Author

Gilbert Branson

Browsing

Life has changed over the past year, with the pandemic having drastic effects on the economic stability of many countries. This has further impacted the mental and physical health of the people. Our generation has witnessed some of the greatest crises despite having great technologies to help us with every small activity. The livelihood of millions has been obliterated by a tiny organism. Such dark details of a period are better forgotten, but they are indeed lessons for everyone to learn from.

If you owned a business and are on the verge of a downfall, the times are not favoring you. However, approaching all these challenges with optimism will gradually light up the ends of this tunnel. Entrepreneurs can utilize these opportunities to build their business idea from scratch. If you have enough money to invest and the wits to take a business in the right direction, here are some of the best ideas to execute in 2021.

1. Consultancy

Being passionate about something is not fuel enough for you to achieve great feats in that career. You must put in maximum effort to learn more about the topics involved in a business. When you have sufficient knowledge about a certain topic, you can work as a consultant while you develop your business through multiple stages. Go at your own pace to develop your consulting business, which will grow only when you have lucrative options for every project at hand. Once you successfully complete a task, you can hire other consultants to reinforce your team.

2. Online Reseller

If your forte lies in designing clothes and selecting them for customers, an online reseller business can be a great option. Unlike many other business ideas, this could take a lot of time to be developed. However, if you commit your time to the research and building process of the business idea, you can see the changes in no time. You need to have an eye for fashion if you want to make the resale business a full-time thing. Online stores are a good way to reach the target audience. Learn the shopping habits of people from these sites to expand your platform by selling and buying products.

3. Medical Courier Service

Medical Courier Service

Though this may sound like an unprofitable plan, if you do it right, money starts flowing in abundantly. You need to have a reliable vehicle service, and time management must also be paid attention to. Creating your own courier service by connecting with the healthcare industry will help you open many doors to the lucrative areas in this area of work. If your business plan involves a small investment, go ahead and hire drivers to handle the courier for you.

4. App Development

More people are now exploring the potential of this technical area either as a freelancer or an entrepreneur. If you are knowledgeable in this technology, this can be a great time for you to start developing apps because the use of smartphones has increased significantly over the past few years.

Success appears to be obscure as long as we remain under the impression that the world understands us. It is important that you prove your point so that everything around you finds its right execution to work in your favor. Being too sanguine with a business idea can lead you to the deep pits of bankruptcy. We need to pay close attention to the details of every stage so that seamless processes are created for the proper deployment of the available resources. It all starts from the ideas that sprout out in your head.

Channeling your thoughts in the right way will help you make some progress in the business. But contemplating a lot to be confounded by the new theories may ruin the whole process. So, you need to start by thinking of strategies that are ideal for your work culture and structure. Let us look at a few steps to develop effective strategies that can be executed as you build the business.

For example, if you are buying a business you might want to watch this review with Jonathan Jay who founded the Deal Maker’s Academy and tries to teach others how to do the same.

Develop a Vision for the Business

Business

Your idea for a business shouldn’t be too abstract like the term “vision” is. It could mean different things to different people. As far as businesses are concerned, this should give a clear picture of the future. Changes are inevitable, but you can always make the best use of the differences that emerge in your business model. Having a true vision for your company will help you make the necessary moves in the right direction. Success should be clearly defined in this statement so that everyone can work towards it.

Build Your USP

USP

Developing a competitive advantage for your business is as crucial as having a vision. You need to identify the unique value of the customers so that you don’t end up producing the same old patterns of a service that already exists. When you are just another company in the long list of start-ups, nothing is bound to change for the whole team unless what you create is attractive enough. Defining your advantage over the other companies will place you ahead in the race to success.

Define the Targets

If you haven’t properly defined the target for the different projects, you are not going anywhere with this plan. One of the most common barriers to growth is unruly targeting. Unless you have a creative design or system to follow, targets cannot be created to build the business. Obscurity of the areas lying between the sales and marketing can lead to massive failures. The lapses can be fixed only when you build the ability for yourself to lead a team. You need to have a basic understanding of the different aspects of a business to align them with the correct elements of success.

Systematic Growth

Systematic Growth

Investments can be improved only when the company grows. The strategies you develop should identify the various segments of a company that contribute to the overall success. All of the can be made possible by following a systematic growth pattern. Once you have come to conclusions about the developmental risks and solutions, assign the funds and take notes of the overhead expenses.

How to place an opt-in form inside your videos and boost your list building strategy
If you’ve ever participated in a brainstorming session, then you know how quickly a group of folks can fill up a series of flipcharts or the white space on a white board. Like some of you, I’ve participated in meetings, and facilitated others, where we successfully whittled the brainstormed list down to a prioritized short list. Then, yet further to actionable tasks. That’s the ideal result.

That said, I’ve also been in meetings (too many) where, at the end of it all, we concluded with nothing more than a lot of great ideas on a bunch of flip charts.

It’s for this latter set of managers that I’m sharing this post.

What follows is an eight-step consensus-building process I’ve used successfully in meetings to get down to a short list of prioritized and actionable ideas after having begun with a long list of brainstormed ideas.

Now, I can’t take credit for this. It’s something I learned from others, and I doubt any of us know who started the whole thing. But, it’s worth sharing. If for nothing else, then maybe I won’t have to waste my time sitting in on too many more fruitless brainstorming meetings in the future.

So, if you learn something new here, then pay it forward. Pass this information along.

The tools
What you’ll need: Post-it notes, markers, flip charts (or white board), pens.

In anchoring a starting point, let me begin by assuming you’ve already generated a long list of brainstormed ideas. (For more about brainstorming techniques, check this reference for a Step by Step Guide to Brainstorming.) Then, with list in hand (or strewn across multiple walls), do the following:

1. Group and categorize the list of ideas. This is an iterative process where the facilitator goes down the list of ideas in succession. With each list item, the group is asked if there is anything in the list above it that might make for combining or grouping. Some things to keep in mind:

To facilitate a smoother round, each idea should be given a letter label. (“A,” “B,”, “C,”… and so on.)
Avoid using numbers. A numbered list often conveys a sense of implied rank ordering or prioritization.
When you combine ideas, cross out the letter (not the idea) of the list item being combined. Then, write it’s letter next to the line item to which it is being combined.

postit1.png2. Clean up the list. Usually, the brainstorming session itself, and Step 1 above, will have taken a bit of time. The flip chart will be messy, the group will have felt like they’ve really worked hard. (Which is why some unskilled facilitators allow the meeting to adjourn immediately after brainstorming or after the grouping step. Fight this temptation.)

Instead, put everybody on a break while you (or a co-facilitator) clean up the list by re-writing the resulting grouped line items onto a clean set of flip charts.

After you’ve created a clean list, give each line item a new set of alphabetic labels. (Again, “A,” “B,” “C,”… etc.)

Conduct a weighted talley using Post-it notes.
And herein lies the crux of this process.

3. Count the number of items in the list and divide by three (3). Let’s assume, for argument’s sake, we have a list of eight items, as the image on the left shows from a recent meeting.

Dividing by three (and then rounding), we end up with the number 3. (Well, 2.67…, but practically speaking, let’s round up.)

By dividing the number of line items by the number three, you’re defining the number of “votes” each member will get in the next step. (Note: Don’t get hung up on why we’re dividing by three. I’ve heard this referred to as the “N/3 Method.” It’s largely arbitrary, but generally it gives a result that reasonably assigns an “appropriate” number of votes for each participant.)

4. Distribute Post-It notes. The number of Post-Its you give out to each participant should equal the result in Step 3. So, in our example, (after rounding up) you would give three (3) Post-it notes to each participant.

5. “Pick what you like.” Instruct each member to write one letter, from the list, on each Post-it note. Each letter represents a unique line item from the list. And, no duplication of letters is allowed. In other words, no fair stacking your votes. (Unless, for some reason, the group agrees that’s okay… remember, the key thing here is to get the group to agree to the process. If they agree with that, they’ll go along with the results.)

postit4.png6. Rank order. Once each participant has had an opportunity to write a letter on each of the Post-it notes they’ve been given (three in this example), instruct them now to focus on the letters on the Post-it notes, and the idea that each letter represents.

Challenge them to rank order each Post-it note by placing a number next to each letter. (1 = Lowest in their set. And, in our example, 3 = the highest. Clearly, if the result of Step 3 above dictated 5 Post-its for each participant, then 5 would then be the highest rank.)

7. Reveal their weighted tallies. postit2.pngAfter each member has had an opportunity to complete their rank ordering exercise, instruct them to all come up to the white board at the same time (or, if it’s a large meeting, then in smaller groups of 6 to 10). Have them place their respective Post-It notes next to its corresponding line item on the flip chart.

Note: This is a powerful step. It psychologically reinforces the “wisdom of the crowd.” Each participant is less likely to challenge the resulting tally since, by their participation, they’ve agreed to the process that is currently at work. And, therefore, the results.

8. Sum and prioritize. Once all participants have had an opportunity to place their Post-it note on the flip chart, you or your co-facilitator should then tally the numbers (on the Post-it notes) associated with each line item. Write the sum boldly in the margin next to the idea to which it corresponds.

The result is a prioritized list: those ideas with the highest sums (e.g., D, E and A, in our example) are assigned the highest priority.

But wait, what if there’s a tie?
Look at items B, C, and F in our example. Notice the Post-its associated with each of them add up to 3 on their respective lines. That’s not a problem. You can either follow the same steps as above or modify the steps slightly using a simple tally with a simple show of hands while focusing on only those line items that require tie breakers.

Of course, this may be moot if the goal was to prioritize and, say, identify the top 3 items from which to develop action steps and assignment of responsibilities.

Summary
What I showed you here is a basic technique that many trained facilitators may be familiar with. (While not all may do it exactly this way, each has a similar process for achieving group consensus.)

But, if this is new for you, and it helps you at your next meeting, then remember to pay it forward. Pass the information along to a friend. By doing so, you and I may be saving each other from another dreadful “go nowhere” brainstorming meeting sometime in the future.

I had the pleasure of co-facilitating a WebEx meeting this evening. It was a wrap-up to a social media discussion series I co-hosted over the span of several months this summer with folks from our local ASTD Chapter. At different points tonight I revisited a metaphor I’ve written about before in previous posts and in Chapter 3 of the Social Media Report 2010.

Hub-spoke

When I talk about the Hub, I’m generally talking about that thing which operates as the central focus in our social media activities communicating our values, interests and expertise. It helps in trust-building by giving interested people who visit our Hub from any of the Spokes (social networks along the periphery of the diagram above) a place where they can get a sense of the “real you.”

Now, some might interpret the Hub as being a web site with marketing messages, an inventory of things to sell, lead capture forms and other engines from which to enable e-mail drip campaigns with visitors who visit your site. While I don’t have anything against these tools, they’re not really your strongest suit for building trust.

Instead, you’d be better served to include a site that is search engine friendly, easily linkable, highly indexed and frequently updated.
Blogs as the Hub
It’s for these reasons that I’ve recommended a blog–or your business website with a frequently updated blog attached to it–as a key feature of the Hub of your Hubs-and-Spokes network.

Blogs, if frequently updated with quality content, are highly indexed by search engines and frequently linked to–and shared by–other bloggers and social networkers.

As for content that helps you to connect with others, it is one of the best vehicles for indirectly communicating your personal and/or brand characteristics to your visitors in a way that doesn’t blatantly shout “do business with me.”
The Spokes
Looking at the big picture, think of the spokes, as your way of casting a wide net. They represent Outposts of culturally distinct networks where you engage potential customers in the places where they prefer to engage others in conversations online. Suffice to say, each network is different, with its own unique culture that should be respected. In addition to differences in feature sets and their look and feel, each one has a different tone and different sets of expectations amongst its members.

The concept of establishing Outposts can be as simple an idea as staking out a profile and participating in “communities of discussion” on forums such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. While it may be true that the more Outposts you’re engaged in, the greater amount of exposure you’re likely to have. However, it is also true that a hundred outposts won’t necessarily make you more effective. It’s better to focus on only a few and make sure that the information that passes through–and the relationships you establish because of them–are high in quality.

Your objective: to build genuine trust, credibility and acceptance in each of the Outposts you engage.
So How Can We Orchestrate Hubs and Spokes?
As I mentioned earlier, consider the center of your influence–the Hub–as the focal point of your online networking activities with all other platforms placed along the periphery like Outposts radiating from the Hub.

Meanwhile, populate the “in-between” spaces with engines that help you listen to the discussions in the Outposts. These Listening Posts can be automated engines (e.g., Google Alerts, RSS, third-party analytic engines, and so on) that clue you in to the tone, trend and volume of conversations that relate to you, your brand or your niche.

I’ll talk more about Listening Posts in my next article. Or, if you’ve already purchased the Social Media Report 2010, check out Chapter 4 where I talk a bit about Monitoring the Conversation.

Out of curiosity, what are some of the Listening Posts you use to monitor online conversations?

If you found this article helpful, you’ll also want to read the following:

How to use video to set up viral list-building outposts
How to add an opt-in form inside your video and boost signups to your newsletter
I wanted to share this quick tip with you about sharing YouTube videos. It has been so useful for me since having recently learned about it myself.

The tip is about a simple piece of information you can append to the URL (web address) of a YouTube video that allows you to link someone directly to a specific point (timecode) in that video.

For example, had I known about this in a previous post I wrote about Google Wave’s on-the-fly translation feature called Rosie, then I could’ve done away with instructions stating, “…If you want to see the demo without sitting through the entire 80 minutes of video, then scrub forward to about time code 1:13:00…” (Yep, the entire video was about an hour and twenty minutes long.)

Instead, I could’ve simply said, “…to see the specific part of the video with the Rosie demo, click here.”

The reason that works, is because I learned that we could all simply have appended the following information to the end of the YouTube video’s URL:

(Where x is a number representing the hours, minutes and seconds, respectively.)

In other words, to get you to the point that is 1-hour, 13-minutes and 5-seconds into the YouTube video that is defined by this link:

(copied directly from the YouTube video page), then all you’d have to do is add #t=1h13m5s to the end of the URL.

What you’d want to share with folks to whom you forward the video, then, would be:

How cool is that?

If this was helpful, then you’ll also like all this content on MelAclaro.com:
The Poor Man’s Wireless (walkaround) microphone
5 Great Ideas for Using QR Codes
Social Media Marketing Essentials for Small Businesses (free mini-course)