The Biggest Challenges You Have to Face as an Entrepreneur

Internet connectivity has opened new doors for people to work from home. What was once just a fanciful thought is now a reality. However, not everyone is satisfied with working from home. Some people have it in their natures to do adventurous tasks. They are ready to face the risks and overcome the hardships that stand between them and the realization of their dreams. These individuals are entrepreneurs. They are passionate, daring, and full of energy to do something special. However, not everyone who wishes to be an entrepreneur becomes one. If you think you have the spirit of becoming one, here are some of the biggest challenges that almost every entrepreneur faces, and you will too.

The Biggest Challenges in the Path of Entrepreneurship

  • A Journey Out of the Comfort Zone

When you aspire to be an entrepreneur, you will have to live outside your comfort zone almost all the time. It is in the definition of being an entrepreneur to take risks. You might not have the resources to achieve your aim but that does not stop you from moving forward. You have to believe in your idea and dedicate your energies, time, and money to make your idea a reality. It is easier said than done. If you are an entrepreneur and you have only enough money to buy either your lunch or a component that completes the device you have been working on, you will buy the component.

In many cases, you will have to do extra jobs to save enough money to follow your dreams. As an entrepreneur, your enthusiasm is undying and your character is like a wall of lead.

  • An Idea That Solves a Problem

It is not uncommon to see people trying to become entrepreneurs based on ideas that don’t have any potential in them. You must come up with a solution to a problem. Sometimes, your idea seems unique but when you look closely, it does not create a problem. If your concept is not solving people’s problems, it will not sell. And when you have come up with something that people need, they will buy it even if your product seems unfinished and unrefined to you.

Therefore, do not put all your money behind a product or idea that seems unique to you. Uniqueness is not enough in the business world. When people go out shopping, they are looking for products and services. They are looking forward to finding a solution to their problem. Make sure your product does that.

  • A Product That’s Just a Product

Quite a few entrepreneurs have found themselves in this situation. You come up with a unique idea, you work on it, create a prototype, and next thing you know, you are standing in front of the investors. However, you can’t impress investors with ideas that are just unique. Investors look at your creations from many different angles. Even if they like a product, they will ask you a lot of questions. One of the concerns that most investors have is the scope of your idea. Sometimes, you have an amazing product, but it is just a product. At times, your product is great and it has the potential to turn you into a brand as well.

Investors are looking for business opportunities and onetime products are not very attractive for them. For this reason, you want to come up with an idea that can turn you into a brand. If all you have is a product, it should be good enough to sell like hot cakes.

  • Market Research

A lot of startup owners overlook this important factor. Market research is integral for any business’ success. What you might not realize is that even a great product will not sell if you don’t sell it to the right people. Market research is a crucial part of your business strategy. You have to know your exact target market to make your product a hit.

You will have to conduct surveys on the ground and online to know the people who will be most interested in your product. Secondly, you have to know where your target audience usually likes to hang out. For example, if your target audience is teenagers and those under the age of 30, you have to target them through social networking websites. However, the same strategy will not be as effective if your target audience is people aged 60 and above.

Last but not least, you have to know the buying power of your customers so you can price your product accurately.

  • Pricing the Product

Pricing your product can be quite a difficult matter unless you have advisors and marketers by your side. You have to consider a lot of factors to price your product precisely. The first thing that needs your attention is the cost you have incurred while creating your product. When you are new in the market, you only want to cover the costs with your price.

After discovering that people have accepted your product/service, you can start making some profit on your sales too. Lastly, when you have established yourself as a brand for a particular product, you can charge for your value as well. Take the example of a lawyer who can charge less or more based on the value he/she brings.

An analysis of your competitors’ products and their prices can also give you a good idea of what the price of your product should be.

  • Delivering the Sales Pitch

If the development of your product requires a lot of money, you will be spending some time presenting your product to the investors. In most cases, you will be standing before venture capitalists. These guys will scrutinize each and everything about you and your product. Sometimes, they might like your product a lot but not invest in it because of you. They will tell it to your face that they don’t like your pitch or perhaps you before turning down your request for an investment.

The power of your sales pitch can convince even the toughest investors. However, a weak sales pitch, on the other hand, can put off even the interested ones. To conclude it all, you should hire a proper sales person to be with you if you are not confident about your pitch and sales skills.

  • Having the Right Team

Do you think having a team means having a lot of people to share the burden of running your business with you? That’s far from truth. Many entrepreneurs make this mistake when they are creating a team. They have a few tasks that they think someone else can do better than them. In fact, they are just hiring people to work for their company. The real hiring process starts when you already have an established company, albeit small. However, in the beginning, you have to be very careful about picking your team.

The first rule for having someone with you is vision sharing. People you choose for working with you must share your vision. Keep in mind that the initial years are the toughest years for any businessperson in the world. If you have hired workers, they will work for compensation, salary, and bonuses. On the other hand, when you hire people who share your vision, they will stay with you during the toughest times because they are not with you only to make money. They are with you to make a dream come true.

  • Choosing the Right Funding Options

Funding is the blood of a business. Even if the business you have started does not require a lot of capital, you will need a lot of money when it comes to expansion and growth. However, the people and institution you choose for lending you the needed money matters a lot here. You have quite a few options to choose from. First and the easiest source of a business fund is your family and relatives. These people might not even ask back for their money. However, the biggest problem with this type of funding is its limit. Your family can only forward you so much loan amount unless they are some rich people of the city.

Going to the bank can be a huge problem too. In most cases, you can expect a rejection of your loan approval because banks don’t like to forward loans to small businesses. Sometimes, they want a credit history before they can forward you the loan. But how will you present a credit history when your business is only a few months old?

However, you must not ignore the other options you have available today like crowdfunding. Today, crowdfunding platforms are much more benefitting than venture capitalist funding for startups. You don’t have to offer a lot of equity in this model. In fact, if you can get some likeminded people to support you through their investments, you don’t have to offer them any share. A few samples of the product, first production units, discounted price etc. are some perks you can offer you investors.

  • Task and Responsibility Delegation

In quite a few cases, the owners of the startups do not have the confidence to delegate tasks and important responsibilities. What happens is that the owner has worked on his/her project for so many years, they start treating it like their baby literally. The idea of letting someone else manage things in their business does not please them. More precisely, they don’t think anyone else would understand the seriousness and intricacies of their business like them.

This way of thinking keeps many entrepreneurs from delegating responsibilities when they should. The success of your business does not lie in you managing everything. Instead, it lies in the right people managing them the right way. When you have a team, you can focus on other important things. In fact, you should be busy looking for ways to expand your business while leaving the internal tasks to someone else. When you act like a one many army, things start to falter. Not to mention, people don’t like to stay in places where their growth gets blocked by an owner’s mindset.

  • Social Media Marketing

Your social media marketing strategy can make or break you today. Social media has become the platform that most new businesses use for reputation management, brand visibility and brand positioning. Today’s businesses are using social networks to build a relationship of trust with their target markets. Take the example of blockchain projects in the past couple of years. Most of these projects were successful because of their strong social media marketing strategy.

Similarly, projects that had potential but no social media visibility had to fight people’s skepticism. When your team is not actively present on social media, people think of you as a scam. As harsh and straightforward as it may sound, that’s the reality today. You must stay in touch with your prospects to win their trust.

In addition to having a strong social media presence, you also have to do something for the damage control. At times, small mistakes and blunders can result in huge uproar from the public. In the initial stages, you don’t want to get involved in any controversial topics and give your opinions on them. Focus on your business, announce your progress frequently, let people know the rewards for their contributions and investments, and give them a clear roadmap of where your project is going in the coming times.

Concluding Thoughts

This list sums up the biggest challenges you will have to face as an entrepreneur. Yes, there are other things as well. However, as so it happens, these challenges are common for everyone who wants to be an entrepreneur. You have to show a true entrepreneur personality to be what you have dreamed of. It is how you overcome these challenges that prove the real entrepreneur in you. Don’t let these challenges scare you away from the thought of having your business. Instead, let them be the fuel that turns your spark of becoming something into a full-blown fire.

The Top 10 Digital Marketing Trends in 2018 That Will Continue Next Year

You are already past mid 2018, and hopefully, you are aware of the digital marketing trends of this year. While a lot of online trends come and go each year, there are some that stick around. Similarly, some digital marketing trends of 2018 are here to stay. You will see them in the next year as well. Therefore, it is better that you make them a part of your online marketing strategy.

The Top 2018 Digital Marketing Trends That Will Enter 2019

Promotions and Deals

They have been around for quite some time, and it does not seem they are going away any sooner. For as long as shopping is alive, you can safely say that discount promotions and codes are not going to disappear. These discount deals offer great benefits to the consumers and get them excited to purchase stuff. Use social media, SMS or push notifications on mobiles, but be sure to make your customers know of your promotions and discounts.

An important thing to consider here is designing your promotions and discounts intelligently. Many companies decide to offer flat discounts on their products and services. While these flat discounts are pretty attractive, they don’t bring much value to your business. You want to create your promotions so that they can benefit your business in multiple ways. Rather than offering a flat discount on your bestseller, you should tie it with another one of your products.

That’s how the companies are designing their promotions. For example, you could offer a discount only if the customer orders two of your products/services together. In a nutshell, promotions and discounts have to be smart too in 2018.

Automated or Programmatic Advertising

Automation of advertising has helped online brands hugely. In the past years, buying advertisements and targeting the right people was a manual job. Today, you can do it programmatically. Let artificial intelligence do its magic of selecting the right advertisements for you and even pick the locations where your ads can get the most attention and impressions.

You have to get some basic understanding of programmatic advertising before you get into this game. It is not like Google AdWords. Instead, programmatic ads are display ads or banner ads. These ads can appear on the devices of your choice including smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc. Of course, the world is moving towards automation and programmatic advertising is only a part of that shift.

It is in its initial stages right now but quite effective right from the scratch. These ads are not random. Instead, they use cookies, customers’ past behavioral data, etc. to place ads that are most relevant. In short, these are not your same old annoying, irrelevant, and intrusive ads anymore.

Video Marketing

Video marketing has been rising in popularity for past couple of years. If you think its fame has faded, think again. Video marketing is not going away and will not go away any time soon. More and more content on the internet is converting into video. That’s because internet accessibility is increasing, internet speeds are getting better, 5G is on the way, and the social networks are supporting video. Twitter and Facebook both autoplay videos while you are scrolling the page.

It is clear from how modern social networks work that video is at the center of digital marketing today. In most cases, people don’t mind videos auto-playing on their devices. In addition to that, you have YouTube that allows you to take advantage of billions of people that use the platform on a daily basis. In fact, YouTube has also introduced new features into video marketing. Take the example of bumper ads. These short 6-second ads are non-skippable. However, you have to use the best visuals and video marketing tactics to convey your message to the people within six seconds.

Data-driven Marketing

Data is at the core of all that you see on the internet. From targeted advertisement to creating buyer personas and predictive models, data-driven marketing is the new trend. One of the major aims of today’s digital marketing is personalization. Even personalization depends heavily on the data you collect from your customers. Email marketing is a perfect example of how data helps companies improve their marketing.

Rather than sending generic emails to the customers, you can send targeted and personalized emails. These emails start by addressing customers with their names and contain content that’s relevant to their interests. You can use special software tools to segment your customers based on where they are in your sales funnel. Data empowers social media marketing as well. Data is the reason for the popularity of Facebook’s targeted ads.

Proper Use of Keywords

In the previous years, it had started to seem to marketers that keywords were not necessary anymore. Keywords might have lost half of the importance, but they have gained it back in 2018. Google’s latest updates have made it clear that marketers have to focus on keywords even today. However, they have to offer valuable content along with keywords. Keyword stuffing is still a sin.

Proper use of keywords starts with detailed research on the keywords. You have to identify the most lucrative keywords for your industry and business first. Once you have identified the keywords, you have to create content that uses them naturally. They have to fit into the context of your content. If Google sees keywords appearing out of context in your text, it can penalize you.

You have several tools that will help you identify the right keywords for your business. You should also keep an eye on your competitors to know what strategies are working for them.

Social Media Marketing

This trend is not going down anytime soon. Social media marketing remains strong and it is gaining even more acceleration with time. The reason why social networks are only getting popular with time is because of their partnerships with network service providers. In many countries of the world, people can use services like WhatsApp and Facebook free. If not free, they get limited free internet MBs to use these social communication platforms for a limited time.

In a nutshell, you are targeting a vast audience through social networks today. You aren’t interacting with only the rich people with smartphones and laptops. Even the people from villages and underdeveloped areas now have access to the internet and all the social networking platforms.

Marketing with Nativity

Nativity in marketing is a trend that started a few years ago. However, companies are soon realizing the importance of doing so. First, you have to come out of the impression that the entire world reads and understands English. In reality, you have billions of people in the world who don’t understand English. So, when you post content in English, you have already missed billions of people from your strategy.

Translation is your first step to bring nativity in your content. You want to translate your content in the language of the people you are marketing to. Even your blog posts and the content you share on social media should be in multiple languages. Not only does it communicate your message to a broader audience but also sends an impression to your prospects that you care.

You can see that many US websites have Spanish versions of their websites too. In addition to that, they provide customer service and support specifically in Spanish. So, if you have to make language adjustments within the US, why shouldn’t you make them outside of the US?

Platform-specific Marketing

What this means is that you have to adjust your marketing according to the platform you are on. You can’t share your Facebook content as is on Twitter or LinkedIn. You have to understand the natures of these platforms and design your posts accordingly. Software developers have realized this trend and that’s why you have software tools to help you adjust your marketing according to the social networks. For example, some tools let you design your posts specifically for Instagram. The same post in the same format might not look the best on Facebook or Twitter.

Instagram and Pinterest are visual-based platforms. You want to avoid long posts as much as you can on these platforms. On the other hand, Facebook is the perfect place to write long posts whereas Twitter’s character limit is set to 280 characters.

These variations in the natures of the platforms attract different types of users as well. You can expect a lot of teenagers on Facebook. However, that’s not the case with LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a platform for professionals. So, if your product is more suitable for professionals, you might focus more on marketing on LinkedIn.

Optimization for Voice Search

Another crucial trend in today’s digital marketing is optimization for voice search. You can also call is adjustment with artificial intelligence. More and more people are switching to voice-based search in their daily lives now. Countries like the US and Canada are the major role players in this shift. Voice-based searches on Google are now at 20%.

Is there a difference between voice-based searches and text-based searches? Yes, there is a huge difference between the two. Think about it: do you write and speak the same way? If you pay attention, there is a difference between how people talk and write. When it comes to writing your query, you might type something like “national anthem US”. On the other hand, when it comes to saying the query, you might say something like “play the US national anthem on YouTube”.

These differences are huge and you have to adjust your marketing according to them. There is a lot less effort in saying things out than there is in typing them. For that reason, voiced-based queries usually have more words in them and their style is conversational. Another thing to pay attention to is the contextual searches. Google Assistant is at the forefront here. Google Assistant allows people to perform voice searches based on context.

For example, the first query from a person could seem something like, “What’s the name of the original soundtrack of Titanic?” The very next query after that can be, “Who sang it?” Google assistant’s artificial intelligence and machine learning allows it to understand the question contextually. Furthermore, certain words e.g. near me, are incredibly common in voice searches. Therefore, you need a sound strategy to market for voice-based searches.

Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing is not a new concept anymore. However, it is unfortunate that many of the businesses have not taken it seriously to date. When you don’t optimize your marketing for mobile users, you are refusing to communicate with billions of people. You have to make a lot of adjustments to make your marketing efforts suitable for mobile devices.

The first step to mobile marketing is creating a website that appears pleasant on mobile devices. The techniques available are responsive designs and mobile-specific websites. Mobile website are specifically for mobile devices. They won’t appear optimized if you open them on desktop devices. On the other hand, responsive designs, as the name suggests, are responsive to the screen size.

These are fluid designs i.e. they act like water. A responsive website will adjust according to the size of the screen. However, its only purpose is not just to fill the screen space. It requires optimization too for it to appear suitable for small screens.

Concluding Thoughts

You can expect these trends to continue in 2019. Some of these trends have continued from 2017 and even years before that. However, your success with them still depends on how you use them. You can’t create videos just for the sake of marketing. You have to understand what makes videos attractive and attention-grabbing before creating them. Similarly, you have to know how to benefit from other trends. The most important thing to remember is consistency and determination. Keep tenacious with your marketing and wait for some time before you can notice some visible results.

The Best Digital Marketing Tools Every Small Business Owner Needs Today

Digital marketing is integral to any business’ success in today’s world. It is one thing that helps small businesses compete with large businesses on an equal level. However, it is not a magic wand that would help your business overcome all of its challenges just like that. You need to have a sound strategy to benefit from digital marketing. From data collection to executing your digital approach, you need several tools to help you with those processes. Today, you will take a look at some of the most amazing digital marketing tools that can help you grow your business.

The Best Digital Marketing Tools for Your Business

Google Trends

You will hardly find a list of the best digital marketing tools without Google Trends in it. As the name suggests, it tells you about the latest trends around you. Should you talk about a particular topic? Should you create a blog post related to a trend? Let Google Trends help you in making that decision.

The best thing is that Google has made this tool very simple just like most of its other services. If you want to know the trends within an industry, you just search for that industry. It can be a perfect tool for business that are considering going beyond national boundaries. Use Google Trends to know what a particular country is searching at any given moment.

You can filter your searches based on various criteria. The best thing is that the data you receive also includes insights from YouTube. If you are thinking about creating a marketing video, it would best to look at the latest trends in YouTube searches. It is a must-have tool for any marketer today, and one that gives a small business a marketing direction.

Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo is a unique digital marketing tool and it can be a revelation when it comes to content marketing. One of the issues with content marketing is that you arrive at the writer’s block after writing a few cool stories. After that, you don’t have enough topics and interesting themes in mind to write about. What do you do then?

That’s where Buzzsumo can help you a great deal. It discovers the content that you can use to your advantage. For instance, you can give it a particular topic and let it tell you what type of content within that category will be most productive.

In addition to helping you discover the best-performing content, Buzzsumo also allows you to know the creator of the content. You can contact them to ask if they can help you spread your content on the internet. The tool has added some cool features lately such as the Question Analyzer. You can use this tool to get a list of all the questions on the internet that were able to get the most attention.

Facebook Audience Insights

If you want to personalize your marketing, improve your products, and make your brand relevant, Facebook Audience Insights is the perfect tool for you. Everyone knows there is no social networking platform bigger than Facebook. The social networking giant has been collecting valuable customer data for more than a decade. With its targeted marketing, Facebook helps marketers identify the most lucrative audiences.

Facebook Audience Insights allows you access to information about people’s interests, behaviors, household income, devices, etc. With that much information at hand, you can design your marketing strategies to meet people’s exact needs. In addition to that, you can use the same insights to improve the quality of your products and services.

There is nothing better than knowing your customers well before you throw marketing emails and targeted ads at them. They will likely respond better when the ads are about products and services they need.

MailChimp

Digital marketing relies heavily on email marketing. Not to mention, emails are the most personal way of approaching your customers. However, it is quite a challenge to get people’s attention through an email. You have to keep in mind that a slight action can land you in the spam or trash folder. MailChimp is one of the most reliable email marketing software solutions available today. Its customers are increasing at a fast rate with current number being at 12 million.

MailChimp is the perfect way for a small business to automate its email marketing. From robust list management to email templates that can get the best response from your customers, MailChimp is the complete tool.

Within the list management section, MailChimp offers you many options to put your contacts in different categories. Keep in mind that effective email marketing campaigns start from putting your customers in the right categories. The tool also helps you create striking sign-up forms that you can use on your website or social networking platforms.

The company likes to call its platform a second brain of the company’s marketing. It won’t be wrong to say that MailChimp is easily the best email marketing and automation platform for small to large businesses.

Ahrefs

If you are a wise businessperson, you will not show signs of jealousy with your competitors. Instead, you keep an eye on your competitors to learn from them. Ahrefs is a tool that gives you that amazing power of knowing your competitors.

When you are a new business, you don’t exactly know where to start. Ahrefs can be a huge help in that area. The purpose of this tool is to help you understand your competitors and identify the marketing elements that are working for them.

The tool helps you learn a lot about your competitors from the keywords that are working for them to insights about the content. You don’t necessarily have to know what keywords work for your competitors. Sometimes, you have that information already, but what keeps you behind is a good content strategy.

In addition to knowing the strengths of your competitors, you can also see what areas they are struggling in. Once you have all this information, you can create a strategy that works best for your business.

PushCrew

It is a well thought-out tool that addresses a common challenge that most websites face today. You see, there are billions of websites on the internet today. Even within just your industry, there might be hundreds of thousands of websites. Users are losing their attention spans and the memory does not hold too much information due to a divulge of information.

In this chaos, it is impossible for your customers to remember you specifically. However, PushCrew helps you remind your customers about you. The tool allows you to send push notifications to your customers on their desktop as well as mobile devices. What makes the tool unique is that it is browser-based.

PushCrew takes on a lot of challenges of push notifications. It helps you enrich your notifications with variety of formats of content. You can set automatic notification triggers based on customer behaviors. You can segment your audience based on their activities on your website. Moreover, you can personalize the notifications to increase the chances of getting a response from your prospects.

SERPs Rank Checker

You don’t necessarily have to choose SERPs Rank Checker for this task. However, it is definitely one of the best and most complete tools out there. The purpose of a rank checker is simple: it helps you know where your website and web pages rank for certain keywords.

It is a perfect tool to keep an eye on how well your marketing campaigns are performing. If you are adding new keywords to a web page and updating its content, you should see it move up in the rankings. If your page does not show any signs of improvements, it is an indication that you need to change your content marketing strategy.

You can find many free SERP rank checkers online. If you don’t know by now, SERP stands for search engine results page.

Google AdWords

When it comes to pay per click marketing, there is no tool that beats Google AdWords. Google AdWords allows you to bid for keywords that you think will bring the most traffic on your website. You might require some time to learn the tools to its maximum benefits.

First, you have to choose the keywords that you want to rank for. Once you have chosen the keywords, you also have to put a bid on them. Google adds your bid to its auction where many other businesses just like you have their bids on the same keywords.

At this point, Google uses its algorithms and rules to pick one business who will rank for the keyword. Your bid amount is only one part of the selection process. What’s more important is the quality of your website. A website that Google believes has high quality will not require to bid high on keywords. In fact, its statistics will help it appear in search results for a particular keyword even if the bid is lower than other competitors.

The business that wins the auction appears on top of the search results inside the “features ads” section. Multiple businesses can appear on the same page for the same keyword. However, their quality score and bid price decides where they will rank i.e. 1st, 2nd or 3rd.

Canva

It is one of the best social media marketing tools for those who don’t know much about design. One of the issues with social media marketing is that you don’t know what clicks. However, to play it safe and increase your chances of becoming a hit on social media, you can try the templates that have been a hit in the past. That’s where Canva comes in.

The tool allows you to create attractive image-based posts for your social networking accounts. Designing is easier than ever, and the result you get are stunning. After some work, you can tell that your images will get all the attention on social media. What’s even more surprising about Canva is that large websites like Buzzfeed have used this tool for a long time.

The tool also has many different templates so you don’t have to start from the scratch. Templates allow you to focus on throwing the content in the market without going through the hassle of creating the perfect visuals starting from scratch.

Tagboard

It’s the last tool on the list but nothing less than any other tools mentioned above. When marketing on social media, you have to be active at all times. You have to be up-to-date with the latest trends. More importantly, you have to come up with new and engaging content based on the latest trends.

That’s where Tagboard helps you. It helps you listen to the social media users. You can use Hastags or topics to listen to what the social network users have to say about them. Of course, you would want to stay away from the controversial topics. Similarly, you would want to be a part of the discussions that can give you some visibility.

Tagboard is also a powerful social media engagement tool. It allows you to blend your content with the content your users have generated and benefit from it.

Tools like these are perfect for content creation. All you have to do is enter a hashtag or a topic and on your screen you will see all the posts from social network users with those topics and hashtags. The best thing is that it pulls the posts from a variety of social networks, not just one. Create content from what’s already trending.

Conclusion

The more you research the more tools you will find to make digital marketing a breeze. You have to realize that digital marketing is a full-time job for even the smallest businesses. You want to hire people to do the marketing for you. These professionals should know other crucial concepts related to digital marketing such as reputation management. Furthermore, you should take advantage of automation tools to schedule your posts and send them on multiple platforms all at once. Doing so will save you time to focus on your business’ core processes while also reaping the benefits of effective digital marketing.