The Hottest and Most Brilliant Business Tips for YOU – Find Out if You’re a Professional Entrepreneur, and More
Father Time and our research gurus at Credit Suite smuggled out ten amazing business tips for you! Be fierce and score in business with the best tips around the web. You can use them today and see fast results. You can take that to the bank – these are foolproof! Be the professional entrepreneur we all know you can be!
Stop making stupid decisions and start powering up your business. Demolish your business nightmares and start celebrating as your business fulfills its promise.
And these brilliant business tips are all here for free! So settle in and scoop up these tantalizing goodies before your competition does!
#10. Meet the Mod Marketing Squad
Our first tip for a professional entrepreneur is all about eleven modern marketing skills. Technofact posted a terrific infographic on just under a dozen important skills every modern marketer has just got to have.
We loved the fact that content marketing was at the top of the list (if we do say so ourselves). The thrust of content marketing is three things:
1. Content Creation and Management
Hiring people who can write – and can write well, and quickly – is vital. No content, no content marketing. But the other half of this is managing that content. That means checking for duplicates and plagiarism. It also means assuring accuracy and posting at the right times, in the right places. Which leads us to…
2. Web Analytics
No analytics means your content team is shooting arrows but there’s no target. And there’s no feedback to tell them their arrows are hitting the target, or the broad side of a barn, or their own feet. Analytics means understanding the content which works, and the kind that doesn’t. It helps your content team pivot so they can do more of the former, and less of the latter.
3. Digital Project Management
You will not take our digital project management software unless you pry it from our cold, dead hands.
Seriously, we can’t live without it. It helps us manage the team, the calendar, and the inflow of tasks. It’s a life preserver in the storm.
We also loved the mention of data analytics. Apparently, it’s the second-hardest skill to find in new marketing talent! First is any sort of operational skills. The third is basic design.
But getting back to data analytics – can your marketing team read a graph and understand its implications? Can they spot trends quickly? If they can’t, then get them some training in how.
#9. The Ol’ Block and Chain
The next tip is about blockchain technology, and how it will affect marketing. Aumcore wisely tackled this little-understood subject.
The easiest definition is their own:
“Blockchain is used to describe the process by which information and data is stored across a network of personal computers, making the data decentralized and distributed. This means that everyone can use, access and help run the network. This is also the main reason blockchain is so revolutionary; everything is completely public and no single person or entity owns or runs it. It’s also one of the most important features of blockchain, as it makes corrupting or taking down the network a very difficult feat.”
The Center Cannot Hold Because There is no Center
So, what the heck does that mean?
Cryptocurrency (think Bitcoin) is the first, best-known use of blockchain. Currency appears via data. But counterfeiting is (allegedly) impossible because more than one person cannot own the same bit of it at the same time.
Er, we’re skeptical about that, and suspect someone will figure out how to circumvent such a ‘safeguard’ soon enough.
One con the article pointed out was a lack of regulation, and we get that.
So, where can marketers use it?
Decentralization is Where It’s At? Really?
The main example the article gave was in bypassing Google and decentralizing search. This means there is, potentially, a means of getting customer data which doesn’t come from Google. And, presumably, there will be more of such data.
But is it accurate? Complete?
And doesn’t it violate everyone’s privacy ten ways till Sunday?
We’re not impressed yet. We appreciate the attempt to clarify things, but the use of blockchain, right now, feels very premature, and may be a way to open an enormous can of fish bait.
#8. The Wonderful World of Insurance
Our following tip concerns business insurance, tackled by the folks at Small Business Trends. They painlessly went over the three main types of insurance you’ll need (this doesn’t include auto if you have a fleet, for example).
1. Errors and Omissions
This insurance helps out in the event your company fails to deliver on its obligations. That can be anything from a late shipment to having to recall products. And it can even cover substandard work. While we all like to be business optimists, the truth is, stuff happens. With D & O, you’re covered in case the weather makes a package late or a supplier flakes.
Protect your stuff from fire, storm, or theft. Think of all of your computers, and furniture, your raw materials and your machinery. Note: if you run your business out of your home, you may need to do this with an increase in your homeowner’s insurance. That’s because working from home sometimes doesn’t qualify you for property insurance.
Also, keep in mind, this might not cover floods and other natural disasters, or acts of terrorism. Do you want or need that coverage? While coverage against acts of terrorism might seem remote, coverage for floods should be on everyone’s list. Why? Because you don’t have to have an office near a body of water to be flooded by a big rainstorm or just a water main break.
3. Data Breach
This is especially vital if you are storing data which could be used in theft. This isn’t just names, addresses, and Social Security numbers. It’s also credit card numbers and even driver’s license numbers.
#7. Make Data Your Slave
For our next tip, we looked at the ins and outs of hiring a Master Data Management Consultant. Business Tips gave a great rundown on this little-understood profession and what it can do for your business.
Essentially, a Master Data Management Consultant throws their arms around your company’s data. They help you remove redundancies and reinforce data security. But our favorite thing they do is assure better data consistency.
And now it’s time for a true story.
Consistency, Data, and Accuracy – A True Story
Over fifteen years ago, your intrepid blog writer worked for a company which was in the throes of a data migration. The idea was, they were getting rid of their older systems and embracing newer ones. The company had had an in-house solution for several years, and they had outgrown it.
A big part of the job was to check numbers. All day long. Did a row of data that started off with 1,000 as its number stay at 1,000 after the migration? Or did it double, or lose 1 or 2, or gain 1 or 2? Or did the data disappear entirely, leaving an empty cell? Another question was: did the migration just throw an error?
From Numbers to Letters
After several months of just looking at numbers, there was a switch to data that was anything other than numbers. The first field checked was the state. This was a database with millions of rows of data. One very important section covered customer addresses, and so state was vital. It had to be right.
Living in Massachusetts, a lot of the ZIP codes are similar, generally starting with a 0. And so it came as a great surprise to see addresses with a state code of ‘MA’, yet a ZIP code of something like 20854.
Then we got the word that the number of customers in Massachusetts had more than trebled.
Then we learned Michigan was out of control, and Tennessee and Texas had disappeared completely.
That’s Not How This Works; That’s Not How ANY of This Works
The error was traced to a code which someone had written to save time. And it would have worked, but for one thing: it wasn’t following established rules.
The code took the first two letters of any given state and saved that as the two-letter long state abbreviation. Never mind the actual two-letter state postal codes; this code either ignored them or the coder was unaware such a system existed.
As a result, both Tennessee and Texas (TN and TX, respectively) were abbreviated as TE, which resulted in them disappearing. Michigan (MI), Minnesota (MN), Mississippi (MS), and Missouri (MO) were all abbreviated MI. And Maine (ME), Massachusetts (MA), and Maryland (MD) were all abbreviated MA.
And don’t even get us started on the states starting with the letter ‘N’.
Fix That Bad Boy
So, how would a Master Data Manager fix such things? One way is by keeping better tabs on the data. This could even include writing rules which would say a Massachusetts ZIP code (with a few hard-coded exceptions) would have to start with a 0. Or it might include creating a table with all ZIP codes with the correct state attached to them, and then throwing an error if there were any discrepancies.
Yet another possible fix would have been to load up a table of state postal code abbreviations.
But no matter what fix the Master Data Manager uses, the same end result is intended. And a problem such as this one would be fixed before it ever happened in the first place.
#6. Get the Stats!
This tip is so informative, and it works! Infographic Now offered up a terrific visual of 2018 digital marketing stats. And the beauty of this infographic is – it’s predictions from last year. Hence the question is: how cloudy was the crystal ball consulted by a typical professional entrepreneur?
Not too cloudy, it turns out.
Keep Your Tiara
As might be expected, the prediction that content is still king proved to be true. Plus the prediction revolving around customers wanting personalization proved to be correct.
And we particularly loved that one prediction was all about data people! As in, there are going to be hundreds of thousands of new data jobs open by the end of this decade. If you can read a database and run a query, then you might want to polish up your resume.
And if you can create a company which reads, uses, and simplifies data for others, you just might have the next big thing.
#5. So, Are You a Professional Entrepreneur?
Grab this tip while it’s hot! Find out if YOU are a professional entrepreneur. Startup Professionals Musings put together a 10-question aptitude test for business owners. Their reasoning was that there really isn’t anything comparable to the bar examination, or the medical boards, when it comes to starting and owning a business.
So, how do you best measure whether you will be a good professional entrepreneur? While there are no right or wrong answers, the article intelligently asks follow-up questions to tease out the details.
We’re All in This Together
Probably our favorite of the ten questions was number six, ‘Have you built relationships with people who can help?’ So many business owners just starting out will feel compelled to be one-person band. And while it’s good to have a varied skill set, and the buck stops with you (question number four), this question strongly implies one enormous thing everyone needs to know.
What’s that, you ask? It’s your limits.
Are you an amazing graphic artist? Then maybe doing the books isn’t your strong suit. Are you a whiz at reading and interpreting data? Then you might not be so hot at sales. Are you the most incredible inventor? Then, you guessed it, mapping out your company’s future might not be in your wheelhouse.
Of course you can get by. But to truly excel, it’s all about calling in the experts. So call on a CPA or a designer or an expert salesperson when you need them.
Our other favorite was number nine, ‘Have you really analyzed the market and competitors?’ What happens when you don’t research the competition? A decided lack of sales can happen, that’s what.
And the same is true of market analysis. It used to be that the job of buggy whip maker was a steady gig, with constant demand. Now, unless you’re serving sulky racing or a historical reenactment like Colonial Williamsburg, there’s virtually zero need for buggy whip makers. Ignoring the market is a recipe for failure.
#4. Every Emailed Picture Tells a Story, Don’t It?
Check out this tip for a professional entrepreneur. It’s all about adding an infographic into your email marketing campaign to boost engagement. Authentic Storytelling offered up a spectacular example with Delta Airlines.
Perhaps the greatest takeaway with the Delta infographic was how it went top to bottom chronologically. Rather than starting with the most important information first, it started with the passenger still on the ground, packing. The next section was about what to do at the airport. And then the third was about being in the air.
The infographic showed everything from when to arrive at the airport to how to connect to in-air wi-fi. It was filled with actionable tips and clickable sections. And we bet those links had embedded codes, so the content and data teams at Delta would be able to track who’d clicked on what, and where they had come from.
Back to You
So, what does this mean to you at the Widget Factory? One suggestion is to consider what to add to your email marketing. Is a virtual tour of your operations a good idea? Or how about an infographic on what the steps are to win a free widget? The only limit is your own imagination.
#3. Call Us, Maybe?
It’s not your imagination: this tip can help you close a sale on the phone. LimeCall (posting in Medium) came up with some great advice for you to made easily do just that.
Our favorite tip was using plain language (we love it!). How many times have any of us listened to some long spiel where half the time we didn’t know what the salesperson was trying to convince us of?
Don’t be that kind of salesperson! LimeCall shows you how.
#2. Awesome Agendas for Manageable Meetings
Our second to last tip can give you a new perspective on perfecting the humble meeting agenda. Visualistan put out this terrific information in the form of an easy to follow infographic. It was such a great graphic that we highly recommend checking it out for yourself!
Our absolute favorite was to end with the highs and lows. What worked? What didn’t? These are such powerful questions, yet often we just want to get out of the meeting room when we’re done. By setting an expectation to give the meeting a brief post mortem, that could save time later.
#1. Please Don’t Replace Us with Robots
We saved the best for last. For our favorite remarkable tip, we focused on AI for content creation. Appmakery released a bit of a think piece about artificial intelligence. And one aspect they emphasized is that the AI doesn’t have personal experiences. Hence the story in section 7, above, could never be written.
This takes away a certain degree of relatability. Furthermore, the AI doesn’t really talk to anyone in the organization, so interpersonal interactions, and how they can become blog or newsletter fodder, are out, too.
Humans don’t have these problems. Intuitively, we can connect. So, whew, our jobs are secure after all!
So which one of our brilliant business tips was your favorite? And which one will you, a professional entrepreneur, be implementing now?