startups

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

 

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: 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

3 Ways To Be More Productive And Streamline Work

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The great thing in life is efficiency. If you amount to anything in the world, your time is valuable, your energy precious. They are your success capital, and you cannot afford to heedlessly throw them away or trifle with them.

–Dr. Orison Marden

Have you ever broke down the hours in a day and thought if you really needed to, how much you could get done in 16 hours?

Ways to be more productive and streamline work are high on any modern day business agenda.

The general 8-hour sleep, 8-hour work, 8-hour play routine varies from person to person, but one thing remains undisputed; a day accompanied by structure and deep work can achieve more than a frantically busy, fragmented one can in a week.

So what are the factors most conducive to maximising productivity? 

1.     Routine

Timings are everything. A start and finish time bookends each day to allow a window of complete focus, the same way it can allow a switch off when the day is finished. This relates more to freelance and flexible workplaces; but whatever the hours you work, make sure to pin down a start and finish time and stick to it militantly.

When a routine is so ingrained that it’s equivalent to going autopilot, it takes one less thought process from the day’s decisions; in turn minimising time on admin and maximising time spent on work.

2.     Structure

Being mindful of exactly what a day can fit in if you break it down incrementally, is quite eye-opening. There are many ways people can divide a day up, but whichever you adopt, it will dictate how you see your time and the opportunities available within it.

Writer and TED Speaker Tim Urban, breaks it down (minus 7-8 hours sleep) into 16-17 hours or 1,000 minutes, broken down into 100 10-minute blocks, which is what we get each day when we wake up.  

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Throughout that day we spend 10 minutes of our lives on each block, which when looked at as a whole, reveals interesting clues on how we use those 100 blocks we get each day, and how we can make our day more productive and streamlined.

 

“How many of them are put towards making your future better, and how many of them are just there to be enjoyed? How many of them are spent with other people, and how many are for time by yourself? How many are used to create something, and how many are used to consume something? How many of the blocks are focused on your body, how many on your mind, and how many on neither one in particular? Which are your favorite blocks of the day, and which are your least favorite?”

3. Streamlining

To increase efficiency and productivity(particularly after implementing an allotted window for deep work), all email notifications should be turned off, with emails only being checked twice a day at the likes of 11am and 4pm. The sporadic and spontaneous alert of email notifications not only interrupts your train of thought; but switches it completely off the task and onto the subject of the email, suspending any chance for deep work to enhance productivity.

Once notifications are off, it’s a good idea to set an auto-responder, saying something to the effect of, “Thanks for reaching out. I currently only check my emails at 11am and 4pm each day, to increase efficiency and productivity.

If you require assistance that cannot wait please get in touch on [YOUR PHONE NUMBER].” Being in control of incoming information this way, can structure and streamline your day in a way that enables deep work, not debilitates it. 

 

Efficiency when maximised, slots work into a finite window of confined, deep, productive focus, where a lot can get done in a shorter space of time. Optimum productivity needs practice, maintenance and work but when mastered over time, it can transform the way you approach your life and opportunities within it. 

 

We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we've established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep. It makes everything else in life so wonderful, so worthwhile.

–Earl Nightingale

Top 10 Must-Have Tools & Resources for Startups

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When you are ready to set up your startup, it can be a bit confusing to know which direction to take and what resources to invest in. This list below lets you know exactly where to start when looking for the best tools to run your business efficiently.

Take Charge of Your Accounts with Xero or Quickbooks

Keep up to date with all your banking and credit card transactions while managing your cashflow.

Send Proposals and Pitch Your Work with Proposify or Qwilr

Create easy to read proposals and streamline the pitch, quote and approval process. Replace presentations with sleek, customisable and interactive interfaces.

Maintain Customer Relationships with Hubspot

Organise, grow and track your customers with Hubspot CRM software while you manage your sales pipeline keeps the process effortless.

Research Your Competitors with Moz

Learn about how your competitors are gaining their inbound traffic and target areas where you can drive customers to your business.

Stay on top of Your Website Data and Traffic with Google Analytics

Measure your website performance to see how your content and marketing efforts are working and where customers are engaging with your brand.

Manage your Social Media with Hootsuite

Save time by using managing several social media accounts on one dashboard. Monitor your brand and check what’s trending in your industry.

Communicate across Multiple Teams & Departments with Slack

Communicate and message your team, send real-time updates, save files and develop a collaborative workspace with Slack, whether you are down the hall or across the globe.

Manage your Projects with Asana, Basecamp or Skwish

Whether you are a freelancer, a solo entrepreneur, or start-up, or a small team, these tools are perfect to manage tasks, create timelines for projects and to maintain transparency with clients or customers.

Stay Connected with your Customers with Mailchimp

Build an effective email strategy with your customers and clients by staying in touch with them and sending targeted campaigns to maintain your relationship.

Keep Your Documents Organised and Collaborate with Dropbox

Securely share files across teams or with clients and simplify the way you create, share and collaborate across devices.

Receive Access to Media Pitches and Get Direct Responses with HARO

Send your stories, press releases and important company updates to HARO and provide journalists with everything they need to cover your news which amplifies your message.

Outsource To Your Own Team All In One Place With CoStartup & Go

With the amount of freelancers growing how do you know which ones will actually be good and stick about? Remove the gamble of working flexibly by using CoStartup & Go and their experienced network who all seamlessly wok together on your startup, invested unmaking it a success.

Hire Great Talent with Workable

When you are ready to find permanent talent, use Workable to source, manage and track applicants in one space from over 14 different job boards.

Join a Coworking Space to Find Opportunities to Network

A coworking space is a fantastic tool to have to be able to network and creatively collaborate with other startups and small businesses. Alongside the routine networking events, the organic networking that naturally evolves is priceless and it doesn’t hurt that it creates a great space for productivity in your business. 

Some of our fave partners include:

The Office Group

BDC Works

Mainyard Studios

Boutique Coworking

Airspace

Interested in a FOC consultation on how we can help your startup?

GET IN TOUCH

Work-Life Management & How To Find It

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As the conversation continues about work-life balance, many individuals are coming to the conclusion that it simply does not exist.  New terms are emerging such as “work-life fit” or “work-life choices”.

These are much better terms to use because “balance” is different for each individual. There is no one prescription for creating balance. It is a continuous goal which must be practiced, tweaked, and managed daily in order to achieve. Therefore, it is important for individuals to strive for an acceptable balance that works for them.

Technology has not only revolutionized the way people communicate, it has also altered the way people work by allowing for more flexibility. However, this increase in flexibility also creates the need for even higher levels of organization.

Liane Hornsey, Google VP of People Operations, is a proponent of this new, more flexible work place. She believes in measuring people with “positives”, not “negatives”. She advocates not tracking sick days or holidays and instead, looking at output. No matter how it is achieved, she understands that people need a balance between work and life, and that this differs for everyone.

“Lets face it: programmers want to program, they don’t want to do their laundry. So we make it easy for them to do both”. Eric Schmidt, CEO, Google. 

Start-ups and entrepreneurs have the option to adopt these flexible ideals into their company cultures.

Here are some tips about how you can manage your work-life balance in this new flexible and virtual age, where productivity and efficiency are still the end goal.

Be Mindful

Use singular focus and be present while completing the task at hand

Jobs can become a source of stress and exhaustion, often due to the mind worrying about present or future concerns. In order to avoid burn-out try to “be in the now” especially when you are speaking to a colleague or client. This has been proven to increase productivity and efficiency.

 “The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment: you create a good future by creating a good present.” – Eckhart Tolle

Mindfulness is assisted through practices such as yoga or meditation     

Meditation has been shown to increase productivity at work by stopping pointless worrying and allowing the mind to become more focused and clear.

Set your intentions for the work day in the morning

This helps you stay organized and focused.

Use transitions wisely

Take a moment for yourself while in between meetings. Be consciously aware of your surroundings while walking from place to place. Take breaks for stretching or going for a walk. Along with the many health benefits, this can help you re-center yourself so that you are better able to tackle your day.

Conscious breathing can alleviate stress and anxiety

When you find yourself getting tired or overwhelmed, remember to stop and take a deep breath. Focus on your breath and create a mini-meditation.

Nourish yourself with water and healthy food choices

Be present while eating lunch or taking a sip of tea or coffee. Create a moment of peace and relish in the moment.

Bring your mindfulness home with you

At the end of the work day, remember to be present while spending time with your family and friends.

Be “All-In” But Set Boundaries To Avoid Burn Out

“The right to disconnect”

France recently passed such a law. People find it hard to disengage without traditional work boundaries, especially with the influx of technology and ease of communication. Try turning off your phone and computer at night.

Schedule, don’t “list”

Schedule things you need to complete into your calendar. This helps you clearly identify your priorities.

You have a Life

As an entrepreneur, there are always going to be many interesting ideas and things to explore. Make sure to schedule personal time with family and friends.

Use the help of Apps

Rescue time This helps with time management by helping you understand your daily habits on the computer.

Siteblock For sites that you spend too much time on, and that hinder your productivity, why not block them completely? This app also shows you how many times you tried to access certain sites while they were blocked.

Create A Sacred Space For Your Work Environment

If you are working at home, make sure you have a designated space. A room that is separate from your bedroom or living room, and has a door, is best. Also, create a space with a nice view, or faux view, and set up objects that make you happy. Choose objects that remind you to stay focused and present. You have free reign to create a space that works for you!

Want to get out of the house completely? Join a co-working space. Choose a co-working space that provides the amenities (gym, café, meeting rooms, telephone booths, roof garden) that work for you and aid your work-life balance. Choose a space that feels good to you and has the décor that you prefer. There are many co-working spaces from which to choose.

Social isolation is a growing problem with the increase of dependence on technological devices and programs. Counter this by making sure to schedule Skype meetings, or by attending networking events. If you do not particularly like networking events, enjoy the natural networking that takes place at a co-working space. It has been proven that “water station talk” psychologically benefits people in the workplace.

Ask For Support

The power of speaking to people and feeling heard is extremely powerful. Sometimes in the professional environment, it isn’t always easy to convey your personal struggles.

Use an app such as Talk Space. This app provides virtual therapy, when and where you need it.

At PA&GO we provide flexible, virtual support and advice for all of your on-going start up and entrepreneurial needs. Speak to us about what is causing you stress and work with the team to find a way to delegate tasks which will make your daily routine more manageable.

It is important to craft a work-life fit that works for you. Managing this delicate balance is more of an art than a science and one that will continue to be tweaked. Focus on the positives and celebrate the times when you feel you had it right. At the end of the day, personal moments matter most in life and are as important as successfully growing your skills and making money in the workplace.  

“Accept-then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.” –Eckhart Tolle

 

 

Written by Alexandra Griffin, Operations Executive / Virtual Assistant PA&GO, New York

 

 

Top 10 Must-Have Tools and Resources for Startups and Entrepreneurs

Tools and Resources for Startups

When you are ready to set up your business or startup, it can be a bit confusing to know which direction to take and what resources to invest in. This list below lets you know exactly where to start when looking for the best tools to run your business efficiently.

Outsource and Delegate to High Quality Virtual Support by PA&GO

Rather than constantly heading to sites like Upwork or Freelancer when you need small tasks or executive assistance, think about a flexible, local support team that can work for as little or as much as you need, without hassle.

Hire Great Talent with Workable

When you are ready to find permanent talent, use Workable to source, manage and track applicants in one space from over 14 different job boards.

Take Charge of Your Accounts with Xero or Quickbooks

Keep up to date with all your banking and credit card transactions while managing your cashflow.

Send Proposals and Pitch Your Work with Proposify or Qwilr

Create easy to read proposals and streamline the pitch, quote and approval process. Replace presentations with sleek, customisable and interactive interfaces.

Maintain Customer Relationships with Hubspot

Organise, grow and track your customers with Hubspot CRM software while you manage your sales pipeline keeps the process effortless.

Research Your Competitors with Moz

Learn about how your competitors are gaining their inbound traffic and target areas where you can drive customers to your business.

Stay on top of Your Website Data and Traffic with Google Analytics

Measure your website performance to see how your content and marketing efforts are working and where customers are engaging with your brand.

Manage your Social Media with Hootsuite

Save time by using managing several social media accounts on one dashboard. Monitor your brand and check what’s trending in your industry.

Communicate across Multiple Teams & Departments with Slack

Communicate and message your team, send real-time updates, save files and develop a collaborative workspace with Slack, whether you are down the hall or across the globe.

Manage your Projects with Asana, Basecamp or Skwish

Whether you are a freelancer, a solo entrepreneur, or start-up, or a small team, these tools are perfect to manage tasks, create timelines for projects and to maintain transparency with clients or customers.

Stay Connected with your Customers with Mailchimp

Build an effective email strategy with your customers and clients by staying in touch with them and sending targeted campaigns to maintain your relationship.

Keep Your Documents Organised and Collaborate with Dropbox

Securely share files across teams or with clients and simplify the way you create, share and collaborate across devices.

Receive Access to Media Pitches and Get Direct Responses with HARO

Send your stories, press releases and important company updates to HARO and provide journalists with everything they need to cover your news which amplifies your message.

Join a Coworking Space to Find Opportunities to Network

A coworking space is a fantastic tool to have to be able to network and creatively collaborate with other startups and small businesses. Alongside the routine networking events, the organic networking that naturally evolves is priceless and it doesn’t hurt that it creates a great space for productivity in your business. 

Remember, any of our virtual assistants can set up and help maintain these platforms, making your startup journey run a lot smoother. If you are ready to set up your business the right way, get in touch today.