Roy's Blog: Business Strategy

December 7, 2018

How to create the perfect name for your business — guest post

If you are in the process of starting a new business, there are many important things that will need to be considered. Things such as the product or service you’ll be selling, your target market, and your specific business structure (sole proprietorship, LLC, etc.) will all be very important.

But one aspect of starting a new business that people often overlook is their company name.

Though, at first, your name may seem to be a rather small detail, it may actually be what ends up either making or breaking your business. Furthermore, your name is one of the first ways that your business can establish a clear competitive advantage.

Perfect name

Fortunately, the perfect name for your business is something that is likely well within reach. In this post, we will discuss the most important things for you to think about when brainstorming business names and we will also discuss some of the most time-tested strategies you should consider using.

Choose a name that’s original

There is no doubt that in order to survive in the competitive world of business, you will need to demonstrate your relevance and separate yourself from the competition.
If you are someone who is considering entering an already crowded industry—which even tech startups are beginning to get quite crowded—then you will need to choose a name that will make a lasting impression.
As you begin the process of searching for original names, you should also define your mission, your company values, and the specific image you are hoping to inspire.

More often than not, your name will be one of the first thing that prospective clients and investors know about your company.
You should assume that there are already a dozen companies offering a similar product at a similar price. So instead of conforming to the norm and latching onto a name that may have been useful twenty years ago, you should redefine the standard and come up with a name that challenges the norm.
Though taking chances can sometimes be uncomfortable, doing so is an essential part of becoming an entrepreneur.

... but also make sure the name is easy to remember

Many companies that hope to come up with an original name often end up creating new words. Tech companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, Android, and others have all chosen names that—prior to their initial establishment—would not be found in any English-speaking dictionary.
However, while all of these names are indeed unique, they are also relatively easy to remember.

Remember

Here are some of the essential things you should keep in mind when trying to create a memorable name:
    — try and limit the number of words and syllables that your name uses
    — even if you are using a made up word, choose a word that is easy to spell
    — try this simple test: give someone you know a list of ten words (one of which is the name you are considering) and then ten minutes later see which of those words they are able to remember

Though the “test” mentioned in this list is obviously non-binding, it can be a very useful checkmark throughout the brainstorming process. Usually, it makes sense to come up with a list of many possible names and then see which ones are actually able to stick.

Check to see which naming strategies are common in your industry

Despite the fact that you should strive to come up with an original name, it is still a good idea to understand the various naming strategies that are standard in your industry. Whether you end up adopting these strategies or turning them on their head, you should still be aware of how your industry works.
    — Naming a company after the founders or owners: this strategy is especially common for law firms, real estate firms, and other similar businesses.
    — Using puns, portmanteaus, and other plays on words: this strategy may be useful for businesses that focus more on creating a friendly image for their clients (rather than focusing on trying to lure capital investors).
    — Creating a word that is entirely unique: this is one of the most common strategies used by members of the tech industry and other industries attempting to be futuristic.
    — Trying to sound traditional: when it comes to creating new business names, century-old traditions are typically a bad idea. However, these names may sometimes work for the more “serious” industries such as banking, insurance, and medical care.

Another trend that has recently emerged is the use of single words—nouns, verbs, and adjectives—when coming up with business names. Whether or not this strategy will be appropriate will depend upon the nature of your business as well as your target audience.

Test the name with potential future clients

No matter what product or service you may be attempting to sell, what remains universally clear is that some people are simply much more likely to identify with your brand than others.
Once you have defined your target market — demographics, lifestyles, etc.—then you will be in a position to gather a focus group that can potentially test your name.

Target market

When running a focus group, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Not only should you make sure that your name is one that people actually like, but you should also make sure that the name is one that is able to effectively connect with your desired brand image.
Even though there is likely a name that you personally prefer, it is important to try to be objective and open to outside input.

Confirm that your business name is entirely usable

Lastly, once you have narrowed your list to a final name or two, you should check to make sure that your name is universally compatible. Typically, this will involve multiple different things:
    — making sure none of your competitors have the same name or even a very similar name
    — making sure that your name is compatible/non-offensive to other cultures (this is especially important for international businesses)
    — making sure that there is a suitable web domain available for your name

Thoroughly investigating the context of your name is very important. One of the last things you would want to do as a new business owner is have to rename your company right off the bat.

Conclusion

The naming process is one that is absolutely crucial and should not be willingly ignored. There are many different things that will need to be considered when coming up with a new name including your company values, originality, and whether or not your name is actively available.

By taking the time to find the ideal name for your business, you will be in a much better position to succeed and stand out from the crowd.

Grant Polachek is the Director of Marketing at Inc 500 company Squadhelp.com, the worlds #1 naming platform, with nearly 20,000 customers from the smallest startups across the globe to the largest corporations including Nestle, Philips, Hilton, Pepsi, and AutoNation. Get inspired by exploring these winning brand name ideas.

  • Posted 12.7.18 at 04:41 am by Roy Osing
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November 26, 2018

The right idea with no execution is a waste

How many times have you heard someone say “right idea!” when there is an execution blip that nullifies success and an otherwise brilliant notion bites the dust.

You hear it in kids’ sports all the time, particularly soccer, where a plan to pass the ball to a mate is intercepted by an opposition player. The right intent was there but execution fell short of an awesome outcome. “Right idea!” is intended to support the right behaviour and encourage the player to try it again and again until it works.

But it’s deflating. You can see they have a picture in their mind of what the result should be, but it’s shattered when it doesn’t play out the way it was envisioned.

Missed

The situation has a parallel both in organizational and personal life.

Organizations have a “Right idea!” when they develop their strategic game plan; individuals have a “Right idea!” when they plot their career or life destination.

Right ideas are plentiful

There is no shortage of right ideas; organizations come up with plans to grow their business and individuals always have ideas — or dreams — to build a better life or take their career to a higher level.

The thing is, the percentage of right ideas that make it through the successful implementation funnel are few and far between — for example half of startups fail in the first 5 years and it’s not an exceptional occurrence when careers fall short of expectations.

The failure to execute on a “Right idea!” is beyond disappointing, it hurts.

In my experience people just don’t spend enough time determining exactly what has to be done to bring the right idea to life.
The idea may be borne in an instant but more time is required on what to do with it to see it to a successful conclusion.

If you can’t implement, you’re done — end of your story.

These four essentials will increase the odds your “Right idea!” crossing the finish line.

Double down on implementation

Be prepared to dive deep on determining how to execute your idea.
Unfortunately the idea has no life on its own; it’s a figment of the imagination; a mere possibility.
It needs to be transformed into something practical before it has any value.

Double down

The idea to prevent a driver of a vehicle from using their mobile device while driving is an easily understood solution to the distracted driving problem, but unless it can be delivered to the market it remains on the entrepreneur’s wish list. The idea emerged 24 months ago in an insightful moment; implementation is 2 years in and counting.
And a career goal to be a VP without a disciplined strategy to get there is a dream with a low probability of success.

Focus on ONE (or two) things

Don’t try to boil the ocean; focus on a handful of actions that you believe will result in successfully seeing your idea come to fruition.
There are many actions you COULD take to implement your idea — usually a result of brainstorming — but the challenge is to define the few critical moves you SHOULD make.
You don’t have sufficient time or money to pursue numerous approaches at the same time; narrow them down to one or two that you believe are essential to moving the implementation yardsticks fast.

In business, one effective way of achieving this is to select ONE target market to attack rather than spraying your efforts across several potential ones. Rather than focusing on a consumer segment, for example, which is complicated and often expensive to penetrate, target a specific business application which is more easily reached.
Or, go after a confined geographic area — a province or state —rather than a broader one like a country.

In your career, concentrate on ONE specific position in a specific organization you want rather than sending your résumé out to “the world” which will likely get lost in the noise and be ignored.
In terms of personal resolutions don’t choose 5 or 6 popular ones; pick ONE that really matters to you — it’s unrealistic to try and accomplish too many things; it will rob you of your optimism and energy.

Don’t chase cars

Stay focused; resist the temptation to stray from your action plan when new possibilities descend on you.
It’s all very well to be open to new avenues to explore but it can end up with you chasing anything that comes along.
Chasing makes you busy, but is unlikely to achieve the results you want.
Every entrepreneur faces this issue. They no sooner lock their launch plan down and a new possibility comes over-the-transom and hits them — an application, a partner, a technology change.

Chase cars

Yes, this “yummy incoming” should be considered and examined thoughtfully, but not chased. Thoughtful consideration of these new possibilities must be given and should have overwhelming benefits before you decide to give up your initial execution plan.
On a personal level, how many times have you been on a path and something new and cool shows itself? Awfully tempting to drop what you’re doing and chase it, right? DON’T!

Plan on the run

Make changes on the run in the face of setbacks that question your idea. It is a rare event when your original implementation plan plays out the way you had intended — not because of yummy, but due to your planned actions not achieving the results you expected.

For example, a planned sales channel couldn’t be negotiated, your original pricing model was unacceptable to potential clients or the original revenue estimates from your primary target market were overly ambitious.
In circumstances like these it may be appropriate to revise the direction of your implementation strategy.

“Right idea!” is a great place to start, but unless you put on your execution hat with this guidance, it will never see the light of day.

“Right idea!”; “Brilliant execution!” is the combination that will ensure you avoid the remorse of failure.

Cheers,
Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead book series

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How to AMAZE your customers in 4 easy ways
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  • Posted 11.26.18 at 04:39 am by Roy Osing
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November 19, 2018

How to AMAZE your customers in 4 easy ways

Blowing the socks off your customers is not a one act play; it’s a synchronized series of continuous actions that repeated throughout an organization day in and day out.

Consistently delivering amazing service requires a carefully thought out service strategy, with two essential elements: core service — what you deliver to people — and the service experience — how they feel when it is delivered.

Core service

Core service is the basic product or service you provide the market.
Without core service you don’t have a business. If you’re in the communicationsl business, for example, your core services are defined by your product portfolio and include television entertainment, internet and mobile services as well as billing and repair services.

If you’re in the hospitality world, your core service includes clean rooms, interesting attractions and good food.

Amazing

Core service is not a source of customer loyalty. Customers expect their internet service to work every time they use it; they are not dazzled when it actually works — I’ve never heard a customer say “WOW! I’ve just sent an email and it was sent through the internet incredibly well — it was delivered just the way I wrote it.”

Likewise I don’t recall anyone saying “OMG! My hotel room was so clean it was a Rembrandt in every way”.

Customers expect your core service to deliver on its promise and work flawlessly every time, and when it does they give you a ‘C’ on your service report card. Meeting expectations earns you and average rating and that’s all.

On the other hand, when the internet service doesn’t work or the hotel room is a mess, the customer is extremely dissatisfied and quickly tell their friends and family how crummy their service provider is.

The bottom line is if you want to earn the right to build a loyal customer base, you must deliver consistent core service as your foundation.

Service experience

The service experience is the critical layer of service that must be “wrapped around” your core service. It’s the FEELINGS layer that answers the question “How do you feel when you receive your provider’s core service?”
— How would you rate the experience of signing up for internet service?
— How do you feel about the cleanliness of your hotel room?
— How’s your patience after waiting 40 minutes in a call center queue for a rep?
— Do you feel honoured and respected by your financial advisor?
— Are your questions met with friendliness and charm by the service people you reach out to?

Experience

On the back of consistent core service, the source of customer loyalty is the service experience; dazzling a customer will get you an ‘A’ — or excellent — on your service report card and they will keep coming back and tell everyone else how wonderful you are.

The how to AMAZE formula

AMAZE = deliver consistent and seamless core service for each and every customer transaction PLUS dazzle them when you do it.

How does an organization create dazzling experiences for their customers?

Hire human being lovers

Can you dazzle a customer if your contact employees really don’t like dealing with customers? No — and yet I bet you’ve had an experience with a person in a business that showed indifference and “contempt” for you; unfortunately it happens all too frequently. To say the lease, these engagements are anything but pleasant.

Creating memorable experiences for customers requires employees who want to serve; they want to take care of people.
These are the people that need to be recruited in an organization that want to dazzle their customers. Do your recruit explicitly for this attribute?

Recover: fix the screw up and do the unexpected

Service mistakes happen in any organization; what’s critical, however, is what you do when they occur.
The amazing thing is that customers are more impressed (and remain loyal) after a successful service recovery than if the mistake never happened at all! Which means developing a recovery strategy is critical — yet few organizations do this because they don’t like to admit that mistakes will be made.

What’s the rule for a successful recovery?
Fix the mistake FAST and then blow the customer away by surprising them with something they DON’T expect.
The recovery process begins with “I’m sorry” even if it isn’t your fault, and it finishes with a small personal token to make amends — the key is token; it doesn’t have to be a big expense rather a thoughtful expression of regret.

Dumb rules

Kill dumb rules

Do you have policies that don’t make sense to customers?
The rules, policies and procedures that piss them off royally? Every organization has them but most like to rationalize them as being necessary to meet some internal requirement.
Seek them out — ask your frontline — and modify or get rid of them so they are not a source of aggravation to your customers who desperately want to deal with organizations that are easy to do business with.

Policies and rules should be driven from the customer’s perspective. Engage them in rule formulation; don’t rely solely on internal staff who will typically shape rules to control the engagement process rather than empower it.

Bend your own rules; empower your frontline to “say yes”

You can’t dazzle customers if your frontline is enforcing rules all the time; telling them what they can and can’t do to comply with the company’s position. Saying “NO!” constantly does nothing to endear someone to you; it’s a de-dazzling event that won’t encourage any sense of loyalty.
Allow your customer contact people — and systems — a certain amount of flexibility to bend the rules when it makes sense to do what the customer wants.

Most organizations limit this type of empowerment; they are unwilling to trust that their people will make sensible decisions that will favour the customer AND the company.
When a rule is bent for a customer, they feel listened to, respected and honoured. And they are dazzled when it occurs.

A dazzled customer is a loyal customer who provides a never ending stream of sales to an organization AND pulls their friends with them.

These 4 practical and proven strategies will get you there. Be like no other and follow them.

Cheers,
Roy
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead book series

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  • Posted 11.19.18 at 04:16 am by Roy Osing
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October 24, 2018

5 easy ways to use Instagram to grow your business — guest post

If you have successfully set up an Instagram account for your business, then you are on the right track. However, setting up the account is the easier part, finding followers and converting them into customers is the hardest part. You must be looking for strategies and methods to grow your business with Instagram.
Worry not, we’ve got you covered with our 5 different ways to grow your ecommerce business with Instagram.

These tips will help you connect with your audience, build relations with influencers, and bring in more sales for your online business.

Create content your customers want

Make sure that you craft a niche for yourself and create content that resonates with your audience. If you have a fitness-related business, then your posts should be a mix of fitness tips, product showcase, motivational quotes, etc.

Instagram

It’s up to you to figure out what your audience likes and what they want to see. If there are any content themes or style that resonates with your audience, then you should cover that aspect. Once you figure out what works and what doesn’t, start posting images, videos, quotes, and promotional content that ties into your business and resonates with your target audience.
A great way to find out what your audience loves is by researching your competition. Check out what your competitors are posting and take that as inspiration for your content.
You can also take inspiration from popular websites and blogs in your industry. Always keep in mind that engagement is the REAL King. You need to populate your account with content that gets real engagement.

Actively engage with influencers in your industry

One of the easiest and fastest ways to go higher in Instagram ranks is to build and maintain relationships with Instagram influencers in your industry. These influencers already have a massive fan-following and getting your brand a mention (shout-out) from one of these influencers can give your Instagram profile and your overall brand image instant credibility.

Bloomingdales

Influencers get approached by popular brands and companies on a very consistent basis because their single post provides a lot of value to these brands. So, most of these influencers offer paid shoutouts while some of them do so organically for free.
You can start off by commenting on their photos, videos, and other posts. You can also tag them in your content, they will receive a notification every time you tag them in our posts. This way they will become familiar with you and your brand and will be more receptive to your offer.
You can also offer them free samples of your products so they can review them and mention them in their posts. This way your products will be in front of a large audience that trusts the particular influencer and value their word.
However, be very selective of who you connect with. Look for influencers that have a high engagement rate and are known to get their followers to take some action.

Use strong call to action on your profile

There are a lot of companies and brands that have started posting on Instagram. Sadly, their content lacks any goal. They never tell their audience where to go or what to do.
For this purpose, you need to always use (Call to Actions) in your content, on your bio, etc. The call to action should be clear and should direct your followers to your store or product page. You have nearly 150 characters to use in your Bio, so make a witty CTA that works best with your audience.
If you are selling physical items, then posting images and videos about your products should be your go-to strategy. However, what adds extra oomph to your content is when you add CTA in your comment section. Mention your item in the comments section, provide a link to the sales page and direct people to the page.

Make your product images shoppable by tagging them

We already talked about using Call to Action in your content and bio. Now, comes the advance CTA usage. Having your product images tagged is a great way to increase your overall sales.
Tagging your products in your Instagram images provides a very clear CTA and makes it very simple for your followers to purchase from you. Instagram has recently allowed business accounts (in select countries) to tag items in their content, similar to how you tag people.

Instagram1

The setup is quite simple. You can quickly transform your Instagram profile into a sales channel with just a couple of clicks.
Here are the steps to get you started:
— Create a “Shop” section on your Facebook Business page which is connected to your Instagram business account
— Add your products to the Facebook page. Wait for a notification from Instagram that says you can now start tagging products. It takes a few days for the approval.
— Now, Whenever you are posting an image on Instagram, click the “tag a product” option, and you should see a list of all your product from the Facebook shop. Tag each product accordingly.
Whenever a viewer clicks a product tag, they are taken to the product page to buy it.

Pay attention to analytics

Finally, you should keep a close eye on the analytics inside your Instagram account. This area provides you with very useful information and data that can be used to increase the engagement on your content.
You can also see when your followers are active on Instagram under the “Audience” tab. You can break this down to each hour and plan your future content according to the peak times.
Pay attention to the photos and content that gets the most likes and comments, this is what your target audience prefers. You can use this data to curate content that your audience loves and increase overall engagement.

Hopefully, these easy-to-follow tips will help you grow your business with Instagram. Feel free to let us know what other methods you use on Instagram to grow your business.

Saleem Ahrar is well-versed in knowledge about ecommerce strategies, digital marketing, and entrepreneurship. He spends his time testing new approaches, hacks, and tricks to help the e-commerce community.

  • Posted 10.24.18 at 03:55 am by Roy Osing
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