How the Internet of Things is Changing Small Business

geoffrey-byruch-iotThe small business community remains both progressive and ever-changing, and this is arguably best reflected in its embracing of modern technology. The internet of things (IoT), or the embedding of interconnected devices, stands as a key example of such innovation; from heightened time management to increased mobility, its benefits have only grown more profound in recent years, leading more small businesses to consider IoT-based investments.

Here are a few ways the IoT is currently shaping small business.

General productivity

Broadly speaking, the IoT has shown potential in enhancing internal productivity; this currently being observed on a variety of fronts:

  • Virtual assistants and other bot-based resources have increased efficiency by saving time spent on small, yet collectively hindering tasks — from payroll fact checking to the ordering of office supplies.
  • Some IoT workplaces have observed stronger time management tendencies thanks to interconnected scheduling devices. Workers utilizing a Google suite, for instance, are able to stay on top of daily obligations both at their desks and on the go via connected mobile devices.
  • Detailed business insights stemming from IoT technology have grown into a new analytical norm. Many businesses, especially those previously lacking in proper funding, are now able to effectively track and interpret key customer data via their own connected devices, accessing a potentially vast amount of data in a manner that is both quick and, in many cases, cost-friendly.

Equipment management

More specifically, the IoT has made it easier for certain companies to track and maintain equipment and products. IoT sensor technology is currently revolutionizing inventory management, a variable that, like customer data, may have been difficult to broadly oversee in the past while remaining efficient. Higher level supply chains are now able to tap a culture “rich in analytics, insight, and contextual intelligence and accountability for results” (which itself hinges on advanced IoT functionality) without sacrificing time otherwise spent on complex aggregation and subsequent insight analysis — not to mention the additional time spent on physical equipment errors.

With these notions in mind, it is easy to see why business-to-business (B2B) applications of IoT are currently expected to exceed $300 billion in annual revenue by 2020.

The Age of Entrepreneurship

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When people think about entrepreneurs just starting in the business world, it often seems like a younger person’s game. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Entrepreneurship can come at any age and at any point in your lifetime. The key is to have the right idea that will thrive and create success.

Although many people may think it’s best to start at a young age, it’s important to note that the medium age of successful founders is around the 40 to 50 range. Beginning as an entrepreneur in this industry at a later age brings a more extensive amount of life and work experience.

One of the biggest aspects of becoming an entrepreneur later in life, is you have the time to play and become more financially stable. Young business owners may not always have the income to fall back on if their ideas falter, which is why waiting until you have the support both financially and within your family or a spouse, could help your chances of success drastically.

Another aspect of beginning entrepreneurship later in life is most people have experienced failure in some way by this point in their lives. Having the opportunity to experience failure gives you an edge over others in not being afraid of your ideas floundering. Great entrepreneurs have personality traits in which they can keep their eye on the prize despite bumps in the road.

The skills and life lessons you learn in your early years of being a businessman or woman helps to shape the kind of leader you will be later in life. Because you will make many mistakes along the way, it creates a stronger and more confident business mind, thus, making this the perfect time to start your own business. When you can take a tip from entrepreneurs who have come into the game later in life, you can see how the experience has helped them become more successful.

Don’t let your age define how you continue throughout the business world. Just because you didn’t begin a company at a younger age doesn’t mean it’s too late and you won’t become successful in your endeavors. If anything, waiting until later in life means you are more prepared and have the experience to become successful in your chosen path for entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship Success: Leave Your Ego at Home

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People often ask the question, “what does it take to become a successful entrepreneur?” The truth is, certain personality traits and qualities help in shaping a successful entrepreneur. Although some of these traits are instilled in us from birth, many can be learned and developed over time. It’s essential to understand the specific qualities that make an entrepreneur successful. One of the most significant aspects of successful entrepreneurship is removing your ego from your business.

Starting a new business is hardly a feat for one person. Although there are leaders out there who believe they can do it better and all by themselves, it simply is not true and will not create a sustainable business. Entrepreneurs can’t let their egos get in the way of the growing business. It’s essential to assemble a team of hard workers and leaders who understand and share the same goals and vision you do. Creating a support team of people who help you every step of the way will ensure success in your business.

Every position in a business is just as important as the next. Even though some founders may think that because it is their idea and vision, they are the most crucial component of the company. This is, quite frankly, very untrue and anyone who has worked in a business setting understand that success only comes when people work together and no one believes they are above the rest.

You can take some great tips from the book by Michael Strasner, Mastering Leadership, Shift the Drift and Change the World, on entrepreneurship and either embracing success or instead, leaving it behind when your time is up. The key to growing your ideas and business is making sure to commit to your idea fully. Once you do this and realize there is no fallback plan and this idea is the end goal, it will be far easier to pour your entire self into it. And, not just yourself, but your team.

No matter if you win or lose, creating a teamwork environment in which you can utilize your traits and leadership skills to share your vision and goals, is successful and can inspire others to follow their dreams of entrepreneurship.

 

Motivation For Your Small Business Team

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Small businesses definitely have some advantages over large businesses. Smaller teams make it easier to keep everyone on the same page and moving in the same direction. In many cases, small businesses actually outperform larger businesses based on scale. There are some challenges that all businesses face regardless of size, but the answers are not always the same. Small businesses will struggle with keeping their teams motivated the same way larger businesses will, but they may not have the same level of resources to throw into programs to help increase motivation. Here are 3 tips to help keep your small business team motivated.

Regularly recognize their accomplishments
You might be surprised just how far a little recognition can go towards improving employee satisfaction. Satisfied employees tend to be productive employees. While large companies may recognize employee achievements on an annual or semi-annual basis, small businesses have the opportunity to recognize employees on a daily basis. Recognition doesn’t have to be in the form of a plaque or award. Just a few words of acknowledgment of their hard work on a regular basis may actually be even more effective.

Set team goals and create a visual to measure progress
Anyone who has any experience with fundraising knows that simple visuals go a long way towards motivating donors. This is why almost all fundraising sites will have some kind of chart or measuring device to show potential donors how close to the goal the campaign is. The closer a campaign gets to achieving the goal, the more motivated donors become. Some donors may even pledge a second or even third time. The same thing that is true of fundraising is true of your small business.

Provide incentives they actually want
If everyone on your team loves Indian food, then promising a catered lunch from an Indian restaurant might be a great motivator to achieve a specific goal, but not if your entire team does not like Indian food. Providing incentives is a great way to motivate your employees, but not if the incentives are not attractive to your entire team. While they say you can’t please everyone, if you genuinely want to provide an incentive to motivate your entire team, then you will, in fact, have to find an incentive that is equally attractive to them all.

Entrepreneurial Ideas for Success

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It’s evident that all entrepreneurs want to be successful in what they are creating and putting out into the world. But not all entrepreneurs are successful the first few times around and need to continue to have the mentality to push forward through their failures in order to create something great. In our current economy and all different economy’s, it’s essential for entrepreneurs to develop products and ideas that will move us forward.

Entrepreneurship should produce and propel our economic growth. It’s the reason why we need entrepreneurs in this world to make sure that we can create new ideas that are productive. Some fail to consider this aspect and do so because they want to be their boss and have a money making product.

When starting your own business, it can be very much formed around a personal choice. This is true for many entrepreneurs, but along with the personal choice must come value. There should be value in the reasoning of starting your own business and creating a product. Think of your audience and what the value of your product and company is to them. It’s important to fully consider your audience because they will be the reason your business succeeds or fails.

You may think people know what they want, but in all seriousness, it’s not necessarily true. Part of being an entrepreneur is showing people what they want and need. This can be done by either creating something entirely new or refining something they already know and updating it. This can help your audience to see the product they already know in a different light. Your audience needs to know the value in what you are creating and find it useful and something that will fulfill their needs.

Many entrepreneurs are bogged down by the aspect of beating their competitors and being able to compete in a particular market. The real part is to make sure your potential customers see value in what you are offering and find that it excels past your competitors. Competition should come second to what your customers need and what they will want to invest in.

It’s essential to remember that your product must have value in order to succeed. Creating something that is going to add to our economic growth is one of the best reasons to become an entrepreneur. Of course, everyone will have personal reasons attached to it, but if you can add value and satisfy the needs of your audience, you can have a higher chance to succeed.

 

Incorporating Innovation into Your Business

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With new inventions and the constant creation of new technology, innovation has become an essential part of the culture we live in. In order to continue innovation and to generate new product, design, ideas, we need to incorporate innovation as a core part of your company’s culture. Businesses must begin to look into adopting the innovation and entrepreneurship mentality if they want their company to succeed and move forward into the future. Here are just a few of those ways businesses can incorporate innovation into their culture.

Due to the fact that we live in the digital age that keeps on changing and moving into the future, companies that do not operate with innovation, adjusting to digital changes will not succeed. Digital disruption is reinventing how companies, products, goods, and services operate because of new technological advances. If a business does not utilize and create, they will not be able to survive in the future.

Teamwork is an essential part of innovation. In order to create new ideas, working with others within your company will guarantee a more successful invention of what your business has to offer. Building a team of employees to execute these tasks will give the opportunity to utilize different outlooks and ideas from different people and also allude to the success of future growth.

Human Resources will play a large part in creating a diverse and widely spread culture of employees. It is already their job to do so and look for potential employees with different backgrounds, but this will be essential to the innovation culture a business should be striving towards. With diverse backgrounds come different ideas and great ways to push the company forward.

One of the biggest things your company can do is appoint a Chief Innovation Officer. They will oversee and coordinate innovation teams and initiatives across the company. Although these types of roles are only seen more so within companies dealing more on the scientific side of innovation, we will start to see this position become more incorporated throughout companies across the board looking to survive and thrive.

While there are many different ways to incorporate this type of thinking into your company culture, it’s important to get all of your department heads on board, understanding what the goals for the future are. For the continued survival of businesses, entrepreneurship mentality and innovation is key to the overall culture.

How Entrepreneurs Deal with Failure

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Being an entrepreneur means you will deal with failures many times during your career. This is not always the case for everyone, but more often than not, you will, unfortunately, fail at some point. The key to failure as an entrepreneur is learning how to handle that failure, pick yourself back up, and start again. As it is with life, the way you deal with these setbacks shapes the person and professional you are and want to be. Thankfully, there is a large number of entrepreneurs who came before you, sharing their wise words of wisdom for pressing on and dealing with your failures gracefully.

Just because you will experience failure doesn’t mean it’s going to be a significant failure. Unfortunately, most new businesses will fail within their first few years of starting out. But failure can also come in the form of other losses, such as the loss of a big client. It is essential for entrepreneurs to learn from these failures which takes us right to our first lesson.

Taking the time to write down a list of the decisions you made when you failed will help to understand what you could have done better and will do better next time. It creates your failure into a learning experience in order for you to grow from the setback. Handwriting the list will help the points sink in and stick with you for future growth.

Giving yourself time to destress from the situation will also create a better atmosphere and positive outlook for yourself and your company. Entrepreneurs are busy people that work at a very fast pace, high-stress environment. Giving yourself mental clarity by removing yourself from the failure can give you time to rethink, reevaluate, and figure out your next move.

If you look into some of the most famous entrepreneurs and how they started out, you will find that most of them repeatedly failed time and time again before they became successful. Their biggest early failures paved the way for some of the most successful companies in the world. It is essential to remember that failure is just a roadblock and stepping stone on the way to success. It is necessary in order to weed out entrepreneurs who are willing to pick up the pieces and keep going and the ones who do not have the mental strength to do so and become successful.

Young Entrepreneurs on the Rise

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There is no time like the present to follow your entrepreneurial spirit in your younger years. Starting at a young age gives you time to focus and figure out your exact path in starting your own business. It can be a very scary process either diving right in out of college or leaving a stable job to pursue your passions of running your own business. Thankfully, there have been many people that went before you and followed their ideas. They were either met with failure or success, and either way, want to share what they’ve learned with the aspiring young entrepreneurs of today.

Research and Problem Solving
It is essential to do your research before you decide on your particular company and product. The research aspect assists in making sure your idea is original. If there is another type of product similar to the one you are creating, research who your competitors will be and how you can set yourself apart. Discovering who the target audience is by defining your market is an essential part of the original business plan, and a task young entrepreneurs forget to complete.  

Problem solving is an essential step in the beginning process of creating a business plan. The product or idea you have should solve some sort of a problem in order to be successful. This helps to increase the need for these particular goods and services.

Be Optimistic and Passionate
When you’re a young entrepreneur, just starting can be nerve racking but also very exciting because your future can go in so many directions. One thing to remember is that not every idea will be a successful one. Failure is inevitable, but that failure creates a drive to succeed if you have the passion behind it. Entrepreneurs who are genuinely passionate about what they do and the goods and services they produce will have a much higher chance of succeeding because they will not want to give up on their dreams.

Optimism is another crucial factor in staying on the path of success. Challenges in the entrepreneurial world are inevitable. You will hear the word ‘no’ at points in your career but staying focused, positive, and optimistic is going to keep moving you forward towards reaching your goals.

Young entrepreneurs can learn a lot from entrepreneurs who have been in the business for quite some time. It’s important to read about your mentors and the leaders you look up to and hear their success stories. Every one of them will have a list of failures and what helped them prevail and become the successful business leader they are today.

How Entrepreneurs Can Approach Branding

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Entrepreneurs are always working. With little free time to experiment on finding ways to brand their business, entrepreneurs sometimes find themselves at a loss when it comes time to work on their methods for PR. However, by taking a strategic approach to branding, entrepreneurs will find that they get their desired results quickly.

Branding Musts for Entrepreneurs
While effective methods for public relations are ever-evolving, there a few key things every small business owner should be taking advantage of. Entrepreneurs should follow these tips to effectively brand their companies:

Create Articles for Niche-Centric Outlets
Niche-centric outlets will allow entrepreneurs to easily reach their preferred audience. Rather than shooting for larger publications like Huffington Post, small business owners should turn to niche-centric outlets like LinkedIn, Quora, and Medium. The entrepreneurs will be able to target readers that already have an interest in their particular products or services.

When pitching these articles for niche-centric outlets, entrepreneurs should try their best to stand out. By making their content as unique as possible and creating a catchy subject line, entrepreneurs have a better chance of getting their content published. Once the article is published, other users will start to respond by commenting and sharing the content, leading to increased brand exposure.

Create a Blog
Blogging isn’t dead. Entrepreneurs looking for quick ways to promote their company and content should start blogging. On their blog, these small companies can post press releases, breaking news, and any information that provides professional and unique insights into their industry The blogs will attract new readers and, with the help of keywords targeted for SEO, convert them into customers.

Additionally, blogs offer entrepreneurs an opportunity to connect with their readers. Companies that interact with their readers in the comments section will be working to drive and maintain authentic and organic traffic on their website.

Get Into Guest- and Self- Publishing
Entrepreneurs looking to get their content recognized should look into guest- and self-publishing. Avenues like blogging, podcasting, and posting on YouTube serve as a way for entrepreneurs to publish their own content and connect directly with interested individuals.

Branding one’s self as a small business owner is essential to stand out from the competition. Keep these three strategies in mind when putting together new PR campaigns.

 

Benefits from Pursuing Entrepreneurship

 

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Whether you are college student figuring out your path or a professional looking for a career change, entrepreneurship could be the choice for you. There are many different benefits that come along with being an entrepreneur along with being able to make your goals and passions come to life. It can, at times, be a strenuous and challenging job, but the rewards are unlike any other profession. Here we will discuss some of the benefits from seeking out life in entrepreneurship and why it might be the right choice for you.

You choose your schedule
With being your boss, comes the benefit of being able to decide how you spend your time. You get to work as long as you want and when you want to stop, then you stop. It is an excellent opportunity to be able to be so flexible with the time you spend on work without having to miss out on life and other opportunities.  

Choices depend on you
You are your boss. Decisions will come right from you when it comes to your company and your product. This is true for the other departments within your business. You are going to figure out the type of brand and marketing and how you want your product to look to your audience and consumers.

You live your passions
Being an entrepreneur means you can live out your passions. Your visions will be brought to life because of what is most important to you and what you feel the world needs. Not many other professions have this type of freedom in doing precisely what they want to do and exactly how they want to do it.

Continue to learn and grow
With being your boss in the entrepreneurial world, comes the opportunity to continue to learn, grow, and try on different hats. If you’ve never started your own business before, you will start to learn many various aspects of the business including marketing, sales, and planning. Until you have the capital to hire these jobs in your company, you may have to do some of it yourself. This just gives you the extra edge to hone your business skills to be a better leader and entrepreneur.

The opportunities in the entrepreneurial world are endless and up to you because you are your boss and help to control your future. It is a great process to be a part of in your life if you want to turn your passions into a reality.