Tuesday, 29 October 2013
Posted by Editor. at 23:48
Serena Williams’s coach Patrick Mouratoglou says the world number one can do even better next year.
Williams retained the WTA Championships on Sunday, her 11th title of the season, to improve her 2013 record to 78 wins with only four defeats.
“We’ve spoken about 2014 already with goals to do better than this year because I think it is possible,” Mouratoglou told BBC Sport.
“If we keep this mentality I don’t see any reason why she would slow down.”
American Williams, who came from behind to beat Li Na in three sets in Istanbul, has won 20 more matches this season than she has ever managed previously.
As well as winning 25 sets by a 6-0 margin, the 17-time Grand Slam winner has also become the first woman to win more than $10m (£6.19m) prize money in a single season.
“She loves playing tennis, she loves winning, she wants to stay number one, she wants to keep on winning – and she wants to be better,” added Mouratoglou.
Even at the age of 32, Williams says she cannot imagine life without playing tennis.
Roger Federer, also a 17-time Grand Slam champion, is 49 days older than Williams and the Swiss has experienced a slide down the men’s world rankings this season.
In contrast, Williams has had arguably the most successful season of her career.
“She has 100 per cent of her physical abilities today, which counts for a lot,” said Mouratoglou.
Posted by Editor. at 23:39
The Five Characteristics of Successful Innovators
There is not much agreement about what makes an idea innovative, and what makes an innovative idea valuable.
For example, discussions on whether the internet is a better invention than the wheel are more likely to reveal personal preferences than logical argumentation. Likewise, experts disagree on the type and level of innovation that is most beneficial for organizations. Some studies suggest that radical innovation (which does sound sexy) confers sustainable competitive advantages, but others show that “mild” innovation – think iPhone 5 rather than the original iPhone – is generally more effective, not least because it reduces market uncertainty. There is also inconclusive evidence on whether we should pay attention to consumers’ views, with some studies showing that a customer focus is detrimental for innovation because it equates to playing catch-up, but others arguing for it. Even Henry Ford’s famous quote on the subject – “if I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses” – has been disputed.
We are also notoriously bad at evaluating the merit of our own ideas. Most people fall trap of an illusory superiority that causes them to overestimate their creative talent, just as in other domains of competence (e.g., 90% of drivers claim to be above average — a mathematical improbability). It is therefore clear that we cannot rely on people’s self-evaluation to determine whether their ideas are creative or not.
Yet there are relatively well-defined criteria for predicting who will generate creative ideas. Indeed, research shows that some people are disproportionately more likely to come up with novel and useful ideas, and that – irrespective of their field of expertise, job title and occupational background – these creative individuals tend to display a recurrent set of psychological characteristics and behaviors. As summarized in a detailed review of over 100 scientific studies, creative people tend to be better at identifying (rather than solving) problems, they are passionate and sensitive, and, above all, they tend to have a hungry mind: they are open to new experiences, nonconformist, and curious. These personality characteristics are stronger determinants of creative potential than are IQ, school performance, or motivation.
Creativity alone, however, is not sufficient for innovation: innovation also requires the development, production, and implementation of an idea. This is why the number of “latent” innovators is far larger than the number of actual innovations, and why we all have at some point generated great ideas that we never bothered to implement. Here are a couple of mine: rent-a-friend – a service that enables tourists to hire locals for advice or simply some company – and location-based dating via an app that finds your nearby matches based on personality profiling. As with most of my ideas, these have since been successfully implemented by others, who also happened to have them.
The key difference between creativity and innovation is execution: the capacity to turn an idea into a successful service, product or venture. If, as William James noted, “truth is something that happens to an idea”, entrepreneurship is the process by which creative ideas become useful innovations. Given that entrepreneurship involves human agency – it depends on the decisions and behaviors of certain people – a logical approach for understanding the essence of innovation is to study the core characteristics of entrepreneurial people, that is, individuals who are a driving force of innovation, irrespective of whether they are self-employed, business founders, or employees. The research highlights several key characteristics (in addition to creativity):
- An opportunistic mindset that helps them identify gaps in the market. Opportunities are at the heart of entrepreneurship and innovation, and some people are much more alert to them than others. In addition, opportunists are genetically pre-wired for novelty: they crave new and complex experiences and seek variety in all aspects of life. This is consistent with the higher rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder among business founders.
- Formal education or training, which are essential for noticing new opportunities or interpreting events as promising opportunities. Contrary to popular belief, most successful innovators are not dropout geniuses, but well-trained experts in their field. Without expertise, it is hard to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information; between noise and signals. This is consistent withresearch showing that entrepreneurship training does pay off.
- Proactivity and a high degree of persistence, which enable them to exploit the opportunities they identify. Above all, they effective innovators are more driven, resilient, and energetic than their counterparts.
- A healthy dose of prudence. Contrary to what many people think, successful innovators are more organized, cautious, and risk-averse than the general population. (Although higher risk-taking is linked to business formation, it is not actually linked to business success).
- Social capital, which they rely on throughout the entrepreneurial process. Serial innovators tend to use their connections and networks to mobilize resources and build strong alliances, both internally and externally. Popular accounts of entrepreneurship tend to glorify innovators as independent spirits and individualistic geniuses, but innovation is always the product of teams. In line, entrepreneurial people tend to have higher EQ, which enables them to sell their ideas and strategy to others, and communicate the core mission to the team.
Even when people possess these five characteristics, true innovation is unlikely to occur in the absence of a meaningful mission or clear long-term vision. Indeed, vision is where entrepreneurship meets leadership: regardless of how creative, opportunistic, or proactive you are, the ability to propel others toward innovation is a critical feature of successful innovation. Without it, you can’t attract the right talent, build and empower teams, or ensure that you remain innovative even after attaining success. As Frances Bowen and colleagues recently noted, there is “a vicious circle [whereby] innovation leads to superior future performance, but such investment can also give rise to core rigidities and hence less innovation in a future time period.” In other words, innovation leads to growth, but growth hinders innovation… unless innovation is truly ingrained in the organizational culture, which requires an effective vision.
In short, there is no point in just hoping for a breakthrough idea – what matters is the ability to generate many ideas, discover the right opportunities to develop them, and act with drive and dedication to achieve a meaningful goal.
Ideas don’t make people successful – it’s the other way around.
by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic HBR
Posted by Editor. at 23:36
" This article will help you in deciding which option to go for when you want to advertise your business online"
If you are a decision maker or a marketing team leader, sooner or later, one of the decisions you will need to make is how to get more customers on a low budget. Also if you have ever considered increasing your sales online, one of the options you will choose will be to either run a Pay Per Click or an Organic Search Engine Optimisation campaign.
First, let us get a background check on it.
How often have you tried to find the website of a company and instead of stretching your imagination to the limit, simply hit your most popular search engine and type a few words? Do the same thing when you want information about a topic.
When that is done, you will get two types of results. The top and right area represents paid search results, while the left area represents organic search results.
The outcomes from the search engine are either as a result of “Organic Search Engine Optimisation technique” or “Paid adverts or Pay Per Click”
Pay per Click is the process of displaying ads based on the chosen keyword. By using PPC, you have the power to make your business’ ads show up on Search Engine Result Pages for any search terms you choose. Also you will directly control the ad copy that is displayed along with the resulting ads.
You pay for these ads on a cost-per-click basis. But the exact method of payment merits some explanation. Think of each search query as an auction where the prize is a click on an ad from a user. So, it is a case of paying when a user clicks on your ad, rather than just having to pay for the ad up-front.
The difference between a click auction and a regular auction is that some calculation is done every time an auction takes place in order to determine the actual price any given advertiser pays per click. What this means is that the amount you bid will be less than the amount you will end up paying if you win the auction. In effect, your bid is the maximum you’re willing to spend per click.
Now that we have a basic understanding of what each term represens, it is also pertinent to know when either of the two should be used or how to combine both of them. More so, you need to understand the strength and weakness of each method before applying them to your specific need.
Comparing SEO and PPC
Organic SEO has been known to yield better Returns on Investment than PPC over a long period of time. Once an organic position on SERP is reached, SEO will continue to give you more sales and leads than PPC. According to the graph, 40% of SEO achieve ROI in excess of 500 per cent, while only 22 per cent of PPC achieved the same value over the same period of time.
Increase in targeted traffic
Studies have shown that over 56 per cent of people will click on the first position in any Search Engine Result Page. This means that people who are actually looking for your services or product will continue to find your services and product through your website. If you attain the first position for your targeted keyword while in PPC your traffic is already estimated and fixed.
SEO is known to take a long time before yielding results. In a particular case, results on organic SEO were seen only after a year of pure white hat technique. In PPC results are instant. Once your ad is approved, you immediately start to see results.
In terms of the initial cost applied, SEO has been known to be a cheaper advertising medium when compared to PPC. While you might need to pay a monthly maintenance fee to maintain your ranking, your PPC campaign can sometimes be affected if you change your Cost per Click bids
One major disadvantage of PPC is the human elements that can be introduced into it. Your competitors might start clicking on your ads and they are not interested in buying. This is not possible in SEO.
Search engines like Google change their algorithm almost on a daily basis. Panda and most recently Penguin updates where the last two updates that changed the world of SEO and made SEO experts have sleepless night. The changes are so rampant that what works today might be considered black hat tomorrow. Therefore with organic SEO, there is no guarantee of you getting to the first position on any keyword but with PPC, no matter what keyword you rank, you are assured of appearing on the first page of SERP .Only the position might change.
Organic SEO builds authority. People searching for any information tend to trust the first websites displayed on the SERP. This can be applied to mean more brand visibility but in PPC, people don’t really care because they know that for the right price, you can get listed there.
When it comes to SEO or PPC, it should not be a matter of “which”; but a matter of “When”
BY AKEEM BAIYEWU
Posted by Editor. at 23:22
A notable ingredient that is lacking in business organisations today is strategy. Strategy is the master plan for any organisation to achieve its goals within specified time frames. Strategy needs to be embraced to engender sustainability of competitive advantage.
The overall purpose of business strategy is competitive advantage. Strategy came into being due to competition. The whole essence of strategy planning is to enable an organisation to gain a sustainable edge over its competitors. There is the basic need to leverage an organisation’s strength in a most efficient way over its competitors. This is the whole essence of a corporate strategy.
Strategy is all about developing action plans that enables an organisation to deploy its enterprising strength within its sphere of business operations. For strategy to achieve its purpose, there is the need for a deep thinking. To outsmart competitors is not an ordinary task. When an organisation strives to maintain a superior edge over competitors, the thought pattern of one helmsman should be different.
The role of the CEO
The CEO is expected to deploy his thinking antennae as if he is on the battlefield as a war general. What this implies is that the CEO of the organisation should be the lead strategist. A good business strategy is one in which a company can leverage significant advantage over its competitors. This means the task of doing this rests firmly on the shoulders of the CEO.
The CEO of an organisation should be a strategic thinker. He should see things from a broader horizon than the people he supervises. He needs to dissect trends, problems, prospects and package them to maximise business advantage for his organisation.
It is also important for the CEO to have a clear understanding of a particular challenge and situation and analyse same in an appropriate manner.
Highlight the critical issue
There is the need to penetrate the issue at hand by isolating all other scenarios to highlight the major one. There is the need to formulate a problem statement that will lead to the right solution. For any organisation, the formulation of the question involves the participation of all employees. The ideas and insights are gathered and later screened to arrive at the desired outcome. Failure to have a full grasp of the key issues affects the formulation of a potent strategy.
Thorough analysis is key
Beyond highlighting the critical issues, there should be a good and insightful analysis. Organisations need people with a combination of analytical skills and mental endowments. Analyses are not just done as routine exercises but should be programmed to achieve desired results. The CEO and other top management executives are not expected to conduct analyses to support their preconceived ideas. This will not deliver results and the organisation can never deploy a successful strategy to outwit its competitors.
How to gain strategic advantage
The need to take a critical look at the resources available is important. The implication of this is that an organisation will be able to adjust the allocation of resources at its disposal to strengthen its capabilities in the industry. An organisation needs to allocate new resources in the most effective way to gain significant advantage over competition.
To strengthen the strategic base of any organisation, the point of differentiation between an organisation and its competitors needs to be leveraged for an impact. This calls for a total look at the entire gamut of an organisation’s operations to utilise the difference in the composition of resources to gain leverage. The unique selling proposition of an organisation should differentiate its product and service quality from the competitor’s. This is a visible way to gain advantage in the market place.
A workable strategy demands unconventional approach to achieve desired results. To dislodge an established competitor, an organisation can challenge the accepted norms in doing business in the industry. This is based on an aggressive platform to re-invent the rules and change the equation. This will definitely enable an organisation to gain a competitive business advantage.
Innovation is fundamental to business strategy. The deployment of innovative techniques can strengthen an organisation’s grip on the industry. Innovation can occur through new product development, marketing initiatives and opening up new market opportunities. Occupying a space untouched by competitors is also an innovative approach.
The place of the customer in strategy development is central to its overall success. There is no point formulating a strategy without focusing on the end users. Customers need to be given a premium place for the strategy to achieve stipulated goals and objectives. The needs and expectations of the customers should be embedded in the strategy document.
An organisation’s strength should be leveraged upon to explore a business advantage. The major weapon to outwit competitors is strategic thinking. Organisations need to devise a channel through which they can break established competitive barriers. Insightful strategy leads to superior edge and business growth. This should be visible and discernible in the performance of the organisation.
BY AYODEJI AYOPO
Posted by Editor. at 23:17
" If you are thinking of marketing your business though e-mail this is a good article for you. It puts email marketing into perspective".
Most inboxes are congested — filled to the brim with uninteresting, boring emails. In spite of efforts made by many entrepreneurs who make use of emails as a marketing strategy, many of such mails end up being drowned out in overflowing, noisy inboxes of subscribers. You hit ‘publish’ with a sigh of relief, but when you look at available statistics, you notice that the click-throughs are disappointing.
Does it feel like a big challenge to get people to open and read your emails; and then to go on to click through? It doesn’t really need to be so hard.
Whenever you’re emailing your list, what do you do — do you write as if you’re addressing a huge, faceless crowd of people? Do you write just like a massive corporate marketing department would? If you want your subscribers to look forward to your emails, you should consider behaving more like a friend.
Try toning down that corporate look, and create a more minimalist email design. Write in a conversational, respectful voice. Write as if you’re emailing one person only. It instantly makes your emails more personal (mention names, title, office, etc). Use your actual name, like Ayeni Ekundayo. Put your name and reputation on the line. That’s more personal, isn’t it? Email subject lines need to attract attention too, just like headlines do
Let people know what to expect. Yes, sales messages should be part of your email marketing, that’s fine. Just be clear about it when they sign up. Give people a reward for reading. Make sure people benefit from reading your emails. How? Share useful tips. Make them feel better. Inspire them. Use stories and real life tips. Promise something good. If people know specifically what they’ll learn or how exactly you’ll make them happier, more informed, or better at business, they’ll be itching to read more.
Use power words
Sensory and emotional words attract attention and make your subject lines stand out in crowded inboxes. Dare to be different and try something new. You’ll be surprised by what works and what doesn’t.
After getting people to open your emails now, what next? How do you keep their attention? How do you keep them reading your emails word for word?
Keep it short
Edit your emails with rigour. Long and unwieldy emails slaughter your readers’ interest. Challenge yourself to cut your text by half next time you edit. Endeavour to also ask questions. Imagine having a face-to-face conversation with your reader. You’d ask questions in that situation, wouldn’t you? In this light, don’t follow a strict formula. Add a personal touch, because you’re trying to get readers to know, like, and trust you,
Develop a voice
Stop thinking about email marketing. Consider your emails to be a way of talking to your customers or readers. You’re not just writing emails for fun. As a business owner, you have to sell to stay in business (whether you like it or not). Don’t sell before the prospect is ready. Become a friend and trusted source of information first; and your readers will more readily buy from you.
Don’t sell your product. Instead, sell the benefit it offers your customers. Show what readers will miss. Most people are averse to risks and they want to avoid inconveniences, glitches, and complications. Consider rephrasing the benefits of your offer. You should also cultivate the habit of presenting a clear deadline in your emails. It prevents people from procrastinating.
You can also insert multiple links to the same page of the email. This goes a long way in increasing the chances of people clicking on that link.
The harsh truth about email marketing is that everyone’s inbox is overflowing. Nobody is keen to receive more email. You should be honoured that people have opted into your mailing list and are happy to receive your messages. Each subscriber has given you a hard-earned vote of confidence.
But be careful. Never take anyone’s attention for granted, because everyone’s time is precious. Week in, week out, you have to prove your value to your email subscribers. Know your readers so well that you can empathise with their struggles. Ask questions and offer help.
BY AYENI EKUNDAYO
Posted by Editor. at 23:12
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