Monthly Archives: March 2018

How to get over the fear of rejection

In this post you’ll find a few strategies you can implement today to your life and business to overcome the fear of rejection.

As residents of this planet, and as members of the human being community, rejection just like death and taxes, is one of those things that if you didn’t go through yet, you will eventually. This truth is even more emphasized on the world of business. Where one has to convince someone else that one’s idea/product/service really is of value. Here the “someone else” could be a potential investor, with the power to make the business grow beyond anything ever imagined, or the costumer himself. Whoever it is, the first thing we all need to do, just like on any persuasion related activity, is to make the offer. Its commonly said that in order to win the lottery one has to buy the ticket, and this also applies to sales and fund-raising. To make the sale or to get the money you need to “buy the ticket”. One big issue is that sometimes a rejection on any of those areas is so paralyzing that we prefer to avoid making the offer, even if doing so would make us likely to change our lives completely. So, along with creativity, risk taking, and hunger for knowledge and improvement, also comes the ability to deal with the fear of rejection for the traits that one has to have if one wants to become successful in business.

How to get over the fear of rejection

Getting over the fear of rejection just like smoking and pretty much any other bad habit is a hard thing to do. A big part of the reason why the ones who are not naturally “fearless” might remain fearful is that this fear is ingrained on the deep and mysterious code that makes us, us. Its natural to be fearful of rejection, and the natural is one of the hardest things to beat. There are however, a few things one can do to decrease or even eliminate this fear, so you can be more productive and successful on your ventures. Below are a few.

1. Expose yourself to rejection

One way to deal with pretty much any kind of fear is to expose yourself to it. This can be seen clearly on a few of the most “frightening” areas of life. Think about dating for example. Whoever decides to expose his/her feelings at the risk of being rejected, and possibly even ashamed in front of its peers, is the one who goes through the cocktail of emotions and neurochemicals that we interpret as approach anxiety. This anxiety can be paralyzing on the sense that instead of going after what he/she wants, the person prefers to give up on the possibility of a romantic future with the person/ kind of people they admire or aspire to be with. The ones who live inside this protective bubble of avoiding the kinds of people who intimidate them, never get to dominate, nor even become immune to such fears.

The most obvious solution is to, well, …, take the leap. The first few times you go through this, the cocktail of emotions can be quite overwhelming, but if you go through it long enough, eventually it all becomes easy. What we label as courage, could as well be nothing more than a dessencitization to the fear of the unknown. You’ve felt afraid or fearful so many times that, you don’t feel afraid or fearful anymore, in a similar fashion in which a team that never wins, eventually stops being disappointed after a loss. The loss just isn’t painful anymore.

Exposure Therapy

This strategy/ technique of dominating phobias by exposing yourself to them over time is a part of what goes by the name of exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is in simple words a technique to control or even dominate phobias by gradually exposing the patient to the source of the phobia without the expected negative result.

The reason why we fear things is in part, if not most of it due to the fact that we think that whatever we fear will do us harm. Sometimes we associate neutral day to day things as harmful, and when this happens, our ability to function well in society, as well as the ability to live a good life is impaired. In the end of the day, one of our primary goals on this earth is to life as long as possible, and this means that designing/developing strategies to make sure that we don’t die is important to us. The ability to fear and avoid the potentially harmful is one of those strategies.

Exposure therapy is in part about convincing that subconscious part of us that whatever think we think will do us harm is in fact harmless. By gradually exposing yourself to the source of your fear, while making sure that no harm is done during the exposure, our subconscious theory that A will do us harm loses its strength. In science, a theory no matter how good-looking, and how brilliant the brain behind it is, is refuted the moment evidence proving the opposite is brought to light.

We could argue that something similar happens to our minds. For a very long time we believe that we are not smart enough, until the moment someone tells us we’re smart. Five or 10 more people saying the same, and we completely lose the grip on our life long beliefs. This is, of course, assuming that we assume that they are being honest.

 

2. Watch the ted x channel by Till H. Grob- “How to become more confident”

I watched a ted x talk once whose subject of focus was precisely the fear of rejection. The speaker mentioned the fact that although his level of popularity and looks, he still felt somewhat paralyzed on social settings. We would think that even the physically fit and popular wouldn’t have any kind of social anxiety, but as we can see, this is not necessarily true. A part of what makes most of us somewhat anxious around other people is that we care about what they might be thinking about us. As explained in many books that touch on the subject of evolution and human psychology, being socially anxious can be said to be good to our primal ancestors’ survival. During that time, the ones who had a bad social game where at the risk of being rejected by their tribes, and being rejected by one’s tribe was synonym to death. Being left alone meant that one would without the protection of the tribe, be open to attacks by wild animals, as well as other tribes peoples. This, in addition to the fact that no one would want to mate with you, would not only mean that you’d be alone and likely to die, but also that your genes would die with you, since you wouldn’t be able to have kids without a mate.

So, one solution of evolution was to make us more self-aware, and aware of the current social rules of the tribe. The socially unacceptable was to be feared, and the social norms to be followed. Humans grew with a heightened sense of what the social rules where, and aware of how might others think of them through the lenses of those social rules. This is partially the reason why sleeping on the floor in a public place for 30s or more can be one of the most frightening experiences we can have, eventhough the odds that we will die from it are close to none.

 

<<Video here>>

3.Hypnosis

Hypnosis is one of those subjects which has gotten a fair amount of exposure to the mainstream public but still can be said to be underrated. Their reported powers to cure problems such as migraines, depression, as well as a vast array of chronic kinds of pain, show that its not the case that all kinds of problems can only be solved with a pill.

One other thing you can benefit from by taking advantage of hypnosis techniques, specially self-hypnosis, is to reduce your fear of rejection. Hypnosis is at its core a field in which one gets to work with the mind to solve problems. With the advance of science, and medicine, we have become more and more used to taking pills to pretty much any problem related to the human body/mind. When it comes to fear of rejection, there is certainly one diagnosis at play, which in turn results into a doctor prescribing a medicine which is likely to however solve your problem, also instigate some sort of addiction. Look at hypnosis as a kind of medicine with little to no side effects, where by changing how the mind looks at or perceived the things that frighten you, you get to enjoy a decreased sense of fear, as well as an increased sense of freedom of expression.

4.Reframe your fear

A part of what make us fearful of some things is the way we look at them. Dark is only fearful for a child because the child associates the dark with something dangerous to its existence. Teens fear the judgment of their peers largely because they Cary in mind the idea that being judged by them will mean that they will never be loved/ appreciated by anybody on the future. Many men and women spend lots of money and time in front of the mirror for the “fear” of looking unattractive to potential mates, and so on. The thing about fear is that in order for something to “earn the right” to be fearful, that thing must matter to us in some way, or at the very least, affect something that matters to us. Often, what matters to us does so not because we genuinely saw value on it, but largely that we were told by someone else that those things matter.

Think about success and family. Success is a relative term for all of us, until someone gives us the definition that, lets say, making a million dollars is what it means to be successful. For most of us if not all, family and bonding with parents is vital to our lives. The problem is that for some people, this idea only makes part of their set of core beliefs after they hear it from someone else. Before that family wasn’t as important, nor making a million dollars was a representation of success.

Same happens with our fears. By changing the way we look at things, as well as the weight we give to them, we can also change the way we interact with them. One way we could change our fear of rejection is by acknowledging the fact that there is over 7 billion people on this planet. Which means that looking at things from this perspective, no one single rejection carries a large weight. In dating this idea makes you more confident because you become aware that there are lots of opportunities for dating, and in business, this idea makes you more confident because instead of assuming that business opportunities are scarce, you become aware of the opposite.

5. Be aware that its probably not that big of a deal

On one innovation and entrepreneurship class one speaker came to give the class a lesson, and the one thing she said that I still remember to this date, was that university students tend to catastrophize their current situation, and assume that the first failures they go through are a representation of what their future would look like. Her lesson was: “chances are that everything will be alright”. I know, I know, I’m pretty sure that if you’re old enough you’ve probably heard this kind of advice thousands of times over, but the truth is that our brains are designed to pay more attention to the possibility that something so wrong will happen to us on the near and far away future that that thing will cause us to die. More often than not our fears are overrated, and this doesn’t mean that what we fear is what’s going to happen, but more of a “what-if” protective measure ingrained deep into our brains. Even if you do get rejected, chances are that for whatever you were trying this is not the last chance you’ll ever have. In life, as we all seen countless times, there is such a thing as second chances.

Summary

A part of what goes in our fear of rejection is the weight we give to it. Sometimes the fear is not so much for the rejection itself, but more for the embarrassment we think would result from it. So, as you’ve probably seen at some point or another, the ones who tend to care less about what other people think about them tend to be the ones who are perceived to be more social, and bold. The moment we stop caring as much about what other people see or what they might be thinking of us, we also get the freedom that comes from saying what we want to say, and do what we want to do.

 

It is all about knowledge and experience πŸ˜‰

Leave a comment below

Strategies to become more influential

In this post you’ll find a few strategies you can implement today to make you a more influential person.

We live in a world in which the ability to influence other people is seen as synonymous with power. It doesn’t really matter whether you have wealth or not, but if you’re have to influence a large following, this could quickly translate into the wildest of the riches. I’m sure we all have a story or two of a person who came from rags-to-riches, simply because it was able to, or had an influence on, the people around them. We assume that they are gifted with what goes by the name of charisma, or that they were somehow blessed with it, but the truth is that just like most things that involve social interaction, this too can be manipulated.

Strategies to become more influential

What makes a person more influential just like what makes a person more likable is one of those things that are difficult to understand. There are a few things however, that you can do, based on human behavior and the psychology that rules our brains, that can help us get the influential power we all desire. Below are a few.

1. Be less available

Availability is among the set of things that makes a person more influential, one of the few that we have the greatest control over. The reason why being less available can make you more powerful over the people around you is that it causes you to be more mysterious to them. The more mysterious the person appear to us, the more likely we are to paint them as something larger than life in our heads. This can be done by being physically less available, but also mentally.

People who talk less can also exert the same effect, and when we limit the amount of words that come out from our mouths, we become harder to figure out, since people lose the power to understand what goes on in our minds. On the book The 48 laws of power by Robert Greene, the author touches on this aspect of human psychology. The more we talk, as he said at some point, “the more likely we are to say something foolish”, which can be enough for us to lose our influence and respect over the people around us.

A silent person is mysterious, and hard to understand, and the mysterious and hard to understand humbles us. Think about God, and any other large and important figures we witnessed on this world. Our inability to fully comprehend them is in part, if not the whole reason why we deeply admire, and respect them. So, if you can’t make yourself less available, make an effort to talk less, since by doing so, you also get to listen to more, and this can increase your level of understanding of about the people around you, making it then easier for you to persuade them when the time calls for it.

2. Be indispensable

Another strategy pointed out on the book The 48 laws of power which can also be implemented to gain a greater degree of influence over the people around you is to become indispensable. Being indispensable is probably one of the greatest strategies an employee can have over an employer, since this gives him/her a level of freedom he wouldn’t be able to enjoy if the dependency was only to be of the one sided kind. The author mentions the fact that in such scenarios, the employee not only has more freedom by making its employee dependent on him, but also that on extreme variations of such a scenario we witness what he called as “the subject who works for the king, who runs the king”. Being a leader comes with the benefit of being respected, but the problem is that you are also the first person people will be pointing fingers to on the advent that things don’t go well. A servant(employee) who has power over the king gets to benefit from what would probably be the best position anyone can be at, where you get your wishes realized, but without the responsibilities that come with being the leader. In other words, you only get the benefits of being the leader, without the negatives.

Being indispensable is easier than you might think. The most important thing to do is to first figure out the set of skills and resources that have the least supply, and do your best to cultivate them. This could be something like connections with important people, or even something as simple as a greater breath of knowledge. Which means that after identifying what’s lacking, to dedicate a large portion of your time cultivating it, since doing so will be directly or indirectly correlated to a greater degree of influence and power. Its important to also make a constant effort to stay ahead, since almost no one likes the idea of being dependent on someone else. This means that the ones who are currently in a relationship of dependency with you, will do their best to break it. If knowledge is what gives you an advantage over them, knowledge will be what they will try to gain, and if connections is what makes them dependent on you, the same applies, and so on.

3. Don’t teach them everything

This one is somehow related to the previous tip. When knowledge is the one thing that makes others dependent on you, it might be tempting to teach them enough to make them independent. This tip also came from the book The 48 laws of power.

Teaching the ones who rely on your knowledge all you know might make you look more knowledgeable on the short run, but on the long term, it will not do more than dissolving your influence. This is seen on the student and master relationship. The student starts by looking up to the master, and after he becomes the master himself, the influence of the master over the student is partially/completely lost, although some might still look at their masters fondly.

In a realm in which everybody is trying to outperform, and/or out succeed everybody else, knowledge really is power. Sometimes your competitors and whoever relies on you might be a book, or a law/theory away from becoming independent from you. Here, its more than ever important to keep our mouths shut. If you feel the need to teach what you know to others for the sake of it, then you should do it, but never do it for the lure of being perceived as “smarter”.

4. Study the influence structure

Every human interaction is composed of some sort of influence structure. Sometimes it is the case that two people are on the same plane level, meaning that they influence each other in equal proportions, but more often that not this is not the case. We all have the tendency to look at others and implicitly place them in some sort of rank in relationship to ourselves. Just like any other form of judgment, this too also is prone to mistakes and cognitive biases. This is what sometimes happens when two people from the same circle misjudge each other’s status or position on the group. A puts B below her, B does the same, and both are aware of it. In a “good” relationship, meaning, a relationship without lots conflict, is usually a relationship in which the elements are not only aware of their psychological positions, and that of other members, but also respect them.

Every group has a leader, and even this leader is not defined officially as such, every member will tend to follow what the leader says or does. So, if you want to become more influential in a group, one strategy is to either get the leader to look up to you, which would make the other members do so automatically, or to get the other members to stop seeing the leader as their leader. This is what we see when a classroom has a leader, and either someone with more of the desired traits comes along, those traits being beauty, intelligence, sense of humor, or even popularity becomes the new leader, or when the current leader loses whatever made him/her the leader, and the next person who has more of the desired traits takes charge.

5. Take control of your emotions

Emotions are what makes us human. We can see this clearly, when a person who is unable to feel them lives through life doing the things we label as “inhuman”. Emotions are what make us cry when we watch others in pain, and to feel angry when someone causes us pain. They are behind the moments of enlightenment when we decide to change our lives, and also behind the very moments of darkness in which we make poor life changing decisions. In business and on the world of influence, its important to take charge of your emotions. The reason for this is simple: it helps you think clearly, and clear thinking is at the core of the most looked up to leaders up to date.

6. Learn the art of persuasion

A part of what makes influential people influential is the fact that they are often able to get what they want. This doesn’t mean forcing your desires and wishes onto others, but more like getting them to accept/give/help you get what you want. For such thing to happen a very important thing to do is to learn how to persuade people. We tend to believe that the ability to persuade people is just like height, or eye color, a God given gift, which might be, but also like chess and math, the ability to persuade other people is a skill.

Just like most skills the one thing above all that will make you better is practice. So in essence, by practicing the art of persuasion you get better at it, but there is a problem. A problem which almost all of us have to face whenever when are faced with the task of convincing someone of something, either that the “something” is as simple as that the idea that we are good people, or as complex as the idea that we are good enough to be their romantic partners. That thing is the fear of rejection.

The problem of the fear of rejection

There is something weird about us humans. Most of us are not judgmental, and often even very accepting of people and their life styles no matter how different, and yet, we assume that most people are monsters out there to get us, and destroy our reputations. For most of us, other people are better and more judgmental than us, and oddly enough, everybody else is probably thinking the same. This is one of the biggest barriers to the practice of any persuasion related activity. For activities such as tennis or chess, which are complex and even sometimes technical, the emotional cost of failure is not painful. For any activity that involves some form of persuasion on the other hand, either that being on dating, sales, etc, although arguably not as complex as the first two, the emotional pain that comes with failure can be so great to the point of hunting us for days, weeks, months, years and even entire lifetimes.

So the first thing to deal with is not so much the techniques you can employ to get people to give you what you want, or do what you want them to do, but overcoming the fear of rejection. For this problem, one amazing strategy I learned from a ted x talk, is to reduce your sensitivity to the pain of rejection not by artificially boosting your self-confidence and self-esteem, but by making yourself numb to it. This means exposing yourself to situations in which you are most likely to be rejected instead of avoiding them, and over time, each rejection becomes less and less painful, to the point that it doesn’t hurt anymore. So, dominate your fear of rejection and learn how to persuade people.

 

 

Summary

The ability to influence just like most things in life can be seen as instead of a “gift”, as a skill to be mastered. What makes this particular “skill” special is that in order to master it, one also has to master sets of other skills. To do so, you must be willing to be willing to practice. As Jim Rohn once said: “read the books until you get better”.

 

It is all about knowledge and experience πŸ˜‰

Leave a comment below

Persuasion Strategies You Could Be Missing On

In this post you’ll find a few persuasion strategies you could be missing on that you can apply today to your life and business.

A big part of what makes one a great businessman/woman, and more than that a great human being, is the ability to persuade others to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do. Its important to know that when persuasion is involved, the things you persuade others to do mustn’t be things for which they will regret in the future, since, when this happens your reputation will be strained. The best human interactions are the ones in which both sides come out on the wining side, since it’s not only a representation of progress to their lives, but also increases the odds they will do so again. Just like when we buy a product that delivers on the promise, we are more likely to buy more if it again on the future.

The ones who are good at the subject of persuasion, and remain so for the long run, are also the ones who happen to be concerned to be not being seen as people who exploit people. Taking advantage of others might work in the short term, but on the long run it certainly is a losing strategy.

Persuasion Strategies you could be missing on

The ability to persuade people as you probably know, is one of those skills which once mastered can have an array of great advantages for the one who mastered it. The big problem is that just like most things worth mastering, persuasion is not easy. It all starts with learning more and more about how the human mind works, and then it follows the application of what one has learned. This means reading content on the subjects that touch on human psychology, and through experience, also building your own repertoire of insights about human behavior.

 

1. Find out what they want and start from there

One thing about most people who are great at persuasion is that they tend to focus on win-win situations. It’s possible to convince a person of something or make a deal in which only you win, but the problem with that as mentioned above, might work on the short term but on the long run, as more and more people become aware of it, your reputation is tarnished and it doesn’t matter how good is your persuasion strategy, or how much knowledge of human psychology you possess, it will all be ineffective. Just in the same way that when a marketing strategy is revealed to the public, the marketers can never successfully implement the same again, since it won’t have the desired effect.

So, finding out what the other person wants not only prevents you from the trap of attempting to trick the person into doing what you want, but also, raises the odds that when they do accept it, they won’t regret it in the future.

One mistake we often tend to make when we’re trying to persuade someone, is to try to remind them of our past good deeds. According to the book 48 laws of power by Robert Greene, this is not only a mistake since we tend to let the past on the past, but also that the only way we can spark an interest for our cause on others is to show them that doing what we want will be beneficial to them. The underlining question here among all kinds of deals or negotiations is “what is there for me?”, and when the answer for this question is not only clear but also compelling for the other person, a big part of your persuasion “job” is greatly diminished.

This is probably hands down the most powerful strategy you can implement whenever you try to persuade someone, even better than any other strategy you’d get from a psychology book. We are self-interested beings, and when we fail to appeal to the self-interested part, that side will be the greatest enemy we can have to our persuasion efforts. The problem with this strategy is that although simple said, and maybe done, it’s often difficult to tell with precision what the other person really wants. Sometimes we think we know what they want, but we don’t.

2. Search for the golden mean

On philosophy, one very popular concept is the idea of the golden mean, meaning that the best place one can be in tends to be in the middle between two extremes. Being too bold for example, leads to recklessness, while the polar opposite can lead to the lack of necessary action(cowardliness). After finding out what the other side of the table wants, one strategy that can be implemented afterwards is to aim at the mean between the extreme in which only you get what you want, and the polar side in which only they get what they want. One problem that comes with the attempt to persuade people is that we tend to be so self involved to the point of ignoring what the other side wants. As previously mentioned, the best persuaders find what the other side really wants and aim at the place in which both sides get what they want.

3. Befriend

Another commonly used strategy which increases the odds that you get what you want is to befriend the person you’re trying to persuade. The reason for this is that we treat friends and strangers differently. Friends are “entitled” to the best we can offer, while strangers are entitled to nothing. The moment you become friends, even the hostile and selfish just become less hostile and selfish.

This is why the ones who are known for being influential/popular on their circles are also known for their social skills and also by the ease with which they make friends. We live in a time in which most of us if not all are well aware of their freedom, as well as their power of choice. This so much true that more than ever, even a small hint that we don’t have what is called “free will”, is enough to trigger the highest feelings of desperation and unhappiness. We like to believe that we are in charge of our choices, and for this reason we also don’t tolerate being forced to do anything. When we are befriended we treat our new friends more like family, and even more important, we are more prone to their influence, since we start caring about what they think of us. This is why the ability to make friends on this day and time is probably one of the greatest strengths one can have.

.

4. Give first

We are used to the idea of asking for what we want, and if we are lucky enough we do get it, but more often than not we have to go through a lot first. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of thinking about the person you’re trying to persuade and what they might want/need, as a way to ease your way into getting what you want/need. So, another strategy you can also implement to increase your persuasive powers is to give something out, or do a favor to your target. The reason why this is so, is due to the now known reciprocity bias, which in a nutshell is the tendency we all have to feel the need to reciprocate any favor/gifts others do or give to us. Its more and more common for businesses to give out free items to their costumers as a way to make them more likely to make the purchase.

Notice that (1) this strategy has to be used responsibly, or it might backfire, and (2) it’s not a magic pill. It works better if used in addition to other strategies, and through the implementation of other ideas/principles. So, if you can find a way to do your target a favor, you’ll greatly reduce the need to use any “tricks” to get what you want, since they are more likely to feel the need to reciprocate your favor.

5. Cultivate and protect your reputation

On the book 48 laws of power by Robert Greene, the author talks about the importance of reputation, and the way people perceive us through it. A person with a reputation for being likable is more likely to positively bias the people around them, including strangers. A person with a reputation for being rude will make enemies not only of the people who know him/her, but also of the people who don’t. A similar dynamic occurs for the greatest seducers, leaders and business people. We could attribute this to what happens when a person experiences what goes by the name of “the placebo effect“, where the person after taking a fake medicine, starts to see improvement on her condition just because she thought the medicine was effective. As much as we would love to believe, our minds are not the perfect judgment machines we thing they are. We are subject to biases, the influences of others, and flawed assumptions. This is why sometimes, the greatness of a person is more due to reputation, than to the degree to which he/she does worthy of recognition. Often, you only need to do something great once to be placed at the “Greatness club”, and be quickly defined as some sort of genius.

By controlling they way people think of and look at you, you also gain the power to influence them, and just like with sports, the moment of truth is not the moment in which you have to perform, but the moments in which you in which you practice for the moment everybody thinks of “the moment of truth”. If the moment you get in the room the person is already positively biased towards you, you already have a part of the job done. So, chose trait you’d like to be known for, and when you do get the reputation you aspire, protect is as well as you can.

6. Choose the right people to persuade

Sometimes the people we’re trying to persuade are a lost cause no matter what we do. If you have a goal in mind, and the person who holds the keys is difficult, one quick and easy thing to do is to look for someone else, before even thinking about going the persuasion route. This requires an observing mind towards people in general, since doing so can be a time saver.

In an ideal world we all treat everybody as equals. The problem with this is that, well…, we don’t live in an ideal world. We all have our biases to certain groups of people, and since everybody makes part of some group of people, we can be sure that someone out there has some sort of negative bias towards us. Knowing what other people think of us, and instead of complaining about it, to take the necessary actions to make progress on our goals is probably the best thing to do. So, if the person you’re trying to persuade is negatively biased towards you, chances are that you’ll have a hard time persuading them. Even if you could persuade such people, the time and effort to do so would probably not be worth the struggle.

Summary

Persuasion like most things in life is more than anything a skill to be mastered, and skills are mastered only through practice. As mentioned on the book Outliers by Malcom Gladwell, it takes about 10 000 hours of deliberate practice for anyone to master a subject. The problem is that when practicing any kind of persuasion, we are more exposed to rejection, and this is one of those things most of us struggle with. A combination of books and regular real world practice of persuasion is the route to go. Amazing books on the subject are:

1. The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene

2.48 Laws of power by Robert Greene

3. How to make friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie

 

It is all about knowledge and experience πŸ˜‰

Leave a comment below

Strategies To Get More Creative Ideas

In this post you’ll find a few strategies you can apply today to help you get more creative ideas.

Creativity is the one thing that can be said to power the business world. This is true not only in the sense that through creativity we get to come up with new products/services, but also in the sense that through creativity we also get to find better and more effective solutions for the problems we go through on a daily basis, as well as on the subject of motivation. Creativity is one of those things that comes up with an array of benefits and advantages. The big problem with creative moments is that just like the state of low itself, creative moments can sometimes be fleeting and unpredictable. The moments we least expect we are struck by a stream of creativity, which not only allows for the creation of something new, but also allows for progress on our causes. Mastering it is a matter of patience and study.

Strategies to get more creative ideas

Coming up with creative ideas for a business is a mix of both art and science. The artful part is due to the fact that usually no two people are creative in the exact same way. There is always something personal inherent on our own creations, even if they end up in the hands of someone else. The scientific part is due to the fact that just like most human faculties and behavior, it all starts on the brain, and getting a better understanding of it, and of its inner workings, is a large step towards the mastery of what goes by the name of creativity, and as a result, the mastery of the subjects of brainstorming and idea generation. Below are a few strategies you can apply today to expand and master your own creative moments.

1. Search for the zone

One way to find creativity is by finding ways to do so indirectly. Through the harnessing of the states in which creativity is always present. Just like when we try to prove a math theorem, if doing so directly is challenging or even impossible, the next best thing is to do through indirect means. The state of “the zone” is an example of that. In the zone we are simply put the best version of ourselves, and the set of things which once posed a challenge to our skills and knowledge, suddenly become easier and more manageable, our sense of self-confidence and self-esteem is enhanced, for a moment we get close to what we conceive as divine and God like, and even more important, our creativity is magnified.

Although this state might seem to be even more difficult to master than creativity itself, the writer Steven Kotler teaches us the opposite on the book The rise of superman. According to the book, the state of flow is more hackable than we all think, and its all about knowing the right structure to follow.

Here is a short post on: How to get into the flow state.

2. Reduce the pressure to be creative

Another way to come up with creative ideas is to, as counter-intuitive as it might sound, reduce the pressure to come with creative ideas in the first place. On the book Your Brain at work by David Rock, the author mentions the fact that often when faced with a task such as problem solving, we get on our own way by overthinking the problem in case. The suggested solution is after some time thinking about the problem, to take your mind away from the problem, as a strategy to increase the odds that you bump into what he calls an “insight”. The conscious part of our brains just like the unconscious, is good at solving problems, and they do so in different ways. The argument the author presents is that sometimes the subconscious holds the insight, but the conscious part often get in the way. By stopping to think about the problem you’re trying to solve, you let your subconscious give you the insight you’re desperately looking for. The same can be done for the subject of creativity, and probably in a more accentuated manner. Our creative moments happen when we are relaxed, and where we are more open to listen to what the silent creative side has to present to us. When we are relaxed we are less judgmental towards whatever idea comes to mind, and this might be a prerequisite for more creative moments: an open mind.

Although on this point we talk about how reducing pressure might be helpful for creativity, there are some people for which the opposite is true. Remember that student who always let the homework to be done till right before the deadline? Well, the stress that comes from the ” all or nothing ” scenario of a deadline not only makes us more energetic and focused, but can also enhance our problem solving abilities as well as creativity.

3. Look for connections between the old and not yet related subjects

We tend to think of creativity as the mere state in which one comes up with something completely new and never seen before, but a good part of it comes from connecting the old to form something new. Looking at creativity from this light might not make creativity easy, but at the very the least makes it an easier subject to understand and master. It gives us a road map to the process of creation, a map which although not complete, can still make the difference.

Make a list of the 10 most innovative ideas you can think of, and chances are that some if not most of them will be the result of a combination of old already existent ideas, and not the “brand new” concepts we all expect when the subject is innovation and creativity.

 

Summary

The source of creative ideas is a mystery for which the exact answers we don’t have. Although coming up with new and creative ideas is one of those things we can’t do at will, noting stops us from doing something to nudge us closer to it. The tips above are simply a part of it but not all. Great books you can add to your research on the subject of creativity are:

1. The rise of superman by Steven Kotler

2. Your Brain At Work by David Rock

3. Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

 

It is all about knowledge and experience;)

Leave a comment below

Ways to Stay In Business

In this post you’ll find a few strategies you can implement today to increase the odds that you’ll stay in business.

Business is about the creation of solutions for common problems in the form of products or services. In theory, the better those products/services are to solve the pains/needs of the costumer, the more appealing they will be, and the more the business will be able to charge for it. After a business becomes established, just like an artist, the biggest problem becomes not how to please the costumer, but now how to remain in business. In other words the new question/problem is now about how to keep the costumer engaged, and how to keep them from leaving.

 

 

Ways to stay in business

Just like most things in business, there are many solutions different business implement to solve the problem above. Failure to do so, could mean the difference between a business that stays around for years if not decades, and a business which just like most artists of today, have their five minutes of fame, and quickly wane to oblivion. Below are three things you can do to increase the odds that your business will survive on this competitive arena on the long run.

 

1. Never fully satisfy the demand

According to the book 22 immutable laws of marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout, one way to stay in business is by keeping close track of what goes by the name of demand. Many businesses start with a high demand for their products/services, and as a result of that they try as hard as they can to fill as much of the demand as possible, since doing so would translate into greater and greater profits. This could be done through the addition of new categories/variants of the same product with the aim of satisfying any possible “sister demand” of the main demand. According to the book, the opposite should be done, and as the author mentioned on chapter 22 “one way to maintain long term demand for a product is to never fully satisfy the demand”. By doing this, as the teaches, you form a trend, and trends have a survival rate greater than that of most sensational products/ideas/services that come to stay popular for a while and are quickly forgotten.

 

2. Continuous innovation

Another way to remain in business is through the old and most talked about: innovation. The world is moving and so are your competitors. Unless you own a monopoly, innovating on your product/service line is a must, if you are to keep your share of the market or even grow it. Failure to introduce new product/services, and/or failure to improve the already existent is a recipe to lose market share. The competition will be doing it, and the moment the costumer finds out that the other company continuously offers better/more innovative versions of the product you offer, chances are they will be quick to make the switch. In the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much your core costumers love your company, if the competition consistently shows something better.

Innovation is the one thing that keeps the costumer engaged, and the business growing.

 

3. Strive for a monopoly

The third strategy from this list and by no means the least important one is to strive to dominate your market or niche. Although the concept of monopolies is frowned upon, and being seen as one is on these days a recipe for losing everything you conquered, not doing so could also mean you losing the little you got. As the old bible saying goes “For everyone who has will be given more, and the will have an abundance. But the one who does not have, even what the has will be taken away from him.”. In an ideal world, one gets into a business and takes advantage of a part of the overall demand for the class of product/services it offers, and the costumers also benefit from an addition to their overall number of choices. The problem is that we don’t live in an ideal world, and usually a handful of players take all the market. Just like with the 80/20 rule in which 80% of the output/gains/results comes from 20% percent of the players. So, although it would be more intuitive to attempt to own a part of the market, the attempt to own most of if not all is probably a better survival strategy.

According to the book Zero to One by Peter Thiel, companies such as google although they might not openly admit the fact that they dominate their niches of operation, domination is one of their goals to not only remain in business, but also to grow. As the investor and speaker Grant Cardone says on his books and tapes, competition is not the way to go if you want to grow as a person or as a business. The way to go is to dominate. This mindset when applied correctly can result in not only greater market share for the business, but also greater quality products/services for the costumer, since in order to dominate a niche, you must at the very least have a superior product.

On Zero to one the author also talks about the fact that the superiority of a product/service is only meaningful if its 5x, 10x or better in comparison to the competition. Incremental improvements are good, but usually not enough for you to be able to take the costumers away from your competitors. Phone plans are a great example of this. We tend to stick to the phone plan we chose first, even when we later find out that there is another company which provides us with more data or more minutes than the one we currently have. The reason for this is that we assume that changing phone companies is just not worth the headache.

Summary

Predicting whether a business will stay in business or not is difficult if not impossible. Reason being that there are other businesses involved on the equation. The competitors could just like us come up with an innovation that changes the dynamic of the entire niche/market, and Innovation just like creativity is unpredictable. However, if you plan to maximize the odds that you’ll stay in business, the tips above are a good start.

 

It is all about knowledge and experience πŸ˜‰

Leave a comment below

Ways To Acquire Business Skills

In this post you’ll find a few strategies you can implement to acquire more business skills.

In business the ones who win are the ones who are not only able to come up with great ideas for new products or services to offer the costumer, but also to implement the ideas they come up with to the real world. The latter has gained more and more influence over the chances of success of a businessman/woman, since, today, ideas are everywhere. I’m sure that each one of us has come up with a great business idea at one point or another in life, but what made it possible or not for that idea to be materialized into a successful business or even into an influential brand, was the ability to successfully implement it. So, as time goes by, there is an increasing need for any aspiring entrepreneur to learn more about the kind of business they plan to start, since with the increasing ease with which one can start a business today, the level of competition that there is out there does not allow for naivety or lack of experience. The moment you make your great idea public it becomes open to copying from the biggest more powerful and more resourceful of the already existent businesses. This is specially true when the concept is accepted by the ones who go by the name of early adopters.

Ways To Acquire More Business Skills

To say that one is good at a certain kind of business is to say that one is skillful. Notice that although there might be a set of common variables among most businesses, even for the ones who have amassed a certain level of experience in a certain niche, will still need to learn something new when they do choose to enter another market. This is true even if the amount of the material that has to be learned is not as much as it would be if the person in question were to be a novice. So, it takes action to be good or even great at business. Just like with most skills, there are many things you can do to move you forward in your cause, and a below are a few.

1. Be a Serial employee

We live in a time in which being “Serial entrepreneur” has invaded the minds of most if not all the ones who aspire to be successful at business. One thing we rarely hear is about being a “Serial employee”. Today one either chooses a job and stays there for the rest of its life, or goes through the entrepreneurial route. The truth is that there is no need to stay at a job unless it’s what you chose for life. On the book Big Results by Robert Greene, the author mentions the fact that on his way to success, he often jumped from job to job, not for the purpose of finding the highest paying one, but more with the goal of acquiring as much experience and knowledge as he could from each. As he says on the book, sometimes you’re hired for a certain set of skills, but your boss tells you to do 10 other different things. Whenever he figured that the job didn’t have much left to teach him, he looked for the nearest exit.

This is a pretty uncommon approach most of us tend to have towards the job market. We think about learning as much as we can about a subject in order to get the highest paying job, and when we do get it, our hunger for learning is greatly diminished. Take the opposite approach, meaning, do your best to get the highest paying jobs, but also add to your list of demands for a job, the set of things you also expect to learn from them. In business, skills can be obtained by instead of spending thousands of dollars in a university getting a degree, toinstead try to work for the kinds of businesses you dream to build. Instead of relying only on theories of what “might” be the set of things that makes that business successful, you will instead know for a fact what those things are, since you’ll be looking at them from the inside out, and not from the inside in. One bold thing to do is to instead of trying to get the skills to get the highest pay possible, to opt to work for free, since this will make it easier for most employees to hire you even if you’re not fully qualified. Not many people are willing to work for free, even if doing so will mean a shortening on their business building learning curve.

2. Do Business

When it comes to knowledge and skill acquisition, there is nothing better than doing whatever we’re trying to master to be able to master it. By starting multiple businesses you get to form a generalized picture of what it takes to start a brand new business from nothing to success. In the area of machine learning in computer science, the computer builds a “theory” of what might be the set of things that influence whatever you’re trying to predict by practicing with data which already has all the answers. This goes by the name of training set, and for us humans, something similar happens as we practice our craft. If we practice long enough we eventually come up with our own theory of what might be the set of things that makes a business successful. This is still true even in the cases in which we can’t turn our theories into words in the same way that the ones who are great at teaching do. In the end of the day, the most important thing is to learn the intricate rules of the business, specially the unwritten ones that are only revealed to us after years of experience, even if such a learning is only of the subconscious kind.

3. Learn from the best

Another timely strategy to acquire any kind of knowledge and skills, which also happens to be probably one of the cheapest is books. Through books, we get to hear the words of the best on the field, specially if they are either not open to mentoring others, or when they are already gone. Books keep their wisdom, and through them we can have access to the teachings of the most successful at any time. Most of us have a bad experience from school, were the content of the reading is forced to us, and were not reading would put as at risk of failing the class. So, as we grow most of us just become averse to reading, but one amazing thing about libraries is that (1) We can build our own, and (2) However we like it. A book can be read, and re-read countless times, in the same way that we visit and re-visit our friends on the course of our relationship with them.

Chances are that for the majority of the problems you face on a daily basis there is a book somewhere with the solutions, and It is all a matter of looking for it. If for some reason you can’t implement either of the tips above, then the next best thing is to read as many books as you can on your subject of interest.

Summary

The tips above are probably the most time tested strategies on the subjects of success and skill acquisition. The big problem with each one of them is that for our distaste, they are no “magic” pills. Although implementing them can certainly bring us closer to mastery and as a result to our goals and dreams, putting any of them in practice requires effort.

 

It is all about knowledge and experience πŸ˜‰

Leave a comment below

3 Ways To Better Serve The Costumer

In this post you’ll find 3 things you can do to better serve your the costumer side of the business equation.

If business could be summed up into one thing, that thing would be: service to the costumer. The biggest and most successful businesses of today, are big and successful because they found a way to satisfy the costumer. This either done through the development of the best solutions for the costumer’s problem, or through the improvement on the costumer’s experience contributes to the overall ability of costumer retention of the business. It’s possible to make money in business without serving the costumer, those kinds of business go by the name of scams, and the problem with scams is that they rarely last long. Just like scam artists who have to move from city to city soon after their cover is blown, while its possible to be successful in the short term, the future is always bleak and the constant fear that the best days are left in the past is just not worth the trouble. So, the best solution tends to be the one in which the business tries to build value tot the user over a long period of time. Just like most things in life, value delivery is easier said than done, and when we make the necessary effort for such, can get us to reap the greatest of the rewards in terms of costumer appreciation and loyalty.

3 Ways To Better Serve The Costumer

Costumer service just like most things in science is an area in development. In the same way that there are people out there always on the look for ways to increase their profits at the expense of the costumer, there are also people looking for ways to improve the level of the costumer experience and enjoyment for the brand. One example being the founder of the e-commerce website Amazon.com Jeff Bezos, who, according to the book The everything store by Brad Stone, has an acute concern for the website’s user experience level, and for the costumer complaints, making it a big deal that costumer complaints shouldn’t, like some businesses do, be ignored. As time goes by, there is an increasing “buy in” into the idea that pleasing the costumer is the best way to build a business from the part of business owners. If you’re one of them, below are a few things you can do to help yourself get closer to that direction.

 

1. Follow “the costumer is always right rule”

Among the majority of successful businesses, there is “the costumer is always right” rule at play on the background. Sometimes in order to get to the next level in terms of looking for ways to increase the costumer satisfaction with the brand, one has to be willing to not “fight” with the costumer, even if the costumer is wrong. This is of course, not always the case, since there are moments in which not doing so will be detrimental to the business, but more often than not, the mistaken complaints of costumers are better handled by following the above rule.

It’s important to understand that as human beings we are never completely content with anything. Think about the most talked about areas of dating and financial independence, in which we are always used to look for a certain standard of romantic partners or amount of money, until the moment in which we get what we were looking for, and we either find out that there is something better than that, or we discover through self reflection that we didn’t want the things we thought we wanted that bad in the first place. The point is that while not always possible to do so, it’s important, for the sake of the costumer experience, to assume that the costumer is right, and finding a way to ease or eliminate their dissatisfaction. An unhappy costumer like a virus has the potential to ruin the reputation of a business, while a happy costumer, also like a virus, can help the business grow through referrals.

2. Never stop improving

AS the motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said: “ambition is a moral imperative”, meaning that being ambitious is our duty as people of this world, and one of the greatest representations of ambition is continuous improvement. By improving the business through the improvement of old products/services and the addition of new ones, the business not only benefits itself through the exploitation of new revenue streams, but also the costumer through the addition of new options/solutions for the problems that afflict their lives.

3. Seek and apply costumer feedback

Another strategy that has gained more and more light lately is the seeking and incorporation of costumer feedback to the product development process. The thing about feedback is that just like in science, evidence speaks volumes. It doesn’t really matter how brilliant the scientist is, or how compelling the hypothesis might sound, if through some form of real world testing the evidence shows the opposite. The same could be applied to business, where the most experienced and brilliant of the minds come up with possible theories of what kind of product might be appealing to the target costumer, but can never be completely certain until the product is at the shelves open to public judgment. If no one is willing to open the wallet and buy the product/service, chances are that something is wrong, no matter how good or innovating one might thing the product is.

By listening from the costumers themselves, you get a greater understanding of what might be their real tastes or needs, and over time, also a better understanding of how to better develop products/services for your target costumer.

 

Summary

Pleasing the costumer just like pleasing a romantic partner is a continuous process. Usually no one strategy maintains its effects, and stop doing whatever you chose to do to better serve the costumer could at the same time be a reason for costumer discontentment. So, we find ourselves in a position in which we can neither coast on old improvements, neither completely throw them away the moment they lose the impact they once had, since doing such a thing would mean moving backwards in terms of costumer appreciation. In business its important to keep the costumer positively surprised through a continuous sense of innovation in not only on the product/service side, but also in terms of the costumer’s interaction with the business.

 

 

 

 

It is all about knowledge and experience πŸ˜‰

Leave a comment below

 

Strategies to Rejection proof an idea

In this post you’ll find a few things to make sure
your idea is more likely to be accepted by others, especially if they are to
invest on it.

The
business world is made of ideas. Without them, the amazing businesses that make
part of our day to day lives wouldn’t exist. The thing with ideas is that all
of us can have them, and that often, what we perceive as innovative or ground
breaking, is nothing more than a delusion caused by our incessant tendency to
overestimate our own creations. Research shows that people tend to overprice
their personal items when the time comes for them to sell them, while
underestimating the same when the table is flipped. Another important thing
about ideas, specially of the business kind is that they often require more
than one person to be materialized. I’m sure we all heard that no one can be
successful on its own, and this is specially true in business. At some point or
another, no matter how skillful/independent you are, you’ll need the hand of one
or more people to bring forth your vision. This is when life becomes difficult,
since one thing is to come up with an idea ourselves and be convinced that the
idea is brilliant, and another completely different is to come up with an idea
and convince not only any other person, but even more difficult, to convince
the people who can do something about it that the idea is worth the effort.

Strategies to Rejection-proof an
idea

Every idea no matter how
good just like good-looking people can be rejected. Sometimes, the people we
pitch the idea to are for some reason negatively biased towards us, and they
become more prone to reject it, either because age, race, sex, or simply
because the person didn’t like something in us. For those cases there is little
if anything you can do to change their minds. Most of the time however,
potential business ideas are rejected because the ideas themselves are faulty.
We are used to listening to stories of ideas that were rejected and the owners
still went out by themselves and became wildly successful. What we see less
frequently is the thousands if not millions of cases of rejected ideas which
went nowhere. So, Although it might be difficult to predict whether an idea
will be accepted by potential investors, or even more important to know whether
the idea will become successful, there are a few things you can do to improve
that the odds of the first will turn out well.

1. Make sure it delivers real
value

The #1 thing that businesses are
about is the delivery of real value to a specific audience. We often fall in
love with our ideas that we forget to ask whether it delivers some value to someone.
Investors will always want to know about that, so if you don’t have a
clear idea of to whom your idea will be helpful to, this is a good sign that
you should revise it. This is probably the one thing that can make an idea be
rejected without much thought. Remember that ideas are everywhere, but what
makes one worthy of having a business built around it is value.

2. Make sure it’s distinguishable
from the competition

The second thing after making
sure that the idea delivers real value to someone is to make sure it’s either
better than the competition in some meaningful way, or even better competition
less. Often the ideas we think are innovative and unique were thought of by
someone else before us, and on the worst case for us, those ideas were already
implemented as products or services. So, with the aid of Google, one very important
thing to do is to Google your idea and to assess not only how many people are
already doing it, but also how much better yours is in comparison to theirs.

3. Present a plan of execution

One thing
I learned when trying to propose an app idea to my universities entrepreneurial
board, was that even when you don’t have the idea ready in the form of a real
product/service, nor a prototype of it, one very important thing to do when
presenting it to potential investors is to along with the idea, also present a
plan of execution, and a projection of how things might work out if everything
goes well. One question my group was asked and that till this day remains with
me was: “what is your dream team?”. Meaning that if money nor capable
people were an issue, how would we build an ideal team to help us execute the idea
we had in mind. The ability to show up with a detailed list of the kind of
professionals which would be required without
being asked to, is a very strong indicative for the potential investors that
you have more than just a dream, but a plan to make the dream come true. We are
often used to ask and ask from the people who are supposed to help us make our
vision come true, that we forget that a big part of the work is on us. This
means going to mentors and potential investors with some work done, to show
them that you’re not only serious about it, but also that they won’t have to do
all the work for you.

The world is full of people who
know only about dreaming about potentially innovative ideas, and who also
forget to take the necessary steps, no matter how small, to move them forward
on the conquest of their dream. This goes to both the ones who have experience
in business and the ones who don’t. Because they don’t know much about
how businesses are set up and made successful, aspiring entrepreneurs often
make the mistake of coasting on their ignorance about the subject. Not knowing
how to set up a business plan shouldn’t be an excuse for not trying to set up
one, even if the plan you come up with ends up being of no use.

Summary

The biggest take out of this post
is value. If anything, before you even think about pitching an idea to a
potential investor is to make sure it will be of value to a big enough market.
In other words, assess whether there will be not only a demand for it, but also
if it will be big enough.

 

It is all about knowledge and
experience πŸ˜‰

Leave a comment below

Ways to Increase Costumer Retention

In this post you’ll find a few strategies you can apply today to increase costumer retention for your business.

When it comes to doing business today, as the costs to create and post an ad decrease, and with the greater usage of the internet as well as the decreased costs of technology, the hardest part of the job of attracting new costumers to a business lies mostly in not the costs to set up ads, but more on the creation of compelling ad copies. Today, an effective ad has the power to literally make millions almost overnight, assuming the advertising budget is enough and the infrastructures to such a level of sales is ready. On platforms such as Adwords or BingAds, we have thousands if not millions of people having their first taste of business, mostly without having to leave the comfort of their homes. An aspiring entrepreneur with an internet connection can, with ease start a small online store, even if the inventory is nothing more and nothing less than the set of things he/she has at the backyard.

Ways to increase costumer retention

As old problems are solved, new problems come as a replacement, and since the ability to attract new costumers almost overnight has become easy enough, the next difficult thing that can be said to come as a replacement is the ability to make the newly acquired costumers stay with the business. This is the essence of what goes by the name of costumer retention. Which, as you’re probably aware of by this point, is in simple words the ability of a business to keep the costumers they acquire either through marketing to through any other strategy. A business with low costumer retention has to keep doing whatever it does to acquire new costumers on a regular basis, since not doing so will cause the business to lose the ability to keep making money. Businesses with high costumer retention like Google/Apple, have more than just mere returning costumers, but also fans. And this is the best place a business can be at when the subject is costumer retention. When the costumers are fans, they, like any other kind of fan will more than just purchase the product/service the business offers, also refer the business to their family and friends. Below are 3 things you can do to increase the costumer retention of your business.

1. Keep the quality standard

Among the many things that can cause costumers to leave, the reduction in quality/performance standards is probably the one thing can can be more easily avoided. Costumers buy into an idea based on the standard of quality/effectiveness, and this, in combination with the price you ask for, will be what they will use to decide whether to chose you over the competition. When the standard lowers, the competitor’s offer becomes then more attractive, this being specially true if they offer something superior to yours, for the same price you ask. No matter how much your costumers love the brand, there is a point in which no “love” can overcome the idea that they as costumers, can get more value for less. So, if anything, fight to keep the standards you got your costumers used to.

2. Continuous innovation

Another thing which has an influence on the rate of costumer retention in a business is the level of innovation, in terms of new products/services the business offers over time. The reason for this is that just like us, the competition is also trying to get a bigger part of the market pie. This is mostly and more effectively done, if you’re able to come up with superior and more innovative products than what the competition offers on a regular basis, and it’s also a part of the reason why companies such as apple, Samsung, and many others, still bother to introduce new products even thought they are the leaders of their industries.

An innovative product is usually better than a more mainstream product. So in the end of the day, just like the quality standard, even if you have loyal costumers, there is only so far loyalty can go if your competitors offer a clearly superior product than yours not only once, but regularly. You can be certain that apple lovers, no matter how much they love the brand, would end up swithcing other brands such as Samsung, if apple stopped releasing new iPhones on a regular basis and vice-versa.

3. Always deliver more value than expected

The third thing that has a great impact on the level of costumer retention for a business is the over delivery of value. This is the other side of the “keep your standards” coin. Although keeping your standards of quality and/performance is important, more important than that is to while promising something, delivering something superior instead. When the costumer agrees to pay an amount for a certain amount of value expected from the business, an over delivery of value causes them to not only associate more positive feelings with the brand, but also, in a way, get to expect the same from your competitors. This is similar to the “catching the enemy by surprise” strategy in war.

Another positive side effect of over delivery of value is that it makes not only your current costumers stay with your business, but also makes them more likely to refer the business to their friends and family, since, as previously mentioned, they will be getting more value for each dollar they spend.

Summary

I’m sure that by this point you understand that costumer retention is about the delivery of value. The set of things which can be said to reduce it can be packed into the class of actions that decrease the value the costumer gets from the business, being this on the product/service side of the equation, or even at the underrated side of costumer experience. In other words, the one way you can know whether an activity/action will increase the costumer retention percentage or not, is by figuring out whether the activity/action increases/decreases the value the costumer gets from the business.

 

It is all about knowledge and experience πŸ˜‰

Leave a comment below

3 Ways To Improve Costumer Experience

In this post you’ll find 3 strategies you can employ to improve the quality of the costumer experience with your business.

 

Along with the ability to develop and launch great products/services, there is also the need to improve the way the costumer feels about not only the product/service, but also the business itself. Big companies like Apple, or Google, which although giants on their industries, still invest their resources on improving the experience the costumer has with their brands. This can be said to be one of the many reasons why they have been around for so long. With an increasing ability for companies to match each other’s performance or quality, competing on such parameters is a strategy that might be losing its effectiveness as time goes by. High quality is today the minimum required demand of the average costumer, and if you want to beat the competition as a business, on top of great quality/performance products, you also have to invest more on the way the costumer interacts with your business at every level, this is an investment in costumer experience.

 

3 Ways to improve Costumer Experience

The way the costumer feels about your brand and its products has a lot to tell about whether they will leave the moment another business comes making a better offer, or whether they will stick with you. This along with the quality of the products/services you offer can improve, or be detrimental to what goes by the name of price elasticity. Which is in simple words, nothing but the degree of “slack” the business has with the costumers to increase prices while keeping the current demand. High elasticity would mean that small price changes could cause the business to lose a part of if not all of its costumer base for the competition. It’s true that some industries are more sensitive to price change than others, but it’s also true that the way the costumer values the business and its products can determine how can those changes cause them to switch to the competition. This could also affect what goes by the name of costumer retention, which is about the ability of a business to, as you’re probably guessing, to keep the costumers they attract. It’s almost pointless to have lots of costumers coming in, whether from marketing or any other kind of strategy, if they don’t stick with the business.

.

1. Simplify website and/or app

One way to improve the level of user experience is by improving the visual aspect of any website or apps the business owns. Notice that what is meant by “improve” is not to add more functionalities, since this often results in a more complicated and difficult to use interface, but to instead try to find first the set of things that make the core activities on the app/website more complicated than they have to be. A big part of real improvement comes from simplifying instead of adding, as taught on the book The advertising effect by Adam Ferrier, the author mentions the fact that sometimes, all it takes to boost sales is to remove complexity. We live in a world in which we don’t tolerate complication at any level. Something as simple as finding a piece of contact, or a long loading web page is enough to make most of us look for the next best offer. When we are assigned the task to “improve” something, we, specially the creative ones, tend to be tempted to add more, instead of removing. The more you simplify, the least the user will struggle to use your website/app, and this is an important place to be if you’re concerned about the costumer’s experience. One example of this is amazon.com, which implemented this idea by making it as easy as possible for the costumer to make a purchase whenever they are ready to do so.

 

2. Make it easy to receive complaints

Don’t run away or try to avoid costumer complaints. Although they are always negative, they don’t have to be perceived as such. At the core of any complaint or criticism lies the possibility of growth, which when not taken personally, or misattributed to something else, can be the stepping stone for the discovery of ideas or businesses opportunities which you wouldn’t be able to find.

On the book The lean startup by Eric Ries, the author focuses on the importance of the implementation of the costumer’s feedback on your product development cycle. By doing this, you step away from mere assumptions of what might be that thing that the costumer needs or desires. Costumer feedback is an opportunity to not only know what you’re doing wrong, but also to find out what you’re doing right. The development of a “killer” product is a journey without a map. We all make assumptions about the right direction in the hopes that we eventually get to where we want to get to. By integrating the costumer feedback, you get a shortcut to what goes by the name of product/market fit. Which is in simple terms the state in which the product fits the needs of the market it makes part of, and the market fits the needs of the business in the form of high demand.

Guessing, no matter how smart the guesser, is by no means better than the opinion of the costumer itself. This is why the author encourages us to create a minimum viable version of the product/service we would like to implement, and instead of spending thousands if not millions of dollars developing a product for launching, to build a version with only the necessary features for testing, and from there, according to the feedback you get, making the necessary changes to meet the needs of the costumer.

3. Fix costumer complaints

Another way to improve the costumer experience is by fixing what’s wrong. We get feedback not for the sake of it, but for the sake of improvement. So, the moment you’re told about what’s wrong with a product/service, the next step is to take the necessary actions to fix it. Unsolved complaints just like complicated websites/apps are also detrimental to the user experience. It’s important to never forget that just as we’re trying to outperform the competition, the same is happening from the other side of the table. Just like us, our competitors are looking for ways to take a bigger cut of the market, and one thing that can make a business lose costumers for the competition, is certainly poor or no solutions for the costumers’ negative feedback.

Summary

When it comes to costumer experience, there is much more one can do than the above tips. If you don’t know where to start, these are a good place to do so but are by no means the last. Just like business ideas, always keep looking for new ways to improve the costumer experience. Don’t take anybody’s word for anything, create the habit to always test whatever you learn whenever possible. Do the same with the tips above, and see how it works out for you πŸ™‚ .

 

Leave a comment below