business

How Your Business Can Benefit from Competition

Competition can be fierce in many industries, and there may be times when you wish your competition would ease up so that you can gain an edge in the marketplace. However, competition is actually beneficial to businesses. After all, in order to survive and to thrive, you must constantly be improving your business activities in different ways. Without competition, you may be more inclined to sit back on your haunches and operate with business as usual. These are some of the more significant and specific ways that competition helps your business to improve.

A Push to Find a Niche

You may be aware that successful startups usually concentrate on one thing initially. They find the product or service that they excel in, and they focus on carving out a niche in this area. When you are faced with heavy competition in various niche areas, you understandably may be more inclined to find what you do best and to refine that service or product to perfection before you think about branching out. Through this effort, you may find ways to save money on production, find the right pricing strategy and more.

Motivation to Innovate

Innovation is essential for a startup’s success. Many entrepreneurs, however, may have the inclination to get stuck in a rut without motivation to innovate. For example, they may eventually turn a small profit, and they may be timid to make changes that may ultimately promote growth and increased profits. When strong competition is present, however, entrepreneurs may not have the luxury to sit back and maintain the status quo. Without constantly innovating new and better ways to get things done or to improve products and services, they may fall behind.

Willingness to Adopt New Technologies and Strategies

Some entrepreneurs have a natural tendency to scrutinize and even to shy away from new technologies and strategies. After all, if something works fine now, why would they try to change it? The competition is regularly taking advantage of new technologies and business strategies. They may be using these technologies and strategies to reduce the cost of doing business, to improve production so that they can lower the cost of their goods, to improve customer service and more. Competition encourages and even requires successful entrepreneurs to be more willing to look at and to adopt improved ways of doing things.

A Focus on Customer Service

Even if you have an amazing product or service, poor customer service can lead to the demise of your business. Without competition, some customers may feel inclined to muddle through and accept the low level of service that a company provides. However, when they are provided with an option of seemingly equivalent products or services, they may be inclined to choose the company that offers better service. In some cases, they may even be willing to pay slightly more for products or services if they know that they will be treated fairly and respectfully.

Competition in the business world may initially seem like a negative force that you must constantly combat. When competition is too fierce, it could even lead to your company’s downfall. However, when you embrace competition as a motivating factor to innovate and to improve in different ways, you can turn what is seemingly a negative force into a positive, driving force. Rather than constantly chasing the competition, it may be better to strive to be at the forefront of change and innovation by leading the pack. With this in mind, make a regular effort to explore new ways of doing things, and take bold steps forward to improve your business in different ways.

How Valuable Is A Business Degree, Really

It seems like career opportunities exist only for business graduates. If you’re serious about entering a market and climbing the ladder, then you’re expected to get a business degree. It’s also said to provide employment right after that, and to be the foundation of your whole career.

But is it so?

Lately, it’s been different. Business education is often the way to go for those who have no direction, who are just following the path paved for them by family or society, and who have no real passion about the studies, but just feel like it’s something they can’t go without if they want to make it.

Well, turns out the skills your build still matter, and you can do that on your own. But even studies suggest that this isn’t related to where you studied or what your major is.

While you may often hear about the advantages of a degree in business, let’s take a look at the opposite.

Formal education has little to do with entrepreneurship.

Are you an aspiring entrepreneur? If so, that’s great.

But what you probably consider the first step, if following conventional wisdom, is to skip dreaming too much, and instead focus on education. The world wants you to think that if you get a business degree and study hard, you’ll then get a great job in your chosen field and will have a higher chance of exceeding in it sooner.

The first thing that’s wrong with this vision is that the average student doesn’t know how to make the most of their time in college or university.

Just attending every class and studying at home isn’t enough. There are more valuable things that can be done with your time, and smarter ways in which you can do your best.

One such activity is connecting with people. And while networking is something you can do on your own in real life, with enough determination and desire to form connections, you can also grow your professional network while at college.

What’s more, you can find a mentor there. And choose to hang out with like-minded individuals, such as those aiming high, or the wannabe entrepreneurs in tech, if that’s where you’re headed too.

This research among American entrepreneurs showed that the traditional MBA model uses predictive reasoning. While in the business game once you’re out there, all you need is the effectual reasoning.

What that means is, you’re paying a huge amount of money to be taught how to find the relationship between a cause and its effect. But different rules apply in entrepreneurship and digital business (which is where most of the money and opportunities are today).

So, traditional education can actually block your creativity and imagination, thus preventing you from coming up with innovative ideas or doing things in a new way, be it for product creation, marketing purposes, building an audience, grabbing attention on social media, etc.

There are better ways to learn.

What can you do instead of getting a business degree? Be a lifelong learner.

You can also do all that I’ll mention below on the side, if you already began your education.

Some pretty awesome and effective ways to learn the ins and outs of entrepreneurship without relying on formal education are the following:

  • Read – some of the richest and most successful people in the world are vivid readers. Warren Buffet has a whole reading routine. And the first thing most entrepreneurs do when they wake up is to read. It could be anything related to your field of interest so what you can keep up to date. But it should also be biographies of leaders, the bestselling books in business and self-development, and more.
  • Connect – start connecting with influencers online. Provide value, reach out personally, then start attending events near you or joining mastermind groups. You’ll learn a ton from other people’s experiences, but even being around them will make you smarter and more successful over time.
  • Stay relevant – most of what you learn in college isn’t useful later on. So it’s your responsibility to make sure you find out anything you can about your industry, a certain company, or your area of expertise when you niche down. Leave behind what doesn’t concern you and focus on practicality. Build skills through online courses. There’s plenty of information on each topic, with video tutorials or else, that will help you master any skill needed for business.

A business degree isn’t that valuable anymore. Your time is better spent elsewhere. If you’re willing to do the work and find focus on a daily basis, you can reach any heights, regardless of what your education is.

How To Take Your Business Global In 5 Steps

If you’ve already conquered domestic marketing, you might just be ready to take your business international. Still, conquering foreign market differs quite a lot from doing it domestically. In other words, the formula you’ve used to win over your local customers simply may not work abroad. So, how do you manage to take your business global and succeed at it? We came up with 5 steps you need to follow in order to be able to do so.

Identify similar markets

Since every market differs at least a bit, it’s a good idea to start with markets similar to your domestic market. That’s where your formula might be able to do the trick with just a little modification. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is identify markets similar to yours. Usually, neighboring countries and countries that speak the same language fall into this category. However, it’s recommended that you don’t start expanding until you’ve researched that specific market you want to tackle. Moreover, you might want to visit the country you plan to expand to and try to figure out whether expanding to it makes sense for your business.

How To Take Your Business Global In 5 Steps

Assemble a good team

Of course, taking your business globally means you need to hire more people. It’s critical that you find employees who can help you out when it comes to the market you want to expand to. This means you need employees who speak the language and know a thing or two about that particular country. Since you’ll be working with plenty of domestic companies, having someone who can communicate with them with ease can do wonders for your business. If you do manage to hire bilingual employees for your company, they can translate for on your meetings or simply hold these meetings themselves.

How To Take Your Business Global In 5 Steps

Think about your product

There’s no need to say that one of the most important aspects of taking your business globally is adjusting your product to that country’s culture. The same product might not always work well in two different markets and that’s why doing a lot of research makes sense. What you need to do is take some time to think about the local culture and how your products fit into it. Also, it’s a good idea to take a closer look at the prices in the country you plan to expand to and see if doing so makes sense from a financial point of view. Adjusting the price to the local market is always recommended.

Choose the right companies to work with

If you want to take your business international, you have to work with plenty of foreign companies in order to succeed. This means you’ll need to find good solicitors, marketing experts and even cleaning companies you’re going to work with. Fail to do this, and you’ll see all kinds of problems arise once you start operating in that specific market. Therefore, the key here is to find good local companies to work with. So, let’s say you’re expanding to a city like Sydney and you’re going to be based in Parramatta. It’s critical that you do plenty of research and find a good Parramatta solicitor before you even start expanding.

How To Take Your Business Global In 5 Steps

Research your competition

When penetrating a foreign market, chances are you won’t succeed if you don’t know enough about your competition. So, before you start expanding, it’s recommended that you start researching other companies that already sell the same product you do. Try to figure out what quality they offer and how their prices compare to yours. If they offer more quality or lower prices, penetrating that particular market will be quite difficult. Luckily, with the power of the internet, researching your local competitors shouldn’t be too difficult. You can start by visiting their websites and comparing prices. You can even order their product and see how it compare to yours.

How To Take Your Business Global In 5 Steps

Even though penetrating a foreign market is never going to be easy, with these 5 steps in mind you should be able to do it. Just make sure you’re absolutely sure that expanding to that specific country makes sense before you start investing in your idea.

Preparing Your Business to Sell? Avoid Those 6 Costly Mistakes

Preparing your business to sell is an intensive process. It requires a lot of time and thought. It involves complex legalities and negotiations. And there are a number of pitfalls to avoid along the way.

If you’re looking to sell your business, here are six costly mistakes you should aim to avoid:

Starting Preparations Too Late

Selling a business for the best possible price is all in the preparation. You need to be ready to move when your business accounts and prospects look particularly impressive. This means getting all of the paperwork in order well in advance of a sale. Draw up financial reports, create a thoroughly researched business profile, determine how you will explain any periods of reduced profit (if there are any) and address any niggles in your company operations. Brokers recommend making preparations two years before you intend to sell.

Lack of Discretion

When you’re putting your business up for sale and trying to attract a buyer, discretion is paramount. If word gets out about the sale, you could begin to lose employees, customers and contractors who feel uncertain about what the future holds. As a result, your company will start to decrease in value just at the time when you want it to be worth the most. Only shout word from the LinkedIn rooftops when all invested parties – employees, clients, contractors and customers – have been reassuringly briefed on what is happening.

Failure to Attract the Right Buyers

When it comes to selling your business, it’s not just about finding a buyer. It’s about finding the right buyer. You’ll want someone with the knowledge to continue with what you’ve started, a responsible approach to your employees and customers, and the financial security to see the sale through to its conclusion. This means spreading the net far and wide. Do some research on where to advertise your business and get the kind of buyers you’re looking for.

Inaccurate Valuation

When you’ve invested blood, sweat and tears into a company you’re likely to place a high value on it. But you need to separate the reality from the emotion. Likewise, if things with your business haven’t been going so well lately, you may fail to recognise the potential it still has for success. Get an impartial expert to value your company. That way you can be confident that you’re not over or under pricing.

Spreading Yourself Too Thinly

Selling your business is likely to take up a considerable part of your working life. But it’s important that you don’t neglect the day to day running of your business in the process. Without your involvement, things could take a turn for the worse, ruining prospects of a great sale price. Enlist the services of a business broker or delegate work responsibilities to a trusted deputy. Just don’t try to do everything all by yourself.

Misrepresenting Your Business

Whilst you want to paint your business to potential buyers in the best possible light, it’s best to be 100% up front. If a buyer discovers that you’ve misrepresented a few figures here and there or just exaggerated an upcoming deal that turns out to be a dud, they’ll question your integrity and your judgement. This makes it much less likely that they’ll have the confidence in you and your company required to make a sale. Always be totally honest about your company to avoid wasting time and money on a sale that doesn’t go through.

As with many big tasks in life, when it comes to selling your business preparation is key. Don’t rush into advertising your business until you have covered all of the preparatory bases. Putting in the initial effort will help to make the sale process simpler and speedier.

Author’s bio:

Audrey Robinson is a business and careers writer, always interested in learning more about unique ways CEOs might use to expand and grow their businesses. At the moment, she is writing on behalf of Datastical, an online knowledge library. Feel free to reach out to her on her Twitter – @AudreyyRobinson.

4 Free Aptitude Tests For Students To Find A Perfect Career

Finding a perfect career path is easy if you understand what degrees pay off and what you should opt for considering your strengths and talents.

Therefore, before you start, we recommend you to bear in mind that given the high cost of tuition in both public and private institutions, you cannot afford to choose a job that will never truly pay off.

That is why so many young people these days postpone marriage and starting a family: they cannot afford any of that due to the huge student loans they have to deal with.

The Simple Dollar reports that there are ten degrees that can ensure that you will tackle the dangerous burden of a student loan, as finding a job in these areas is possible. Among the recommended degrees are Computer Science, Marketing, Health Care Administration, Finances, and Civil Engineering.

Meanwhile, your worst choices, according to the same source, would be obtaining a degree in Psychology, Fashion, Fine Arts, Hospitality, and Theatre Arts. The author states that getting a job in this area will be hard and the income will not be sufficient both to pay off the loan and start a family.

But do not pick your major based on its profitability alone. You need to take your strengths and weaknesses into account to make the right choice. Otherwise, you are at risk of choosing a profitable niche but failing to make the most out of it due to the lack of talent in the area.

How can you identify your biggest strengths? With a simple aptitude test. We have gathered a list of the best aptitude tests we have found online so that you can choose the one you like the most and give it a try.

4 Free Aptitude Tests for Students

  1. Career Fitter

This test is claimed to be among the most popular tests since 1998. The goal of this test is to see what work fits your personality better. Besides, it creates your inner portrait and shows how well you can work in a team. It also describes what work environment will be perfect for you based on your strengths and preferred management style. And finally, you get to see what famous people had the same result on this test as you do.

This test consists of 30 questions that look into your personality one inch at a time and try to evaluate what company you should work for.

The test was developed by scientists as an attempt to help young people who are not sure of what career path to pursue. So, if this description is close to what you experience in your life right now, then take this free test to get help in figuring out what major to pursue.

  1. Similar Minds.

Another test to help you figure out what career choices are the best for you is called Similar Minds Career Builder.

This test consists of 55 questions, and when answering them, you need to specify whether the suggested statement is “Very inaccurate” or “Very accurate”.

There is always the risk of answering in a way that you believe is ideal in this case instead of telling the truth. However, such an approach can only ruin things for you.

You will never figure out what professions fit you the most if you answer in a way that is not typical of you. So, when going through this test, make sure to look at yourself from the side and give answers that reflect your current (and not ideal) opinion the best.

Some of the questions in this test aim to identify your personality while other focus on your professional skills. All this is made in an attempt to look at your personality from different angles and get a better and more realistic image of you and your best career.

  1. Skills Profiler.

This tool aims to identify your skills and traits and match them to the potential job options. Not only you get to understand yourself better and see what exact skills you have that you can use in your future career but you also get a link to a special feature called Employer Locator with the names of the best employers in your area.

Besides, one can even compare the occupations selected for them by the app and the desired positions to see the differences and similarities in skills and qualifications.

And as a bonus feature, with this knowledge, preparing for an interview will no longer be a daunting task. You can write a resume and attach a personalized cover letter with no problems at all, as you will know what qualities and skills you have to work with.

  1. Career Colleges.

A perfect short aptitude test that only consists of 15 questions that aim to identify your inner strengths and qualities that make you stand out of the crowd. When answering them, you shouldn’t be over-thinking them too much, as you will fail to answer correctly. On the contrary, make sure to give answers that first pop up in your head. Such answers are most likely to be “real.”

Each question has five answer options that go from completely negative to neutral and positive. You need to pick the one that best describes your opinion about certain things. Do not try to look perfect or ideal, as that is not who you are. Finding an ideal career for a person you think is ideal will not help you in your future career search.

Submit your answers and get an extensive description of your work personality and what occupations are your best choices.

Taking an aptitude test is a great idea for students that have doubts about their future career path. You might have too many talents to start with or on the contrary see nothing particular in yourself. Both these approaches hinder your prospects. So, get an objective opinion from an unbiased source and see what your best options are.

Understanding where you should move will help you stay focused on one or two subjects and invest the most of your time and energy in them. And this can be a great way to succeed in your special field. You can read causal argument essay topics to understand what you need.

If you have taken some other aptitude test and you were really satisfied with the results, then don’t hesitate to share it with us in the comments section. Your experience can help many other students, so do share how you came to a clear understanding of what path to choose for your career.

The Best (and Worst) Degrees For Business Success

If there’s one thing the Great Recession taught us, it’s that some degrees count for more than others in the business world. If you’re dreaming of a career in business, chances are you’ve thought about your educational options more than once. After all, some degrees are worth more than others and some degrees can help you more than others when it comes to achieving business success. If you’d like to know more about the best and the worst degrees for a career in business, read on.

The Best Degrees for Business

Getting the MBA

Many people who dream of business success gravitate toward the MBA degree. The Master of Business Administration degree teaches students about making managerial decisions and about the principles of economics. It also provides a solid foundation in accounting and offers insights into customer buying behaviors. This type of degree offers useful skills like accounting and management training. According to the Payscale website, those who earn an MBA can earn as much as $126,000 per year. Some companies will even pay for employees in senior positions to obtain an MBA, especially if it’s pursued from an online university.

Other Business Degree Options

If you’re not quite up to committing to a full MBA-track degree, Investopedia recommends getting a Master of Finance degree. This degree teaches you about risk management, investments, and how to successfully manage your assets.

The benefit of this degree compared to other advanced degrees is that it only takes a year to earn. This means that you can work in the business field for a couple of years before getting the degree. Not only will you gain some practical experience in business, you’ll have the opportunity to save up some money to pay for the degree. Not having to take on student loan debt in the process of getting your degree will help you in the long run. The money you save by not having to pay back your student loans can be invested in a business of your own.

Other Useful Degrees

The Best (and Worst) Degrees For Business Success

In the age of the Internet, the ability to write clearly and the ability to communicate has become more important than ever. That’s likely why an Entrepreneur article suggests that degrees in English and Communication can play a vital role in business.

Nowadays, business writing isn’t just about creating memos and writing emails to clients, though that’s part of it. SEO, or search engine optimization, and the specific writing skills that this marketing technique requires make up the foundation of many businesses’ marketing communication strategies. SEO writers ensure that a business’s website get organic visitors from the web. The advantage of these types of potential customers is that they very often come online with the intention to buy. The ability to use the right keywords to attract them to a company’s site plays a key role in that. That’s the job of an SEO expert. If you want to learn these skills, you’ll often find classes in them in your local college’s English, communication, and marketing departments.

The Worst Degrees for Business

Liberal Arts Degree

According to Forbes, the demand for the arts goes up in an “up” economy, but the arts are also the first thing to suffer in a recession. The same can be said for arts degrees, some humanities degrees, psychology, philosophy, history, etc. While there is an argument for a liberal arts education – namely that it gives you the look into human nature that you need to successfully understand your customers – it isn’t necessary to get a liberal arts degree to do that. Most degrees, even business degrees, require their students to take core classes in the liberal arts.

Psychology

The Best (and Worst) Degrees For Business Success

Like the liberal arts degree, an education in psychology can be useful if it’s done right. After all, some careers like advertising and marketing rely on understanding psychology in order to understand customer behavior. However, taking some psychology classes as a part of an advertising or marketing degree makes more sense for the business person than going straight for the psychology degree.

Final Thoughts on Useful Business Degrees

Getting a useful education is one of the best things you can do for yourself in terms of earning an income. This is doubly true for those pursuing a career in business. The skills you learn by obtaining a business degree will provide you with the skills you need to run your business on a daily basis. That said, some degrees are more useful than others. While it can be argued that liberal arts or psychology are useful when it comes to dealing with people, they shouldn’t be the only classes that college students take. It’s better to take coursework in these subjects alongside other more business-related topics if you want to have success in business.