Branding For Beginners

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When it comes to owning a business, and ensuring that enough people know about your Business, plus its service and products, then you will need to think about Branding. Not necessarily the logo, which is required, of course. Branding has many aspects to it that you may not even think about. But also how your Business looks to people from the outside. First impressions count.

What is Branding

What is Branding? Basically, it’s what your Business is known for, the recognizable features and themes surrounding the Business showing the quality. You can simply hugely improve your Branding by making sure your Business is delivering its promises. Making sure that your customers are happy with the service is the best thing you can do for your brand. If you’re not able to keep up with demand, then it’s best to gather a support network of people and outsource some services such as vinylcuttingmachineguide best vinyl cutting machine

Social Media 

Social media can play a big part in your branding efforts, the attitude and friendliness that you want to portray are easy to do with some short messages and stories. All you need to do is be authentic, stick to your plan, and make sure everybody is close to the Business by sharing so much, they will feel right at home when they walk in. You can also use social media to create some noise surrounding the Business, by way of sharing events, and creating competitions.

Graphic design

This may be something that you would want to outsource, especially if you don’t have any experience of designing previously. But after all it is incredibly essential so worth mentioning, you need to think about your color palette, what you’re trying to portray, how you want to go about that and then action it ready for potential clients. Find all the inspiration you can for this one, set the mood board, get magazines and cut out pictures because once you’ve changed the script, it’s not entirely easy to set it back

Survey

Check with friends and family, and even possibly a control group of people, to find out if your new graphic design is working. Print a couple of sample leaflets and send them around to you about this and also just go over and above with the recycling and growing new plants. 

Personal

If your Business is based around you or something that you do personally, then ensuring that the Business you’re running shows precisely what the Business is all about is an important task! Creating a personal brand can be as straightforward or as difficult as you make it, you can just allow your own personality shine by setting up some small videos on Facebook, maybe even launching Facebook live Videos and Instagram stories. This is one of the best ways to build your Branding because people always trust a person above a faceless business.

So, in a nutshell, Branding is just the first look of your Business, it’s the thing that will help people settle on whether to become customers of yours or not, and it is compelling so expect to spend time on this aspect of your new Business.

Brand Building Process Tips

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You want your brand to be recognized globally. Or maybe just in the local area. That doesn’t happen by accident (unless you are fortunate), it happens with hard work, dedication, and knowledge. As a small business, you are competing against more prominent companies, local and global, plus freelancers. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t be seen. It just means you have to do more with less. And that is no bad thing. Learning how to turn a shoestring budget into a well-branded company is going to pay off when you do have big money later on.

Let’s talk about the basics:

What is a brand?

A brand is everything that people will use to identify you and your business. It will be everything from your logo, and your website to your stationery and your content. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, says, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” 

It is your reputation, and what that looks like on paper. 

Building Brands

This is the bit where you begin to generate press and recognition. Awareness about you and your brand will drive sales. Sales mean profit. All of your marketing campaigns should have goals attached to them, and there should be no money spent where it won’t give you a decent ROI. Ideally, you are looking for the following activities in your building model:

  • Social media marketing
  • Email marketing
  • PPC
  • SEO & Content generation and marketing
  • UX – on your website or apps

The combination of these is a potent way to see your channels gaining both brand awareness and growth. 

Process:

Audience

Before you start building, you need to know who or what you are building for. You can’t sell to everyone, or at least not in the early stages. You need to get in depth over who you are talking to and trying to attract. And be specific too:

  • Talking to young women who want to work in the tech space
  • Working with family men who want to side hustle
  • Selling to executives who have a lot of disposable income and none/one child

Who is it, and what do they want from you? 

Mission

What is it that you brand whats to accomplish? Again go into detail about your brand mission. “My company is designed to bridge the gap in childcare for families where both parents work,” or “My company will provide the freshest salads delivered to the office.” It defines your purpose. 

Research

Start looking at what brands like your brand do. Who are they targeting, what are their most famous ad campaigns, what kind of content do they produce? Don’t copy them, but find a way to replicate their success in your own way. 

Logo & Tagline

Visuals matter. After all, you want to be recognizable and distinguishable. The logo will appear on everything that you produce and should be something that over time, people see and know it’s you. Think of the icon sports brands – simple but effective. You might want to hire in help from a designer and a sign company to get this done to the highest standard. 

Voice

This is how you communicate with customers and potential customers. It should be in keeping with the persona that your company has and hold tight to the mission too. Authenticity will win people over faster than being a fake. 

Stay True

The logos and brands that you know best are the ones that stick fast to their mission, they always think about the future of the business and how they can make what they do work for more people. Always be your brand’s most prominent advocate too. 

Building a brand is a process that deserves the time and effort to get it right. Once you do, you will feel confident as you go forward and will see the rewards too.

How to Find the Right Career and Be Your Authentic Self

The Compass – How to Beat the Rising Employee Quit Rate

A recent Gallup study shows that the employee quit-rate (the percentage of employees quitting their jobs) in the US is at an all-time rise. The study results reflect characteristics of Millennials and Z generation so there is no reason to think the situation is different in other countries. The phenomenon is relevant to employees at all levels and all company sizes, from small start-ups to Fortune 100 companies. It is as relevant to entrepreneurs that have doubts about the future of their business.

There is little need to expand on the significance of key-talents (or any talent for that matter) leaving an organization – as the study points out – it’s better to keep a star than hire a question mark.

For the employees themselves, whether they are already halfway through their career or just starting (or even freshly graduated and pondering what career-path to take), making the right decision is paramount to their future fulfillment and well- being.

It is at least as critical for an entrepreneur that finds themselves unhappy and unfulfilled with the direction their business took.

The key to solve those problems is to understand what an effective career and development planning is and to act on it.

Obviously, when one is content at work, this problem does not exist. The challenge begins when you reach a crossroad – a point in time when you need to decide on your next step in your career, or when you feel stuck in your current position or job and you are looking for change.

Unfortunately, many make career decisions without understanding what is involved in it and end-up with a result that may be good for a while – change itself might increase wellbeing – but not for long.

In the absence of this understanding, people oftentimes choose their (next) job based on:

1.   What will give them reasonable results (income, benefits)

  1. What they don’t mind doing
  2. What they are not too bad at

This is a survival, outside-in approach that leads to mediocrity – he level of engagement and motivation is mediocre at best; The level of added value is mediocre; The result is a disengaged career path, when people just wait for the work-day to go, by counting the hours, for the week to end and so on….

But what if one would focus instead of this on:

  1. What they are really passionate about
  2. What they excel at and always did
  3. What will give them the best possible results and fulfillment

This is an inside–out approach that taps first into internal sources and is called the Greatness Model. It is the model to aspire to for career decision making if you want to be happy and fulfilled.                                                                                                                              Graduates will benefit from applying it when setting their career course. Employers should find a way to help their employees to use it. Entrepreneurs need to utilize it to find the next phase of their business.

The good news is that there is a way, and it’s called The Compass.

The premise that lies at the heart of The Compass is rather simple – whenever at a crossroads, one should ask themselves 4 questions:

  1. WHERE do I want to go? And in the employment context – what is my best next version?
  2. WHY do I want to go there? In other words, what are my drivers, values, passions and motivations?
  3. WHAT is stopping me? What are my limiting beliefs, internal barriers and inhibitions that prevent me from getting to my desired destination?
  4. HOW do I get there? What is my road map? My plan?

And in a bit more detail:

The NORTH – What is my genuine direction? What is the next best step on that path? Where can it lead me in 5- or 10-years’ time? Will I be happy and fulfilled there?

The EAST – Why do I want to go there? Is this my dream or someone else’s (parent, spouse, myself when I was a child)? How authentic is it? Will this truly make me happy or just fulfill a need (financial, societal?)

The SOUTH – Why have I not done it so far? What might stop me from doing it in the future and how do I break through these barriers?

The WEST – what is the practical plan to get where I want to get? What do I need to do tomorrow, next week, next month, next quarter to get to my destination in the timeframe I have chosen?

The Compass is a tried-and-tested award winning methodology that has so far helped tens of thousands of people all over the world find their True North and actually get there.

Globally recognized thought leader in personal and organizational development, Aviad Goz is the founder and Chairman of N.E.W.S.® Coaching and Training, and the founder of Momentum Group.

Aviad started his career as a facilitator and coach in 1986 and has worked successfully since then with key-talents, managers and executives in more than 2,000 organizations around the world. Some of the companies he has helped navigate through crossroads to achieve success include Fortune 100 companies such as PwC, Microsoft, Intel, Cisco, IBM, GE, HP, Pfizer, P&G, and Coca-Cola, to name a few. Alongside that Aviad has led many unique projects such as certifying military commanders as coaches, working with religious leaders, coaching famous artists for international careers and more.

Over the course of the years, Aviad notices that individuals and organizations struggled to manage themselves effectively when they are at crossroads. He managed to identify four main reasons why individuals, teams and organizations usually get stuck in such circumstances:

– no clear direction or a vision for their future;

– lack of motivation and drive in moving forward;

– poor planning and execution capabilities;

– and inhibiting beliefs and fears;

This realization provided Aviad with the inspiration to create the N.E.W.S.® Compass™ in 2003. After an extensive research and study, he designed a unique compass-like structure where obstacles that prevented people and organizations from reaching their goals could easily be identified, and practical solutions could be put in place to help them overcome their challenges and lead them toward new heights.

Recognizing the N.E.W.S.® Compass™ huge potential for impact, Aviad used the insights gained through his experience as a coach and facilitator, working with industry leaders, to skillfully construct additional need-based, customizable solutions for navigating through changes and challenging times. To date, in response to the needs of industry, he has created 8 programs and solutions based on the N.E.W.S.® Compass™ for different applications, all relating to various aspects of development for greatness. These programs are now being used around the world in over 30 countries.

Through all these various ventures, Aviad’s mission to lead individuals and teams towards evolution and breakthroughs in their development has remained steadfast. His deep motivation and commitment continue to propel his creativity to new levels. To add to his visionary success, Aviad has also authored and published 12 books and numerous articles on development in Human Resources and Organizational Development magazines. His most recent book – The Compass: How to Navigate Your Life and Career in Times of Change was published in 2013. Over the span of his career, Aviad has trained generations of trainers and coaches all over the world and helped millions to lead more productive and fulfilling lives.                                                       

You are welcome to visit Aviad’s website: http://www.aviadgoz.com

The Ultimate Guide To Achieving Work Life Balance Enlightenment

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For many, the idea of having enough free time to enjoy yourself outside of work while still achieving job satisfaction and an excellent wage is the stuff of dreams. However, this scenario is possible. You simply need to know how to go about it and be proactive. Things will never fall into your lap; you need to make them happen.

In the twenty first century, our lives have become busier than ever. Your boss may become unbearable with unrealistic targets to meet, leading you to work all hours under the sun. This can lead to burnout, mental health problems and a devastating impact on your quality of life. You have to consider what is most important to you. Can you put up with the lack of social life, never seeing family and a fraught relationship at home if it means that you earn a fortune? The chances are that you yearn to be comfortable with your financial situation, have your weekends free and to enjoy quality time with family and friends. Read on to find out how you can achieve work life balance enlightenment.

What Do You Love?

When you consider morphing your professional life from being a full time employee to a self employed individual, you need to follow a passion. There has to be something in your life that you adore that will keep you motivated when you set out to launch your own startup. This could be accounting, importing ball bearings, designing and selling custom made tee shirts, or baking vegan cakes for the masses.

When you have stumbled across the thing that kick starts your mojo, you need to run with it and work at establishing yourself within your chosen sector. This will be difficult because every niche is saturated with would be entrepreneurs. However, working for yourself gives you the drive to get on social media, publicize your brand, go to trade shows and put in the hours. While it may seem that you are working long hours, they are dictated by you. If you want to take a Monday off and work Sunday instead, you can. If you are a night owl and work better from 12 until 8, do it. Having the flexibility as an entrepreneur is something you rarely see as a full time employee.

Get The Basics Right

If you have chosen to produce your very own customized jewelry aimed at 18 to 24 year olds, make sure that you have a wholesale approach to selling as well as retail. Getting your items into shops that are household names will increase exposure of your brand. This allows you some breathing space when it comes to fulfilling end user orders.

Your work life balance will improve as you are no longer sitting at a desk lining the pockets of a fat cat. Instead, you are working to earn your own living. If you can, supply some wholesale sellers via Amazon, eBay and other online shops. Be careful with choosing your stockists wisely. Some will try and devalue your items by putting their own discounts on them. This can make your items look inferior to your competitors. To combat this, look into MAP enforcement, where you can set minimum prices for your products. Find out how you can enforce MAP pricing rules by clicking here. You can send out violation messages to stockists and even prevent them from selling your items again, if they don’t heed your warnings.

Take A Breather

While the first few months of setting up your new venture may be a little more stressful than you expected, the ability to take a step back and see what you have built will emerge. Soon, you will be able to have the odd pajama day at home. You can work from your home office rather than suffer through an arduous commute. You no longer have to miss your little one’s parents evenings because you have to work late to prepare for a presentation. Your time is your own to control.

While your salary may take a hit in the first instance, consider what it is that is really important to you. As long as you have enough money to live, you can then enjoy the free time that you have, the more quality family moments that you can enjoy as well as the feeling of not having as much pressure or stress bearing down on you from an employer. You are in charge now. Follow this guide and you will achieve the ultimate work life balance enlightenment.

Tips To Improve The Cybersecurity Of Your Business

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As a business owner, you’ll know that the security of your data is paramount. Data breaches can be inconvenient, costly and risky to say the least. As the cybercriminal moves with the technological times; so should you! With this in mind, let’s consider some essential tips to up your protection game. 

Multi-factor authentication 

Gone are the days when a strong password was enough! If you want to improve your security, it’s a good idea to go for multiple layers of authentication. A strong password is the first step. The next is authentication via a code; this code can be sent to the users iPhone for example. Some businesses go for a third method of authentication as well as these two steps. The third method is generally more advanced, for example, fingerprints or voice recognition. Security is especially important when employees are accessing your network on the go and from multiple devices. It’s also a good idea to use mobile device management so that you can monitor the devices which access your network.

Cloud-computing 

IT solutions like cloud-computing arrive with plenty of benefits, one of which is improved security. Cloud-computing systems use robust security regulations and have inbuilt antivirus software. These systems are encrypted to protect your data continually. It’s also simple to remotely wipe a device if it’s lost or stolen. With cloud computing, it’s easy to access your network anywhere and any time. Such features will increase the productivity of your business. You’ll also save money on IT equipment due to the use of remote servers. Cloud-computing can improve your communication as you can integrate your voice calling, messaging and email all on one platform. When you take steps to improve your productivity, you’ll have more time to spend on top priority tasks. 

Update your software

Software updates seem to pop up constantly, so some find them a bit of a bother. The fact is, it’s essential to install every update that comes up. Running software on older versions only makes you more vulnerable to security threats. Don’t be tempted to ignore software updates even if you’re really busy. It’s well worth the time it takes to update rather than risking a breach or a virus. Strong anti virus software should help you to decrease these kinds of risks. 

Train your staff

Your staff are the hub of your operation, so it’s vital that they are adequately trained on security. Ensure that they understand all the ins and outs of your security policies to minimize mistakes. You could also invest in a cybersecurity training course if you wish to help your staff further. Straightforward advice about not writing down or sharing passwords can go a long way. Password management tools can also come in handy to keep everything safe and sound.

Security breaches can put your company at risk and waste your time. It’s best to sit down and create a well designed policy and action plan to protect yourself. With a little research you’ll find the solutions which best suit your company and your current needs.

4 Tips For Startup Businesses

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When you are setting up your own business, you are firing on all cylinders, probably getting very little sleep and have ideas coming out of your ears. There is so much that you know that you need to get done, from funding to premises to business plans. It is a frantic and busy time, a time you are never likely to forget. When it’s all in place and your business has finally launched, it can be difficult to know which areas are best to concentrate on next. Which is where we come in as today we share with you 4 tips for startup businesses.

Look after your team

Your business will rely on your team, so you need to prioritize looking after them.

To help your team to grow and enjoy working with you, they will need clear initial training and ongoing coaching and support. It should be open and friendly and any feedback should be constructive. This should enable everyone to feel confident and comfortable in the role that you are asking them to fulfill. 

Your team needs to feel invested in your business in order to give the best of themselves. To engender this, involve them in all aspects of your business and communicate with them regularly. Hold team meetings to share updates and encourage ideas from everyone. Book in one to ones with each member of your team to allow them time to talk through their work, their progress and any potential issues. Offer your support to help them to achieve goals or address any shortfalls in their performance. 

Most importantly, ensure that they feel appreciated and important to you. Get to know them, look out for opportunities to praise and thank them and reward appropriately when you see a job well done or want to celebrate your successes. 

Keep up with technology developments

It is worth always looking out for software, technology and packages that can make your business run more smoothly, such as investor crm software. These products will ensure that you can deliver a greater level of service to your customers, and usually with less effort on your part. They are specifically designed for a certain job, one that might currently be taking up the time of several members of staff as they use many different systems. Take the time to look around for products that can take some of the work out of your processes for you. 

If this is not your area of expertise, it will always be someone’s, so delegate the task to a team member or stay in touch with others in your industry to keep abreast of any developments. 

Develop your own marketing strategy

Marketing is key for every business, no matter your niche. What can vary widely here is the amount of time and money you choose to invest in it. 

You might choose to invest a lot of your own time here, rather than heavily invest financially, and there are plenty of ways to do this. Many businesses are able to build strong followings and customer sales through effectively utilizing social media, free to use in most cases. Others have strong email marketing campaigns or content marketing strategies. In these cases there is a significant time commitment required, but very little monetary outlay, so you will need to weigh up whether this works well for your business, or whether outsourcing to specialists will make more sense on balance.

Build strong relationships with your customers

Your initial customers are likely to be precious to you and rightly so, you will want to look after them and build strong relationships with them.

Anyone that experiences your business could potentially be talking about your business the next day with a friend, so these early interactions are absolutely key in developing your reputation. Word of mouth is a very powerful marketing tool, and these days that extends to people talking about your business online too. A great rating on trusted review websites can really boost your business, as can people talking positively about you on social media. 

Take the time to ensure that those initial customers receive the very best from you, encouraging them to return to you as repeat customers and share their experiences with others. Ask for their opinions on what you have delivered to them and make it clear to them how much their feedback is valued. Use any feedback to improve your service and shape your business going forwards and thank them for helping you in this way.

Taking Care of Your Tech When You Freelance

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When you freelance, you are pretty reliant on your tech. After all, the majority of freelancers will work from home, from their laptop. They will also incorporate other tech like tablets, smartphones and gadgets into their working routine. So, it’s important that you really take care of your tech if you’re reliant on it  to make a profit! Here are just a few pieces of advice you might want to take into account!

Insurance

Safety first! All of the products that you use for your work should be insured. This is an absolute basic requirement. Tech that your company uses can often be extremely pricey. But at the same time, tech can be easily damaged. All it takes is a spilt drink, dropping something on the floor, or even leaving something in a space that is excessively humid or hot, for tech to break or become unusable. These pricey possessions can also be prone to theft. So, make sure you aren’t left having to fork out for new laptops, tablets, smartphones, cameras, or other equipment by making sure all of your tech is insured under a policy that has you covered for absolutely everything. It’s always worth using price comparison sites for your different policies. This will get you the lowest cost cover and premium out there.

IT Support

Sometimes your tech can go down, just at the moment you’re about to do something important. Maybe you were about to launch a blog post or vlog post that viewers and subscribers were waiting for. Perhaps you were about to reply to an email about an important collaboration. You may have a deadline coming up and need to submit a substantial piece of work. Having IT Support on hand can help to resolve network issues and other problems that can get in the way of your work. Consider working with a company like F1 Networks who will be able to provide you with all the IT support and network solutions you could possibly need.

Upgrading Software

You’ll find yourself using the same software on a day to day basis. Whether that’s Adobe Suite, Microsoft Office, or anything else. It’s always worth looking at the latest versions of the programs that you use. If there’s an upgrade on offer, you might want to consider taking it. These major companies are always working to improve the services and programs that they offer you. So new versions can help to improve your work! The latest versions of software are also less prone to problems and hacking, as they’ve been optimized and cyber criminals haven’t had as much time to familiarize themselves with the newer software.

These, of course, are just a few tips that can help you take care of your tech when you’re freelancing. But seriously consider implementing them into the way you work! They can make all the difference in the long run!

Legal Steps that will Help you to Start your Own Business

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As each year goes by, more and more budding entrepreneurs start to turn their vision into a fully-fledged business. This is great, but if you don’t have a roadmap to guide you to success then you won’t get very far.

Company Name

Before you start printing out your business cards or even pick a domain name, you need to try and make sure that the name you want isn’t taken. You probably don’t need an attorney to help you with this because most of the time you can do an online search to find any other businesses that are registered with the same name as yours. If you want to take your search to that next level, you can easily do a trademark search as this will tell you if your name is taken or not in any country.

Incorporate your Business

Forming an LLC or even a corporation is an essential stage if you want to protect your personal assets. This includes your personal property or even your child’s college fund.  An LLC is ideal for any business who wants some degree of legal protection, without all of the formalities. An S corporation is ideal for any business that qualifies, and a Corporation is ideal for those who want to go corporate or even for those who are requiring funding.

Employee Laws

You have a legal obligation as an employer to make sure that your employees are safe and treat them with respect. If you want to make the most out of your operation, then it helps to spend time with a professional as they will help you to understand the obligations that you face, and they can also help you with your state payroll too. They can also help you with self-employment taxes, discrimination laws, unemployment insurance, compensation and even your wage per hour requirements. If you want to protect yourself even more, then look into a trade association. There are plenty of cannabis trade associations out there if you work in this industry.

Permits

Depending on the nature of your business, you may be required to have one or more permits from the state. You might even have to get a federal level too. Licenses might include a sales permit, health license or even a professional license. You have to make sure that the one you have is suited to your requirements and you also have to make sure that they are in date too, if yours does happen to have an expiry.

Trademark

You are not required by law to register a trademark, but if you do then this gives you an additional level of protection. You’ve probably spent hours of your time brainstorming for the perfect name and you may have even put some effort into your logo too so it’s a good idea for you to make sure that nobody else can use it. If you want some additional help with getting your name protected, then there are plenty of legal professionals out there who can help.

 

The Tech Stairway To Success

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Building success is the ultimate purchase of every single company. Success means growth, in size, in numbers, and reputation. However, what success is made of is a different kettle of fish. What does a business need to achieve its goal? There is no simple answer. At the core of it, a company needs great assets that can support its growth. Your assets are the foundation upon which you can build your success. People, of course, play a significant role in your strategy. Your capital investment is detrimental to enabling high-return campaigns. But nothing is as vital as your technology. Technology in the 21st century business environment is the quickest path to growth and success. Here’s why it matters:

Your business plan should focus on tech

First and foremost, it is impossible nowadays to imagine a company that doesn’t maximize its tech tools and solutions. What this means at a company level is that you can’t leave IT and cyber tech management as an afterthought. It is the responsibility of leaders and directors to put technology back into the driving seat of the company – you can find dedicated executive leadership training for CISOs to help you understand how to build your strategy around cyber growth. Indeed, innovative processes and market alignment require strategic tech integration. In an era where technology has become the only answer to the increased need for environmentally-friendly, safe, and cost-saving approaches, you have to let it drive your business forward. 

Your tech presence affects your brand image

Your business choices define your brand. In the eye of the audience, your technology decisions affect your branding identity. Indeed, your customers are savvy. They compare their favorite brands and the way they interact with each of them. It’s fair to say that a brand that lacks tech support fails not only to reflect your identity but also to meet the market demand. 

It’s your best protection against online threats

Small businesses are a cyber criminal’s favorite target. Indeed, while large companies are more likely to have sturdy safety protocols in place, SMEs, on the other hand, are more vulnerable. In 2018, 67% of SMEs in the UK and the US fell victim of a cyberattack. In most cases, data breach incidents were the result of negligence. For businesses, it makes no doubt that cybercrimes can have a devastating impact on day-to-day processes, such as wasting time, money, and losing your credibility as an expert. Investing in dedicated tech strategies that can shield your company is a priority. 

Your customers expect better tech services

Customers are naturally lazy. They want to sort out their issues as smoothly and efficiently as possible. And frictionless customer service implies excellent tech solutions. Indeed, face-to-face videos such as a video voicemail can not only enhance communication but also boost your customer relationship. Indeed, your customers want better, quicker, and more personal interactions with their favorite brands. Putting technology at the center of your communications allows you to meet the expectations of a new generation of tech-savvy customers. 

Technology is not the purpose of growth, but it is its means. Indeed, at an age where the market is buzzing with smart tech hubs and cyber activities, companies have to engage strategically with the innovative tools and solutions around them. Your use of technology can make or break your business.

 

Cobots: Meet Your New Work Colleague

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Have you heard about cobots? If you haven’t, get ready to hear a lot more about them in the near future, because cobots are likely to be something many of us are going to have to get accustomed to. Cobot stands for ‘collaborative robot’, and they’re set to revolutionize the workplace. 

We all know that robots have been doing much of the work once done by human hands, for some time now. But the next wave of the robotic takeover is upon us. So, if you’re wondering if your new work colleague may be a cobot, read on. 

Are cobots a new idea?

It’s no secret that robots have been used in assembly plants to do repetitive jobs for decades. However, the problem with robots is that they are not suitable to do tasks that change from one moment to the next, or that require a light touch.

Cobots are not a new idea. They have been around for over 20 years, mainly doing tasks related in the car industry. The problem so far has been that technology has only allowed them to do basic tasks such as heavy lifting. But that is now changing. 

Why are we hearing about them now?

A range of advances has allowed the concept of cobots to become more than glorified manual laborers. For a start, advances in AI have meant that robots can now learn from their human counterparts. Additionally, advances in robotics have enabled robots to handle more fragile materials.

One major step forward has been the development of new sensors. There was never going to be much collaboration while humans needed to be protected from robots, but now that robots are more ‘aware’ of their surroundings, they can work more safely around people.

Will cobots take jobs from humans?

This is a bit of a tricky question to answer, because taking jobs from people is not the idea behind the development of cobots. The keyword here is ‘collaborative’, which suggests that the point is that they enhance what people are already doing. However, there are some instances where they might end up replacing human workers.

For example, with advances in pressure points and sensors, cobots could learn how to do dangerous tasks. Once they have understood how to do a job safely, the question would be why have a human do that job? Having a cobot do it would surely be the right thing to do.

What will the future bring?

Experts think that it will all come down to trust, which pretty much boils down to how safe the software is. And in many ways, that will always be the problem. Is software 100% safe? Just think how often your computer operating system needs to be updated and you will have the answer to that.

As the Internet of Things grows, so does the risk of hacking. So, even if the software used in cobots is 100% safe at any given moment, there’s no guarantee it will continue to be so. Until the software can be relied on, any changes in the way robots interact with people will be relatively minor.

Summary

To summarize, the development of cobots will certainly bring many new challenges to the work environment. However, it is safe to say that if you go to work tomorrow and find you have a cobot as a new work colleague, you won’t have to start worrying about looking for a new job.