All Businesses LARGE and small Can Benefit From The Internet Of Things (IoT)

All Businesses LARGE and small Can Benefit From The Internet Of Things (IoT)

First of all, what is IoT?  Basically, it is the inter-connectivity of smart-devices.  Everything from your fit bit and your smart phone, to a street sign in a smart city connects to the internet and is included in the Internet of Things.  This interconnectivity allows for devices and objects to be sensed and controlled remotely across a network improving efficiency, safety and reducing the need for human intervention.    

How does this help you and your business?

1.  Cut down on your need to multi-task.
Let a computer do some of the work.  Google Drive, your email system and an electronic calendar are great systems to control your schedule and keep up to date notes that your whole team can access.  Have you tried Basecamp for team activities?  

2. Get an unpaid Intern:
Alexa!  What's my schedule today?  Alexa!  What did I have on my to do list?  Alexa!  Add milk to my grocery list.  Trust me, if you buy an Amazon Alexa or a Google Assistant, you will be very happy you did.  They save lots of time and are excellent assistants.  Sync them with your phone and other devices (like light bulbs) and you can have a whole house system.  Alexa! Turn off the lights upstairs!

3.  Automate Your Office:
You can create a smart office using your Amazon Alexa or another security system. Your lights will turn on and off with your smartphone as will your heating and air conditioning, saving you money on electricity and gas.  You can even unlock the door if an employee (or forgetful partner) accidently locks themselves out.  

4. Watch Your Competition:
Use your smartphone or Ipad to keep on eye on your competition.  Make sure you subscribe to their newsletters and follow them on instagram, Facebook and twitter.  You want to be the first to know if they are running a promotion or have an announcement that might negatively affect you.  

5. Really want to be connected?
Get a smart watch that receives tweets and text messages so you don't miss a thing! And make sure you are always communicating effectively with your team.  You can try Skype and Facetime to see them in person.  Messages can get muddled in tone with email and texts, sometimes seeing a person's face is better.  

Making Your Business Stand OUT in the NOISE!

Small Businesses are BOOMING!  How do you stand out against the herd?

Developing your brand is essential.  Get your name, your business and your story out there so people can get to know your business, learn what is special about what you do and form a connection with your brand. Effectively accomplishing this is what will allow your voice to be clearly heard above the din. Here are five ways you can do just that — without costing you a ton of money.
 

Craft A Memorable Identity:
Your business is alive and growing. It has its own unique personality and purpose. Define your vision through your logo and mission statement. Then, expand upon that core with an intriguing narrative that offers your backstory. Provide people with the opportunity to get to know more about your company. Once they do, they will be more likely to connect and care about your business. That translates into customer loyalty and word-of-mouth testimonials. 

Share Your Knowledge
Whatever your expertise, share it. Serve as a mentor to those in need. Offer workshops and advice to young up-and-comers. Take the time to listen to and help others in whatever way makes sense for your business.   Collaborate with other businesses.  Join a business group!

Be Active In Your Community
Let your community know your company exists. This goes beyond the business world where you attend networking meetings and events. Consider sponsoring an event or even spearheading projects that make your neighborhood a better place to live. Position your business to be an exemplary member of your community.  Volunteer!

Give Them Something To Remember You
In our everyday, we are inundated with an endless barrage of virtual tidbits. If you want to stand out, give people something they can hold in their hands: a business card, a flyer promoting a community event, or a postcard. Make it unique!

Collaborate, Connect, Cowork!


Collaboration is an essential tool for all small businesses.

Why? Because we can't do everything ourselves!  We need to work together to accomplish our goals.  

1. Collaboration Can Inspire Creativity:
Who doesn't love a group brainstorming session?  No matter the kind of inspiration you need – be it for marketing, management, or business strategy – it’s best to avoid the tunnel vision effect that often creeps up when you are focused solely on your own situation.  

2. Grow From Collective Knowledge:
Non-competing small businesses who supply the same customers are a great place to start looking for people to share advice and knowledge with. Take advantage of another person's experience dealing with the same sorts of challenges and share your experiences.  

3. Co-Operate, Co-Promote, Co-Market
You will find opportunities to co-promote will let you make the most of each other's strengths.  You can co-sponsor an event or create a coupon for use at both of your businesses.  Try making an ad showcasing several local companies thereby sharing the advertising costs.  

4. Join a Small Business Group
Join a Group (Like Per Diem's Small Business in a Box) to access insights and a community of likeminded business members.  The members are all committed to helping the small business world thrive.  

Leveraging a solid foundation in Marketing, Administration, and extensive experience in business ownership including the non-profit world, Per Diem's experts help business owners evaluate their needs and strategize ways to best meet them.  Utilizing partnerships with industry professionals our consultants connect business owners to trusted professionals to help elevate your company to success.

Learn More

Semi-Private and Private Space Available

Our spaces are flexible in pricing and use, via the 1st and 2nd floors where there is also co-working space and conference room capabilities.

Pop Up Shops 

This is Perkasie's first ever collaborative pop-up retail shop devoted to emerging local creatives and vendors. Saturday morning 10am-1pm, our artisans and peddlers will bring their merch for a weekly dose of unique show and sell. 

 

How to Start a Successful Business: 17 Women Entrepreneurs Share Their Stories via In

One thing we can all agree on is that female entrepreneurs don't get enough press -- even the successful ones.

So let's take a step toward changing that.

Here's a guest post from Mary Fernandez, a visibility strategist who helps entrepreneurs stand out online. (She's also created a handy guide that will help you discover how to skyrocket your online presence.)

Here's Mary:

Every successful entrepreneur started somewhere.

There's no "magic pill" that effortlessly launches you out of your cubicle confinement and into the free world of entrepreneurship. For some, the dream to be your own boss grows for a long time, even years, before it finally comes to fruition.

The truth is, great success in business grows from just one, tiny seed.

We asked some of our favorite women entrepreneurs to share how they got their start in business. Their answers revealed the deep motivators and personal qualities that drove them to make their big idea a reality.

By reading about how they grew their businesses over the years, our goal is that you'll identify a similar entrepreneurial seed, within yourself.

Here's what these women had to share about getting their start as entrepreneurs.

1. Sue Bryce

"My path to self employment seemed to me, a natural evolution.

"But, it wasn't based on a great desire to build a business. Rather, it was borne out of necessity. After 13 years mastering my craft, I was still an employee and I simply had reached a ceiling of how much money I could earn in my career.

"After the initial fear and hurdles, the learning curve is so great I came very close to failure. Instead of giving up, I started to develop a deep sense of passion for motivating and educating myself to reach greater heights in business and income. It became a challenge for me, and I don't know any other way now. After 13 years of self-employment, I still challenge myself to create on a larger and larger scale every year.

"My desire to build, create, and learn, surpasses my fear. Every challenge I'm faced with now, becomes a greater experience of learning my true power."

Now, Sue's teamed up with Tiffany Angeles to break down their biggest business lessons, and teach a class on how to Make More Money and Discover Your Worth.

2. Sophia Amoruso

"Don't give up, don't take anything personally, and don't take no for an answer," Sophia advises.

Since founding Nasty Gal as an eBay store in 2006, selling vintage clothing, Sophia has transformed the business into a multimillion-dollar empire with its own clothing line that was named the "Fastest Growing Retailer" in 2012. Recently, The New York Times Bestseller of #GIRLBOSS has stepped out of her role as the CEO of Nasty Gal to become the executive chairman and shift her focus to overseeing just the creative and brand marketing functions of the business.

Without any fashion or business experience before starting Nasty Gal, Sophia credits much of her hard-earned success to her inability to accept failure as an option. "The people who told me no, were the people who eventually told me yes," she adds.

3. Pamela Slim

"In addition to working full-time as an employee for 10 years, I had also been the volunteer executive director for a non-profit martial arts school in San Francisco.

"My typical day was about 15 hours straight. Work, jump on the metro over to the studio, train capoeira for 3-4 hours, then do administrative work before bed. Weekends were filled with classes, performances, and putting up fliers around the city to attract new students to the school.

"The tipping point came right before my 30th birthday. I got pneumonia from the non-stop grueling pace, and realized I needed to make a career move. So, contrary to how I advise my clients, I leapt with no plan, just the desire to get off the merry-go-round and find a more sustainable path.

"After a few months of recovery and half-hearted job search, I contacted my old manager who had moved to Hewlett-Packard and asked her if she needed a little help. I started working as a consultant, and I felt like a huge fire was lit inside of me. I loved being a consultant. My problem had never been about the work, it was more about the right work mode.

"I realized that the 10 years I had volunteered as an executive director had prepared me for entrepreneurial life. I knew how to create and fund big programs. I knew how to build a network and mobilize people to a cause. I knew how to sell and market. So, now that I had my own shingle out, I took off and built a thriving and fulfilling practice.

"This year, I celebrate 20 years in business for myself. It hasn't always been easy, but it continues to bring me great joy and satisfaction."

4. Tara Gentile

"I decided to become a business owner after I was looked over for a promotion while nine months pregnant.

"Six months after my daughter was born, I started a little niche website and community. I then purchased an existing blog business, and almost overnight, started making more money than I had in my previous job.

"My business has evolved significantly since then, but I'm so grateful for the way I started!"

Tara, one of our most successful business instructors here at CreativeLive, has successfully gone from selling her services, to packaging them into digital products for her clients. It's helped her significantly scale her business, and now she teaches a class about how to turn your services into a product.

5. Melissa Galt

"The year following my graduation from Cornell, my mom died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. It took me the ensuing five years to understand the lesson in her passing. Life is too short to do something you don't love. She had been a maverick in her field, an Oscar winning actress who knew at age 7 what she wanted. It took me a bit longer.

"I decided to pursue my dream of interior design, and went back to school full-time, while picking up full-time work in the field. However, I was still frustrated that I was not in charge of my day and my decisions.

"Ultimately, my headstrong nature was both my undoing and my new beginning...

"I'd planned to launch my startup in September 1994. When I asked my manager for time off, she said I didn't have it. I said I did, and dug my heels in. Arguing with your manager when you need your job is never wise. I walked out.

"I was unemployed, in debt, and six months premature to my planned launch. I launched immediately while taking up side jobs supervising a catering kitchen and teaching busy professionals (aka potential clients for my interior design practice) during evening education programs.

"It was that magical place you hear about where fear meets breath and becomes unstoppable exhilaration. I worked 15 hour days, 6 days a week, because I wanted to. I couldn't wait to get up, and hated to go to bed at night. I was totally on fire. I went from $70K in debt to rocking six figures and debt free in 18 months and that doubled every year for five years. Today, I design both home and business environments, while also advising the business and lifestyles that go on inside of them.

"My advice is to find what lights you up, and do whatever it takes to make it happen. You will meet with unexpected success."

6. Beate Chelette

"Remember those huge posters of beautiful places that decorated kid's rooms in the '80s? When I was young, I wanted them but couldn't afford them. Then I realized, if I ordered them for my friends and became a distributor, I could get mine for free. So at the age of 12, I started a poster distribution business out of my bedroom.

"Later in life, I worked at Elle Magazine as a photo editor. I had a lot of freedom to express my ideas (after all, ideas are what a magazine thrives on). But still... something was always missing. Upon further examination, I arrived at three facts:

  1. I wanted to be the boss.
  2. I had a lot of ideas, and my bosses didn't necessarily agree.
  3. I wanted to change the world.

"And here I am today! I've been an entrepreneur pretty much my entire professional career. You have to overcome the fear, and it's a lot of work, but the rewards are fantastic."

7. Sue Zimmerman

"My first entrepreneurial venture was selling my hand-painted barrettes at recess in grade school, even though I was not supposed to be.

"My dad owned an automobile part store and often brought home model paint that I would use to paint fun, colorful, preppy themes on hair clips.

"The passion I had for art and painting turned into a nice side hustle, and eventually gave me the confidence and validation to do what I loved at a very young age."

8. Tiffany Angeles

"I felt dead inside working at my corporate job but was too scared to leave.

"I was looking for a business I could start on nights and weekends. After checking into different businesses, I actually won a camera, so that sealed the deal for a photography business. I built that business by moonlighting for a few years until the income surpassed my corporate job and then went full-time.

"That business gave me the freedom and flexibility to pursue my dream of speaking and teaching people how to be successful with money. Even though it was painful to leave my corporate security, I am forever grateful that I did, because it led to a life and business I love!"

Now, Tiffany has joined forces with Sue Bryce to teach an incredible class on how to Make More Money and Discover Your Worth.

9. Yasmine Khater

"After a successful corporate career in a Fortune 500 company, losing my dad to cancer led me to redefine life and the impact I want to create. I knew that I didn't want my boss's job, any of the other senior management roles, or to work more 12- to 14-hour days. I also knew I didn't want to sacrifice my quality of life, and regret not living.

"That's when I decided to start my business. I brainstormed which skills I could build upon, and what people needed. At the time, my friends were searching for more career direction, so I offered 30-minute career clarity sessions. I booked 4 sessions and got my first three clients.

"I realized shortly thereafter, that I didn't really want to help people with their careers. Instead, I wanted to leverage my corporate experience to help small business owners build their sales processes, and develop winning sales systems that could stand the test of time."

10. Mayi Carles

"I was 7. I had just discovered the lemonade stand.

"Wait a second! Kids can just sell lemonade on the front porch and people give them money? WOW!!! I was blown away.

"Soon enough, I had set up my own front lawn kiosk, except that instead of selling lemonade, I crafted little masterpieces made with a little paint spinner toy thingy. The line of kids reached the end of the block. Not to brag, but I was a ROCK STAR.

"Right then and there, I knew I was born to do this.

"As it turns out, the reason why my art pieces were selling like hot tamales for 50 cents a pop was because they came with a bag of Hershey's kisses. Mayita, my mom smiled as she made the infamous confession, the chocolates were a dollar at the store. Dang!

"Alright, maybe my first business idea wasn't profitable, but I learned the art of putting myself out there with a sense of self-worth at a very young age. That pillar has been instrumental in building my current creative empire."

11. Mei Pak

"I got my first taste of entrepreneurship when I was 10 years old.

"One day in school, we were allowed to set up a small table to sell whatever we wanted during recess. I brought a zip lock bag of hundreds of tiny semi precious stone chips that I had gotten from my mom's favorite jewelry store for less than $10. I knew the other kids would love them and sold five little stones for $2.00.

"In retrospect, I'm not surprised the concept of buy low, sell high came so naturally to me. This kind of stuff is what I was meant to do."

12. Courtney Johnston

"I was never an entrepreneurial kid, but I was always a dreamer and a rule breaker.

"After graduating college with a French degree in 2009 during the middle of the recession, I quickly realized that I was 'unemployable' and decided to start finding ways to make money for myself. A few business ideas later, I started my copywriting business, and have never looked back."

13. Kimra Luna

"I got my first taste of entrepreneurship when I started my own booking agency when I was 18 years. I started booking concerts for fun, and it turned into a full-time gig."

14. Jenn Scalia

"Entrepreneurship was something I was always destined for. But until a few years ago, I had always adhered to the status quo of having a 'real' job.

"After two layoffs in two years, I got a gentle nudge from the Universe that I needed to create my own destiny and my own financial security. While staying home as a full-time mom, I started looking for opportunities where I could use my skills to make money. That's when I discovered that I could be an online coach, and decided to dive in head first."

15. Barbara Findlay Schenck

"Like many others, my dive into entrepreneurship was prompted by opportunity and necessity.

"My husband and I had just returned from a stint in the Peace Corps, and--although former employers in Honolulu invited us back to the positions we'd left two years earlier--we wanted to settle down in Oregon. So, we took a raincheck on the generous job offers, and began searching for positions in Bend, Oregon, that matched our journalism, public relations, and marketing backgrounds.

"With few such openings and no advertising or marketing agency to reach out to, entrepreneurial instinct took over and we seized the moment. We laid out plans for starting our own agency, registered a business name, drew up a list of potential clients, furnished an office (barely), put a sign on the door, and started a six-month sprint to profitability.

"Why six months? That's exactly how long we figured our cash reserves would last. When I tell business planners to know their funding runway, I speak from experience.

"With the clock ticking, we beat the six-month deadline, grew the agency to one of the top 15 in the Northwest, accumulated more clients, friends, and stories than we could count, and 15 years later sold it to new owners who made it the platform for launching their own entrepreneurial journey."

16. Phoebe Mroczek

"To be honest, I've been an entrepreneur for as long as I can remember. From the stationery stand in my driveway and my fifth-grade scrunchie business, to the dual-level marketing company I joined in college, it's really not just a passion. It's a way of life.

"While I dipped my toe into the corporate world in Asia, behind the scenes I'd started an events company and shortly afterwards, a travel blog to document a 15-country motorcycle trip.

"As I built my online network, I bumped into some internet marketing resources that changed the course of my path up until that point. The most influential person I discovered was James Wedmore, whose mentorship gave me the confidence and clarity to develop my business. This was the kick in the pants I needed to define and flex my entrepreneurial muscles.

"Within 12 months, I'd made six figures and more importantly, built a business that helped female entrepreneurs all around the world. So, I guess you could say I got my start as an entrepreneur a couple years ago once I made the decision to go for it. With a little coaching and a LOT of fear, I went for it and the rest is history!"

17. Amy Schmittauer

"How did I get my start as an entrepreneur? Hard freakin' work.

"When I realized at my 9-5 that I wanted to work for myself, it was a year and a half before I actually left to make it happen. During that time, I was getting any and all experience I could in my field, on the side of my full-time job. I spent vacation time and extra money on conferences, networking, and working for anyone who would let me help. First for free and then for cheap, until I had confidence in my portfolio and made the leap to focus on my business alone.

"Everyone wants the decision to be easy or great timing, but it never will be. Do the work. Prove you're going to keep doing the work when you're the only one in your corner. And then make it happen."

If you're ready to start (or grow) your own business, you need to learn how to value yourself. Check out Make More Money and Discover Your Worth, over on CreativeLive.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

Small Businesses: Holding Back The Big-Business Gorilla

Think of all of the sprawling business plans, coffee conversations and number crunching that go into the early days of a small business. Someone is ready to make that big dream a reality, pursue their ideal life balance, or bring a tenacious product idea to life.

Whatever the inspiration, running a business is hard -- and many will fail along the way. But today I want to explore the potential impact of those early ideas becoming a success, and the hard decisions it can take to remain a viable business.

You’ve established your market and attracted attention

Say you’ve opened a quality coffee shop, created a delicious new pizza, or developed an innovative piece of technology that nobody has ever seen before. You’ve done something really well – and the market sees its success.

You should be really proud of what you’ve achieved; I have no doubt you put in some hard yards and decisions to get there. But it doesn’t always end there. Because success breeds competition, and sometimes, the competition is bigger than you.  

Poking the gorilla

Many small businesses face manageable competition every day, and some competition can be healthy for market conditions. But what do you do when the challenger is out of your league? When -- after you’ve prepped and nurtured your market -- someone threatens to spend big in the war to win your customers?  

I call this corporate competitor the big-business gorilla: and it can cause a lot of loud noise and destruction in just a few moves. Local or foreign, retail chain or superstore -- chances are your big business gorilla has deeper pockets, a more aggressive attitude to getting itself noticed, and a higher tolerance for failure than you. For any small business, that can be intimidating. 

So, do you sell or do you stay? And if you hold your ground, how do you ward off something so big?

The strength in small

When Xero customer Ben Lee launched his automotive engineering business, Rhino 4x4, he faced stiff competition from larger national motor vehicle part suppliers. As a small business headquartered on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Ben’s team learned to distinguish itself from the competition -- by being fast and unique.

“We don’t look at competitor products or try and emulate what they do, we do the opposite -- we think differently -- while others fail to change their ways. We stand out through our innovation, and that means being able to act promptly on new designs and use the best technology to streamline our processes.”

Multinationals may be large and powerful but they are also slower and more predictable. Make your size your strength -- ask yourself, can you adjust to market needs with greater agility or increased quality? 

Don’t try to balance the scales

You don’t have to achieve the same scale of service to succeed either. Instead, remember what made you special in the first place -- and make those differences matter.

“As a small businesses, we’ve always prided ourselves on excellent communication with our customers,” says Ben. “So in the last three to four years, we’ve used that to grow a Facebook community of almost 13,000 followers. Direct feedback from our consumers now determines the direction of our product, and gives us a cutting edge over the competition.

“Not only have we rapidly taken a percentage share of existing market, but we’ve created a whole new market. We don’t just sell to four-by-four drivers craving functionality, we cater to young drivers who just want their vehicles to look good.”

An economy of outlasters

There are millions of small businesses in Australia who, between them, employ half the Australian workforce -- and they’ve not become the backbone of our economy by chance. It takes strength, awareness, agility and belief to outwit and outlast the competition.

So next time a big business competitor jumps and shouts at your customers, don’t use up all your energy trying to jump higher and shout louder. Stay grounded and whisper something deep and meaningful instead. 

FROM FORBES

Hiring The Right People, The First Time

With a small business, having the right people at the table is essential.  Make sure you take the time to really evaluate candidates instead of hiring just anyone to solve an immediate staffing problem.  Having the wrong person in a role can negatively affect the entire team and possibly ruin your company's reputation with customers.     


First, be clear about your expectations from an employee.  Identifying essential skills is well, essential.  What knowledge, expertise and traits are you looking for in an employee? Make sure that the questions you are asking can help determine that their past job experience will be relevant to your position.  

Background checks are for everyone! It can seem awkward but it may save you some future pain.  For example, if the position you are hiring for requires travel and the person you are hiring has a criminal record, there are certain countries that will deny them entry.  You don't want your project delayed with an angry customer and an employee sitting at the border because they seemed like a nice person.  

Make sure to create a great compensation package.  The last thing you want is for a good employee to leave after a few months because they got a better offer.  The time and effort it takes to find another valuable candidate is worth the cost in the long run.  

Last but not least, try out an employee first with a 90 day introductory period.  This allows both of you to see if long-term employment is a good fit.  Some candidates may seem like they are correct for your company but as you get to know them they don't mix culturally or are lacking a necessary skill.  Better to move on quickly than prolong the inevitable.  

Why Women-Only Coworking Spaces Are on the Rise via Entrepreneur

Picture a hip, energetic coworking space. Now erase the beer kegs and Ping-Pong table, and conjure, instead, pale pink walls, cozy reading nooks, oversize bathrooms with stocked showers and a library full of books by lady writers. Welcome to the world of women-only and women-centric workspaces. 

Picture a hip, energetic coworking space. Now erase the beer kegs and Ping-Pong table, and conjure, instead, pale pink walls, cozy reading nooks, oversize bathrooms with stocked showers and a library full of books by lady writers. Welcome to the world of women-only and women-centric workspaces. 

The Wing is not the only entrant into this booming new sector. There’s Shecosystem in Toronto, Paper Dolls in Los Angeles and Rise Collaborative Workspace in St. Louis. 

In San Diego, Felena Hanson opened Hera Hub after noticing that local coworking options tended to be all suits or all bros. 

“I wanted a space that supported women,” she says. “It’s a demographic that was badly ignored.”

Appealing to women includes, of course, the interior design, but it has to be more than skin-deep, Hanson says. Hera Hub, which has expanded to six locations, including Stockholm, has an angel investment arm for female entrepreneurs. At Rise, a mentorship program allows teenage women to meet with and shadow members. And The Wing’s programming recently included a book club, a seminar on depression and anxiety, a workshop on spring floral arrangements and a talk by former Obama consigliere (and Wing member) Alyssa Mastromonaco. “Women are constantly managing and juggling,” says Hanson. “With a women-centric space, they’re able to be open and candid in a supportive setting.” 

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