Gaining a Competitive advantage with Cloud Computing

 

Gaining an advantage with Cloud Computing

 

Cloud Computing is spoken about everywhere and movies are being made about it, small, medium and large businesses have embraced it and quite frankly it’s difficult to imagine using apps or technology without it! After cloud computing has been introduced, companies have reduced their costs, increased flexibility and capacity.

 

As an entrepreneur, you will look to maximize your IT return on investment as well as increase your company’s functionality. Companies have to process large amounts of data and the system you use needs to be reliable, economical and more importantly secure. That’s why more and more companies are choosing cloud computing to meet those demands.

 

What is cloud computing?

 

Essentially, cloud computing is a kind of computing which is hosted online via the Internet. Cloud computing has many different services. A cloud server can host Websites. All forms of data, emails and communication software can also be hosted within the cloud.

 

How can you as an entrepreneur use cloud computing?

 

Before you start using the cloud, you will need to make a few changes to  your company in terms of resources as well as strategy. There will need to be changes in the IT structure, information security, decisions on how and where the data will be stored, integrating the front and back end. After getting the environment ready, here’s how using the cloud can help your business.

Cloud Computing as an Entrepreneur

 

 

  1. Reduce your staffing requirements for IT: Cloud computing can save your business heaps of money by doing the services in house, reduced costs by external servers, plus you can use tools to help streamline productivity and reduce energy consumption costs.
  2. No physical equipment to maintain: cloud computing is not physical, therefore it makes things flexible and adjustable to the needs and size of your organization. The bandwidth can also be met because of the huge capacity of the cloud’s remote servers.
  3. Have more time to run your business: All entrepreneurs will tell you how long their days are and what even an hour or two worth of time will mean to them. Cloud computing can do just that. Instead of purchasing and installing expensive software yourself, your cloud service provider can do this for you in addition to scaling the operation structure leaving more time for you to run your business.
  4. Create and collaborate: Who doesn’t love a virtual team? If your team is working on a project and cant all be in the same location, you can use cloud computing to give access to the project for all or some of your employers. External contractors, vendors, suppliers can all have access to the same file too! Imagine saving on travel and time!
  5. Backup, file storage and sharing: As much as we love hoarding hard disk’s worth of data, why not store them in the cloud? You can access your files at anytime from any location using any computer. Dropbox is widely used by people and businesses alike to store their files and backup their data. So if any of your hard disks or computer were to crash. You’d have a back up ready to go!
  6. CRM at it’s best! Customers are our single most important element in a business and  we take time and effort to build and develop relationships with them. Setting up a customer relationship management software can be time consuming and expensive. As a small or medium sized company, you want a great way to store your customer’s details. Cloud based CRM can do that for you in half the cost with easy access.
  7. Storing, Sending and Editing large files: Have you tried to edit or download large excel sheets worth of data or tried to send photos that are absolutely gorgeous but are huge? That’s where Google Docs and Office 365 come in. They can send files and they have access to office suite where you can log in to from anywhere.
  8. Different industries can use them: One of the most important industries here in Australia is logistics. Even they can benefit from using Cloud computing. For example, you can make use of SAAS or Software as a Service provider that helps companies keep track of their trucks, drivers and deliveries. Cloud computing allows a company called Transics to offer reliable information in a way that optimizes costs in an industry that has high overhead cost.
  9. Disaster Recovery: Using cloud computing, having your employees work remotely can mean lower severity of an in house IT crisis. It can also resolve issues faster, meaning you don’t need to have complex plans for disaster recovery put in place.
  10. Automation: Most companies need to invest in IT support to maintain and update your storage and files. That can work out pretty expensive. Cloud computing has automatic updates saving you heaps of time and money

Cloud computing across operating systems

With so many benefits to using Cloud computing, even small businesses can start small without making any major changes and work your way up and make use of the changing trends to drive profitability.

We here at Social Pandora use Cloud Computing to store files, share files, work virtually and even back up all our client databases! We find it convenient and saves us heaps of money.

Check out 39 of the most important people in cloud computing and see what you can use for your business.

Have you used Cloud for your business ? How has it worked for you? Let us know in the comments below!

-Social Pandora

(Image source -Pixabay)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Understanding Neuromarketing and making it work for you as an Entrepreneur

Understanding Neuromarketing and making it work for you as an Entrepreneur

 

 Don't just market,Neuromarket

(Image source: Neurorelays.worpress.com)

 Unless you’re living under a rock, chances are that you’ve heard of this before. Neuromarketing or mental marketing is the new buzzword. But it’s not just a fancy word that everyone is throwing about but also an actual word that scientists have come up with. Scientists have probed the brain and drawn graphs to understand how the brain responds to a marketing stimulus.

Now you know who’s to blame for buying that extra pair of shoes or that gym membership you never use!

Jokes apart, Neuromarketing helps marketers understand how consumers react to a product. What makes them buy it? How do they choose one over the other? These are very important to the marketing agencies; the product manufactures and you; the curious consumer.

 

The brain responding to an external stimulus

(Image source: mktg-matters.blogspot.com)

 So how does it work?

Reacting to a marketing stimulus- how do brands understand consumers

 

(Image source: video-commerce.org)

 There are many methods of tracking the brain’s activity-the Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), the Steady State Topography (SST), Electroencephalography (EEG), Eye tracking to name a few. Most widely used are however the EEG and fMRI. But they both come with their own set of pros and cons. For example, fMRI may find that a particular stimulus causes a consistent response in the brain and that response is correlated with a desired behavior such as trying a new brand or flavor.

The consumer’s buying decisions are made in split seconds in the emotional or subconscious part of the brain and by understanding what they like , dislike ,are intrigued by or averse to, brands can design and formulate products and communication techniques to meet any ‘unmet’ needs and make the consumer move from think to buy stage.

Shopping frenzy

According to neuroscientists there are 3 main parts of the brain, each functioning as a brain in itself.

  1. The ‘Human’ or new and outer most part of the brain is the most evolved section and is responsible for logic, learning, reasoning and conscious thoughts.
  2. The ‘Mammalian’ or middle part of the brain is responsible for the moods, emotions and memory
  3. The ‘Reptilian’ or the old brain controls the basic functions like hunger, flight or fight response to external stimulus and to understand what your consumers likes and to build sales, marketers need to understand the ‘Reptilian’s’ hot spots.

These hot spots responds to an external stimulus, decides whether to stay or go and if the scenario is good or not.

 

Capturing consumer emotions

 7 Takeaway tips marketers needs to know:

  1. Your product or service needs to trigger the customer’s senses by appealing to their emotional side.
  2. By adding more JOY into the customer’s experience, it could persuade them to stay and not go.
  3. Leave a strong impression-like the aroma of coffee, a compelling story or wonderful in-store experience.
  4. Use visuals to strengthen the emotional connection- funky packaging, product design or colour, in- store experience if you’re a service based company.

Too cool for school packagingToo-Cool-For-School packaging

  1. Discover the 5 senses– and use ‘Touch’,’Taste’,’Sight’,’Smell’ and ‘hearing’ to attract customers.
  2. Adapt your marketing technique to suit the geographical location you are in. Some countries are attracted to the environmental connect while some others are more logic oriented.
  3. Use the KISS principle: ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid’ Overloading consumers with too much visual content or information will result in them being unable to respond, unable to make a decision and therefore leave the brand display area,  and they will ask themselves “why do I need to know this? “ Or “ Why do I need this product”. All of which doesn’t result in sales! So simplify your message and focus on the benefit that they will receive and why they need to choose you.

Few brands that are making use of Neuromarketing are : Campbell’s soup, Microsoft , Frito-Lays

Although Neuromarketing is a debatable topic, whatever the outcome is, Neuromarketing is noteworthy in terms of really understanding your consumer and giving them what they currently need and want.

What are your views on the subject? Let us know!

-Social Pandora

 

 

 

How listening to music can make you work better, faster and keep worries away

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”- Aldous Huxley

Listening to music can make you perform better at work
Music can help you relax, drown out distractions, get you pumped up about finishing that assignment or your to- do list or it can make you get annoyed and ask for peace and quiet while you work.

A lot of people surprisingly belong to the first category. Does music really make you more productive? How amongst the treble and the beats do you focus? The answer lies somewhere in between the piano symphony playing in the background and the tranquil atmosphere of the next room.

Musical symphony

Some studies suggest that listening to certain kinds of music, Mozart’s in particular impacts and boosts one’s spatial temporal reasoning or the ability to think abstractly and long term. Although there has been some controversy surrounding this, there however have been a few people for whom this idea has worked on.

A lot of offices here in Australia in fact allow smooth FM to play for instance, and they quite willingly allow people to listen to music as they work. It wasn’t always this way, so what changed? Why have people all over the world allowed music to play as we work? Cafes and retail stores for example use music as a way of creating the right atmosphere. Studies have shown that the music played at a store along with the ambiance has a positive effect on people when they shop! Meaning that they spend more, of course. It’s not hard to imagine is it? We would spend more time at the store if we like what we see, the store has a nice vibe about it and the music makes us feel good! Literally too! Music releases dopamine- the feel good hormone, much in the same way that chocolate makes you feel better. Music helps soothe your nerves and is quite therapeutic in nature.

People’s minds as we work tend to wonder, so music can help bring you back to the present. Here are 9 simple ways music can help you focus:

1. It takes control over the distracted part of your brain: Meaning when your distraction is under control, your brain begins to focus on the present and you will work faster. But, this is more the case for music that doesn’t have lyrics. So play some classical symphony to help get you going!
2. It makes you happy! – Some people respond to rock, hip hop, country to help take their mind of the day’s grind but hey, listen to what makes you happy!

Listening to music makes you happy (Image source-daily.co.uk)

3. It makes your work more enjoyable and therefore you work faster

listening to music makes you more productive
4. Reduces any stress that you may face at work- Music has the ability to control areas of the brain governing stress and anxiety.

Music can lower Stress and tension resulting in lower productivity
5. Reduces headache and migraines brought on by pressure and tense situations- Ever heard of the saying “Music has charms to soothe a savage beast,” Listening to music soothes tense nerves and therefore alleviate pain.
6. It has the power to increase certain kinds of higher brain function.
7. It improves body movement and co-ordination –By reducing muscle tension, you tend to do better at work.
8. Music improves productivity- some studies and neuroscience reports have shown that a person’s ability to recognize visual images, including letters and numbers, is faster when either rock or classical music is playing in the background.
9. It makes you more approachable and helps you think better in high pressure environments.

Whatever your line of work maybe, playing soft, instrumental or easy to listen to music is good to help you perform better and ensure that your day at work is a good one!

Create a great playlist for work
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”Plato
So pop those headphones on and listen to some good music! You can be assured of a great day at work!
Do you listen to music while working? What kind of music helps you work better?

 

Write to us and let us know!
-Social Pandora

(Images source: shutterstock.com)

 

 

Happiness quotient- The Art of doing less and gaining more

Achieving happiness by doing less and gaining more

(Image source: blog.bayt.com)

 

Our lives are so hectic and you think that your ‘To-do’ List is never ending; your workload is piling up, as are your chores at home.

 

How do people, other entrepreneurs, achieve so much in a single day, you work 10-14 hours while they work 8-10 hours productively; have time to pursue their interests and get 8 hours of sleep. Are you wondering how they do it? How do they achieve that work life balance that so many of us crave for?

 

Well, you’re not alone. Our team recently had a session on the single most important productivity hack- achieving more in a day in half the time!

 

Putting in long hours at work and then attempting to take some time off for yourself is sometimes hard if not impossible for some of us. You have to be careful of not pushing yourself to the brink of burning out.

So here are a few tips we think will help you:

One of the classic laws of physics is theLaw of Least Action’ that says (In a simplified form) that whatever the end goal is, nature takes the quickest, most efficient route to help accomplish it. Whatever is the least action needed to accomplish that goal is the amount of energy consumed. Which also says that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line (Source: Based on an excerpt by Deepak Chopra)

 

In other words, this law advises us to do less of the unimportant, the unnecessary stuff and more of the things that have the greatest advantage for us. Now you might say, but that’s what I’m already doing! While some of us might begin with the most important activity on our to-do list, during the day, we might either get distracted, overwhelmed with the workload or lose sight of what’s more important than the others.

 

So how do we go about doing that?

Information Overload 1.Define your time: Create a calendar showing the days of your meetings with others; days where you work on your own; days that can be made flexible and days that are off. Defining your days will help plan your activities and have greater control of the time spent on each activity. Plus it allows you to have the mental mindset required for the task at hand.

 

2. Focus: Use the Do LESS ‘ Attitude to ‘Do MOREof what is important. This means clearing the clutter of which activity is important and which ones can wait in your ‘To-Do’ list. Also prune the things that take up too much of your time, whether at home or at the office. Do you spend too much time planning? Or too much time on social media? Waiting in queue or on the phone a lot? Trim it down to the essentials.

 

3. Eliminate unnecessary steps: Delegate some activities or tasks; create a framework where you check your emails only 2-3 times a day and not every time a new one comes. Let people know that emails are not meant for urgent issues, have them call you instead. They can however, send you a follow up email later. Keep meetings short and mostly for decision making only unless there are more pressing matters to discuss. Also ensure that meetings always have an agenda and that all attendees of the meeting are informed a day in advance.

 

  1. Work with fewer distractions: If you’re spending time with the family or you’re on a break- do just that! Don’t use that time to complete unfinished work. And when you’re at work use the 80/20 rule to get most out of your day. That way you are focused when you need to be and you have a break spread across the day.

The 80/20 principle

(Image source http://www.photocrati.com)

5. Break down larger goals into smaller tasks: This makes it more manageable and increases your efficiency.

 

 

 Break your goals into smaller tasks

 

(Image source: http://rayedwards.com)

 

6. Have a positive outlook- Be aware of what you’re doing and don’t be discouraged if your task isn’t completed as yet. Don’t rush through them just to cross it off your list but do them with the intention of making it perfect. Love what you do because that adds to how you do the task and to what the outcome is.

Think, do, be positive

 

(Image source http://www.care2.com)

 

7. Say NO when necessary: It’s all well and good to be the best person for the job but sometimes you need to draw the line at doing everything. Don’t overload yourself and don’t do things that will detract you from your current objective. Before you know it, you will start hitting of targets in your to-do list!

 

8. Allow free communication across all levels at home and at work: Be open and honest. You’d be surprised at how much time you’re saving by not having misunderstandings, dissipating fights but rather focusing on the now.

 

9. Sleep well and eat healthy: You can’t give a 100% if you’re not a 100%. So be healthy to allow your body and mind to work in harmony.

 

Keep Calm relax and enjoy

(Image source: keepcalm-o-matic)

 

10. Be open to change: Letting go of old, familiar ways is hard to do. But in today’s time of quick paced technological and lifestyle changes; you need to be open to adapting change into your life.

Go to our post to see why you need to adapt to changes.  https://socialpandora.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/adapt-and-soar-dont-adapt-and-get-left-behind/ 

So there you have it ! 10 easy tips to help you do more of what you love and have the perfect work-life balance.

 

What are your tips to have a perfect work life balance? let us know !

The Impact of Digitization on everyday life-PART 2

 

Big brands like Absolut with their Absolut truth campaign, Nivea , Hyundai , Lynx have embraced this change and created revolutionary content. Organizations world over are now focused on delivering seamless, meaningful, engaging content while incorporating new emerging technology, adopting a test launch and learn approach after which changes are made based on customer feedback.

 

Few years ago if you were to buy a vacuum cleaner from a store, you would go to the store and buy one that matches your specifications, come back home and see that it’s not as good as they described it to be! Today, you have the choice of looking it up, checking reviews and invest on something that is worth the money. People are practically using it for everyday life! Brands use location services, QR codes, Augmented reality, electronic papers and have taken the customer- brand relationship to an all-new high.

 

Take a look at this chart to see how engagement is changing over time (Source: Ernst & Young )

How engagment is changing over time

 

 

 

 

John is sitting at a café waiting for his first cup of coffee for the day at 8:00 am and his jawbone buzzes indicating a call, he answers it, discusses work while working on his iPad, makes a few appointments through his collaborative calendar and leaves the café. He walks to the car and gets to work, begins his day. His mind jogger app reminds him of his activities every half and hour while his device buzzes him of the steps he’s walked and how much is left to attain his goal for the day. On his way back home, Siri guides him to make a reservation at a plush restaurant, while Navman shows him the way to the nearest Florist, finishes a few calls on his Bluetooth speaker blaring out of his Peugeot and he’s out for his date.

 

 This just got more real and better with the introduction of Google Glass. Our experiences as customers are enhanced, because of small personal gestures, virtual assistants to bring a sense of familiarity while also making meaningful and lasting connections with the customers. They have moved beyond falling for mass marketing techniques to one of segmented marketing techniques. Allowing the user to interact with the brand and make their choices of sticking to the brand or move.

google-glasses-v-2

 

(Image credit via- www.techinfo2.com)

 Augmented reality is changing the future

 

(Image via http://www.augmentedrealitytrends.com)

 

According to E&Y , these are the expectations of GEN Y- they represent over a quarter of the world’s population and have significant ideas and are equally impossible to ignore.

 

-They seek transformational change

-To connect with consumers and employees, companies cannot just look good- it has to be good

-They seek transparency

-Visible peer recommendations in decision-making

-Immediate feedback

-Flexibility

 

 

So what do you as consumers, business owners, students, teachers, moms, do? You can effectively gather an understanding of how technology, digitization can work for you? What must you do to create a seamless operation model that connects to suppliers, partners, and employees, B2B?

 

Anticipate what the competition is doing and beat them to it ! Use it to enhance your current model, transform your method of working, and invent a new business model if you have to. If you are a supplier or a partner, see how you can improve work times, work with lower budgets; provide end-to-end solutions for your supply chain process.

 

Digitization has emerged as a key economic driver. It accelerates growth, promotes cultures, facilitates employment across different sectors and of course improves productivity!

 

Whether you’re young or old, off you go to embracing digitization and making it work for you !

 

How has digitization changed your life? We’d love to hear from you!

 

-Social Pandora

 

The Impact of Digitization on everyday life-PART 1

Impact od Digitization.jpg

 

(Image credit – http://www.widernet.org)

Howdy!

We have been writing about Social Media; it’s benefits, posts on using each of the networking sites to your advantage and measuring your efforts. But as we helped more small to medium sized companies with their campaigns, we took a step back and pondered.

While the youth, the young adults of today with their selfies, text messages that read LOL, BTW, OTW, LMAO, ease of technological lingo, if you will, easily adapt to the constantly changing industry. We wonder, how have the others fared? New technology or change in general is disruptive. And with the pace it is currently at, it has posed a fair few challenges to businesses.

While wondering, we had our team meet a few people- students, university staff, office goers, business owners, café workers, content writers, stay at home moms and work from home employees and asked them how digitization has impacted their lives. The result was astonishing, to say the least. Digitization as we know it is a step ahead and greater than the Internet.

Impact of Digitization

(Image credit- http://www.saphana.com)
Most business owners we met had been running the business for 35-40 years and it is safe to say that they knew what they were doing. But, it’s the digitization boom that’s created an imperative for digital innovation, technological upgrades and better engagement. Now while businesses have realized this, some often find it hard to pursue that innovation and disrupt their functioning business model for one that offers a more competitive advantage.

In the harsh world of marketing, if you don’t do it, your competition will beat you to it! So business owners need to deal with the challenge of understanding the technology, engage with suppliers, partners, clients, even employees digitally while also paying extra attention to the customers.

To begin, change needs to be from the top level and work downwards, and extend to all the departments. Developing a digital strategy that is robust, comprehensive, innovative should extend beyond the IT and operations department. It’s got to be cross- channel and should enable continuous engagement with all your stakeholders.

Globally, there have been major changes in the online world. Decline of the cost of media distribution, introduction of broadband has made content available to millions and on a commercial level.
Creating user –generated content which has paved way for companies to change their advertising strategies allowing customers to participate in the usage and review of their products or services
Content marketing with the inclusion of photographs, images, videos, video blogs making it that much easier to connect with people, learn new things and find time to reflect
Web search itself has changed to allowing collaborative working and flexibility of searching for content that is now made easier to find.

Media companies aren’t the only ones reeling from these changes!

 

Information Overload

(Image credit via –www.thecybersec.co.uk)

Students have flocked to the Internet cafes, bought laptops to assist them in their education, there’s an increase in the consumption of data, allowing access to researched articles, international data on topics, broader perspectives – all while shaping the individual! The impact of this is a real time global exchange of information between multiple connected devices-phones, tablets, PC’s, SMART TV’s

Group of college students studying at campus

(Image credit via ihworld.com)
Head over to PART 2 of this article to understand the influence of new emerging technology on today’s world and the latest research that shows what Generation Y expects!

 

 

 

 

What you need to know to be a successful entrepreneur

Chase the vision, not the money, the money will end up following you “ – Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO

 

Mark Zucherberg, Richard Branson, Reggie Brown, Evan Spiegel are all names you’ve heard of or even people who you’ve looked up to. Entrepreneurs come in different shapes and sizes, educational and economic backgrounds but there’s not many things that are common except for the passion, perseverance, never say die attitude and the ability to take risks that comes with the job.

In order to get to where they are, you can bet your bottom dollar that they’ve faced hardships, made numerous mistakes, and tried various things before they perfected their business.

 

The difference between most entrepreneurs, you will notice is their attitude. Either to persevere or to give up when faced with adversity, to not let competition pull you down or shut shop when there are a few bad reviews. It takes a lot more to be a good entrepreneur.

 

What makes them successful?

 They:

  1. Figure out what they want to do; and take baby steps towards their goal
  2. Pause in-between steps to see how far they’ve come and reassess their next step. It’s more a routine of Act.Pause.Learn.Pause.Build.Pause.Repeat
  3. Deal with uncertainty and contingency by experience and not just theoretical plans that have been put in place.
  4. Put yourself out there and try new things and at some point you will figure out what you’re good at and stick to it.
  5. See over every detail of your business. It’s good to look at the big picture but also the smaller details. Especially the case when you’re just starting out.
  6. Never give up-No matter what! They’ll always be moments that bring you down, leave you faithless and competitors will try to cut you off. But, remember why you started your business and stick to it.
  7. Get out of your comfort zone– It’s important to stay scared in the beginning. Some call it staying hungry and some call it staying scared. Either way, the sentiment’s bottom line is the same. Which is to use it as an important motivator.  Go outside of your comfort zone, learn to survive, grow and evolve.
  8. Create what the market needs: This is an important thing you will find most entrepreneurs doing. There are a lot of people with a lot of ideas out there but not every idea is a lucrative business to pursue. If you begin with a current market need, you have a market that is already present with the people who need what you have.
  9. Don’t begin by thinking you will be rich and famous: Believe it or not, entrepreneurs don’t’ have money, success or fame as their goal but rather the by-product.  They begin by working on their product or service, perfecting it until they’re the best at it. The fame, fortune and success will follow on it’s own.
  10. Push yourself harder
  11.                   Learn to finance your business well: Begin with sufficient financing before you move on
  12.        Manage your time well: Remember that time is money
  13.               Learn to function as teams and play to everyone’s strengths
  14.                   Turn Obstacles into assets
  15.                 Learn to say ‘NO’ when the need arises. It’s essential to say no to some great ideas in order to get to the brilliant ones.

 

“The value of an idea lies in the using of it.”—Thomas Edison, General Electric Co-founder

 

 We hope that these 15 tips from successful entrepreneurs and business owners will help motivate you and give you  the ideas you need to keep surging ahead.

 

“Make every detail perfect and limit the number of details to perfect.” —Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder

There’s nothing wrong with staying small. You can do big things with a small team.” —Jason Fried, 37signals founder

What tips do you use for your business? Let us know!

-Social Pandora