The age of IoT will render these business services obsolete

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Evolve or lose your relevance. Perhaps this accurately describes how business and services should respond to the changing times especially when technology is guiding the future into some exciting and unknown frontiers.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is leading the revolution and it is predicted to transform businesses and rewrite business models by 2020. While some products and services are now slowly and effectively adapting, others might not make the cut. Here are the business services and products that could go obsolete as IoT gains more ground:

  1. Portable Storage Devices

Soon, portable storage methods and products such as external hard drives and flash drives will become impractical, thanks to a safer, more convenient, and cheaper access to cloud storage. The IoT will highlight the primary role of the cloud in storing, managing and securing data not only for big companies and their operations but for private individuals in their day-to-day applications. With cloud systems, there will be easier access to one’s files wherever you are in the world.

  1. Human Service Workers

The food service worker of the future will come in the form of screens, more specifically touchscreens where you can easily place your order and pay via the same device without having to leave your table nor interact with an actual human server. Many restaurants are already embracing this technology and experts predict that in the near future, machines could also take over more complicated tasks from food preparation to bringing and delivering orders to the table.

  1. Physical Credit Cards

Plastic credit cards could be transformed into digital bits, and although credit card companies will be here to stay, the age of physical cards will be facing an end – and it’s a good thing.  Soon, you’ll be paying via mobile and wearable devices like smartphones or computers without having to carry around a physical card. This method will be more convenient and can protect users from fraud and card theft, thanks to these devices’ ability to recognize biometric data like face recognition or fingerprints.

REPOST: Millennials are shaking up these 7 industries

They may be young often misunderstood, but millennials are trully making significant impact in several key industries. Meet some of the world’s youngest innovators in the article below by CNN Money:

 

Millennials tend to be more entrepreneurial than previous generations, studies suggest. And some have already created businesses that are shaking up age-old industries.

 

According to Jason Dorsey, president and cofounder of research firm the Center for Generational Kinetics, Millennials have the confidence to take on bigger companies because they’ve grown up with easy access to information.

 

“Millennials have a different native relationship with technology by virtue of growing up with the internet and the mobile revolution,” Dorsey said. “[They] are at the right life stage to be able to see what’s not working and be courageous enough to challenge it.”

 

From online dating to recruiting and paying taxes, here are seven founders and CEOs who are freshening up industries in favor of something new.

 

Photography

 

Oskar Smolokowski is the 28-year-old CEO of Polaroid Originals, a new Polaroid brand focused on analog instant photography.

 

When the last remaining Polaroid factory went up for sale in 2008, a group of instant photography fans bought it. They called themselves the Impossible Project, a nod to the challenging task of making instant film and keeping it alive in the digital world. Smolokowski was the former CEO.

 

The new brand’s OneStep camera line is helping to help revitalize the 80-year-old parent company. The latest analog camera instantly prints photos as you take them and comes with built-in flash, self-timer and 60 days of battery life.

 

“The smartphone is really saturating everyone’s lives, but people are reaching out for other ways to experience photography,” said Smolokowski. “[Instant photography] is one of the things smartphones can’t [replicate] … it’s a physical artifact.”

 

Recruiting

 

Stephanie Lampkin, 32, is the founder of Blendoor, a software platform that aims to help eliminate bias in the early stage of job interviewing.

 

Blendoor takes an applicant’s name, age, gender, and photo out of the equation, so those details don’t take the focus away from an applicant’s skills, work history and education. It’s already being used by recruiters at big tech firms like Facebook, Google, Twitter and Airbnb.

 

Blendoor also integrates with a company’s HR systems to identify where bias may be happening in the interview process.

 

Lampkin, who has a Stanford engineering degree and an MBA from MIT, created Blendoor out of her own frustrations with the interviewing in the tech industry.

 

Office services

 

Dan Teran, the 28-year-old CEO and cofounder of Managed by Q, has re-envisioned office cleaning and other office services, like maintenance work.

 

Managed by Q, which employs cleaners and handyman, offers health benefits, 401(k)s, bonuses, paid time off and equity in the company. Staffers take care of the crucial but unglamorous office needs of businesses, such as keeping track of cleaning and office supplies, handymen needs and scheduled cleanings.

 

“We want to deliver the best service, [so] we need the best people for the job,” Teran said at an event last year. “In order to attract the best people for the job, we just need to be the best employer.”

 

The startup, which launched in 2013 and services over 3,000 offices across five cities, has already raised over $72 million from investors.

 

Continue reading HERE.

Fastest growing economies post-global financial crisis

The aftermath from the global financial crisis can still be felt today but thanks to a growing number of international response to establish recovery efforts through reviews of the fiscal, monetary, and policy measures, the world economy is slowly getting back on its feet. According to the World Bank’s 2017 edition of Global Economic Prospects, the answer to the recent financial crisis has given birth to the emerging and fastest growing economies, effectively accelerating growth especially among many developing countries across the globe. Based on this year’s edition, here are the fastest growing economies today:

Ethiopia

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This East African country is number one on the list of the fastest growing economies today, thanks to the boost in the government spending primarily on infrastructure. According to the Global Economic Prospects, Ethiopia’s GDP is expect to increase by 8.3% this year while its global growth is projected to develop by 2.7%.

Uzbekistan

Image source: manzaratourism.com

With a projected growth of 7.6%, Uzbekistan is the second fastest-growing economy in the world. The credits go to the increasing oil prices and the overwhelming government policies in the region. According to experts, its stable global financial conditions as well as the healthy development in the Euro area will seal the country’s rank in 2017 and beyond.

Nepal

Image source: bharatbooking.com

After the devastation of the 2015 earthquake, many have thought that it would take years before Nepal’s economy can recover. However, the Nepalese government accelerated its reconstruction efforts and the successful normalization of trade with India have helped with the country’s strong rebound. These efforts landed the Himalayan nation the third spot with a 7.5% projection.

REPOST: Five Signs You’re a Social Entrepreneur

How would you classify yourself as a business person? If you want to drive social change through your business or aim to earn profits while making a difference in others’ lives, then you are most probably be a social entrepreneur. For more insights, read this article on the HuffPost:

Services for companies who are making a social impact.

If you live in Silicon Valley, Seattle, DC, Chicago or LA, you may think that entrepreneurship is on the rise. However, the US has actually seen a steady decline in startups. In fact, CNN reported that the amount of startups per year are currently about 400,000. While that might sound like a lot, Americans were opening nearly 600,000 businesses per year in the 70s. That last fact really stuck out to me.

 

Really? Millennials aren’t opening more businesses than our parents? I thought we were the generation killing everything by opening new, more innovative programs. Apparently that isn’t true.

 

But maybe, just maybe, millennials are taking a different approach. While traditional entrepreneurship is declining, social entrepreneurship is on the rise. If you aren’t familiar with Social Entrepreneurship already, here’s a very quick overview – social entrepreneurs open businesses that give back while also growing a sustainable financial model. Classic examples are Tom’s Shoes, Lola Tampons, and Indiegogo. For more examples, see Forbes’ 2017 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneurs to see the young people making a strong social impact this year.

 

Whether you already own a business and want to ensure it is socially impactful, you are a known social entrepreneur already, or you are considering opening a business – it’s never too late to make a social impact.

 

Here are FIVE key traits that make you a Social Entrepreneur.

 

#1: You have a strategic plan for a robust bottom line.

 

“What? Socially impactful companies aren’t supposed to make money!” -A lot of people.

 

Nope. I’m going to start with the one that is the biggest myth when it comes to social entrepreneurship. When we think of social impact, many think of nonprofit companies (I’ll get more into that later) and assume that if there is an organization contributing something powerful to the world, no one should be profiting. Social Entrepreneurs do not agree with this sentiment for multiple reasons (most of which I will explore below). The most important reason is this: CEOs making a social impact, and the people who work for them, have just as much of a right to earn a living as anyone else.

 

#2: You do not rely on the government for social change.

 

Though we, the people, need to hold our representatives responsible for implementing social programs that actually make a difference, social entrepreneurs take it upon themselves to drive necessary change. The CEOs and leaders of companies that focus on social impact work take on the burden of progress. They are people who strategize and problem solve without including government officials. These leaders take on an extremely important responsibility to develop sustainable models that help people through services and programs.

 

#3: You are sick of Nonprofits

 

When most people think of social change, the first thing they might consider is the work that nonprofit organizations (501C3s) are doing. Now, I do not want to accuse nonprofits of having the wrong intentions. That being said nonprofits are often a way to shuffle money through the system without ever paying taxes and those nonprofits may not actually be contributing any legitimate products or services that help the community they claim to. Most nonprofits are established to raise awareness. I’m going to be honest with you, nonprofits, and it’s going to hurt – Awareness only goes so far. Once the public is aware, your organization has a responsibility to take the money you have earned and do something. You can provide a service, create a product, start a scholarship program, or anything else you might think of. It’s time to turn awareness into action.

 

Continue reading HERE.

REPOST: 6 Ways Service-Based Businesses Can Market on Instagram

With the rise of social media, businesses of all sizes have learned to adopt new and previously unconventional ways to market their products or services and rethink the way they design their operational strategies. Today, social media has become a universal marketing tool and the most convenient platform for brand promotion. Here is an article from Entrepreneur that can help marketers promote their brands through Instagram, one of the strongest social media and content-creation channels today:

 

Service-based businesses seem to have more trouble with leveraging some of the most powerful networks, such as Instagram, because they’re lacking ideas on what to post.

 

While it may seem like product-based businesses got an easier time promoting themselves on visual-first platforms, by the end of this article, you’ll have no issues with filling up your whole content calendar with exciting ideas.

 

1. Show your expertise.
People love to follow brands and accounts that they find valuable in some way. What’s a better way to provide value that sharing helpful advice?

To position yourself as an expert in the field, share tips, hacks and shortcuts. While you may think that what you know, everyone knows as well it is not true. Don’t dismiss any tips as “too obvious,” because again, while it may seem obvious to you, it may not seem obvious to your potential and current clients. Because you have a constant exposure to the same activity, skill, or industry, you’ve accumulated more knowledge than you know.

You can share tips as overlays on pretty images or as infographics. You may also record a 15-second video where you talk, or better yet, show the tip. If you’re not feeling creative, share a nice image and simply put your tip in the caption section.

 

2. Inspire with success stories.
As a business owner, you have to have at least a few success stories in your business. Share your clients’ stories. It may be as simple as a written or recorded testimonial; it may be a mini-case study where you talk about your strategies for achieving success.

It’s even better if you can share before and after image. Health and weight coaches, dermatologists, hair stylists, nail technicians, seamstresses can all post images that speak louder than words on their expertise in the field. Clearly, get a client’s permission first and run with it!

 

3. Inspire with quotes.
Quotes are some of the most engaging types of content. We all have our newsfeeds flooded with quotes, yet we always seem to engage with them. This is not to say you have to flood your clients with philosophical quotes, but once in a while, definitely take advantage of these engagement boosters.

 

4. Make them smile.
You can always brighten someone’s day with a funny image or a joke. Make sure it’s kind though, so you won’t land in hot water for your sense of humor. Also, make sure people outside of your industry will understand the joke. Think what all people will relate to. Is it getting out of bed on Monday or leaving work on Friday? We all have recurring themes in our lives.

 

5. Raise the curtain.
The same way a product-based business can show off their design meeting or production line, you can show the process behind your business. What do you do during onboarding period of a new client? What questions do you ask them? What kind of research you’re required to perform beforehand?

If you do have before and after photos, you could also tie it together with a quick video of “in between,” of the process that got your client from point A to point B. This is also a great opportunity to differentiate your business from competition by highlighting how your processes are better than industry standards.

 

6. Sell the solution to their problems.
People oftentimes flock to social media for aspirational content. Think of your brand not only as a list of services you perform, but as a lifestyle you enable your clients to have. Are they enjoying greater financial freedom? Having better health? Having more time to spend with their families? Feeling more confident in their own skin? All of these are great aspirational messages you can portray through images.

 

While you may not have a tangible product, you bring tangible results. Your business is solving real problems your clients are facing. Get a bit creative; and you’ll discover a million ways to let your business shine.

Every social entrepreneur should have these key qualities

Many business entrepreneurs have become successful in their chosen field not only because they had the resources to start their own business but also through the unique skills and characteristics that they have deployed and exhibited in the process. Anyone who has the same set of skills can be an entrepreneur but how about taking on its more socially responsible counterpart? Answering this question means understanding the difference between business and social entrepreneurship and pointing out the key qualities that make the latter more unique and more sustainable.

So what are the primary characteristics of a good social entrepreneur? First of all, they should be:

Passionate

Image source: entrepreneur.com

While many people believe that passion in entrepreneurship is overrated, it’s actually one of the most important qualities that every social entrepreneur should have. Passion acts as a self-motivator not only to achieve greater heights in business but also to have the genuine willingness to make an impact to the community it serves. The lack of it, on the other hand, can weaken one’s interest in planning long-term efforts and aiming for sustainable goals.

Empathetic

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Social entrepreneurship is about building a business while making the world a better place. This is why it’s important to understand people not just by listening to what they need to say but by also seeing their reality from their perspective. Through empathy, you can get the necessary insight to create a better and more suitable strategy to further your cause.

Lastly, one should be:

A visionary

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Success in any field always starts with a vision, an optimistic and creative take on what’s ahead. Social entrepreneurs should be imaginative, innovative, and most importantly, should have the vision to value wisdom when planning for the future of their enterprise and how it can help its community for the better.

REPOST: 4 Ways To Boost Your Leadership As A Social Entrepreneur

Aiming to become a successful social entrepreneur? An article on Forbes suggests four things you must carry out to achieve such goal:

 

Social entrepreneurs know what it’s like to be motivated by purpose. The potential to make a difference is enticing and exciting for nonprofit and social enterprise founders – it’s what fuels us. And although we have passion, sometimes our passion can inhibit our ability to ask for help.

 

Just because you have passion doesn’t mean you have all the answers.

 

While proposed solutions to social problems may be well-intentioned, making an impact is often multi-faceted with a variety of barriers, solutions and ideas. By asking for help and learning from others, social entrepreneurs can increase their probability of building a product or creating a company that has the potential to truly impact the lives of others.

 

Here’s how to position yourself for greater success as a social entrepreneur:

 

1. Surround yourself with mentors.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and so have thousands of others) – get a mentor. Even if you don’t work in a large organization; even if you don’t know what you might need help with yet; even if you don’t know who to ask, you still need a mentor. And if the lack of access to mentors is a problem, reach out to other business owners or people you admire and ask around to get connected. It’s important to fill your inexperience – or supplement it – with the perspective and advice of others.

 

2. Join a network of industry leaders.

Whether the network is an existing, prestigious network or an informally created one, find a group of likeminded entrepreneurs or industry experts that you can plug into virtually or through regular meetings. If you’re tackling homelessness, tech, human trafficking or other issues that are pressing society, you’ll benefit from learning from others and sharing knowledge about what works and what doesn’t work in tackling social problems. Plus, entrepreneurship can be lonely – by plugging into a professional network, you’re also likely to form friendships over similar interests in entrepreneurship.

 

3. Staff your organization and board of directors wisely.

As a leader, you might feel the need to be the most powerful or knowledgeable person in your organization. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. If you have passion and vision for your company and are committed to growing as a leader, you’ve got what you need. Now, be honest in your assessment of your skills and staff your company and board with people who will bring a wealth of knowledge to benefit your business. This will keep you humble and growing while your business reaps the benefits of experience and knowledge that you may not have yet.

 

4. Acknowledge your inexperience.

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is admit that you don’t know it all. While it may seem like others would doubt your expertise or abilities, it’s often the opposite. People admire humble leaders and appreciate transparency. By admitting your inexperience, you are more likely to attract and retain mentors, board members and employees that will work alongside you to grow your business. Plus, no one ever knows it all. Admitting this early will help you create a foundation for lifelong humility in your leadership, which will naturally benefit your organization by the ability to learn from others and pivot in your strategy when advised or necessary.

 

Said best by John C. Maxwell, “People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.” Be the kind of leader that is humble and willing to ask for help. Do your homework and learn as much as you can. By being positioned internally to grow, learn and ask, you will be surrounded by people willing to help or willing to invest in you as a leader.

 

Your vision and your execution of it will ebb and flow overtime. Be the kind of leader to handle the pivots and challenges in stride, through mentors, networking, humility and a great team willing to help and supplement your weaknesses.

 

Celebrity power couples who are also top entrepreneur-philanthropists

When we think about celebrities and their lifestyle, we often imagine is a world of fame and fortune where success can be defined by the awards and prestige that they can acquire over the years. Such is the typical story that we repeatedly see in the news but not everyone knows that many top stars have been taking the road less travelled by making the world a better place through the combination of their individual entrepreneurial feats and philanthropic efforts.

Let’s take a look at the top celebrity entrepreneur-philanthropists that are changing the world and leading the way to a new and better future.

 

Jay-Z and Beyonce

Image source: variety.com

With a combined net worth of $810 million, the couple’s fortune began in music but both have expanded their empire in the business world. While Beyonce owns her own fashion brand ‘House of Deréon’ and a line of personal fragrance, Jaz-Z runs his own entertainment company Roc Nation, LLC. He has also a clothing line (Rocawear) that sold in 2007 for $204 million.  Although the couple is not very outspoken when it comes to their philanthropic efforts, their charitable contributions are doing the talking, participating in community efforts through the BeyGood foundation and Jay Z’s Trust Fund for Sean Bell’s Children.

 

Mark and Priscilla Zuckerberg

Image source: fortune.com

Facebook creator and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla are the youngest couple to be included in CNN’s 10 wealthiest couples in the world and has a combined net worth of $38.5 billion. It was in 2010 when Zuckerberg committed to give away the majority of his wealth by signing the Giving Pledge and in 2014, the couple donated $25 million to the Centers for Disease Control Foundation to fight Ebola.

 

John Travolta and Kelly Preston

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Travolta was the guest speaker of this year’s City Gala organized by Entrepreneur Media. The event featured stars and entrepreneurs, highlighting celebrity philanthropic efforts and how it can make the world a better place one cause at a time.  Travolta and Preston founded the Jett Travolta Foundation in 2009 after the death of their son to support several specific causes for women and children in need.

REPOST: The hottest business trends are circular

Efforts to making the world and its many businesses more sustainable will largely depend on how we use, conserve, and maximize available resources. Here is an article from GreenBiz that illustrates how business and sustainability experts are striving to “go circular,” implementing more reliable processes for sustainable inputs, improving product design, and closing material loops.

 

 

In a resource-constrained world, there’s no room for waste. Getting creative with the way we obtain, use and dispose of materials will be key for a successful and sustainable global economy.

 

Business and sustainability experts across the globe are making a move to “go circular,” implementing better processes for sustainable inputs, improving product design and closing material loops.

 

This is the basis of the circular economy. It’s also one of the biggest business opportunities of our generation.

 

The Business and Sustainable Development Commission report, Better Business Better World, indicates that achieving the SDGs could create at least $12 trillion in business value by 2030 and generate up to 380 million jobs. The report highlights the circular economy as being one of five key game-changing business models that are helping to realize the SDGs and the market opportunities that they represent.

 

The circular economy itself is a $4.5 trillion opportunity, according to Accenture forecasts. Who wouldn’t want to get involved?

 

Recent research shows that eight materials are responsible for 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, 95 percent of water reuse and 80 percent of land use. Implementing circular economy principles for these materials could help address climate change, water scarcity and land-use issues.

 

Solutions in food and shelter are the two biggest priorities with the most positive impact potential.

 

Continue reading on this PAGE.

Three business habits the neophyte entrepreneur must develop

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The world of entrepreneurship is highly competitive and anyone who wishes to successfully overcome the challenges of this environment should not only adapt to its ever-changing trends but should also possess the most critical skills in the business.

 

However, most people believe that these skills are innate and one who isn’t born with them can no longer have the chance to make it big in the market world. Nonetheless, whether this claim is true or not, experts have suggested that developing the right habits can be a better and more efficient alternative. So how do we define the best practices that make a successful businessman?

 

If you are a neophyte entrepreneur, the demand in skills and talent can be intimidating. However, developing the following business habits can guarantee you a great start on the first stages of your business ventures:

 

  1. Setting daily productivity goals.

Focusing on being productive every day is a habit that young businessmen should have. It’s important to realize the value of being able to accomplish even just simple goals from one’s to-do list. Remember, no goal is big or small if you just have to right attitude.

 

  1. Developing an eye for details.

Pay attention to everything that you encounter every day. This habit of focusing on the present and concentrating on the details of any activity that you’re engaged in is an effective way to develop a range of critical business skills such.

 

  1. Practicing your mental reflexes.

Having the ability to think quickly and respond to a dynamic environment can be honed through the habit of continuous practice and keen observation. For someone to successfully run a business in a competitive market, being nimble and making instantaneous but wise decisions can make a huge difference.