8 Facts May Not Know About The Brain: A Guide to Neuroplasticity

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1.     Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change and adapt continuously during a lifetime.

The brain isn’t fixed, but more like a muscle that strengthens and weakens over time, responding to what we do with it.

 

2.     The more we challenge the brain, the more its long-term cognitive functioning is enhanced.

When we learn something new or challenge the brain in a new way, it creates new neural pathways. If this is done regularly enough over time, neural networks in the brain are enhanced, thus improving its overall performance. 

 

3.     Unlike the heart and lungs that are mechanical organs that flex, retract, inhale, exhale in accordance with conditions imposed on them, the brain is a dynamic organ.

It moulds and adapts its performance in response to stimuli. How optimal the brain performs depends on the regularity of stimuli imposed on it, which either restricts or harnesses its potential.

 

4.     Brain training is just the mainstream translation of brain plasticity.

 

5.     The behavioural explanation of neuroplasticity is the ability to learn and memorise new things.

The brain’s level of plasticity peaks as babies, when the demand to learn new things is at its highest. As we get older, brain plasticity can be associated with the likes of reaching one’s potential over time, setting new challenges, overcoming challenges, immersion in exciting new experiences, and deciding, learning or developing. These are all continuous states of change and mental dispositions innate to human existence. 

 

6.     Striving, adapting and becoming stronger, are all offspring traits of the same survival of the fittest model that sparked our beginnings, and will determine our future.

 

7.     How able a species is at adapting to change, is the sole most important measure of its persistence into the future.

This can be determined by how malleable, dynamic and spontaneous a species’ most prominent organ or muscle is at adapting to changes in surroundings. 

 

8.     The ability for the brain to create new neural pathways that didn’t exist prior (thus changing its structure) to adapt to new experiences and acquire new habits, reveals a potential packed with promising evolutionary implications. 

 

The brain can create new neural pathways until the day we die, and the more neural pathways we create, means the more responsive we can be to change, and the more conducive we are to a life of wellness, happiness and vigorous longevity that will ensue.

For directional tips on mindsets and habits that can help you adapt in your start or scale-up, why not attend one of our events and have a 1:1 session to chat about it further? BOOK IN HERE

How to Start a Blog for Your Startup & Small Business

Blogging for Small Business

To answer that question, maybe we should first answer WHY entrepreneurs and business owners should start a blog for their business.

By harnessing the power of blogging, your small business can generate new leads, connect with customers, and ultimately build revenue. Starting a blog can effectively strengthen your SEO strategy and as you consistently build quality, content-rich pages for your site that lead back to your business, search engines reward your site with higher page rankings leading to more organic traffic.

So as you can see, blogging is an integral part of a content marketing strategy. It’s a cost-effective marketing tool, but it can also be the beating heart of your business marketing efforts in an elemental way. Your business blog is a huge piece of your business brand story.

It gives your customers clear insight into what your business is all about. A blog allows your business to access a voice that engages directly with your customers and clients. This builds awareness, conversations, and most importantly – trust with your company.

On a technical level building a blog for your business can help improve your site’s SEO and rankings on SERP (search engine results pages) without you needing to spend any advertising dollars. All you need is the time and investment into creating purposeful content.

How to Start a Blog for Your Small Business 

So you want to get started, but need a step-by-step guide? Here are the elements you need to start blogging for your business.

1.     Strategise.

Gather the elements you need to build your blog as an extension of your brand. As an entrepreneur or small business owner, do you want to tell stories? Do you want to showcase your team and their knowledge or experience? Do you want to share insight about how your product or service is used? Do you want to become an authority in your niche?  Decide the blog’s tone of voice and how how it reflects upon your brand image. Fun and aspirational? Informational but informal? There are endless possibilities here.

2.     Choose a Blog Platform.

The most important thing is that your blog is professional, easy to consume and shares a balance between search-engine and people friendly. www.yourcompany.com/blog looks better than www.yourcompany.blogger.com. There are simple and affordable blog platforms like Wordpress and Tumblr, and these days, many custom sites can have a blog platform built in, like Squarespace, you just need to invest in the web hosting. TIP – check out the blogging capabilities BEFORE you decide on a web platform or designer for your main site.

3.     Gather Your Team.

Epic content doesn’t create itself. Blogging takes time and energy and while the benefits are massive, it can often take some time before you see a healthy and consistent ROI. But don’t just hire any intern to do your blogging, social media and SEO.

You need flexible writers and creators who understand your industry and who can write to your company’s tone of voice while engaging an audience. We absolutely recommend hiring the right support of digital marketing and content writers to build a dedicated writing team. Also make sure to pick the brains of your current employees and your partners for contributions.

4.     Create a Content Plan.

Now is where you get down to business. Do some research on keywords and search terms in your industry and start building content around it. Great content can come in many forms – written articles, podcasts, e-books, video, images – anything your audience can consume. And remember, you are writing or creating this content for your readers, not for yourself. Answer their questions and cater to their needs.

5.     Stay Engaged & Consistent.

As we mentioned above, content can come in many forms so in an oversaturated market, you have to make it consistent, you have to make it resourceful, and you have to make it interesting. Keep up with trending news and media updates - find ways to integrate and connect your niche into breaking news. Give your readers a reason to comment and share. Collaborate with other networks. And make sure to post regularly to keep your site fresh.

6.     Promote Your Content.

You are not done once you hit publish. Make sure to fill your content with valuable links and mentions of influencers, and always reach out to people to help share your content. One post on a social platform won’t cut it, make sure you rotate and re-promote your content on a consistent basis.

7.     Monitor and Measure.

Make Google Analytics your best friend. Check where your traffic is coming from, see which posts are performing and which ones aren’t and refine your content plan from there. Rinse and repeat.

While building a blog is simple, making one work for your business requires thought, planning, and consistent effort. But the benefits are endless in this digital world of online marketing. If you are ready to improve your blogging game and want to the right support to help take your business to the next level, send us a message and we can create a custom package for you.

16 Must-Watch Videos For Insight Into Today’s Business Climate

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The areas underlining modern-day business and its culture are technology, start-up growth, leadership, productivity, innovative thinking, and flexible working.

They’re the base layer upon which much of today’s expertise – from digital marketing to IT – is built on. We scoured some of the best talks from 2 powerhouses of innovative thinking and creativity  TED and Unbound to uncover 16 must-watch videos for insight into today’s business climate. 

Why? To help navigate through a world of endless video content and information, because to see too much, is to see nothing at all. 

Data-Drive Technology

Talks on how much power data has on influencing our decisions and behaviour:

Kevin Slavin: How algorithms shape our world

Tim Berners-Lee The Year Open Data Went Worldwide

Tricia Wang: The Human Insights Missing From Big Data

View our latest article on the latest insights and inventions in tech innovation here.

Tech For Good $ Tech For Transport

 Perspectives on Tech for Good and discussions concerning the data, electrification, automation, and the decrease of private vehicle ownership of the transport industry:

Unbound Festival London: Where Can Technology Take Healthcare?

Unbound Festival London: Will Tech Save The World?        

Unbound Festival London:  People, Places, Things: Making Cities Smarter with Innovation          

Tech Inventions

Food for thought by way of technological innovation, from today’s (approximately) 4 trillion pound global tech market:

At The Forefront Of Technology: Latest Inventions

For more technology, our article on the latest insights and inventions in tech innovation rounds up the latest from Unbound Festival 2019.

Startup-Up Growth & Leadership

Where are you looking to anticipate change? What is the diversity measure of your personal and professional stakeholder networks? Are you courageous enough to abandon a practice that has made you successful in the past? These are some of the questions Torres along with Semler, Simek, Nooriala and Wujec explore, as they pin down the characteristics that cause leaders to thrive, and various practices that enable people to reach their potential: 

Roselinde Torres: What it takes to be a great leader

Ricardo Semler: How To Run A Company With (Almost) No Rules

Simon Simek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Amir Nooriala: How To Build A Profitable Unicorn

Tom Wujec: Build A Tower, Build A Team[The Leadership Challenge]

Productivity & Innovative Thinking

In an increasingly data-driven world, how can we not only come up with good ideas, but ensure we’re in control of prioritising the execution of those ideas over temptation from consumerist algorithmic carrots? The below talks are insightful looks at mastering our thought processes:

Steven Johnson: Where Good Ideas Come From

Mark Adams: Enter The Cult of Extreme Productivity

View the latest articles on productivity and innovative thinking through Business Psychology At Unbound Festival: 3 Tips On How to Succeed,6 Apps That Make You More Productive, or 3 Ways To Streamline Your Work Day.

Flexible Working

The below looks at what environments outside the office and practices inside the office, are most conducive to producing people’s best work:

Jason Fried: Why Work Doesn’t Happen At Work

Read more about flexible working in the articles Top 5 Things To Consider When Choosing A Co-Working Space,  Business Culture: 3 Ways To Get The Best Out Of Your TeamBusiness Culture: Two Common Misconceptions Preventing Business Growth

For more information on topics shaping our business landscape today, give The Value Of Good Contenta read or other articles such as The Top 6 Biggest Misconceptions About Networking.

Looking for business support on any of the above areas? Contact CoStart Up & Go’s HQ.

 

Top 5 Things To Consider When Choosing A Co-Working Space

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Co-working spaces are the modern-day equivalent to the traditional office, being set to occupy 7% of real estate in London in 2019, with its success lying in its variety.

Co-working is as ideal for a start-up looking for an office, as it is a freelancer looking for a workspace. It's flexible, facilitated and the poster boy of modern-day working. After all, it's supplying an already existent demand: with office-based flexible working on the increase, and the self-employed on track to take over the public sector for the very first time.

What was once a novel supplement to the traditional office, is now a full-blown credible alternative, encapsulated in a global market estimated at over 21 billion pounds. Offices, teams and freelancers co-working in a space conducive to maximum productivity and collaboration eliminate many of the downfalls of the 9 to 5 one-office-one-team model. So when it comes to choosing a space, what factors are most crucial to its suitability? Here are 5 things to consider when choosing a co-working space.

1.    Membership Types & Costs

The core membership types are:

Virtual membership: Some spaces do a virtual membership which gives you access to the wider co-working community and events. Perfect for very early stage start-ups.

Hot desk: Hot desks are part of the shared workspace and allow you to sit anywhere without having to plan ahead. A popular option among freelancers, part-timers or people needing somewhere to host casual client meetings.

Fixed desk: A dedicated, permanent desk that’s available to you 7 days a week. Choose a single space for yourself or several desks for your team.

Private office space: A dedicated private space for your team, which depending on size and co-working space, can house from 2 to 250 or more people. Private office spaces don’t incur the charges needed by traditional offices for supplying reliable internet, printers, furniture and cleaning, which can rack up to a hefty cost, or hefty saving, if you opt for co-working spaces.

2.    Location

Co-working spaces don’t just give flexibility within the space, but flexibility between several spaces, depending on your needs.

Fixed location: The rare opportunity to dictate where you work and the commute time and transport links involved, is a great way to be your own boss and free up time where's needed. Shortlist spaces within half an hour's commute away first.

Various locations: If you need to access multiple spaces around London, make sure you compare the set of locations among the other co-working spaces, as they differ wildly. 

3.    Sector Specific Spaces & Ways Of Working

Some co-working environments are geared towards different expertise and ways of working.

Sectors

With potential work relationships at stake, it’s important – whether you’re looking to network now or not – to know what expertise the space is geared towards. Co-working spaces by nature were designed to allow entrepreneurial spirit, creativity and innovation to interact and flourish; by putting in place certain design considerations and ways of working. 

People who work in these spaces work for a diverse melting pot of clients from up and across the food chain, but within these ecosystems, the co-working ethos tends to attract the creative and technology industries. Some spaces are equipped with more studios and worktables for more hands-on work, while others have more desk spaces.

Different fields of expertise also attract different workers with different requirements, so it’s important to be aware of the general majority of expertise so you can gage the networking potential. Although a co-working space doesn’t have to involve collaboration, if you see them and the people in it as a networking event, it can help keep your options specific and targeted, and the opportunity for business relationships to form in the future open. 

Ways of working

Different ways of working needed by yourself, a project, a team or sector, require different environments at different times, for example, large meeting spaces where interaction is key or quiet spaces where solitary thought and deep focus is key. Assessing what degree each co-working space has of these is integral.

4.    Facilities & Discounts

Co-working spaces have realised that if a space is going to become the go-to for people to work and network, five days a week, outside of the traditional office, then it needs to offer a lifestyle where productivity is made easy with certain facilities in place.

Facilities differ but they often include a variety of: fast Wi-Fi, meeting rooms, soundproof phone booths, quiet public workspaces, networking events, bike storage, 24-hour opening, changing rooms, showers, gym or reduced membership fees, gym classes, outdoor space (if you’re lucky: a roof terrace), a café, discounted breakfast and lunch, and bar. Make sure to enquire about the full range of facilities to compare with other spaces. 

5.    Viewings & The Feel Of A Space

No amount of e-brochure browsing can truly translate the feel of a place, especially when considering that co-working spaces now combine office, café and members club culture (with a touch of home comfort) into one indivisible whole. Arrange a viewing with a co-working space and they’ll give you a tour and often allow you to stay and work for the rest of the day. A few viewings down the line, and it’ll become clear what facilities and atmosphere you can and can’t live without. 

Co-working spaces are designed to equip the entrepreneurial minds of the future. Spaces are well crafted, vibrant and spacious. But with innovative pursuit, comes diverse thinking, and browsing the unique variations of each space is essential to securing an environment that’s conducive to your way of reaching maximum productivity.

If you’d like more help on finding a co-working space or directional advice for your start or scale-up, please get in touch.

Tech Innovation: The Latest Insights & Innovations From Unbound Festival London 2019

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Our world is shaped by the markets that facilitate it. And with a roughly four trillion pound tech market supplying the global demand for things that make life easier or more enjoyable, it’s clear it’s shaping it in a pretty big way.

Among the negative press about tech, from AI taking over the workforce to online consumerism disconnecting people, Tech for Good is showing some light in the robot-data-algorithm tunnel of darkness. And not only that: by nature of tech being able to dip its toes into multiple markets across the ecosystem, from recreation and self-care to healthcare and sustainability, the reach of its benefits are vast and the future of its lifespan is long.

Unbound Festival this year – a celebration of tech innovation – saw an influx of brilliant ways to make life easier, more sustainable and/or more fun. Filling gaps in the market and disrupting already filled ones, are several exciting startups that are designing the blueprint for the future, with innovation. 

The Technical Roundup

Undeniably the most groundbreaking tech seen at Unbound was the innovation that directly enhanced people’s quality of life, from virtual reality that improves neurological mobility difficulties, to digitally integrated walking canes that increase independence for the visually impaired.

Spearheading the current mainstream market is a boom in self-care apps like mindfulness and sleep assistance, while location-based apps designed to tackle physical inactivity are making scenic walking as easy as an Uber is to order. Environmental tech is making sophisticated and automated waste recycling a reality, as well as renewable energy, through apps and products increasing its usage, purchase and sale. 

Tech That’s …..For Good

Solving social, environmental and health problems with tech solutions is one of the most relevant and important applications of the 21stcentury. It’s a sign of exciting feats yet to come, with disruptive start-ups paving the way for tech innovation, showing the magnitude of its potential for the future.

For Environment

Resilience Energy aims to increase solar energy usage through an app that allows homeowners to produce, store and sell energy. Other notable tech innovators include Deciwatt: a portable renewable energy company where pulling a cord (as opposed to needing sunlight or electricity) can create light and power. Emsol is an air and noise pollution monitoring solution that tracks and measures the impact of transport emissions. AI company Grey Parrot, uses computer vision solutions to identify different types of waste that have the potential to revolutionise waste management and automation. Lastly, Cogzconnects food producers directly with trade buyers on their website, to sell surplus produce before it becomes food waste.

For Wellbeing

The height of human innovation is being able to replace, improve or accompany human mental or physical disability, with technology that becomes an indispensable part of their body, or an indispensable aid to their mind. One of the biggest downfalls to mental or physical difficulty is the debilitating lack of independence, which causes extreme states of stress and frustration.

Tech that’s been pioneered to assist in restoring some of that independence and the freedom of choice, pleasure and sense of strength that goes with it, holds a contribution to society so compassionate that its future potential is immeasurable. This section should alternatively be called, “Tech that’s For WellbeingIndependence”.

Andiamo provides 3D bespoke-made supports for disabled children, while Avenna, provides tech that works on the causal pathways and early detection of chronic inflammatory diseases. Walk with Path, has designed a shoe attachment equipped with visual cues to assist people with walking problems caused by neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. Another walking-assisted invention is WeWalk, which aims to help the estimated 250+ million visually impaired people worldwide with a technologically advanced voice-controlled cane, where objects above chest height can be detected by ultrasound, and a phone app and Google Maps are integrated to aid navigation. In terms of physiological rehabilitation, Immersive Rehab uses VR physiotherapy programmes to help sufferers of neurological mobility issues, or those with balancing difficulties resulting from the likes of strokes, spinal cord injuries or multiple sclerosis. 

For Mentality 

Go Jauntly’smission to alleviate inactivity, stress and depression by finding interesting location-targeted walks based on your location, is categorised by preference, such as walks under 45 minutes, walks with views, and walks that are child-friendly. A fantastic piece of tech for good innovation is Storyball: a screen-free smart toy for kids that uses dynamic games and challenges to get kids moving and learning.

Tech That’s…Crucial For Day to Day Convenience

Within the transport and smart cities talks, one of which was attended by heads at TFL, Citymapper, Uber and Drivy, the focus was on making systems more streamlined and safe through insights derived from big data, revealing stresses on different parts of transport systems.

Micro-consolidation of freight and vehicle delivery through automated and more eco-friendly means, was also outlined as a pressing need. In discussion about private car ownership versus shared ownership, head of Drivy’s UK branch Katy Medlock outlined the importance of introducing the use of more shared-car ownerships, due to private ownerships causing tendencies to travel by car out of convenience, rather than necessity.

Tech That’s…Enjoyable

The app WeShop is the equivalent of Shazam for shopping, and enables users to compare, find and purchase loved items through photos they take and a digital feed they curate. Rewards in the form of ‘WeCoins’ can be gained through posting, shopping and getting likes or comments, which can then be spent at more than 100 of WeShop’s partner stores. The other FinTech app Thyngs, allows users to turn their phone into anactive shopping device, where ‘…anything physical – from packaging to products – can become a cashless payment point’, among other features.

Over in the hospitality and activities corner, app Hollabox realises  the best way to decide whether you want to do something in London, is to visually see it first. Videos of experiences and venues in London are uploaded, meaning you can visually try and test places and activities before you book them. Once you’ve decided, you can then book through the app. Venues include restaurants, bars, cafes, pubs and markets, while experiences include cinemas, galleries and adventure sports.

Good design provides solutions to problems that to some degree enhance quality of life, with a blueprint designed to make life easier, healthier or more enjoyable. By filling untapped gaps in the market and disrupting already filled ones, tech is changing the landscape of business, and the consequent society dictating it. For more information on tech innovation visit Unbound London or support for your start or scale-up, visit the CoStartup & Go website

 

Business Psychology At Unbound Festival: 3 Tips On How To Succeed

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It’s not often 5,000 start-ups, scale-ups, investors and industry leaders, gather to discuss the latest tech trends that are shaping our world. Unbound Festival London covers six pillars of innovation from the front lines of the tech industry:

immersive experience, smart cities, investment and scaling of start-ups, Tech For Good, AI and finance. Technology is the engine room of modern society and leaves an industry brimming with seasoned expertise and fresh young talent, on track to be worth over four trillion pounds. How to succeed then, in this competitive, lucrative, rapidly growing market, is down to not only innovative tech, but innovative mindsets, facilitating the tech.

Here are 3 tips from Unbound Festival on business psychology, to help you succeed in an industry that’s moving faster than us.

1.     Business Psychology

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Psychological traits considered crucial to the survival of a business today, are less focused on adventurous inventions and bold ideas and more focused on adaptability, re-invention, and the relentless execution of a bold idea. There’s a surprising amount of businesses still running on regulations and methods that are 10 years old or more.

Considering the rapidly evolving landscape where product updates, upgrades and brand transformations are regular, nothing lasts 10 years anymore, you’d be lucky if they even last five. So to keep up with the blistering pace that digital tools, designed to speed up communication and the sharing of information, have accelerated, companies must re-invent their cultural values and branding regularly.

This way, employees are kept engaged, old customers are kept coming back, recent customers interested, and new leads’ attracted.

2.     Productive Psychology: Critical Brain Vs. Experiential Brain

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Re-calibrating our decisions to choose what’s best for long-term critical interests over what’s best for short-term gain, is what Mark Adams, Chief of Innovation at Vice and Martin Adams, CEO of AI tech company Codec, call the continuous intrapersonal war between our critical and experiential self. The case in point, is through the ferocious acceleration of big tech companies and the reliant consumption of online stimulus, algorithms –laden with systems and data designed to understand us better than we understand ourselves– are in a dangerous position of control over the decisions we make. Most of these decisions are not in our best interest, they’re of the interest of any typical business model: money. ‘Psyops’ (psychological operations) is the military term for weapons-grade communication tactics, used in modern warfare where research is collected and used to influence the decisions of hostile groups. The problem is, that it’s been dipping its toes in public mainstream territory, and has been accused of exploiting average Joes’ online information to influence decisions, both on mass and individually, for financial business and political ends. 

We as humans have a unique balance of experiential processes: actions that are preconscious and mediated through experience, ‘feel’ and emotion; and critical processes: actions that are conscious, intentional, and mediated through consideration of future interests. Outlined at Unbound, were some practical (albeit radical) ways to take control over prioritising the critical self over the experiential, to ward off increasing effects of technological intelligence, looming in the midst of an increasingly data-driven world. 

Innovation is largely psychological, with the focus shifted away from external ventures like inventing and acquiring academic knowledge, and more towards the likes of self-awareness and radical changes in lifestyle, as a result of that self-awareness. In order to reach true innovation, according to brothers Mark and Martin Adams, some key stages need following:

1.    Firstly, identify your critical needs, which are the things that bring real value and meaning to your life. Critical needs are what make you want to get up in the morning or happy to work long days for because it’s in pursuit of a critical ambition personally or within family. Once you’ve identified this set of needs, you have a unique blueprint for your own success.

2.    Identify what triggers experiential urges, for example, what makes you feel good now such as postponing that creative project until tomorrow, launching that startup next year instead of this year, or buying more, eating more, smoking or drinking more at the times when more pressing matters need your attention.

3.    By restricting your environmental triggers accordingly, it will become easier to do what you critically need and harder to do what you instantly feel like over time. 

4.    Radical methods such as making irreversible decisions that contractually bind you to pursue your critical goals even if weeks or months later you don’t want to, were also explained. Many of the most pioneering people in history have harnessed radical approaches to getting what’s most valuable done, and generated remarkable success from it, which Mark stresses is where true innovation lies.

Innovation starts in the mind, after an individual accurately identifies their unique set of critical goals, radically changes their life’s set up to reach that goal, and diligently turns these goals into material outcomes*. Only then is a larger potential is uncovered, and with it, a deeper level of satisfaction and accomplishment on fulfilling it.

3.     Leadership Psychology

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Leadership is another word for good team management. And a mindset malleable enough to cater to different ways employees feel most empowered, relaxed and valued, is the measure of a good leader. The happier employees feel, the more enabled they’ll be to do their best work. Ways to achieve this include (but are not limited to): re-thinking how current working methods in your business contribute to productivity, implementing flexible and remote working environments, and looking at how different environments can maximise productivity.

Unbound Festival celebrates tech innovation across a wealth of industries and is crucial for its insight into the future of digital. The latest innovative trends in tech are not just products, services and inventions; they are mindsets, dispositions and diligent states of self-analysis. Before external success can come, internal innovation must inform and action it. And with the tech industry trailblazing the markets forming the foundations of our future society, it’s never been as crucial to adapt, fine-tune and innovate our ways of thinking. For more in-depth information on innovation and productivity, watch talks from Unbound Festival 2019 or the additional talk on extreme productivity By Vice Innovation Chief Mark Adams on Tedx.

For directional coaching and initial assessment of your business and mindsets, feel free to get in touch here

*The ‘relentless pursuit of an idea’ from 1. Business Psychology 

 

The Value of Good Content for Business Growth

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The value of good content for business growth is clear when you consider that it generates 3 times as many leads as paid search marketing and is more cost-effective and quicker than traditional outbound marketing, tenfold.

The purpose of content as a marketing tool for businesses then is obvious – it attracts and converts leads, and by being effective in doing so, has become one of if not the leading marketing strategy for lead generation and conversion in the ever competitive digital age.

So why is it so effective and how can you get it?

Editorial Content V Marketing Content 

Content today is no longer one entity, but 2 separate things existing in two different sectors entirely. Good content in publications such as magazines and journals is done for editorial purposes; good content on digital platforms like website blogs, e-newsletters and social media is done for marketing purposes. Both aim to drive sales, but indirectly (editorial) and directly (marketing). 

Inbound Marketing & Outbound Marketing 

Content marketing, also known as Inbound marketing, attracts leads through engaging content like videos, blog posts and e-newsletters, to name a few. The more traditional Outbound marketing outwardly approaches potential leads through the likes of cold calling, trade shows and seminar series.

Inbound marketing is content that’s tailored and targeted to a specific target audience, which has been proven to yield significantly more leads at a fraction of the price. Outbound marketing, however, often has much less targeted methods therefore the costs to generate the same amount of leads is significantly higher and unsustainable in this age’s digital climate.

The Customer Life Cycle

Whether marketing Inbound or Outbound, approaches differ but the customer lifecycle stays the same: 

·     ATTRACT

·     ENGAGE

·     CONVERT

·     RETAIN

The Benefits of Quality Content

Good content, that is content that eventually generates high ROI and further sales, has a unique and identifiable voice across all promotable platforms, and explores subject matter the proposed target market would want to read, watch or listen to. The content life cycle if done successfully through content should yield the following benefits:

1.   Good content attracts an audience and builds brand awareness

Types of content such as blog posts are hugely effective ways to increase website traffic. A study found that the companies that issue 16+ blog posts per month achieved nearly 3.5 times more traffic than those who published 0-4 posts per month. Blogs and other types of content continue to generate traffic to a website and social media channels long after they’re published, so the more post, the bigger your potential lead pool gets.

2.   Good content builds brand perception: increasing the credibility and authority of your brand

High-quality content is often used to reinforce businesses as industry experts. The likes of white papers —an authoritative report or guide— is an example of formats used to promote trust and expertise through content. Good content also improves your SEO rankings and consequent public visibility, and by nature of content being extremely shareable, it’s a great way to become known to unexpected potential leads.

3.   Good content retains an audience through the engagement of interesting subject matter

Also content gives you more touchpoints with potential leads.

4.   Good content increases targeted, relevant leads 

Emphasising the impact content has on brand perception, is the Demand Gen Report of 2016 that found 47% of buyers view between 3 and 5 pieces of content before making the first point of contact with a sales associate. 

5.   Good content over time generates returns on investment and drives further sales.

How Do I Get Content Marketing? 

Content marketing is a 2-part process. First, a content marketing strategy is put in place that identifies your brand USP, target audience and digital distribution channels, then content creators produce content that builds to increase brand perception, audience engagement, website and social media traffic, and lead conversion.

For information on implementing a content strategy and creating content or improving the quality of existing content, feel free to visit us here

 

 

Business Culture: Two Common Misconceptions Preventing Business Growth

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In many businesses, there are common misconceptions that represent less the business ethos itself, more the traditions businesses have simply become stuck in.

Misled assumptions about where, when and how people should work stifle companies’ ability to reach their actual potential, rather than their perceived potential, especially when rival businesses are now embracing new flexible ways of working. And with the current workplace looking young, bright and (no, not orange) flexible, it’s as prime time as any to set these misconceptions straight.

So here are two common misconceptions preventing businesses from their reaching their actual potential. 

1.   Team Happiness Doesn’t Influence Business Growth And Profit, Just Skills

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By nature of happiness being an emotion rather than a skill that can be measured or applied, it isn’t seen as a direct contributor to business success and therefore largely falls under businesses’ radar, in pursuit of skill-based goals. A business is the sum of its parts, and its constituent parts is the team. 

The happiness of the team therefore, is indispensable to achieving sustained optimal growth. Small increments of going the extra mile as a result of a team member feeling empowered, valued and trusted, are the seemingly small things that over time when multiplied by an entire team, can be the tangible difference between a business being successful, and a business that stands out above competitors. 

2.   The Environment Most Conducive To Productivity Is One Environment, And It’s An Office

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The environments most conducive to productivity have been left largely unexplored in the past under the overbearing weight of dated traditions and stigma around flexible working. What makes someone most productive, equates to anywhere and any time window that makes them most relaxed and focused. 

Depending on the individual and job role, this could be variations of home, a workspace, an office, starting early in the morning or late into the evening. The key misconception here is that there’s one environment most conducive to getting the job done, and that environment is an office to be in from 9 to 5 every day, every week, of every month. 

Once employers realise there are several efficient ways to get the job done outside of these confines, in ways that can not only benefit them by transforming business culture and growth, but the teamby instilling more trust, value and empowerment (A.K.A. happiness), progress can be exponential. 

The ratio of weight businesses apply to understanding how consumer attitudes and environments yield profit and growth, compared to the weight businesses apply to understanding how their team’s attitudes and environments yield profit and growth, is disproportionate and reflective only of their perceived potential, not actual potential, which this can enable.

For more posts on team productivity and business culture, keep in touch with our blog for regular posts on all things business.

In the meanwhile, view the latest article on Business Culture: 3 Ways To Get The Best Out Of Your Team  

 

 

 

 

Business Culture: 3 Ways To Get The Best Out Of Your Team

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Why is Google still one of the leading tech businesses in the world?

It’s not just due to their pioneering technology, but their business culture which creates environments conducive to creating innovating and pioneering technology.

Typical criteria of success among businesses tend to centre on skill sets, digital presence, marketing strategy, and streamlined financials. But what’s not taken into account as criteria for success, is team happiness.

And getting the best out of your team is directly related to how trusted, valued and empowered they feel.  

So what 3 ways can this be done?

The Hierarchy of Team Productivity

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How do you increase team trust, value & empowerment?

1.    Promote flexible work environments such as  ROWE stands for Results Only Work Environment, where as long as the results are reached, team members can work anywhere at any hours.

This independence and level of trust instils a sense of empowerment in that reassures not only ability but builds passion and willingness.

2.    Make sure you have a top-level resource devoted to business growth and development. Specialist business directional and development coaches are invaluable in gaging where a business is, the direction it needs to go, and how to get there in the most streamlined, leanest way possible.

If business development is managed with organisation, structured goals and specialist knowledge, this will filter through to the smooth running of day-to-day operations.

3.    As well as top-level business management, team management is crucial to avoiding overload, burnout and in time, staff turnover. A national survey from the Employment Engagement Series found that 46% of HR leaders say employee burnout accounts for 20-50% of annual workforce turnover. 

Knowing when to outsource extra resources is crucial to making your team feel valued and empowered instead of overworked and forgotten. Gaging when the resource-to-workload ratio is tipping and outsourcing before it negatively impacts the team's interest, motivation, and work delivery, will reap benefits that will generate sustained business growth. 

The importance of workforce retention and turnover reduction is clear and reinforced by a study from Future Workforce and Kronos that found that 87% of employers ranked improving retention as a critical priority matter.Howto retain workforces, while maximising team productivity and boosting business growth, is high on many agendas and the ways outlined above are examples of proven, practical and effective ways to do so.

For more information on team productivity and how it can impact business growth, visit Three major misconceptions preventing business growth

 

6 Apps That Make You More Productive

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In 2019 with endless advancements in technology, is it really doing what it claims to do and be enhancing our lives?

Or is it just distracting us from the things that do enhance it?

Digital literacy, that is: how to steer, moderate and utilise the benefits of technology, is as (nearly) crucial to modern-day life as the age-old curriculum. So here are 6 apps that make you more productive.

1.     Noisli

Deep work is the ability to focus on a cognitively demanding task without distraction, resulting in complex information being processed faster and results being produced quicker.

One app that encourages deep work is Noisli, a background noise generator aimed at using sound and colour to improve focus and boost productivity.

Noisli.com

2. F.lux

The computer app f.lux removes the effects of blue light by adjusting screen colour and temperature according to time of day and location. If you have read 3 Ways To Be More Productive And Streamline Your Workday you’ll understand that when it comes to that last 10-minute block of the day, you don’t want to be wasting any more time due to sleep (or lack of`) because of blue light brain stimulation.

Justgetflux.com

3. Boomerang

Aside from streamlining emails by turning off notifications and checking your inbox just twice a day at allotted times, Boomerang is a great way to schedule messages should you want to send emails outside of this window. You can also set up reminders that alert and prompt you if someone hasn’t replied within a few days.

Boomeranggmail.com

4. Magnet 

For Mac users, this is one of those apps that once you start using; you’ll never imagine doing without. For Windows users, the ability to divide a screen with the click or drag of a mousepad is an already familiar and highly useful tool in managing multiple windows throughout the workday.

The app Magnet divides your screen by half and half, into quarters or in variations of this, to ensure time efficiency when working across several windows. 

Magnet.crowdcafe.com

5. Trello Bulletin Board

A great way to brainstorm ideas, solidify tasks and create online mood boards, this customisable digital bulletin board is designed to keep all your thoughts across multiple mediums in one place.

Multiple boards can be created, each containing cards that can be filled with anything from thoughts to ideas, tasks and pictures. Each card is dynamic, so they can be dragged and dropped within a list or moved to a different one as well as shared with other users for commenting and task assignments.

Trello.com

6. Slack

Built for team collaboration across multiple workspaces, Slack works for businesses seeking to coordinate a team through communication and information transfer, or for freelancers looking to operate across different workspaces in one place.

Each workspace is collaborative and organised by channels, projects or team members, with seamless integrations to tools and services such as Gmail, Google Drive and Adobe Creative Cloud.

Slack.com

 

 

 

The Definitive Guide to Networking Part I: Top 6 Biggest Misconceptions

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Up to 85% of jobs are filled throughnetworking

The top 6 biggest misconceptions of its value therefore, lie in people’s perception of it

Networking for many, serves as a productive means to grow work opportunities and cement business relationships, but for a big portion it’s less an opportunity than an idea; straddled somewhere between a to-do list chore and a benefit with no tangible return.

This ambiguous area of modern business -similar to flexible work environmentsand digital workspaces- can ignite a sense of community in an industry known (and loved) for its independent freedom; or further solidify misled opinion.

So with clarity being key to realising the value of areas like these, here are the 6 biggest misconceptions about networking. 

1.     Networking is self-serving or selfish 

A networking event isn’t about milking a professional’s resources on a one-man goal to get work, it’s instead a mutually beneficial opportunity for two professionals with skills of comparable value, to meet and open a dialogue in pursuit of a long-term relationship resulting in work prospects.  

2.    Successful networking means immediate work 

Some networking can lead to a quick turn around, but much of it can often be long-term with relationships developing organically over time.

Often these types of relationships are the ones that yield the most pivotal and rewarding work; so remember to trust the process, keep the dialogue open and shift your focus from achieving quick results, to nurturing relationships that can open doors in the future.

3.    Networking events are large and daunting

There are many ways to make connections and strengthen your skills in ways that are productive for you. The variety of events include industry-specific talks watched by like-minded professionals, Linkedin group forums, happy hour meet-ups and creative Round Table events aimed at help creatives with queries and direction.

4.     To make networking a success you have to be an outgoing person

Networking is often seen as a by-product of an intrinsic outgoing character trait, but in reality, it's a skill that can be developed with practice and experience.

Once you’ve targeted your desired sector and found the type of event within that industry (as outlined in 3) that works for you, be clear on what you want to get out of it.

Are you looking to grow your clients or get a job? Form relationships or air some skill-specific questions? Having a clear agenda that you’re armed with when attending events, will enable you to target and hone your networking skills.  

5.    Focusing on your strongest, most apparent relationships is key to networking success

Focusing onyour strongest, most obvious relationships, such as professionals within your wider circles, leaves a mass of untapped potential work elsewhere.

Broaden your perception to extend to industries that are less apparent of needing your skillset, and you may be surprised at how much demand there is for your line of work.

Many unassuming sectors have a huge demand for skills but not the resource to accurately find them.

6.     Networking is purpose-built and targeted

Not only are 85% of jobs filled through networking, but a portion of this comes from no specific event in particular, instead, a disposition of being open-minded to opportunities.

Although one opportunity may not be exactly what you’re looking for, it will introduce you instantly to a wider circle of people, all with connections, contacts and fellow professionals working across multiple sectors.

Being open-minded to less apparently useful opportunities is crucial to growing a healthy diverse circle of contacts. 

The value of networking lies in the work, experience and relationships it can yield, proving it as indispensable