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.

types of organizational culture

3 Types of Organizational Culture (Plus 1 to Avoid)

Jul 31, 2017

For business owners, decision makers, and stakeholders in any company there has never been a more important time to focus on culture. Recognized as a key to retaining top talent, solidifying your brand, and presenting a positive image to the market, culture has the power to make or break your company.

Linking your culture to your brand may seem a little risky, but it is important. Without a strategy to create and build on culture in connection to your goals you may find that your efforts go nowhere.

There are different types of organizational culture. Most of them can help your business thrive, with a few exceptions.

Wondering which culture fits your business best? Here are the 3 top types, and one to avoid:

1. Make It A Mission

For some organizations, the health of the business comes second to an overall cause. Of course, this can be intimidating to some business leaders who see their bottom line at risk.

But giving your organization a larger mission or cause can work to motivate the entire company. Experts say that after approximately $75,000 employees value culture over money.

What better way to make employees feel valued than to give them an important mission to accomplish every day?

2. Baseball Team Culture

One of the most employee-centric types of organizational culture is a baseball team or team approach. In these organizations, the customer comes second to the overall health of the team.

In addition, roles are clearly defined as with baseball. But in a baseball team keeping the players happy is paramount– so long as they perform.

Rather than work around the needs of the client, these organizations work to keep their employees happy. They know that happy employees mean innovation and happy clients in the long run.

3. The Customer Always Wins

Rather than an employee focus, or a mission focus, there are organizations whose sole preoccupation is with the customer. The customer is always right in these organizations.

And while these types of organizational culture models are effective for creating client loyalty, they aren’t always the best fit for everyone. For cutting edge companies that are trying to stay ahead of the trends this culture may not work.

The simple reason is that many innovators believe that customers don’t know what they want yet. Their job is to make it happen.

But in today’s social media and live video culture, many companies could benefit from a more customer-focused philosophy. In the digital age, customers who win reward businesses again and again.

Avoid These Types Of Organizational Culture

The cover your ass or the finger pointing culture can be one of the worst things to happen to your company. When employees are only motivated by avoiding the negative they are discouraged from implementing process improvement.

In addition, it’s nearly impossible to foster an entrepreneurial spirit in this atmosphere. This is the company where no one wants to stick their neck out– in case it gets chopped off!

Unfortunately, each of these cultures needs to be managed and fostered. They are not a stagnant thing.

I can help you create and maintain a culture that works for you! Contact me today for more information on my services and how they can spell success for your business.

technology skills

Become a Better Leader With These 5 Technology Skills

Jul 18, 2017

Being a leader is more than telling others what to do. 

Often, it involves showing the way and leading by example. When you have key soft skills and technical proficiency, it will be far easier to be a great leader in your organization.

Managing data was at the top of Time’s list of vital career skills. Technology cannot be overlooked, no matter what industry you work in. Here are five technology skills that will make you a better leader.

Using Virtual Communication Tools

More and more full-time employees are working from home, and companies frequently use independent contractors as advances in technology make staying in touch simple. If you can manage a virtual team using key software, you will have a skill that is in exceptionally high demand.

Communicating remotely isn’t easy. Body language is a major part of how people send and receive information, as is tone of voice. Many people say that only 7% of communication is about the actual words spoken.

As a leader, you can use a variety of tools to overcome communication barriers. You can use video conferencing to bring a lot of non-verbal communication back to remote teams. There are also a variety of project management and collaboration tools available.

Managing remote teams effectively is a key technology skill for today’s leaders.

Familiarity with Your Company’s Tech

Whether you work for a technology company or a manufacturer, all organizations use technology. As an effective leader, you need to be aware of the details of how the technology that’s important to your business works.

Obviously, this doesn’t mean that you have to be able to build the company’s tech from scratch, but if you have little to no idea how it works, you won’t be a successful leader. Every day your employees have to use the technology to succeed or create the tech you sell.

If you are not able to skillfully use, understand, and teach others about your company’s technology, you will be limited in how far you can go as a leader. Technology skills are not declining, they are instead becoming more complex, and you can be on the leading edge.

Understanding Data Analysis

As a leader, you need to be aware of the data your company generates and how to use it to its full potential. In today’s computerized and internet-connected world, every organization produces a wealth of customer data that can be mined for insight.

Data science is an essential business tool for leaders, not just the analysts who create reports. Analytics is about both technical skills and thinking skills. You should know how to separate good data from bad data, understand how assumptions affect your understanding, and more.

When you can stand up and give a presentation based on data you truly understand, you’ll bring additional insight into the situation. You can give excellent recommendations that are not based on faulty assumptions or an incomplete picture of a situation.

As a leader, you also make important choices about which problems in the business should be investigated and solved. When you understand the data available and the impact that each concern is having on your bottom line, you will be far better able to make these decisions.

Process Analysis and Improvement

No matter what industry you work in, processes govern workflow and production.

Understanding these processes is vital for any leader, but you can take things a step further. Become a better leader by developing skills in process analysis and improvement.

Understanding a process requires you to use technology skills, analysis, critical thinking, and more. You will need to be able to map the flow of work and detect slowdowns. You will need to understand how much a process change will cost and how much money it will save.

Perhaps most importantly, process improvements require change management. This requires the use of both technology and people skills to help your staff understand and adapt to change. There are many ways to encourage buy-in, and an excellent leader will have the skills required to help with the transition.

Data Security

Understanding and managing the security of data is a task that should concern every leader. From customer data protection to proprietary company information, data is a key asset in all businesses.

You may think that data security is a concern for IT, rather than for leaders like you. That’s far from the case. 80% of companies say that “end user carelessness” is the biggest security threat to their organizations.

As a leader, you can have a lot of influence on how well you and your team use security processes. When you fully understand the importance and process of data security, you can become an advocate for data safety. This technology skill helps you become a significant asset to your organization.

The Need for Technology Skills Is Increasing

As the “internet of things,” the cloud, and other technological aspects of business grow, the need for technology skills will increase as well. As a leader, you have an obligation to your organization to learn all you can to support your company.

When you gain these key skills, you will be able to lead not just from authority but by example. Your understanding of key technology will help your employees build respect for you. It will also contribute to higher level leaders seeing you as an asset to the company.

No one can become indispensable, but the fastest way to become replaceable is to stop learning and developing your skills. Instead, take the time to study how you can support remote teams. Learn the ins and outs of your company’s technology. Learn how to analyze data and keep it secure. Work on process improvements and change management.

When you master technology skills along with the usual soft skills of leadership, such as communication, you will be head and shoulders above many other leaders. You’ll stand out, and will have many opportunities to advance your career!

If you’re interested in learning more about how to be a great leader, subscribe to our blog today!

co-founder

How to Know If Your Start-up Needs a Co-Founder

Jul 17, 2017

Finding success as an entrepreneur can be hard, but it’s not impossible. With the right connections and enough hard work, success can be achieved.

However, if you’re looking to ease the process a bit, consider a co-founder. A business with two founders is more likely to be successful. Having a business partner can help relax some of the start-up woes.

Before selecting a partner, you’ll want to ensure that you are choosing wisely.

Picking a business partner isn’t a decision to take lightly. Read on to learn about the benefits of a co-founder and how to pick one.

Benefits of a Co-founder

There are a number of benefits to having a business partner. Let’s discuss a few of them.

1. It becomes a team effort.

Managing the early stages of a company can be difficult. From paperwork to networking, there are an endless amount of tasks.

With a partner, you can split the workload. This makes the process much more manageable. A partnership also keeps both parties accountable.

At the same time, you both bring different experiences and knowledge to the table. When it comes to delegating tasks, it’s much easier if one of the founders has more experience than the other.

2. More networking opportunities.

Having connections as a start-up is a must.

As time passes, you’ll have new questions and face new challenges. On your own, you only have your network to consult.

With a business partner, there is another network to tap into. Having two communities for support can make all the difference.

3. One on one support.

Building a business requires plenty of outside support.

With a business partner, you’ll get more personalized help. You’ll receive the benefit of having someone who is on the journey with you.

Ideally, your co-founder will be there to support you and to guide business decisions.

What to Look for in a Business Partner

Once you’ve decided to seek a business partner, don’t take the decision lightly. Your choice can make or break your startup.

When selecting a partner, keep this information in mind:

Your business partner should fill in gaps.

Take a look at your background. What experience or knowledge are you missing? The co-founder you choose should provide what you are lacking.

Maybe you have an MBA, but have no technical knowledge. Your business partner will need to bring technical experience to the table.

Think with the future in mind.

As an entrepreneur, making business decisions is vital. Every decision you make should consider the future. The business partner you choose should be one that makes sense in the long run.

Do your personalities mesh? Do you trust this person? Can you envision long-term business with him/her?

Answer these questions before making your decision.

Business 101 from an Experienced Professional

Are you looking to learn about entrepreneurship? Want to add to your business knowledge? If so, check out Rafferty Pendery.

We offer a wide-range of business information. From advertising to branding, we’ve covered it!

Contact us today for the business information you need.

brand yourself

Why It’s Important To Brand Yourself

Jun 30, 2017

Successful entrepreneurs and business owners know the effect that good branding has on their sales.

Developing a strong, well-established brand is one of the most important things you can do for your business. So you create a logo, a catchy business name and headline, have your packaging sorted out and publish content on a daily basis.

But many entrepreneurs don’t realize that they can grow their business even more through effective personal branding.

So how can you develop a personal brand along with your business brand? How can you do it and still stay focused on your big goals?

Keep reading to find out why it’s crucial to brand yourself and how to do that successfully.

Why It’s Important to Brand Yourself

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a solopreneur or a business owner, you have to work very hard to position your product or service on the market.

One part of your business success is related to the quality of what you’re offering and the other parts are the branding and the relationship you build with your potential customers.

This is where personal branding comes into play. It’s basically your chance to tell people your story and connect with them on an emotional level. This will establish trust and credibility.

Another reason to brand yourself is to stand out from the crowd. This is important in an overly saturated market.

One of the best ways to do so is through social media. If you use these platforms the right way, you can connect with other like-minded business owners. You can meet people who may have business opportunities for you.

How to Brand Yourself for Success

Creating a personal brand alongside your business brand is easy if you know where to begin.

For example, attending as many networking events as you can is essential for spreading the word about your business. It’s also important for meeting other entrepreneurs with innovative ideas.

Networking is a great way to expand your connections and meet people who can help you grow your brand.

Another way to brand yourself is to connect with your customers on a personal basis. Tell them the story of your brand and how you started it. Listen to what your audience says, the feedback they give you, and what they’d like to see next.

Paying attention to your customers’ needs and implementing them in the future will help them trust you.

One of the best parts of developing a personal brand is the opportunity to show your personality. You can do this through creating online content and videos. Show people that behind your successful brand stands an equally successful person.

Bottom Line

Creating a personal brand for yourself and your business at the same time may seem daunting, especially if you’ve never done it before.

But if you learn how to approach and execute it, you’ll find it incredibly rewarding both personally and professionally.

More and more entrepreneurs and business owners invest their time and work into personal branding and it’s what takes them to new heights.

hiring independent contractors

The Benefits of Hiring Independent Contractors

Jun 26, 2017

“Should I hire independent contractors?”

It’s a hand-wringer for many business managers. It might come up as your business experiences a sudden surge, or when the chance to bid on a huge contract presents itself.

The independent workforce now makes up over 40% of US workers, so there may be no better time to tap into that resource. But is it right for you?

While we can’t answer that question outright, we can give you the tools to understand why hiring independent contractors could be a real benefit to your company.

Give yourself flexibility

Everybody wants to be able to do everything in today’s commercial marketplace.

Partly that’s because we all want to be ready to respond to the latest changes in our industry. That could be anything from developing technology to a social media trend.

Hiring independent contractors is a great way to add that flexibility to your organization. With traditional employees, your ability to capitalize on situations is limited by the skill set of your employees and the long lead-times involved in the hiring process.

You could hire new employees, sure, but then who’s to say their skills will remain relevant to you over time?

Independent contractors are also great for managing changing business needs. You can bring on a retinue of contractors to cope with high volumes of work or a particular project without needing to find a niche for them when the work reduces back to normal levels or the project comes to an end.

Save on expenses

It’s no secret that regular employees come with a lot of requirements and expenses employers must meet or incur.

Among the considerations for a company hiring employees are:

  • Providing space for employees to work. This will include health & safety considerations as well as comfort.
  • HR support to deal with parental needs, ambitious or underperforming employees, requirements to show continued professional development, and other personal and interpersonal issues such as stress and disputes.
  • Benefits such as health insurance, pension etc.
  • Continued payment for employees outside of a usual working pattern, such as long-term sickness and parental needs.
  • Compensation in the event of accident or injury
  • Meeting travel and training expenses

All of these add up to a lot of expense for an employer. And that’s fine if you’re investing in your company’s future and trying to build a skilled in-house team.

But you don’t always need that. By hiring independent contractors, you can bypass a lot of these expenses while still completing work.

Independent contractors may have a higher payment per hour, but when you factor in the extra investment of time and money into regular employees, the savings soon become obvious.

You can hire independent contractors fully-trained without any of the other financial obligations to your company except their salary.

Protect your company

As we’ve covered, regular employees can need a lot of maintenance to keep them happy. What happens when the employer/employee relationship breaks down?

Lawsuits can be devastating for a company. By hiring independent contractors, you can insulate yourself from this risk.

Contractors aren’t your direct employees, so you don’t have the same legal responsibilities for them as you would a regular employee.

Here’s a selection of rights held by regular employees that you won’t have to worry about when hiring independent contractors:

  • Right to form a union
  • Right to sick or parental leave
  • Protection from employment discrimination (except racial discrimination)
  • Right to minimum wage and increased overtime payment

So hiring independent contractors can ensure your core business doesn’t become eclipsed by legal issues and expensive payouts in the event of a dispute.

Anything that allows you to focus on what you do well gives you an advantage over competitors distracted by other issues.

There are some legalities you’ll need to keep in mind. Your written contract will need to be smart to set the terms of employment. You’ll also need to consider things like the question of what happens to intellectual property created by independent contractors.

Recruit quickly

Recruitment can be a hellish process for all involved.

Timescales are long. Even after posting a job ad, you’ll often have set a closing deadline and be unable to advance before then. Following which you need to go through the lengthy and time-consuming process of interviewing candidates.

It can often take a least a month before the candidate is able to come and work for you.

And this all supposes you’ve found the right candidate and that the hiring won’t turn out to be a mistake. It’s also pretty common for new employees to change their minds and jump ship within weeks.

In some cases, you can go through all this for just a single employee.

By contrast, hiring independent contractors lets you get boots on the ground quickly. You can mass-hire, skip interviews (even if you conduct a less intensive skills check), and deploy within weeks rather than months.

Being able to deploy workers so quickly could be the difference between winning or losing a contract, or delivering a project to budget.

It can also allow you to manage harmful backlogs.

Expand your scope by hiring independent contractors

Depending on the nature of your industry, you may find that hiring more employees isn’t the best way to scale up your business. The extra overheads of regular employees may keep your company at a certain size.

Hiring independent contractors can be an effective way to break through that ceiling. You can effectively inflate the size of your workforce and the size of your company.

Knowing you can bring in independent contractors to cover more ambitious work gives you a realistic way to beat your competitors without taking dangerous risks.

Independent contractors may help you punch above your weight in your chosen industry. You may even find they help you snowball to the point where you can afford to invest in more regular employees.

So next time you see an uptick in your work or need to meet the requirements of a project, consider hiring independent contractors and feel the benefits.

For more business tips, follow my blog or head on over to my Contact Page if you need to get in touch!

 

 

small scale business ideas

How To Turn Your Small Scale Business Ideas To Reality

Jun 16, 2017

small scale business ideas

Are you are an entrepreneur with a small scale business idea?

If so, you shouldn’t stop there!

With the right mindset and dedication, you can help turn your small scale business ideas into a reality.

As of September 2015, there were 27 million working-age Americans who started or were running a new business.

That makes up nearly 14% of all working-age Americans!

Part of being a successful entrepreneur is creating a good idea and having the passion, intelligence and work ethic to develop.

Read on to learn how to turn your small scale business ideas to reality.

Identify Your Goals

To bring your small scale business ideas to life, you need to have clearly identified goals.

What product or service are you offering your customers that they cannot get anywhere else?

If your product or service is not the first of its kind, how are you doing this better than the competition?

Once you answer questions like this, you should identify how your product or service will help to solve a problem your customers are facing.

Your goals should be narrowly tailored so that you can measure your progress towards each of them. You should also be careful to ensure that you are setting both short-term and long-term goals.

By doing this, you have a measuring stick for your small business as your idea becomes a reality.

Understand Your Market

Even the best idea can fall flat if you don’t understand your target market.

What are the demographics of the market you are targeting with your product or service?

By identifying this market, you can determine the ways that you can connect with them the best.

This might be through presentations, emails, your website or a combination of different ways.

Understanding your market will also help you to competitively price your product or service. If you are too high or too low, you risk missing out on valuable business opportunities.

Find Funding

You should also be prepared for where to find funding for your small scale business ideas.

Depending on your idea, you may able to fund the initial start-up costs yourself.

But if your small scale idea is bigger or more costly than you think, you may need to seek funding from a bank or investors who may want a stake of ownership in your business.

Make Small Scale Business Ideas a Reality

Bringing your ideas to life in the form of a business can be challenging but rewarding.

You need to ensure you spend time brainstorming your idea and how it fits into the current and future of your industry. But making your idea a reality also requires understanding your target market and identifying your goals.

If you need more funding than what you have on your own, you will need to find it from other sources, which will require you selling someone else on the idea of your product or service.

Rafferty Pendery is an entrepreneur and a venture capitalist who is here to help others who share a passion for business.

Contact him today to learn more about how he can make your business dreams become a reality!

entrepreneurial development

7 Ways to Improve Yourself as an Entrepreneur

Jun 13, 2017

Did you know that nearly 70% of all entrepreneurs start by running their businesses from their home? 

What about the fact that entrepreneurship is responsible for creating over 3 million jobs in the United States alone? 

The reality is that, no matter what industry you choose to work in, where you start your company from, or even how many employees you have, you need to have an incredible drive in order to succeed as an entrepreneur. 

Of course, drive alone isn’t enough. You also need to continually and rigorously work to refine and better your personal entrepreneurial development. 

How can you make sure you’re doing that? 

You can start by reading this article. 

In it, we’re telling you the top 7 things you can do to grow entrepreneurial development and become a better entrepreneur. 

1. Surround Yourself With Good People

The company you keep is one of the most important factors when it comes to entrepreneurial development. 

We know you’re already probably attending tons of events, talks, and other networking events in your industry. 

But keep in mind that, in order to keep developing your own skills, it’s not enough to just milk these connections to grow your business. You have to be willing to really learn skills from others on your team or in your larger industry. 

You also need to know how to delegate tasks according to what each member of your team is good at. This can be difficult, as it will often mean acknowledging your own shortcomings. 

However, the reality is that every person on your team is an asset in their own unique way (which is why it’s so crucial to hire a diverse team.) 

You want to find people who share your vision of success and who you work well with, but they need to be leaders just as much as you are. Ask yourself what you can learn from everyone on your team, and what you can teach them in return.

2. Know How To Measure Your Progress

We all want success – but unfortunately, it never comes overnight. 

Instead of focusing on one giant (often unattainable at your current phase of business, anyway) goal, you need to break it down into several smaller goals that you can actually reach. 

This won’t just hone your entrepreneurial development and keep you motivated to moving forward. 

It will also allow you to clearly evaluate whether or not the current steps you’re taking, and methods you’re using, are actually effective. 

3. Outsource What You Can

Especially at the start of your business, you need to seriously evaluate how much time you’re losing every day to tasks that, in the end, could really be done by someone else. 

As an entrepreneur, every minute of your day is incredibly valuable – and every wasted one represents a real loss.

To foster your own entrepreneurial development, ask yourself and your team to think of the tasks that can only be done by them, that could probably be done by someone else (especially down the line) and that could easily be outsourced.

For example, only you can meet and pitch your company, vision, and projections to a potential million-dollar investor. However, someone else can probably run the updates on your computer.

4. Know How To Lead

Even if you’re just starting out, we know you ultimately want to still be in charge when your company grows to a multi-million dollar empire. 

But to do that, you’re going to need to teach yourself how to be a good leader. This doesn’t just mean managing your specific team. 

It means becoming an innovative thought leader in your field of choice. 

Ask yourself: what are you continuously doing every day to make sure you know the latest news and trends in your industry? How are you incorporating that into your own management style and product/services? 

Always learn from mistakes – your own, and other people’s. Make sure those you work with feel valued, and take the time to listen to and ask for their ideas. 

5. Take Risks

Especially in today’s hyper-competitive world, if you don’ take risks as an entrepreneur, you’re never going to see the kind of growth you want – personally and professionally. 

If you’re not comfortable playing around with money, keep in mind that there are lots of other ways to take risks. 

Hire someone who thinks differently than you do. Attend an industry event with people you look up to, and make it a point to talk to them. Take on a bigger client.

Do something that your competition is afraid to. 

It’s the only way you’re going to be able to differentiate yourself.

6. Avoid Distractions

Yes, it’s true – in order to get the most out of every day, you’re going to have to schedule your time like crazy. 

This also means that you need to be incredibly protective of it. 

Especially in today’s world, it’s easy for a “quick five-minute break” to turn into a long lunch, cocktails, happy hour, and a hangover the next day. If you don’t see your time as one of the most valuable aspects of your business, you won’t make it far. 

This doesn’t mean you can’t take breaks. In fact, they’re incredibly important when it comes to keeping you productive! It just means that these breaks need to be scheduled.

Give yourself at least 5 minutes every hour to unwind. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself losing hours of time later. 

7. Always Remember Why You Started

Accepting some losses and going through some challenging times are an important part of entrepreneurial development. But often, especially if these are big losses, it can make you feel like you want to quit. 

When this happens, think back to why you started your company in the first place. What problem did you want to solve? Who would you help? What do you love about it? 

This will encourage you to push yourself through the tough times. 

Build Up Your Entrepreneurial Development With These Tips!

Thanks to these tips, you’re ready to make this the year your company hits its all-time highs! 

Looking for more ways to motivate yourself and manage your time

Want to know what else you can do to push yourself to grow? 

Check out the blog and website to ensure that you never let another opportunity pass you by.