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Small businesses are growing very quickly. For an optimal development that will not overwhelm the company, they must invest in the right tools.
In the midst of the influx of new, innovative technologies and gadgets, how can you find the right technologies? How will you know which ones are most promising for your business?
Here are some of the most useful technologies today that can help start-ups grow:

1. Use chatbots to increase your company’s communication range

A chatbot is a computer program capable of simulating a conversation with one or more people. The exchanges can be in text form, in the case of a chat, or carried out via voice mail.
This tool is increasingly being used to improve customer service, especially through instant messaging.
Chatbot users can:
• Learn about an event
• Book a means of transport
• Get practical information
• Get technical advice

Digital conversational agents continue to grow. They are now becoming a must. They both save time and maintain optimal customer service. By leaving common questions to a robot, teams save time and customers get real-time answers.
Thanks to machine learning, chatbots can help you learn a lot about your customers. They can even help you increase your traffic or sales.

 

2. Enable voice search to increase sales

Voice search is becoming increasingly common as an internet habit. Many people use this searching mode to look browse the internet, but also to buy online.
So why invest in voice search? First of all, a voice can tell you a lot about your clientele. Voice search reveals nuances that are invisible in written queries.
It can allow you to know your customers better and reach a wider audience or even new markets. To use this technology correctly, ask your marketing teams to work on the keywords that lead to your website. They should also conduct tests to know which specific voice searches are the most profitable to your business.

 

3. Try to include dynamic pricing

Dynamic pricing allows prices to be set in flexible ways depending on events, scenarios or trends in supply and demand. For example, the price of toys rises dramatically in the Christmas holiday season.
A study by Gartner found that dynamic pricing was the most successful marketing strategy.
It is certainly a frustration task since prices are constantly fluctuating. However, it can really help your business grow and get you ahead of the competition.

 

4. Anticipate customer demands with sentiment analysis

We agree that this technology seems a bit surreal. It generates an automatic analysis of a user’s feelings from a text. This can be valuable help in understanding the quality of customer interactions with your business.
In a way, it uncovers the hidden subtlety of words. According to Gartner, 75% of the companies most praised by their customers could lose up to 20% of their value. The reason for this is the decadent perception of brands and a loss of consumer loyalty. After all, customers are inevitably attracted by novelty or lower prices.
Using sentiment analysis can help you anticipate this phenomenon and better respond to the needs of your customers.

Whatever technology you use, do not forget the primary aim of your digital development. This would be the growth of your business through better customer service and marketing strategies.

With the advent of laptops and increasingly accessible and fast internet connections, working at home is a huge success. Many digital nomads take advantage of their freedom to change offices regularly. Some of these entrepreneurs choose coworking, the benefits of which are more numerous than one might think. This article will elaborate on coworking and office sharing experiences and their advantages.

Coworking saves money

Sharing offices often happens for economic reasons. Office rent can cost a lot of money per square metre, especially in big cities. Adding a few more workstations to the premises will allow you to optimize the work space, thus reducing the cost.

Similarly, there are many ways to diminish other fixed and variable costs associated with business management. These include the consumables related to the basic management of the company (coffee, electricity, internet, printer, maintenance expenses, etc.).

A group meeting room, with a reservation system, also allows you to fully exploit the space that you are renting.

Why not also consider sharing software licences? Creating an additional account is better than subscribing to a new full subscription.

If your businesses are successful and the coworking goes well, you can consider renting bigger spaces for your growing companies. It will enable you to increase the standard of your office without costing too much.

 

Say goodbye to loneliness

One of the main problems of entrepreneurship is loneliness. Therefore, another main advantage of coworking is the possibility to meet people.

By “crashing” into offices that are not your own, you can meet other people and no longer work alone. These meetings can often also generate additional business for you or your host. Coworking with people in a field of activity close to or complementary to your practice is a smart move. You can respond together to requests from customers or simply seek help from those around you.

 

Shoot for your business’ growth

If you trust and get along with your coworkers, try to organise regular meetings. For example, you can have breakfast together on Friday mornings and talk about what happened during the week. These meetings would allow you to discuss problems and think up solutions, like a team. This is a great way to come up with fresh ideas that you maybe would have never thought of alone.

Incubators are particularly suited to this practice and are the ideal place to find coworkers.

 

Prerequisites for problem-free coworking

For coworking to work, you have to get along with the other parties. This is why a lot of people choose to cowork with friends. However, strangers can also make for perfect coworking partners.

For instance, open spaces are places where everyone can work together as long as they follow the rules. The aim is to create an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding. These rules should include noise restrictions and security measures. You can also create a contract to make sure that everyone abides by the rules you define.

If you can find the right coworkers and working environment, your business will evolve in a dynamic space. This is less socially taxing and more beneficial in terms of money and growth than working at home. Ultimately, the key is to follow the rules and get along with each other for a smooth coworking experience.

Developing your business abroad seems simple thanks to the Internet. However, internationalisation can fail without a good prior study of the competition, the market, and/or cultural codes.

Digital activities are continuing to grow internationally, partly due to the facilities that the Internet offers to entrepreneurs. It is easy to slack off with the advantages of technology. It allows you to create an activity with the prospect of developing it internationally, all without moving from home. This does not mean that it is effortless. To expand on an international scale, you will need to grow your expertise and multiply collaborations. Therefore, staying at home and taking it easy is not a real option.

Below are some key steps to take when planning to launch your business abroad.

Analyse your business’s performance with regards to the local market

Before considering the expansion of your business on the international scale, you should conduct a study about its current performance. Are local customers happy with the services that it offers? Is your business successful at the local level? If the answers to these are yes, you should try to understand what makes your product/service appealing to consumers.

If you are unfamiliar with the local market or the behaviour of your customers, you can ask them directly. Set up a feedback form on your website, e-mail your clients with questions or conduct a satisfaction survey. The information that you gather will allow you to identify what makes your product attractive to your consumers. This data will be crucial when you start working on internationalisation.

Understand the expectations of the target foreign market

Your product may be the best and most attractive in its local market. There is still a possibility that it will not work at all in a new geographical area. Various entrepreneurs face this problem when they attempt to expand abroad without carrying out prior research.

Determining the readiness of the target foreign market to accept your product is easier after studying its demands. It is also helpful to determine whether the competition is already established and powerful or not.

Be patient and take your time to determine the above factors instead of rushing in unknown territory. If you are lucky, you might struggle a bit in the beginning and learn as you go. With a little less luck, you will most likely fail to go with the trend and you will fall behind.

To avoid wasting your time and effort in an unsuccessful foreign business adventure, study carefully and prepare a viable plan.

Make your business adaptable

Observing the market and understanding it will also allow your company to adapt to its differences.

Adapting is necessary for the successful integration of your business in its new market. Be they languages, symbolism, colours or messages to convey, some are not well accepted in certain cultures. As they, your company should work to blend into the cultural mould of the destination market.

The prior research that you carry out will enhance your adaptability. You will be able to both merge with the culture and offer something new to the market. This is one of the formulas for success that are perfectly calibrated to an international deployment.

 

International growth is one of the most exciting and complicated stages in a business’s life. It can open up the market and the number of consumers within the enterprise’s network. It can also be catastrophic for development if it is poorly managed. Take the time to analyse and understand the new market, its cultural codes, its competition and its consumers. As said above, your product may be the best locally, but it must adapt to succeed internationally.

Finding a balance between work life and family life can be quite difficult. This is even more so the case in Mauritius, where companies do not adapt easily to certain situations. To keep top female employees within their ranks, various firms in developed countries are providing support to mothers. They offer several incentives and services to help women with their new commitments. Parents both get to take a paid year off work so as to cope with pregnancy and child care. In turn, these facilities work. The number of women who resign from their jobs decreases. Since parents feel less stressed when they are supported by their companies, they are more productive. All of these affect fellow coworkers, who feel more at ease knowing that their firm will take care of them in difficult times. Thus, they work more happily and increase their company’s financial rendition.

However, these services are not extensively provided in Mauritius. As such, parents have to make compromises to accommodate both work and family lives. Below are some steps that employees can follow to find a certain balance between these two different yet important worlds:

1. Look for flexibility

Time is essential for employees who have to look after their families. As such, they should try to get the maximum amount of time they can. Parents can ask their companies for options such as working remotely. They can also negotiate for flexible hours. These will allow them to save time that they would have spent commuting to their office. As they will be working from home, they will be more present for their families. This will in turn reduce the pressure that parents feel when they do not spend enough time with their children.

2. Take some time to relax

Many parents feel overworked since they have to take care of both their work and their home. They can get overwhelmed by this sentiment as they worry about being able to cope. This stress impacts on their mood and a bad mood can be detrimental to both the family and work. Taking some time to relax is therefore crucial. The amount of time that parents spend with their children is already limited. It should not be made worse with bitterness due to stress.

3. Get support and help

Women are often confronted with an impossible list of tasks that they have to complete within 24 hours. Taking the help of their partner is sure to decrease their amount of work and improve their efficiency and mood. Single parents face the same issue. Relying on other family members and on friends is another option. The more help one can get, the easier it is to find a balance between family life and work life.

4. Save money

Working parents can reduce their expenses by getting rid of expensive items that they do not need. By doing so, they will feel less pressured by debts and other financial concerns. Some may even find it more practical to switch to a part-time job following a decrease in monetary pressure. As such, they will get more time to spend with their families. This will in turn lead them to maintain the healthy balance that they are looking for.

 

As seen above, maintaining a full-time job while being present at home as a parent is not impossible. If companies begin to increase the support that they offer to parents, finding a balance between work and family will surely become easier.

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.

Business for entrepreneurs are their passion project, but it’s probably also their number one source of stress.

So entrepreneur, when your productivity is directly tied to your business’s success, it’s all too easy to neglect life’s necessities in favor of long hours at work. However, while it’s good to chase your goals, successful entrepreneurship requires balance.

It’s possible to achieve work-life balance, manage your stress, and still achieve your business goals, but it doesn’t come without a little effort. Here are four changes you need to make to strike a healthier balance for your business.

Set a Work Schedule and Develop Routines

Routines and schedules foster productivity and prevent work from bleeding over into the rest of life. They also provide structure and predictability in the often-unpredictable world of entrepreneurship. Decide what time to start and finish each workday and commit to it. Zapier recommends adopting a morning routine to get you in the right headspace for work and an evening routine to put today behind you and prepare for tomorrow. During your workday, schedule your time so you know exactly how long you can spend on each task without sacrificing productivity in the process.

Upgrade Your Workspace

You won’t be productive if your desk chair is giving you backaches, your computer is running slowly, or your family is interrupting you every five minutes. And as an entrepreneur, letting your productivity suffer is as good as throwing money away.

 

If you’re working from a home office, make sure it’s ergonomic, organized, and free from unnecessary distraction. If outdated equipment is holding you back, upgrade it. You’ll easily pay back your investment with increased productivity. Also, if your home office has too many limitations, a co-working space could be the answer. With clean and ergonomic workspaces, co-working spaces offer a professional and convenient office environment for entrepreneurs. Plus, co-working spaces offer a lot of other benefits to budding businesses.

Be Good to Your Body

Junk foods and sugary drinks help you power through hectic days at work, but they’re not the best for your health or your productivity. Instead, be deliberate about what you eat and drink. You’ll fuel your body with high-quality foods and hydration that keep you operating at peak performance throughout the workday and beyond.

 

Eating well is easier when you plan ahead. Plan and prep meals at the beginning of each week so you can grab and go in the morning. Keep a reusable water bottle at your desk so it’s convenient to stay hydrated, and watch your coffee consumption. A little caffeine is great for a boost, but too much could lead to insomnia, anxiety, and other unpleasant effects.

 

Don’t forget sleep! Not surprisingly, sleep is key to your ability to stay focused at work. If you forego sleep to chase deadlines, you’ll pay for it in lost productivity the next day. If you routinely skip sleep, both your business and your health will suffer.

Keep Your Finances on Track

There aren’t enough healthy routines and habits in the world to make up for the stress caused by financial woes. As a business owner, it’s imperative that you actively manage your business’ finances. If you don’t, it’s only a matter of time before your business fails. Additionally, entrepreneurs must closely monitor their cash flow. Staples Business Resource Center lays out the basics of cash flow management that every entrepreneur needs to know.

 

Entrepreneurship isn’t like other jobs. When you run your own business, you have more freedom and flexibility than you’d ever find in a typical career. However, if you don’t manage your business effectively, you’ll also have more stress, longer hours, and less financial certainty. With these tips, you can run a business that’s as manageable as it is successful.

If you still need help or guidance, you can always contact Turbine Business Incubator. This incubator for start-up is located in Moka, Mauritius and has for mission to enhance the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem in the Indian ocean. You will eventually find solace by discussing with the Turbine team.