rural areas. This is driving growth in counties across the country which are not experiencing the same amount of expansion as in the coastal or more popular regions.

The eBay Economy

Looking at the eBay economy in the US, the company said commercial sellers and full-time entrepreneurs on the platform are responsible for creating more than 690,000 jobs. And 36% of these sellers come from small towns and rural areas.

Keeping these communities intact is getting more difficult as fewer jobs become available locally. President and CEO of eBay Devin Wenig, says in a press release his company wants to use technology to keep these communities together. Wenig explains, “It’s about using technology to make people competitive and vibrant and to put life into communities, and not take it out.”

eBay by the Numbers

There are 6 million sellers on eBay and 63% of these sellers use the platform to reach global markets and customers. For 80% of them, eBay is the tool which enabled them to start an eCommerce business.

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For rural small businesses unable to afford all the associated costs for this global availability, eBay provides a great opportunity with minimal investment. And when you take into account 36% of these businesses also operate a brick and mortar store, the revenue eBay generates has become vitally important as part of their overall income.

Force Multiplier

In the  release, eBay says it aims to be a force multiplier for small businesses — exactly what the report shows it has become. And when economies are not growing at the same rate in different parts of the country, eCommerce platforms provide opportunities to distressed regions, which often times are in rural areas.

Whether you are an individual or a small business, eBay gives you a global presence so you can start selling your products and services on a proven and trusted platform.

If everyone who reads our articles and likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure by your donations – Thank you.

The Impact of Fintech on Investment Banking

Leon Saunders Calvert, Global Head of M&A and Capital Raising at Thomson Reuters explores to what an extent Fintech is now changing the Investment Banking industry.

New technologies, like machine learning/artificial intelligence, predictive behavioral analytics and data-driven marketing, will take the guesswork and habit out of financial decisions. “Learning” apps will not only learn the habits of users, often hidden to themselves, but will engage users in learning games to make their automatic, unconscious spending and saving decisions better.

The Fintech Landscape

Fintech startups received $17.4 billion in funding in 2016 and were on pace to surpass that sum as of late 2017, according to CB Insights, which counted 26 fintech unicorns globally valued at $83.8 billion. North American produces most of the fintech startups, with Asia following. Some of the most active areas of fintech innovation include or revolve around the following:

  • Cryptocurrency and digital cash
  • Blockchain technology, including Etherium, a distributed ledger technology (DLT) that maintain records on a network of computers, but has no central ledger.
  • Smart contracts, which utilize computer programs (often utilizing the blockchain) to automatically execute contracts between buyers and sellers.
  • Open banking, a concept that leans on the blockchain and posits that third-parties should have access to bank data to build applications that create a connected network of financial institutions and third-party providers. An example is the all-in-one money management tool Mint.
  • Insurtech, which seeks to use technology to simplify and streamline the insurance industry.
  • Regtech, which seeks to help financial service firms meet industry compliance rules, especially those covering Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer protocols which fight fraud.
  • Robo-advisors, such as Betterment, utilize algorithms to automate investment advice to lower its cost and increase accessibility.
  • Unbanked/underbanked, services that seek to serve disadvantaged or low-income individuals who are ignored or underserved by traditional banks or mainstream financial services companies.
  • Cybersecurity, given the proliferation of cybercrime and the decentralized storage of data, cybersecurity and fintech are interlocked.

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Fintech Users

Who uses fintech? There are four broad categories: 1) B2B for banks and 2) their business clients; and 3) B2C for small businesses and 4) consumers. Trends toward mobile banking, increased information, data and more accurate analytics and decentralization of access will create opportunities for all four groups to interact in heretofore unprecedented ways.

Customers now expect seamless digital onboarding, rapid loan approvals, and free person-to-person payments – all innovations that FinTechs made popular. And while they may not dominate the industry today, FinTechs have succeeded as both standalone businesses and vital links in the financial services value chain,” a recent industry report by Deloitte and the World Economic Forum (WEB) stated.

According to Deloitte and the WEB, disruptive forces that have reshaped the FinTech industry include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • The growth of online shopping, which is expanding quickly at the expense of in-person shopping, leading to the dominance of online, cashless solutions for transactions.
  • A shifting balance of power that swings from banks and other financial services to those who own the customer experience. Banks are eliminating in-person services and looking to FinTech and large technology companies for other ways to engage customers.
  • New trading platforms that are collecting data to create an aggregated market view and using analytics to uncover trends.
  • Insurance products, which are becoming more tailored to customers who, in turn, are demanding coverage for specific locations, uses and timeframes. That’s driving insurers to collect and analyze additional data about their clients.
  • Artificial intelligence, which now plays a role in differentiating financial services products as it replaces complex human activities.
  • Transaction process improvement and middleware, both of which remain expensive. This is pushing traditional financial services firms to consider partnerships with marketplace lenders for FinTech solutions that don’t require a full infrastructure overhaul

If everyone who reads our articles and likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure by your donations – Thank you.

Why Most Web Designers Fail Business Owners – Steve Cartwright

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Did you know that almost eighty percent of business websites fail to give any meaningful return on investment? The solution most businesses come up with to solve this is to simply order a brand new website that looks pretty, this new website suffers the same fate as the old website in that it never really delivers, what was promised and eventually the cycle begins again and again.

The problem is that most business are busy running their businesses and simply don’t understand the Internet and how important it is in business success today. But being business people they hire the local expert, he definitely seems to know what he is doing, didn’t he work on such and such a website, he talks the talk and his prices are reasonable.

Therein lies the problem, not all website designers are created equal, in fact most of them are useless and don’t have any real clue when it comes to business, let alone designing a website that generates the results a client wants, needs and expects.

Looking into this a little further, at a recent webinar two hundred web designers were asked what their average website deal is worth with the vast majority (75%) saying that their average project was less than four thousand dollars. The reason being that these web designers are forced to compete on price as they cannot deliver the value (ROI) of those in the higher price brackets.

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So understanding that most businesses lack the in-house expertise to develop a really successful online presence, businesses are hiring web designers that more often than not price themselves out of business and simply cannot deliver the value with the end result being a website that looks good, but sits with the other eighty percent of websites and never delivers a meaningful return on investment.

Nothing demonstrates this better than your typical web designer interviewing a prospective client…

Prospect “hello Web Designer, we need a new website”
Web Designer “we can help you with that, what do you want in the website”
Prospect “I thought we would have all the usual stuff, about pages, company page, new offices, products page, contact us”
Web Designer “great, that sounds like a great website and I can sure help you make this a success”
Prospect “how much will it cost and how long will it take to build?”
Web Designer “it’ll cost two thousand dollars to build and will take me three or four weeks to complete it”
Prospect now client “great that’s within our budget, when can you start”

I imagine many of the people reading this will have experienced conversation similar in some way to the one above, and can relate to it. The problem with the conversation is that the web developer is so focused on closing the sale and being able to eat for the next month that instead of finding out what the clients online goals are and then tailoring the content to achieve these goals, the web designer simply asks what do you want to include in it, thus effectively making the least experienced person, the one making the most critical decisions.

Is it any wonder almost 80% of Website fail

You’ve probably already guessed, I’m one of those in the top price bracket as I firmly believe that it’s my job to do the very best that I can for every single client, I’ve done this for twenty years and I know what works and what doesn’t, continual learning, writing, research, conversion rate optimization and monitoring of clients websites ensures I keep my edge in this highly competitive industry. Let me give you a better scenario

Prospect “hello Web Designer, we need a new website”
Web Designer “great, I can help you with that, what are you trying to achieve with your new website”
Prospect “we want to increase the number of leads we generate”
Web Designer “why?”
Prospect “because that will generate more sales and will make the website a success”
Web Designer “anything else”
Prospect “we want to increase the number of website visitors, online sales, our mailing list, etc… etc…”
Web Designer “why?”

If everyone who reads our articles and like it , help to fund it. Our future would be much more secure if you send us your donations…THANK YOU

Skills Necessary for Lasting Business Success – Steve Cartwright

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Experiencing lasting business success isn’t something you do by accident, as a business owner there are skills that you need. Even if you don’t have the skills to start with, you can develop them. Never allow the idea that you need a certain skill set to intimidate you, rather, take it as a challenge to develop that ability.

Be Able to Think and Plan Strategically

Being able to look at the big picture and develop an overall plan for success is crucial for a business owner. The reason is that a business owner needs to be able to step back and see the big picture. For example, it’s important to understand how each action you take affects another part of your business directly.

Be Able to Set SMART Goals

You can learn all about SMART goals; entire books are written about this. The reason it’s so important is that it really works. A SMART goal means that each goal needs to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. When you create goals like that, it’s a lot easier to develop step-by-step plans for achieving the goal.

Be Willing to Learn Marketing Skills

Even if you don’t think of yourself as a marketer, as a business owner you are. You can hire people to help you, but you do need to understand something about branding, types of marketing, and more.

Be a Sales Person

Everyone likes to say they hate sales and aren’t a salesperson. But as a business owner, you’re a salesperson whether you like it or not. It’s good to learn how sales work from a psychological perspective for your audience, so that you can deliver what your market wants and needs.

Be Organized Enough

It takes a lot of organizational ability to run an entire business. Even if you’re a sole proprietor, you still need to run all areas of your business in an organized manner – whether it’s marketing, or accounting, or customer service. The way to get organized is to set up processes and use software to help you keep organized.

Be Able to Implement and Do Things

Any business owner knows the key to everything is “doing”. But you need to know which things are most important to do and which things can wait. Usually, the things that make money take priority over the things that make no difference to your ROI.

Know When to Get Outside Help

Sometimes being a good business owner who is successful means knowing when you need help. Everyone cannot be a rocket scientist. Sometimes you must hire someone to get something done. Often when you hire an expert, you’re going to experience many rewards for getting it done right the first time, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel and doing it again.

Learning the skills that you need for lasting business success will make you even more confident in your ability to run a successful business. Even if you outsource certain things, it’s a good idea to understand the lingo and a little bit of the issue so that you can ensure that you’re moving in the right direction.

If everyone who reads our articles and like it , help to fund it. Our future would be much more secure if you send us your donations…THANK YOU