Standing Out From the Competition: A Business Guide

Running your own business comes with various benefits and rewards, but with that, also comes risks and challenges.  As a business owner, one of your greatest challenges regardless of your industry is your competition. Competition in the business world is fierce, for some industries more than others.  Your job as a successful business owner is to learn the best ways to rise above and separate your company from any other competitive businesses. Getting your business to stand out is very achievable, with the right tools and effort.  Here are a few ways you can separate yourself from the competition.

Exceptional Customer Service/Interaction

Customer service is a crucial key to the success of your business, and can also make or break your success.  Your customers should be viewed as a foundational part of your company; without them, your goals aren’t met.  With that, you should always make sure your company is delivering exceptional customer service to any consumers that need it.  This applies to delivering quality products and services, answering questions or concerns, and taking customer feedback into serious consideration.  A company that emulates strong customer service will always rise above a company that puts customer service on the back-burner.

Honest Business Practices

Always practice honest business.  Your consumers want to know they can trust your company, for quality products, and accountability.  If a product can’t be delivered on time, make the consumer well aware, to avoid any issues. If there is an internal error from a representative, billing, or with something like your website, make sure to hold your company accountable.  Customers will be quick to lose faith and trust in a company that beats around the bush and doesn’t tell the truth when something may be going wrong. Always keep that in mind. It’s a truly great way to establish a strong report with your consumers…

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4 Interior Design Tips to Transform Your Home

Whether it’s your first home, apartment, or you just need to change things up where you’ve been settled for the last few years, the design to your living space can absolutely make your home, feel like, home.  You want your space to be reflective of your personality and what you love; whether that’s bright vibrant colors, neutral undertones, or tons of DIY home projects that show your creativity and craftsmanship.  Either way, the great thing about interior design is it’s truly reflective of YOU; and what’s better than that!  If you’re seeking some insight, here are a few tips to make your space exactly what you want:

Figure Out Your Color Scheme

Your color scheme is the staple of your whole design plan.  This is where you’re going to establish what colors and shades of paint, wallpaper, furniture, etc., you want to use.  You may want to maintain a similar color scheme throughout your entire home, or take it room by room; either is fine. Different rooms will reflect your colors in different ways, and the accentual pieces you choose can really add a personal style to each room.  You also want to consider the size of each room, and what colors will work best. A best practice for smaller rooms is to use lighter, softer colors, to make the space look bigger than it actually is.

The Power of an Accent Wall

Piggy-backing off of your general color scheme, if you are thinking about a possible pop of color, but don’t want to stray too far from your original plan, consider an accent wall.  Accent walls are a great way to not only break up your space but add some color or depth to a room that might need it. Keep in mind, and accent wall doesn’t need to be a wall of solid color.  You can make an accent wall textured with wood panels or wallpaper, or even paint an abstract pattern that still works within your original color scheme…

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The Value of Social Media in Business

Business and marketing have reached new heights since the development of the internet, and now, social media platforms.  Social media has changed the way many companies operate, while also creating multiple avenues for entrepreneurs across the world to create their own independent brands and fully functional businesses.  When used correctly, social media platforms can drastically contribute to a business’s success, no matter how large or small the company is.  Here are a few of the greatest values that come with proper use of social media in business.

Increase Engagement with Consumers

One of the first and most important areas of business that social media use contributes to is the ability to increase organic engagement with consumers.  Your followers are part of the foundation of your business, and it’s essential to have different platforms where you can easily interact. Social networks give business and brands the opportunity to directly interact with customers almost instantaneously.  This can also help with any customer service purposes as well. Consumers are quick to reach out to brands when they’re happy with a product or service, or, not so happy. Utilizing social platforms will provide the ability to monitor consumer interaction, and receive useful feedback that can generally improve your business.

Better Develop Your Brand

While traditional forms of marketing and brand advertising are still quite effective, social media has taken brand advertising and awareness to a new level.  It’s safe to say that nearly half the world utilizes social media in one way or another; and with that staggering statistic, you can bet that these various platforms are a sure way to reach the masses.  In fact, many social media users come across new brands and products strictly from using different platforms…

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Web Design

Whether you have a small business, are in charge of a large corporation, or run a personal blog site, your website generally speaks volumes about your brand and what you’re representing.  With that in mind, if you’re designing your first website, or revamping a current one, here are some best practice “do’s” and “don’ts” of web design:

DO

Keep a Consistent Interface Design

One of the most important cardinal rules of web design is making sure you have a consistent interface that will work well with your users.  This should remain consistent throughout all of your website’s pages. Your sites overall look should remain consistent with color schemes, fonts, writing styles, and navigation.  The better the consistency, the easier the user experience.

Focus on Usability & Navigation

Users want to be able to interact with your site in a seamless way so they can quickly find what they’re looking for, without having to click multiple links or visit different pages.  Make sure your navigation is clear, using no more than 7 top-level navigation choices, and keeping any sub-level navigation clear and well organized. Additionally, always remember in the world of the “web”, the quicker, the better; make sure your users can get where they need to go with no more than a few clicks.

Pay Attention to Links

The links on your site play a vital role in its success.  A few best practices here are utilizing color change links once they’re visited to avoid visiting the same link multiple times, as well as, of course, testing all links to make sure they work.  Broken links can quickly discourage your users, and prompt them to leave your site early and discount you on Google’s search rankings…

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Essential Qualities of a Female Leader

In today’s business world, the idea of being a “good manager” just isn’t enough.  Organizations and employees now focus on one’s ability to lead, rather than just simply manage.  While both men and women need to possess very similar leadership qualities, it’s no secret that up until recently, women weren’t always in a typical leadership or management role; and while this is something to be extremely proud of, it’s important to remember that as leaders, we never stop learning.  Here are four essential qualities of a successful female leader:

Strength & Confidence

While female leadership is definitely on the rise, according to the 2018 Fortune 500 list, only 4.8% of CEO’s on the list are females; though we’re on our way to closing the gender gap, there is still a long way to go.  As a female leader, one of the most crucial qualities you should have is strength and confidence in everything you do. Business often comes with risks and challenges; it’s essential that you remain strong through trying times, and know that your strength and perseverance will help you successfully come out on the other end.  Learn from mistakes, and be open with your team about them. The key to leading is continuously learning. I’m always making mistakes and learning even more from them than my successes.

Foster Female Empowerment

To continue the rise of female leadership in the corporate world, you need to make sure you are always empowering other women on your team.  Lead by example and redefine what the business world knows as the “typical” CEO. Help shape women on your team, and empower them to take the next step in their careers.  Look for potential, drive, and courage, and foster those qualities to the best of your ability…

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Factors to Consider When Designing a Website

A business’ website is an essential part of their success.  Your website is often your consumers and potential consumers first impression of you.  A company’s website can serve as a platform for product and service advertisement, a customer service center, and a a source of profit with the use of paid advertisements and sponsored ads.  To maximize your sites potential, there are a few “musts” to consider:

Establish Your Brand and Target Audience

Your sites main goal is to reflect your brand and what it’s overall purpose is.  A website can easily be built and promoted across the web, but a good website fits well with your brand, correctly reflects its purpose, and serves as a tool for consumers to easily navigate through.  Your target audience consists of consumers and potential consumers that typically hold interest in what your company offers. It’s important that your website reflects that. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure you’re focusing on exactly what you want your websites overall role to be.  Meaning, are you using it as just an extra advertising platform? Or, will it be focused on ecommerce and selling inventory? How can you utilize it to its full potential?

Make Sure You’re Mobile Friendly

We live in an age where mostly anything can be done with a few screen swipes on a smartphone.  While you’re on the go, your smartphone essentially gives you the power of your computer or laptop in the palm of your hand.  But how many times have you landed on a non-mobile friendly site? When your consumers need to do a quick search or access your site on the go, it’s important they can efficiently do that with their smartphone.  A site that isn’t mobile friendly will lose its visitors quickly.

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How To Enhance Your UX Design With Micro Interactions

One of the most important factors about a phone app is the user experience, also known as the UX. A good one can make an app an overnight hit while a poor one can ruin an app development company. Micro interactions are one of the main ways to improve the UX by making the app simple enough for anyone to use it but complex enough to be interesting. That is why the following list of the top three components to consider when enhancing your user experience design has been assembled. They are, in no particular order, as follows:

  • Utilizing Micro Interactions

 

  • Giving An Optional Demonstration To First Time Users

 

  • Take User Feedback Seriously

Utilizing Micro Interactions

Micro interactions are the individual ways in which a user interact with an app. An example of this would be when they are prompted to answer yes or no to a particular question. A separate screen pops up and the user can then select their choice. Micro interactions are a very important part of the experience of an app. If used correctly, they can be one of the biggest selling points of an app. Conversely, poorly formatted micro interactions can be a breaking point for users which causes them to delete the app on the spot.

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Five UI Mistakes That Kill Customer Interaction

A customer’s decision about whether or not to stay on a business website or purchase products depends largely on their ability to navigate the website, which makes User Interface all the more important. If a website is poorly designed, hard to navigate, or just all-around offensive, kiss that sale goodbye.

Here are some of the most common culprits in that regard.

Lengthy Fill-In Forms

Nothing kills enthusiasm faster than trying to fill in 30 different blanks to receive a .pdf download. At the least, an opt-in form should have two forms: email address and name. Anything more than that has the potential to turn away prospective leads. While a company never wants to leave important information on the table, they also need to minimize their ask if they want to maximize their leads.

Poor Font Selection

It’s immediately clear upon visiting a website whether or not a website creator has actually been to design school or simply watched a few Youtube videos on it. Fonts are usually the most notable giveaway. Companies need to limit the number of fonts that they use, reduce the amount of “impact” fonts, and keep a font selection that’s in tone with the webpage (don’t use a calligraphy font if the company sells hardware, for instance).

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3 Steps to Transform Your Idea Into Entrepreneurship

Many people dream of starting their own businesses. They may have great talents and ambitions, and it is a natural human tendency to find its best outlet. If a person must leave their skills and abilities on the shelf, they often experience a feeling of wasting their time.

For those driven to run their own show and willing to take on the risks associated with owning a business, Entrepreneur Magazine outlines three practical steps toward transforming a golden idea into a profitable business, Your text to link….

Identify your skills

In entrepreneurship, profit comes from skills. The important first step is identifying those skills. Making a list helps crystallize these skills in the mind’s eye, and it also helps generate thoughts about skills that may have lain dormant for years.

Whatever the business idea, be it for a new app or a clothing line, it must be something that the entrepreneur relates to and understands. The best business models are built on inherent skills. A talented artist who loves to paint, visit art galleries, and has a penchant for art museums possesses intrinsic skills related to the art industry. The questions becomes how to transfer those skills into a new business.

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What is Conversational UX Design and Who’s Paving the Way?

Explosive adoption of AI has increased productivity and efficiency, but it has created some new challenges. One of those issues is the need for human users to communicate with AI systems. For now, much of the effort to make AI more accessible is to make them conversational.

Two researchers at IBM have used their knowledge of sociology and art to find new ways to analyze conversations and use their discoveries to make communicating with AI seem more like talking with a person.

Natural Language

One emphasis of conversational UX design is giving AI entities a greater ability to formulate natural sentences. When perfected, users will talk with AI without realizing they are speaking with a machine.

Current AI

Many commercial AI systems, including consumer-facing apps such as Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana, use machine learning to understand what people say. The deficiency in these systems is that they require human designers to create appropriate responses.

As a result, many conversations with current AI’s seem unnatural and produce either unanticipated or confusing results.

User Experience

UX design has already revolutionized the online world by creating designs from the user’s perspective. As a result websites and software applications have become more usable and users have become more satisfied. Conversational UX design aims to have a similar effect on AI.

Recent Progress

Therefore, IBM’s researchers are hoping to help AI designers to achieve two goals. The first is to standardize the design of AI conversations. The second is to make those conversational more productive and efficient for users.

IBM now has a library of UX conversational patterns that may soon help to improve conversations with AI. Additionally, teams of linguists and scientists are working together with sociologists to gain a better understanding of how people communicate.

Universal Standards

Despite the progress being made at IBM, the researchers seem to think that standardized conversational UX will take a long time to develop. This primarily is due to the fact that so many different organizations are working on their own set of standards.

Just as UX design has revolutionized traditional interfaces, it will play a major role in making AI more accessible and practical. Ultimately, developers can improve any system, regardless of its nature, by putting the end user first.