REAL Wellness: A Key Element In Strategic Planning During Challenging Economic Times

“The change in the world economy is of a magnitude that comes once every hundred years. We are facing an unprecedented emergency.” Katsuaki Watanabe, author of this remark, is the president of Toyota. This statement was offered on December 22, 2008 while announcing the company’s first operating loss in 70 years – $1.7 billion.

Tina Turner made famous the question, “What’s love got to do with it?” This might be a good time to ask, What’s wellness got to do with it? Is a wellness philosophy as significant in the context of economic ruin as in times that pass for normal?

America and the rest of the world are beset with burst bubbles, bailouts and bankruptcies. Conditions are beyond serious – they’re a fright. There are multiple, interrelated crises – a loss of faith in markets and the economic order, a loss of hope for the future and a diminution in social connectedness. The daily news reflects high levels of worry, fear, insecurity, stress, self-doubt and negativity. This is the context for my question: Is the wellness concept as important now as before? Or, is wellness more of an option than ever, even a luxury of sorts with appeal mostly to privileged elites with the means to get their needs met AND aspire to a good and fulfilling life?

Consider a bit more detail on the extent of the current crisis. The American economy is sinking into a recession just this side of a depression. Frustration bordering on panic is evident throughout the land. Distress marks the national mood. Job losses (533,000 of them disappeared in November), the unavailability of credit from banks (despite massive taxpayer bailout funds later channeled in part for executive bonuses), the presence of pockets of severe unemployment (almost 14 percent in South Carolina), business failures, big losses in household worth due to market declines and the burst housing bubble – this is the context for the question posed about the viability of wellness as 2009 looms. If all this does not get your attention, consider the fact that Russian academic Igor Panarin predicts a US collapse by 2010, followed by a civil war and the breakup of the nation into five different countries. (The only good news is that Alaska will revert to Russia, thereby making Sarah Palin Russia’s problem, not ours – see Andrew Osborn, As if Things Weren’t Bad Enough, Russian Professor Predicts End of U.S., Wall Street Journal, December 29, 2009.) In summary, in case you had not noticed, the world’s coalmine seems littered with dead canaries.

On a bright note, Americans will have new leadership in a few weeks. The president-elect is amazingly popular at the moment (73% approval), but even the most optimistic Democrat knows Obama is no fiscal Superman or supernatural economic turnaround messiah sent from above. Obama’s $775 billion economic recovery plan, announced a month ago, already seems too little, too late. Rebuilding the infrastructure with WPA-like bridges, roads and other projects will be helpful, but some economists predict it won’t be enough to arrest a national slide toward a deeper state of crisis. (I will refrain from expressions like ruin and despair.)

Given this context, let’s pause for a hard, cold look at where wellness fits, if indeed it fits at all. Of course I refer to REAL (reason, exuberance and liberty) wellness, a mindset or philosophy of personal responsibility, optimism and commitment to affirmative, evidence-based principles for making choices small and large. Not the same as prevention, risk reduction or illness management – REAL wellness is a unwavering focus on exceptional health and quality of life.

Little public attention is given, in good times or bad, to positive health and life satisfaction. Instead, the focus always seems to be on the many frightful consequences of NOT doing the right thing. At a time of financial crises unknown since the Great Depression, it is fitting to ask if our philosophy for good living has a place, alongside the struggle millions are experiencing to feed their families, pay their bills and provide for the welfare of their children. Is this an appropriate time to proclaim the applications of a wellness lifestyle and, if you think so, how is this communicated to those struggling at the lower rungs of Maslow’s hierarchy?

I suggest a REAL wellness mindset is always important. In hard times, little else will make a quality difference, for the better. REAL wellness will liberate those who embrace it and enable advances toward the most important kind of prosperity, namely, physical and psychological well-being. Given the stresses of today’s fiscal turmoil, perils await those who seek only comfort and relief. The best ally in the quest for economic recovery is a positive lifestyle that promotes personal health and builds upon positive social connections. Economic perils are best faced with positive attitudes, high resolve of mental discipline and peak physical strengths, not while mired in a struggle against negativity.

Wellness itself does not solve any financial problems. However, it helps in reaching and maintaining first-rate levels of physical and mental functioning. That state can in turn facilitate the pursuit of activities that best advance opportunities and manage crises.

Consider some factors that make REAL wellness a winning philosophy in hard as well as good times. As you know, REAL wellness entails:

* A disciplined focus on the bright side.

* A commitment to personal excellence.

* A regard for social support and the value of communities.

* A willingness to secure and work to maintain high standards of physical fitness.

* A continuing conscious pursuit of added meaning and purpose.

* A desire to comprehend the phenomenon of happiness and realize some measure or degree of it, as circumstances permit.

* A continuing respect for personal honor associated with the art of applied ethics

* A recognition that it’s best to want what you have and to live in the present (versus bemoaning what you had before or could have had save for an errant decision or two). An excellent book on this approach to prospering in the best sense of the word is Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want by Barbara Sher.

* A predisposition to take the time to appreciate the beauty around you, in natural as well as human forms.

* A sense of gratitude for the fact that, while conditions are difficult, there is so much left to celebrate and resolve to appreciate.

* An outlook marked by compassion for others in general, as well as a mindset of forgiveness for those who may have contributed to difficult circumstances. (Yes, include in the latter even George W. Bush. But, not the Devil. Humans need someone or something as a scapegoat, even if they have to invent such characters to make their saviors seem deliriously wonderful by comparison.)

Some still might fret at the contradictions in the affirmative nature of REAL wellness, such as sketched above, and hard times, massive human suffering, scarce resources and widespread worry and fear. Is REAL wellness of a positive nature not a guilty indulgence while Rome (and the rest of the world) burns? Or not?

The proper answer, I say, is Absolutely not! Major not! In fact, au contraire, no way Jose and just the opposite. Now more than ever, we need a REAL wellness philosophy to deal with challenges greater than normal. Much greater than normal, in fact.

A healthy lifestyle that includes physical, mental/emotional and social components will protect and build your immunity while maintaining and boosting your morale. The REAL wellness qualities sketched above (a partial list, I might add) are invaluable for weathering the proverbial storm (s) AND for building a capacity to flourish.

Wellness qualities are always advantageous, but when times are tough, such qualities lend toughness, as well. The weak in body, mind and morale will be first to succumb to unrelenting demands, stresses, setbacks and other misfortunes that accompany prolonged crises. Furthermore, family, friends and perfect strangers need you at your best, providing leadership, guidance, inspiration and hope. Judd Allen, like his father Robert F. Allen before him, often describes the health and other positive benefits that follow when people come together for support, for entertainment or to seek political solutions. All are helpful ways to boost well-being, no doubt even more so when budgets are light and conditions difficult.

There are no guarantees, even with a bright-side outlook, but more than ever, it will pay to adopt and practice REAL wellness. To be physically fit, mentally strong and resolute, adaptable, flexible, resilient and capable is a formula for success in bad times – and good.

If these comments seem plausible and convincing, if you agree that REAL wellness makes sense in normal times and more so in crises, then you will want to support public policies and private initiatives that make such learning and living opportunities widely available. For instance, you will want to support continuing worksite wellness programs, knowing that the common reaction to less business might be to pull back programming to save money. This is an ideal time to not only deal creatively with the current crisis but to prepare as well for the future. Let’s explore innovative new approaches to healthy, productive work forces and work settings. Similar thinking should influence the shape of health system reforms. Likewise, apply REAL wellness values introduced with varied public programs aimed at creating jobs, rebuilding the economy and making individual life and society itself better than before the economy fell apart. Perhaps solutions to the fiscal downturn will only be possible when we more effectively work together for solutions that meet the needs of all classes, not just the most advantaged.

Online Database – Key Advantages And Disadvantages

Database in a business scenario is commonly associated with a list of leads or customer information, though in a more technical environment it can also be referred to as Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle or Sybase. Traditionally available offline, databases have also spread across the online horizon delivered over the internet and available on a monthly subscription basis. Though Wikipedia gives you a wide list of online databases, here I’ll mention only about the advantage and disadvantage of getting your data online and forming an online database of your own.

Since the past ten years we have been collecting data using spreadsheets and enhancing our skills to convert it into a database which comes in handy later. Microsoft Access, SQL and Oracle has come along a long way supporting spreadsheets as the complexity of the database increased and it started falling apart. But these databases were available only on a single desktop or accessed over a LAN connection to an in-house server. Easily tackling the desktop spreadsheet applications in the mid-field, web-databases are closing in to score and has become the lifeline of people moving their data online. Most of these web-databases are hosted in a Cloud environment and protected by SSL encryption and a secure log-in with proper User Access Control.

Some advantages of using an Online Database

Online – As the name suggests, an online database can be accessed from a web browser from anywhere in the world. With Cloud Computing coming to the foreground, it is much easier to host an online database in an elastic public cloud making it more scalable and secure.

Elasticity – A web-based-database can hold infinite data and is totally elastic in nature. Whenever there is a surge in data flow, more storage space can be allocated and scaled up and down based on requirement.

Multi-tenancy – A public cloud database is generally multi-tenant in nature. This means the same database can be used by multiple customers on a shared model where you pay only for the space you use.

Pay-Per-Use – Monthly subscription based pay-per-use model makes online databases look quite lucrative where you do not need to invest a huge Cap-Ex on licensed software.

Limitations or disadvantages of an Online Database

Security – One of the gravest concerns of using a web-database is security. With not many security standards available in the Cloud Computing model, most of the users are worried about putting their financial data online.

Switching – Another concern when selecting an online database is switching. Different databases support different formats and switching from one to another becomes a pain thereby increasing switching cost.

Downtime – There are times when the server can be down because of multiple reasons which can lead to huge data loss and inaccessibility thereby causing great losses to customers.

Online database can improve your productivity in many ways and can serve multiple functions. You can customize an online database according to your business workflow or simply use it for data collection and information sharing. Web-based-databases work on different environments, so that is the biggest advantage you can get.

4 Key Factors To Successful Record Label Management

The recipe for a successful record label, no matter how big or how small, involves many ingredients. Too many to mention here but if you had to narrow it down to the most crucial points you will find the following key ingredients to successful record label management.

  1. Having Talented Music Artists On The Roster,
  2. The Resources Available For CD Production,
  3. The Power To Distribute Music Straight Into The Consumers Hands,
  4. The Ability And Resources To Successfully Promote Music Artists.

1. Recording Artists

Number one on the list to running a successful record label is to have a talented roster of music artists. This not only involves finding extremely talented artists with commercial potential but also establishing contracts between the two, where the two party’s involved are both happy with their part of the agreement, thus resulting in an extremely harmonious and rewarding relationship.

The contract between artist and label should cover topics such as album production fees and spending budgets, recoupable revenue from sales of tickets, albums and merchandise etc, distribution of music royalties as well as possession of publishing rights and profits.

2. CD Manufacturing

It is usually the role of the record label to take care of the manufacturing of records and Compact Discs. If you are planning on setting up a record label you should be certain to possess the resources available to create and manufacture your artists’ music. After all this is an important part of making money for your label. If you are only a small-sized label you can find CD manufacturing plants which will meet the needs of smaller sized record labels and even offer pressing discounts that come with product packaging and art work at affordable rates. Now a days this whole process can be avoided due to the popularity of digital downloads.

3. CD Distribution

Distribution will get a label’s music straight into the palms of consumers. Distribution is paramount to earnings for any recording label. With regard to physical goods like CD albums, you must get them straight into retail stores and then directly into the hands of shoppers. With regard to downloadable music, you should make your products there for web sites (such as apple iTunes) which will sell the songs on-line. Direct selling is one other money-making path for a music label in selling their music.

4. Artist Promotion

Promotion is yet another crucial component to generating product sales. The music label utilizes mass media outlets such as music publications, web sites, radio campaigns, live performance tours and private appearances. You should understand the actual demographics for your niche and after that market appropriately. A solid marketing and advertising campaign will enhance ticket and record sales.

Facebook Fan Pages – Key to Social Media Marketing

The phrase “Social Media” is everywhere these days, and if you are like me, you may be a bit unclear about what it actually is… the infamous phrase “I’ll know it when I see it” comes immediately to my mind!

I went looking online for a short, easy to understand definition and found this analogy:

Think of regular media as a one-way street where you can read a newspaper or listen to a report on television, however, you have very a limited ability to share your thoughts on the matter.

Social media, on the other hand, is an active two-way street that gives you the ability to communicate and respond.

As the internet develops and evolves, the various Social Media websites are also growing and changing. Several years ago, MySpace was the place to be but it is now, generally, considered to be on the wane. Likewise, on MySpace, 33% of its users are aged 17 or less.

Ravalry is a relatively new, large community based around knitting with over 1,200,000 registered users. As you would expect, its membership is primarily female and the average member age is not available.

Facebook provides this information about its users:

  • More than 500 million active users (I recently saw the number 600 million, but it hasn’t been changed yet, on the Facebook site)
  • 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day
  • Average user has 130 friends
  • People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook

As you can see, each Social Media site appeals to and has a different user base than any other site.

One of the powerful considerations about using a Social Media web site is the fact that most of them provide a level playing field when it comes to small business owners vs the big boys. For instance, you can build a Facebook Fan page for your offline business and so can a major automobile manufacturer. Within those Facebook Fan pages, both you and the multi billion dollar car maker have the same tools and resources. On Twitter, as another example, both you and the big companies are limited to 140 characters per tweet. They can’t buy more characters and blast you out of the competition.

When considering which Social Media site to use with Social Media Marketing, you should consider the site’s membership but you should also evaluate its culture and how the members interact. It is important that any Social Media site have a population whose interests are in line with your goals and, also, that it have a structure and pattern of interaction that is compatible with your objectives.

In addition, you must keep in mind that things change on the Internet, sometimes at breakneck speed. As an example, between March 2011 and May 2011, Facebook implemented some major changes which changed the whole landscape of using it for business. Suddenly, controlling the content on a business Fan Page and using product images to build a brand became game changers… for those who knew how to do it!

While a particular Social Media site may be a good fit now, be aware that it may not always be a successful marketing vehicle for you! Monitor the efficacy of any Social Media site you are using AND also keep an eye out for the next big thing!

With all of that in mind, at the current time, I consider Facebook and Twitter to be the Social Media sites most likely to be compatible with the majority of offline businesses and their needs.

In this article I am going to briefly cover Facebook, its structure as it pertains to Social Media Marketing, discuss some of the pitfalls, and propose some strategies appropriate to it.

Facebook Marketing for Small Business

Facebook’s membership has exploded and is currently greater than 500 million, according to its own website.

It originally began as a way for college students to keep in touch with fellow students. As a result of that, the basic Facebook community seems to start from an academic basis, joining students and former students with friendship circles widening out from there. If you are like me, you will be shocked at how many members from your high school class seem to appear out of nowhere!

As part of the Facebook mechanism, possible Friends are suggested to you, based on Friends that you and the other person have in common. While you can do searches, it is hard to find and befriend a person that Facebook doesn’t think you should know. On the other hand, Facebook makes suggestions that will extend your network, based simply on friends you may have in common with someone.

Another important mechanism is the Facebook Like option, which has now been extended beyond Facebook Profile pages and Facebook Fan Pages and out into the web at large.

A third and exceedingly important Facebook mechanism is the ability to link between websites, Facebook Fan Pages, and Twitter accounts. This can be done with a variety of website creation software options. At the moment, I am encouraging my clients to use the blogging software, WordPress, for non blog websites.

With WordPress as your website management system, once you have signed up for the Networked Blogs Facebook App(lication), you can set your website to show any changes on your Facebook Fan Page and your Twitter account. Your Twitter Account can be set to show Facebook Fan Page Comments along with Posts from your WordPress website. In addition, your Tweets will be displayed on your Facebook Fan Page and your website.

Now, I know that the previous paragraph was confusing so let me give you the abridged edition! In my example, you have three web presences for your business – A Facebook Fan Page, a website built with WordPress, and a Twitter account. Any Post made on one of those three sites will automatically appear on the other two sites.

This is VERY powerful and is a REAL time and energy saver IF you take the time to plan your web marketing strategies with this capacity in mind!

With the potential of getting a three to one benefit from any of your Social Networking posts, as described above, let me go a bit deeper into the opportunities afforded to an offline business by having a Facebook Fan Page.

NOTE – It is important to understand that while a Facebook Fan Page can be considered a potential web site substitute, it offers long term hazards that, in my opinion, are not worth the risk.

Building your business’s primary web presence on a third party web site is taking the time, effort, and money to build a nice new house on land that you DO NOT OWN! You might be OK in the short term, but later down the road, you may lose you house, simply because you do not own the land.

While you may decide that it is efficient to start with a Facebook Fan Page, you should also plan to build your own website ASAP! As a business owner, you should be careful to own and control as many of your business assets as possible.

With that warning out of the way, before utilizing any Social Media site for your Social Media Marketing, take the time to read the site’s ToS or Terms of Service. Do NOT assume that you know what is allowed and what is not.

As an example, you may have multiple Twitter accounts, but each account must be tied to a different email address. Any email address can have only ONE Twitter account.

With Facebook, any human is allowed ONLY ONE ACCOUNT! This means that any Facebook Fan Pages built for any businesses will be offshoots of your primary, personal Facebook account.

If for some reason, you do not want a Facebook Fan Page to be obviously tied to your personal account, you can set the Privacy setting to obscure the connection. In the case of most offline businesses, this would not be a concern. However, I have a number of online businesses, some of which I am open about and others that I have chosen to run from behind the scenes. There is nothing questionable about doing this, I just prefer to keep the connection quiet to minimize others copying my business model. However, ALL of my business Facebook Fan Pages are offshoots of my SINGLE personal Facebook account.

Part of the evolution of the Facebook Culture is that, in most instances, it is considered appropriate to ask other members to share with their Friends about your Facebook Fan Page or your new post or any of a number of other Facebook interactions. This is markedly different from other websites and their culture, and as a business owner, it is a powerful tool.

It is perfectly OK to ask others to LIKE your Facebook Fan Page. In fact, this can be an important traffic builder for your Facebook Fan Page!

Google AdWords vs Facebook Ads

Another online marketing benefit offered by Facebook is the option to use their Pay Per Click advertising. In the Facebook universe these are known as Facebook Ads – which seems obvious, but online, things are not always obvious!

Last night, I was on a call with one of my consulting clients and she mentioned that she had just gotten a $100 voucher for Google AdWords. She wanted to know if this would be worthwhile. I said that I thought that using Facebook, creating a Facebook Fan Page for her business, and spending her limited budget on Facebook ads would be a better use of her resources, even considering her $100 AdWords voucher.

I explained it to her this way:

Google AdWords and Facebooks Ads are Pay Per Click… each ad is shown (this is called an impression) and you pay when someone actually click on the ad.

While the mechanism for figuring ad payments is the same (PPC or Pay Per Click) the basis for showing an ad differs drastically between Google AdWords and Facebook.

On the surface, the ads themselves are similar. While they may or may not have a picture included, the text or content of the ad is short and presented in plain and simple text. Ads are displayed off the side in vertical stacks or within the body of the page’s content. For the most part, these ads are subtle and unobtrusive.

However, the Ad Display Criteria is where the biggest differences lie.

In Google, AdWords are shown on the pages generated with Search Results as well as on website pages related to the Ad’s specified search term. This means that Google AdWords are displayed using a mechanism of which terms are being used in online searches. As AdWords have developed, in some instances they are also displayed according to the geographical location of the person doing the Search.

Facebook actually takes an entirely different approach – Facebook Ads are displayed in front of PEOPLE who meet the demographic requirements that you have chosen.

To simplify further, Google AdWords are displayed based on the content of the page where they are shown and Facebook Ads are shown based on the interests, and even the physical location, of the person doing the looking!

As you can see, there is a radical difference between Google AdWords and Facebook Ads.

This is one of the reasons that I feel that Facebook Ads may be far more beneficial for offline businesses.

It is also important to note that when creating a Facebook Ad, you have the choice of sending people who click either to an offsite web page or to a specific Facebook Fan Page.

All in all, I consider Facebook a strong option for offline businesses, since you have the ability to target both demographically and geographically. The potentially viral effect that is inherent in the Facebook culture is another good reason for adding Facebook in to your online advertising mix.

WordPress works well for integrating Social Media options

Finally, if you are using WordPress to build your website to blog, it is relatively easy to integrate WordPress Posts, Facebook Fan Page Posts, Twitter Tweets, and possibly even, your Autoresponder Service messages, so that each one appears on the others… AUTOMATICALLY!

Between the timesaving automation available and the three for one currently available combining WordPress, Facebook, and Twitter, spreading your company’s message across the internet has gotten MUCH easier!

10 Key Steps to Turn Your Mobile App Idea Into Reality

Many people and companies are coming up with new mobile app ideas to make it big in their field. They either want to reach a new audience or better serve their existing customers.However, people are relatively unaware of the steps or process needed to turn a mobile app idea into reality. Due to lack of ability and information among startups and established companies, most of them don’t know how to go about shaping the app idea.

I have helped several companies build their mobile app. Here are the 10 key steps I have followed in my 6 years of experience. I believe that my list can help anyone from any industry get their mobile app idea turned into reality.

Step 1: Write down your feature list

Conceptualize your idea begins by taking some notes. Before doing anything, you should write whatever comes to your mind. Writing down the feature list on a piece of paper helps you focus on your idea and expand on it. I recommend writing your idea several times and in many ways. This list also will be helpful when you are discussing with your co-founders, designers, investors or developers; they all are going to ask for it. Note that you should have them sign an NDA before you share your feature list. Your feature list should be clean and easy to understand. Also make sure it has popular and unique features, which will play the major role in success of your product.

Step 2: Do the market research

After writing your strong list of features, you want to do market research to find the competition, trends and market needs. Make sure there are no similar apps in the market. If there are, find out their reviews, ratings, feedback, and what is missing in them. Add features in your app that would make it unique and more attractive to the audience. After doing market research, you should update your feature list.

Step 3: Identify the users/audience

It is very important to find who would use your app and who the audience would be for your product. Your users are from a particular industry, gender, region, age group, existing customers, income group, specific profession, or any other group. Once you identify some demographics about the audience, you can find out what people from these demographics prefer or like. Knowing your audience helps you re-engineer your app and the features in it to cater to them. Your whole project moves around user engagement. You can also conduct focus group studies to find out what your audience may like or dislike. Your audience will decide your product’s success, and this insight from focus study can go a long way in defining product success.

Step 4: Identify the monetization strategy

Making money is the biggest reward and energizes for your idea. You can make money from your app idea in several ways: subscription fee, in-app buy, in-app ads, user data, sponsorship. You want to know which one works for your app, audience and market. Launching a paid app does not work these days, but you can make the app free with in-app purchase option for more functions. In-app ads are also losing their shine these days due to user experience. Having user data is becoming a big monetization technique, as you can use it to make indirect money. You can find sponsorship for the app; this works for an app with a social mission. It is important for you to select 1 or 2 techniques that would give you good return on investment.

Step 5: Create a rough sketch/wire frame

You may not have done it before, or may not know how to do it. However, the rough sketch or wire frame helps you define the concept and refine the requirements of your product. You can draw a rough sketch using paper and pencil, while a wire frame can be created using online tools. When you start doing the sketch/wire frame, you will be able to polish your app idea and features list further. Also, this helps you decide the proper navigation of the application. You don’t need technical skills for this step, but you need to have a common-sense understanding of how navigation works. Your wire frames, along with your feature list, will create very good specifications for you to build the mobile app.

Step 6: Approach local mobile app developers and get estimates

Once you have your first version of the feature list and wire frame, you want to start identifying vendors who can build your mobile app in a high-quality, cost-effective way. You should search for local vendors and some global vendors and reach out to them. Once you shortlist 5 to 6 good vendors, have them sign the NDA and send them the project details. A good vendor should check your details and ask you lots of questions. You should make sure to answer them in detail so that your idea is fully communicated. A good vendor should also be able to give you some suggestions to improve your idea. You should get proposals from multiple vendors, with time and cost for development, and compare them. You should check the vendors on past performance, process, price, time, testimonial and their eagerness to work for you. Finally, you should be able to select one vendor and start working with them.

Step 7: Complete the UI/UX

Once you have selected the company, you should work with them to create the UI/UX of the app. You should have them first create the detailed wire frame of the application so that you can visualize each screen, function and flow of the application. After review, you can decide to add or remove features. Once the wire frame is complete, you want them to create the visual design of the application. It should give the color, theme, fonts and visual appeal for your idea. This step will give you a near-final picture of what your mobile app would look like and how it would flow. After completing it, have your vendor reevaluate the development plan, time and cost. If the first estimate of time/cost has increased, get more funding or cut some of the features. You want to pay the right value to your mobile app developer.

Step 8: Get the app developed and tested

Have your app developer start building the app for you. They should be able to send you the app (in progress) every week and you should be able to test and give them feedback. It is very essential for you to QA the app as they develop it, as this helps you control the quality, cost and timeline, and learn whether the mobile app needs some tweaks. You can involve your friends in the testing as well. If you come up with new sets of features during the development, discuss those with your app developer and get the time and cost estimate. If it fits your budget, get it done right away. If not, wait for the next phase.

Step 9: Launch the app and market it

Once you are satisfied with the app, launch it in the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store. You should also start marketing the app. Get some consulting from experts on app marketing. You can also do self-marketing. Start on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as this is an easy way to spread the word about the app. You should also reach out to reporters and bloggers who may be interested in your app and write about it. A press release on free sites or a paid site can be very handy. If you have more in your budget, you can hire a PR or app marketing company.

Step 10: Gather market response and prepare for the next phase

After the first launch and marketing, you can collect user data, market response and demand. If you receive a good response, you can plan the next phase for the app. Repeat Step 1 through 9 for the next phase. This time, you should be able do them a lot faster and more efficiently. If the app is not received well in the market, find out what is hampering growth and have a plan of action.

Android App Development – The Key to Attract More Customers for Your Business

The Android operating system is undoubtedly the most popular mobile operating systems available today. Most top smartphone manufacturers like Samsung, MicroMax, Motorola, and many others, use Android OS to power their devices.

That is exactly why; thousands of new apps are being developed for this platform. Companies are hiring professional Android app development services for creating apps under various categories like games, accounting, teaching, news, payment processing, eCommerce, and lots more.

These days, most of the reputed business has mobile apps to manage different departmental needs of their business, especially to meet their customer requirements. Going forward, most of the companies will have to follow suit, in order to reach out to their potential and existing customers.

Let us now look at some of the reasons, why your business needs Android development services:

Easy to gain attention, and is convenient to the users:

The bottom-line for any business is to reach out to maximum users. Since a big percentage of user’s access internet on smartphones, it becomes the easy channel to connect with them. They can easily connect with your app, even when they are on the move. It is convenient for users to purchase online goods, to pay their mobile phone bills, etc, by using the apps.

Proficient Marketing platform:

With proper marketing strategies, you can use your business app to grow your customer-base. You can engage with your users anytime, and give them real-time updates about your business.

Your mobile marketing efforts will not only help in growing the number of people who download and install your apps, it will also help in long term branding of your business. It also works as a great channel to get customer feedback, which will eventually help you to improve your business.

Easy Comparison of Goods, Services and Prices:

Business apps help your potential customers compare the product prices, quality, and other features straight away. This can strengthen your credibility and position in the market.

Effective Customer Service:

The main key for sustenance and growth of any business is the quality of customer support they provide. It is very crucial for companies to provide effective customer support, in order to stay ahead of their competition.

Android app is a simple way for customers to interact with your company. It allows you to address and handle your customer issues – 24/7, which will go a long way in creating customer loyalty and trust for your organization.

Hiring professional development services:

Android app development companies hire developers who have thorough technical understanding of the Android system, programming languages like JAVA, and other development tools. It makes sense to take the help of these developers companies, because you can save a lot of both, costs and resources.

Conclusion:

It is important for businesses to win their customers’ trust. Technology that has always been evolving over time and it is important for the companies to adopt new technologies to stay ahead of their competitors. Android apps have now become the future of business relationships with customers or clients.

If you company still does not have an app, then you must consult with any of the dependable Android app development companies right away.

The 6 Key Benefits of Using a Website Clone for Your Online Business

When you want to build a website for your online business, you have two options available. First is to develop a website from scratch and other is to use clone scripts. Clones make it possible to replicate the concept of a well-known website and add improved design and functionality as per your requirement. In recent times, many entrepreneurs are using this idea to start their businesses with ease. The six key benefits of using ready-made scripts for your online business are listed below.

1. Time

When you are starting a new venture, you aim to enter the market as quickly as possible. A website clone script reduces your development time. It saves you from the complete software development life cycle, which can at times take months or years to complete. As you don’t need to do coding from scratch, you can reap the benefits of quick time-to-market.

2. Cost

Developing a website from scratch will lead to higher costs of development. Scripts are not only quick to build but also cost you less. As you will take the concept as well as the features from an already established website, you will be able to save resources and money.

3. Planning

A lot of thought and planning goes behind developing a website from scratch. Clone, on the other hand, eliminates all the planning and market research on development, design, testing, etc. and makes deployment easier and faster.

4. Coding Knowledge

You needn’t be proficient in programming languages to use scripts. They are ready-made, built with cutting-edge technologies. Additionally, some of them also offer customization as per your needs and target market.

5. Demand

The website you will build will already be well-known in the market. This will increase the chances of the popularity of your business as well. Creating something that is already successful in the market ensures it has sufficient demand and leads to quick brand visibility.

6. Competition

There is a cut-throat competition in the market, with high entry barriers for startups. By using website scripts, you can jump-start your business easily and gain a competitive advantage.

Online businesses choose to get a clone when they want to build an application that is already popular among users. This enables them to leverage the benefits offered by such platforms at an affordable price. Some of the scripts also allow adding customized features to match the needs of businesses. You can change the graphics, replace information and add content as per your requirement. Website clones are therefore a perfect solution for startups, who want to save their money as well as time in their initial stage.

Good Website Maintenance Services Are a Key Success For Your Online Business

There are many reasons why you need web maintenance services.

You need to keep your visitors and customers updated about your business and its achievements which is essential to build a professional image of any website.

You need to continue updating your website in order to maintain the top search engine position and attract more customers. If your website disappears from the top search engine position, most targeted customers will not find your website presence, and the only buyers who come to your website may be returning ones. Through a reliable professional web site maintenance service, you will be able to sustain your respectable position for a longer time.

You may need to improve your website design in case your previous web designer had not delivered you a satisfactory webpage layout.

You may also need to expand your business when your online sales have been growing considerably, so a new webpage layout or redesign of your website is needed to cater your latest products and services offered.

You need to keep your website safe in case of Internet hacking attacks which result in bringing your whole website down. In this case, regular backup and maintenance play a very important role to keep your business surviving and live on the Internet market place. Backing up your entire website could be very complicated if it is associated with databases containing users’ details or products’ catalogues, etc. In this case, you really need a web maintenance specialist to keep your website and databases as current and safe as possible.

However, finding a professional web maintenance service for your online business is not always easy. The cost of maintaining your website could be enormous if you dont approach a reliable website maintenance company. Some website maintenance services are charged per hour, and others are at monthly or yearly rates; they vary dependent on their web maintenance services provided. So which one is the best for your Internet business?

Some web design companies promise that they can keep your website updated with all the latest design and development technologies while others promise to offer cheapest website maintenance contract to suit small and medium-sized organisations.

One of the best ways to find a good and affordable web maintenance services company is approach cheap website design companies which have expertise in both designing or developing and maintaining your website. These website design companies normally have ability not only to maintain your Internet business, but also to re-design your web layouts at low-cost rates of services.

Moreover, website maintenance services can substantially reduce your costs by eliminating the need to hire full time website designers and developers to update and edit your website. By outsourcing your requirements to a third party web maintenance company, you can concentrate on your core business in order to achieve your targets.

Therefore, whether your website is static or dynamic with database driven contents and flash animations, web maintenance services surely play an important part in keeping your online business going. With proper web maintenance, your website is constantly updated with the latest design and development technologies which can attract more potential customers to buy your goods and services. And without website maintenance, your Internet business will not be able to stay for long in such a very competitive online business environment because of continuous changes in product prices, latest offers, or design layouts on your competitors’ websites.

7 Key Factors That Constitute The Best Home Business

The Internet has brought various opportunities for making money online at home. It is now increasingly common for people to want to start a home based business and earn more money to supplement their main job’s income; or to have a better work-life balance by working from home and spending more time with family.

The internet is full of home based business ideas. Some of these ideas are proven, legitimate and profitable ways to make money. However, the Internet has also been inundated by many frauds and scams that promise people instance riches overnight. It is very important for anyone wanting to start a home based business to do their research on the opportunity before they join.

It is noteworthy that an online business is no different from any other business. You have to make the investment, in terms of time, money, effort and commitment. With any home based business idea, for it to succeed, you should be prepared to learn a lot, work hard and you must have lots of patience.

So with all these home based business ideas available online, how can you decide which one is good for you? What constitutes the best home business idea or opportunity?

1. The best home based business idea is one for which you feel the most comfortable with and are passionate about. The business idea must match your interests, so that you will enjoy working on it consistently. What are your interests? What products or services would you enjoy marketing, and be confident representing? By answering these questions, you will be able to identify what is the best home business idea for you. If you are passionate about your online business and the products or services you represent, then you will easily work hard at it, and you will easily succeed.

2. The best home based business idea must be a business that gives you a repeating income and does not rely solely on your own efforts. This is called residual income, and it means that for the effort you make today, you will continue getting paid for many years to come. Home based businesses with residual income give you any opportunity to earn money through sub-affiliates. Instead of making your online wealth from 100% of your own efforts, you can make it from 1% of 100 sub-affiliates. This means that as you continue growing your business, you will be building on the amount of money you will be earning in the future from your business.

3. The best home business idea is one which gives you multiple streams of income. Some business opportunities have multiple stream of income which allows you to earn money from various streams. An example of a good online business can be a combination of several affiliate programs which are in one ‘business opportunity package’, so that by simply promoting your business, you are growing various income streams.

4. The best home based business idea is one that gives you a secure and lasting way to earn a living online such as selling a product which you can develop or upgrade over time; or simply a business opportunity is established and stable. An online business is similar to any other business – long term security is important. It is therefore advisable that you focus on home based business ideas that have long term success potential.

5. The business must suit your skills and experience. If you start a business for which you do not have the necessary skills, then you must be prepared to work hard and learn a lot quickly; otherwise you will fail. As an example, for most people starting out to make money online, affiliate programs tend to be the easiest way to start with. They have minimal investment requirements and some very good ones come with a step-by-step guide to help you start making money with the affiliate programs. As your skills and experience develops, then you can start on other more advanced ways of making money online.

6. The best home business is one for which you can have a well executed marketing plan to grow that business opportunity. How you market any business can make or break that business, so the marketing plan you have for your business – whatever it is – and how effective that marketing plan is, will determine how good your online business will be for you. How you decide to promote what you choose to do online will make the difference. Key factors will be your marketing skills as well as your budget.

7. The best home business is one for which you will commit to work on consistently to grow it. The key to making an online business succeed is to work the opportunity every day without fail, and to stick to it. A lot of people come across good online business opportunities, but most of them quit before finding financial freedom, and they jump onto the next online business opportunity. This is mainly because the internet is full of ‘business opportunities’ some of which are scams, and also, some wealth seekers think that there are some easy and quick ways to make money online. Pick a proven online business that suits your interests and experience, focus on it long enough, do not get distracted, and you’ll make money.

While you do your search for the best home based idea, assess each opportunity using the 7 factors outline above, and you will be able to identify the best opportunity for you. A home based business idea that offer you many benefits and good potential for you to earn money is what you need to look for, and then invest your total commitment and effort to make it

Business Ideas – Key Factors To Analyze Before Pursuing A Business Idea

Performing a search for business ideas on any of the popular search engines can leave you completely overwhelmed. The sheer number of ideas and opportunities is alarming, and your task of finding the idea that best suits you is made complicated. You will be exposed to small business ideas, home business ideas, franchises and various other opportunities when researching your options. When deciding on the right opportunity you should take a few important factors into account.

It is no secret that a large percentage of new businesses will never turn-over a profit and there are many reasons for this. For you to avoid falling prey to business failure it is imperative that you do the groundwork before choosing any business idea available to you. The factors that need to be analyzed before you commit to any direction are as follows:

Capital Investment:

Many businesses fail because of lack of funds. Before you even look for suitable business ideas and opportunities you should determine how much of money you have to invest or whether or not you can attract finance through potential investors. You should also look at your borrowing power and the equity you have to put down as collateral when borrowing funds.

Your financial position will greatly influence the type of business you pursue.

Business Skills

Many people become over-zealous with their current positions in life, and they hastily pursue any opportunity that comes their way to improve their standard of living. A fatal error made by many of these individuals is not acquiring the necessary business skills before committing to a business venture. You would be wise to acquire the necessary skills before taking the leap into the business world.

Passion is Everything

An attribute that injects the motivation within you to continue with any business venture is passion. If you lack the passion in your business endeavours you will soon lose heart and quit when the challenges in the business world strike with force. Possessing passion in what you do is an element that will catapult you toward success.

Saturated Markets

Performing a thorough feasibility study before committing to a venture is integral. You will need to look at your target market and determine whether there is a need for what you are offering, and if the need does exist you will also have to evaluate how many other competitors are offering a product/service that is currently fulfilling this particular consumer need. Entering markets that are over-supplied and saturated is a recipe for disaster.

Location is Paramount

If you decide to look for business opportunities in the offline world, and you manage to find one that suits you, your next task will be to find a location that is accessible to potential customers, and suppliers. You will also need to take factors like security, parking facilities and proximity of competitors into account.

When you have analyzed the business opportunities out there, you should formulate a business plan. It is imperative that you structure a detailed business plan as this will help you to attract investors and it will also provide you with an element of leverage if you are approaching a bank for a loan.

The above mentioned criteria is not exhaustive but it does form a list of some of the most critical factors that need to be considered when evaluating various business ideas.

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