Katalatto Guests: Do You Wish to Become Unstoppable with Self-confidence?

Rob Duffy is a Personal & Business Coach, Regional Director, and board member of two organizations. He is also a startup entrepreneur.

He completed his undergraduate degree in 2013 in Social Sciences (with Psychology) and became accredited with the Irish Lifecoach Institute in early 2015. Rob also graduated from the Innovation Academy in University College Dublin in 2015 having studied Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Enterprise. Rob is also a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioner having completed his accreditation at the Institute for Health Sciences in Dublin.
For more check Life Choice Solutions out!

Katalatto Guests him to share his coaching skills with our readers!

Close your eyes…… What would it mean to you to have more self-confidence? How would your life change and what would you be able to do if you had more self-confidence? What the hell is self-confidence and who is anyone to write about it and speak from experience about the topic? Am I self-confident? I suppose I am in many realms. Is self-confidence something which others can judge if someone has or does the ‘doer’ of the self-confident act have to feel it internally? I suppose it’s a bit of both. I want to describe a little bit of my own journey with this concept and how it has played out in my own life and what I have learned about it so that someone might be inspired to take some confident actions to improve their own lot.

Self-confidence is defined as ‘‘a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment’. The trust part of that definition is what grabbed me. I recall clearly not trusting in my own ability and not even having trust in my ability to gain the ability to be self-confident. Then one day, I said, ‘to hell with this, I am going to try to change something’ and trusted that I could overcome my fear if I stepped outside my comfort zone of relative safety. The truth is, up until that point, I hadn’t really tried all that I could have to see what was possible for me.

I was working for the State ever since I left secondary school. I had received the first-hand experience within the public sector, that the expression of our worth and true capabilities is not truly reflected within that domain. After a few years, I began to get curious about my own potential.  Having not attended third level education, I wanted to apply the horsepower that I knew I had in terms of natural aptitude..The degree I enrolled in was a topic which I had always been curious about; Psychology – a confident expression of my belief in my ability. I wasn’t the greatest academic and have to say that getting my 2:1 mark for my degree was difficult, as I worked full time and struggled to fit everything together.

My self-confidence began to grow as I started to get interested in the world around me and specifically politics and political philosophy. In many of the topics on my degree curriculum, the edges of these topics were touched upon. Unfortunately, because I was studying through correspondence and not actually attending bricks and mortar university, the journey was restricted to online discussion and a part of me craved companionship to discuss my new learnings. I was curious, and with some courage, I began to look around me for others who were on a similar path.

A great challenge for me was overcoming my doubts and fears which required me to lean a lot on my courage. Stepping into the unknown, I trusted that I would find people in my city who were interested in these concepts. With a leap of faith into some online forums, I discovered many like-minded people. We were all exploring the same ideas together. Meeting this group of people in my city, it began to really awaken something inside of me. It wasn’t long before I set up a meeting point and began to run events for people interested in these ideas. Before long, a community began to flourish. It was as if I was circling a purpose, something of value to me, and I knew I had to pursue it. The ideas of liberty, personal responsibility, and human potential were beginning to occupy my mental landscape. I began to read more widely and found a whole political philosophy/ideology called libertarianism which fit my values like a glove. I was confident that I was orbiting the correct ideas and people. All of these new experiences were building my armour. I was becoming aware that I was in control of my own destiny. As long as I was alive and could use my skills and knowledge, I began to see that I could guide my life towards any outcome I designed.

 

From my cloudy goal to leave the public sector, I had stumbled across my most important values in life. I began to take actions in the world which were bringing me the results I wanted. A confident continuation of this effort has led me to run my own life coaching business. I am also a leader of several liberty focused organisations in my region. I believe that self-confidence is something which will feel alien until we get clear on what our values are and set goals that are outside of our comfort zone. Self-confidence requires an acceptance of the potential, that along the road we may fail. Giving ourselves the permission to accept failure and believing that the next time doesn’t have to be the same outcome, is the foundation of what grows our self-confidence and allows us to step into our courage to become the people we all want to be.

People ask, what can I do now to gain my self-confidence and powerfully move towards where I want to be. My answer used to be to do X , Y and then Z. But now I ask people to put their own mind and heart together to find what that is for themselves. Ask yourself what is self-confidence to you and what would you be doing if you had more of it? What I mean by ‘mind and heart’ is that the mind is the place where the thoughts originate from but the heart is what gives flavor to the thoughts. When people can attune their beliefs to be in-line with the outcome that they want to achieve in life, they become unstoppable. For many years, I had a core belief that academic life was not for ‘people like me’. Until I challenged that belief, and eventually changed that belief, I was not permitting myself a level of success that I now enjoy. Mind and heart working together in tandem are what allow someone solve all their problems. Self-knowledge and curiosity for what is alive inside us are great ways to map our current reality and envision the journey to where we want to go. We just have to have the courage to jump.

I recommend that if you wish to improve the circumstances that you begin to get curious about your own beliefs. Trust that you can acquire all that is needed to become the self-confident, able and successful person you want to be. You can become the master of your destiny, as all successful people do, by courageously following through with their goals and taking appropriate actions. Self-confidence is an accumulation of experiences and actions that have become routine to a confident person. This is why both the perception and perceiver of self-confidence is both external and internal. How are you going to work on your internal game and make the external exude with self-confidence? I would love to hear about your own experiences and challenges with self-confidence so please let me know below or write to me at rob@lifechoicesolutions.com.

You may read this post originally shared and much more at lifechoicesolutions.com

Opportunity: Entrepreneurship MasterClass Series 10-25 February

***FOR ENGLISH SCROLL DOWN***

Sahibkarlıq fəaliyyəti şəxsin müstəqil surətdə həyata keçirdiyi, əsas məqsədi əmlak istifadəsindən, əmtəə satışından, işlər görülməsindən və ya xidmətlər göstərilməsindən mənfəət götürülməsi olan fəaliyyətdir.

Sahibkarlıq özündə müxtəlif funksional komponentləri cəmləşdirən əsas etibarilə iqtisadi fəaliyyətdir və sahibkar iqtisadi fəaliyyəti üçün zəruri olan təbii, investisiya və əmək resurslarını bir yerə toplayır.

Sahibkar öz mülkiyyəti və nüfuzu üzrə iqtisadi qərarlar verir, öz üzrinə risklər götürür, iqtisadi inkişafın davamlı xarakter daşıması və əlavə dəyər yaratmaq üzrə səciyyələndirilmiş bütün imkanları əhatə dairəsi üzrə tədbiq edir.

Ən önəmlisi isə, sahibkar təşəbbüskar və yenilikçidir!

“Entrepreneurship MasterClass Series” start up mədəniyyəti, sahibkarlıq və bizneslə əlaqədar praktiki biliklərin təkmilləşdirilməsi məqsədilə praktiki metodlara əsaslanan təlimlər seriyasıdır.

Təlimlər biznesin müxtəlif aspektlərini əhatə edir və öz biznesinizi qurmaqda sizə gərəkli olacaq hüquqi, vergi, audit, marketinq və sair aidiyyatı biliklərin öyrədilməsi xarakteri daşıyır.

Mühazirələr azərbaycanlı və xarici peşəkarlar tərəfindən aparılacaq.

Təlimlər azərbaycan və ingilis dillərində təşkil ediləcəkdir.

Təlimlər 10-25 fevral tarixləri arasında həftədə 2 dəfə 4 saatlıq, ümumilikdə 24 saatlıq mühazirələr şəklində həyata keçiriləcək.

Təlimlərdə iştirak tamamilə sərbəstdir.

Proqramı uğurla yekunlaşdıran iştirakçılar yekunda sertifikatlarla təltif olunacaq.

Yer: Fabrika Coworking Baku

Qeydiyyat mütləqdir: “Entrepreneurship MasterClass Series Application Form

Mühazirələrlə bağlı əlavə məlumat üçün Katalatto facebook səhifəsini izləməyiniz xahiş olunur

Hər hansı sual yaranarsa aşağıdakı e-poçt ünvanlarına müraciət etməyiniz xahiş olunur:

huseyn@katalatto.org
aalizamanli@studentsforliberty.org

******ENGLISH HERE******
The love of liberty is a never-ending story for us, without any compromise and in utterness. Humanity has yet comprehended the prospects that start-up and entrepreneurship offer. It had given a chance to every person to advance the world we live in and to build a state-of-art societal dreamworld starting from the very first foundation of current.

Katalatto aspires to link innovative ideas to present environment. Nevertheless, we do not visualize start-up and entrepreneurship as supernatural breakthroughs that would solely push the world forward. The cultural variance shall have to be taken into consideration if the goal to construct a free society. The fresh voice of current world – young generation shall neither be stoppable by the limits nor the borders. Entrepreneurship is a new form of art that will command the modern world with prioritizing free trade.

Our goal is to assist all forms of ideas in a sense of resources, mentorship, and network notwithstanding their money-making abilities, rather considering their mottos.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP MASTER CLASS is training series for promoting startup culture, entrepreneurship, and business-related practical knowledge. Each training is based on different aspects of business life and will assist to overcome the hurdles of legal tax, audit, marketing, and other related issues during the process of establishing and running a business.

Classes will be kept by Azerbaijani and foreign professionals.

Sessions will be held both in Azerbaijani and English.

Sessions will be organized between 10-25 February dates, twice in a week, 4 hours each day, 24-hours long in total.

Participating in the MasterClass training is completely free of charge.

Those who qualify will be awarded a certificate.

Location: Yer: Fabrika Coworking Baku

Registration is a must: “Entrepreneurship MasterClass Series Application Form

For upcoming news regarding classes please follow Katalatto Facebook Page

If you have any questions, please write to:

huseyn@katalatto.org
aalizamanli@studentsforliberty.org

Katalatto Guides: 4 small things you should do for Your Small Business to prepare for 2018

With the end of yet another great year, it’s time to prepare ourselves and our business for the next.

Small business owners could easily take this time to evaluate their achieves and set the course for following year.

Every small business has slightly different goals for 2018.  While these tips are, they are still very important and they can make all the difference in accomplishing business goals in 2018.

Here are four small things you can do to prepare your small business for the new year.

  1. Organize your books

Make sure you take the time to carefully examine all your financial reports and really take this time to evaluate your progress. If you had trouble getting your books in order then you may make it a goal of yours to keep better track of your finances next year.

One pro tip  we can guide you is that you may want to consider using an online payments solution with invoicing and expense management functionality. That way you can automate your bookkeeping and focus more on growing your business.

Related: Katalatto Guides: 10 invoicing services perfect for small and medium businesses

  1. Reflect with your team

The end of the year should really be a time for reflection. If you’re like most small business owners the majority of your day is spent in your own head grinding on making your business thrive. Often times this results in the owners missing out on valuable feedback and time spent with their staff.

As things wind down for the holidays make sure you take the time to reflect on your team. Setup one on one chats as well as a group discussion to gather feedback. Make sure every single person has a chance to provide input. This will make for a stronger more engaged team in the long run.

  1. Prepare for growth

Growth is typically on the top of the list for every small business owner. However many of them don’t actually take the necessary steps to make that happen. As the year comes to an end this is the time to really set the stage for growth.

Think about where your business is lacking and what efforts produce the biggest return on investment. This also may be the time when you decide to cut a few employees loose. It’s never easy but if you want to be able to move the company forward you need to do what’s necessary.

  1. Upgrade your technology

For better or for worse we’re living in the time of constant innovation. Good news is there’s a ton of new technology every single year that can benefit your business. The bad news is that it means you have to replace your old systems with new ones.

If you have the time you should run a quick check to see if you’re up to speed on the latest technologies available. Here are a few tools you may want to checkout before going into the new year:

  • Slack provides seamless and affordable team communication. I highly recommend this to any startup or team.
  • Dropbox is great for file-sharing and recently released Dropbox papers which provides a Google Drive style collaboration tool.
  • Buffer is great for social media marketing as it lets you schedule posts from your social accounts.
  • Calendar is a fantastic tool for scheduling and managing your time.

Related: Katalatto Asks: What free cybersecurity tools small business owners could use?

Out with the old in with the new. With 2018 here it’s time to check those last few items off the list so you can start the new year with a bang. If your a small business owner make sure to do these four small things before wrapping up the year!

 

Katalatto Guides: 10 invoicing services perfect for small and medium businesses

As an individual entrepreneur or small & medium business owner, you’re well aware of the importance of invoicing: If you don’t invoice clients, then how are you going to get paid? Thankfully, plenty of invoicing options available today allow you to easily send out these all-important communications. But, with so many services available, which one should you choose? Here Katalatto will guide you for 10 invoicing services perfect for freelancers and small and medium business owners alike.

1. Due

Due is is one of the best options. One of its advantages is speed; it quickly generates professional invoices. What’s about this service is that it comes with a billing timer and the ability to export your invoices or estimates as an XML or CSV file. The clean interface also allows you to see which invoices have been sent or paid, and which ones are due. You can further create options for taxes, discounts and language.

Due is 100 percent free for unlimited invoices and unlimited clients. If you would like use payments  it’s a flat 2.8 percent on all invoices paid with a credit card.

2. Sighted

Sighted offers a refreshingly simple easy to use for entrepreneurs and freelancers to send invoices and get paid faster than ever before. Sighted’s team are dedicated ensuring you get paid first time, fast every time you send an invoice. Cash flow kills many small businesses so if you are feeling the pain of needing your cash now give sighted a try. Managing your invoices and finances effectively dramatically increases your chances of getting paid on time and minimizes the risks of not being paid. Sighted flawlessly integrates multiple payment functions, so there is a seamless transition over different payment mediums. If you are currently using word documents, excel of pdf’s to send. In a nutshell, Sighted offers everything you need.

Related: KATALATTO GUIDES: 30 BEST ONLINE TOOLS FOR SMES

3. Freshbooks

There are several reasons why over five million people trust FreshBooks for their invoicing needs. For starters, the platform is incredibly user friendly and easy to use. But, if you do have a problem, FreshBooks has an award-winning support team ready to assist you 24/7. If that weren’t enough, FreshBooks allows you to add your logo to your invoice, initiate repeat billing, calculate taxes, send paper copies and get paid in any currency. You can even see if a client has viewed or paid your invoice in real time. In a nutshell, FreshBooks offers everything you need.
After a 30-day free trial, plans start at $19.95 per month.

4. Zoho

While Zoho Invoice has many features outside of invoicing, such as sales and marketing tools, this simple invoicing software is perfect if you want to create invoices quickly. Besides the well-designed invoices, Zoho also allows you to create automated payment reminders; collaborate with team members, like accountants; and track the time it takes to complete a project. Zoho also integrates with popular payment gateways, such as PayPal, Stripe and Authorize.net, so that you can get paid quickly online.
Zoho is free to use if you have under five customers; paid plans start at $15 per month.

5. Invoicera

What makes Invoicera stand out are the variety of features provided for different-sized businesses, whether they be freelance, small-to-medium-size businesses or enterprise-size busineses. Irregardless of business size, Invoicera offers free invoicing templates that can be converted into PDF files or a different language/currency for global clients.
Another unique Invoicera feature is its availability of detailed invoicing reports. These can be used to forecast revenues in the future, which are handy for creating a budget.
A free plan is available for subscribers with fewer than three clients; pricing starts at $19.95/month.

Related: KATALATTO GUIDES: 4 WAYS SMALL BUSINESSES CAN MASTER MARKETING

6. Harvest

Like other invoicing services, Harvest allows you to quickly create personalized invoices in multiple currencies. Harvest also claims that its service will get you paid twice as fast. Some of its more unique features include the ability to create retainers and to feature the amount due on both the top and bottom of the invoice. There’s also a search feature, similar to PayPal’s, so you can easily locate previous invoices.
Harvest also has a number of add-ons, such as Trello, PayPal, Stripe, Zendeskand Salesforce, so you can give your account a little extra boost.
After a 30-day free trial, pricing starts at $12 per month.

7. Simplybill

As its name implies, Simplybill allows you to create invoices with ease. In fact, the company boasts that it has“been designed to be the easiest online invoicing solution out there.” Besides its simplicity for creating and sending out invoices, Simplybill has around 40 template designs and the option to include tax rates. It also has a great dashboard which allows you to view which payments are overdue, and to see a snapshot of your invoicing history.
You can try Simplybill for 14 days, and plans begin at $5 per month.

8. Hiveage

Hiveage (formerly known as CurdBee) is used by over 45,000 small business in 140 countries. Why? Because not only is the service easy to use but it’s packed with a wide range of features. On top of the customized invoices, you can send clients reminders and convert estimates into invoices. Hiveage also sends you detailed reports and enables you to track your time and expenses and the power to manage multiple users and businesses.
You can use Hiveage for free, but if you require something more robust, plans start at $6.95/month.

Related: KATALATTO GUIDES: 10 FREE EDUCATIONAL PORTALS COULD TOP UP YOUR KNOWLEDGE

9. Wave

Wave provides accounting software for small businesses, which includes invoicing. Like other invoicing software, Wave allows you to produce customized, professional invoices in a snap. Other features include recurring payments, and the ability to see when invoices are viewed, to add messages, to create estimates and to invoice for multiple businesses.

While Wave is loaded with more than enough invoicing features for your business, the fact that’s free is its most appealing feature.

10. MakeSomeTime

If you’re on the go a lot, then you might want to look into Make Some Time. It allows you to easily and quickly create professional invoices from your smartphone, tablet, or computer. On top of the customizable invoices, you can also create estimates and view reports that illustrate how your business is performing.
For under 3 invoices the service is free, if you send out more plans start at $49 per year. Starter plans begin at $9/month.

Katalatto Asks: Why Property Rights are important to unlock trillions in dead capital?

Hernando de Soto is a big name in development economics. His energetic opposition to Peru’s Maoist guerrilla group, the Shining Path, led to three assassination attempts. His big idea is to make sure that the legal system can see as much as the dogs of Bali. While the Indonesian government was trying to formalise property rights, others have tried to abolish them altogether.

Hernando de Soto argues better property rights could make a big difference to the world’s poor on his so-called book “The Mystery of Capital”

About two billion people have full rights to the property they live in and the land they farm. For the 5.3 billion who do not have such rights, the implications are stark: people are unable to leverage their resources to create wealth, and their assets become “dead capital” which cannot be used to generate income or growth. As a result, the poor remain trapped by the “tragedy of the commons” where their unregistered assets can be stolen by powerful interests, hurting individuals and broader economic development according to de Soto.

Daring plan

In 1970s China, for example, where the Maoists weren’t the rebels but the government, the very idea that anyone could own anything was seditious, bourgeois thinking.
Farmers on collective farms were told by Communist Party officials that they didn’t own a thing. Everything belonged to the collective.What about the teeth in my head, asked one farmer? As noted by NPR’s Planet Money podcast, he was told that even his teeth were owned by the collective. The land, its produce – and even the workers’ teeth – belonged to the collective in 1970s China.
This approach worked terribly: if you don’t own anything, why bother to look after it? Avoiding toothache is an incentive to brush your teeth. But collective ownership of land left farmers in desperate, gnawing poverty. So, in Xiaogang in 1978, a group of farmers secretly met and agreed a daring plan.

 

Conspicuous success

Instead of farming as a collective, they would informally divide up the land, and each keep whatever surplus they produced after meeting collective quotas. It was a treasonous agreement in Communist eyes: discovery risked execution.
In fact, they were found out thanks to their conspicuous success: their farms produced more in one year than in the previous five years combined. But luck was on their side.
Deng Xiaoping, who became leader in 1978, laid the foundations for China’s modern economy.
China now had a new leader: Deng Xiaoping. And Deng let it be known that this was the sort of experiment that had his blessing. And 1978 was the beginning of China’s breakneck transformation from utter poverty to, by some measures, the largest economy on the planet.

Invisible web

The experience in China shows that even informal property rights can be incredibly powerful.
If you know your neighbours respect your boundaries, you can feel confident investing time in weeding your vegetable plot, or building a house.
But in one critical way, it doesn’t help me that my neighbours agree that I own my house. If I want a loan – to improve my house, or build a business – lenders need collateral. And land or buildings make particularly good collateral because they tend to increase in value, and it’s hard to hide them from creditors. Banks will lend against property only if its ownership can be proven in law. But the lender needs to be confident it could take the house away from me if I don’t repay the loan. So, I need to prove that the house really is mine. That requires an invisible web of information that the legal system and the banking system can use.
For Hernando de Soto, this invisible web is the difference between my house being an asset – something useful that I own – and being capital – an asset recognised by the financial system.

‘Dead capital’

In poor countries, a lot of assets are informally held. Hernando de Soto calls them “dead capital”, useless for securing a loan. His estimate was that at the start of the 21st Century there was almost $10tn  worth of dead capital across the developing world – more than $4,000  for every person.
Other researchers think that’s an overestimate and the true figure is probably $3tn  or $4tn, but either way, it’s a huge amount. But how do assets become capital? How does the invisible web get woven? It needs a government.

Enforcing property rights is one of the few things pretty much everyone on the political spectrum agrees a government should do, except perhaps the Maoists.
It’s not just an altruistic measure to make it easier to get a mortgage. When government knows who owns land, it can tax it however.

Napoleonic ‘cadastres’

Perhaps the first recognisably modern property registry was in Napoleonic France. Needing to fund his incessant wars, Napoleon decreed that all French properties would be carefully mapped, and their ownership registered. Napoleon decreed that all properties in the territories he controlled would be mapped and registered Such a property map is called a “cadastre”, and Napoleon proudly proclaimed that “a good cadastre of the parcels will be the complement of my civil code”. After conquering Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium, Napoleon introduced cadastral maps there, as well.

Bold pioneers

In the mid-1800s, the idea of the land registry spread quickly through the British Empire, too. The government drew up maps and allocated title deeds. Of course at that time, nobody with any power had much interest in the fact that indigenous people had their own claims on the land.
The process doesn’t have to be top-down. In the United States, there was a bottom-up approach. After decades of treating squatters as criminals, the state began to think of them as bold pioneers.
The 1862 Homestead Act set out the rules on who could own land in the US’s western territories.
The US government tried to formalise informal property claims, using the Preemption Act of 1841 and the Homestead Act of 1862. Again, the rights of the native people who had been living there for thousands of years were not regarded as of much significance.
It was hardly justice. But it was profitable. By turning a land-grab into a legally recognised property right, these land registries unlocked decades of investment and improvement.

And some economists – most prominently Hernando de Soto himself – argue that a good way to create property registers for developing countries today is to use the same bottom-up process of recognising informal squatters’ rights, coupled with modern databases.
Do improved property registers really unlock what Hernando de Soto calls “dead capital”?
Evidently, they can. In Ghana, for example, farmers with clearer property rights invested more in their land.

Essential infrastructure

But the answer, of course, is “it depends”. It depends on whether there’s a banking system capable of lending, and an economy worth borrowing money to invest in. The Philippines’ labyrinthine property registration system involves 168 steps. And it depends on how smoothly the property register works. Hernando de Soto found that in the Philippines, legally registering property took 168 procedures, 53 agencies and a waiting list of 13 to 25 years. Faced with such obstacles, even formally registered properties are likely to become informal again – the next time the property is traded, both the buyer and the seller may decide that formalising the deal is just too time consuming.
But get it right, and the results can be impressive.
Providing the world’s poor with titles for their land, homes and unregistered businesses would unlock $9.3 trillion in assets, de Soto estimates, an unprecedented sum to reduce poverty.

The World Bank has found that after controlling for income and economic growth, the countries with simpler, quicker property registries also had less corruption, less grey-market activity, more credit and more private investment.

 

 

Katalatto Guides: 4 Ways Small Businesses Can Master Marketing

Most of the people who stuck their daily office routine are willing to start off their own business. The goal is simply long-dreaming, to turn a passion into a career.

However, it is neither simple or easy to manage the business successfully. It takes a leap of faith to open a new business, and it takes business savvy to keep it open.

One of the first hurdles a small business owner faces is getting the word out about her new business. Or, if the business is established, growing the business and attracting new customers. At the heart of driving sales is marketing. For business owners without marketing experience, this can seem overwhelming. Katalatto will explore common challenges of small business owners face and will Guide you how to solve it.

  1. Define your unique value proposition (UVP)

The first step in marketing a business effectively is understanding your capabilities and the white space your business is filling in your industry.

Inevitably, you will face competition, so take the time to outline what sets you apart from your competitors. Become as informed as possible on your industry. Sign up for industry newsletters; read relevant trade publications; and consider participating in industry events. This will allow you to identify trends, and stay up-to-date with important news. It will also help you identify your competitors. Take a close look at what they are doing and how they present themselves to potential customers.

Then determine who your target customers are and what they want. This is important – one of the biggest small business marketing pitfalls is to assume you know your customer without doing research.

Clearly identify the service you are providing and the problem you are solving for your target customers. This will help you define your UVP – the unique benefit you are providing for your customers.

You’re not trying to sell to everyone, which is a good thing. Your goal is to clearly define who you are targeting, why they want your product and how best to reach them. Once you know that, your job is to consistently execute your marketing plan.

 

  1. Maximize your online presence.

Armed with a clear understanding of your business and its industry, it’s time to market it to potential customers.

While there are many marketing channels to consider, typically the most efficient and cost-effective are online.

Take time to audit your online presence. An easy place to start is your website. Make sure the website design is consistent with your brand and that the site is easy for customers to navigate, and find the information they’re looking for.

If it’s appropriate for your business, make it easy for customers to sign up for a mailing list. This will enable you to build a database of customers, who give you permission to reach out to them regularly with product updates, interesting news or coupons.

In addition to listing your products or services, consider adding a blog to your website to provide tips and product or service updates to customers.

Beyond your own website, be sure to build your presence on and spend time managing review sites, like Yelp and Angie’s List. These help validate your business and can boost sales. You can even share good customer reviews on your website.

Whether you’re communicating via your website, a blog, an email, a third party review site or social media, be sure to keep a consistent voice. Every customer touchpoint is an opportunity to build your brand.

  1. Get into conversation

Social media channels are a low-cost way to get the word out about your business and build relationships with your target audience.

Choose a channel, which your customers are already on. Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn serve very different purposes, so be smart in your choices, and think about the kind of content you like to post. Using platforms specific to your business makes it easy for customers to find and interact with your business online.

When it comes to posting on social media, consistency is key.

Create a schedule to ensure you are posting regularly so your audience knows to expect content. For example, plan for three posts a week, which you can draft in advance.

In order to keep content dynamic, take a three-prong approach:

  • Talk about yourself and your business,
  • Talk about your customers,
  • And talk about your industry.

Share updates about what’s happening at your business, such as a new shipment you’ve received or a peek behind the scenes. Be sure to thank your customers, and engage them through questions.

Ultimately, share interesting news articles, and invite your social media followers to share their thoughts. In all social media posts, make sure you’re authentic and realistic so your audience can connect with you.

 

  1. Use paid content.

The paid aspects of social media can also be a great way to boost your business’ profile, and get in front of new customers.

For instance, you can target the exact type of customer you are looking to attract with advertising through Facebook and LinkedIn campaigns, based on the information individuals have shared on their profiles.

If you have the ability to incorporate this tailored approach into your budget and cash flow, it is an option worth exploring to supplement your free social media efforts. Sometimes a small campaign can make a big difference.

Regardless of size, every business owner can use the tools available to market their business successfully. Small business owners can be marketing guru, even without a marketing background, by developing a keen awareness of their industry landscape, building out their social media presence and developing their brand identity.

Katalatto Explains: Blockchain and how it could change future business?

Blockchain – the technology underpinning digital currency Bitcoin – soars the record high 5000$ recently.

Banks think it could be the future of financial transactions, while diamond miners hope it will help end the trade in conflict diamonds.

Katalatto Explains Blockchain and how it could change the way the world do a business entirely?

But what exactly is it and why is it causing such a stir?

Blockchain is a method of recording data – a digital ledger of transactions, agreements, contracts – anything that needs to be independently recorded and verified as having happened. The big difference is that this ledger isn’t stored in one place, it’s distributed across several, hundreds or even thousands of computers around the world. And everyone in the network can have access to an up-to-date version of the ledger, so it’s very transparent.

But how does it work exactly?

Digital records are lumped together into “blocks” then bound together cryptographically and chronologically into a “chain” using complex mathematical algorithms. This encryption process, known as “hashing” is carried out by lots of different computers. If they all agree on the answer, each block receives a unique digital signature.

Dutch traders invented “balance carried forward” ledgers: blockchain is just the latest iteration. “You don’t store details of the transaction, just the fact that it happened and the hash of the transaction,” explains Adrian Nish, head of threat intelligence at BAE Systems.

Once updated, the ledger cannot be altered or tampered with, only added to, and it is updated for everyone in the network at the same time.

What’s so clever about that?

Well, the distributed nature of a blockchain database means that it’s harder for hackers to attack it – they would have to get access to every copy of the database simultaneously to be successful. It also keeps data secure and private because the hash cannot be converted back into the original data – it’s a one-way process.

Blockchain data is subject to 256-bit encryption So if the original document or transaction were subsequently altered, it would produce a different digital signature, alerting the network to the mismatch. In theory then, the blockchain method makes fraud and error less likely and easier to spot.

Decentralization

By storing data across its network, the blockchain eliminates the risks that come with data being held centrally The decentralized blockchain may use ad-hoc message passing and distributed networking.

Its network lacks centralized points of vulnerability that computer crackers can exploit; likewise, it has no central point of failure. Blockchain security methods include the use of public-key cryptography. A public key (a long, random-looking string of numbers) is an address on the blockchain. Value tokens sent across the network are recorded as belonging to that address. A private key is like a password that gives its owner access to their digital assets or otherwise interact with the various capabilities that blockchains now support. Data stored on the blockchain is generally considered incorruptible.

This is where blockchain has its advantage. While centralized data is more controllable, information and data manipulation are common. By decentralizing it, blockchain makes data transparent to everyone involved.

Is this a new thing?

The idea has been around for a couple of decades, but came to prominence in 2008 with the invention of Bitcoin, the digital currency. Bitcoins are created by computers solving complex mathematical puzzles and this requires lots of computing power and electricity. Blockchain is the technology underpinning it.

While a growing number of retailers accept Bitcoin, the digital currency remains controversial. But there isn’t just one program – lots of companies, from Ethereum to Microsoft, are developing their own blockchain services. Some are open to all (“unpermissioned”, in the jargon), others restrict access to a select group (“permissioned”).

Why are the banks so excited?

“Banks do very similar things to each other, even though they compete,” says Simon Taylor, vice-president of blockchain research and development at Barclays.

“They basically keep our money safe and a big computer keeps track of who has what. But getting these computers to talk to each other is remarkably complex and expensive – the tech is getting a little old,” he says.

If banks started sharing data using a tailor-made version of blockchain it could remove the need for middlemen, a lot of manual processing, and speed up transactions, says Mr Taylor, thereby reducing costs.

Having access to an open, transparent ledger of bank transactions would also be useful for regulators, he adds. And it could help governments tackle tax fraud.

Tech company R3 CEV has persuaded more than 40 banks around the world, including Barclays, UBS and Wells Fargo, to join a consortium exploring distributed ledger technology. Just this week, R3 announced that 11 global financial institutions had taken part in an experiment involving the exchange of tokens across a global private network without the need for a central third party verifying the transactions.

“It’s very early days for this technology but the potential is phenomenal,” Mr Taylor concludes.

What’s in it for me?

If banks and other financial institutions are able to speed up transactions and take costs out of the system, it should mean cheaper, more efficient services for us. For example, sending money abroad could become almost instantaneous.

Last year, investment bank Goldman Sachs and Chinese investment firm IDG Capital Partners invested $50m (£35m) in Circle Internet Financial, a start-up aiming to exploit blockchain technology to improve consumer money transfers.

Circle, co-founded by entrepreneur Jeremy Allaire, has created a digital wallet for bitcoins, but users can decide whether they send or receive money in dollars as well. The idea is to make cross-border payments as easy as sending a text or email.

Diamonds and Blockchain?

It’s not all totally about banking. Tech company Everledger is using blockchain to develop a system of warranties that enable mining companies to verify that their rough-cut diamonds are not being used by militias to fund conflicts, and that they comply with the Kimberley Process – a government and community-backed certification scheme for diamonds.

Rough diamonds have long been used by insurgents and terrorists to fund their activities

The ownership history and value of each diamond is available to anyone who wants it, and you can be confident that the information has not been tampered with or corrupted.

In six months of operation, Everledger has added nearly 850,000 diamonds to its blockchain database so far.

Other examples

Estonian tech firm Guardtime has been at the forefront of the country’s digital transformation, using its version of blockchain – Keyless Signature Infrastructure – to help the government manage and protect its citizens’ data across about 1,000 online services.

Estonia’s Guardtime believes there are many applications for blockchain technology

“We’re about massive scale data management,” Matt Johnson, the firms’s chief technology officer, tells the BBC: “We’ve applied these capabilities to cybersecurity, providing real-time tamper detection to protect critical infrastructure,” he says. “We’re also helping global telecoms companies, like Ericsson, protect and monitor the integrity of their core networks.”

Start-up Wave is hoping to develop a distributed, decentralised ledger for the shipping industry. In the era of big data and the internet of things, being able to assign a digital signature to each bit of data is also useful, Mr Johnson suggests. And verifying and recording each stage in the development of a software program or product will help improve quality and reliability, he maintains.

Still it is too early to understand the blockchain technology comprehensively and too well just yet, but it seems like its influence could be profound.

Katalatto Asks: What free cybersecurity tools Small Business Owners could use?

Not surprisingly, we often hear about major cyber attacks in the news. We rarely think, however, that we could be victims. Cyber attacks are not an issue only for enormous banks or billion-funded corporations.

Hacks can take many different shapes and forms, from a simple computer virus to a massive data breach — companies are vulnerable to a number of types of cyber attacks.

It is way more possible to happen to your business which could yield huge losses. They are real for small and medium businesses as well.

Here Katalatto Asks what you need to know about cybersecurity and which free cybersecurity tools you could benefit of.

 

In fact, these 10 free tools cover some of the biggest cybersecurity risks and they don’t cost a dime:

 

 

 

 

  • Weak Password Finder is a fast, easy way to find weak employee passwords used for email, surfing the web, watching videos, listening to music and more.

 

 

 

 

 

Attacks happen and small businesses need to pay close attention to cybersecurity because they are increasingly becoming a point of focus for attackers. In sum, you don’t need to do everything,  just take minimal steps to overcome the attackers.

Katalatto Guides: 10 free educational portals could top up your knowledge

Whether you want to top up your knowledge on a subject or learn a completely new skill, there is no shortage of online courses to help you on your way. In fact, there are so many choices, it can be difficult to figure out which platform suits you best!

To help you navigate the rapidly expanding world of online education, here are 10 of the most popular options for upgrading your skills.

Coursera

Coursera has partnered with leading universities in the U.S. and around the world to provide online courses covering dozens of different subjects. Recently, they’ve introduced “specializations”—10 different course pathways that will lead to an official certification from an associated university.

Coursera has a wide diversity of subjects available to choose from; everything from data science to musical theory. As Coursera prides itself on being accessible to everyone, many of the courses are either free or very cheap to to take, with only the official certification at the end having a higher cost involved.

Lynda,com

A veteran in the online education space, Lynda.com offers a subscription-based video tutorial library. Think of it as an education-based Netflix. A great option for people who are visual learners, and at a reasonable cost of $25 per month, a Lynda.com membership provides unlimited access to more than 80,000 videos on a broad range of different subjects.

Udemy

With an average of 800 new courses added to their repertoire every month, Udemy is a bit more expensive than its competitors. Costs vary broadly, ranging from $10 to $500 for different courses; the most popular Udemy courses in business and technology tend to be upwards of $100. However, you can read the reviews of former students before signing up to any of the courses, so you can make a more informed decision.

Udacity

Udacity is a platform with a strong focus on technology, with a small but well-crafted selection of courses. If you’re looking to break into data science (called the “sexiest job of the 21st century“), Udacity’s data science program has an impressive roster of teachers from companies like Salesforce and Facebook.

Udacity’s pricing structure allows you to pay monthly for your courses; if you decide to drop a program before completing it, you pay for the course up to that point, rather than the whole thing.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a non-profit online platform providing a completely free library of educational “micro-lectures.” Focusing on more traditional academic subjects, Khan Academy provides a mix of video and text-based materials in math, science, economics, humanities, and a bit of computer programming. Since Khan Academy is free for anyone to use, it’s a great to way to get a taste for a subject before moving onto a more advanced course elsewhere.

Codecademy

Previously backed by the White House, Codecademy is dedicated to teaching people how to code—and it’s available for free. While other online coding courses are a “learn at your own pace” environment, Codecademy motivates learners to keep a fast pace using supportive groups and a gamified points system.

The school offers courses on a number of languages—including PHP, Phython and Ruby—and students are often already building and deploying projects by the time they finish their course.

Bloc

Focused on web development, Bloc is a more intensive option for those who want to learn quickly. Instead of short courses or lectures, this highly structured program runs for 25 hours per week over several months. With tuition starting at $4,250, bloc.io doesn’t come cheap—but it does offer a great option for those who are ready to commit to a career change.

Iversity

Hailed as the “Coursera of Europe,” Berlin-based iversity has partnered with European and international universities to offer academic courses for free. Unlike Coursera, however, it doesn’t look like iversity is currently providing any official certification.

 

Skillshare

Skillshare is a community marketplace for new skills. With a broad range of different subjects to choose from, Skillshare offers an online catalog of video-based courses, as well as in-person workshops in cities like San Francisco and New York.

Many classes are available to take without a membership at a cost of around $20-$30 each, but top classes—taught by industry leaders—are only available with a Skillshare membership. Membership costs $9.95 per month and, while it doesn’t get you any free content, it does provide 20 percent off of all classes. Like other platforms, Skillshare provides student reviews for your reference.

 

General Assembly

Focusing on education in design, business and technology, New York City-based General Assembly has campuses in nearly a dozen different cities around the world. Although the majority of General Assembly classes are in-person, they also offer a compact selection of online-only or mixed courses.

General Assembly even livestreams popular lectures, providing real-time interaction with the lecturer and other students. Their online courses range in price, from one-off lectures to multi-part workshops.

Katalatto Asks: How Marketing Research is important for Small Business?

Small businesses often find themselves in a challenging situation. These businesses have a great need for reliable answers to important questions that all organizations face:

How are market trends impacting your business?

How does your target market make buying decisions?

What is your market share and how can we increase it?

How does customer satisfaction with your products or services measure up to that of the competition?

How will your existing customers respond to a new product or service?

How can you attract new customer segments?

What marketing strategies will work best?

In order to get answers to these questions, companies conduct marketing research using a variety of methods. Here you may find outline of these several techniques.

SECONDARY RESEARCH

This type of research involves looking at information that has already been conducted and published, by exploring a few different types of resources:

  1. Demographics and Statistics

This information can be helpful to businesses when trying to learn more about the geographic areas in which they operate, or those into which it would make sense to expand. Where are other people like my current customers? Where are there people who are a little different from my customer base but might find my product valuable? I’m introducing a new product to an entirely new market — where do these prospects live? Is the size of the potential market big enough to make the investment into a new product worthwhile?

Similarly, this type of research, called statistical profiling, also benefits business to business marketers. For example, if you are selling to businesses locally, you can expand your base by finding other areas where there is a high concentration of similar businesses. Or, you may have been selling to one type of industry, but you think companies in a different industry will also buy your product.

 

  1. Existing Research Reports

Often, businesses have questions that involve trends in their markets. For example, which customers are adapting the lastest technology? How is internet usage changing among mature adults?

There may already be a report that was conducted that can give you some general information into your industry and specific market. By doing a search on online research reports, you can find a listing of companies that provide these reports. Usually they do come at a cost, but may be less expensive than doing a study from scratch. A good idea is to first peruse the table of contents that often comes with these reports before buying, in order to get an idea as to whether the purchase would be justified.

  1. Marketing Researcher tools

Why not go where the pros do? By utilizing these sites, you can ask questions of marketing professionals and use the tools they do. There are some excellent resources available, again some of which require a fee, but others do not.

Marketing Sherpa

http://@ResearchInfo.comResearchInfo.com

MarketingProfs.com

 

  1. PRIMARY RESEARCH

At some point, all businesses need to ask specific questions of their customers, as well as those individuals who are not their customers, in order to make decisions regarding their business and marketing strategy. This is where research can get expensive, though. Many small businesses do not have resources required for studies that deliver the most unbiased, accurate data. However, there are ways that companies can get guidance and direction for marketing strategy, based on customer feedback.

  1. Talk to Your Customers

Is there any more direct, less expensive way to go? Ask your customers questions when they purchase from you, if you can do so in a way that is not cumbersome for them and doesn’t take a lot of their time. What made them purchase from you? How did they hear about you?

Make it worth their time to give you feedback — perhaps a discount on their next order. And let them know that their feedback will help you serve them better in the future — which it should. And many small businesses overlook or discount input from their direct salesforce, a resource that can generate some of the best ideas for new products due to close customer contact.

  1. Web Logs or Blogs

This is a great way to get customer feedback. Start a blog on your company website, tell your customers about it, and post information about your products and services. Use facebook, twitter, instagram even snapchat to get in touch with your customers on a daily basis.

  1. Groups

Start a group for your customers. This is a great way for them to talk to each other and exchange information. At the same time, you get to see what they’re saying without them necessarily knowing that you’re peeking.

Additionally, some customers can start conversations that allow you to get insights into their interests — more valuable information that can help you in your product/service development efforts. These groups can also exchange tips about using the product or service – some which may have never occurred to you.

  1. In-person forums / conferences

This is a great way to educate and entertain your customers and provide them value for their attendance at an offline function. While the methods above can often limit the amount of information you get from your customers, these forums and conferences allow you to explore various issues in a more in-depth way.

User conferences also can give you a great opportunity to introduce your customers to new uses for your product or service, by highlighting customer success stories and case studies for presentation.

However, as noted above, these resources usually do not provide completely accurate and unbiased information, and to get this type of customer data, you’ll need to use more structured and traditional methods. Unbiased, quantifiable information can be very powerful in planning your marketing strategy. And every successful business needs to, and will get to this stage at some point. The trick is not to wait very long, because your competitors can start getting the answers before you do.

In general, there are two main types of traditional primary research studies, each with its own benefits:

  1. Qualitative

These studies, also often called exploratory research, allow you to research issues with customers in an in-depth manner. While qualitative studies usually aren’t designed to give you precise answers, they can give you great insight into the behavior of your customers, their rationale for making decisions, and factors that can motivate them to purchase.

There are various forms of qualitative studies, including focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and newer techniques called ethnography. What sets these apart from the user conferences mentioned above, are several factors:

They are typically led by an objective moderator, so participants often will provide more honest and less biased feedback.

A trained professional can also handle different types of respondents, from those who tend to be very vocal to those who are less likely to speak.

They are in a controlled setting, and the moderator has a pre-defined script so that the most important issues at hand are addressed.

A variety of techniques can be used, in order to get at the thinking behind customer discussions and behavior.

These studies can be done both on the internet and in person. A qualified professional can help you to determine the right method to use, and the costs for your particular situation.

  1. Quantitative

Often businesses need guidance on a set of marketing issues that require clearly defined measures, for example, advertising spending, distribution channel usage, pricing decisions, segmentation sizes, and the product or service message that should be launched first.

Surveys and questionnaires can give you a great deal of accuracy when asking marketing questions that require this level of detail for sound decision-making. For example, which product will generate the highest level of interest? Are there differences between different segments and how are these differences are best defined? What price should you set? How often will people purchase? There are some great online tools you can use to develop your own surveys — here are just a few that offer free versions:

Survey Monkey

Zoomerang

Quibblo.com

However, it is important to note that according to the Small Business Administration website, much primary research, particularly “… surveys, interviews, and questionnaires, is best left to marketing professionals, as they can usually get more objective and sophisticated results.”

Every organization needs to conduct research, and small budgets are no excuse for lack of a research plan. By starting out with some easily accessible resources, you can begin to develop better marketing strategies that can position you for market growth in a short time wise.