The 5 Lessons I Learned From Managing an Off Shore Engineering Team

I’ve been managing offshore teams since 2002, that’s when I founded Optics for Hire in the US and partnered with a team of optical engineers in Lviv, Ukraine. 

Our Team in 2003.

The work we do involves helping companies design and manufacture lenses and optical systems.  We’ve worked with some great engineers at leading companies like Amazon, GE, Mattel, Netgear, and many others.

Having engineers in Ukraine and customers in the United States leads to a number of potential failure points for project management. Issues we have to manage include time zone differences, language differences, different cultural expectations, jargon differences and more. Managing these risks has been critical to our success.

As our business grew and platforms like Elance launched, we expanded our use of remote teams, including hiring from India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Belarus for marketing, web development and many other skill sets.

In the years since 2002, thanks to new communication tools and software platforms, it has become easier to succeed in managing offshore teams.

When we started we used only email (this was pre-Skype, and phoning was expensive). This made talking about complicated technical subjects difficult.

Be sure to check out: 7 Great Project Management Apps for Teams

Here are five key lessons learned in the last 18 years:

1. Use Pictures, Screen Shares, and Voice Talk as Much as Possible  

Don’t expect to be successful with email alone.

Chat is better than emails, voice is better than chat, voice with a screen share plus video is best of all. It can be too easy to send a quick email to communicate, but if you haven’t been clear your partner could waste a full workday halfway across the world working on the wrong thing.

Don’t let that happen. 

2. Always Explain Your Assumptions 

A word like ‘expensive’ can mean different things in different cultures and in different contexts. Maybe when making a prototype expensive doesn’t matter to you but in production, it matters a great deal. Maybe expensive to us means more than $1,000 and to your partner, it means more than $100.

One way to make sure you understand everyone’s assumptions is to use ‘open-ended’  questions like “what do you mean by that?”

3. Make Sure You Communicate Not Just What You ‘Want’ But Also What You Really Need 

Clearly explain your end goal and be open to listening to feedback to see if your partner has a different approach. The reason you hire someone is usually that they have a skill set you don’t. Make sure you respect that skill.

It can be easy to pressure an offshore employee into doing a job a certain way, but they probably know a lot better than you do about how to do their job. Listen and learn from them and you will get better results.

You might be interested in Top Productivity Tools for Small Business

4. Use Software Tools and Keep Trying New Ones   

We use Basecamp, Appointlet, Uberconference, Skype, nimbus screenshot and Tickspot on a daily basis. Developers are always launching new tools that make our jobs easier.

In fact, as we’ve grown we’ve even started building our own tools, including a tool to search machine vision and CCTV lenses, as well as this free automatic graph digitizer Using these tools saves us engineering time and benefits our community.

Don’t get stagnate. If you aren’t trying new and better ways to communicate and manage projects you and your customers will be worse off.

5. Understand Vacations and Holiday Schedules

It’s no fun to find out just before a deadline that your team isn’t going to be working because of a three day Holiday you never heard of. So ask ( often ) about time-lines, working days and make sure you each understand when you and they will and will not be available

Working with offshore teams has been fun and profitable for our organization and our customers, we’ve made our share of missteps but I’ve never regretted the path we took. I wish you luck on your engineering projects and please connect with me if I can be of help you can find me here.

Why You Need the Best SEO Services to Be Successful in the Online World

SEO practices have a real impact for websites and their importance should not be neglected. Individuals who are new to SEO and who would like to take this huge burden off their shoulders should resort to professional services. What is the point of trying to improve your website’s ranking if you lack the expertise and the tools to do so? There are professionals that can help you with this and that will make a huge difference as far as the success of your website is concerned.

What to Expect from Professional SEO Services?

It is definitely worth it to pay for professional SEO because this delivers a measurable impact and it is successful even in today’s crowded search landscape. You need digital marketing in order to stay ahead of your competition and there are numerous advantages to hiring a SEO reseller:

  • Expertise; you will have access to a team of specialists that are aware of the latest advancements in the SEO field and that know exactly what needs to be done to create a successful digital marketing campaign for your business
  • Boost quality traffic; the purpose of SEO is not to attract just any visitors to your website; it is to attract the right visitors to your website;
  • Save time
  • Save money for you can resell the services you receive under your brand.
  • Offer more services to your customers, including search engine optimization

It is possible to provide a wide range of services to your customers in order to keep them happy and to maintain their loyalty. You can outsource the actual work to a specialized firm that has the skills and the tools to perform professional SEO services. People prefer working with an agency that provides various services such as website design, development, management and SEO. Furthermore, thanks to professional SEO you can be one step ahead of your competitors and thanks to SEO services you add value to your clients. Becoming a SEO reseller is the smartest thing you can do for your business but the most difficult aspect is to find an agency that is trustworthy, one that delivers its services in a timely manner and that is up to date with the latest changes in SEO. Although there are companies that prefer to manage SEO in house, this requires a significant financial investment not to mention that the persons they hire for the task might not be familiar with the latest SEO trends.

How to Keep up with SEO Trends

SEO changes all the time. According to searchenginejournal.comOptimization techniques that worked years ago fall by the wayside, and SEO as a whole evolves into a more intelligent discipline that evolves beyond spamming Google with links and keywords”. It is difficult to master the most efficient strategies in this field and this is why it makes sense to resort to professional services. The most efficient techniques focus on the following aspects: on-page optimization, link building, content and technical SEO. These should be at the core of any search engine optimization campaign. Using the right keywords for your business has proved to be quite efficient as far as SEO is concerned but the problem with keywords is that they can become redundant and repetitive. Although keywords remain the foundation of a SEO strategy, nowadays specialists focus their attention on topics and entities such as people, places, thinks.

Ranking is influenced by content, links and rankbrain, and when you optimize your website you should make sure you do it for keywords, entities and topics. As far as content is concerned, we all know how vital it is for how your site performs and for its ranking. What most people do not know is how to create valuable and original content, content that will attract visitors and that will make a difference in the online environment. This is why you need professional SEO services USA that will deliver the content you need for your website after having performed industry research. It is important to know your competition, to see what it has to offer and you do not so that you can make the necessary modifications.

According to link-building-strategies.comEvery site owner should have an idea about what they want to get out of the web presence, but this is not always the right one. The needs of your business always come first and this is what you should focus on. If you want to boost your sales on a certain segment of the activity, you should focus your SEO process on how you can achieve this goal”. It is impossible to know what changes need to be made to your website if you do not audit it first and this is one of the professional services offered by specialized agencies.

Moving on, if you are determined to pay for SEO services you should know what to expect from them. You should be aware of the fact that changes will not occur over night and this process takes time. Nonetheless, SEO results are measurable and they will be visible provided you hire the right agency for the job. It is not enough to build a website and expect it to be successful. You have to invest in it, to optimize it constantly, to resort to professional SEO that will handle keyword optimization, topic optimization, link building and other services that are essential to the success of your website.

According to semrush.com: ”If you want search engines to offer your content in results, you need to do three things:

  1. Ensure these search engines understand who you are and what you offer.
  2. Convince them that you are the most credible option for their users.
  3. Make your content deliverable.”

This is more complicated than most people imagine and this is why there is an increased demand for professional services among website owners who understand that they need the best SEO in order to build and maintain a powerful presence in the online environment.

Best iPhone Docker for Easy Charging

A portable charging station with added features of an alarm clock, a radio or a media player is helpful to charge a mobile phone anywhere. It has a comprehensive list of features including no dependency on plugs, compact size, its easy to carry and you can control functionalities without using the device. Its also compatible with all of the latest versions of iPhone devices. Wireless charging devices will free the users from cables, and iPhone docks are one of the cool accessories.

The best iPhone docking station is shared below with features available for easy use:

1. Elevation Dock 4 iPhone Dock:

 It has a compact size and one of the stable and secure iPhone Dock which any user can buy for best use. It is made up of medical-grade silicone with stainless steel borders and available in back and silver color. It is 5-foot-long with a cable and compatible with all the iPhones and iPads and there is only one negative point about it that if the wire is broken then the entire piece needs to be purchased. It is available for S49.95 on major E-commerce platforms.

2. Rerii Bamboo Charge Stand with Aluminum Base:

It has a strong base for iPad and adjustable style to accommodate the device with a thick base. It has a wooden look made up of bamboo and a robust aluminum base. To protect the iOS devices from scratches, it supports with rubber padding. It is available for $25.99.

3. Apple Lightning iPhone Dock: 

It is developed by Apple and it is of the docks on which you can play music while the phone is kept on charging. It is made up of aluminum and comes in various colors including black, gold, silver, rose gold and space grey. It can be connected to the system for synchronization and cable is not given with the unit, which is a shortcoming for this dock. It is available at $40.04.

4. Elevation Lab CordDock V2: 

It has a unique feature that lets your phone charging even if it is docked or undocked. It has a removable lightning port and provides the freedom to keep it horizontally or hold it upright. It is a very fast charger and it is available at $29.95.

5. YoFeW Apple Charging Stand: 

It can be used to put multiple devices on the stand, which can be used for Facetime calls on a 60-degree angle. Charging cables wires or USB chargers are not a part of the package and it is priced at $29.99.

6. Lamicall: 

It comes in modern design and in black color, convenient cable wire and hole at the back help to handle the wire. Its design is suitable for video calls and robust stand with rubber pads to prevent scratches and it is available at the lowest cost of $9.99.

Some of them are easy to use from far and handy operations can be done from the iPhone deck without touching the mobile. The provided control panel helps the user to do the required operations. iPhone docks are available in different sizes, finish and price, users can choose from multiple options.

7 Google Chrome Extensions that Boost Freelancers Productivity

The Google Chrome Webstore houses tons of useful Chrome extensions for various activities like gaming, sports, web design, freelancing and more. These extensions are very useful as they help freelancers, solopreneurs and other small business owners work more efficiently, have fun and stay productive. They help to keep all your productivity tools handy, so you can easily access them when needed.

Unlike other on-premise software, extensions do not require elaborate installation rituals and processes, neither do they take-up sufficient ROM space. They’re like lite versions of your popular software.

So, What are Google Chrome  Extensions?

Google Chrome extensions help to customize user browsing experience. They can be installed on to Chrome to modify browser appearance, functionality, and behavior. They enable users to personalize their browsing experience by tweaking Chrome a little here and a little there.

Google Chrome extensions can perform functions like:

  • ad blocking
  • optimizing memory usage for more efficiency,
  • password management,
  • voice and screen recording, e.t.c.

They are built on frameworks such as HTML, JavaScript, and CSS which gives them versatility. They are functional across devices, hence can be run from mobile as well as PC to provide seamless operation.

How to Install Google Chrome Extensions

Whether you’re geeky or not, installing Google Chrome extensions is easy, simple and straightforward.

Following are simple steps to install chrome extensions:

1.   Open Chrome Web Store on your device (either your phone or your PC). You can also search for the Google Chrome Webstore on Google
2.    Search for and select the extension you want.
You can also search by Features like
            -Runs offline
            -By Google
            – Free
            -Available for Android
            -Works with Google Drive

3.    Click on “Add to Chrome.”

Some extensions require certain data or permissions to install or run smoothly. You also have the choice to allow or disallow an extension from making changes to your browser.

To (de)activate the extension, click the menu icon to the right of the address bar as shown below.

Hover over “More tools”, a drop-down menu will appear to your left. Click on “Extensions”. Here you can (de)activate or remove an extension.

7 Top Google Chrome Extensions for Freelancers

1. Noisli Extension

With Noisli, you can block out annoying noises. It works as a kind of active noise reduction/cancellation, which allows you reduce or minimize unwanted sound by the introduction or addition of a second sound, thus allowing you to create the right working environment as a freelancer.

Some monotonous white noises help us stay focused. Noisli has a host of noises to choose from and an option to customize your own. With Noisli you can choose your own noise, time it, and adjust the volume, all from within your web browser.

2. ColorZilla Extension

If you’re a freelance graphic designer, this Chrome extension might just become your bestie. ColorZilla is a well-designed eyedropper tool that reads colors in hexadecimal and RGB formats. With it, you can easily and legally extract color data from any website, and that without having to open another application.

Now available for Chrome, ColorZilla is one of the most popular Firefox developer extensions. You can join over 5 million other people who have downloaded it and are using it to improve their work.

3. Boomerang for Gmail Extension

Being a digital nomad comes with its benefits, but constantly being on the move makes it occasionally difficult to keep pace with emails. The Boomerang extension solves this challenge by allowing users to schedule emails for a future date.

This is very handy for when you are on the move, e-mailing someone in another time zone, or catching up on emails late at night. Boomerang also allows users to schedule emails to self. This can be used as alarms or reminders for important tasks, meetings, deadlines, follow-ups, etc. It also sends prompts that nudge you to respond to emails.

4.  Web Developer Extension

Developers will love the Web Developer Chrome extension. It adds a toolbar button to your Chrome browser which contains or displays various web developer tools you can use, all in one place.

With this Web Developer extension, you can quickly and easily view responsive layouts, disable styles, and outline elements.

5.  Taco Extension

Do not let the name fool you, this beautiful Chrome extension is a powerful hub for productivity. On any given day most of us use up to 20 different apps and tools from Trello to Salesforce, you just name it.

Taco collects and assembles all your incoming tasks and notifications from various apps into a single place, giving you a bird’s eye view of all you need to do at any point in time, so you don’t miss important tasks or notifications.

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6. Save to Pocket Extension

When you create a Pocket account, you can save stuff for later, say an article you love but can’t read immediately. Whatever you save here can be synced and made available across all your devices. This cross-platform extension allows freelancers, nomads or busy persons to keep up with essential information by saving it for later.

This extension is great for freelancers, writers, designers, entrepreneurs and business owners, it reduces multitasking so they can focus on the task at hand.

7. StayFocusd

Being a freelancer requires discipline, and there are gazillion digital distractions when working on the web. We’ve all been there, intend to take a break and spend five minutes on Facebook to catch up, another five minutes to say hi on WhatsApp, but two hours later you’re on Twitter or ranting about politics in some faraway forum.

Fortunately, StayFocusd helps us stay focused by blocking out websites that distract us. Its customized settings allow you to block access to entire sites, specific pages or certain content types such as images and videos.

Conclusion

These extensions are easy to install, easy to use and will help you get more done in your freelance business.

Which (of these) extensions do you use as a freelancer? Let us know in the comments section.

Easy Way To Create A Strategy For Promoting Content On Google

Producing high-quality content at a great pace is only one way to ensure that your content stays relevant. However, in today’s modern fast-paced, uber-competitive world, producing good content is simply not enough to get it noticed. The article you spent so long on perfecting could easily be out-done by a competitor. This is why you have to make sure that you have other tactics to promote your website as well.

Rather than putting in all your time and energy at creating a large amount of good quality content, it is better to adopt a smarter strategy and divide time equally between creating content and promoting it.

If you’re producing content while you’re in college, writing an essay can get too challenging. But, you can pay for essays to be written for you. If you’re paying a high price, ensure that the writer you hire delivers high-quality content that needs little to no editing. Now that you don’t have to write an essay, you can figure out how to promote your website.

You don’t always have to spend a ton of money trying to promote your website. If you use smart tactics and free website promotion tools, you can promote your content for next to nothing! To help you promote your website content on google, we’ve made a list of some of the best online content promotion tactics that you can try!

1.   Social Media Is Your New Best Friend!

Depending on your target audience, using different types of social media platforms to promote your content is an excellent way of gaining recognition. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Tumblr, Quora, and Reddit are all websites that generate a large amount of traffic daily. You can easily use these websites to attract more users for your websites.

Instagram, Snapchat, and Tumblr mostly have users from the younger generations, while Facebook, Twitter, Quora, and Reddit are more popular with the older generations. Depending on the type of audience you want to target, you can use the most appropriate platform to showcase your content and gain popularity.

However, you must stay up-to-date and active on your social media accounts. No one likes a dead account that only posts once in a blue moon. To remain relevant and popular, you must market your content on popular social media platforms.

2.   Use SEO!

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a method of presenting your online content, which makes it more likely to be picked up and displayed by search engines. By making your data search engine friendly, you are more likely to generate organic, natural, and relevant traffic to your website. Search engine optimization is not difficult, nor is it very time-consuming.

A few tips and tricks that you can quickly learn online will go a long way in optimizing your content and making it stand out on search engines. SEO tools are becoming increasingly popular with bloggers and content creators and editors everywhere.

 A well written, SEO optimized, relevant article is sure to gather much more attention than a well-written article without any SEO optimization.

3.   Influencer Collaborations Are A Trend Worth Exploring!

Influencers and bloggers that have a large following are an easy way to get your content noticed. Collaborations with influencers don’t necessarily have to be about tangible products. Website content can also be marketed through them.

There are different influencers in different niches. If you want your promotions to stay relevant to your content, you can always pick out someone that reflects your website’s general theme. However, it doesn’t hurt to explore outside your comfort zone and approach influencers who may be completely different from your usual target audience, provided they have a large following.

Either way, your main goal is for your content to reach as many people as possible, and influencers can do that for you. It takes only a few posts by a well-known influencer to make or break your image, so use this resource wisely.

4.   Paid Promotions

As mentioned earlier, social media platforms that have a large number of users are an excellent way to promote your website. Other than making your own account and posting regularly, you can even use the paid promotion feature most of these websites offer.

Depending on how much you can afford to spend in the way of marketing, you are guaranteed to reach a particular number of people! However, the context of your advertisement makes a massive difference in attracting followers as well.

Make sure you portray your website to be as informative, relevant, and as attractive as possible so that users are drawn towards it. Paid promotions are an excellent tool for marketing your content and getting the word out. They’re not always over the top expensive, and most websites offer affordable options as well.

5.   Use the Comments Section Wisely

The comments section is an excellent way to engage with your users. You can use them to answer any queries people may have about the content you’re producing. However, you have to make sure your comments aren’t too spammy. Users can generally tell when someone is trying too hard to promote their content and are usually quite unimpressed by such tactics.

It is therefore wise to check your comments and, if need be, advertise smartly and not too openly. Make sure all your comments and responses are relevant and appropriate. Promote your website in a way that naturally attracts users and comes off as professional instead of spam.

Conclusion

Promoting your website and content is just as important as producing good quality content. Creating more and more content won’t do you any good if it doesn’t reach the target audience in time. Promoting your website isn’t as difficult as you might think. Use our easy and helpful guide to promote your website and ensure that it reaches the target audience in time!

The Best 4 AI Tools to Transform Your Business in 2020

Nowadays, it is not an easy task to keep pace with the times. Everything is rapidly changing: new technologies are being invented, businesses are being opened, medicines are being discovered.   Today you are a student, who writes his modern technology essay with excitement, tomorrow — you are an enthusiastic start-up entrepreneur who is full of AI business ideas.

However, both students and entrepreneurs are in need of fast reaction and modern technologies understanding to be competitive and productive. To do so, Information scientists and programmers in the whole world are developing AI technologies to implement AI in business as well as in daily people`s lives.

Adopting AI for small businesses, start-ups, and simple routine tasks already today allows us to live efficiently, sustainably and simply better. 

Today, if you take all these information science essays, various researches, scientific articles, you will come to the realization that yes – AI development is working on improvement. There are dozens of examples and case studies that show how the implementation of AI programs, even in big corporations, helped to optimize the work and multiply the profits. I recommend you to read the free Walmart and HANA case to better understand the power of AI technologies. (I would make a suggestion that after analyzing this article you will consider AI as one of the most fascinating topics).

All in all, this article is for those who are passionate about their business projects and ready to redirect their forces and finances into development, and also for those who read hundreds of essays on Information Science and are on the business plan stage now.

This article will tell you about 4 best AI Tools to Transform Your Business in 2020:

DataRobot

It is one of the most popular business intelligence tools today. More and more students include DataRobot examples when they do their artificial intelligence essay. DR works with global brands, like Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Airbnb, United Airlines, Panasonic, Nippon steels, and others.

Talking about the tool itself — it is an automated machine learning platform that helps analysts and data scientists of different levels build and deploy better predictive models and improve discoverability of valuable business insights. 

What is more, DR supports data science and even provides workshop courses in around 50 global universities.

Pros: internationally used;

Cons: quite high prices.

Datalogue

It is a brilliant tool that helps your team to prepare data for use. Datalogue automatically receives raw data, cleans it ups, and transforms it into the product for data consumers and analytics. 

Datalogue works with such well-known brands as the New York Times, Forbes, Ameritrade network, and others. 

Spending less time for data preparation business allows getting well-analyzed, classified and transparent data.

Pros: user-friendly interface;

Cons: quite high prices.

Rainbird 

It is an AI software that helps to make your business operations smarter and easier. Rainbird enables your business to build systems based on human-like decisions to increase quality and efficiency.

Basically, Rainbird combines human-like knowledge with the company`s data, which leads to new ways of staff interactions with clients and new approaches to problem-solving.

So, Rainbird is in some way a completely independent working ecosystem that transforms the way your business works.

Pros: controlled learning algorithms;

Cons: takes time to implement it in the business.

Chatfuel

We can hardly imagine our lives without social media. The same story happens with business lives. Social media can become a powerful tool to promote and develop your business, but it’s important to use the right methods and algorithms.

 Chatfuel can be a great help for this. Chatfiuel is the world-leading chatbot platform for Facebook messenger. Chatfuel’s clients range from small and medium businesses to the world’s most recognizable brands. The most known clients are: Adidas, Lego, T-mobile, and others. What`s more — there is no need for coding! 

Pros: free trial;

Cons: are there any?

To sum up, I hope this article will help you to make a step forward into the AI era. But, please, keep in mind that successful business is not only about technology, it’s also about everyday work and strong will to make an impact.

Good luck!

Startup Business Plan

   If you want to start up your own business, there are a few things that are needed to ensure success and to get people to take your venture seriously. One of the most important things that should be done at the very beginning of your trek into entrepreneurship is to write a solid business plan.

   If you’re only just starting out in business, you’re probably much too busy to think about the long-term future.

   But part of building your business now is planning for when you want to call it a day. Every owner-managed business needs an exit and succession plan to pave the way for a smooth transfer of ownership so that one day you can reap the benefits of your hard work and investment while the enterprise you’ve established continues into the future.

   A startup business plan is a document that outlines your new business’s goals and objectives and indicates how they are to be achieved. This plan is invaluable when it comes to attracting prospective partners and financial aid for your new business. A business plan can also be used to track the new business’s performance and compare it with your original goals.

   While business plans can be formatted in a variety of ways to suit your particular business and personality, there are twelve basic components that should be included in a solid business plan. They include:

1. Objectives.

What size business will you be starting? How much money do you want to make and over what period of time? All of these questions should be answered in the initial planning phase and should be realistic.

2. Competition.

Many small businesses fail because there was not a market for their new product or service. Make sure this does not happen to you. Find out which needs are not being met by current providers, and target your business to fill those needs.

3. Cost.

Estimate the cost of assets needed for your business by pricing the necessary equipment and materials needed in the day to day operation of the business. The best way to do this is to contact individual suppliers and do a little comparison shopping. Then, compile a list that can be easily referred to as you complete the rest of your plan.

4. Personnel Requirements.

How many people will you employ? What types of qualifications will they possess? Having a solid idea of what you will require now, may prevent personnel problems in the future.

5. Pro forma income statement.

A pro forma income statement is an estimate of future sales and expenses. The information contained should be in line with the business objectives. If the numbers do not quite add up, you may need to cut expenses, raise revenues or change your objectives. If the numbers still do not look encouraging, a different type of business opportunity may be better suited to your needs.

6. Legal form.

Will your business be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation? Research each and find the one that’s best for you.

7. Capital.

This can be the most time-consuming part of starting a business. While there are loans and grants available, most funds used to start up new businesses are provided by the business owner. If you do not have enough capital to start your business now, do not get discouraged. Keep saving while you look for other ways to raise the needed cash.

8. Pick your location.

Location, location, location is the key to success. Place your small business in areas of high traffic.

9. Bookkeeping.

Whether you are going to hire an accountant or keep the books yourself, now is the time to implement your bookkeeping system.

10. Advertising.

How will people learn about your new business? Which types of advertising will attract the most people to your door: internet or TV? Should you buy back links for your new blog or not? Remember, these are quite possibly the most important dollars that you will spend. Use them wisely.

11. Permits.

Make sure that you have all of the necessary permits and licenses to operate your new business. These permits may include vendor licenses, sales tax numbers or professional licenses. Each city, county, and state is different. Check with the local chamber of commerce to see what is required in your area.

12. Open your business!

After the doors to your business are opened, continually match your business’s performance with its objectives. If there are any discrepancies, changes may need to be made in order to align the two.

As you can see, not all of these steps can be completed at the same time. Start writing your plan by including information about how you hope to achieve each step, and follow up by revising your plan as each goal is realized.

The most important thing to remember is that a business plan is not a rigid set of marked accomplishments, but an outlined path to where you would like to end up. Your plan may take many twists and turns along the way.

Examples of Highly Effective Niche Marketing Strategies

There is a huge list of different marketing strategies to increase business profits. Despite this, one of the most popular is a niche or focused strategy. It has its disadvantages and advantages, however, small, medium and large businesses use it to increase their profits.

The development of business needs money. Sometimes business owners have not money for development, SBA loan is the perfect way of getting money. Under the SBA’s various loan programs, funds may be available for purchasing inventory or equipment, adding to working capital, buying commercial real estate.

Niche strategies are appropriate:

  • in the presence of a sufficiently large segment that ensures the required profitability and growth prospects;
  • if there is no interest in the segment on the part of industry leaders, which reduces the likelihood of competition with them;
  • if there is a sufficient number of segments in the industry to select the most attractive of them, corresponding to the potential of the organization;
  • if the entity wishing to service the segment has the appropriate experience and resources.

Even a small organization, using a niche strategy, can achieve a competitive advantage if its products are attractive to the segment and it has a successful competitive position.

The disadvantages of niche strategies include:

  • The likelihood of the entity being pushed out of a narrow target segment by competitors (by offering a product that better meets customer needs or by obtaining resources that exceed the company’s resources);
  • The likelihood of erasing differences in customer needs between the target segment and the rest of the market, which will open the way for competitors;
  • The likelihood that the segment will be highly attractive to a large number of competitors, which may significantly reduce its profitability.

Examples of companies that have chosen various niche strategies

eBay (electronic auctions); Porsche (sports cars); Cannondale (elite models of mountain bikes); Horizon, Comair and Atlantic Southeast (passenger airlines with low traffic at a range of 50-250 miles); Jiffy Lube International (refueling and lubrication of cars, minor repairs); Enterprise Rent-a-Car (rent of cars instead of repaired); Bandog (restoration of tires; the company actively offers the services on hundreds of parking places of trucks); Motel 6 and Ritz-Carlton.

Niche strategies in the hotel business MOTEL 6 and RITZ CARLTON compete in different segments of the hotel services market. MOTEL 6’s focused strategy is focused on low costs, while RITZ-CARLTON has focused on differentiation.

MOTEL 6 is focused on the poor travelers who need a room for one night. MOTEL 6 offers them clean, comfortable rooms without any excesses. In order to reduce costs, the company chooses inexpensive sites for the construction of buildings near highways with heavy traffic; builds hotels without bars and restaurants (but sometimes with swimming pools); uses standard designs, cheap materials; in the rooms only the most necessary furniture.

All this reduces the cost of both construction and maintenance. Since there are no bars, restaurants and additional services in the hotels, the company manages only the registration staff, technical services, and cleaners. In order to attract travelers who need a modest but comfortable accommodation, the company uses radio advertising, which involves well-known radio commentators. Advertising highlights the advantages of MOTEL 6 cleanliness, comfort, quiet atmosphere, low prices.

The RITZ CARLTON is aimed at travelers and customers who are willing to pay for excellent service and personalized service. RITZ CARLTON hotels are distinguished by their excellent location and magnificent room views, architectural style with national flavor, great restaurants, fine cuisine, luxurious lobbies, swimming pools, gyms, technical perfection of rooms, various hotel services, large and well-trained staff.

Both companies focus on fairly narrow market segments. The competitive advantage of MOTEL 6 is its low cost and limited range of services for unpretentious travelers. The advantage of RITZ CARLTON is in a wide range of services for sophisticated customers. Both strategies are successful, albeit different. This is explained by the heterogeneity of the hotel services market, which has different segments with different needs and financial capabilities of consumers.

A niche low-cost strategy is widely used in business. Manufacturers reduce marketing, distribution and advertising costs by moving to direct sales in retail stores and store chains, delivering standard branded products at discounted prices. The combination of cost advantage and narrow market niche service gives good results if the company finds ways to reduce costs and limits the target audience to a particular market segment.

At the other end of the market spectrum are such companies as Chanel, Rolls-Royce, Haagen-Dazs, and W.L.Gore, which have created niche differentiation strategies focused on elite market segments that require first-class products and services. In any market, there are segments where customers are willing to pay more for additional product features, allowing companies to implement focused differentiation strategies that serve an elite customer base.

Another example of a successful niche differentiation strategy is the elite chain of Trader Joe’s 150 outlets, a combination of a delicatessen store and a food wholesale base. Trader Joe’s customers buy expensive exotic products along with a standard set of common groceries, so the store’s stock contains exquisite products such as salmon sandwiches and jasmine fried rice, and at the same time standard products that can be found in any supermarket. Trader Joe’s difference from its peers is not only the combination of exotic and conventional products and competitively low food prices, but also the opportunity to turn a regular grocery shopping trip into an exciting, entertaining experience.

Blue Mountain Agent has a strategy of differentiation in the production of greeting cards and differs from its competitors – Hallmark and American Greetings – not only by the distinctive design and content of its cards but also by the presence of electronic greeting cards.

Conclusion

While selecting a particular niche as the primary focus of attention makes it much easier to find and attract clients, it is essential that there are enough clients in that niche to make it an advantage. An animal shop, targeting a wide range of pet owners, will have far more potential customers than a shop specializing in pet ferrets or poodles only. These niches may be too small for the local market.

Veterinarians specializing in the treatment of cats or horses stand out against the background of general practice veterinarians and can position themselves as experts in this niche. This will already be an advantage of niche marketing – people often prefer to deal with narrow specialists who focus on one narrow niche.

Applying a niche strategy always gives good results, especially in startups, the clearer the distancing and dissimilarity to competitors for a certain category of clients, the greater the chance that the project will “take off”. If you’re a startup, fast business loans can help you a lot. Most entrepreneurs experience a sudden need for extra cash at some point during their careers, especially startups.

What Managing a Business Looks Like in 2020

Technology has slowly assimilated itself as an integral part of running a business over the past decade or so. There are many things that have changed when it comes to running and managing a business thanks to technology, and some aspects are better than others.

Wherever you are personally with technology, there’s no denying that it is a big part of a business these days. If you’re struggling to get yours off the ground and wondering what technology you should be using, we’ve got some answers. Let’s take a look at what managing a business looks like in 2020 when it comes to choosing your essential tech supplies.

1.     Anti-Virus Software

There’s a good chance that you’ll have all of your business information stored on a computer, or multiple computers. Most people who are running a business these days have made everything digital, which is great for efficiency and productivity.

However, there is always the risk of exposing your business data to things like computer viruses. This is why it’s vital that you protect it from this risk through anti-virus software. This is one of the first lines of defense when it comes to your data, and it’s a pretty important one.

2.     Credit Card Processing System

We no longer live in a world where cash is king. Most people these days choose to use their credit cards over cash. This means that you need to make sure that you have a robust, reliable credit card processing system that enables people to purchase your product online.

Not only is this important to protect things on your end, but customers need to know that their credit card information is safe from hackers when they enter it.

3.     Employee Monitoring Software

If you’ve got a mid-sized business or even a large company, you may find it hard at times to keep track of each employee and what their specific job requirements are. While managers can help with this, you also need a way to keep track of their online activity, as well.

This is where employee monitoring software comes in. This is a great way to make sure they stay on task, to increase overall productivity. If everything is digital now in your company, your employees will be spending a lot of time online – and the more you know about how they spend their time, the better you’ll be able to run your business as a whole.

4.     Online Data Storage

Remember when we talked about the all-important business data you have stored on computers? Not only is it at risk of computer viruses, but there’s also the risk of losing it completely if you haven’t backed your company computers up.

Luckily, there are many different ways to store your data online these days. This is a great place to archive all of your business information, without it taking up extra space on those computers. This means that if anything goes wrong with your software system or those computers break down, you won’t lose any vital information.

As you can see, there is a lot to running a business in 2020 – more than you may have thought. With everything online these days, it’s no surprise that there are many different types of software and technological advances that we think are worth implementing with your business model. This is what managing a business looks like these days, and there are many benefits to it.

Benefits of Having Mobile App for your Logistics Company

Nowadays, companies that are choosing technology are the ones benefiting from the last-mile transportation. How would you feel to see your company ship products more quickly and better than ever before? The last mile is your answer to new technology and transformation that quickens the delivery process.

To effectively compete with big brands like Amazon, Walmart, and others, your company needs to adopt transportation and logistics mobile apps. With that, you will start to see processes become more secure and seamless. But how many can understand the effectiveness of application use in the last mile, and in what ways it can benefit their consumers in service delivery? According to Richard Alden, if current strategies are reviewed and improved, things will better for cities, and transportation will never look messy again.

What is the last mile? It is the final stage of any shipping process. Some define it in terms of actual distance from one place to another, but for better understanding, it involves shipping something from a local hub to the consumer’s house. Let’s see how last-mile can benefit your company through the use of Apps.

Features to Include in Your Transportation and Logistic Apps

Today, technology, no doubt, controls the world and for your company to thrive, you must keep up with it and make good use of technology to create innovative solutions. It becomes handy when faced with too many options available at your fingertips.

A well-informed transport and logistics manager will make sure to have mobile apps with features that help to minimize problems on the road, delivery times, and costs.

Offline Support

Having no internet connectivity today is not imaginable. However, your company must be prepared to overcome the absence of internet connectivity. After all, the logistics business mostly happens on the road, right?

If your app does not support offline productivity, that’s useless in some locations. Last-mile problems could be the most important aspect of the entire process as they directly impact the end-user plus the business. But if the offline support is in place, that can be instrumental to employees to enter data as and when they need in the logistics app, with internet or without it.

Vehicle & Driver Tracking

Having this feature can help you to optimize the cargo for each of your drivers. For example, in case you receive an order for a new pickup of products, you will be able to assign the task to the driver near to the location of the cargo. The driver can be on his way to pick up or deliver up a shipment and must not have reached the maximum load capacity.

So, what do you do? You can assign the task using the admin panel, and the driver will be able to receive a push notification with instructions for them to pick up the new cargo. The driver will need to accept the task and proceed to the shipment location, viewable on the map in the transport and logistics app.

Throughout the process, you can view the location of the cargo and the driver in real-time on the map using your smartphone.

Benefits of Apps for Logistics Management

  • They help manage your fleet
  • They alert you about the traffic situation
  • They make asset tracking easy

Why is Last-Mile Important?

Probably you may not be aware of the importance of the improvements. But the core plan is to winning consumers over in a competitive global economy. All things changed when Amazon started offering its customers a speedy and cheap delivery. Right now, everyone operating an Amazon Prime account can get their products within two days with no additional cost.

Today, the customer would shy away from the website, promising to ship them products over five business days. Of course, they would go to the likes of Amazon, for they are not ready to wait forever to receive their purchase. And many companies find themselves in this predicament of not being able to offer consumers faster shipping.

What customers are looking at is a company that can provide them with a speedy delivery service.

Why is Last-Mile Difficult?

From the consumer’s end, they do not understand why last-mile transportation is challenging. They only hit the order button and wait for the product to find them within a few days possible, and that’s it to them. From the company’s perspective, the most prominent effect is the Amazon effect as customers today are used to receiving products that they order with Amazon within two business days, which is not easy for many companies to match that speedy delivery.

The delivery process has sometimes posed challenges in serving customers. For instance,  reaching rural homes that are far apart may be a challenge to getting consumer’s products speedily. Also, in urban areas, you’ll find it so clogged with traffic and slows the whole process.

Lastly, no matter how speedy you want to get products to reach your consumers, sometimes they are not at home to sign for important packages.

Conclusion

Improving the final mile is not easy, and companies must find a balance between affordable shipping and fast shipping that satisfies all parties. Many consider last-mile transportation as costly, but with a smart approach in place, even same-day logistics is possible and the future every company should plan to implement.

But the most effective way to see your company soar in last-mile transportation is by developing transportation and logistics mobile apps for both Android and iOS. Not only will that help enhance doing business in your company today, but your customers will appreciate your up-to-date with the app that responds to their needs.