International Speaker

5 Tips on Becoming a Paid International Speaker

Aug 31, 2017

What happens when you talk?

Are you able to captivate your audience no matter who is listening?

Are you the type of person who has an incredible story to share and you enjoy helping people?

If you have interesting and inspiring stories along with the “gift of gab”, becoming an international speaker might be the right move for you.

Keep reading to find out how to get it done.

The Route to Becoming an International Speaker

1. Solve Their Problem

This is where the whole process starts. Look at people like Tony Robbins and Dave Ramsey. They had a problem. They fixed it. Now they’re both helping other people with their problems and making a fortune while doing so.

Ask yourself, “What problem do entrepreneurs and business owners have that I can help them fix?”

An even better question: “What problem will they pay to have fixed?”

People who own their own businesses are go-getters. If they can solve their own problems, they want to. Sometimes, there just isn’t any information out there.

You need to have that information.

2. Learn the Language

If you would like to become an international speaker, you need to accept the fact that not everyone speaks your native tongue. English is used as a second language twice as often as it’s used as a native one.

For maximum success as a public speaker, focus on becoming fluent in Arabic, Mandarin, and/or Hindi. These three languages combine to increase your potential reach by nearly two billion people.

3. Tech Up

Once you’ve started, you’re going to likely stay on the go. You’ll probably have a small team constantly needing to exchange information with you.

Immerse yourself in the tech world. It will make your life easier.

This includes everything from leveraging social media to utilizing the newest types of communication software. Having a Gmail account is probably not going to be enough.

4. Make Them Laugh

Entrepreneurs and small business owners are stressed out. They have come to you with a severe problem and are paying a lot of money to have it sorted out via your speech.

With all of that tension in the room, you can use humor to cut through it. This will help you connect with your audience, grab their attention, and help them relax.

Use a funny personal story that relates to your speech to maximize the efficiency of the joke. It could be something that affects business owners all over the world. Or it could be about your first experience in their country.

Just make sure it isn’t offensive and keep it relevant.

5. Establish a Brand

In many ways, business is its own form of communication. Don’t underestimate the value of creating your brand.

When you become an international speaker, you should learn to rely on your brand. No two languages are quite the same and often things get lost in translation.

Your brand can say everything that it needs to about what you have to offer without a word. It can also help create a level of emotional trust and authority that cannot be misconstrued in translation.

Wrapping It Up

While these are five awesome tips that can help get you started and you should be thinking about them, there is no way that we can squeeze every piece of need to know information into one blog post.

I’m Rafferty Pendery, I’m an international speaker who has helped thousands of businesses over the years. I can help you, too. Contact me today.

 

Business Growth Strategies

7 Business Growth Strategies You Need to Know

Aug 28, 2017

Can you think of any business that has never had a problem?

Even the most successful companies have at struggled at one time or another.

Early this year, Wal-Mart Stores have been described as having more problems than the Trump Tariff. There’s also Apple, said to be facing declining sales in China, its second-largest market. Another example is Ford, recalling almost half a million vehicles for safety and compliance issues.

For small and medium-sized enterprises, a common struggle has to do with growing pains. Let’s take a closer look at business growth strategies you can implement that can help you address those growing pains and take your business to the next level. 

1. Stay True to Your Vision

Why did you start your own company? There must be a compelling reason for you to do so, especially if you made that huge leap from employee to business owner.

To be more specific, there must be a vision in your head about how you want your company to be and where it will be years from now. That vision is the reason why you and your employees do what you do. If you do things that don’t align with the company’s purpose, how can you expect to grow your company?

Sustainable success depends on making sure everyone in your organization is working towards a common goal. A strong sense of purpose allows a business to stay laser-focused on achieving its objectives. It’s also the driving force for innovation and ensuring that products and services offered are of value to customers.

2. Build and Maintain Strong Partnerships

One of the best business growth strategies you can implement is to establish and cultivate strong partnerships. As I’ve said before, being a solopreneur is filled with challenges. The right connections can help you take on some or even all of those challenges so you can reduce costs, increase efficiencies, and of course, help your company grow.

Let’s say you’re a cosmetics manufacturer. Think about how expensive everything is going to be if you have to source all the raw materials by yourself. Partnering with reliable suppliers can help cut down costs and ensure that the products you’re manufacturing are up to standards.

You can also enter into partnerships with businesses to develop new technologies or to share distribution and increase each other’s market share. If you’re a start-up with start-up woes, maybe a co-founder can help solve those issues.

3. Strengthen Your Brand Identity

The more your company grows, the more you’ll have to build brand equity. You don’t want to be the “other guys,” the one customers go to when their preferred company can’t temporarily fulfill their wants or needs.

You want to be top of mind among your target customers. And to do that you have to connect with them on an emotional level. Customers have to have an attachment to your products or services so they’ll keep patronizing your business.

As one of the most important business growth strategies there is, brand building isn’t a one-time thing. You have to keep doing it if you want to scale up your business.

But don’t just do things to please everybody. It’s an impossible task. Keep your eyes on your target customers and find ways to satisfy and inspire them.

4. Track Results

Can you improve things you can’t measure?

If you know which areas of your business are contributing to profitability, then you know which ones to allocate more resources to. Likewise, if you know which areas are hindering the growth of your company, you can either work to optimize them or do away with them altogether.

Don’t be scared of data. Cliche as it may sound, knowledge is power. The more information you have, the easier it is to implement changes and see which ones are delivering results.

This also applies to adding revenue streams. If you’ve identified new ones, you have to make sure they’re sustainable in the long-term.

5. Keep Customers for Life

Most people think of business growth as acquiring new customers. It’s not wrong but it also doesn’t present the whole picture.

You see, new customers could be one-time buyers. And while that’s not exactly a bad thing, they obviously aren’t as valuable as your loyal customers. This is why as far as business growth strategies are concerned, customer retention is one of those things business owners have to pay close attention to.

According to Harvard Business Review, customer acquisition is 5 to 25 times more expensive than customer retention. It goes on to say that just by improving customer retention rates by 5%, you can increase profits by 25 to 95%.

95%! Can you imagine just how profitable your business could be if you just work hard at keeping your customers happy for a long, long time?

6. Learn from Your Competitors

You know your company’s strengths and weaknesses. But what about your competitors?

If your customers are flocking to your competitors because they are offering better prices, you should consider your pricing strategy. Now, that doesn’t mean just drastically reducing your products’ prices.

If you’re selling top of the line products, slashing prices isn’t the way to level the playing field. What you should do is stick to your premium pricing but highlight your customer service and emphasize high-quality marketing.

Remember, what works for your competitors may not work for you. Or they might work for you but you could be doing it in a way that increases your USP or unique selling proposition. The key here is to understand their failures and successes, so you can take advantage of them in a way that benefits your company.

7. Stay Flexible

All the business growth strategies in the world cannot help you if you don’t know how to be a good leader to your people. That means knowing how to evolve at every stage of your company’s growth, which is easier said than done.

Being a good leader stems from being self-aware. It’s definitely not “I’m better than you, that’s why I’m the boss.” Self-awareness can guide you to invest in the right talent, build relationships with the right people, and use the right insights to innovate and lead.

Need More Advice on Business Growth Strategies?

Feel free to browse my blog. I regularly write about business, management, startups, and other topics that are of interest to entrepreneurs and business executives.

You can also leave me a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Local Internet Advertising

A Complete Guide to Local Internet Advertising

Aug 17, 2017

Are you a business owner looking for ways to improve your local internet advertising?

If so, it can be well worth the effort for you and your business.

According to Business 2 Community, 50 percent of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within one day. Sixty percent of American adults use a smartphone or tablet for a local search for products or service information.

Needless to say, your local advertising campaign online matters.

Read on for a complete guide on how your business can make the most of local internet advertising.

Build Your Website for Local SEO

How you build your website can be one of your most effective parts of local internet advertising.

You should focus on local search engine optimization (SEO). This is how you rank in search engine results for searches by others in your area. According to Google, 50 percent of local searches by mobile users lead to an in-store visit within one day. 

Your website should contain accurate contact information, including address and business hours. Your “about us” page should also include your city, industry and business name.

Consider including a blog on your website and writing articles regularly. This should include well-written articles about relevant topics in your industry.

According to Tech Client, a website with blog content has 434% more indexed pages. These are pages that help your site rank higher in search engine results.

Leverage Social Media Accounts

Your social media accounts are more than just a way to advertise creatively in the digital age.

They are a great way for you to interact with your customers and create a following online. For example, you can invite customers to rate your company. They can also write reviews on your products or services.

You can also help promote your social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter. One way to do this is by providing coupons or other offers only found there. This way you give customers an incentive to connect with these accounts.

Utilize Google Places

Being a member of Google Places is a great way for your company to gain some visibility online.

Google Places is a directory of local businesses that show up on a map when someone performs a Google search in their area for your industry.

But it’s not enough to create a profile. You need to make the most of your listing by ensuring you have accurate contact and address information, pictures, and videos. 

Wrapping Up: Local Internet Advertising Matters

When it comes to advertising your business, how you do it online can be the first impression you make on a prospective customer. 

Focus your website design on helping it to rank highly in search engine results. This way your business will be found online by people in your area who are interested in your industry.

If you’d like to learn more about how to build an effective online advertising campaign, contact me, Rafferty Pendery.

I am a tech entrepreneur, VC and international speaker with a passion for helping others grow their businesses.

Tech Entrepreneur

5 Tips on Becoming a Successful Tech Entrepreneur

Aug 14, 2017

Do you have a great idea for a tech solution that the world needs? If so, becoming a tech entrepreneur might be the ideal career path for you!

While setting your own hours and handling all aspects of your business might sound like an exciting opportunity, the reality is that creating a new tech company from the ground up requires hard work, commitment, and a significant dedication to your craft.

Yet, while the input may be great, the good news is the reward can be even greater. In fact, venture capitalists invested more than $56 billion in startups in 2016 alone, and that number continues to rise.

So, do you want in?

Today, we’re discussing five ways to succeed as you step into the world of tech entrepreneurship.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!

1. Find Passionate People

As you grow your company, your employees will quickly become the backbone of your business. As such, it’s vital to hire ones that are as enthusiastic and passionate about your solution as you are.

Steve Jobs is famously quoted as saying that when making a hiring decision at Apple, he was primarily interested in one thing — did that person love Apple?

When explaining his reasoning, Jobs said, “Because if they fall in love with Apple, everything else will take care of itself.”

As a tech entrepreneur, you may be at the helm of your business. Yet, your employees will be responsible for many of the processes that keep its gears running smoothly.

As such, you’ll want — and need — teammates that care as deeply as you do about what you’re selling.

2. Survey the Landscape

While you might think your offering is the best new idea to hit the tech market, chances are you could be up against scores of competitors offering a similar solution.

To stand out and get noticed, take a look at what’s currently being provided in your niche. Then, determine how your product or service is unique, and strive to highlight these differentiators.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and pick the brains of your industry peers, especially those with more experience than you. As you grow into your role as a tech entrepreneur, you’ll find that there’s something to be learned from everyone you meet — yes, even your competition.

So follow your passions and pursue your dreams fervently, but don’t forget to look up once in a while to see what everyone else is doing.

Studies show that sharing knowledge and communicating with other professionals is crucial for growth, though only 25% of executives are effectively doing so. Join that one-quarter and see what a difference it makes.

3. Meet a Need

You may have heard the statistic circulating around that Internet that 90% of startups fail. What’s discussed less frequently are the reasons behind this staggering figure.

The chief reason only one in 10 will succeed? Almost half (42%) of founders polled responded that there was no market need. 

This reason came in at the top, posing an even greater threat than a lack of funds (29%), a team that didn’t fit (23%) and pressure from competition (19%).

The takeaway? Even if you have all the capital you need, a stellar team, and little to no competition, if you aren’t providing a product or service that people actually need, it could be difficult to secure a spot in the tech landscape.

Today, technology allows us to create software and systems that perform all kinds of functions. From automated floss dispensers to a Bluetooth-connected toaster, there’s virtually no limit to what we can create when given the capacity.

Yet, being a tech entrepreneur requires an incredible investment of time, energy, and resources — not just from yourself, but from your team as well.

To boost your ROI and up your odds of success, pinpoint your target demographic. Then, determine what those consumers prioritize, prefer, and typically purchase.

How does your solution fit into that? If you aren’t sure, it might be time to re-evaluate your vision.

4. Manage Inputs and Outputs

Though much of being a tech entrepreneur centers on following your dream, the all-important, yet less glamorous administrative aspect cannot be overlooked.

At the end of the day, successfully managing your resources can make all the difference in succeeding and barely scraping by.

Especially in the beginning stages, every incoming dollar counts. The way you invest it back into your company is critical. To maintain the balance, you may have to get creative with the way you allocate income.

Are sky-high salaries burning a hole through your profits? Consider if you can offer lower pay but better benefits, offering employees morale-boosting incentives such as happy hours and comped meals to cut costs.

In the same vein, you’ll also be required to sharpen your time management skills. When you’re your own boss, that freedom can be incredibly liberating — and simultaneously overwhelming. 

Without set working hours, you can easily become burnt out. In fact, Gallup poll data reveals that 34% of entrepreneurs said they experienced worry “a lot of the day yesterday,” up four percentage points from all other workers. In addition, 45% experienced stress that same day, up three percentage points from the worker average.

In a nutshell, it’s important to focus not only on how you’re spending and investing your money but also your time. A successful entrepreneur will seek balance in both.

5. Plan Your Future

Before making any new move as a tech entrepreneur, make sure you have a detailed business plan in place. Creating one is crucial to making sure your company has a roadmap for the future.

Strategizing how your company will respond to changes in the market, new competition, fluctuations in profit margin, team growth, and more is a valuable first step.

As you craft your plan, be sure to account for some flexibility. What you think will work in 2017 might not be as applicable or important by 2020. In that case, sticking tight to your blueprint could do more harm than good.

Allow yourself the freedom to transition into a new phase if necessary, but build a solid foundation first. A business plan can help you get there by forcing you to put down on paper all the ideas and tangents that have been swirling in your head.

Not sure what to include in your plan? The U.S. Small Business Administration provides some helpful guidelines.

Straight from the Source: Advice from a Tech Entrepreneur

Now that you know a little more about how to succeed as a tech entrepreneur, do you still believe the path is for you? If so, I’d love to share my tips on how to navigate this rewarding, but sometimes tricky, landscape.

I provide relevant industry-related articles to help you ace the business management game. From branding strategies to social media, I’ll show you the ropes as you take each step along the journey.

To learn more, feel free to contact me and let’s connect!

brand strategy

How Brand Strategy Affects Organic Search Metrics

Aug 1, 2017

What’s the power of your brand?

Is it like a magnet drawing in more clicks, more engagement, more mentions and — most importantly — more sales?

Your brand strategy determines how the world sees you. But does it affect organic search metrics? Is its impact tangible? Or are you dealing with yet another unmeasurable in your marketing campaign?

Let’s take a look at how brand strategy impacts your organic traffic and how very measurable that impact can be.

Brand Awareness Through Brand Strategy

Ah, the power of familiarity.

People are drawn to what they know. They don’t even have to know much about you in the early stages of brand awareness.

Simply by recognizing you, they’re more likely to click. They’re more likely to check out your new offerings. They’re more likely listen to what you have to say because they know you.

The exact number is questionable. But research shows that it takes somewhere between 7 and 12 touches with your brand before a potential customer becomes an actual one. Each of these new clicks gets you that much closer to achieving marketing goals.

What does this mean for your organic search metrics? If they’ve entered a keyword and your brand’s name comes up, rather than click on a competitor, they click on the name they know.

Click through rate (CTR) is a known search engine ranking factor. This, therefore, contributes to your search engine ranking. CTR will have a positive effect on ranking as long as you’re providing the right user and customers experiences, which we’ll discuss next.

User Experience

Your user experience encompasses elements like:

  • Site speed
  • Mobile friendliness
  • Layout of your site
  • Easy to use navigation

User experience is an important part of your brand strategy. Your focus — or lack thereof — on your visitor’s experience says a lot about your brand.

If people are confused or frustrated by the experience on your website, they will flee.

Fleeing visitors would mean an increased bounce rate. Bounce rate is a term used to describe people leaving your site without interacting with it.

This is a known factor in search engine rankings. So it will affect your organic traffic.

Customer Experience

Through your brand strategy, you not only attract new visits; you engage them, keeping them on your site longer and increasing their click through to additional website pages.

You do this by:

  • Making compelling offers
  • Telling your story
  • Appealing to emotions
  • Offering valuable information
  • And so on

Creating the right experience for your customers is an important brand strategy that:

  • Helps new customers connect with your brand on a deeper level
  • Helps new customers connect faster
  • Increases brand loyalty
  • Increases promoter activity (sharing, liking, 5-star reviewing, recommending)

The impact on your organic search metrics is multi-faceted.

1st, visitors keep coming back because you’re creating a great customer experience = increased CTR = improved organic rankings

2nd, you’re keeping people on your site longer = decreased bounce rate = improved organic rankings

3rd, you’re increasing referral traffic from promoter activity = more traffic = improved organic rankings

Improving Branded Searches

Because of additional promoter activity caused through your brand strategy, you’ll see an increase in people asking for your website by name.

Instead of typing in a keyword, they’ll enter the name of your company or the website address into the search box.

This may either take them directly to your site. Or it may take them to search results that include you — and all of the websites who wish they were you.

Regardless, they’ll go to your website, increasing the organic and direct traffic to your site.

Research isn’t conclusive because you can’t create branded traffic in a vacuum, eliminating other ranking factors. But it’s strongly suspected by experts that these types of searches have a great impact on search rankings.

You’ll see increases in branded searches in the form of direct traffic in Google Analytics.

Measuring Brand Awareness ROI

Measuring how brand awareness is impacting your organic metrics allows to see the fruits of your labor and know you’re on the right track.

You need these measures called “micro-conversions” because sometimes financial rewards are delayed due to that 7-12 touches rule stated earlier.

Let’s look at several measures to gauge the impact of our brand strategy on organic metrics.

CTR

Your click through rate applies to both organic searches and your paid searches through FaceBook, Adwords, etc.

In both cases, because there’s greater brand awareness, you should see your CTR increase.

Direct Traffic

In Google Analytics (GA), you can view the sources of your website traffic. Among them, you’ll find direct traffic. Direct traffic is generated by users who type in your website’s URL and go straight to your website. You should see an increase in direct traffic.

Mentions

With greater promoter activity, your mentions will increase. That’s more reviews as well as mentions in social, blogs, forums and all over the web. You can track mentions with paid tracking tools like Mention or track social mentions through social media sites.

Social Referral Traffic

The number of visitors who arrive from social media will also increase. You can view these social referrals in GA.

Bounce Rate

Your bounce rate will decrease because visitors care what you have to say, care about what you offer and you provide the right experience.

Natural Backlinks

You can use tools like AHrefs or Serps to check the number of backlinks on your website. More people are linking to you because of your brand strategy.

Organic Traffic

All of the above contributes to increased organic traffic.

Increased Conversion of Leads to Customers

Your ultimate goal in a brand strategy is typically to increase sales while reducing acquisition costs. Here as well you’ll see a measurable impact of your strategy.

More Strategy Solutions

Measuring how your strategy impacts organic metrics will help you improve the return on your branding efforts and achieve your branding goals.

If you’d like to learn more about branding strategy, social media, PR and marketing, visit my blog and contact me, Rafferty Pendery, Tech Entrepreneur, VC and International Speaker.