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Many freelancers and start-up launchers do not want to spend money on an office, though they do not want to work from home either. Enter coworking: a practical and cheap solution to this problem. Apart from being an inexpensive area, these offices can also develop your socialisation and networking skills. This might, in turn, become very beneficial to your business.

However, shared offices do not always equal to peaceful harmony. They might sometimes also be a bit restrictive. Indeed, various rules have be respected in order to integrate easily and to get along well with fellow co-workers.

 

Here are some tips and good practices for maintaining a pleasant and productive environment at a coworking space:

Check for volume and noise restrictions

One of the first things to consider before joining a coworking space is the level of noise tolerance. This is especially the case if your activity requires you to be on your phone and have Skype conversations all day. You should make sure that your co-workers are not bothered by the noise. Otherwise, you can check to see if there is a designated area where you can talk freely.

While shared offices are not libraries that require complete silence, it is good to take the entourage in mind. You should therefore make a decision according to your needs and habits.

Get to know your co-workers

While this may seem obvious, it remains nonetheless a crucial step in enhancing your coworking experience.

Do not limit yourself to courteous greetings. Go ahead and mingle with your co-workers. Try to know more about their job and their experience. You will undoubtedly learn a lot from these interactions!

Be friendly and lend a helping hand whenever possible

A coworking space is a friendly place which brings together entrepreneurs, freelancers or teleworkers from various fields. Do not miss the opportunity to interact with as many people as you can. Get interested in others and if you can, try to give them a little push in the right direction.

It does not have to be something big. You can, for example, just share the Facebook page of the young entrepreneur sitting across from you. In time, that same person will no doubt return the favour. Small things build friendship and trust and will no doubt contribute to the growth of your business.

Respect the shared equipment

Be it the coffee machine, the microwave or the couches, a coworking space requires you to be extra careful with the equipment. After all, everyone is and/or will be using these facilities. It would be best for them to remain clean and in good condition.

Also, if you have a habit of monopolising the printer or the photocopier, you should stop immediately. Coworking is all about sharing, so not maintaining this spirit will probably result in you having an unpleasant experience.

Participate in joint events

Some coworking spaces organise events on a regular basis. These include workshops, in which each co-worker can share their expertise with others, conferences as well as informal food events.

These are an opportunity to get closer to your neighbours. You will then be contributing to increasing the harmony and pleasant atmosphere in the shared office. You can also use these events to build your network.

Keep the schedule in mind

Shared offices most of the time function according to specific schedules. It is important to adhere to them so as not to spark conflicts with the owner. In addition, many coworking spaces allow you to book a meeting room. The allotted time can be anything between a whole day and half an hour. Out of respect for the other members who booked the room after you, you should not exceed the given time.

By following the above tips, you will easily be able to join and thrive in a coworking space.

A significant percentage of businesses that are created these days are start-ups. These small businesses often stem from brilliant ideas and proceed to develop rapidly.

Launching a start-up requires a lot of fore-thought and preparation. Yet, it is not uncommon for young entrepreneurs to find themselves facing problems that they could have avoided.

Here are some mistakes to avoid when creating a start-up.

  1. Not creating a business plan

Most people become impatient when they think they have found “the right idea”. While understandable, it is recommended that you take the time to plan your project and an accompanying budget.

Creating a business plan is an essential step in ensuring the sustainability of your project. Some start-ups need substantial funds to grow, which makes it very important to keep track of all monetary transactions.

  1. Not adapting to changes

It is very common for things to not go as planned. This is especially the case when launching a business; even more so when doing it for the first time.

The mistake an entrepreneur might make in this case is to stick to the original plan. Changing your strategy can be a matter of survival for your business.

  1. Not taking the first step to launch the product

Striving for perfection, while not a bad thing per se, can be greatly hamper the progression of your business. In other words, wanting your product to be fully developed before it is launched can have serious consequences.

To avoid this mistake, you should favour communication and launch your project. Rather than keeping your innovative idea hidden as you perfect it, it is better to launch a basic version. You will have time to tweak the details later.

  1. Not seeking assistance

Few start-ups are supported by a single person. Often, several skills are needed: research & development, fundraising, communication, marketing, etc…

Working with a team will keep you motivated, even in difficult times. Also, it will be easier to gain financial support as concerned organisations usually prefer teams to solo projects.

  1. Not asking for advice

 

Sometimes, just your opinion and your expertise with regards to your project are not enough.

Be it for the design of your project or for the legal aspects related to your activity, seek expert advice. Lawyers, experienced entrepreneurs and even strangers will tell you the weak points of your business and how to overcome them.

  1. Not making involved people sign a non-disclosure agreement

This is not about trust, it is about common sense.

Many projects meet their end because their competitors get wind of certain crucial elements. Product innovation, marketing approach, partnerships and many other parts of your business should be confidential.

Ask each member of your start-up, and each participant in your project, to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

  1. Not protecting your personal assets

Finally, it is advisable to separate your personal assets from your business assets.

Pay special attention when choosing your company’s status. In case of financial problems, you and your family will be safe.

As long as you go about launching your business in a careful and smart way, you will not experience problems. In case of uncertainty, you should not hesitate to seek advice and support from your family, friends and professionals.

Communication between the members of your team is crucial to make your company achieve its objectives. Difficult communication wastes time, creates distrust and becomes a source of stress for your employees. These are the ideal factors for mediocre results. However, there are several measures that you can take to make your employees work better together. Here are 5 tips to promote harmonious collaboration between colleagues:

 

1. Promote human contact

Considering the variety of internal communication tools that companies employ, human contact is often deemed negligible. Some of your staff would rather send an email than walk to a colleague to talk over an issue.

Try to encourage your employees to get together for coffee. They might also benefit from a small informal meeting in the morning to get the day going. These will allow for a lot more productive discussion than a series of virtual messages would. Moreover, meeting face-to-face strengthens the bond within your team.

 

2. Correction: ‘reasonable’ human contact

While face-to-face communication has many benefits, it can also have some negative effects. For instance, walking up to someone to ask them about various small matters can become quite overbearing.

Before interrupting a colleague, it is important to look for signs of his/her availability. One of these might be to check whether the door to his/her office is open or closed. Another sign that someone is focused on their work would be when they are listening to music via headphones. In case the person is unavailable, it might be best to come back at a later time or to send an email.

 

3. Organise meaningful meetings

Spending time together brings team members closer and helps to identify common interests. In meetings, employees get to know each other and communicate properly. While these will not make all of the colleagues friends, they are an opportunity to understand everyone’s motivation. This will in turn also work towards making communication much easier. Also, if face-to-face meetings are not possible, video conferences are still a viable option.

 

4. Hang out with colleagues

If you want to create bonds between your team members and improve communication, consider bringing them together for fun activities. Arrange lunches together or go for drinks after work. Team building events or simply relaxing days out can also be helpful.

These moments bring your employees closer to each other and definitely end up having a positive impact on their teamwork.

 

5. Encourage respect and honesty

Improving communication requires commitment from the whole team. In order to achieve this, you should establish a corporate culture that promotes respect and honesty.

When there is an issue, your employees should be able to express themselves as much as they should be listened to. If you send an email or use any other technological means of communication, take the time to reread your messages to check the tone. Thoughts may manifest differently in text than in real life.

 

With seamless, respectful and effective communication, your team will become more productive. It will be easier for your employees to work together towards a greater goal: the success of your business!

Flexible working hours, no boss, no colleagues to distract you… There are many arguments that a freelancer can put forward to detail the advantages of his job. While being your own boss has its perks, maintaining both creativity and productivity every day is not an easy feat.

You may control your creativity and express it the way you want, but no one keeps you on track. Nobody makes sure that deadlines are met, a factor which might work against you. Indeed, it might make getting the job done difficult for some. To solve this problem, you can refer to the four strategies listed below. They may help you to find the perfect balance between productivity and creativity.

 

1. Devise and follow daily schedules

Time management is key to remaining effective as a freelancer/entrepreneur. However, this is not an easy skill to master. Most experienced professionals have had or still have trouble with time management. This is why they employ secretaries to whom they entrust this task.

For beginners, secretaries may not be an option. It is therefore up to you to manage your time and plan your projects.

To maintain a certain discipline and remain productive during your days, set schedules. Of course, you can define them according to your personal requirements and rhythm. However, for the progress of your business, it is essential to work at least 8 hours per day.

 

2. Organise your work

Blogging, web design, community management … Freelancers sometimes have to work for several clients at once, with different jobs for each of them.

Divide your tasks in terms of categories instead of clients and assign a time zone to each of them. For example, you can keep three hours to write articles, two for community management and three for web design. This way, your brain stays focused on a single task rather than on several at once.

 

3. Begin with the hardest work

For maximum efficiency, start your work day with the most difficult tasks. Working on high-concentration jobs is more time-consuming in the afternoon than earlier.

Indeed, you have more energy in the morning, after several hours of sleep. Beginning with the hardest tasks is therefore best for your productivity. Your creativity will also benefit from this type of planning since your day will be optimised.

 

4. Automate your finances

Choosing to be your own boss also requires you to be your own accountant. It can sometimes be frustrating to spend hours billing clients and making advance payments. After all, you could be using this time to focus on your job. However, it is important to keep your accounting up to date since your pay depends on it.

You can decrease the time taken to calculate finances by using online tools and apps. Designing templates for quotes, bills and e-mails, amongst others, can also be time saving.

 

As mentioned above, these solutions are not set in stone; you can adapt them according to own needs and purposes. It is, however, important to remember that to be creative, you need enough time to dedicate to your projects.

Be they comedians, YouTubers, models or even bloggers, they are more importantly the new faces of Mauritius’ influencer marketing sector. For example, Vincent Duvergé and his friends can be seen at Chantecler, while Neeshi Beeharry is the brand new endorser for Patel Optics. Influencer: is it a promising job?

From YouTuber to influencer

Probably one of the most recognisable faces across the Mauritian Web, Vincent Duvergé, under 25 years of age, is already a major influencer. The young YouTuber quickly seduced his audience thanks to his parodies and mimics on the video platform. Today, brands contact him to promote their products. Making use of a familiar face that Mauritians already appreciate seems to be a winning formula for many companies.

What is influencer marketing?

Companies are increasingly using social media to get closer to their customers and gain greater visibility. Influencer marketing thus refers to the use of the popularity of influencers to promote products and services. This method is gaining in importance in Mauritius and throughout the world. Considering that 70% of millennials rely on the recommendations of influencers before making a purchase, there is no longer even a trace of doubt. The vast majority of young adults seek inspiration from influencers, and brands are not about to let this opportunity slide.

Driving trends and promoting sales

These social network “people” already have a substantial number of followers. This popularity enables them to influence a lot of users. This can be achieved through product testing or by becoming a brand ambassador. One such example is Laetitia Darche Sauzier, Miss Mauritius 2010, who is now an ambassador for Huawei in Mauritius. However, popularity alone is not enough to influence consumers’ purchasing decisions. These influencers must also act as true professionals.

What type of future awaits influencers in Mauritius?

Few Mauritian influencers can currently make a living out of this “profession”. However, the companies or agencies with which they collaborate regularly send them gifts and products to test. Depending on their popularity, they can be contacted by several brands. Joel Capillaire, who has more than 9,000 followers on his Instagram account, is hired by three brands. He even happened to go to Malaysia and Singapore to take pictures for a travel agency. However, income is not stable and until this concept grows in Mauritius, most of the influencers have another simultaneous occupation.

Influencer marketing on a worldwide scale

Nevertheless, at international level, a large number of influencers manage to succeed. Swedish blogger Lina Lindholm covers 100% of her life costs through the means of her Instagram account, which currently has more than 100,000 followers. The same applies to female YouTuber Lilly Singh, aka IISuperwomanII, who now has 14 million subscribers to her channel and no less than 2.5 billion views on her videos. A true success story for the 30-year-old, and certainly a glimmer of hope for our talented young Mauritians!

Every year, thousands of start-ups are born and you might be one of them. While you may have found the right way to develop your business, you still have to work on gathering an audience.

Good communication is the key to promoting your start-up, but this year calls for new ways to attract attention. Strategies such as web advertising, telephone marketing and the creation of a website are simply not enough anymore.

Following the shift in trends, new marketing strategies have been developed. Here are some of them:

 

Develop a content marketing strategy

Content marketing is one of the first solutions you can turn to. Apart from being extremely affordable, its benefits are also more effective.

You can create any kind of content to attract the attention of your audience. From blog articles to infographics, including videos, podcasts, guides and white papers… you have a wide choice! Having various types of content will increase the chances of them being shared on social networks and going viral.

You can go even further by transforming one type of content into another. For instance, a video can be created from various blog posts. This will allow you to capture the attention of a larger audience around the same topic.

However, any content marketing strategy that you decide to implement should go through SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

Being careful about SEO will be essential to boost your visibility on search engines. To ensure that your content is optimised, you should firstly try to learn more about SEO on the internet. You can also turn to SEO professionals.

After creating your content and optimising it for search engines, you will have to promote it. You can do so via your site, in newsletters or on social networks.

A content marketing strategy should allow you:

  • To make your mark within your industry
  • To be credible in the eyes of netizens
  • To educate your audience about your products or services
  • To Improve your SEO and bring traffic to your site

Some tips

Make sure you know your target before you start creating content. Afterwards, you should regularly measure the performance of your strategy so as to improve it.

Creating webinars

Videos are currently a very popular format. They can be used to create an enormous variety of content: interviews, testimonials, presentations for your company, and many more. So why not webinars?

You can easily introduce your company to the world via Facebook Live or on YouTube. Videos also allow you to promote your product(s) or service(s) by stating its/their characteristics and benefits.

Some tips

Promote your webinar a few days or even a few weeks before actually posting for more viewership.

As for the presentation, it’s always a good idea to favour an enthusiastic tone. Netizens usually pay more attention to dynamic presentations.

 

Partnerships with influencers

Influence marketing is ‘the’ strategy which works for adverting.

While it may not be as strongly present on the Mauritian advertising scene as it is abroad, influence marketing is a very promising strategy. For this strategy to be effective, choose web stars who communicate to a target audience similar to yours. This will allow them to effectively promote your products to a wider audience.

 

As seen above, 2019 is not the year for widely spread marketing systems that are slow-rising. Instead, it calls for innovation and favours those who are strategically creative. So do not hesitate to try new ways to promote your start-up; it will need the boost.

 

People have different reactions towards the thought of changing career paths at 50. Some are excited, while some are scared and others are unsure. Many question the need to switch to another job at this specific age since they do not have much left until retirement. The reactions all depend on the point of view. One can see the years they have left at their current job as ‘a short time’ while another may see them as ‘an eternity’. Most people looking to change careers agree with the latter thought. They either do not like the work they are doing or they want to switch to something they like more. The question is: is it possible? It may be difficult, but yes, it is definitely possible to change career paths at 50.

The hardest is to decide whether to stay at their current job or to leave. After passing all these years at the same company, climbing up the ladder and becoming an expert at a specific work, choosing to switch can be very difficult. Many are scared to move out of their comfort zones, which is a perfectly normal reaction. However, time passes as people hesitate with their decision. Statistics show that workers who launch themselves directly into the job search are more likely to get employed than those who prefer to wait for the right timing.

After taking the leap, the difficulties that one may face include fierce competition, technological disadvantage and financial liabilities. There is a very big number of highly qualified young job seekers on the market. Technology will also always be a problem for the older generation. This applies to those who are 50 now as well as those who will be 50 in twenty years. Looking for a new job is also time consuming, a period which may create a dent in years of savings. However, older job seekers retain certain advantages over their younger counterparts. Their most important plus point is experience. Even if they are changing career paths, they have acquired various skills over the years. These abilities will surely be useful. High-level skills and experience in the work environment can highlight a CV and increase the chances of getting employed.

Here are some tips that can be helpful when deciding to change career paths at 50:

1. Know what you want to do and what you can do

It’s important to be both positive and realistic when choosing to switch jobs. Taking the time to think about what one wants to do and what one can do is a crucial step.

2. Weigh the money implications

While money should not be the main goal when changing careers, it should still be on the list of things to consider. After all, a certain amount of income will be necessary to pay bills and afford some luxuries.

3. Upgrade your skills

One is never too old to learn. Mastering new skills to meet the requirements of the current job market should not be a setback. The job seeker should also be ready to learn and adapt to a whole new job from scratch.

4. Seek help and support

As mentioned above, changing career paths at 50 is not easy. Therefore, seeking the support of family and friends as well as professional advice will surely be helpful.

 

All in all, ending a job adventure to begin another one can be challenging. However, wasting away precious time at a job that one hates is not a wise decision. Change should therefore be an option so as to experience what life has to offer to the fullest.

Going green is not just a thoughtful decision to take with regards to the environment. It also enhances the way customers perceive a company. For instance, for the same service, a client might choose one firm over the other just because it is eco-friendly. Firms can thus impress consumers and potential collaborators by opting to protect the environment.

There is no need to make drastic changes. A company can start shifting to eco-friendly means through some simple steps. Building a green business from scratch also involves the same ideas: rejecting practices that harm the environment to adopt those that support it.

Firstly, these are the materials that an environmentally friendly company should avoid using:

  1. Plastics that are made from polyethylene
  2. Multilayered packaging
  3. Styrofoam
  4. Polystyrene
  5. Fossil fuel energy
  6. Materials that cannot be recycled

A firm wishing to go green can use the following instead:

  1. Plant-based plastics
  2. Biodegradable plastics
  3. Alternative energy sources
  4. Recycled materials and products
  5. Recycled moulded packaging
  6. Post-consumer recycled polyethylene bags that are made from recycled waste

Just by changing the products that the firm uses, it is already positively enhancing its ecological footprint. In this sense, going green starts by producing less waste and favouring natural, recyclable energy.

This is only the beginning though, as many other measures can be taken to make a company eco-friendly. The list below shows certain steps than a firm can follow to drive its environmentally sustainable growth:

1. Invest in nature

Planting trees outside the office not only contributes to the protection of the environment, but also beautifies a building’s exterior aspect. Inside the building, plants can be used to purify the air. Scatter potted plants throughout the office, both in the lounge and next to employees. This will brighten up the atmosphere, make clients and new recruits more at ease and increase productivity to some extent.

2. Save energy

Switching off the lights when they are not in use decreases the amount of energy waste that a company produces. The enterprise can also opt for energy-efficient lighting instead of incandescent bulbs. At the same time, it can choose to replace old equipment and machinery with new, eco-friendly items. Adopting this practice also helps to save money on the electricity bills, resulting in an additional fund. This extra money can be used to better the company or to further finance the firm’s green venture.

3. Opt for electronic data management

Getting rid of unnecessary paperwork can significantly reduce a firm’s negative impact on the environment. Computerise as much data as possible. This is not only eco-friendly, but also saves money as there is no need to buy as much paper anymore. Recycling used paper which is no longer needed is another green practice.

4. Reduce oil consumption

A company will truly be environmentally friendly when its employees also adopt this value. For instance, carpooling is a good way to save oil and money. Public transportation and telecommuting are additional options that can be considered.

 

This is only a beginning. Many other measures can be adopted to build an environmentally sustainable business. It is never too late for a firm to decide to go green. The first step can be small, but its impact will undoubtedly be impressive.

When you think about launching your start-up in Mauritius, various questions and doubts arise. Will you get funding? Does Mauritius have a market for your business? Will your start-up be able to grow within the island? However, despite its shortcomings, Mauritius may be just the right place to launch a start-up.

Helpful development schemes

Mauritius offers several development programs to help entrepreneurs in their venture. Schemes such as the SME Partnership Fund, the Mauritius Business Growth Scheme and the AFD Green Lending Scheme are available to business launchers. They can assist in both the opening and the growth of a start-up. Another way through which entrepreneurs can get support is incubators. These organisations specialise in the nurturing of a business. This includes, but is not limited to training, funding, legal assistance and the provision of office space.

The Mauritian market and growth opportunities

As a developing country, Mauritius is hungry for and open to new ideas. Innovation is fuelling the booming technological sector and creativity is being sought out everywhere. Now would therefore be the best time to introduce your idea and to try it in a start-up. Many young entrepreneurs have tested the waters, tasting sweet success. Some of them are Blast Burson-Marsteller, Focus Events, Sweat and Laugh, amongst others. As the country continues to develop, it will rise in terms of economy and innovation, providing further growth opportunities to Mauritian businesses.

Beginner friendly environment

Aspiring entrepreneurs who want to launch their first business will find Mauritius to be right up their alley. If you are Mauritian, you can count on your familiarity with the country and its citizens for a pretty smooth start. Mauritians who open their business on the island already have an idea about what their market will welcome or reject. They also benefit from the support of their family and friends, which is an invaluable asset. Before becoming a fully-fledged enterprise, start-ups often have to go through trial-and-error phases. While some aspects of a new business may pass with flying colours, others may fail. Dealing with failures is hard for anyone, even more so when in an unfamiliar place surrounded by unfamiliar people. As such, it is always a good idea to start in a familiar environment.

Foreigner friendly too

Favourable conditions also welcome foreigners who wish to launch a start-up in Mauritius. With the country’s low-tax jurisdiction and investor-friendly environment, the process to open a business on the island is quite smooth. Foreign entrepreneurs can also benefit from the support provided by the schemes and organisations mentioned above. Since Mauritius is a small country, it can also be a perfect test location for a start-up. Trying out an idea can be risky depending on the scale at which the test is carried out. Therefore, reducing the impact of the success/failure by testing in a small area can be beneficial to new businesses.

While Mauritius is small, it is a fertile hub for entrepreneurs. Its current status as a developing country prompts further growth, offering the right environment for the launch of start-ups. Whether you are enthusiastic or hesitant about opening your business, the advantages and opportunities that the island provides will undoubtedly be beneficial to your venture. So, ready to take the first step?

Technology is omnipresent in our current lives and its importance is bound to grow as the years pass. One of the most innovative fields of study within computer science is artificial intelligence (AI). This sector focuses on the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans.

Speech recognition, machine learning and problem solving are some of the activities performed by these intelligent computers. As the popularity of AI increases, so does its application in various industries. Below are some of the ways in which this technology will revolutionise our lives.

Health will no longer be a problem

Machine learning refers to a computer that can learn by itself. As Pedro Domingos, author of ‘The Master Algorithm’ says, “Machines can attend to vastly more information and more complex processes than human beings”. Given a certain database, an AI system can analyse it to find the solution, and this includes the cure to cancer.

Various companies are already making use of machine learning to observe and identify human behaviour. Smartphones, for instance, already include several health sensors. In the future, this technology might be improved to predict when a person is going to have a heart attack. Following this diagnosis, the phone will call the emergencies and may also save the person’s life. Sensors might be included in people’s bodies to cure them from illnesses before they even realise they are sick.

Wars will involve less human loss

As Chinese philosopher Laozi stated, “The best soldier fights without vengeance, without anger and without hate.” Robots fighting in the stead of humans on the battlefield will result in a decrease in the loss of lives. Even if it is smart, artificial intelligence will still be artificial. Computers do not get angry, sad, scared or murderous. As machines do not feel emotions, they are less likely to suffer from traumas and to act on impulse. Decision-making with regards to fights may therefore become more strategic and less chaotic.

The job market will change drastically

Robots are already responsible for a staggering number of job losses incurred over the past decades. With the rise of artificial intelligence, this number is sure to climb even higher. 47% of global jobs could be taken by AI in the years to come, according to an Oxford University study. Indeed, the creation of intelligent machines that can think for themselves will negate the need for much human interference. Surgeons will be replaced by computers who will not make mistakes and soldiers by robots who will not die.

However, not all jobs are at risk. For instance, mental routine work is a lot easier to automate than common sense. This includes street sweepers and people who do work which requires contact with the physical world. Jobs that function via creative and critical thinking will also be more in demand.

 

Despite having both its good and bad points, artificial intelligence will no doubt affect human life in the future. Understanding how it works is therefore crucial for progress within the field of machine learning.