Category Archives: Technology

Know the great app for your new project

With total app revenues projected to grow from $45.37 billion in 2015 to $76.52 billion in 2017, almost anybody would be interested in becoming a developer and tapping into that kind of growth.

While we all use software and apps, though, most of us only use the ones that are quite popular. Given that there are more apps today than any of us can count, it’s only rational to stick with the ones we know are successful.

For a developer looking to break into an industry where novelty has waned and innovation is the new cool, understanding the secrets of successful developers is vital for success. Let’s explore five things that successful app developers consider before creating a new app.

 

1. The end-user

It’s quite weird that consumers want to think less as technology advances, but the most successful tech companies understand this and have designed their apps and services to make even a toddler feel smart. Look at Google: It’s so simple, you’d wonder how it became such a giant company.

But don’t be fooled. Developers put relentless amount of hard work into creating that extremely simple app on your smartphone.

To build a very successful app that your users will fall in love with and remain addicted to, you have to think for them. This means making everything readily available at the swipe of the screen without making your creation lose its appeal.

 

2. Elements of surprise

Surprise is one of the reasons successful games sit well with users. Game developers tend to use this better.

In Heartstone Heroes of Warcraft, for example, players have to unlock five different game modes — a technique that keeps the curiosity of the players on high.

Another example is Pokémon Go, where players keep discovering new things to stay engaged.

 

3. Audience before app

A lot of newbie developers just create their apps and expect the audience to come.

Those who intend to build a real business around their product go after the audience first. Again, Pokémon Go already had an audience base to target. The franchise has been around for roughly two decades and has fans across several age borders.

Without an existing audience, even a brilliant app needs a lot of marketing to go viral.

It’s easier to use a variety of the following strategies to build up an audience that would eventually help spread the word about your app before it’s ready to launch to the market:

  • Teasing. Give your audience a sneak peek, but make sure all patents and copyright licenses are taken care of beforehand so no one can run away with your idea.
  • Piggyback on successful apps. Focus on key areas that developers have gotten wrong and win their audience to your side.
  • Build an Email List. This is perhaps the most powerful way to build an audience. By growing an active subscriber base and using a tested email marketing service, releasing your app to your subscribers will give you instant success.

 

4. Emotional connection

The user must feel a connection with the app. We find it hard to resist checking Facebook every five minutes because we want to connect with our loved ones.

The power of emotional connection — whether that be the connection to family and friends that Facebook employs or the nostalgia you feel when playing Pokémon Go — is important in creating a successful app.

Mobile Friendly Lead Generation Forms

Customer onboarding is by far the most important goal of online presence. The problem is that when dealing with mobile traffic, you are limited to small screens and mobile device functionality. Creativity becomes necessary to get around the issue. You only have one chance to make a good impression, yet you have to get your message across.

 

Why care?

Mobile traffic is rapidly on the rise. A1QA claims that in 2014 the number of mobile-connected devices exceeded the world’s overall population and estimates there will be 11.5 billion mobile devices by 2019. Marketing Land reports that mobile now represents 65 percent of all digital media time. Furthermore, by 2019, mobile advertising is estimated to represent 72 percent of all U.S. digital ad spending.

According to Email Monday, mobile email opens have grown by 180 percent in the last three years. That being said, it’s no longer a case of asking whether mobile optimization is important. It’s clear that it is. The question is how to optimize for mobile devices to convert your mobile site visitors into buyers or subscribers.

 

KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid.

The first bit of advice is the most basic, and something that we should keep in mind in all steps of the mobile-friendly design process — keep things simple. Lead generation forms are already running the risk of being crowded and over stimulating. They can take focus from the general UI of the website or act against the intuitive nature of gesture movements and brand choices.

When you have your first version, take some time to go through your lead generation form properly. Try and keep a fresh perspective, as though you were a user who had never seen it before. Do you find the form cumbersome? Does it look good and clean? Is the information well organized and easy to understand? Is there a step you wouldn’t have needed explained, or that was redundant?

Simplify the forms based on these questions, until you have stripped it down to the minimum.

 

Avoid being aggressive.

Having too many sales prompts can really work against you. No one wants to be aggressively sold to. If you put in too many overlay purchase reminders, you are not likely to get those sales. The user will probably just leave and find an alternative that doesn’t invade their headspace.

Keep in mind that pop-up calls-to-action may affect your mobile rankings too. Since January of this year, Google has been penalizing sites that use intrusive popup forms for mobile users.

Opt-in forms that cover the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results or while they are looking through the page, have been defined as intrusive. Google doesn’t want to send mobile users to pages that provide a poor user experience.

Having a negative impact on businesses

It’s easy to say that enterprise software has made great strides. After all, it’s hard not to marvel at the progress that’s been made over the last several decades, as businesses have transitioned from using paper and pencil to programs in the cloud in order to manage their operations.

But if we take a closer look at more recent technological progress, we realize that the movement from on-premise to off-premise was the last major transition in enterprise software. No true transformation has occurred since then. And new data suggests that the current lapse in further innovation in the enterprise software space has resulted in significant consequences for today’s businesses.

Related: 17 Apps Every Entrepreneur Needs in 2017

In fact, while the migration to the “cloud” in the form of subscription-based software (SaaS) made big software more affordable and accessible by overcoming distribution and financial hurdles, it did very little to address the fundamental end-user challenges.

It’s not just a matter of waiting for the next wave of innovation to make life a little easier for businesses. According to a recent survey of over 500 business and IT executives by my company, TrackVia, the absence of progress with current enterprise software is having a negative impact on businesses. Worse, it’s cited as preventing company growth.

The survey revealed that traditional enterprise software — whether installed on local servers or delivered via the internet — lacks the capabilities they say they need most, and illustrates the four ways that today’s enterprise software is failing businesses.

 

1. Few options for customization and scalability

Inflexibility and an overall lack of adaptability was one of the top software challenges cited by executives. Current enterprise software solutions offer few options to customize or tailor applications to the unique needs of different businesses. Businesses need the ability to easily and quickly change, modify and scale software as they grow and their operations evolve. The inability to do this was also cited as a major frustration.

 

These rigid limitations are having a negative impact on how businesses operate. In fact, more than four out of five (82 percent) executives claim they’ve had to change the way their business operates to match their enterprise software.

This lack of customization is forcing organizations to rip out and replace legacy systems, as they struggle to find a solution that is more capable of meeting their needs. Seventy-six percent say they’ve switched software programs because they needed updates or customizations made that their vendor could not execute or the software itself could not accommodate. Unsurprisingly, the time, money and resources wasted as a result of this reality only continues to fuel the growing discontent among company leaders.

 

2. A lack of mobile functionality

The promise of off-premise software was accessibility. Businesses without the resources of behemoth enterprises could gain access to the applications that could power their business and allow it to run more efficiently.

But the rise of mobile means the world has changed dramatically since off-premise software first arrived. Business doesn’t just take place in an office, at a desk or even from 9 to 5 each weekday. With a growing mobile workforce, companies simply need a way to enable productive work, regardless of where employees are physically located.

Related: 4 Easy Ways to Protect Your Company from a Cyber Attack

That means there’s a new expectation for accessibility, and it’s not just having access to software — it’s the ability to access it anywhere, anytime, with or without an internet connection. Furthermore, native mobile features that elevate remote work, such as offline mode, signature capture, geo-location tags, barcode scanning, picture taking and the like, are becoming the new standard for enterprise mobile apps.

We found that 65 percent of executives said a lack of mobile functionality made it difficult for them to use their software programs. In today’s digital age, the demand for software that provides sophisticated mobile capabilities does not seem to be going away anytime soon.

 

3. Limited integration and compatibility

The ubiquity and accessibility of cloud and SaaS solutions is becoming a double-edged sword for some businesses. On the upside, there are more software solutions than ever before to power businesses. But the downside is that executives say disparate and disconnected solutions are creating their own challenges.

A lack of integration and compatibility with other software and applications is one of the top challenges of enterprise software. Siloed information and disjointed processes are quickly becoming a thorn in the side of enterprises of all sizes.

Department as a Cost Center

In modern business, departments not directly related to operations have had to fight to demonstrate their value. Marketing departments have been the go-to scapegoat, but information technology (IT) departments haven’t been far behind. In a recent survey conducted by CIO magazine, half of IT leaders surveyed said their departments were seen primarily as “cost centers” — meaning they do not add to profits.

 

But a reality check is needed here because a company’s IT department should be one of its major profit drivers. A 2016 Deloitte Growth Enterprise Services poll of 500 mid-market executives found that IT department leaders were responsible for 49 percent of technology adoption, compared to 36 percent a year earlier. In fact, IT departments are becoming more and more strategic, and technology is becoming a more reliable investment.

Clearly, then, there’s a disconnect there: IT teams are playing a key role in moving businesses forward, but their department heads still claim they’re seen as a sieve in the budget.

Yet, CIOs and IT departments play a much bigger role in business than they’re often given credit for, and that needs to change.

 

More about that IT reality check

If an attitude shift is in order, it’s executives and entrepreneurs who are in the most ideal position to bridge that gap and shift their (and their companies’) perspective, from viewing the IT function as a necessary evil to viewing these departments as innovation hubs.

The purpose for doing that isn’t to give them a warm fuzzy feeling, because there’s actually a lot more at stake. In a world reliant on and connected by technology, IT is vital to operations. Lacking IT resources is the same as lacking the machinery or manpower necessary to produce a product or service. A company simply can’t function without it.

And the “tech nerds in front of their computers all day” stereotype is exhausted and clichéd.

CIOs and IT departments are really agents for change and innovation. They create new, more efficient processes and provide solutions to stagnant operations. Hiring or partnering with an IT team means you have people whose primary focus is on innovation — and that’s essential in the hyper-competitive market accompanying today’s influx of entrepreneurs.

 

Removing cost from the thought process

Rethinking your IT department gives these professionals room to demonstrate the kind of innovation they’re really capable of. Here’s how to start:

1. Try to learn the basics of IT. Nothing will generate appreciation of your IT department faster than learning firsthand about these people’s jobs and the (seemingly endless) complexities they deal with daily. They may be more experienced and are being paid to be the experts, but even a rudimentary understanding of what IT encompasses will lead to a greater appreciation for the department.

Fifth Third Bank CEO and President Greg Carmichael began his journey as the bank’s CIO, and he credits his time in that role for teaching him crucial problem-solving and multitasking abilities. “CEOs today have to solve multiple problems at once,” he says, “and they need to understand disruptive technologies and how they apply to their current businesses. I am a stronger CEO as a result of my time as a CIO.”

If you’re looking to dip your toes into the tech world, Lynda.com is a great resource for learning about IT. Many universities also offer relatively cheap courses on IT-related subjects, but another option is to simply ask your IT department questions about what they do and how they think they can improve things.

They’re often eager to talk about their work and will appreciate the interest.

2. Integrate IT into your company — not only strategically, but physically. Too often, the IT department is relegated to some back room, hidden out of sight. Physically integrating it with the rest of the company by moving IT’s offices and workspaces to a more central location will allow you and your other employees to see IT’s contributions to your operations up close.

Walmart is making just such a change to its technology division, merging corporate IT with its technology groups responsible for ecommerce development. Part of the motivation stems from an initiative to quickly identify ways of combining physical and online shopping, to put IT in a position to contribute more directly to business growth.

The phrase “out of sight, out of mind” is incredibly pertinent in this instance. The people whom employees interact with daily are those whose contributions they recognize in the company, largely because they see the actual product of the hours those people put in. When your IT department is in some dimly lit back room, it’s likely that the only interaction you have is when something is going wrong or you’re signing paychecks.

 

3. Challenge your IT department with the strategies and objectives of the company. Most importantly, instead of tasking IT staffers only with menial assignments (such as setting up email accounts), challenge them to align your overall strategy with your business objectives.

One such example of a successfully aligned IT department is at Southern Company, where CEO Tom Fanning — former CIO — transitioned the company’s IT practice from a cost center to a positive financial differentiator. Similarly, IT Labs, NASA’s Technology and Innovation Division, has created a process for integrating new information technologies that has made the division the incubator for several effective innovations that have required minimal investment.

If you start seeing your IT staff as your “innovation team,” you’ll empower them to transform your company for the better. Proper utilization of your IT team will allow them to locate and eliminate internal inefficiencies, identify opportunities through the analysis of data, determine technology threats and opportunities in the industry and better manage your customers through CRM tools.

How to Protecting Your Privacy On Your Mobile Phone

Tech companies such as Apple, Facebook and Google know a lot about us. They have data on where we are in the world, what we search, share and buy and how and when we make those purchases.

Ranking Digital Rights, a nonprofit research group that works out of nonpartisan think tank New America’s Open Technology Institute, released its annual study yesterday looking at how the biggest tech companies around the world fare when it comes protecting freedom of expression and how transparent they are about privacy policies and what they do with user information.

The answer, having ranked 12 mobile and internet companies and 10 telecommunication firms that are used by more than half of 3.7 billion global internet users, is that they could do better.

 

“Company disclosure is inadequate across the board. … Even the better performing companies had significant gaps in disclosure on key issues that affect what a user can and cannot say or do, or who knows what about their activities,” noted the Ranking Digital Rights researchers.

Google was awarded the top spot with a score of 65 percent and Microsoft came in second at 62 percent, but they were the only companies in the index that had scores higher than 60 percent. Rounding out the top five was Yahoo, which has had its share of security breaches lately, at 58 percent, Facebook at 53 percent and South Korean social giant Kakao at 50 percent.

 

Twitter and Apple were ranked sixth and seventh out of 12, but while Twitter is close behind Kakao at 48 percent, Apple’s score dropped to 35 percent.

The reasoning behind Apple’s less than stellar score, according to the researchers, was because “poor disclosure about the company’s commitments and policies affecting users’ freedom of expression. Next to its peers, Apple also disclosed little information about how it has institutionalized its commitments to users’ rights through corporate governance, oversight, and accountability mechanisms.”

As for the realm of telecommunications, AT&T and U.K.-based Vodafone tied for first place with scores of 48 percent, followed by Spain’s Telefónica at 33 percent. Vodafone was better when it came to sharing with its users its policies around freedom of expression while AT&T was more upfront about user privacy. Meanwhile, Telefónica was actually the most successful of all of the companies ranked when it came to disclosing to users how it handled security breaches.

Small Business Owners Have About Big Data

Data is not a new conversation, yet small businesses still have many misconceptions about how data may be valuable to their business. In the past, only large brands could afford to implement data into their business efforts. Today, however, data is accessible to businesses of all sizes — including yours. Overlooking this new reality occurs far too often and for all the wrong reasons. With this in mind, it is imperative for small businesses to finally overcome the various misconceptions about data and their businesses.

 

Misconception No. 1: Human touch outweighs anything automated.

Entrepreneurs are a unique breed that deliver passion, excitement and cognitive abilities unlike many of their corporate peers when it comes to nurturing a business. The human touch that they offer is undoubtedly a significant aspect of what makes many entrepreneurs successful — yet this same human touch can potentially inhibit success if it is employed at the expense of data collection.

Related: The Hidden Advantages Data-Drive Sales Teams Have

“One of the most common misconceptions is that people believe they will always outperform computers in their decision-making process. That may have been the case in the past, but with the complexity of today’s markets and the advancement of technology, this assumption no longer holds true,” says Victor Rosenman, CEO of Feedvisor.

Expanding on this, Rosenman shares what many of us already know but too often need to be reminded.

“All business owners are constantly required to make critical decisions, and the most effective decisions are not based on gut feelings, but on facts and data.”

With a reported 28 million small businesses in America, there is too much competition to dismiss the value that data can bring to your business. Combined with human touch, data is a powerful asset that small businesses should leverage instead of dismiss.

 

Misconception No. 2: Revenue will not be enhanced due to data.

Small businesses come in all forms, but the common denominator is that they need to make money. Using data — including artificial intelligence — small business owners can save time and money when applying data solutions to their businesses.

 

“Artificial intelligence gives small business owners and entrepreneurs the ability to run a lean operation. There are solutions in AI that range from automated call software to market intelligence to retail inventory management and even to sales, such as Salesforce’s Einstein software recently launched using IBM’s Watson technology. The key here is automation, as AI can speed up or eliminate manual processes altogether. Ultimately, these tools offer insights into operations and keep costs low while enabling businesses to function at a much higher level, and see higher revenue as a result,” explains Igor Gorin, CEO of Astound Commerce.

Using data, companies can analyze what has taken place within their businesses, leveraging the findings to make future decisions. With this in mind, relying solely on human instincts is a risky proposition.

 

Misconception No. 3: Data should immediately solve problems.

Instant gratification is nice, but instant gratification isn’t always the solution.

“The view of cognitive systems as brains that automatically solve any problem is a popular misconception. These tools are ideally suited to do things like scale human expertise and augment human intelligence,” IBM’s Brandon Buckner recently explained.

Keeping what Buckner says in mind, consider how technology can support your business rather than take the lead. Technologies such as Watson Explorer — which is a platform that gives businesses access to various data touchpoints to help drive business performance and growth — is an example of how businesses can benefit in their decision-making and ROI thanks to using technology. Using data, small business owners can then make stronger decisions on future business strategies.

The Lives of Our Most Vulnerable Patients

Among all that we are grateful for one of the most important being our health. Health innovations that are helping people care for our most vulnerable communities are something to celebrate.

Advancements in healthcare technologies have revolutionized the well-being of children, the mentally handicapped, neonatal patients and our elderly. So, here’s to your health, and cheers to four healthcare innovations that are reshaping human longevity and quality of life for future generations.

 

1. Light therapy

Using light to treat depression (or painfully pale skin) is a long-standing form of treatment. But for Dr. JoQueta Handy, light therapy has brightened the worlds of many living with Down Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder. The World Health Organization has officially identified ASD as a “global health priority.” In response to those concerns, specialists like Dr. Handy have dedicated their lives to unlocking learning barriers by developing revolutionary approaches to teaching children with these and other learning disabilities.

With methods such as Quantum Reflex Integration and Interactive Metronome usage, Dr. Handy has perfected a holistic education discipline called the “Children’s Opportunity for Brilliance” model. She uses this platform to inform fellow educators about the best ways to teach special needs children.

“It’s not the only solution for learning strategies,” Handy said, “But it’s a solution for bringing doctors, parents, and teachers together so that hopefully we can create the hub for the wheel of the child.”

 

2. Collaborative tracking tools

For Tammy Bowers, the development of Lionheart Innovations was a labor of love based on necessity. Tammy needed a resource that could condense the contents of her massive binder into one application that could track her son’s medical information. She believed technology was the solution to control the complexities of medical caregiving for her son, and that platform has been a literal lifesaver for thousands of people who need a way to better manage chronic health problems.

“The Lionheart app doesn’t simply track and store medical information, it empowers patients and their providers through data,” Bowers said. This application offers medication management, scheduling, and many other features that can better inform providers of necessary data.

 

3. Wearable technology

For Owlet Baby Care CEO Kurt Workman, designing a hospital-caliber baby monitor for home use was a challenge that has paid off for thousands of new parents. The Smart Sock uses pulse oximetry, which is used in most hospitals. The sock is worn by infants and monitors the baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels. Should these levels drop, the device will trigger the base station that collects these vitals via Bluetooth. Parents can know immediately if there is a problem. “Owlet collects more data in one night than a doctor collects in one year,” Workman said.

This new technology has caught the attention of many organizations including Entrepreneur Magazine, which honored them as one of the top 100 Brilliant Companies of 2016, and Forbes Magazine, who included them on their Next Billion-Dollar Startup List 2016.

Revolutionizing an age old business

The events industry is growing all around the world. According to Meeting Professionals International, events contribute $115 billion to the United States gross domestic product (GDP), with subsequent billions funneled to both state and federal tax revenue.

The event industry isn’t just growing in the U.S., though — it’s also getting bigger in nations like the U.K., India and Japan.

With that growth comes a need for technology that meets the consumers’ expectations and makes event production easier, and an influx of startups, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are working together to develop solutions for the events industry.

While this new technology makes a difference for eventgoers around the world, it is important to note how it changes the industry. Here are four of the most important updates:

 

1. Tickets go mobile

Mobile is taking every industry by storm, and the events industry is no exception. The first wave of mobile innovation has come with ticket buying systems.

“Ticketing is increasingly about establishing a higher touch point with your fans — it is about being made available to everyone, everywhere.” explains Neetu Bhatia, founder and CEO of Kyazoonga, a global online ticketing agency. Mobile ticketing also allows vendors to do a lot more. Bhatia explains, “Clients can access and manage the ticketing back-end in a much simpler fashion than the older terminal based systems – now anyone with a mobile smartphone can become a ticketing point-of-sale.”

Consumers want have fully integrated mobile experiences during events, as well — research shows that usage rates for mobile apps at some events can be as high as 94 percent. As a result, venues, promoters and planners need to partner with providers who can take their experiences mobile. The good news is that customer adoption is usually quick: Research from Guidebook found that 88 percent of event professionals agreed the use of event apps improved attendee engagement.

 

2. Cost reduction, revenue generation

A study from Enterprise Event Marketing found that the use of event technology can create a 20 percent increase in event attendance while reducing related costs by up to 30 percent. Even so, numerous studies also indicate that one of the biggest reasons events professionals don’t integrate new technologies is due to costs.

Companies and vendors will need to work harder to compete in an increasingly cost-sensitive industry.

“We consider ourselves net revenue generators on a client’s profit and loss.” Bhatia shares, “We do that by using predictive analytics to enable and drive purchase decisions and algorithms to enhance the in-seat experience with real-time notifications to motivate future purchases.”

In the past, providers have tried to be low-cost solutions, but the future of the industry may require them to be no-cost or provide additional value.

 

3. Attendee data

Big data is king in most industries, but its potential remains unrealized in the events industry.

Event tech expert Mike Piddock shares, “Event tech that gathers data, both during live events and presentations, and dipping into social media profiles to understand event communities, will be a must have rather than a nice to have.” Technologies like scannable QR codes, much like the ones used for online ticketing, can help event professionals collect data from attendees that are actively scanning different objects at a live event.

Near Field Communication (NFC) and other location-based tracking used by companies like Google also serve to deepen consumer insights from live events. Google already tracks and publishes data about high-traffic times at entertainment locations, and can easily zero in on more specific data about what kind of searches originate from a live event. Similarly, NFC-enabled phones could help event organizers track where users most frequently purchased concessions or merchandise, giving rise to the potential of split testing live marketing tactics.

 

4. Still-emerging trends

Though not yet mainstream, it’s important to note the trends that may have an impact on the industry in later years. The most likely development in the near term is cashless events. Mobile payments like Apple Pay and social payment platforms like Venmo are making the use of cash at events a thing of the past. This could significantly reduce costs for venues that have to deal with everything that comes along with cash management.

The right type of advertising

The internet is growing at an insanely fast rate, and every future-thinking entrepreneur should rightly invest in making sure their brands are maximizing the internet to its fullest. Nearly all aspects of business are being aggressively pushed online. Filing systems have gone online. Offline advertising, or traditional advertising as we know it, has been overshadowed by online advertising. As far as traditional business processes go, you name it, and chances are, it’s now online.

This all points to the positive way the internet has changed how we do business. If the internet is changing things, how would you tune your business to rightly position yourself for more growth and better widespread promotion? Here are a few strategies to help you on your way.

1. Plan for specific growth.

Growth isn’t guess work. Every growth goal must be deliberately planned and pinned down before it becomes achieveable. As an entrepreneur, you need to decide which aspect of your business you need growth in.

Narrow down your focus to just an armful of areas. Ask yourself which areas of your business need a thorough makeover in order to bring in more leads? Which areas of your business need to be advertised more? What areas are bringing in the more leads? You cannot answer all these if you don’t monitor your numbers. Every serious-minded entrepreneur knows their numbers. And every entrepreneur should be able to use that data to see loopholes. Growth loopholes, however, are sometimes not easily visible.

The best way to know your business growth and numbers throughly is to study your business. Go through each of your online business verticals and jot down how much growth they added in the previous quarters. If you do it well, you’ll have in-depth information about your businesses, ranging from which areas are bringing in the most leads to the areas that should be discontinued. From your final findings, I believe you can plot out a well-defined strategy for promoting your business online.

 

2. Experiment and utilize the right advertisement method.

Online promotion won’t work effectively if you don’t understand advertising. Almost all content online is created exclusively for marketing purposes. You would have to do some exploring to know which advertising methods best fit your business. Not every business model will flow with every advertising method. The advertising strategy I used for my freelancing startup wasn’t the same for my cosmetic startup. Niches affect strategies.

This is where experimentation is highly needed. When I first started on my journey to make money online, I was skeptical about trying out new stuff. But I soon realized that the only way to reach more customers was to keep on experimenting until I found the winners.

It’s from experimentating that I found out that hidden advertisementis hyper-effective for niche product launchings; that Mulpix gives me better insight to Instagram advertising and better use of hash tags than others I have seen; and that having the right personas in business will help you narrow down and get targeted customers.

Join the trend and experiment on advertising. Don’t just stop there. Go the extra mile, understand how advertising works, and find out what type of advertising will work best for your type of business. The more you experiment with online advertising, the better understanding you will have about which type of advertising will work for your business and which ones won’t. And the better you grasp this topic, the more promoted your brand will become online.

 

3. Leverage growth automation.

The best growth techniques I know — and sadly I had to learn the hard way — is to automate your online business growth. As a freelancer, I keep coming across companies who are seeking to outsource more work in order to focus on the essentials. To them, it’s better to spend money giving other people time-wasting tasks to manage than to equally focus on the important and time-wasting tasks, and lose out on potential income.

According to statistics, businesses are rapidly outsourcing more jobs. Do the same. Automate aspects of your online business that you know next to nothing about. Find ways to make sure you’re only engaged with tasks you can confidently handle and are your areas of strength.

Business thrive when there is less noise. Fuzzle out the non-essentials. Look for virtual assistants to help with tasks you can’t handle.

There are so many verticals to automate. The more you automate your online business promotion, the more time you have to focus on the company’s growth and getting more clients on board.

Generational Divide at Work

What do an iOS developer, a social media intern, a UX designer and a big data architect have in common? Just 10 years ago, their job titles were rare or didn’t exist at all.

Today, these titles are a dime a dozen for young professionals. In 2008, there were zero big data architects on LinkedIn. In 2013, there were 3,440. Given the sudden rise in titles like this, it may not come as a surprise that nearly 70 percent of parents admit they don’t have a clear understanding of their children’s jobs.

The rapid evolution of technology has led to a surge in the use of digital tools in the workplace and, in some cases, has created entirely new industries. But it’s also created a gap between generations.

 

Here, we explore three ways the evolution of tech has changed the relationship between employees of different generations, and how companies can embrace both the unique opportunities and the unique challenges of a multigenerational workforce

 

1. Technology changes the way generations communicate.

More than 74 percent of millennials feel that new technology makes their lives easier, compared to just 31 percent of Generation X and 18 percent of boomers.

Younger generations simply have a different outlook when it comes to technology, and that translates directly into their attitudes at work. For example, younger workers may come to meetings armed with their smartphones to take notes or find information using the internet and social media. Older workers, on the other hand, tend to stick to a notepad and pencil. These choices can be perceived as rude or antiquated, depending who you ask.

As more companies move away from email as a primary mode of communication and toward digital tools like Google Hangouts and group messaging applications, this divide can quickly grow. For Simon Rakosi, co-founder of management training software company Butterfly, the true tipping point in workplaces embracing technology has been the normalization of tools such as Slack, an instant messaging platform used by companies to enable their employees to communicate in real time.

“Slack is truly the embodiment of the millennial generation’s view on work culture. It’s fast, it’s instant and it has personality,” Rakosi said. “For people who have been in the workforce for decades, Slack might be a jarring transition away from emails and memos.”

However, while the moms and dads of older generation workers may have a different approach to communication, it doesn’t mean this gap can’t be closed. There are many ways HR leaders can ease the transition into new technologies, such as mentoring programs to encourage cross-generational knowledge sharing.

 

 

2. Technology creates a new set of workplace skills.

The rise of technology has also created a demand for tech skills. A study from Manpower Group found that 39 percent of U.S. employers have stated that they have difficulty hiring new employees because of a lack of available talent. When they do find talent, it’s typically in the younger employee. The median age of workers at successful tech companies is well below 35. Elizabeth Gibson, editor and messaging strategist at EZ Landlord Forms, said she confronts this skills gap every day with her clients. The landlords she deals with are either tech-savvy or only have hard-copy expertise.

“Generation is the single biggest predictor for difficulty,” Gibson said. She said her company is bridging this skills gap by simplifying forms to make them as intuitive as possible.

But while older generations may find themselves puzzled by the buzzwords and language their children use to describe their jobs, that doesn’t mean their kids are performing job duties beyond their reach or understanding. Remember — every generation has experienced change and can learn new skills.