How To Protect Your Business From Costly Technology Mistakes

In today’s fast-moving digital world, having a solid technology plan is more important than ever. If you don’t, you could miss out on advances in tech as well as waste your resources. But you need the right plan and the right tools. Here are ways you can protect your business from costly technology mistakes:

Watch IT Repairs

Whether you have PCs, Macs, or a little of both, your computers will eventually need repairs. You can choose to take care of repairs in-house, or you can choose to send business computers out to repair stores. The optimal choice and the least costly option will depend, of course, on the repairs required. Is it a problem your IT department can handle quickly? Then it would be cheaper to have it repaired in-house. But is this a problem that would cost your IT department too much time and resources to take care of? Then it might be worth it to send to a repair shop. Keep in mind, most repair shops will charge around $70 for a diagnostic, and more money will be required for extensive repairs beyond that. Calculate the approximate cost of repairs in-house compared to a repair shop, taking into account the amount of time it will take away from more urgent IT duties.

Get a Security Plan

Security is of the utmost importance. If you don’t have a solid infrastructure in place, you could

be revealing your private banking information, product info, or customer data to hackers. They have so many ways to steal your data today that you can never be careful. At a minimum, set up a secure firewall, network monitoring, and alert system to prevent and detect threats.

Invest in Automation

When you do something more than once in your business, it should be automated. This reduces the time necessary to complete everyday tasks. If you aren’t leveraging automation, you are leaving money on the table. This is true, particularly with your marketing. If you have email sequences, sales funnels, or advertising running, you can schedule these items in advance instead of overpaying someone who is paid on a salary or hourly basis.

Avoid Contracts

IT has a variety of managed service providers out there. However, this does not mean that you need to sign a contract for every new service under the sun. You can often get bulk rates if paid in advance. Other times, it is possible to do a monthly service that you can cancel at any time. Sometimes contracts are beneficial but do your research before jumping into a new commitment.

Modern business demands a lot more from companies with regards to technology than it ever did before. Instead of hoping these issues will go away, you need to act on solid plans to reduce your technology mistakes and ensure that you can dominate your industry with better costs, better efficiency, and better security. So don’t hesitate, implement the advice above today and protect your profits now and into the future.

 

How to Use More Dynamic Media in Your Online Ads

Online advertising is only going to become more important as organic traffic to web sites, videos and other destinations becomes harder to find and harder to manage. For all businesses, no matter if they’re a startup or a well-established presence on either social media, the process of getting the attention of buyers is the lifeblood of their company. Therefore, the mechanisms of engaging those buyers is a top priority.

Some of those business owners and marketing managers might be wondering how they can incorporate more dynamic media into their advertising. After all, they are competing with similar content on social media sites and in videos. It’s much easier than you might first imagine.

The Book Metaphor

In the world of publishing, customers find their way to a great read by following the exact same path every time. The first thing they see is the cover. If they like it they read the blurb. If they like that they read a sample of the book. Lastly, if they like that they usually buy the book and are very likely to enjoy it.

If the book metaphor is compared with advertising, the cover is the ad. The blurb is the landing page. While there are always steps beyond the landing page, the truth is the basic attraction equation starts with the ad and ends with the landing page.

This is an important model, as it can be utilized as a showcase for dynamic media.

From Hook to Close

Because online ads and especially mobile ads must often be limited to practical sizes and formats, it is often impractical to employ elaborate media in the ads themselves. That said, those ads need to be compelling enough to hook readers and potential customers. They need to lead those people to your landing page, where the magic happens.

On your landing page, you have total freedom, so you can take over the screen, use video, animations, music, and sound effects and even infographic imagery. Landing pages can even be adapted into slideshows or full-scale presentation art.

The key to making the landing page work is for the initial ad to attract an audience.

Attention-Getting Media

It is a well-known axiom on the web that audiences are more likely to respond to content with images and video. The conventional wisdom can be further expanded to include posts with an infographic or animation.

Animation in the form of an animated GIF, HTML5 content, or other formats should be of particular note because the human eye is geared to notice movement. By and large, most web pages don’t “move” in the traditional sense, meaning animation is still enough of a novelty that it will attract attention. GIFs can be a particularly powerful attractor, especially those that have achieved virality.

Infographics should also be of particular note because they elicit a curious response from the average reader. Visually interesting images are likely to not only get attention, but keep it. Holding a reader’s attention is the entire point of an online ad. The likelihood your ad will be noticed and get clicks and conversions increases dramatically if these basics can be accomplished.

Dynamic Ads

Even if the initial ad has limited formatting, it can still incorporate the same kinds of techniques as a media heavy landing page. One good technique is to use animation as an eyecatch in the initial ad. Then expand it on mouseover to include higher resolution art along with a click-through to the landing page.

Another good technique is called the “do-re-mi” effect. Tell a story as if playing the first seven notes of a scale. Then invite the reader to click through to “see what happens”. That gets them to the landing page and your more elaborate art.

There are hundreds of ways to use dynamic media in advertising. The key to making it work is to build the media into the right model so as to fit with current publishing standards. This will pique the interest of the audience. If done right, it can lead to tremendously effective marketing results.

Startup Money 101: How to Get a Business Loan the First Time Around

Resources:

http://invenst.team/build-business/

https://www.ama.org/publications/eNewsletters/MarketingInsightsNewsletter/Pages/How-to-Take-Your-Web-Ads-from-Interruptive-to-Engaging.aspx

https://blog.smartketer.com/blog/an-introduction-to-dynamic-display-ads/

https://upgifs.com/

https://www.fastcompany.com/3035856/why-were-more-likely-to-remember-content-with-images-and-video-infogr

Tips for Improving Employee Productivity

As a small business owner, you need to build a team that will support your vision for success. This is why it’s so ineffective to hire employees who don’t do the work. So many companies deal with such an unfortunate reality and the success within is stalled as a result. In order to improve employee productivity, there are a few tips you can put in place.

Structure the Day

As the day wears on, a lot of people get tired. It’s not because they need a kick of motivation — according to Sue Shellenbarger, it’s actually the way we are wired. Take advantage of the energy people have in the morning by assigning analytical tasks that require the mind to be incredibly alert. Then there’s the lull that happens after lunch. Around the 2 and 3 p.m., many people fight sleep. At this time, assign some of the more creative and engaging assignments that can help employees remain present and inspired.

Live Video Surveillance

If an employee knows they’re being watched at all times, this can come off as a little creepy. At the same time, they’re less likely to spend time perusing the internet or scrolling on social media. According to Pro-Vigil Video Monitoring, remote surveillance is one solution that many companies have picked due to its many advantages when using new technology. In order to keep employees focused, use live video surveillance equipment to keep track of who’s on task. It’s important to let the employees know they’re being watched. However, pay attention to that footage so that you can deal with employees who aren’t abiding by the rule to stay on task.

Clear Goals

It’s important to communicate goals to the team. This is a helpful way to allow everyone to understand what’s going on and what’s expected of them. At the beginning and end of each week, it might be a good idea to have team meetings. It’s a way to hold one another accountable and report back regarding the progress. No one wants to show up to a meeting without any deliverables because that can lead to job loss.

Incentives

Whether it’s a pay raise, new benefits, or the day off, most people really respond well to incentives. For some employees, more money might be great, but maybe they’d prefer a telecommuting option once a week instead. Find out which incentives would work well in your company (and which employees) and use them. If you’re short on ideas, read through this list from Insperity to get started.

 

It’s good to develop a trial period for each tip. Look to see which ones are the most effective. Pay attention to the ones that don’t seem to make a difference as well. It doesn’t make sense to keep doing something that doesn’t work. Be open to experimentation and understand that it might take a little while before you see a marked improvement in the productivity of the employees. Just be consistent and track the data to know which direction to stay in.

 

Looking for great ideas? Do you have ideas worth sharing? Join the Invenst community today!

Signup for our Private Beta Site at Invenst.com – Coming this Summmer!

 

Startup Money 101: How to Get a Business Loan the First Time Around

If you’re like most new businesses, you’re going to require borrowed funds for initial startup money, product development, and more. Understandably, you want to get approved for a new business loan quickly and with minimal hassle.

Unfortunately, some people walk down many paths before finally getting approved for a business loan. This can waste time and money, and it can also cause unnecessary stress. If you are preparing to apply for a business loan, these tips can help you to get approved more easily.

Create a Business Plan

Most lenders require you to provide a detailed business plan when you apply for a loan. A rookie mistake is preparing a business plan that’s brief and lacking in pertinent information. In this situation, the lender has little information to go on when making a lending decision. The lender may also assume that you have not put much thought into your business activities and future growth. You can see why this would be detrimental.

On the other hand, if your plan is detailed the lender will take you more seriously. These details includes information related to the competition, your target audience, your marketing plan, financial projections, and more.  In addition, the lender has all the necessary information to see that your venture makes financial sense. Spend time preparing a business plan before you apply.

Evaluate What You Need For a Loan

As part of your business plan, evaluating the expenses on your plate and determining how much of that you can swallow yourself versus how much you would need a loan to cover. It might be tempting, but don’t take more than you need to start with. For small expenses, installment loans are a short-term solution; for a more long-term solution, try opening a business line of credit.

Think About Collateral

Some lenders may provide a startup or small business with an unsecured loan. Many will prefer that you pledge collateral. In some cases, this may be personal collateral rather than a business asset. Identify any potential collateral that you could pledge up-front. This helps so that you are prepared to offer it when or if it becomes necessary to do so.

Prepare to Sign a Personal Guarantee

Many people prefer to keep business and personal finances separate. However, many lenders require entrepreneurs to personally guarantee the loan. This essentially means that the lender can come after your personal assets if you default on the business loan. Some business loans require a full guaranty. Others only require a partial guaranty.

Be aware of what it may take to get approved for a business loan. By doing so, you can more easily find a lender that has lending requirements that you are comfortable with. You can also have documentation on-hand to provide to the lender as soon as it is requested. 

Starting a business can be both challenging and rewarding. For more expert advice and business hacks, join the Invenst Team community and take advantage of our free resources.

Signup for our Private Beta Site at Invenst.com – Coming this Summer!

Resources:

How Entrepreneurs Face Fear and Conquer Competition

If you’re planning on starting a business from scratch, then you are probably dealing with a lot of stressful and overwhelming responsibilities and tasks. And some entrepreneurs let the fear from these situations take over them. However, in today’s day and age, you need to have guaranteed ways to overcome this fear if you are going to compete in the marketplace and win more business:

1. Get Confident

Image Credit: Medium

Fear all begins in mind. It starts out small but then grows. The way you can combat this is to develop a confident mindset instead. Convince yourself that no matter what, you will be able to face your fears. Try saying affirmations in the mirror each morning, and listen to self-help audio on a daily basis.

2. Get Resourceful

Image Credit: Dreamstime

Once you have the confidence that you can overcome your fear, it’s time to look at your resources. Start categorizing all of your assets, financially and mentally. Take time to review your past experiences for clues as well. These are your tools you will use to get an edge.

3. Define the Worst Case Scenario

Image Credit: Dreamstime

Understand what you’re terrified of. Make an actual list by writing them out on paper, so they seem more real for the moment. By defining your fears in detail, it removes the power of them. This way you can crush them easier than ever before.

4. Use Visualization

Image Credit: Rules of Renovation

Visualizing success is a powerful way to erase fear. It focuses your mind on the positive things you want instead of the negatives you want to avoid, and there are techniques out there that will help. This means you can look for a win in each scenario, instead of dwelling on the negative things that could happen. Over time, your confidence will grow, and you can punch fear in the face!

5. Join a Like-Minded Group

Image Credit: Dreamstime

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Surround yourself with supportive people that want to help you grow. Other entrepreneurs are significant resources for inspiration, fear-busting, and new innovative ideas to help you surpass your goals. You’ll be surprised how much your attitude changes in one month, two months, and especially years down the line.

 

When it comes to entrepreneurship, the only thing that matters is overcoming fear and acting more consistently than the other entrepreneurs in your industry. If you can do this, you can enjoy higher profits and sales than ever before. So Use the tips above and put them into action to start getting the positive results you deserve in your business today.

Signup for our Private Beta Site at Invenst.com – Coming this Summmer!

 

How to Build a Business from Scratch

Learning how to build a business can be overwhelming and daunting when you think about it but in reality, it’s a lot more streamlined and simple than one might think. In this article, we will cover two different versions appealing to two different sets of personalities:

Those who want the fastest results – and – those who want to do things by the book.

Now, you’ll hear us say this a lot: We are not experts. We are simply a team of individuals looking to make your life a helluva lot easier. We’ll do this by researching for you, so you don’t have to. That being said, let’s dive in.

Whether you’re looking to create the next big app or wish to start a charity, you can follow this guide to facilitate that process. Please choose the section that best represents your personality:

I want to do this quickly!
Let’s take it one step at a time.

As always if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please leave them below!

How to Build Your Startup Team

If you are looking for the best advice on how to build your startup team, you’ve landed at the right place.

The foundation of every successful business is a solid, well-formed team. The resources for finding teams are so vast and cumbersome. Our objective here is to help you understand the aspects of finding a good starting place and then what to look for when vetting candidates.

When searching for a team, it’s “fishing in the right lakes.” For example, you might go to Cofounderslab to find a founder or advisor for your team but you wouldn’t go to TopTal necessarily looking for a cofounder.

Map it out

Take some time to really think what talents you’re missing in your skill set. Write these talents out on a whiteboard or piece of paper. From there, you can start grouping things together. Are you lacking in finances and web development? Well then you can use WaveApps to assist with your accounting and check out Upwork for freelancers. Or are you looking for a shared responsibility, for some help to run your company from someone who is technologically more advanced than you? Well then, maybe a Technical Co-founder is right for you.

Structure your team

A good bridge will be able to withstand all the weight vehicles put on it when it first opens up. A bad bridge will collapse. It is important to build a solid team structure before you start hiring a bunch of people. Where is payroll being tracked? Where are you managing schedules? … etc.

What to look for in a co-founder

Co-founder relationships are quite similar to marriages. You both need to “click” in order for there to be good chemistry. Aside from that, GREAT – not good – communication is key. You both should have an open line of communication with each other. You shouldn’t have to dance around topics because you feel the other person “can’t take it.” This will lead to imminent disaster. Then every other quality trait of an employee should be considered.

Are they trustworthy?

Do they have a good track record?

How will they improve your business?

What to look for in a freelancer

Freelancer personalities vary region-to-region and it’s generally very hard to find a loyal, committed, and trustworthy employee on the cheap. This isn’t because there is a low number of them. It’s because the systems that are designed to link us with these people around the world aren’t foolproof. They have a lot of issues and it’s up to the business owners to know the ins and outs to compensate for these issues. Your first step is going to be quality job posting. When posting on sites like Upwork, you can easily get 30 applicants overnight. We recommend using question qualifiers (screening questions). One of our favorites is:

If you were given a task and know of a better way to complete it, how do you proceed?

This is a great, concise question because it accomplishes two things. First, does the person understand English enough to comprehend what we’re really asking here? Second, if you are looking for a specific answer when you read this, it will align your applicants with your values.

Once you start vetting candidates, you can easily skip over people who ignored the question, answered it incorrectly due to language barriers, or didn’t answer the “right way.” Now you’ll be down to your 10%. From there, it is a matter of communicating your idea to them and seeing how they would contribute. You can use the previous questions here as you chat or talk with them.

We hope you found this article helpful. As always if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please leave them below!

Free Productivity Hacks & Management Course

A lot of people write about productivity, time-management or financial freedom but they always seem to under-deliver. They are usually too broad, have weak content or simply don’t resonate with their readers’ needs.

Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent with a ton of responsibilities or a quickly-developing entrepreneur, people are always saying that there’s not enough time in a day. Wouldn’t it be something if you could find a way to create more time in your day? By renegotiating all of your priorities, you will be able to achieve a high-level of productivity in everything that you do. It doesn’t matter if you think “I’ve tried all the organizers and structure systems throughout the years and nothing works.”

Most people just have too much going on to sit down and plan their day. Through this system, you will be able to achieve a state of relaxed control and if you follow the steps exactly, you can progress from having so much on your plate to being able to control your life and where it goes too. In addition to productivity and time-management we’ll also teach you about marketing, leadership and even how to make money using proven techniques in specific industries that still work today.

What are the requirements?

  • It would be helpful to download Evernote for your computer and mobile device
  • iTalk for your iPhone or similar for Android
  • Inbox by Google
  • 30/30 Mobile app
  • Pomodoro Mobile App

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Over 2 Hours of Content within 20 Lectures
  • Achieve high-level productivity
  • Manage your time
  • Live freely
  • Understand money
  • Discover investing
  • Learn to make money work for you
  • Achieve financial freedom

Who is the target audience?

  • This course is meant for people who believe in going against the grain, who don’t believe in the social norm of the “9-5” and those who want to work less and live more. You shouldn’t take this course if you feel you have enough time and enough money or if you’re Elon Musk.

File Organization & Naming Conventions

File organization is not everyone’s forte. In fact, it’s not in everyone’s nature to be organized. Most computers that I come across have a disarray of files, folders and intermixed personal files that hinder productivity in a number of ways.

Why do I need to invest time in organizing my company files?

Building a solid system that your team can easily access promotes efficiency and productivity. Any time an employee asks for a file that you know is in a folder somewhere, you’re missing that opportunity to facilitate that employee’s workflow. Here’s an example: You have a designer and a developer that work for you in a remote environment. The designer places his files on your server in a folder called “Design” and the developer is given access to this folder as well. Anytime the developer needs a design, rather than asking the designer for it, he can simply access the Design folder and check for it himself.

What does file organization look like for my company?

Everyone’s company is different but at the heart of it are the same basic folder structures give or take a couple departments. We’ve taken the liberty of investigating the wide spectrum of folder structures that exist on the web and bringing you a consolidated “best of” view at what we felt is most important, regardless of your industry.

You can access those folders here: Folder Structure – Template – Invenst Labs

File Naming Conventions

The next best type of organization for your company is file naming, nomenclature or conventions. There’s no right way to do this and it’s best to take some time to analyze what’s important about your company and narrow down naming conventions from there.

Anyway, we’ve provided our personal file naming conventions for you to use, FOR FREE. Because that’s how we do.

Here’s a link to download them:

File Naming Conventions

Have a Suggestion?

We love hearing from our fans! If you have a suggestion on how your company organizes their files and folders, give us a shout in the comments below!

Welcome to the Invenst Forum Community – Beta!

This Invenst Forum Community site was started as a means of helping people to succeed in their endeavors. We are slowly building a brand solely based on providing a service to people with ideas that may not have the money or the resources to turn them into anything viable. Our purpose is to provide a community of individuals that are generous with their advice and further along the progress of your venture.

Here at Invenst.Team, we are interested in seeing what types of ideas you all come up with and how we can help guide you in the right direction. For those of you who are a little further along, maybe already incorporated, or even profiting, we extend to you our knowledge of business and marketing.

Why would we do this? Our mission is to not only provide you with a free service but to have you coming out of the other end feeling like you weren’t taken advantage of. There’s too many companies nowadays that “bank” on your lack of knowledge. They offer solutions for you to succeed but you have to dish out the cash first. We know firsthand how hard it is starting a company and that’s why we’ve created this one. We want to offer you FREE help, no strings attached.