Category Archives: Startups

Aug11

IS THE NEXT UBER-ESQUE CRAZE HERE?

By Ian Tash

DessertsThe 2010-decade seems to be seeing hit after hit of an economic revolution, where people like never before can become entrepreneurs, and use their skills to support themselves. Companies like Lyft and Uber employ people with a car, a license, and a good record to help those who need rides in their local area. Sites like Fiverr or the newest development, PimpCookie, allow people to sell their trade skills to people all around the globe.

PimpCookie is a service that allows consumers to buy desserts to be delivered right to their door. Now searching for sweets doesn’t just fall into what is in the area. Just browsing through the site’s listings can fulfill any special occasion or just sweet tooth craving. But can great food be delivered on a global scale? Companies like Naturebox, Shari’s Berries, or even a small Bakery like Bakersfield CA’s Sweet Surrender deliver food all over the world constantly. At PimpCookie, however, the delectable treats available have limitless potential and variety; all somebody needs to do is just search through the numerous options, from marshmallows to brownies to fudge to jerky and (as the name implies) cookies, and beyond.

Uncle Sam

Now, here comes the Uber-esque part. The question for some very well may be, “Where do these treats come from?” Others might be thinking to themselves, “What if I like to cook more than I like to eat?” Well, the thing about PimpCookie is that it allows home inspired bakers, cooks, and creators from all over the world to be able to post their small batch treat items for the global audience to enjoy. And unlike many other entrepreneurial marketplace websites, at PimpCookie, the seller always retains 85% of each sell! The site can even serve as a safe zone for experimentation with new dessert ideas. As long as someone has a great recipe for a wonderful treat, they can make it and sell it for a demanding public, looking for sweet satisfaction.

Consumers and creators alike can all come together on a site like PimpCookie, opening the door for culinary experts and the mouths of curious consumers. Now the power of Uber and Fiverr combine, selling chocolate fantasies from online right to the front door. This site seems like it very well is the next great idea, filling stomachs and bank accounts alike.

Jul15

3 Ways to give your business a boost

growth chart

1. Update that website to HTML 5 for responsive design and mobile

These days it can be tough to compete in business if you don’t have a website that’s well designed, up to date and formatted for mobile phones. If your website is more that five years old there’s a good chance it’s not developed with HTML 5 or responsive design. This means your website may not look correct on different browsers and devices. Pages may get cut in half, images don’t load and crazy scroll bars may need to be used to read content and click on buttons. Know the feeling? According to Wikipedia, “Responsive Web Design (RWD) is an approach to web design aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing and interaction experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones)”

Why Use Responsive Web Design?

The number of devices, platforms, and browsers that need to work with your site will continue to change. Responsive web design represents a shift in how websites will be built for at least the next ten years. Ignore this and your company will be at a disadvantage for delivering information, products and services online.

How can you update your website and mobile app without breaking the bank or paying developers?

Enlist a consulting company like Creative Village to manage the transfer of content and improve site design with a new HTML 5 responsive website with the revolutionary platform Wix.com. Creative Village will take the project management and design portion of the project off your plate and assure improved user experience, design and applications without having to complete excessive coding, testing or developing because we they partner with designers that are Wix.com experts and offer support and updates to your site even after the project is complete.

Black-Horizontal-Logo

2. Improve your talent pipeline by creating an internship program

Some of the benefits of having a quality internship program include reduced cost in pre-qualifying entry-level candidates, increased bandwidth for projects and training opportunities for staff that participate in the program. Companies have reported saving an average of $15,000 per hire when utilizing their internship program for pre-screening of future hires. In addition, it has been proven that employees who intern at your company will stay with the company longer than employees who never completed an internship program. Therefore employee retention rates are higher for companies that have quality internship programs. Creating useful and engaging learning exercises that prepare the intern to work at the company is important for both the intern host and intern to understand that a full-time position is never a guarantee when interning. This agreement and other important details of an internship program should be written and documented within the actual internship program and contracts signed by both parties.

Sound like too much administrative work to put together an internship program?

If so, check out the Quickstart Internship System. It’s a downloadable guide with templates for everything required to create a quality internship program.

Quickstart Internship System_cover

3. Provide online skills gap training for your staff

These days there are several online training resources to give employees a chance to develop new skills or brush up on current skills that have not been used in a while. With online training platforms such as Grovo.com and Linda.com, employers can offer immense knowledge resources for small monthly subscription fees. Some resources like Grovo.com offer free access for some users. Some of the skills gap trainings available for free include Digital Etiquette, Google Apps and Twitter Ads. Totally captivating because the lessons are broken into short  videos followed by brief multiple-choice exam to help you recall the information. Grovo’s a great tool for any learner trying to learn or improve a current skill.

May27

Marketing yourself online as a creative

Social marketing as a creative

Working as a freelance creative can seem like a dream job. You get to do interesting, varied work while setting your own hours and working from home. But in addition to being your own boss, you also have to be your own agent, marketing manager and public relations officer. Whether you’re a copywriter, an artist or a designer, making contacts, attracting attention and securing work is arguably the most important aspect of what you do. You can be the most talented creative in the world, but if nobody knows about you, then you don’t get paid, and ultimately you might have to go back to waiting tables or office drudgery in order to make ends meet.

Thankfully, the internet and the wide variety of interactive media platforms available means it’s now easier than ever to market yourself online as a freelance creative professional. Your potential client base is now worldwide; you just need to reach out to them with a professional, authoritative presence that displays your abilities and experience to the best effect.

Presenting your portfolio

With an uncountable number of work portfolios available online, presentation is just as important as your actual work. Be creative and innovative in how you catch the eye of potential clients and draw them in to view your art, design or examples of your writing. The front page of your website should impress immediately. It should be striking and original, but also easy to navigate and interact with. It should also be appropriate to the kind of work you do as well as the market you’re aiming at.

If you’re not confident in building a personal website, go to the professionals. GoDaddy is probably the world’s best-known domain registrar and web hosting company, and is an online provider for many small businesses. The award-winning firm also provides e-business software and services. Founder Bob Parsons certainly knows the benefit of innovative marketing, using his personal charisma alongside a series of celebrity spokespeople in edgy, fun and often controversial advertisements that helped make GoDaddy a billion-dollar brand. And as this Bob Parsons news shows, his philanthropy also attracts attention.

Selling your brand

It can help to focus on a niche market in which you have expertise at first, and then gradually expand out from there. Find your USP (unique selling point) and emphasize it in your presentation. Use social media and have a consistent and eye-catching logo that you can use across all platforms and in online advertising. Also remember that networking and making contacts is the bread and butter of any online creative. Try to maintain a blog in addition to your regular website, where you can show off your work and keep up a controlled, ongoing interaction with the wider world that also allows a little bit more of your real self to come through.

A professional and engaging portfolio is the key to finding work as an online creative, as is a well designed website. Include references from contacts and impressive examples to stand out from the crowd, and let your talents shine through.

May25

The importance of regular office maintenance

Office stress

The business world is a busy one. In the rush to get as much done as possible, it is very easy to ignore maintenance of office spaces. Unfortunately, this could be driving customers away from your business, which means you could be losing money from disorder. Here are some more things to keep in mind about the importance of office maintenance.

A well-organized space means less mistakes and time wasted

We have all been in a situation where we simply cannot find what we need to do a job. This can be a huge time waster, which in turn costs not just time, but also money, so organizing and keeping your office clean can actually save your business money. It is also far less likely that employees will make mistakes if their individual office spaces are well organized. It is too tempting to take short cuts or become confused if things are disorganized.

Good maintenance makes clients want to stay

When an office space is clean and comfortable, then clients and customers will be comfortable as well. No one wants to sit in a messy office space with stained floors and fast food cartons on desks. Part of the reason for this is that messiness implies a certain carelessness that can make customers assume you will be just as careless when you do business with them.

Employees work better in positive and clean environments

If you want your employees to not dread coming to work and to perform at their best, then it is important that the office space be clean and comfortable. Garbage should be removed regularly and carpets should also be shampooed regularly and cleaned to avoid odors and unsightly stains. When you choose Action Chem-Dry for Toronto carpet and area rug cleaning, you will enjoy service that can remove 98% of the allergens from your carpet and upholstery and an outstanding 89% of airborne bacteria. This means employees and customers will be in the healthiest environment possible. 

Encouraging good habits

When a space is kept clean, it sets a standard of expectations that employees will try to follow. If an employee starts work at a firm that is disorganized and messy, there is a good chance he or she will be that way as well. That doesn’t mean you can’t change behaviors, so long as you level with your workforce and let them know the direction you would like them to take towards tidiness. Lead by example by making an effort in your own office space.

Set a schedule

Creating an office maintenance schedule can be an effective way to make sure that it is not overlooked. Fore example, you can schedule carpets to be cleaned every six months or have the windows washed monthly, while basic actions like taking out trash may be duties that you leave to your workers. What works best is going to vary based on your own preferences and the size of your company. Also be sure to set reminders for yourself so that you can make sure that cleanings don’t interfere with your business.

The importance of regular maintenance of an office cannot be stressed enough. Ensuring a clean and comfortable working environment means employees will be more productive as well as happy, which benefits everyone in the long run.

May06

How Time Tracking Software Increases Productivity of Your Employees

Time tracking software for employees is a concept built on increased productivity, closer monitoring and a more results-driven workforce. If your business can make use of employees’ time tracking software, it will make for sound business sense and an improved return from your freelance staff and home workers’ productivity.

managetimeapps

More and more businesses are making use of home workers and freelancers to drive down costs; and for many small start-ups and even large enterprises, it’s a sound idea and investment. Expecting a freelancer or even a regular employee to battle their way into work each day, through heavy traffic is not a productive idea however.

It is far better to have those employees hit the working day running. But it’s the age old problem of management and supervisory staff members not being able to physically see workload being actively completed that has held the idea of home working back for so many small businesses.

Time tracking software for employees totally changes all that. Software that tracks employees’ time spent on a job or a specific task, helps businesses to micro-manage all the work a freelancer or a home worker spends all day doing.

Time tracking software starts up the moment the home worker switches on their computer, so it can be an excellent motivational tool for the employee to “clock in” and start the working day. But time tracking software for employees does not simply start and stop with the logging in of someone sat at a computer.

A complete picture of the working day is presented and graphs, diagrams and time is simplified to let employers know what its remote employees spend their time actually doing. It can highlight that some employees are spending too much time reading emails and too little on completing the spreadsheets for the end-of-month sales figures; it may also show that an employee is spending too much time on low-productivity websites, such as social media, sports, news, and messaging web pages.

However, many businesses – particularly those in advertising and promotion – need employees to spend time on social media to promote the business and update live feeds to potential customers. This is where time tracking software for employees comes in handy, as it is easily adjustable to switch individual options for a separate employees or departments.

In other words, accounts departments will need to spend a lot of time on live currency update sites, whereas the sales departments should be spending more time on web pages which might attract new clients. Time tracking software for employees can easily be adapted to suit what is best for you and the business.

 

 

May01

Crowdsourcing Week Global 2015 Conference

CSWgolbal15

I recently returned from Singapore after attending the 3rd Annual  #CSWGlobal15 Conference. The conference was held at the Genexis Theater within the Fusionopolis research and development complex that houses research organizations, high-tech companies and government agencies. It was an impressive location easily accessed by the airbnb flat I rented in Holland Village, just two train stops from the event.

I met Crowdsourcing Week’s founder, Epirot Ludvik Nekaj before he relocated from New York City to Singapore a little over three years ago to launch this global conference. We had the opportunity to meet while attending some of the same Meetup events in New York City and eventually became friends and colleagues. My interest in the crowdeconomy, crowdsourcing and crowdlabor has grown ever since. If you have similar interest then you’ll want to attend one of Crowdsourcing Week’s future conferences.

The conference mission is the following:

“Crowdsourcing Week is committed to help organizations transition into a more open, connected, and socially productive society. We focus on how crowdsourcing can address the needs of today’s leaders to bring about meaningful change. Our big, ambitious goal is to get everyone thinking about collaborating with their stakeholders to create shared value.”

Genesix Theater

Genesix Theater

The overriding theme of the conference was “Crowd Economy: Disrupting Billion Dollar Industries and Empowering Billions.” Sean Moffitt’s presentation kicked off the Crowdsourcing Week event. During Mr. Moffitt’s presentation, we learned that according to the 2015 Global Crowd Economy Survey, the biggest industries being disrupted over the next 3 years by the crowd include: #1 Finance and Banking, #2 Non-Profits and Causes, #3 Technology and Software, #4 Art and Design and #5 Publishing, Communications and Media.

The finance and banking sector has seen Peer to Peer (P2P) lenders and crowdfinancing platforms entering their market to compete. Companies like Prosper.com and crypto-currencies such as Transpay and Bitcoin have been making the headlines in tech blogs and major news publications. According to the Crowdsourcing Week audience and some of the presenters at the conference, this sector may be the most disrupted sector in the near future due to an ongoing feeling of dissatisfaction of banks by the general public. Banks and financial institutions are perfect targets for disrupting and making irrelevant. One benefit of using P2P financing and crypto-currencies is that transaction fees are reduced and/or eliminated. These technologies are attractive to the everyday consumer and business owners.

Another highlight of the conference included a presentation by Freeelancer.com’s VP of Growth, Willix Halim. He succinctly illustrated how the physical is being taken over by software. For example, paperback books (physical) to Kindle readers (software), telephones (physical) to Skype (software), scrap books (physical) to Pinterest (software), paper maps (physical) to Google Maps (software), CD players (physical) to Spotify (software), job fairs (physical) to Freelancer.com (software), classroom education (physical) to Udacity (software), well you get the point. Just about everything physical is being created into a software version as well as becoming mobile. The examples are endless and startups continue to innovate in this area of Software as a Service (SaaS).

Willix Halim of Freelancer.com

Willix Halim of Freelancer.com

During the conference we learned that crowd, crowdfunding and crowdfinancing platforms have been growing at a rapid pace. Everyday there are new crowd platforms being developed to provide labor, help fund a new products, causes or even real estate developments. Some of the other crowd platforms discussed at the conference include; ASSOB, Pozible, Freelancer, RealCrowd, iFunding, Planeta.ruZooppa, and eYeka.

Big brands have been using crowdsourcing and open innovation for years including Lego, Coca Cola, General Mills, Proctor & Gamble and Nestle for video production, design services, contests and surveys for new product ideas. The crowd can deliver more creativity and content than one advertising agency or one video production company. The crowd is also cost effective in the sense that you can obtain many ideas or designs from one contest than you ever could from one vendor. It should be noted that the more conscious crowd platforms assure that the crowd is rewarded for continued participation in contests and task completion.

View of Singapore Marina Bay

View of Singapore Marina Bay

One final area of interest from the conference was the disruption of traditional education with software technologies such as Khan Academy, edX, Udacity and Coursera. Some at the conference strongly believed that in the future we will only have a handful of brick and mortar educational institutions because it will no longer be efficient or cost effective to deliver educational content in this manner. At the present moment, educational loans are the biggest burden felt by recent college graduates and it does not have to be that way with online education. The cost can be cut dramatically by delivering the content via mobile device or desktop. How wonderful would it be to have high quality, low or no cost education accessed by WIFI?

Guess what, it’s already here and growing!

Mar28

3 Things to Look for When Selecting A Shared Office

These days it is becoming less and less traditional to work a traditional job. More people are working from home, in remote locations, or quitting the corporate world of gray cubicles for tech startups in cold garages and freelancing from public computers at their local library. While it sounds nice to sit on the couch in pajamas or romantic to sip coffee while typing on your laptop at a local café, many workers soon realize that they are feeling lonely and isolated, and that they miss a few things about their old jobs. They miss eating lunch with coworkers and discussing who got kicked out of what reality television show. They miss gossiping during smoke breaks. They certainly do not miss that boss that was always breathing down their neck or those endless meetings that accomplished less than nothing, but they still need a community. If you need a little company at times, or just need somewhere to work that is not an arm’s length away from your refrigerator and one button away from the television, then a shared office or co-working space might be for you.

shared_office

Shared offices can be found in a variety of locations. Some are in spacious old cement lofts, others are in converted office buildings, and some are even in guest wings of private homes. Freelancers working for dozens of clients and remote workers hired by one person can all gather in these locations and form their own communities. You can rent your space by the day, the month, or the year. Basic locations with the bare minimum amenities charge around two hundred dollars a month. Others with better coffee, free black and white printing and comfy chairs, can get as expensive as five hundred per month.

But once you have decided to find a co-working space, how do you go about locating the very best one for you? Here are three things to look for: Does the shared office have the tools you need? What are the staff members and co-workers like? Is the office layout and location ideal for your needs?

Does the shared office have the tools you need?

Traditional company offices provide all of the necessary tools for their employees. You probably do not need half of them as a remote worker or freelancer, but some things like electricity, internet access, and drinks are always essential whether you are working at home of in a shared office. When you are looking for a co-working space, ask yourself what amenities you require. Do you just need a chair or a desk the size of a twin bed? Do you ride your bike to work and need to shower? How many electrical outlets do you need to run your tech? Are there books that you need every day for work that you do not want to drag around? If that is the case, you need extra storage to rent.

Do not assume that every place will have a full size kitchen complete with a stove and oven, a dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer, microwave, and espresso machine. There is no guarantee that every shared office will have a television for video conferencing or fax machines. If you need to print out color brochures for your marketing agenda, you do not want to rent a space with a printer that only prints black and white.

What are the staff members and co-workers like?

Most shared offices will have a manager on site or on call. All shared offices will have people coming and going. If you really want to be part of an office community again, it would be wise to avoid co-working spaces that only rent by the hour or by the day. You would not have consistent interaction with other freelancers. If you rent a desk for a year in a pod with six others who are committed to the same amount of time, that gives you people to not only bounce ideas off of but to be accountable to every day.

Do not forget to inquire, politely, how the people there act. Some people require silence while others thrive when there is background noise. Is it a room full of introverts all minding their own business and hiding behind headphones, or a room full of extroverts who never stop talking? Figure out who you want to be around before you commit.

Is the office layout and location ideal for your needs?

What is your travel situation like? When you look for a shared space, find out if you have to pay extra for parking. Check on bike racks, nearby taxi services, and bus and subway locations. Check out the neighborhood while you are at it. Will you be unable to concentrate after three in the afternoon because every kid on the block is playing street hockey outside your window after school? Does the local pizza shop deliver to your desk?

The internal layout matters, too. Look for shared spaces that can accommodate your every conceivable mood and need. Can you sit by a window one day and in a dark corner the next? If you need privacy, is there a place you can go to make those phone calls? When a client comes to town and wants a face to face meeting, will you be able to reserve a small meeting room? Maybe you are the type of person who wants to do some stretches outside to relieve stress – is there a courtyard that can fit your yoga mat?

Whether you are a photographer, a graphic designer, an architect, filmmaker, or a writer, all work at home employees eventually need a change of scene that is more than a desk. Because most shared offices allow people to rent a space by the day, you might try giving different locations a test drive. Meet different people, explore different neighborhoods and, most important of all, taste test all of the coffee! When you find one that meets your needs and answers the above questions to your satisfaction, you might have your new home office away from home.

Are you looking for a shared office space in New York City? Corporate Suites offers shared office spaces, virtual addresses and conference rooms in several convenient locations across Manhattan. Visit one of our locations today for a tour.

Mar03

Company Spotlight: Bulldog Digital Media

Bulldog Digital Media

Bulldog Digital Media’s Gareth Bull, is passionate about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). As the Director of Bulldog Digital Media this search marketer is based just outside of London in Essex. With nearly three years within this fast paced industry, Gareth and his company help businesses of all sizes achieve ROI on their digital campaigns.

Bulldog Digital Media is a specialized SEO & Social Marketing company. They focus on supplying simple ROI campaigns to small to large sized companies. Sound like a place you’d like to work? For junior positions, the agency usually gets approached by local students. Gareth always looks at the CV design and copy when considering new talent for the company. In addition, checking references of any candidate can help determine if the skills listed on the resume are at the level required for the project at hand.

According to Gareth, the skills that are most important for an employee at Bulldog Digital Media include a willingness to learn and an understanding of Social and SEO. Gareth says, “A typical day is varied — from huge website migrations, to setting up a local business in Google to rank locally for their commercial search terms.”

Gareth Bull

Gareth Bull

Career Advice From Gareth Bull

What tips can you offer a recent graduate that is preparing to interview for an entry-level position? 

  • Research the company and the individuals in huge detail.

What piece of advice would you offer a student struggling to obtain interviews?

  • Craft your CV into a thing of beauty.

What skills are in high demand by your company these days?

  • Fast learning individuals.

 

Contributor: Marc Scoleri
Jan12

5 Ways to Make Extra Cash While You’re Unemployed

Dreaming about money

 

About 9.3 million Americans were unemployed as of September 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you are looking for a job and panicked about running out of money, fear not—there are a multitude of ways to come up with extra cash while you search. These opportunities are a great way to supplement your income until you find full-time employment:

Use Your Car for Cash

It might be tempting to sell your car to get some extra padding for your wallet, but before you do, consider the many ways you can make money by simply owning that car. Start a side business running other people’s errands or helping people move heavy items (particularly good if you own a pickup truck). If you know your way around the city and own a reliable vehicle, you can also become an independent contractor with Uber. All you have to do is drive strangers to their destinations using your own car; it’s like running your very own taxi service.

Participate in Clinical Trials

Sure, it might not be the most glamorous job in the world, but participating in clinical trials can be lucrative. You’ll also help scientists find better ways to treat, prevent and diagnose disease. However, keep in mind that the higher the pay, the greater the risk. Phase I trials (meaning, it’s the first time researchers are testing a drug) usually pay the most, because side effects are more common. Read the informed consent paperwork carefully. You can find a clinical trial in your area on ClinicalTrials.gov or ResearchMatch.org.

Sell What You Can

If you have collectibles, furniture, electronics or exercise equipment you no longer use, consider selling the items on eBay or Craigslist. Learn what fetches big bucks on these websites, and then scour local thrift stores and estate sales for those goods. If you get periodic payouts from an annuity or structured settlement, you may be able to sell your future payments to J.G. Wentworth for a lump sum of cash. If you hold any stocks and bonds, this may be the time to sell those, too.

Sell Your Unique Talents

On Fiverr.com you can get paid for drawing a picture of a dog, recording your voice in a particular accent or even posting flyers around town. All you have to do is sign up and start selling whatever talent makes you uniquely you. Setting up an account is free, but keep in mind that Fiverr takes $1 for every $5 you make. Nevertheless, it’s an easy way to make a quick buck while doing the things you love.

Make Money House-Sitting

There are people out there willing to pay someone to babysit their home. Although compensation varies widely, the tasks are essentially the same and usually include watering plants, feeding pets, bringing in the mail, light cleaning duties and handling emergency situations that might arise. There is also a lot of freedom involved with the job. You can choose to sit only homes in your area or travel the country as a house-sitter. Additionally, you can earn money while house-sitting by also being a freelance writer, Web design contractor or data entry clerk. Find a house-sitting gig that’s right for you on TrustedHousesitters.com or House Sitters America.