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The Why and How Of Developing a Reading Culture

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Like most people, our reading habits center around tweets, Facebook updates, or the directions on our instant oatmeal packet. If you’re one of countless people who don’t make a habit of reading regularly, you might be missing out.

Entrepreneurs and other successful people usually start out small, but if they get the right kind of traction, then their success can even skyrocket overnight. These folks live on the edge of immense profit and total loss and need to change constantly and adapt to the ever changing market trends to survive and make profits as well. Although, it is a known fact that entrepreneurs are natural leaders and possess many unique skills that make them capable of great success.

But just like every other skill you too need to be honed and polished to maximize the efficiency and the benefits derived from you.

If you are also starting out on this path or are already established and successful entrepreneur, then reading up on market trends and basics is absolutely essential for you. After all, what better way is there for entrepreneurs to be good at what they do than by reading entrepreneurial and business management related books?

E-book or Hard Copy?

Although more and more people own e-books, it seems safe to say that real books aren’t going anywhere yet. Eighty-eight percent of the adults who read e-books continue to read printed ones as well. And while we’re all for the convenience of digital downloads and a lighter load, we can’t bring ourselves to part with the joy of a good, old-fashioned read.

There’s nothing like the smell of old books or the crack of a new one’s spine. (Plus, you’ll never run low on battery.) And it turns out that diving into a page-turner can also offer benefits toward your health and happiness.

However, I encourage you to have a bunch of both e-books and hard copy ones. Although the benefits of e-books cannot be looked down upon in terms of convenience and flexibility, having a real book brings more personal engagement.

Apart from newspapers and magazines which in some cases are only available in digital forms, I recommend you buy, own and read hard copy books. Establish a library for yourself.

Why should you then read books? Well, the answer is simple, if you dream and aspire to build a tremendously successful life/business, where you call the shots, then reading up on market trends along with basic and advanced business management books is a great investment of your time. This will enable you to make better life and business decisions and stay up-to-date with the latest trends.

Reading business management, self-help books and other related books will help you to better understand the numerous intricacies of life, business and strengthen basic and advanced elements of your life and business. It will help you to gain tremendous insight on how to optimize your business processes for maximum productivity and efficiency without diminishing or dominating the other factors and elements at work.

Benefits of Reading Books

  1. Books Increase Your Knowledge and Imagination

You are only limited by what you can imagine, and the worlds described in books, as well as other people’s views and opinions, will help you expand your understanding of what is possible. By reading a written description of an event or a place, your mind is responsible for creating that image in your head, instead of having the image placed in front of you when you watch television.

Books offer an outstanding wealth of learning and at a much cheaper price than taking a course. Reading gives you a chance to consume huge amount of research in a relatively short amount of time. Anne E. Cunningham and Keith E. Stanovich’s What Reading Does for the Mind?” also noted that heavy readers tend to display greater knowledge of how things work and who or what people were. Having books at home have been strongly linked to academic achievement.

Everything you read fills your head with new bits of information, and you never know when it might come in handy. The more knowledge you have, the better-equipped you are to tackle any challenge you’ll ever face.

Additionally, here’s a bit of food for thought: should you ever find yourself in dire circumstances, remember that although you might lose everything else – your job, your possessions, your money, even your health – knowledge can never be taken from you.

  1. Slows Mental Stimulation

Studies have shown that staying mentally stimulated can slow the progress of (or possibly even prevent) Alzheimer’s and Dementia, since keeping your brain active and engaged prevents it from losing power. Just like any other muscle in the body, the brain requires exercise to keep it strong and healthy, so the phrase “use it or lose it” is particularly apt when it comes to your mind. Doing puzzles and playing games such as chess have also been found to be helpful with cognitive stimulation.

In their book Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain, Maryanne Wolf explains that “Typically, when you read, you have more time to think. Reading gives you a unique pause button for comprehension and insight. By and large, with oral language “when you watch a film or listen to a tape, you don’t press pause.” The benefits of this increased activity keeps your memory sharp and your learning capacity nimble.

  1. Reading Helps You To Discover Yourself.

In his book How to Read and Why, Harold Bloom says that we should read slowly, with love, openness, and with our inner ear cocked. He explains we should read to increase our wit and imagination, our sense of intimacy–in short, our entire consciousness–and also to heal our pain. “Until you become yourself, what benefit can you be to others?” With the endless amount of perspectives and lives we can read about, books can give us an opportunity to have experiences that we haven’t had the opportunity to, and still allow us to learn the life skills they entail. Books are a fast track to creating yourself.

4. Improved Focus and Concentration

In our internet-crazed world, attention is drawn in a million different directions at once as we multi-task through every day. In a single 5-minute span, the average person will divide their time between working on a task, checking email, chatting with a couple of people (via gchat, skype, etc.), keeping an eye on twitter, monitoring their smartphone, and interacting with co-workers. This type of ADD-like behaviour causes stress levels to rise, and lowers our productivity.

Unlike blog posts and news articles, sitting down with a book takes long periods of focus and concentration, which at first is hard to do. Being fully engaged in a book involves closing off the outside world and immersing yourself into the text, which over time will strengthen your attention span.

When you read a book, all of your attention is focused on the story—the rest of the world just falls away, and you can immerse yourself in every fine detail you’re absorbing. Try reading for 15-20 minutes before work (i.e. on your morning commute, if you take public transit), and you’ll be surprised at how much more focused you are once you get to the office.

5. Improvement of Vocabulary

Although it doesn’t always make you a better communicator, those who read tend to have a more varied range of words to express how they feel and to get their point across. This increases exponentially with the more volumes you consume, giving you a higher level of vocabulary to use in everyday life.

Exposure to published, well-written work has a noted effect on one’s own writing, as observing the cadence, fluidity, and writing styles of other authors will invariably influence your own work. In the same way that musicians influence one another, and painters use techniques established by previous masters, so do writers learn how to craft prose by reading the works of others.

6. Reading can make you more empathetic.

Getting lost in a good read can make it easier for you to relate to others. Literary fiction, specifically, has the power to help its readers understand what others are thinking by reading other people’s emotions, according to research published in Science. The impact is much more significant on those who read literary fiction as opposed to those who read nonfiction. “Understanding others’ mental states is a crucial skill that enables the complex social relationships that characterize human societies,” David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano wrote of their findings.

According to studies made by researchers from University of Toronto, reading can change some personality traits. Romance novels, for example, are likely to promote empathy. Not only romance novels though. Reading any artistic literature can make people more empathetic and understanding, because the process itself is like a conversation, getting to know a person. It also encourages readers to examine their own emotions and behaviors and makes them more open to new experiences.

7. Stronger Analytical Thinking Skills

Have you ever read an amazing mystery novel, and solved the mystery yourself before finishing the book? If so, you were able to put critical and analytical thinking to work by taking note of all the details provided and sorting them out to determine “whodunnit”.

That same ability to analyze details also comes in handy when it comes to critiquing the plot; determining whether it was a well-written piece, if the characters were properly developed, if the storyline ran smoothly, etc. Should you ever have an opportunity to discuss the book with others, you’ll be able to state your opinions clearly, as you’ve taken the time to really consider all the aspects involved.

  1. Reading Will Help You To save The World

Sounds too much? It isn’t. What this world needs the most are educated, open-minded, self-aware people, inspired and full of ideas. Reading surely creates such people, especially when it’s done in a varied way, with openness for different topics and concepts.

Additional research done at:,,,,

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Which One Suites Your StartUp Business, Publicity or Advertising?

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The process of building a startup company can seem difficult and make one feel intimidated and overwhelmed. It’s not so easy to convince people to buy into your new idea or solutions.

Building credibility for your business can be a tough venture. However it is very important for your customers to have trust in your brand. One of the ways of hacking this is through good publicity.

Publicity is the means of conveying information to the general public through the media. Media here being print media (newspapers, journals, magazine etc), television, radio, email, websites and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, blogs et cetera. With the aim to have the media attract the right attention for you.

Normally, publicity is done through a third party who may not have anything to do with the company,thereby their responses and reviews are given high weight. For instance consider going into television where you are featured because of the new product you have introduced or to give expert advice in line with your product. This gives you massive exposure at nearly no cost. It generates sales and creates awareness for your product.

With advertising, you pay for space or airtime so as to promote your product or service. This can be through print media, television, radio or billboards. This kind of marketing costs a lot of money and companies end up paying lots for this. It is a cost driven adventure, one which would be a hard nut to crack for startups.

So unlike advertising, with publicity we enjoy, a cut in expenses since it goes with nearly no cost and other benefits that come along with that.

How do we do this?

Here are some of the ways of doing this:

List events that may offer good speaking opportunities. Scout for such opportunities and use them wisely. Have you ever been into an event where the speaker spoke about a certain product or service, and then you later searched for more information about those companies? Well, that’s how this works.
Identify publications, reporters and bloggers who cover subjects that are relevant for your company. Offer good information that they can use for their releases. They quote you or an expert from your company and you hit the market. Be sure to prepare well and thorough. Write stories in their interest and offer it to them.
Event sponsorship. This is a great way to spread word of your product or service without actually organizing your own event. It’s a form of partnership where for a simple investment of funds you exchange for marketing. What’s important here is ensuring that the market targeted by the primary organizers is your target group too. Clearly know them and prepare accordingly.
Importance of publicity.

Publicity helps in building credibility and brand awareness putting you in a competitive position.
Publicity is the low cost or no cost strategy option.
Publicity can eventually help in the development of key partnerships.
Publicity places you as experts in your field.
It helps your business stand out and be noticed.
Be intentional.

Like all other things you have to be intentional about publicity. For instance if you have a story about maybe the solutions you offer and how they are better than your competitors, look for journalists. The work of journalists or bloggers is to find such stories. Make a call and present your pitch. When they say yes, this definitely becomes a plus for your business.

Used well, publicity can generate sales and place your business on the map.

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How To Hire A Team That Will Boost Your StartUp

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Most entrepreneurs start businesses to make profit. Consequently perhaps giving back to the society comes in handy unless it is a non-profitable organization. Hiring and firing one is a crucial task and that is why a technical bench is handed the mandate of interviewing people. In order to make your business thrive one should consider important factors. The problem with most entrepreneurs is that they tend to take long in building a business empire only for it to fall in a split of a second. This is mostly due to negligence. Negligence always kicks in when you start hiring the people who are not sharing your company’s vision.  I have come up with a few ideas that will help you to make a better decision the next time you are hiring.

  1. Do Not Hire Friends And Relatives

Your business will continue making losses as long as you will continue hiring the people you know or your relatives. The belief of ‘connection’ has been misconstrued to mean favors and friendship hiring. Hiring relatives most of the times means that you bring a weak force in business. Most people don’t perform their duty satisfactorily whenever they are around their friends and relatives. The better part of their job will be spent talking of their friendship or family issues. However, having a qualified person who can perform their task will be a plus to your business. Qualifications should be the key when doing hiring and not relationship. The moment relationship starts getting your way; failure takes the path of success in your business. This is what we call selective hiring rather than relative hiring. I suggest you use referrals while hiring. You can consult fellow entrepreneurs who they can recommend to work for your business in the position you are trying to fill. This helps as entrepreneurs know the qualifications and skills of the person they are recommending. You can read this article to know how referrals works.

  1. Have Three or More Days of Interview

Interview has always been a crucial part in ones career. Whichever position one is interviewing should be taken seriously. To be honest, interviews should be done in a minimum of 3 days. This will enable the personnel mandated to carry out hiring to know the potential team better. Most people interviewing with companies in a day masquerade to be what they are not. Most interviewee pretend to be people they are not and most of the time is because they have mastered the questions to be asked. All they look up to is to get into the company and get paid. Most of them don’t mean what they specify as their objective in the company. Having a three or more day’s interview with your aspiring team will assist you to know and understand well the person you want to hire. Knowing the person better will definitely boost your business. This will enable you to learn and be in a position to ask your team mind boggling questions. At the end of these all you will have taken a bit of your time but the product will be lucrative in your business.

  1. Have A Qualified Panel

Success of any business is always attributed to its employees and employers. The panel doing the interview need to have experience and be qualified while carrying out the process. This team of technocrat should have the ability to interview one in a competent manner without bias. Remember the future of your company is vested in their hands. Their field of expertise should be realized when hiring personnel. Failure to have this team in place will mean a doom to your company’s future. The team should be free and fair and so should the process be carried. Some say with experience shows wisdom and one of the panelists needs to know every nook and cranny of the company. This will assist the business in arriving at the best team for the business. However, being qualified should mean having someone who is all rounded and flexible to work in any department in business easily. 

  1. Transparency, Competence and Fair

People hiring people need to learn to listen to what their potential team has to offer. The virtue mostly broken while hiring one in your team is transparency. Bribing people or offering favors to the future of business has jeopardized most entrepreneurs. Bribes have been exchanged outside the offices just to make sure my ‘friend’ gets the job. Fairness and transparency enables accountability to be part of your team. Favors should never be the grounds of hiring a team in your business. It always brings lurk in the business and running of the business is compromised. Your business can make a step hire to success when the three virtues are considered rather than favoring hiring

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Why Customer Onboarding Is The Secret To Business Success

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Proper onboarding isn’t done to prevent churn; it’s done to ensure the customer achieves their desired outcome. Retention comes from that”, were the famous words from a renowned speaker, Lincoln Murphy.

Customer onboarding may be defined as the process of acquiring new clientele for a business enterprise. This ensures customer profitability increase.

Why customer onboarding?

1. Assurance of faithful clientele

Customer onboarding ensures a group of customers who are loyal to the company. A certain level of profit is therefore ensured in every financial period from this group of customers.

2. Discovery of new customers

Onboarding directs a focus to the client’s needs and ensuring these needs are addressed. Clients therefore are easily satisfied and are highly likely to recommend your services or products to other potential customers. This is likely to increase the number of customers which will reflect an increase in sales.

3. Increased sales

Increase in sales is directly proportional to increase in profits. Higher retention equals higher profits.

A case study by Harvard School of Business indicates that a 5% increase in customer retention leads to a more than 25% increase in profits.

Repeat customers, having received good enough services or reliable goods enough to have them demand for more are likely to spend more. This will in turn increase sales leading to an increase in profits.

4. Reduced expenditure

From the Harvard research mentioned above, it can also be concluded that repeat customers are cheaper to retain compared to acquiring first time customers.

Maintaining repeat clients will therefore lead to a reduction in the company’s expenditure. This will result from reduced advertisements and other expenditures required to draw in more clients.

Kapow reports that a 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as decreasing costs by 10% as shown in their infographic. It also reports that acquiring new customers can cost as much as five times more than satisfying and retaining current customers.

5. Knowledge on client’s needs

Onboarding enables you to reach out to clients and learn of their specific needs since you are interested in maintaining them as your clients.

It offers a better insight into the services rendered and products that would appeal most to customers. In this case customer’s satisfaction is guaranteed and a happy customer equals increased sales.

Generating leads and making them your first priority is not as important as prioritizing your available customers to ensure their satisfaction.

As shown in Kapow infographic; satisfied customers tell 9 people how happy they are while dissatisfied customers tell 22 people about their bad experience. The dissatisfied customers will definitely divert some of your leads while satisfied customers will bring in more leads.

You need to strategize on how to keep your customers if you are focused on achieving good returns for your company. Understanding the value of your customers is key in any business venture.

A study by Genroe (Australia) Pty Ltd showed that customers who are effectively onboarded have a substantially higher retention rate, lower cost to serve and higher cross sell rate than customers that are not.

It is therefore of great benefit to note that as a startup, the odds of going wrong with customer onboarding are close to zero.

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