8 Leadership Qualities Investors Notice

lion leader

When trying to get investors for your startup, you need to present a great idea.

But potentially even more important is how you present yourself as a leader.

Martin Zwilling recently wrote about this investing concept for Forbes, saying:

“As an Angel investor in early stage startups, I’ve long noticed my peers’ apparent bias toward the strength and character of the founding entrepreneurs, often overriding a strong solution to a painful problem with a big opportunity. In other words, the entrepreneur quality is more important than the idea.”

The thought behind this is that a great entrepreneur has a better chance of making a decent idea work than a mediocre entrepreneur has of making a great idea work. Whether you believe this thought process is actually true or not, it can certainly have an impact on your odds of finding investors.

And as it turns out, that investing philosophy might actually hold some weight. In his article, Zwilling cited research by leadership consultant Fred Kiel, who found a link between leaders who received high scores for character and the success of their businesses.

Kiel identified eight common traits that CEOs with high character rankings had in common. These are traits you may seek to emulate when trying to attract investors, as well as throughout the process of running a successful business. They include:

  • High moral principals: Leaders should have integrity, responsibility, forgiveness and compassion.
  • A worldview of positive beliefs: More effective leaders tend to see and express things in a more positive light than their pessimistic counterparts.
  • Mental complexity: Those with cognitive complexity tend to notice subtle differences and even challenge their own ideas.
  • An openness to critical feedback: High scoring leaders tend to seek out and listen to critical feedback from others, which can help them make better business decisions.
  • An enjoyment of time spent with mentors: Similarly, seeking the advice of one or more mentors can be invaluable even to those at the CEO level.
  • Self-determination: Leaders with this quality tend to continually work toward improving their skills and thus their business.
  • An understanding of their life story: Those who have a clear perception of their life story tend to have a better understanding of the events that influence and shape their development.
  • An acceptance of support from others since childhood: Those who have sought and accepted help from others, including parents, teachers and peers, since childhood are more likely to feel accepted and respected. They are also more likely to be able to pass on those same lessons to others.

Lion and Lioness Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “8 Leadership Qualities Investors Notice” was first published on Small Business Trends

from Blogger http://evangelinagius.blogspot.com/2015/05/8-leadership-qualities-investors-notice.html

What Is a QR Code and How Does It Work?

qr code concept

Internet fads constantly come and go, but one that has stubbornly stuck around, despite repeated incorrect predictions of its imminent demise, is the QR (Quick Response) code.

So what is a QR code and why is it important?

If you’ve never heard the term before, you may be scratching your head right now.  While the more Internet savvy may already know, for those who don’t, here’s what a common QR code looks like:

qr code sample

Perhaps a bit odd looking at first, this code is something which small business owners and entrepreneurs need to be aware of since it is increasingly becoming an important tool. The QR code is basically a natural extension of the conventional barcode, which has been around since the mid 1970s on everything from supermarket groceries to large container shipments. It was designed in 1994 for Japanese auto-makers to track car parts. Now it is being used by big companies and small businesses.

Advantages of the QR Code for Your Business

The QR code has many advantages over a conventional barcode, however. The main advantage is that you can store up to a hundred times more information on a QR code than on a conventional horizontal barcode. In addition, QR codes can be scanned from any direction for 360 degrees. This makes them easier for your device to read and lessens the possibility of background interference.

The third main advantage is that from a marketing point of view, the code’s appearance is unique and interesting, increasing the likelihood of engaging the customer in any campaign where it might be deployed.

A QR code reader can be downloaded onto a smartphone by anyone, and they are mostly free of charge. This means that any customer can walk into your business with his or her smartphone, and scan a QR code which you have generated. An Android user can use something like QR Code Reader, and an iPhone user can download the Quick Scan app. Both are free of charge.

There are many websites allowing you to generate QR codes and again, most are free of charge. You can then download them to your computer for printing. A Google search for “QR code generator” brings up countless results, each offering different options. So it is simply a case of selecting the options that works best for you.

Possible QR Code Applications

Now, let’s look at some business-related scenarios where you would use QR codes.

  • Use a QR Code to direct a customer to the URL for your website, Facebook, Twitter or other social media page.
  • Use it to share a text message (anything from “Happy Holidays!” to “Have you seen what we have upstairs?)
  • Use it as a discount code to be taken to the checkout counter for 10 percent off, for example.
  • Use it on your business card with your contact details embedded inside the code.
  • Use it to link to a Google Maps location for your new store location perhaps.
  • Use it to link to a YouTube video or channel perhaps demonstrating new products or funny company videos.
  • Use it to link to an app store download (perhaps of your company’s latest eCommerce app?)
  • Use it to embed pricing for your products as an alternative for more conventional price tags.
  • Put it on your website’s “contact us” page allowing people scan it and get your contact information direct on their phones.
  • Put the code on the tables and walls of your restaurant as an easy way for customers to send off a Foursquare or Facebook status update.
  • Put a code on your restaurant’s takeout menu allowing customers to scan it with their phones and instantly call to place an order.
  • Put a QR code at the end of promotional videos taking viewers to a landing page on your website.

Hopefully, you can see by now the advantages of using QR codes in your business. The codes can help you store a tremendous amount of information and provide a creative new way of engaging customers. Encourage them to get their phones out and start scanning. Offer an incentive of a discount available only to customers through the code.

Not Everyone is Convinced of QR Code Value

Of course, there are still some marketing experts who believe that QR codes have missed the boat entirely. Marketing strategist Anise Smith thinks that the time for QR codes was five years ago, and the lack of popularity in smartphones back then, compared to today, severely hampered the possibility of QR codes seriously taking hold.

“We are currently at a point that the technology needed for QR codes to succeed is in place” said Smith, in an interview with Small Business Trends. “Unfortunately these elements were not in place as QR Codes started to gain in popularity. Had they been in place, QR Codes would have been a game changer. The time for QR codes is now in the past because there’s now technology like Augmented Reality which presents much better technological capabilities than QR codes.”

Still, if you look around you, you’ll see QR codes just about everywhere. Though as GigaOM points out, not all application of QR codes uses the technology to its best advantage.

For example, the site mentions QR codes that have been seen on the backs of buses where they are impossible to scan, or QR codes linking to websites not optimized for mobile devices.

Perhaps lack of more thoughtful QR code marketing strategies up until now has hampered the technology’s more widespread adoption in the business community. But that may not mean that QR codes are obsolete as a tool for small business. Consider the above applications for QR codes in your business. Creative use of the technology may still give you unexpected advantages when engaging your customers and boosting sales.

QR Codes Photo via Shutterstock, 
QR Code Sample Photo via Shutterstock,

This article, “What Is a QR Code and How Does It Work?” was first published on Small Business Trends

from Blogger http://evangelinagius.blogspot.com/2015/05/what-is-qr-code-and-how-does-it-work.html

“Confronting Capitalism” Is More Confronting to Extremists Than Capitalists

confronting capitalismWhen I opened the envelope from the publisher that contained this review copy by famed marketing professor and economist Philip Kotler, I almost dropped it — the way a vampire might drop a silver cross!

The brazen title coupled with everything I thought I knew about Philip Kotler was enough to have me stumble over to the kitchen table and sit down to open the book and see exactly what was inside.

Is Philip Kotler The Modern Day Martin Luther?

In “Confronting Capitalism: Real Solutions for a Troubled Economic System,” Kotler puts on his economist’s hat and takes a firm stand as a “capitalist with a heart” as he outlines 14 major shortcomings of capitalism.

If you, like me, see yourself as a market-driven, bootstrapping entrepreneur, you may be tempted to skip this book because you think that it will go against everything you stand for. It doesn’t. In fact, Kotler is still the same marketing master you grew up admiring.

More than ever before, he’s writing on behalf of all business; large corporations as well as one-person firms, mom-and-pop shops, small businesses and everyone in between.

As he goes on to detail exactly where our current system of capitalism is failing its constituents and what to do about it, Kotler explains:

“The aim of a capitalistic society should be to create an economic system whose operation leads to a broad level of happiness and well-being in its citizens.”

What Makes “Confronting Capitalism” a Must-Read

You could say that Philip Kotler is a founding father of marketing. He’s written more than 50 books on marketing and marketing management over the last thirty years. I know this because I’ve used many of them throughout my undergraduate and graduate studies. He’s a distinguished professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

What isn’t as well known about Kotler (and it surprised me as well) was that he’s a trained economist and received his Masters Degree at the University of Chicago under Nobel Laureate and free-market evangelist Milton Friedman.

Kotler’s blend of marketing experience and expertise along with his firm foundation as a free-market economist gives this book the kind of insight into our economic system that is free of political pontification.

Shifting Conversations Back to The Purpose of Capitalism

Unlike so many politicians and media experts, Kotler’s only goal with “Confronting Capitalism” seems to be to bring the economic conversation back where it belongs — to the topic of making capitalism work better and generate more profit and well-being for everyone.

No matter what side of the aisle you’re on, I think you will find Kotler’s insights balanced and insightful.

Doing the Right Thing and Making Money are NOT Mutually Exclusive

In Chapter 4, Kotler addresses the increases in automation that have eliminated millions of low-level jobs. He cites an Oxford University study that estimates about 47 percent of today’s jobs could be automated.

What should we do about this? Here are some of his ideas:

  • Encourage entrepreneurship focused on new technologies.
  • Set up better retraining for the current workforce.
  • Bring together businesses and government groups at the local level to educate high school students to better understand the job market and make better choices.

Then, in Chapter 6 he addresses the environment. This is one of my favorite chapters because he shows that doing the right thing for the environment and making a profit are not mutually exclusive principles. He writes:

“There is a real need to convince businesses that sustainability is profitable and creates competitive advantage.”

Specifically, Kotler stresses a few important points.

  • There is a profit to be made in conserving energy.
  • More than forty global banks and many insurance companies demand proper examination of ecological costs as a condition of funding or coverage.
  • Most investments to reduce environmental costs are recouped within twelve to eighteen months.

Yay For Thoughtful, Insightful, Well Researched Writing

When I first opened this book, I was afraid of what I would see. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it or if I would get my 30-minute workout throwing the book across the room and having to get up and retrieve it.

Happily, I found “Confronting Capitalism” to be a haven of balanced reason. I think you will, too.

This article, ““Confronting Capitalism” Is More Confronting to Extremists Than Capitalists” was first published on Small Business Trends

from Blogger http://evangelinagius.blogspot.com/2015/05/confronting-capitalism-is-more.html

The Area Hardest Hit: Earthquake in Nepal (Dispatch 4)

Sindhupalchowk, a district three hours from Kathmandu, is in the opposite direction of the earthquake’s epicenter, but is one of the hardest hit areas, and one where aid has only recently arrived. In this dispatch, VICE News visits the district to speak with residents trying to recover their belongings, and a family whose sole breadwinner was killed when a building collapsed on him, as they wait for his body to be recovered from the rubble. Watch “The Search for Survivors (Dispatch 3)” – http://bit.ly/1zEsB3f In Photos: Funeral Pyres, Anger, and Slow Recovery in Nepal – http://bit.ly/1DSMLTd Read “Visiting the Nepali Villages Struggling with Staggering Losses in Earthquake Aftermath” – http://bit.ly/1AuXH80 Subscribe to VICE News here: http://bit.ly/Subscribe-to-VICE-News Check out VICE News for more: http://vicenews.com Follow VICE News here: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vicenews Twitter: https://twitter.com/vicenews Tumblr: http://vicenews.tumblr.com/ Instagram: http://instagram.com/vicenews More videos from the VICE network: https://www.fb.com/vicevideos
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from Blogger http://evangelinagius.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-area-hardest-hit-earthquake-in.html