Monthly Archives: November 2017

What Is The Barbell Strategy?

In this post you’ll learn the answers for the questions: what is the barbell strategy about?

 

One of the biggest things that makes the difference between winners and losers in the world of business is strategy. The quality of the offered product/service has its own part, but often, we see businesses with less quality in comparison to that of the competition outperforming it, in important factors like sales and brand recognition. What causes such a thing to happen in the first place is unclear, but if we were to bet on one thing, that thing would be strategy.

A strategy is a form of bet, whose biggest promise is the result we seek. That result in business could be something as simple as keeping the doors open and preventing them from ever closing, or something as ambitious as dominating the market and taking the places of current leaders. One famous strategy that can be both applied in business, investing and life in general is the barbell strategy.

 

What is the barbell strategy?

The barbell strategy is in simple terms, about betting on opposite, or almost opposite sides of a situation, and nothing on the middle. As taught on the books “The black swan” and “Antifragile” by Nicolas Taleb, its important to minimize our exposure to negative black swans, while increasing our exposure to the positive ones. Its about avoiding the actions/bets that can “kill us” on the advent that everything goes wrong, and betting on the ones whose returns are not only just high but uncertainly so, on the advent that everything goes well. This is what the barbell strategy can do for you and your business.

 

By taking both hyper conservative and hyper speculative actions, one can take advantage of black swan events, instead of being a victim of them.

Business and investing

For investors this could mean putting most of the money in the super safe investments, and a small percentage of it in highly speculative ones. In the worst case, only a small portion of the portfolio is lost, while on the best case scenario on the other hand, it could mean growth of immeasurable nature. In business this could mean, spending more resources in already market approved products/services, while allocating a small amount of the same available resources in exploring new and untested ideas.

For the business world, since only a small amount of the resources is invested on the new and untested products, we can borrow from the lean startup methodology; Which advises us to create a minimum viable version of the product, and happens to require less resources by nature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is all about knowledge and experience πŸ˜‰

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What Is The Meaning Of Outsourcing?

In this post you’ll learn the answers for the questions :what is the meaning of outsourcing? and what are the advantages/disadvantages?

With the creation and spread of the internet, entrepreneurs gained enormous advantages in various parts of business, one of them being marketing. The huge number of users and growing, also gives to entrepreneurs the chance to easily go global, as long as they have their infrastructures ready for scaling. There is another, and probably more important part of business that greatly benefited from the internet and the evolution we see occurring on the business world: product development; and the game changer in product development is outsourcing.

What is the meaning of outsourcing?

In simple terms, outsourcing is the simple act of delegating certain parts of a business like product development, marketing, or sales, to another company that focuses solely on that specific area. The result is a flexibility that comes from the chance to benefit from high quality services inside the business, without having to develop them yourself.
Notice that for product development, only parts of it, and not the totality are usually outsourced.

A social media company could, for example, offer their social media management services for a monthly/annual fee.

Among the benefits of outsourcing are:

-More time spent on the core areas of the business.

-Getting 5 star services without having to build them yourself.

-The money that would be used building your own marketing department. Or the design of the packages of the product is saved and implemented somewhere else.

-Less man power required, etc.

 

Among the disadvantages of outsourcing are:

-It requires money.

-Loss of control in the outsourced areas of the business.

-It requires time to get high quality services.

-There are parts you’ll not be able to outsource

Summary

So, depending on the business one can only outsource up to a point. If you own a blog for example: you can outsource the entire writing part, which happens to represent the whole of the business without much effort. If you own an airplane factory on the other hand, the number of parts of the business you can easily outsource to some other business is greatly reduced. Sometimes however, one finds out that he can build a better version of the part pf the business he’s trying to outsource than what exists on the market. For these cases the best solution is usually to not outsource even if it’s more expensive to do so, and even making a new business off that area of the business.

It is all about knowledge and experience πŸ˜‰

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Important Work Habits

In this post you’ll learn about the 3 of the most important work habits you can apply today.

 

Work is the area of life we spend a big part of our day to day lives at. It is also area of life from which the money we need for our expenses comes from and for the ones who own their own businesses, it is also the part of the day, where dreams are made. So, it’s a no-brainer, that since habits are what we are made of, that knowing and cultivating the best ones at work is very important.


 

Important work habits

The application of the best work habits, not only makes life easier in terms of replacing the most stressful decisions for pre-programmed rules, but they also help with productivity. Below are three of the most important work habits everybody should start implementing today.

 

1. Focus on the one thing

On the book ” The one thing” by Gary Keller, the author guides the reader to ask himself/herself the following question on the beginning of each day: “What is the one thing, such that by doing it everything else will be easier on unnecessary?”. This question forces us to eliminate the not so important actions for the day, and focus on the one thing that will probably have the greatest impact on the pursuit of the bigger goal.

 

2. Work for at least 3 hours without interruption

This one comes from the book “Deep Work” by Cal Newport. Constant interruptions during the day are one of the things that decreases the overall level of productivity. It is When we focus on work for long chunks of time, that we actually get to have things done as well as we get in the famous state known as ” The zone”. As mentioned on the book “The rise of superman” by Steven Kotler, interruption of the state of flow usually require 15 minutes or more to get back to it. This is IF we get back to it. The benefits of tapping into the state are vast, and go from: an increase in creativity and problem solving, to a greater level of engagement at work and overall happiness with our lives. To be able to do that, one has to create an environment that allows him to work without interruption.

 

3. Be consistent

Consistency is another powerful habit to create. The reason for that is the fact that it is through consistency that one can form and maintain new habits. According to research by the University college London, it takes approximately 66 days to form a new habit. So, with a minimum amount of consistency, we can establish new life changing and life lasting work habits.

Another reason is that sometimes, on our way to achieving the big picture goal, some of the work has to be done over and over again in order to get what we want. Just like exercising, working well once is good, but the benefits/results compound over time.

 

It is all about knowledge and experience πŸ˜‰

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The Black Swan In Busines

 

In this post you’ll learn the answers for the questions: what does the black swan in business mean? and why does it matter?

The world of business is often compared to a battle scene or an African jungle, where it is all about killing or being killed. The competition exists in virtually any market, and the chances of finding none in any niche is usually close to none. But there is something that can be even more dangerous than any competitor in the business world: a black swan.

The black swan in business

A black swan is said to be an unexpected event that causes massive changes once it occurs, and after we tend to inappropriately rationalize it. The explanation is usually wrong, since the event was likely to be due to pure chance. On the book The black swan by Nassim Taleb, the author mentions two kinds of black swans: positive black swans and negative black swans. The difference between the two being the quality of the impact of the event being positive or negative to the ones affected by it.

A positive black swan for example, could be something like starting the biggest company ever overnight and without any previous experience.

A negative black swan on the other hand, could be having all your money on the bank magically disapear for no apparent reason.

The one thing that characterizes black swans is the fact that the are totally unexpected. One can’t say that the have low probabilities of occurring because the probabilities can’t be accuratelly measured.

 

Why does it matter?

In business the one thing that can be worse than the worst competitor is a black swan, since the later has the power to wipe out an entire market. Applying the teachings of “The black swan”, in business one should make decisions/choices that minimize the exposure to negative black swans, while maximizing the exposure to the positive ones. If there is even a chance that your actions could lead to the complete failure of the business no matter how small, then you probably shouldn’t, and the reverse is also true.

 

Because positive black swans can either happen one day or never happen at all, basing our reasoning on possible probabilities of it is unreasonable. The best action to take is to take any chances that promise enormous benefits at best, and a neutral to little damage outcome at worst.

 

 

 

It is all about knowledge and experience πŸ˜‰

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The Importance Of Content Length

In this post you’ll learn about the importance of content length and what to do about it.

Traffic is one of the most sought after things on the world of online business. The formula is simple: more traffic + engaging content = more potential for money making. So, in order to increase the odds of success in a website, the tendency is to do as much as possible to increase the level of traffic. To do that there exist dozens and dozens of strategies, and everybody looking for an edge might feel at least once, tempted to even try the black hat or Grey hat forms of search engine optimization. One thing many tend to ignore is the content part of the formula and content length can have a great weight on your rankings.

The importance ofΒ content length

Search engines are content looking machines. They are always looking for fresh and high quality content to present to their visitors: the search engine users. The problem is that teaching a computer to tell whether a certain piece of content is of quality or not is a difficult problem. As much technology and intelligence the search engines of today have, they still find a hard time to tell if a piece of content is good. They update their algorithms regularly, and with time they will certainly get closer and closer to that ability. One thing Google looks for when evaluating a piece of content is length.

 

In short, the greater the length of the content, the greater the odds that it will rank high on the search results. A 300 words post about “how to make money online” is probably less informative than a 1000 or 2000 word post on the same topic. The same applies to books, papers as well as courses, and that’s how the search engines think. There is certainly much more into it, but writing longer in length content is definitely a good strategy to apply on your high ranking efforts πŸ™‚

 

It is all about knowledge and experience πŸ˜‰

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Books About Flow

In this post you’ll learn 2 of the best books about flow.

The ability to bring flow to our day to day lives is often correlated with an increase on the level of productivity. The increase in productivity that flow brings causes as a result also an increase in the odds of success. The more productive and creative one is at work, the greater the quality of the work which often results in an increase in opportunities and recognition.

Innovation is another aspect that greatly benefits from the famous state known as “The zone”. As mentioned by Steven Kotler on the book “The rise of superman”, people in this state tend to be more creative, and creativity is at the very least a part of what drives the innovation machine. So, it’s no wonder that flow is becoming one of the most sought out state in the various areas of life, including on the field of business.
As you can learn on the books below, flow can be seen a natural performance booster.

Books about flow

We’ve all experienced the zone or at the very least a hint of it. That moment where everything just seems to go effortlessly well. We think about it and hope that our lives were made of more of those moments…. and the reason why most of us don’t get to be in the zone as frequently as we wish is because we don’t know how to access the state.

Just anything in life, the best way to control it is to learn how it works, and books are certainly a good place to start. Below are 2 amazing books on the subject.

1. The Rise of superman

The rise of superman by Steven Kotler is arguably one of the best books on the subject. It focuses on all aspects of the state from its moment to moment chemistry, to the way it affects us psychologically on the long term. The reason why it’s the first on the list is because it’s a comprehensive book in nature, while being entertaining. The information is presented in any easy to understand form, it has plenty of examples, and it also touches on the subject of group flow.

One of the biggest take away is the fact that flow is not only hackable, but that it also has a concrete and almost predictable structure. That structure being: struggle -> release -> The zone -> Recovery.

2. Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

The second book on the list is Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. The reason why this is another of the must-read book is that apart from the wisdom it gives, the author is known to be the father of flow. He found on his research that flow is not only a desirable state to be in for its own sake, but also the fact that it happens to be essential for happiness. He found that the happiest people are the ones whose days are packed with flow prone activities. Such activities, would be the kind that one does for their own sake without any other ulterior motive, and that the goals are clear, while also posing some degree of challenge.

The order with which you read the books above is irrelevant, as long as you read them both. While the rise of superman is more about the science “The zone” and an almost step-by-step explanation of how to get there, “Flow” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is more about how to find more flow prone activities, how do they influence happiness, as well as how to make an activity more flow prone.

Summary

A better understanding on flow works is a very powerful thing. You not only find a new way to be more productive, creative and resourceful, which is important in business, but also to be happier πŸ™‚

 

It is all about knowledge and experience;)

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Books For Success In Business

In this post you’ll learn about 3 amazing books for success in business and why you should read them.

 

Success is the one thing everybody has in common. It doesn’t really matter what the target is, but the fact that getting it, whatever that thing is, will make us fell accomplished is common to all of us. Success could be in love or with friendships, it could be about traveling around the world as well as exploring only one city… It could be about money or the ability to live with little and still derive happiness from it, or even about conveying how much we couldn’t care less about being successful. Success is ultimately about getting that thing we always dreamed of… whatever it is, and one way to increase your odds of success in any area of life is by reading more about it.

 

Books for success in business

There exist millions and millions of books published up to date and growing. With the limited time we all have each day, as well as in each lifetime, it would be impossible to read them all, even if it were the only thing we did in all 24 hours of each day. So apart from reading more, the most important thing to do is to read the best, and below are three of the best books you can read about business as well as life in general

1. The one thing

The one thing is one of those life changing books whose wisdom applies not only to business, but to pretty much any area of life. The raw idea of the book is to focus on the one thing that such that by doing it, everything will be easier or unnecessary. It’s about simplifying the planning and decision-making process. Managing your schedule becomes less of finding a way to fit as much as you can in a day, but instead about finding what really matters each day and making it a priority. The reason why this is the first book of the list is that the way one uses is time each day, is a good predictor of productivity and productivity a good predictor(direct/indirect) of success. This book truly teaches how to manage time.

 

2. The Purple Cow

Another amazing book is purple cow. In business a very important thing is product development. The way one comes up with the product idea, and decides whether it should be turned into a product or not, is crucial. The difference between amazing ideas and the doomed ones is very thin these days. It’s common for an idea that even the most experienced minds considered worthless, to thrive and even dominate an entire market almost overnight. The explanations that come afterwards are usually among: “The world is changing rapidly” or “The times are not the same”. In the purple cow the main idea is to not focus time and money in marketing the product/idea, but to instead focus that same available time and money in coming up with a purple cow. A purple cow is a product that happens to be so amazing that almost automatically stands out from the competition. The goal is not to come up with a mere improvement of what already exists, but to come up with something 10x better.

 

3. The lean startup

This is the last, but not necessarily the least important. The reason why it came third was all due to the focus of each book. From the first to the third, we see a narrowing in focus, from any area of life, to solely to business. The lean startup is an amazing book to reflect about the way one builds a business. The main teaching is learning. The idea is to build a business around learning, instead of guessing. It’s about experimenting with our assumptions in the same way scientist carefully studies his hypothesis, and tries at all costs to get nothing but the truth. The lean startup focuses on the build, measure, learn to cycle, which removes to the mind or at least tries to, the idea that one knows what the costumer really wants without testing. It’s abut learning through trial and error.

 

Summary

There is much more into the books above. So, I advise you to read them at your own pace and absorb as much as you can. They are certainly worth it πŸ™‚

 

 

It is all about knowledge and experience;)

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what is the status quo bias?

In this post you’ll learn the answers for the questions: what is the status quo bias? and why does it matter?

 

As mentioned in several posts, cognitive biases can be seen as mistakes in judgment/reasoning, that arise from certain rules of thumb that our brains have to shorten the decision-making process. If a lion was just in front of us thousands and thousands of years ago, taking a second or two to decide whether the creature is dangerous or not would mean certain death. So, the small rules of thumb and quick decision-making mechanisms exist for a reason, but sometimes they lead us to mistakes in judgment. One of these of mistakes is known as the status quo bias.

What is the status quo bias?

The status quo bias is in a few words the tendency to prefer things to stay/be the same. We are creatures of habit, and this is the reason why we can sometimes be resistant to change.

Change might sound like an adventure in the voice of politicians, but the truth is that on our day to day lives, it can be scarier than we let it out. The familiar is safe and predictable. Change forces us to learn new things and deal with new and possibly stressful situations.

 

Why does it matter?

On the business world, ideas are the one thing that probably have the biggest impact on the degree of future success of the business. We’ve seen countless stories of amazing ideas making people with little to no money rich overnight.

Sometimes great ideas are not perceived as Great at the moment. Sometimes their greatness is only “accepted” by the public years/decades after the author first mentions it. One probable reason for that can be the status quo bias. The tendency to love the familiar can cause Great ideas/products to be rejected for the simple fact that they challenge the familiar. When we learn them we “pull back” and become defensive, and the only way we can accept them is by acknowledging that tendency in us.

The big problem however, is that loving the familiar is what comes natural to most of us. So, for products/services/ideas that challenge the status quo there are at least 2 strategies that can help them on being more accepted by the public:

1. Wrapping them with the familiar and the known.

2. Introducing them slowly and giving time to time.

 

It is all about knowledge and experience;)

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What Is Link Juice In SEO?

In this post you’ll learn the answers for the questions: what is link juice in SEO? and why does it matter for rankings in the search results?

 

In Search engine optimization also known as SEO, the one thing everybody talks about when the subject is ranking high on Google or any other search engines, is backlinks. The old wisdom says that the greater the number of backlinks a website possesses, the greater the odds that it will rank high on the search results. This way of thinking might have worked in the past, but with the evolution of quick an unnatural techniques for link building, google added a new criterion when evaluating the worth of a website. The new but not so new criteria is called link juice.

 

 

What is link juice in SEO?

Link juice is in a few words the weight/worthiness/value of a certain hyperlink. In the past it was easy to simply create a network of websites and link them to one as an attempt to rank higher on the search results. So, to eliminate that, Google also started to pay more attention to the links themselves and their sources. In SEO, the more valuable links(the ones with the greatest “juice”) are the links that come from high authority websites. Those are the websites that earned their own place and respect on their target niche. So, a link coming from a brand new website is said to have less influence that a link that comes from an authority website.

 

Why does it matter for rankings?

The reason why link juice matters for rankings as you probably know by now is that it makes it more difficult for people to try to trick Google into ranking them high through link schemes. Another reason why link juice matters is because it assigns a weight to the vote that links represent. A link is a way of telling to the reader that ” I give you my word that there you can find what you’re looking for”.

 

Summary

The quality of the links to a website is in essence the reason why one website A, with less backlinks in comparison to another website B, can still rank higher all things being equal(age, content, quality, etc). So, don’t look only for volume on your link building efforts. Try your best to get them from the best sources possible, which means getting them from high authority sources.

 

It is all about knowledge and experience πŸ˜‰

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What Is Competitor Analysis?

In this post you’ll learn the answers for the questions : what is competitor analysis? and how does it look like on the online business world?

 

The ease with which one can raise money and start a business these days, is probably one of the reasons why it can be difficult for anyone to start a business in a niche that doesn’t already have hundreds if not thousands of competitors. The exception to the rule are the cases in which through massive innovation, the entrepreneur creates a new market/niche by himself. Apart from that, there will almost always be some competition. So, after you become aware of that comes the urge to find ways to be better than the competition, and if possible take what they have. It comes the need to outperform them, and maybe even to carve a monopoly of our own. Another strategy to survive in the business world is competitor analysis.

 

What is competitor analysis?

In simple terms competitor analysis is nothing more than, as the name implies, the analysis of one’s competitors. It’s about looking/trying to figure out what they are doing and take advantage of it. Sometimes the strategies underlying a competitor’s actions are not clear and in extreme cases it’s common to resort to spies as a mechanism to figure them out. In other cases it’s all crystal clear, but maybe because of some advantage of they have, the strategy is either hard to implement or even impossible. Whatever it is, it always pays off to know what your competitors are doing, since it can give you a clearer view of your position on the industry, and that’s priceless.

On the online business world we also see some kind of competitor analysis strategies, and below are three of them.

 

 

1. Take advantage of Alexa

Alexa.com is a website that above all tells how popular a website is. This is done by evaluating the degree of traffic it gets, its global ranking among other websites, audience geography(where the visitors come from), as well as website engagement. This is a powerful tool to evaluate your website, but even more so to study the competition. One of the biggest pluses of this tool, is that it also tells you what keywords the website is getting ranked for.

 

2.Google

Google is another tool that can help you with competitor analysis. The reason for this is that as you probably know, Google can tell you who your competitors are as well as their rankings in real time. It’s by actually visiting the websites that popup on the search results that you can develop your own “theories” of what they might be doing right.

 

3. Social media

“Stalking” your competitors on the social media is another powerful strategy. This is true for any kind of business.

These days businesses all tend to go online, and the simplest reason for that is that the social media is good for marketing. The length and frequency of their posts among other small things they do, can be pointers to the possible causes of their success in the virtual world. Some businesses are about teaching people how to have a successful business. For these cases, look more at what they really do, not what they say they do/tell you to do.

 

In summary while looking at what your competitors are doing and copying it might be useful in the short and long term, an even more powerful tool is innovation. When you spend most of your time thinking of new ways to innovate in your products/business, you get to benefit from its results more and earlier than your competitors. Just think of Apple and the iPod/iPad as an example.

 

It is all about knowledge and experience πŸ˜‰

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