Know Your Strengths

Know Your Strengths

Evaluate, Featured
To get ahead in your business or career, whether you are trying to get a  job, a promotion, or a new venture off the ground you need to know your strengths. If you can’t articulate them, you can’t expect your boss or potential employers, partners, or customers to either. Here’s a four-step process to identifying what makes you great: List your strengths. Include skills and knowledge you’ve acquired through experience and education as well as softer intrinsic strengths, such as insightfulness or empathy.Ask for input. Ask colleagues for honest feedback.Revisit past feedback. Reread old performance reviews or think back on coaching from previous bosses.Modify your list. Adjust your original list to reflect what you’ve learned. Make sure the strengths are specific so that they are credible and useful.
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The Solution to a Tough Problem Isn’t to Overthink It

The Solution to a Tough Problem Isn’t to Overthink It

Attitude and Mindset, Evaluate, Featured
We all like to consider ourselves smart, but raw intelligence isn’t everything. When we get stuck on a problem, sometimes it’s because we’re overthinking it. Pay attention to when focused thinking isn’t getting you anywhere; perhaps it has turned into obsessing over the same answers or approaches. Consider whether experimenting with a new strategy or talking ideas through with others might be more likely to result in success. Take breaks to let your brain relax and get unstuck. Expand your range of skills for reaching insights and coming up with new ideas; don’t be someone who sees every problem as a nail because your only tool is a hammer. And when you do find yourself ruminating, disrupt it by doing a few minutes of an absorbing activity, such as a…
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Evaluate Whether That Latest Digital Trend Is Worth Adopting

Evaluate Whether That Latest Digital Trend Is Worth Adopting

Evaluate, Featured
No one wants to pass up a useful innovation. At the same time, you don't want to jump after every "next big thing." Jumping into new apps and programs can be a huge drain of time and money if you're not careful. When deciding where and when to invest in technologies consider whether the new technology does one of the following in a unique way: Eliminates customer pain. Know your customers’ biggest pain points, and assess whether the new technology alleviates them.Elevates customer service. Any new technology should materially improve customer service. Introducing something new should enable better delivery of the core components of your brand promise.Creates a differentiated, personalized customer experience. Does the technology create a purchase experience that’s unique to each customer? If a new technology doesn't meet these criteria, take…
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Don’t Be Afraid To Get Out Of A Business

Don’t Be Afraid To Get Out Of A Business

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Several years ago Nick At Nite started producing original programming. While their initial offerings were successful, later shows failed to grab an audience. As a result Nick At Nite recently announced they are getting out of the business of original programming. This is by no means the first incident of a company getting out of a business. American Express started as a delivery service, Western Union no longer sends telegrams and recently Ford announced it would no longer make gas powered cars, focusing instead on trucks, SUVs and electric and hybrid vehicles. Companies drop lines of business all the time. For small businesses the need to drop a line of business can be terrifying but necessary. Every business should evaluate whether a line is profitable enough to continue. That decision…
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Why Your Data May Be Useless

Why Your Data May Be Useless

Evaluate, Featured
With so many companies focusing on analytics there is more data out there than ever before. Before you rely on it, however, you need to make sure you have one more item: context. Without the proper context, data can be manipulated to prove almost anything. Case in point: the recent U.S. elections. There are those who proudly claim the Democrats have a mandate to oppose President Trump because they took back the House of Representatives. However, when you put the election in historical context, the Democrats won fewer seats than the opposing party usually wins in mid-terms election. Not only didn't the Democrats get their "blue wave" but they didn't do as well as they should have done by historical measures. The same analysis holds true for your business. If…
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Stop Underpricing Your Work

Stop Underpricing Your Work

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The dangers of overpricing your work are obvious: You can lose the deal and scare clients away. But charging low prices can signal low quality, making clients hesitant to work with you. To be sure you aren’t underselling yourself, develop a network of trusted peers who can provide honest information about going rates. Once you have a sense of what your price should be, practice saying it out loud. Quoting a fee to a client can be nerve-racking, especially if it’s a rate increase, but rehearsing it will make you more confident. Then test the market demand for your new rate and adjust accordingly. Increase your price steadily and incrementally until you feel you’re earning what you deserve. If you start asking for a rate that clients resist, consider freezing…
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Rethink Your Assets

Rethink Your Assets

Evaluate, Featured
Wealth, as well as other kinds of success, generally rely on one factor. Your assets need to be greater than your liabilities. While these are usually associated with accounting, to use them to evaluate a project we need to look at them a little differently. An asset is generally considered to be something of value. However what appears as an asset on an accounting sheet may not really be one and what doesn't appear on an accounting ledger could have great value. First let's look at traditional assets and see why they may not be assets. A boat is considered an asset by traditional accounting methods, but when you calculate all the money spent on upkeep, storage etc. it can actually be a liability. The same goes for other traditional assets…
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Don’t Let Causes Outweigh Your Data

Don’t Let Causes Outweigh Your Data

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It’s great for your company to support a cause, but you shouldn’t let that determine your products. Your products need to be driven by customer demand, not causes.  Case in point: female empowerment. For many years women complained that there weren’t enough female action figures. They argued that the lack of female action figures was a slight to female fans. Toy companies countered by saying the sales data showed that their target audience was boys and they put out toys for their customers. As the issue of female empowerment became more of a hot button issue, Warner Brothers, DC Comics, Mattel, Marvel and Hasbro decided to put out entire lines aimed to support girls.  Backed by blockbuster movies and animated television shows Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Storm, Scarlet…
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The Problem With Surveys

The Problem With Surveys

Evaluate, Featured
Surveys are a valuable tool for getting feedback. There are some big drawbacks, however, for you to consider before acting on the results of a survey. Survey respondents may not be giving you the whole truth. This was illustrated recently when a survey and a data analysis were done to gauge the habits of millennials. In the survey, millennials overwhelming said they are looking for experiences and go out to eat frequently. The data showed something different. Looking at their actual purchases showed that millennials tend not to eat out. Instead, they order from restaurants and take it home. Why is this difference  important? One of the largest profit centers for restaurants is drinks. Take out orders generally do not have drinks, meaning the order is much less profitable than…
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Know Your Data Source

Know Your Data Source

Evaluate, Featured
There has been a lot of talk lately about data. Who is collecting it and how it is used have been discussed quite often. What hasn't been discussed is if the data is accurate. Beyond showing an ad for something you looked at, how accurate is the data you are basing your decisions on? Is it outdated?: It recently came to light that many pharmaceutical and medical companies were basing there work on MS on the number of patients. The report that was considered the industry standard was based on a study conducted in the mid 1970s. Is it still accurate? Not even close. More recent work has shown the number of patients grew immensely. Don't base your decisions on outdated information. Is it accurate?: While Facebook claims its data…
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