Forget Brexit's much discussed impact on the free movement of people. Leaving the EU could impede the U.K.'s free movement of data to and from the continent, negatively impacting businesses.

This stems from the U.K. and EU's potential divergence in data protection laws post-Brexit. Chris Jeffery, Head of UK IT, Telecoms and Competition at law firm Taylor Wessing, says: "The uncertainty as to whether the U.K. will be considered safe for data flows relating to citizens from the rest of Europe is causing concern, and making some companies consider whether data center capacity in mainland Europe is the safer bet."


Antony Walker, deputy CEO of industry body techUK explains why this is significant, saying, "The U.K.'s service-based economy means that the transfer of data across borders is fundamental, affecting industries from automotives – which includes the development of driverless cars – to financial services."

As it stands, the U.K. has agreed to implement the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will come into effect in May 2018. The primary goals of the GDPR are to allow citizens to regain control of their personal data, and cut red tape for international businesses by making rules uniform within the 28-nation bloc. Whilst businesses are currently preparing for GDPR, their work may be undone in the future. Eduardo Ustaran, a partner in global privacy and cybersecurity at Hogan Lovells, says: "EU data protection law is all about the individual's control of their own personal data. The U.K. sits somewhere between this viewpoint and that of the U.S., which is more focused on the accountability of businesses and government. I suspect that the U.K. will continue in this vein, though possibly leaning towards the U.S.' approach."

Silicon Valley's technology giants like Facebook and Google must comply with GDPR and any further changes to U.K. law, though this may be less of an issue considering that these companies are likely to have the legal resources to deal with change more efficiently than their smaller counterparts.

"But, there are several nuances to compliance with the new regulations, one of which is technical," explained Martin Garner of analysis firm CCS Insight.

"Technology companies sometimes employ the technique of 'sharding,' which means that bits of data are spread in little slices over several data centers, possibly across regions, so that it exists both everywhere and nowhere at the same time."

Garner adds: "I'm sure that the big industry players have worked out how to do this, while also complying with EU data laws – but this may be less true for some of the smaller players."


Brexit's threat to cross-border data transfer will have a wider-reaching impact than it may initially appear, as Ustaran explains, "EU law has an extraterritorial effect, so if a U.K. business is targeting people in the EU or tracking them on the internet, it will still be subject to EU data protection law, even if the U.K. is no longer a member."

A data sharing option for a post-Brexit U.K. could resemble Privacy Shield, a pact struck between the EU and the U.S. earlier this year intended to protect European citizens from mass surveillance. This might mean that amendments may be made to the U.K.'s Investigatory Powers Bill – also known as the Snoopers' Charter – which regulates the role of British security services and police in accessing domestic citizens' data. Chatham House, in a report published this March, cast doubt on the likelihood of such a compromise, saying: "A post-Brexit U.K. would be unlikely to meet the standards required for Privacy Shield status. This would prohibit cross border data transfers between U.K. and EU."

It has been argued that Brexit, in bringing about a reduction of EU red tape concerning data transfer, could provide a more business-friendly environment in the U.K. Jeffery highlights the example of the U.S., whose "largely self-regulatory approach in the online world is often cited as an element in the success of its track record in creating global social media and online businesses." But, this might not be the case. By not complying with the EU, the U.K. will inhibit its access to a primary data stream.

An American tourist stands near the Houses of Parliament the day after the majority of the British public voted to leave the European Union on June 25, 2016 in London, England.


"To secure the U.K.'s role in global data flows and as a place to start and grow digital businesses, most people expect that the country will need to align itself closely with the EU's GDPR. Even U.K.-only businesses will need to raise the bar significantly in terms of privacy compliance," Jeffery added.

In the meantime, Brexit's current lack of conclusions means that businesses will have to sit tight. Ustaran advises that "common sense suggests that businesses should continue to focus on ensuring compliance with the EU data protection framework, not least because it will still be applicable in the U.K. for the foreseeable future." Jeffery speculates on the U.K.'s future position, suggesting that potential legislation post-Brexit reflects EU standards, enabling the free movement of data either by "being part of the European Economic Area in a Norway-style deal … or being declared an 'adequate' country for the purposes of the transfer of personal data like Switzerland, Canada and Israel."

Source:  http://www.cnbc.com/2016/07/07/data-flows-post-brexit-the-next-big-headache-for-business.html





Categorized in Business Research

It is no secret that trade secrets are essential to the success of many businesses. Nearly all of us are aware of examples of highly treasured trade secrets, such as the recipe for Coca-Cola, the formula for WD-40 and the methodology for creating the nooks and crannies in Thomas’ English Muffins. Less-known is the growing importance of trade secrets and the role they play in our economy, including their impact on the patent system.

Trade secrets are by definition valued by their owners. Secrecy preserves a source of competitive advantage that generally cannot be recovered once secrecy is lost. Although secrecy may be lost inadvertently through carelessness, disclosure is often the result of wrong-doing and sometimes even the actions of sophisticated international industrial espionage.

Trade-secret laws allow for the recovery of monetary damages from, or even criminal penalties against, those that steal trade secrets. Annual losses to the U.S. economy from international theft of trade secrets has been estimated to exceed $300 billion. An effective system protecting trade secrets thus enhances the economy and promotes national security.

Our government recently enacted the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), a milestone for trade-secret protection. The DTSA creates a federal civil cause of action so that companies will no longer need to navigate a maze of state laws to enforce their rights when their trade secrets are stolen. In addition, the DTSA enhances remedies available to victims — in particular by providing for ex parte seizure orders under appropriate circumstances to limit further disclosure of the trade secrets. The DTSA is a great achievement that should both deter potential wrongdoers and ease the burden of enforcement on those that have been wronged.

The DTSA is also a “wake-up call” to companies that value and protect their intellectual property as trade secrets. Companies now have increased incentive to identify, capture, inventory and protect their potential trade secret information. Failure to do so now could forego the ability to leverage the DTSA downstream.

Technology and markets also are trending toward increasing importance of trade secrets. The commoditization of computer hardware drives innovation into computer-implemented software. The implications extend well beyond the computer and information technology industry because, in addition to being directly incorporated in devices such as medical diagnostics and automobiles, computer software technology is used in the development and design of virtually everything today — from computational biology to 3D printing to computer-aided design.

More and more innovation is moving behind the “firewall,” meaning that it is invisible to the public (e.g. digital 3D designs now most often reside out of reach in the cloud instead of on a local disk drive [and subject to reverse engineering]).

Ironically, while this trend toward reliance on secrecy is rational behavior, without changes to our patent system, it may have the unintended consequence of slowing the overall pace of innovation. Trade secrets and patents are different forms of intellectual property, both of which play an important role in a comprehensive intellectual property strategy. Secrecy protects innovation by reducing the likelihood that others possess it. On the other hand, patent protection requires the publication of a complete written description of a patented invention, thereby enhancing public knowledge and reducing the need to “reinvent the wheel.”

Unfortunately, recent court decisions have dramatically narrowed the eligibility of computer-implemented inventions for patenting. As a result, companies developing software-centric solutions are likely to rely more heavily on trade secrets to protect product innovations that can no longer be patented.

Companies may even choose to market their innovations in a way that favors trade-secret protection, i.e. by delivering innovations as services rather than products to avoid bringing the innovations out from behind their firewall (e.g. Google search services that do not reveal search algorithms or software delivered as a service).

The combination of technology and market trends and recent court decisions on patent eligibility has altered the trade secret and patent equilibrium. Enhancement of trade-secret protection via the DTSA helps offset patent system contraction for innovators, and is likely to lead to increased focus on protecting innovation through trade secrets and a reduction in patent applications. The consequences for our innovation economy as a whole are significant.

The relative shift will reduce innovation sharing and is likely to lead to reduced investment in technologies currently deemed ineligible for patent protection and which cannot be maintained in secrecy when commercialized. Notwithstanding the rational behavior of our government to enhance trade-secret protection and our businesses to use this protection, the contraction of the patent system undermines our innovation economy, especially for less-flexible industries.

Trade secrets and patents are not mutually exclusive — each can be of value. The DTSA improves trade-secret protection. Now that the DTSA is in place, we should turn our attention toward achieving a better innovation ecosystem by reversing or legislating away recent harmful court patent decisions so we restore the proper balance between trade secrets and patents. To best promote innovation, we need both strong trade-secret protection and strong patent protection going forward.

Source:  https://techcrunch.com/2016/06/20/the-changing-trade-secret-and-patent-equilibrium/

Categorized in Business Research

Google is in a war for the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) space, and at the moment it's pulling a distant third. Pitted against market leader Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the high enterprise adoption of Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is making up the market share ground by using Big Data and machine learning to optimize data center performance.

Diane Greene, Google's SVP and chief of all things cloud and enterprise computing, believes we've only just begun to see what the cloud can do.

"IT is over a trillion-dollar industry, and if all that is moving to the cloud that means there's huge opportunity, and we're still early on," said Greene. "Amazon started talking about their [AWS] revenues a few years ago and people went whoa, this is a big business."

Greene is one of the founders of VMware, and served as CEO of the cloud, data center, and virtualized software company from 1998-2008. During the Wired Business Conference today, Greene was asked how big a factor machine learning will be to the future of average businesses. In response, she pointed to how Google offers these kinds of tools to businesses as open-source with projects like TensorFlow and through features like image recognition, speech recognition and translation, and other machine-learning tools as-a-service within GCP.

Google SVP and Former VMware CEO Diane Greene

"Technologies like machine learning are changing every industry, and the enterprise is getting more aggressive at adapting to new ways of doing things," said Greene. "We use it in our data centers to reduce power consumption. We use data on weather, load, cooling, etc. and adjust the pumps to save significant percentages of power. Machine learning is making that kind of power savings possible, and I think it will be used in every industry to simply do things better."

The Business Appeal of Public Clouds

In a cloud space where even a player like Samsung is positioning to move off AWS by buying container company Joyent, the question of what type of cloud infrastructure a business should invest in is more prevalent than ever. In the debate of public vs. private vs. hybrid clouds, Greene backed up her argument for public clouds by looking to security, scalability, and the sheer engineering power to innovate behind IaaS.

"The reality is that the cloud is suddenly evolving faster than anyone expected," said Greene. "People say they'll support hybrid clouds, but on-prem is going to be a shrinking industry going forward. Big public clouds are the most secure place to be."

Greene also said the shift to public clouds is more about organizational change than a culture change for businesses. Enterprises are dealing with a whole new model of doing business, and looking to companies like Google to figure out the quickest ways to adapt to changing markets and technology.

"Organizationally, it's a whole new game when you support a big enterprise customer," said Greene. "It's not the same old enterprise, because you're not selling a product and saying 'enjoy!' You're saying okay, let's work together. You put your products on this cloud and we'll help you run them really well, and as you come out with new products and we come out with new innovations, we'll work to optimize your business."

As far as catching up to and surpassing AWS and Azure, Greene said Google is actively partnering with enterprise companies and expanding its cloud ecosystem. Don't expect Google to pull a Microsoft and use big-budget acquisitions to expand its reach in the enterprise space, though.

"We were thinking of acquiring Oracle," said Greene. "I'm just kidding!"

Source:  http://www.pcmag.com/news/345354/google-public-clouds-are-the-future-of-business

Categorized in Business Research

Several years ago, we had a television network client who, the morning after their show aired, would eagerly ask, “How did I do last night?” What she meant was: How did the network’s shows perform the previous evening?

But answering that basic question wasn’t so simple a few years ago. Why? Because inherent in that one simple question were a bunch of others that unraveled into a complicated narrative exercise. And, of course, what she really wanted, after all that exercise, was something that boiled down to: “You had a good night,” or maybe, “Not so good, but here’s why.” Coming up with that answer required that we arduously compile information from a bunch of different tools and mash them together, quickly, into what she needed to know.

That arduous process vexed everyone. Unsurprisingly, as a market grew for answering those questions, companies tried to build all-in-one solutions, setting off a wave of mergers and acquisitions. Salesforce bought Radian6, Oracle bought Collective Intellect and so on. The result was a bunch of very large dashboards of information resources that try to be everything to everyone.

It’s understandable how that happened, and it has benefited countless industry professionals. But, for many media companies that we deal with, it also has become increasingly obvious that one size of data dashboard doesn’t (in fact, can’t) fit all of their respective needs.

As a result, a significant trend has emerged that is headed in the opposite direction. That trend has many implications for networks as well as for the vast array of digital creators trying to become networks — as well as for the vendors that want to provide all those companies their data.

Call it Build Your Own Stack, and more importantly, build that stack from best-of-breed, highly focused vendors that provide exact pieces of what your company needs. I’d say that every major media company we talk with is already building its own customized collection of data services, in one fashion or another.

About half of those companies are building their stack in a rather old-fashioned way (or at least, old-fashioned for a business that’s only a few years old). That means taking our dashboard of information, and the dashboards of other analytics providers, and manually collating information from each one separately to build a coherent answer to “How did I do?”

In another 30 percent to 40 percent of cases, a media company will rely on aggregators, such as Tableau.com or Domo.com, that provide a sort of meta-platform combining all the a la carte data sources that a company wants, or at least the ones that are compatible with that platform’s requirements. That can be effective, and is certainly simpler than juggling a bunch of separate interfaces from a bunch of vendors.

Then there are what I’ll call the technologically aggressive 10 percent — media companies that are building their own data teams and analytics platforms to pull in data from diverse sources. These custom dashboards further integrate all those streams automatically to create a very sophisticated and company-specific answer to “How did I do?”

It’s these latter two groups that are forcing analytics companies to focus on two key areas: portability and research.

By portability, I mean each analytics company needs to identify its true strengths and then make it easy to integrate that information with other data sources, whether through aggregators or a custom platform. That means creating application program interfaces that simplify getting all of what I have here into what you have there. Without portability, analytics firms may be left behind as custom stack-building comes to dominate the business.

But growing portability means you have to conduct continued research and development on your products. Because clients will have far more choices in which data, and data providers, they include in their perfect stack, it will be more difficult for companies to rely on institutional inertia and technology lock-in to keep clients using their products when better ones come along.

The real power of any analytics company lies first in its deep mastery of a specific sector, and then in building on that mastery with continued learning. It’s the only way even the best tool can remain competitive over time, especially as stack-building becomes a more fluid process.

Customers like our aforementioned client still need a simple answer to “How did I do?” but that’s where a lot of analytics companies fail. They think what they do is so important that the user on the other side should care about them. But clients don’t. Data only become insights when the data can be tied to business outcomes. They care about the answer, a defensible and clearly understandable answer. The provider of that answer matters far less to them.

Companies that are part of the new stacks need to make sure they can simply answer their part of that question — and integrate their part smoothly with other companies answering other parts.

All of this, of course, may just set the stage for another round of M&A deals in a couple of years as the pendulum swings back toward concentration. But it’s clear that being all things for all clients often leads to a not-completely-satisfying product for just about everyone. So go deep, keep learning, and play well with others.

Source:  http://venturebeat.com/2016/06/18/building-the-perfect-analytics-stack-its-now-about-choice-and-customization/

Categorized in Business Research

As marketers, understanding the basics of brand management is imperative. Brand management is the strategy and analysis behind how the public perceives your brand.

It is a challenge to stay true to your product, mix it up with the consumer insights about the brand, and to ultimately come up with the right formula for your brand’s perception.

To illustrate, I’ll use the data and insights I’ve gathered for an Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Campaign I designed for a (fictional) airline company.

This data and the details about the airline are examples to help you better understand this concept.

Know Your Product Truth

Product truth is the basic essence of your product. It is the need your product answers. As the brand manager, you should know the intrinsic value and overall makeup of the brand you manage.

After all, how can you sell something you don’t understand? Here are a few sample questions you should be able to answer: Why should consumers buy my product? What is the main competitive advantage that sets my product apart from similar products? What need does my product satisfy?

I’ll explain more using the IMC campaign I’ve created for our airline brand.

All airlines have a similar job – to transport a passenger from point A to point B.

So the main challenge is we want to set our airline apart from the rest. First, we identified the niche we wanted to target. Since we were able to identify early on that we are a luxury airline, and not a budget airline, our main competitive advantage is that our airline provides luxury, premium services to its passengers. We provide gourmet snacks, unlimited champagne onboard, and VIP customer service. Usually, a vacation starts when you reach the destination right? But we want our passengers to immediately relax and enjoy, the moment they step on our plane.

Usually, a vacation starts when you reach the destination, right? But we want our passengers to immediately relax and enjoy the moment they step on our plane.

I have formulated a statement to encapsulate this truth:

Airline XYZ is a leisure airline that provides premium customer service throughout a convenient and stress-free journey.

It is on point, states what the brand is, what need it answers, and the competitive advantage the brand has that sets it apart from its competitors.

Defining this truth for your brand is just the first step. Next, you need to integrate it with how your customers perceive your brand.

How to Manage a Brand

To know how customers perceive the brand, we’ve ‘conducted’ research to understand what their insights are about our made up airline. Here are some of the findings:

Even though the airline brand is the newest in the market, 60% have awareness of the brand
46% fly with our brand because of its premium customer service
92% of those who have not tried our airline brand are willing to try

We wanted to measure the level of awareness the consumers have of our brand. And, at least 60% of polled consumers had heard of our brand! As a new airline, with competitors who have more than 10-40 years in the market, this is a good measure of how well the brand can penetrate the airline industry.

46% of the airline’s passengers choose to fly with us because of the premium customer service that we provide. This is consistent with the product truth stated above – that the airline brand provides premium customer service.

Another promising consumer insight is 92% of the respondents are willing to try the airline, which is very reassuring, and motivating, to say the least. It also poses a very good metric of how well the market can be penetrated.

Now that we know how the public views our brand and how we want to portray our brand, we need to put these two together.

Formulate a Clear ‘Big Idea’

The Big Idea is the product truth + consumer insights. Based on the product truth and consumer findings above, we can then come up with our Big Idea that should be the driver behind how we portray ourselves.

Airline XYZ takes you to your dream destination through a guaranteed stress-free journey.

Our big idea states what our brand is, and combines that with how the market perceives it. This Big Idea will then be mirrored in all marketing communications, and should consistently be conveyed in the product positioning, and messaging.

Roll Out Cohesive IMC Recommendations

The Big Idea will then be rolled out to various communication channels where the target audience is. Based on the initial research, the target market’s media profile are in the tri-media, and new media channels. Traditional advertising media should be included—print, tv, and radio, together with new media channels such as social media, and online digital marketing activities.

Traditional advertising media should be included in this—print, tv, and radio, together with new media channels such as social media, and online digital marketing activities. Both old and new channels should echo the same, consistent message.

What is Brand Fascination?

Formulating an integrated marketing communications for a brand, like the one I laid out here, requires extensive research. A proper and effective strategy should also be employed. One good measure is to assess how your product or service is most likely to captivate customers is through brand fascination.

If you can find a way to make your brand fascinating by hooking people’s attention so they can’t stop thinking or talking about your brand, then you have a massive competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace.

Marketers must realize that, as Sally Hogshead says, “Being different is better than being better.” The brands that are most successful are those who are different. That difference is the greatest competitive advantage you can have.

Source:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com/manage-a-brand/163942/?ver=163942X2

Categorized in Business Research

There is a common belief in the angel and venture capital community that you put your money on the best team, rather than the best idea. Thus the top priority of every entrepreneur who wants funding should be to build and highlight their “dream team” of co-founders, executives and advisers, to attract the biggest and best investors. Solo entrepreneurs rarely find an investor.

In my angel investor mode, I often find myself flipping to the “management” section of a business plan, even before I read the solution description and opportunity. Imagine my lack of excitement if that section is missing, or it’s basically a list of names and titles that I don’t recognize. To win, you need to tell your best story and highlight how the team hits any and all of the following points:

1. Prior entrepreneurial wins and losses.

Building a startup business is not the same as corporate executive experience, so prior titles in a big business may actually be seen as a negative. On the other hand, having failed in an earlier startup may be an advantage, if positioned properly, and some learning is evident. Focus on prior results, not titles.

2. Business credentials and functional coverage.

If your team has a depth of expertise in software, that won’t help you get funding for a new hardware solution. Even if your product is a technological marvel, I look for balanced strength on the team in finance, marketing and operations. Fill in gaps with expert advisors to make it whole.

3. Team members have investor relationships.

Investors talk to each other and they love warm introductions to up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Investors are usually smart business people who love to be asked for guidance and direction, before they are asked for money. Do your networking with investors well before the funding pitch.

4. Executives exude confidence and energy.

Investors all know that the startup road is long and hard, so they look for people who have put and will continue to put “skin in the game” -- time, sweat equity, and money. They look for passion and optimism and more importantly, the willingness to listen, learn and get things done. 

5. Able to communicate on every level.

It starts with having a vision and an ability to get the message across in your elevator pitch, in a written business plan and one-on-one with potential investors. Fundable entrepreneurs have to feel comfortable talking and listening to engineers, financial people, marketing and especially customers.

6. Relish the challenges of problem solving.

Startup leaders have to be relentlessly resourceful in overcoming obstacles and competition. Investors look for “street smarts,” or examples that didn’t come from a school book or a corporate process. When pitching to investors, weave in real-life stories of your best past creative solutions.

7. Not afraid to make a decision.

Investors are wary of “equal partners,” who may jeopardize a timely decision. They want to see decisions based on logic and backed up by emotion, rather than the other way around. They want to hear what you learned from the last economic downturn and the last funding shortfall.

Ironically, investors see funding opportunities correlated to past successes, rather than future success dependent on funding. Thus, it’s more important to highlight what you have done that demonstrates your team’s potential, rather than talking about how great it will be in the future. Investor focus is on facilitating the scaling of a startup, after you have proven the business model. 

If you are new to the entrepreneur funding game, like Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were back in 2001, it pays to bring in a CEO such as Eric Schmidt to find investors, who was well-known to the investment community for his accomplishments at Sun Microsystems and Novell. Now, of course, Page and Brin have that same credibility with their successes at Google.

Dream team startups rarely just happen -- they are the work of a diligent entrepreneur, who understands personal strengths and weaknesses and are not too proud to ask for help and offer a chunk of their startup equity in return. Even if you are not looking for external funding, the same team principles apply, since you are your own biggest investor. Build your dream team early.


Source:  https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/276933

Categorized in Business Research

When it comes to startups, if you’re not growing…you’re moving backwards. No matter how good of a product or idea it might have , a business will not succeed without sales. While investing in Facebook ads, capitalizing on SEO trends and writing great content can help bring in sales, your revenue comes from closing big deals.

Closing large deals requires much more than a few cold calls and sales tactics. The deals are bigger, and therefore the requirements and scrutiny are also higher process.

So how does a startup position itself to close deals with the biggest companies in their space? Here is a list of factors that will help you quickly improve your business development efforts and close B2B deals with big companies.

1. Reach out by every means possible.

A warm introduction is the best way to reach a contact but we don’t always have that luxury. Luckily, social media searches can help you get in front of your contact.

Use LinkedIn to search the name of the company and the words that describe the title, role or division of the person you need to meet. Include words like “venture”, “innovations” and “new technologies,” as those teams can be responsible for onboarding new technology. Send a personalized invitation.

Another successful trick is to search for alumni from your university who work at the same company. Ask them for an introduction to the right person or department.

2. Build a product they can trust with their brand.

The best companies cannot afford to tarnish their brand. They avoid taking chances on a product that they don’t trust. You need to pass the “trust” test.

To do this, start with a product of superior quality and value. There’s no way around this. Do not compromise on any part of the production quality or user experience while developing your product.

My friend Andrew Thomas, co-founder of SkyBell and one of the top entrepreneurs in the Internet of Things industry, has closed deals with the biggest brands in their space, including Honeywell, Amazon, Nest and Alarm.com. While positioning their video doorbell product, Thomas found success by over-sharing a commitment to their brand.

“We explicitly stated how serious we regarded their brand and worked with their quality control teams to affirm our product quality.” His advice, “prove to them them that they can trust you with their brand.”

Related: PageRank Is Dead. What Marketers Need Now Is Trust Flow.

3. Ask questions and listen.

Sales boils down to our ability to quickly gain information about the prospective partner and their needs. The best way to do this is by asking good questions and letting your prospect do most of the talking. Asking questions leads your prospect to tell you what they want, how they want it and when they need it. Then you can frame your responses to accurately address their needs. It’s far better than trying to “pitch” them on your product.

It sounds simple, yet produces results. The key is to truly listen to them. Resist the urge to always focus on what you’ll say next. Also, don’t interrupt or speak for them. This helps you build strong rapport based on trust and respect – and helps you be more likable. 

4. Create a vision built on mutual purpose.

At big companies, decisions are made by many people of various authority levels in multiple divisions. Success requires that you not only sell your contact on your product – but that you are so clear in defining a value proposition that your contact can then sell the idea to other key people in their organization.

How do you do this? Co-create a vision built on mutual purpose. Work with your contact to define the value proposition in the present and future – with the most amount of clarity possible. Business partnerships work best when your contact owns the solution as much as you do. 

5. Don’t sign a deal that harms you.

It’s easy to get carried away when you’re working with the biggest companies in your space. The volumes are bigger, there are more users and the orders tend to have more zeroes. It’s harder to say, “No.” This is something that hurt our company badly. We are in the credit card payments space. We landed a major client in our first few weeks of launching our company. We eneded up losing money because we weren't sure of everything we were doing. It almost dragged us under.

Resist the temptation to say “yes” to everything. It will do you no good to over-extend yourself and go out of business, which is common with these types of deals. Sometimes it’s the deals you don’t do that are the best decisions you’ll make. 

Here are some common land mines to consider:

Exclusivity – Unless 1+1 = 3, avoid granting a partner with exclusivity for certain markets, timing, features or product.

Ramp-ups and lead times – Define a ramp-up schedule to pace your delivery of product and define lead times to properly manage your manufacturing. Big companies can “kill you with kindness” by ordering large amounts of product that you can’t fulfill in time.

Consignment – If you have hardware, consignment is rarely a good idea. You want firm purchase orders before you go build large volumes of product.
Profitability – Unless you are funded as a high-growth customer acquisition model, don’t take a loss on product sales just to placate a big partner.

6. Be patient.

Closing deals with big companies can take a long time. There will be many times when the deal loses momentum. Remain patient and keep a long-term outlook. “We all think we're persuasive, but sometimes there isn’t much you can do for a deal except be patient, polite and present,” says Thomas.

While times are slow, you should reach out every four to six weeks to provide an update. Send emails with news, press coverage, awards and anything else that will keep them excited about your product. While this may seem annoying, it keeps them in contact and aware of everything you're doing.

Effective business development efforts bring in the revenue and strategic positioning you need for long-term success. A business development leader must be willing to prospect, handle rejection and keep going. They must create trust with their counterparts and create a vision that results in profitable outcomes for both sides – and then get both sides to act on it. The success of the business depends on it. 

Source:  https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/277144

Categorized in Business Research

Okay, so maybe that’s a little extreme – a murderer is likely either sitting in prison, or doing everything in his or her power to avoid being found. So, in a world where virtually everything can be found online, and once something’s posted it never really goes away, people rely on online reputation management (ORM) to help change what people see. In many cases, this presents quite an ethical dilemma.

Content – More Than SEO

We’ve known for a long time that our websites need to have content written for readers first and search engines second. But, since ORM is designed to generate positive results in the top of the search engines to push the negative ones down so they’re less likely to be seen – there’s a point where you have to decide if the money for the writing or SEO gig is worth helping a person or business attempt to undo some damage.

A while back, I received an order from a client I’d been working with for years. In my eight years of working as a freelance writer, I’d never turned down a job for ethical reasons—until then. I was asked to write an article about a man, showcasing his talents and accomplishments. The first thing I did was search for the man, because I needed to know more about said talents and accomplishments.

Once I discovered he had charges pending related to indecent acts with minors, I knew I wasn’t the right person for the job. At the risk of losing a client who’d provided enough work to pay all of my bills, I declined the assignment and told him why. I held my breath for a few minutes while awaiting his reply, and started looking for more clients. Thankfully, he supported me. He went back to his client and declined the order.

Every job a business takes could be tied to ethics, and some are easier to accept or decline than others. Here’s what I do.

Evaluate on a Case-by-Case Basis

When a job comes my way, I ask myself:

Who is the company and what is the purpose of the job?
Would my completion of this job help the company succeed in a manner that harms others?
Do they want content to suppress negative search results? Do they want them removed? Do they want to defend the search results? Or, do they simply want review management to improve their profiles?

It’s important to recognize that businesses and people do make mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes are amplified, and do way more damage than they should. That’s where ORM is helpful.

But, some businesses simply succeed through hurting their employees or customers. When it comes out into the open, as it did with Amy’s Baking Company on Kitchen Nightmares, some damage control can be done, but not always enough to keep the company afloat.

The business was able to recover slightly after their TV episode aired and they engaged in massive social media warfare, then claimed accounts were hacked. But, eventually, they closed their restaurant and now operate a wholesale baking business with the same name.

Does Personal Bias Get in the Way?

For me, in the case of the job I declined, yes. But, when you consider I’ve also been pitched to build foot fetish websites (not something I’m into, but I won’t judge) and didn’t decline for moral reasons, I don’t always allow how I feel about a particular topic to dictate the jobs I take.

So is ORM ethical? When done correctly, yes it is. What is the difference between normal optimization techniques and search suppression techniques? Not much. Building links to positive and neutral content, as well as responding to user reviews and high authority content are still part of the suppression mix; just as they are with SEO itself. The techniques do not change, the client does.

And so ethics in ORM should take on a different perspective. Questions about the client, and its operation, should take center stage—not the process of ORM itself. How do you determine that? I found this great post from ReputationX.com discussing their internal processes for determining ethics in reputation management.

I like their take on it and, even better, that they have published this internal process for all their potential clients to see. This is something that many ORM clients themselves need to adopt, as you’ll see in the case below.

It’s Not What – It’s How

In the case of online review websites, there’s a big difference between taking time to acknowledge and reply to negative comments and simply deleting the negative reviews. A business always has the right to come back and comment to resolve or dispute the review, but actually getting them deleted is not easy. Why? Because the review platforms want their audience to know they can be trusted—and removing any negative content isn’t trustworthy. No one can reasonably expect any business to keep 100% of their customers happy 100% of the time.

So, if a business is being hurt by negative reviews and wants help managing them, that’s okay. Simply encourage the business owner to reply to the comments with an apology for their experience and an invitation to connect via email to take it to a private forum.

Take a look at how Brambleberry, a soap-making supply company, does it:

Ethics in ORM: Should You Help an Axe Murderer? | SEJ

This way, even when prospective customers see negative comments, they also see a responsive business working to right the wrong.

On the other hand, if you’re crafting positive content with a partial basis in truth in an attempt to hide serious wrongdoing from the first page of search results, you’re behaving unethically. That’s exactly what my client was asking me to do, because it was what his client was asking him to do. And that’s why I didn’t do it.

Source:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com/ethics-in-orm-should-you-help-axe-murderer/163040/

Categorized in Internet Ethics


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