Archive for August, 2018

Skills vs. Connections: What is More Important Nowadays?

To hone your skills or to network? That is the ultimate question we all have to come to terms with, at some point in life. Some may place their bets on having the right skills while others may swear by the importance of their network.

They both may be right because experiences vary from one person to another. So, does the submitted MBA application personal statement from potential candidates. You could be looking for the ideal position after your MBA, or think about starting or growing your business.

Whatever your reasons, you need to think critically about your next move. Below are the reasons why?

Changing employment landscape

A 2016 report by the World Economic Forum, on The Future of Jobs, predicts that many people will be in jobs that don’t exist at present, by 2020. The report also predicts a shift in skills that are sought after, from technical to soft skills.

It is a shift that is already taking place in various industries. As employers seek potential employees, who have attributes such as, problem-solving, time management, effective communication, ability to work in teams, and more. According to The Ladders, possessing soft skills brings the performance of an employee, to life.

The democratisation of the ability to network

Throughout history, whom you know, has been more important than what you know. When there’s difficulty in finding the appropriate contacts, hoarding of information, and scarcity of cash; that is mostly true.

However, the development and increased usage of various social networking platforms, networking is becoming democratised. They have made connecting with people as smooth as a Google Search. Regarding capital, it is safe to say that it is relatively plentiful.

Besides, with more information becoming public, this offers a person less competitive advantage, nowadays. You don’t need an invitation to listen to free TED lectures. In a world that’s more hyper-connected, whom you know may not matter as much as it did in the past.

Personal Connections are essential to a business

A good connection could write you a compelling waiver letter. All over the globe, technological advances are opening up new economic avenues. Both consumers and businesses have a wide array of organisations to choose from, which increases competition.

In an article in the Harvard Business Review by Cara France and Mark Bonchek; they explain what a business needs to remain competitive. They show how creating relationships that are mutually beneficial to the customer, and the organisation gives a company, competitive advantage.

The Concept of Marginal Benefit

It is a concept from economics that may not apply in your search for a suitable statement of purpose for MBA service but proves useful in this debate. It is the idea that many activities, result in diminishing returns.

In the tradeoff between skill-development and networking, the worth of an activity depends on your position on the marginal benefit curve. For one who never cultivates connections, networking more may prove beneficial, than improving your skills.

On the other hand, no matter how many people you know, if you don’t have the right skills; you are useless. You need to have something that people can pay you to do. Besides your skills and connections form a loop of positive feedback.

In that, your skills improve depending on the people you know. In turn, with improved skills, you can meet more important people.

Possessing a better network drives you to better your skills because of the limited opportunities that encourage rapid growth of one’s abilities. Often, these opportunities flow through relationships. It may be difficult for you to separate your skills from your connections.

Once you have built valuable skills that other people want, it will be easier for more people to want to have a meeting with you. For many of us like high-value people, right?

Conclusion

For some people, finding a balance between networking and developing one’s skills may prove difficult, especially for the introverted types. We often if not always find refuge in our solitude and rarely form strong connections with the people we meet for the first time.

However, in a world that celebrates extroversion, it may be best to tap into your extroverted mode, once in a while. Try cycling between these two opposing modes for your career growth.

Besides, when you form new relationships, you open doors to serendipity. As for which is more important, it all depends on your location on the curve of marginal benefit. Some may benefit from more networking, others from improving their skills.

Then, there are those who need to find a balance between both. All in all, the connections we have, generate the opportunities available to us, and for you to accept any of those opportunities, you need the ability to deliver.

Ensure Your Business is Not Making These Branding Mistakes!

Your brand describes you! The way you build your brand helps people in understanding what kind of value system do you have and what is the idea behind your company. Just designing an impressive logo, having a business portfolio, and having social media platforms are not enough for a brand. To exist in the real world, brands need to invest a lot of time and energy into research, professional consultation, and in understanding the competitor’s strategies. Before marketing your business, every entity should know what exactly branding is and how it should be done!

Ensure you do not make the following mistakes while branding and it goes for both- the existing ones and the new business houses.

  • Taking Competitors Lightly:

Knowing your competitors is extremely essential for new businesses. When you research about existing big fish in the same market that you want to work in, then knowing what they have done in the past, where did they fail, and what works for them can help you to understand what edge you can give your business and make it different from the rest. Remember, the research you are doing should include the target audience, products, their website, and how they use their social media pages. Once you study these elements through and through, you shall be able to understand your competitors better. If you think that you can skip this step then you may end up implementing the same marketing strategy as them or you may not understand their business model.  

  • Do Not Know The Target Audience:

Sales is a long process and pitching the wrong audience may ruin the entire process. Before you begin with your selling process, ensure you know who you need to pitch. Always study the pattern of your targeted audience – which brand they prefer, what are their needs and demands, what connects them, and how useful they see a product for themselves. Also, when you identify your target audience then putting across the business message correctly becomes easier via branding and packaging.

  • The First Impression:

Never underestimate the power of the first impression. Trying to increase your sales without actually being seen in the market is totally useless. Branding helps in entering the market and one should study the elements of branding thoroughly before expecting to generate some revenue. The first impression can only be made the way you package your product. Do not think that buying container and package supply are more than enough for creating a powerful first impression.

  • Non-Reliable Feedback:

Sometimes we end up giving up on our dream because the feedback is negative. However, in most cases, we forget to analyze the source of this feedback. Maybe the feedback we generated was from the wrong audience and we did not consider asking the feedback from the right ones. Also, sometimes we rely on our closed ones for feedback but, they usually provide us a positive feedback without acting neutral. Therefore, before relying on the feedback from friends and family, make certain you choose the audience who can give you an honest review of your product. If you are seeking one for your business then try social media platform and various review sites.

  • Logo Re-Designing is Not Enough:

Let us be clear on one thing – branding is more than just getting the logo designed or adding a tagline to your business. Branding means putting the soul of the business in marketing. Once your business message is different from the others then you will be able to target your audience as well. Companies spend millions of dollars on redesigning their logo and rebranding their business. However, this is not enough. The biggest example of it is the Yahoo – it thought by changing the logo it will be able to brand itself better, however, nothing of this sort actually happened.   

  • Uniformity:

Companies that are steady and consistent in branding never fail. Remember, you should never change anything that works for you in business. Here is a big example of it – Coca-Cola has not changed its logo from the past 130 years and has been consistent in doing its branding. The way it packages its products has also been almost the same since its birth. This eventually has led in creating a mark in the world. And today, it has billions of social media followers on its page. You will agree; when summers are around and you want to have something chilled, Coca-Cola is what hits your mind every time.   

Remember, always have a plan B for yourself in case plan A is not working for you!  

How to Choose an Inventory Management Solution for Your Retail Business

A dynamic inventory management product not only comes equipped with the best must-have features, it is also affordable and scalable, adapting effortlessly to the needs of a growing retail business. If you’ve been contemplating upgrading your retail inventory management process, look for the following essential features that make an inventory management solution stand out among a host of wannabes.

Comprehensive product management

A retail business will often have a large number of products and categories—which calls for a solution that can effectively manage and track hundreds of different products based on specific features. Essentially, you should be able to automate inventory transfer and adjustments, add custom tags and serial numbers, upload documents and photos, track batches and lots, track financial data and manage product bundles with a few clicks.

Location-wise stock tracking

For a business that’s spread across locations, tracking the changing inventory at different locations is essential for a seamless workflow. A good inventory management solution helps avoid the problems of under- and overstocking by tracking incoming and outgoing stocks at different outlets, warehouses and sub-locations. You can not only view the stocks in real time but also generate reports to get in-depth insight into inventory trends for each product line.

Low inventory alerts

An essential element of a stock management system is its ability to alert you when stocks of a particular item reach a predefined minimum level. It allows you to set low inventory thresholds for each product at each location, reaching which it will automatically set off an alert—additionally, advanced systems will also auto-generate a purchase order to replenish supplies.

Barcoding

Inventory management processes thrives on granular product tracking, which is only possible if the system has the capability to define RFID and barcoding for a large database of products. Does the software allow integration of your existing barcoding database into the new system? Does it allow adding and editing barcodes as you go along? Can you scan barcodes or will you have to key in identifiers? Purchase a system that will automate the day-to-day processes as much as possible so that your staff can work faster and more efficiently.

Automatic generation of purchase orders

How about an inventory management solution that auto-creates a purchase order when it detects low inventory for a particular item at a certain retail location? This feature takes away yet another manual step in stock management. Furthermore, the inventory levels are then automatically adjusted when the items are received at the location.

Don’t worry about automatic purchase orders wreaking havoc on your distribution network—each order needs to be approved before it is processed. Even with a great technology-driven solution, a human will always be in charge.

Automatic tracking of bills and payments

Whenever a purchase or sales order is fulfilled, the system should not only make adjustments in stock levels, it should also be able to generate invoices and track bills, applicable freight and taxes, payments and credits.

Integrated customer relationship management (CRM) and vendor management

This is a particularly useful feature for retail businesses that offer different price points for different customer and vendors. Advanced inventory management software will have integrated CRM and vendor management so that you can keep track of sales orders from each customer and purchase orders from each vendor according to product type, location and pricing.

Comprehensive reporting options

Regardless of the volume of your sales, you will need reports that can help you understand and control your purchase and sales trends, predict demand and supply with greater accuracy and manage stocks more efficiently. Does the system you intend to buy offer a wide range of reports? Does it allow customization of reports based on your needs? Invest in an Inventory Management Software System that comes equipped with a variety of reporting options.

Complete control over user access with multi-level tracking

This feature enables multi-level auditing of the system, allowing you add and manage users at different locations, control access for each user and track daily activity for each module.

To conclude, invest in a good inventory management system to gain greater control over stocks, purchase and sales, demand and supply, customer relations, vendor management and more. At the same time, purchase your software from a company that has the expertise and experience to offer you a great product as well as exception after-sale service and support. They should be available to resolve your queries, particularly during the implementation period, and be forthcoming to help integrate the system and train your employees.

4 Essential Tips to Save for an Emergency Fund

An emergency fund consists of savings that will get an individual through a few months of tough times when their regular income has declined or stopped because of losing a job or falling sick or other such contingency.

Creating and maintaining an emergency fund is not difficult if you go about it in a planned way and make it a priority by committing to regular compulsory savings. Here are four tips that will help you kickstart and maintain an emergency savings fund with minimum effort.

Enlist your monthly expenses and redo your budget

Most people think they don’t have enough spare money each month to put into a savings account, but that’s not true in most cases. Savings need to be an integral part of your monthly financial planning—only then will you be able take away some amount to save.

It’s never too late to start saving, but the first step in the process is to sit down and make a realistic list of all your fixed and variable living expenses. Then, add them up and multiply the sum by 3 and you’ll have the minimum amount you need to have in your emergency fund. The idea is to set aside three months’ living expenses if not more.

The next step is to go back to the list and carefully examine each head to see where you can cut costs and put that amount into your contingency fund. Break down each expense and you’ll certainly find scope to save small amounts in several categories. Remember that even $20 weekly is good enough to start saving. You’ll have $80 at the end of the month when you thought there was no money to save!

Start putting aside money for your emergency fund now

If you’ve been thinking about creating an emergency fund but haven’t been able to pull it off yet, you’re possibly making the same mistake that so many other working professionals make—waiting for the right time when you’ll have sufficient money to kickstart your emergency savings.

Ask any financial expert and they’ll tell you that the key to saving for the long term lies in starting early and saving small amounts that will add up to a significant sum down the line. When you start small, the greatest benefit is that the savings don’t cause a cash crunch and you can go about your life as usual.

The best way to build an emergency fund is to open a new savings account with your bank or credit union. You can set up weekly, fortnightly or monthly automatic transfer from your checking account to this account—this way you’ll be saving money without even realizing it.

You can also use technology to get into the habit of making compulsory savings. Explore money management applications and you’ll find that there are apps out there that will take a small sum every day or every week from your main account into a savings account or that will round up your purchases and place those tiny amounts into a savings account.

Create small goals that you can achieve without stretching yourself too thin. These small yet significant accomplishments will motivate you to manage your money better and spend and save in a balanced manner.

Send all extra income to your emergency fund

Whether it’s a tax refund, income from a side hustle or your yearly bonus, all of these can be used to beef up your emergency fund. The key is to be willing to compromise and avoiding unnecessary large expenses until you have saved enough for tough times. Once you have the peace of mind that there is enough in your savings account for the proverbial rainy day, you will feel more in control of your finances.

Instant cash loan to meet unexpected expenses

If a situation arises where you need to arrange funds instantly but would rather not use your credit card, you can consider taking out a short-term cash loan, such as a payday loan, which comes with the condition that you’ll repay it when your next pay is credited into your account. The repayment period of such cash in advance loans can be extended; however, be sure to check the interest rate that will be charged in case you’re unable to repay as agreed.

If you’re inclined to take out a cash loan to get through a temporary cash crunch, be sure to first explore several different lending companies and compare their offers, interest rates and repayment terms before taking out a loan.

How Technology Supports Business Growth

We live in a world where digital transformation is happening faster than ever before. The arrival of new technologies gives us both new opportunities and challenges.

New technologies have the ability to change the way we do business from the ground up. They change how our work environment looks, the operating models we use and how we handle interactions with our customers.

The latest in technology is now available to a wide audience. Previously, access to the most robust and innovative tech was something limited to large enterprises. But today, the costs of hardware and software are much lower than ever before, making technology accessible to businesses of all sizes.

Any business that wants to succeed needs to know how to leverage the modern technology. Using the latest solutions allows businesses to grow at a fast pace.

How Businesses Grow Thanks to Tech Solutions

Technology has become the centerpiece of the modern business world. The specific technologies used varies from one industry to another, but every type of business takes advantage of some form of tech to move forward. Here are five major ways technology is driving growth across all industry sectors in today’s businesses:

1. Big Data and Analysis

Evolution in technology has given rise to the concept of big data, which consists of extremely large sets of information that require specialized data processing applications.

Big data can be collected in various ways, such as by customer input on the Internet or from the sensors of smart devices. However, the most important part is what businesses do with this newfound wealth of information.

By analyzing big data, businesses can get a better understanding of consumers, their target market and what they want. This allows them to create products that meet their needs better and are more likely to leave them satisfied. Big data can also be used internally within organizations, such as to improve processes and get rid of inefficiencies.

2. Cloud Computing and Storage

Cloud computing includes everything from storage, to IaaS, SaaS and PaaS solutions. Cloud-based storage is one of the simplest kinds of cloud computing services. It allows users to store files and retrieve them remotely whenever they need to.

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provides access to virtual computing resources in the cloud. It’s what people refer to when they speak of “cloud servers,” which can be used to host online applications and websites. Software as a service (SaaS) refers to any kind of application that runs remotely and doesn’t require an app to be installed locally.

The Google Docs suite and Office 365 are good examples of a SaaS. Platform as a service (PaaS) is a development and deployment environment hosted in the cloud, allowing users to create their own enterprise applications.

Cloud storage is one of the most popular uses of cloud technology as it allows easy sharing of data with anyone who is authorized to see it. It also provides an excellent backup solution that safeguards precious information from disaster.

Data stored in the cloud can be recovered should a local storage device suffer a failure, preventing it from being lost forever. This enables businesses to keep growing without worrying about data loss or the safety of their servers in case of disaster.

3. Automation and Efficiency

Technology gives us many opportunities to automate tasks and make the business a lot more efficient overall. There are hundreds of ways how automation is changing the business world.

For example, cloud-based accounting and payroll software can automate various record keeping and calculation tasks that would previously require several employees to handle. Automation allows businesses to cut down on their costs and function more efficiently.

4. Communication and Collaboration

With modern technology, there are now various communication tools that individuals and businesses can take advantage of. For example, thanks to smartphones, people are now connected everywhere they go. VoIP technology is another great development, as it allows phone calls to be carried through the Internet, which greatly reduces costs.

Collaboration is also greatly enhanced by technology. People now have dozens of different ways to work together on business projects. This is mostly due to the rapid growth in popularity of cloud-based business software platforms, which allow workers to sign in from anywhere and share information with their colleagues.

5. Savings

Finally, one way that technology promotes business growth is by allowing large amounts of savings to be made. For example, a company can use cloud-based collaboration platforms and instant messaging tools to enable remote work.

This allows them to have a large part of the workforce doing their jobs from home or any other location, which helps the company reduce their overall operating costs, as they don’t need a big office.

The savings that companies get by making smart use of the latest technologies can be reinvested, which allows them to grow their business faster.

Conclusion

Technology is rapidly changing the way businesses around the world operate. It has many positive effects on companies of all sizes, one of which is allowing growth to proceed at a fast pace. Big data, cloud computing, disaster recovery, automation, communication and collaboration tools can all be made to work together, allowing a business to function more efficiently, save money and expand its operations.

Deep Learning: Things You Need to Know

Different concepts and technologies are getting used by professionals in this present era. You can find a huge competition in the world and you can beat it all only by making the most of technology. There are concepts and technologies that can be of great help to you and your business.

There are Top deep learning companies out there that can turn out to be of great help. You might have heard about AI (Artificial Intelligence) Right well, as a portion of artificial intelligence (AI), deep learning stands behind various innovations: self-driving cars, both image and voice recognition, and so on. Such a technology has occupied manifold aspects of human lives.

Deep learning: What is it?

Deep learning is a combination of machine learning algorithms that model high-level concepts in data using architectures encompassing manifold nonlinear transformations. A deep learning technology is based on the concept of artificial neural networks (ANNs). These ANNs continually receive learning algorithms and constantly growing volumes of data to enhance the efficiency of training procedures. The huger data volumes are the more effective this procedure is. The training process is known as deep because, with the passing time, a neural network encompasses an increasing number of levels. The «deeper» the network enters, the higher its productivity gets.

Difference between Deep learning and Machine Learning

Deep learning is a kind of traditional machine learning. Classical machine learning is the abstraction of fresh knowledge from a huge data array packed into the machine. The users formulate the machine training rules and rectify the errors made by a machine. This is an approach that eliminates a negative overtraining effect often appearing in deep learning.

In the realm of machine learning, users cater a machine with both examples and training info to help the system make right decisions. The principle is known as supervised learning. In other words, in traditional machine learning, a computer solves a huge number of tasks, but it can’t really perform such tasks in the absence of a human control.

The concept of deep learning suggests that the machine forms its functionality by itself as long as it is possible at the present time. To conclude, deep learning applications make use of a hierarchical approach deciding the most important characteristics to link.

Creation of Fresh Features

One of the main advantages of deep learning over diverse machine learning algorithms is its capability to produce new features from a restricted series of features situated in the training dataset. Hence, deep learning algorithms can form fresh tasks to solve present ones. Remember since deep learning can form the features without a human interference, data scientists can save a lot of time on working with huge data and relying on such a technology. It permits them to make use of more complicated sets of features in comparison with conventional machine learning software.

Conclusion

Thus, there are myriad of advantages of Deep learning and it can be of great use. Once you talk to the professionals of deep learning public companies, you would get a clearer picture about this concept.