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Turing Distinguished Leader Series: After-Show Episode One

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Turing Distinguished Leader Series: Ashu Garg, General Partner, Foundation Capital


Thank you for the phenomenal response to Turing Distinguished Leader Series. Looking at the success of our sessions, we’ve come up with an exciting after-show format. In the after-show, we will discuss the main takeaways from our most recent TDLS episode.

Jonathan Siddharth

Welcome, everybody. So this is our after-show to our podcast on scaling unicorns in a remote-first world. I have with me Kat Hu from our Chief of Staff team. I’m Jonathan Siddharth, CEO, and founder of Turing, and we’re going to reflect on today’s conversation with Sandesh Patnam from Premji Invest on scaling unicorns in a remote-first world.

Kat, what stood out to you in the chat with Sandesh today?

Kat Hu

Yeah, I’m excited to get started! But, first, Sandesh was so insightful and gave a lot of wisdom for scaling startups from his vantage point with about a decade of experience in venture capital. One thing that stood out was how he emphasized that culture is essential for leadership as startups get scaled. 

And then Jonathan, turning it back to you. I know culture is also very important at Turing. How have you thought about the culture at Turing, especially with it being a remote-first company?

Jonathan Siddharth

Yeah. Sandesh’s point on culture resonated with me. And the first thing I thought about was the need to write things down in terms of your culture or what you’d like your culture to be. For a high-growth company like Turing, there’s so much culture we import relative to the size of the company. I feel like if you don’t write down the kind of company you want to build, sometimes things get set by accident. So then I think a lot about when it comes to cultures. 

Step one is thinking through the culture, core values, and how you want people in the company to work, make decisions, and write them down. Step two, the harder part, is to communicate and ensure that the culture you want is the culture being lived in the company. 

For example, at Turing,  we have a culture of moving fast, working only on big needle-moving things, not incremental things, and being very data-driven in our decision-making. So I think a lot about how we reinforce that in our hiring, firing, and promoting. Do we live those values? Or is it just a doc that lives somewhere the CEO wrote a long time back that people just read, and that’s it?

I’m curious about how you see the second piece of the puzzle? Do you think we live those values at Turing today? What do you see as things that we could do better?

Kat Hu

So I do think that culture does come from leadership, and something that I’ve seen that works well at Turing; hopefully, this advice can help other companies as well, is that you host the CEO roundtables. And this is, for many of the team’s leadership, where we transparently talk about this culture. 

And I think another thing that is strange here is you’ve asked everyone to bring in the best of somewhere else that they’ve worked and see how we can make it Turing. So not only are we living out our core culture, but we’re also very open-minded to find the best culture and continuously improve and grow with the team’s diversity worldwide.

Jonathan Siddharth

Yep, that’s right, Kat. I was speaking with our head of recruiting this week. And I’d shared with her that a passing grade is when somebody fits the culture we want. We have a four-point scale of strong reject, weak reject, weak accept, and strong accept. So three out of four is like you fit our culture, but we want more than that. Ideally, we want somebody who’s bringing something amazing to our culture that we can imbibe and become even stronger. That’s when you go above three. 

And I think reinforcing those values in hiring is also important to ensure that your team has the values you care about. Value alignment is particularly critical for leaders because when you hire a leader, you will have many clones of this person. Whatever strengths or weaknesses they have, it’s going to be magnified and massively leveraged and amplified. 

So I am much more careful about cultural fit, being more strict about holding the line on culture fit, and not hiring people who don’t fit our culture.

Kat Hu

So that relates to something else that stood out to me in our talks with Sandesh. He mentioned that at each level of scale, oftentimes, as a founder, you need to up-level or transition the leadership group. When I heard it, I thought it was a bit of a taboo or a sensitive, emotionally fraught topic. What do you think about this? 

Jonathan Siddharth

Yeah, and it’s definitely a taboo topic, and Sandesh alluded to it too. CEOs tend to be loyal to the team that brought them here. And that’s a bias to be aware of. 

For this particular topic, we are primarily talking about the exec team, i.e., a CEO’s directs in a company. And typically, I hear from many people that an exec’s success rate is pretty low. For example, people tell me that 50 percent of the time, you should assume an exec doesn’t work out in the first six months. I’ve heard this from multiple people and multiple VCs in the past. And it’s always an unsettling and uncomfortable stat to hear. 

And the way I think about this change is there are a few mental models you can have. 

One mental model I have is to do what creates business value, to ensure that the company’s value grows with the steepest possible slope. So do what’s best for the business. A high-level director ensures the company’s value increases over time. And to do that, one question to ask yourself at some time is: “If you were hiring for this role today, would you still hire this person?” That’s one way to think about it and to check whether this would work or not. 

The second is that with every exec, I think about their strengths and areas for improvement and everybody has areas for improvement. Are they aware of their weakness? Are they receptive to feedback? Are they coachable? 

Are they either working on it by changing the way they work or are they open to fixing it with the right kind of hiring to complement their blind spots or weaknesses, maybe? When that is not true, when the person is unaware of the gap that exists and cannot change that, I would think about either layering that person or changing the responsibilities. It’s rare that you would have to fire that person because they’ve clearly been good enough to get the company to this particular stage. Hopefully, there is a way to find another role for them that could still be value-generating for the company. 

Although realistically, I imagine in most of these cases, the person would probably choose to leave if that happened. In those cases, too, the CEO needs to be grateful for all this person’s contributions to help the company get to the stage. If I were doing this with someone, I would ensure that this person has a great next job opportunity lined up, and I will do everything I could to set them up there because it is the case that some people are probably better suited. Someone could be a superstar at the zero to 50 million revenue stage, but maybe the 50 to 500 million stage is not their sweet spot because it is a different job. 

Your responsibilities change. Sandesh referred to people, processes, and repeatability. And this is a different type of job. You can’t be as hands-on as you were in the zero to 50 stage, and some people may not enjoy it as much. Maybe they like the zero-to-one phase more than the one-to-two. And it’s not that they are doing anything wrong. It’s just that their strengths are at that stage. And perhaps their strength is primarily in that stage one. And then a company would love to have them at that stage one phase. So by making a solid referral, we are finding the right fit where they are happy, and it’s also good for the company. So it’s a tricky conversation to have.

Kat Hu 

I think it’s great to have a framework because it’s a topic that seems so hard to touch because of the emotional aspects. And I think, as you mentioned in the interview, you’re not only doing what’s best for the company but also helping the overall shareholders. You’re supporting the whole ecosystem and ensuring they’re set up for the best thing for them, which may not be the next level of scale.

Jonathan Siddharth

That’s right, Kat! And one of the things I think about when I have conversations with leaders in a high-growth startup, people should assume that their roles will evolve and change over time. Of course, when the company is growing, you expect your scope and responsibilities to grow too if you’re doing well. But I think it’s essential for the leaders to set expectations that roles will evolve, reporting structures will change, and will constantly be in a state of continuous improvement of the org itself, perhaps twice a year or once a year. 

This is because, for a company that’s growing as fast as we are, something that worked a year back may not necessarily be the right structure now. So I think it’s essential to set that expectation early, so people are not surprised. It’s healthy when a company is continuously editing itself in the best possible structure for that next growth stage and the next business phase.

Kat Hu

And then, Jonathan, as the CEO and founder of Turing, I have a few questions about being a founder. The first is when Turing is growing and scaling rapidly as it has been in the last couple of years. How do you approach your personal change? And you mentioned the shift in roles and responsibilities and even mindsets, and so, how do you grow? How do you learn this with each stage?

Jonathan Siddharth

So I kind of work backward from where I would like the company to go in terms of scale growth, etc. And then, I work backward from all the risks to plan to get there and identify all the gaps. And then I map it to address those gaps. [I also think about] what are some areas where I need to uplevel myself, and then I seek out specific mentors. And, I read a lot, as you know. 

I think about working on those specific areas of scale to make sure that I’m scaling at least a couple of years ahead of the phase for the company. It gets a little more challenging as you grow and scale. I think a lot of people can give and offer great advice to go from zero to 1 million, which is an important milestone or one to 10 million. 

As you grow and reach a particular scale, it feels a little bit like doing a Ph.D. in a field where, after a while, you’ve gone pretty deep down the rabbit hole in one specific area. 

For many PhDs, they might be the only people in the world who are exposed to that problem. So I tried to decouple a few areas, for example, leadership, management, scaling teams, culture, and many aspects of a CEO’s role. 

How do you create a plan for the company? How do you ensure excellent execution? How do you recruit great execs, and how do you retain great execs? How do you work well with a board? How do you work with your investors in the right way? 

So I seek out excellent mentors for each of them, and it’s almost like I have a Yoda for each specific skill, and occasionally I make my pilgrimage to Dagobah, this island where Luke meets Yoda. So I go there, and I try to learn from people who have done this at scale, and I try to absorb as much as I can and make the changes needed to apply that to Turing’s situation.

But it’s all about the mindset of being in a state of continuous learning and continuous growth. So it has its positives and negatives where I feel like on the negative side, it may feel like you’re constantly being self-critical. So you have to balance that with reminding yourself of all the good things that are also happening with the company. 

But firstly, it’s about identifying areas you need to work on for this year, function-specific mentors, books, and other resources, and being in a state of continuous learning. Whenever I meet someone, I think about what I can learn from this person. So make sure you surround yourself with people you can learn from. 

Kat Hu 

Yeah, and I’ve seen that. But, again, I think being open-minded and surrounding myself with really good people, so I don’t make bad decisions within the company.

Jonathan Siddharth

For example, Kat, the superpower I want to steal from you is the excellence in structured communication and structured thinking. I feel like with you, when I have a meeting, there is very little that falls through the cracks, right? There is almost perfect information capture from a meeting, so that’s one of the many things I like about working with you.

Kat Hu 

I appreciate it. And then the other question I had for you as a founder is the same question posed to Sandesh. What are the most important skills or traits to develop for future founders?

Jonathan Siddharth

I think Sandesh mentioned resilience, right? I believe resilience is a great trait. 

As a founder, you need a strong bias for action and speed and to be unstoppable in finding your way around obstacles. I think it requires a lot of persistence. In my first company, I learned the value of persistence. I don’t know if it’s a feature or a bug. Whatever it is, I have it. And I was fortunate to work with a great co-founder, which has been phenomenal, and it’s been great partnering with him on two companies. 

My first company took about nine years to get to a good acquisition. I think persistence is essential. I think it’s important to be in a continuous learning, continuous improvement mindset, where you’re always looking for ways to keep getting better daily and week after week. You kind of have to balance confidence with caution. You need a lot of self-confidence in your ability to execute and build a great company. But you also kind of have to be constantly scanning for your blind spots. My first company’s approach was primarily like: “Here’s what we need to build, and here’s how we’re going to build it. Let’s go build it.” It was a little more of what we needed to do. 

Now, I think not just about what we need to do to execute and win the market and build an iconic company, but I also think about all the things that can go wrong. I think about all the ways we can fail and make sure we have a clear risk mitigation and contingency plan so that I’m never surprised. 

So, I think a lot about redundancy and fail-safes for different plans. And it may seem pretty negative to think about all of that, but it actually gives me a lot of peace of mind when I know that: “Hey, here’s our plan A, but you know if something changes here, we have this plan B, and there’s a backup to this plan B which is Plan C.” 

So there is no single point of failure for anything; it reflects in many other things. I always want to be in a situation I can walk away from if things are not good. And that means building sound backup systems in planning. So in terms of what’s a trait, maybe the trait is systems-level thinking, thinking in terms of contingency planning, and surrounding yourself with great people.

I think I am fortunate to work with a great exec team and a great co-founder. So maybe the trait there is being the kind of person that strong leaders want to work for. So those would be on my list, and it does take a lot of energy and work. It’s not easy. And it’s imperative to have an excellent personal support system. My wife, Emily, is amazing. I don’t think it’s very easy to be married to a founder CEO. And I think for everyone, it’s good to have a good personal support system outside of work. So that’s something that has helped me focus clearly on Turing and help the company get to where it needs to go.

I think it’s Paul Graham of Y Combinator, he has this phrase to describe founders, and he came up with “relentlessly resourceful.” So that was his phrasing of what it takes. But we all have blind spots, and I may be missing some stuff here too. This is from my experience so far. I’m sure if you ask me the same question a year or two from now, I will have a few more things that I want to add to this.

Kat Hu 

That makes sense! Was there anything else from Sandesh’s interview that stuck out to you that you want to emphasize before we wrap up?

Jonathan Siddharth

There was one thing that I thought was interesting. I asked Sandesh: “What is different in a post-unicorn scaling stage that you want people to be mindful of?” He said: “In most markets, the first 20 percent is easy to get; the next 80 percent is tough. Although there won’t be a clear line that you cross where you’re like, ‘Oh, we have to do something different now.’ You have to continuously track what will help us unlock this next more challenging market segment. In the next 80 percent, is there something different in this customer segment? Are the objections different? Does the product need to change? Does the sales process need to change? Does the GTM need to change? 

Recognizing that you may need to make some changes and again, what got you here may not be what brings you to that next stage and making sure that you make the right changes to attack that. So having this nuance to growth, it’s not for margins. It’s probably stage-wise. 

That made me think about being aware of it, being open to it when it happens, and keeping an eye on it. Sandesh said you must first hear and sense it in the GTM function. So I’m going to keep my eyes and ears peeled to make sure that we see that and react to it optimally. 

Kat Hu 

Yeah, that’s excellent advice!

Jonathan Siddharth

Yeah. Great. This was fun. This was our first after-show for these how-to-scale unicorns in a remote-first world. Do you think we should keep doing this?

Kat Hu 

I enjoyed this, and I loved learning more about your perspective, diving deeper into suggestions, words, and wisdom, and making it more actionable.

Jonathan Siddharth

That sounds great! And for all founders, heads of engineering, and others listening, if you’d like to spin up your Engineering Dream Team in the cloud, hire pre-vetted engineers at the touch of a button, go to Turing.com, and that message was not sponsored, it was organic! Cool. Thank you, Kat, and we’ll continue this with our next segment.

Kat Hu

Thanks, Jonathan. Have a good one.

Jonathan Siddharth

Thanks. Bye.

Jonathan Siddharth

Jonathan is the CEO and Co-Founder of Turing.com. Turing is an automated platform that lets companies “push a button” to hire and manage remote developers. Turing uses data science to automatically source, vet, match, and manage remote developers from all over the world.
Turing has 160K developers on the platform from almost every country in the world. Turing’s mission is to help every remote-first tech company build boundaryless teams.
Turing is backed by Foundation Capital, Adam D’Angelo who was Facebook’s first CTO & CEO of Quora, Gokul Rajaram, Cyan Banister, Jeff Morris, and executives from Google and Facebook. The Information, Entrepreneur, and other major publications have profiled Turing.
Before starting Turing, Jonathan was an Entrepreneur in Residence at Foundation Capital. Following the successful sale of his first AI company, Rover, that he co-founded while still at Stanford. In his spare time, Jonathan likes helping early-stage entrepreneurs build and scale companies.
You can find him Jonathan @jonsidd on Twitter and jonathan.s@turing.com. His LinkedIn is https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonsid/

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How to Nail the Art of Visual Email Marketing

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How to Nail the Art of Visual Email Marketing


Interesting subject line ✅
Engaging and relevant copy ✅
Actionable CTA ✅

All these make up a high-converting email. But there’s one more thing that helps in getting maximum ROI from your emails. That’s attractive visuals. Vennage has revealed that 49% of marketers rate visual marketing as “very important” for their marketing strategy. Three days later, people will probably remember only 10% of the information they hear but 65% of the information if it is presented with a suitable image.

So, if you want your emails to make a difference and prompt the subscribers to take action, using visuals is a must.

That said, let’s take a look at all the different types of visuals and rich media you can use to enhance the email’s aesthetic appeal.

1. Images

Static images come first, as they are a basic yet compelling part of visual email marketing. Whether you want to display your product with a pretty picture or break down the content with vectors, images come in handy. If you want to pull the plug on lengthy text, use relevant images along with a crisp copy.

Take a look at this email by Touch of Modern. They have nailed the art of product photography and included the perfect image that would attract shoppers.

Source

2. Illustrations

Illustrations can be used as a powerful storytelling tool in emails. According to a survey, illustrations and infographics are performing better than many other visual elements when it comes to yielding engagement. Rather than using stock images, you can use meaningful illustrations that add more value to the emails.
Here’s an email by Harry’s that uses an illustration to depict the awesomeness of their face wash packs.

Source

3. 3D Images

3D images originated in the 1970s. They established their identity in web designing and gradually made their way to emails. These images add depth to the flat email design and bring freshness to the subscriber’s inbox.
Burberry has incorporated a nice 3D image to promote their open spaces in the email.

4. GIFs

Let me take you back to the earliest usage of GIFs in emails.
In the year 2007, Lake Champlain Chocolates incorporated GIFs in their emails, and to their sheer surprise, it brought 49% higher conversions.

Then, in 2014, Dell drove 109% revenue (marketingsherpa) with the help of an animated laptop image in email.

Animated GIFs prove to be extremely beneficial in various use cases, as discussed below:

  • Displaying the huge range of products available in your eCommerce store
  • Inspiring wanderlust in the readers with enticing images of the destinations
  • Demonstrating the usage of your products
  • Promoting a new show released on your OTT platform
  • Executing occasion-based email marketing
  • Animating the typography to draw attention to an important message

Anthropologie has used action-packed animation to show its products. It portrays comfort and aesthetics and lures the readers to buy.

5. 3D Animations

3D animations are a step above GIFs. If you want to further enhance the user experience, use 3D GIFs as Lyft has done.

Source

6. Animated Illustrations

Illustrations with animations are a visual treat. They help in telling a story to the subscribers. If you go by the “Show, don’t tell” adage, try using animated illustrations in your emails.
Grammarly sets the perfect example of using animated illustrations in their email promoting the midnight sale. The animated owl and clock form a great combination to convey the message.

7. Cinemagraphs

GIFs are snippets taken from a video or an animation played on a loop. On the other hand, cinemagraphs are sophisticated animations with a seamlessly endless loop that take the subscriber back to a past moment.
Here’s an email example by Detour Coffee Roasters showing the use of cinematography in their welcome email.

Like GIFs, you can use cinemagraphs in the telecommunications industry and add visual oomph to your emails. It will pique the subscriber’s curiosity and make them buy an OTT subscription to watch the show.

8. Videos

You can add videos in emails in two ways.

  1. Place a video thumbnail with the play button and take the reader to the landing page.
  2. Embed the video in the email itself and let it play therein.

The first option is pretty straightforward in that you just have to embed a static image in the email that emulates a video thumbnail.
Here’s an example.

The second option requires some coding expertise. You have to consider email client support too, if you want to use embedded videos in email.
Take a look at this email template to experience an embedded video in it.

Some Additional Ideas to Make Emails Stand Out

  1. You can use a monochrome design layout with a single color in the emails.
  2. Add gradients to reinforce visual hierarchy and get the emails read till the end. You can even experiment with innovative CTA buttons with gradients.
  3. The key to using visuals effectively is to follow the principles of visual hierarchy. Arrange the email components in a Z or F-shaped pattern to guide the readers. Also, adhere to the accessibility best practices.

Pro-tips for Adding Visuals in Emails

  1. The text-to-image ratio should be maintained at 80:20.
  2. As email clients block images by default, add a suitable alt-text with every image. This will also be useful if the subscriber views the email with images turned off. It is an important accessibility best practice and aids the screen readers in conveying the message to subscribers with visual impairment.
  3. Don’t add important information and CTA in the images.
  4. An all-image email will trigger spam filters and hamper your email deliverability rate.
  5. Avoid stock photos at all costs. Real photographs work better if you want to leave a lasting impact on the subscriber’s mind.
  6. Animations should not flash between 2 to 55 Hz; otherwise, it will aggravate the condition of photosensitive epilepsy.
  7. Keep close tabs on the email file size to ensure fast loading. It will prevent cutting into the user’s Internet bandwidth.
  8. While adding GIFs and embedded videos, include a suitable fallback to curb rendering issues.
  9. Use images judiciously without getting over the board.
  10. Test the emails so that they render well across all the major email clients and devices.

Wrapping Up

Remember those times when it seemed impossible to format emails with anything more than an image? And now, we have so many different options to explore and make our emails more fun and entertaining. Besides visuals, you can even use interactivity to add to the visual appeal. Test and see what works best for you.

Put your creative hats on to create email designs that resonate with your email subscribers. It will, in turn, bring you unmatched results in terms of open rate, click-through rate, conversion rate, and ROI.

Featured Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Thank you!

Disha Bhatt (Dave)

Disha Bhatt (Dave)

Disha Bhatt (Dave) works as a Content Strategist at Email Uplers. She is a dentist, who has found her calling in words & technical subjects. She loves to pen down travelogues and romantic short stories in her free time.

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6 Ways to Prepare Your Business for the Upcoming Holidays

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Calendar


The holiday season can be incredibly disruptive, especially for small businesses and their customers. You could either be in a very slow season looking for things to accomplish or so overwhelmed by business that you feel like you got run over by a reindeer. If you haven’t started making preparations yet, you need to start today.

Simple adjustments can help you gain more business or handle a heavy influx of holiday patrons. Here are several ideas you can consider implementing to end the year on a high note:

1. Decorate With Holiday Spirit

Any customer that enters your business will feel the holiday spirit if you’ve got the right decorations in place. You don’t have to go overboard with inflatable pumpkins or flashing Christmas tree lights, but some well-placed decorative touches can really bring the place together. Plus, this makes the workspace festive for your employees as well.

You can choose to highlight the general themes of the seasons or focus on specific holidays. For example, autumn leaves and fall colors can get you well into November. You could also mix things up by putting up ghosts and jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween and switching them out for turkeys and pilgrims for Thanksgiving.

The same can be done for winter. Snowflakes and snowmen will work for the entire season. If you want to get specific, you have Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s decorations to consider.

2. Work Out Employee Vacation Times

Everyone wants to take time off during the holidays, and for good reason. This is one of the best times of year to gather with family and enjoy life together. Unfortunately, some businesses can’t afford to have all of their employees taking time off simultaneously. Your job is to make sure everyone is getting fair time off while still staffing important dates around the holiday season.

How you approach this task is up to you and how you think your team will respond best. You might think it’s fair to let the most tenured employees select their days off first. You could also develop a rotation so that the same people don’t hog the same days off every year. Even a first-come, first-served approach could be considered if you think your team will be OK with it.

Remember that you deserve to take some time off as well. Being an entrepreneur is incredibly demanding and time-consuming. Taking even a couple of days off to enjoy the holidays with family can help you recover mentally and physically.

3. Encourage Calendar Collaboration Among Team Members

To ensure everyone on your team is on the same page with project deadlines, essential meetings and events, and client needs, it’s essential to collaborate on a team calendar. Most calendar software today offers team calendars.

Make sure everyone on your team has access to one another’s calendar so they are aware of when they are available. Then, team members can collaborate to help each other take on things that could otherwise be missed.

Thankfully, there are many collaborative calendar integrations available for teams to utilize in order to maximize their time. By utilizing these tools, teams can work more efficiently together. Therefore, they can minimize the chances of missing deadlines, missing meetings, or making clients unhappy.

4. Make Holiday Business Hours Known

Your customers also deserve to know how your business will operate throughout the upcoming holidays. You should communicate in advance the days you plan on being closed. This way, customers and clients won’t be disappointed when they try to visit, and nobody is there to receive them.

This is extremely important for schedule-based businesses. The sooner you block off certain days, the less likely you will have to reschedule a meeting or appointment that was booked in advance. Clients who have their end-of-year scheduled meetings rearranged or moved at the last minute will not be happy.

Consider sending out an email that details your holiday hours to any customers who have provided contact information to you. Additionally, you could also consider adding a note on your email signature that states when your business will be closed. You could implement this early on, especially for the winter holidays. At the very least, put up a notice on your front door and website that makes the revised schedule known and accessible.

5. Plan Marketing and Promotions

The holiday season is for family and friends, of course, but it’s also a commercial opportunity for businesses. (There’s a reason they call the day after Thanksgiving “Black Friday.”) While you shouldn’t lose sight of what’s most important, your business should be thinking about some promotions to run. The right marketing campaign at the right time can dramatically boost your revenue.

Marketing plans practically write themselves this time of year. Black Friday and Christmas sales are common and desirable. A salon could run cut-price haircut specials on Black Friday for those who want to escape the shopping fray. A mani-pedi promotion could capture the attention of those primping for holiday parties. Put your business’s personal twist on the season, and you’re likely to see sales increase.

What’s most important to prepare for is the increase in business during a holiday promotion. Make sure you are appropriately staffed for busy days with numerous consumers cashing in on holiday deals. If you’re not prepared to handle the business you’ve attracted, you’ll have a blue Christmas.

6. Consider Getting Extra Help

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the business coming your way over the holidays, consider contracting some extra help. Plenty of businesses hire seasonal workers to lend them a hand for a couple of months. Your business doesn’t have to be an exception.

The great thing about seasonal workers is that there’s no long-term commitment. You can get an extra receptionist, hair stylist, or stockroom organizer for just as long as you need. These workers are looking for some extra holiday cash and simply want the additional hours before life returns to normal.

You may even consider contracting some digital help. A webmaster can help you keep your website up and running even with double the online traffic. Your clever marketing strategy could be implemented by a third party so you can focus more fully on your customers.

Closing Thoughts

Of all the above steps, the most important common denominator is to be sure your clients and customers are aware of when your business will be out, so they can plan ahead as well. This will help your business avoid the inconvenience and disappointment the unavailability may cause. Be sure to encourage in-house collaboration on important dates, in addition to collaborating externally with your clients and customers.

Keep your business on the nice list by being prepared for every upcoming holiday, whether it’s the longer holiday breaks in the winter or the shorter holidays throughout the year. With the above holiday preparation planning tips, your business can plan well ahead for this holiday season so nothing slips through the cracks.

Though it’s an extremely busy time for everyone, the holiday season doesn’t have to get stressful. There are so many ways to avoid all of the stress by planning well. The better you work together to prepare, the jollier the holiday season can be for your business and your customers as we head into the 2023 new year.

You might not feel entirely ready for 2023 just yet, and that’s fine. But by taking steps to prepare for the new year now, you’ll position your business to succeed beyond your expectations.

Published First in Calendar. Read Here.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh; Pexels; Thank you!

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We are Calendar, trying to make the world a much more productive place. Check us out online at https://www.calendar.com.

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Face Supply Chain Disruptions : Work Smarter, Not Harder

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How To Start a Business While Living With Your Parents


Supply chain disruptions are nothing new. However, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions have become more common. At first, these issues caused major shortages throughout the country. Now, shortages are still occurring along with inefficient shipping processes.

These issues have forced business owners to struggle with ways to stay afloat. Delays, interruptions, and cancellations have made it nearly impossible to keep up with demand while avoiding wasteful spending.

However, some things simply aren’t within your grasp when it comes to supply chain disruptions. On the other hand, you can work smarter to address them. You’re responsible for how your business responds to these disruptions, and with better approaches, things will run more smoothly.

With that in mind, let’s look at how your business can deal with supply chain disruptions. You can create a sense of hope in this digital world as things slowly start to return to normal and the supply chain issues start to balance out.

Use Data Analytics to Survive Supply Chain Disruptions

Collecting clean data and putting it to use can improve everything from customer service to your marketing endeavors. It can also be used to mitigate the effects of a supply chain crisis. Developing innovative data solutions can keep your business afloat and even help it grow during uncertain conditions.

Different Data Methods for Supply Chain Disruptions

To start using data to your advantage during supply chain disruptions, consider these methods:

  • Take a look at demand trends. You can look at customer orders and purchasing trends over the last year. This will give you a better idea of how much to order and how often to counteract supply chain disruptions.
  • Organize your data. This also makes it easy to look at your current inventory and open order allocations. You can compare your inventory and orders with data provided by production teams or vendors to create a realistic timeline of when things will arrive or when they can be shipped out to customers.
  • Pay attention to demand volatility. People aren’t necessarily hoarding items as they did at the beginning of the pandemic. However, there are still some things consumers are regularly purchasing to prepare themselves for the future. As you look at data relating to the current supply of popular products, as well as data from the manufacturers, it will be easier to keep a steady flow of those products in stock.

While looking at data might not sound like an immediate plan of action during turbulent times, it’s easier to make positive changes and work smarter in the face of supply chain disruptions when you have the right information.

Build Your Brand to Withstand Supply Chain Disruptions

It’s difficult to focus on anything but the supply chain issues affecting so many businesses right now. However, retting over those issues isn’t going to get you anywhere. By shifting your focus and putting your energy into supply chain disruptions, your business can move forward.

Building a brand isn’t easy, which is why it requires a lot of time, attention, and focus. Taking this time to hone in on your marketing is a great way to make your business more of a household name. That kind of brand recognition is exactly what companies need right now to stay afloat when supply chain disruptions occur. You can build your brand awareness and identity (stickeryou dot com), in a variety of ways, including:

  • Defining your company values
  • Understanding your audience
  • Determining what sets your business apart
  • Creating brand guidelines

Once you have a strategy in place to grow your brand, utilize things like logo creation, social media, and special events to grow your name and help your customers understand who you are.

Build Consumer Relationships Despite Supply Chain Disruptions

Even if you’re facing supply chain issues, you can build relationships and establish trust with consumers. Today’s consumers desire relationships with businesses more than ever before, so it’s okay to show the “human” side of your brand as often as possible. That can make it easier to provide positive customer service experiences when you’re facing product shortages and delays.

Communication with your customers is one of the best ways to deal with frustrations over delays and supply chain issues, so be transparent. Make it a part of your identity. When you make sure your audience knows about the issues you’re facing and keep them updated about shipping information (including delays), they’re more likely to be understanding and patient.

Prepare to Handle Disruptions to Your Supply Chain

Supply chain disruptions are all but inevitable. Make sure your business has a backup plan and is prepared to deal with them when they arise.

If you don’t have one already, consider establishing an emergency management center within your business. Once you have a team in place, you can offer them previously collected supply chain data and create a plan of action. This will make it easier for them to create an effective strategy while reducing the risk of miscommunication that’s often associated with supply chain disruptions.

You should also create a backup plan that incorporates the existing suppliers that can adapt with you when disruptions happen. It should also include technology exploration. Tech, such as AI, can make a big difference in the future of your business – even if it forces you to change some of your existing supply chain processes.

Be Patient During Supply Chain Disruptions

Additionally, try to be patient when disruptions occur. This isn’t the first time the world has seen supply chain issues, but they’re more unsettling now since there’s no end in sight. As someone involved in business, take heart in knowing these delays and disruptions won’t last forever.

In the meantime, focus on working smarter, not harder — to navigate supply chain disruptions. By mitigating some of the issues, being smart with data collection, and focusing on boosting the strength of other areas of your business, you’ll be able to get through these disruptions more comfortably. You may even come out on the other side with more resiliency and knowledge.

Featured Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Mika Baumeister; Unsplash; Thank you!

Amanda Winstead

Amanda Winstead is a writer from the Portland area with a background in communications and a passion for telling stories. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her on Twitter.

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