Indian realty search portal Housing.com recently announced that they have a new office for their design and product development team, located in Hauz Khas Village. A new office is always exciting, and the ambiance of this one was designed to boost productivity, and has ample lighting with good use of space.  The design brief for the office demanded a quirky home-office feel, with the idea of breaking free from a structured layout to encourage free-flowing movement within the space.  This was brought to life with organic seating plans, and a central conference room to contribute to this vision. To bring the scenic view of the lake indoors, there’s an angled feature wall with alternating mirror panels next to the workstation. The outdoor portions of the office were further designed as an extension of the indoor space, forming a large sweeping curve that follows the geometry of the layout organically.  There is a bold use of colours to highlight brand identity, whiteboard painted walls, and the furnitures are designed with such a character as to further the concept of creating a young, buzzy atmosphere to encourage the spirit of experimentation amongst budding designers.

The Housing.com office space

Chromed, founded in 2010, is a mid-sized architecture and interior design consultancy firm based in New Delhi.  They offer innovative, functional, and contemporary solutions for architecture, interior design, landscaping, and product design. They’re the ones behind the Housing.com office design. To learn more, visit their website or find them on Facebook.

With inputs from

The ‘Internet of Things’ is the new slogan recited by most big sounding tech companies. In late 90’s the invention of internet had revolutionized the world half the way. Now the Internet of Things is striving towards a smatter planet! The IoT technology has the latent to bond everything that exists on the face of the earth. These object converse with each other to exchange required data and then use this data to control the functionalities.

The underpinning of IoT is expected to accelerate into the market by 2020. The Internet of Things is certainly a promising and enormous concept that can scale up the productivity of everything, as part of IoT. While people are perplexed with the flamboyance of Internet of Things, the Intel team has put its step forward to embark on the groundwork.  The talented heads have integrated a skillful platform called Intel Edison to embed the object using the device reference model.

internet-of-everything-use-cases-dundee-precious-metals-and-council-rock-school-district-v2

 

The devices are mounted with sensors that signal the information. Apart from the devices, the platform also infuses gateway, cloud management and data analytics into the system to make the interaction more competent.  The gateways are installed for the hardware and software validation. The information is direct to the data centre where it is stored, processed and cloud analytics are performed on the data fetched by the connected devices. Analytics and APIs automate the operation and create services.

The prospects of using Intel IoT platform for IoT development can be rewarding for the developers.  The interface is well fabricated with Wind River Edge Management System, cloud-based software to manage IoT device data, consistent connectivity, and end-to-end security.

The Intel’s cloud analytics software supports the IoT Developer Kits and McAfee’s Enhanced Security for Intel IoT Gateways, which gains Enhanced Privacy Identity security technology to other vendors. The platform gives the developer an entrée into the Intel API and Traffic Management service to formulate data APIs, related to IoT devices.

internet-of-things-iot

IoT can be the core technical ingredient in the makings of  “Smart City” looming out with sensor-enabled devices and other data. This opens up the scope for embellishing sanitation services, tourism, traffic management, building services, air quality monitoring, subway operations, and disaster management.

The customers have also upgraded the use of technology and demand for smarter gadgets that is sensor-driven and data-driven. Fitness trackers like FitBit and Nike+ Fuelband, home thermostat and smoke/CO alarms like Nest, car trackers and home lighting systems like Phillips Hue are few ruling technologies that use sensors to great extent. The sensors in the smartphone and API of social networks mostly influence these applications. Recently Foursquare featured location-tracker traits that are driven by masses of data and combine predictive data analysis. This is due to the use of sensors that provide accurate results.

Intel is quite positive of the IoT future; hence, it has set up a separate IoT group, the Industrial Internet Consortium. This community prioritizes the connectivity of industrial machinery. Cisco, GE, and IBM are the other founding members of Industrial Internet Consortium. As per the prediction of Intel, the IoT devices will talk to one another but it may take a while to see IOT come alive in that scale!

Update: On popular demand from readers, HERE is one good place you can get your IOT project programmed for any of the below platforms.

It has been quite some years since technology started lending a helping hand to our needs, not just at the workplace but to household chores as well. From the normal air-conditioners to the high end luxurious automobiles, there is not a single household that is not in the need of any electronic equipment and with the advancement in tech the need for equipments only increases.

The world has seen a quite a lot of incidents owing to careless handling of equipments and malfunctioning of the same. This only adds more reason to the fact, that these electronics and electrical things that we are dependent on are much more dependent on us.

And with the new dimension that has been appended to the world of electronics & communication technology, now anyone at anytime in any place can be connected through the internet to any device or network. Connections are getting multiplied and are creating an entirely new dynamic network, of networks.

When wireless concept is perfectly implemented, the earth as a whole is converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is. The number of connected devices is rapidly increasing by thousands every split second. On an average every household has five to six appliances connected to the internet regularly.

The Internet of things is just a simple buzz phrase that brings together all the information from multiple devices; from computers and smartphones to all electrical equipments and vehicles. Almost anything and everything related to sensors and applications can be connected wirelessly through the internet. Basically, your data needs a channel to be connected to and a medium to access it and internet provides both the needs. Internet of Things is all set to set foot in every discipline from education and finance to transportation and health care.

With devices working on different operating systems, Iot systems have the need to be created compatible to the devices as well and following are few of the most common IoT platforms used for development.

top internet of things platforms

Exosite

Exosite is a cloud based service provider company with the technology needed to create and deploy next generation IoT applications that influences the inflating world of connected devices. Though many competitors provide cloud-connected systems, Exosite has consistently provided the most complete commercially integrated IoT solutions. It has the capability to provide total IoT solutions for its customers. People all over the world use Exosite to build custom remote monitoring and control solutions that meet the demands which in turn boosts the uptime and drives down the maintenance costs, value added service offerings will be enlarged. Exosite makes it incredibly easy to connect, manage and share your sensor or device data online.

IBM BlueMix

BlueMix is the most modern cloud offering from IBM. It delivers enterprise level services that easily integrate with your cloud applications without needing to know how to install or configure them. It provides a dashboard for you to create, view and manage your applications and services as well as monitor your application resource usage.

Jasper

Jasper- One of the early participants in making IoT services. Providing IoT services for several companies like Sony, ABB, Amazon, General Motors and more, the company provides cloud based services that help their client companies manage their systems much faster and more effectively. From controlling cars to providing refreshments, there is not a field Jasper’s IoT has let pass by and stand as one of the successful participants in the business.

Apple homekit IOT platform

Apple, one of the most commonly used interface and it has taken a step forward towards smart home and smart living. Homekit allows these IoT enabled products such as thermostats and light switches to be operated manually or via siri with the help of an app on an iphone or ipad. There are some more gadgets that captures a home’s air temperature, energy consumption and check whether doors and windows are kept open.

Google Brillo

Google’s most popular Internet of Things is Brillo. It’s a communication platform that will allow IoT devices to talk to another. By this one can extend the reach of your apps to the physical world. Design one app that can operate multiple devices in the home and work environment with the help of Google services.

Sap IoT platform

Sap, the software that rules the enterprise application industry clearly has the need to have an IoT platform of their own and they have done just that. SAP’s IoT platform has an in built memory that will help a client build, manage and deploy IoT applications in a much quicker time. And every action performed in the cloud; connect all your devices to one single platform at ease.

Xively

Xively is the next generation of Iot. It is one of the premium Internet of Things innovations Forum. It helps you to manage your connected product business by addressing the practical needs and reliable connectivity.

Intel IoT

With basically every computer or tablet computer running in an intel component, INTEL can most effectively and successfully provide the best IoT platform for all digital devices. From driving a car in the safest way possible to lecturing at a class of hundred students, Intel’s IoT platform can provide the best solution to all IoT applications. The company holds an event for all IoT related applications- Internet of Things world 2015; where hundreds of industries are set to exhibit their IoT solutions from several verticals.

Oracle Platform

Providing innovative solutions to the entire IT world; Oracle has spread its roots in almost every IT industries. And with their IoT platform they have already succeeded in giving their clients an integrated and secure platform for any IoT related application development. With instant responses and security at every end, Oracle provides their clients perfect platform for creating a compatible solution to their IoT requirements

ThingWorx

ThingWorx provides the platform to build IOT applications to the already connected internet world. With a modern platform and a great design Thingworx’s IoT platform reduces every requirement from cost, effort, time and especially the risk.

With so many incredible smart devices rolled out, the world is turning smart. In every sphere, IOT can unlock opportunities like never before. It will encompass every phase of our life, right from our birth to death, and probably after. Healthcare, Lifestyle, Work, Energy, Education, Entertainment, you name it and IoT touches it.

Update: On popular demand from readers, HERE is one good place you can get your IOT project programmed for any of the below platforms.

Note: Wanna START a niche #SLACK like app yourself? checkout this Turn-Key solution HERE 🙂

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‘Communication’ is an important feature in any team that is looking at progress.  And in a startup company where entrepreneurs mostly rely on freelance workers, it’s more likely that you have struggled without a clear medium of communication, and a distinct & effective system of communication becomes mandatory. Email – the only medium of communication really proved to be effective, but was not helpful in knowing a team’s work update but rather provided individual updates from the team members. With instant messaging being the craze these days, the need for a tool to be in touch with the team members at all times and that could act as a platform where people could update their work status became a fantasy. And with ‘Slack’ – the team collaboration software; this fantasy is now a reality. With provisions to add several integrations to it, slack definitely fits to be called the best team collaboration software.

Here are a few useful top integrations that can make ‘Slack’ more significant.

slack integrations

AirBrake

Be it a food delivery app or an app for your eCommerce business; having a few bugs or errors in the application’s initial running stages is evident and an effective system to track and report about the bugs is highly essential and with an application that is running through every article and ventricle of your business, an effective error detecting system is essential. ‘Airbrake’, the leading error reporting service provides error tracking for thousands of applications in several programming languages. With slack integrated with AirBrake; you will now get detailed reports on all errors (big or small) and allows swift debugging.

Room

The perfect slack integration to create a virtual room and setup a video conversation with about eight people for free with no logins required. A room is a space on web where people meet to talk. To create a room, just type a room name and click create. Copy the link to the room and send it to your friends via SMS, e-mail or over the phone. Everyone who clicks the link will enter the room. All participants in the room can hear and see each other; others who are out of the room cannot see or hear to them. Quite an easy way to have a meeting isn’t it?

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Note: Wanna START a niche #SLACK like app yourself? checkout this Turn-Key solution HERE 🙂

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Bonusly

Integrate your Slack with ‘Bonusly’; the web platform that comes to as the possible online solution to recognize employee efforts and reward them with benefits either financially or non-financially. And at an application where there are regular updates on a project, a platform like Bonusly is sure to be celebrated by your employees and is a great technique to motivate your employees as well.

Lita

It is quite boring when a chat at the office pantry or in the canteen at lunch is always about work. And it is more likely that your normal office conversation would get you bored in just a few minutes; especially on a tool like Slack where anything and everything is about work. A fun chat will add to the refreshment factor and the chat bot ‘Lita’ provides just that.

Heroku

A perfect online platform that acts as the cloud to all those application and website development companies with which companies no more have the need to pressurize on having a perfect server but can focus entirely on creating the product. With providing data services to millions of products already, have a secure virtual bank to store up your data. Much useful in a tool like Slack, where the most common files shared by employees are documents and blueprints.

DataDog

Datadog offers all high resolution metrics and events for manipulation and graphing. Datadog is designed to build to give visibility between the teams. It has a flexible pricing to match your dynamic infrastructure. With a complete set of information from all the servers, tools and applications; Datadog presents the user a complete view of your product. A must have Slack integration for any corporate.

Cloud66

Cloud66 hooks up to your cloud provider and runs your application under your own cloud account. It can support anything other than containers and can manage your database servers, storage servers, load balancers and scheduled background jobs. This integration is brilliant and is a helpful tool in communication as well.

Screenhero

Screenhero is perfectly designed for powerful real-time collaboration. Screenhero brings out multiple mouse cursor by which you can switch between navigating and driving, with no cognitive overhead. It also offers crisp and high quality voice chat in the range of 48 kHz. Lightning fast screen sharing makes the user feel he/she is working at the same desk. It is secure and cross platformed, which means you can share between Mac and windows.

Pager Duty

Offering you an easy and efficient way to manage your systems effectively; Pager Duty can now be integrated to your slack as well. Easy visibility to all your systems, super fast alerts that decrease your resolving time to almost half the real time- this is one tool every organization has to integrate to their slack. From monitoring your systems and your team’s performance to managing your customers, Pagerduty offers a solution to all.

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Note: Wanna START a niche #SLACK like app yourself? checkout this Turn-Key solution HERE 🙂

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New Relic

Finding it tough to figuring the information your data keeps telling you constantly? Integrate your slack with NewRelics; the best software that solves the purpose. Monitoring almost a million websites and more than a billion mobile applications; the software has and is successfully helping several startups become great corporate organizations.  And at a platform where all your team’s efforts are put together, this is one such integration your Slack definitely has to have.

Slack integrations

Give a break to running between apps, Slack’s integration will keep all your company’s team information in a single place. Slack is a great tool Spencer!  There are innumerable other apps that you can integrate with slack. These kinds of integrations can well -groom your team communication.

Sales teams and business owners now have a platform for creating online proposals thanks to Plus23 – which gives them all of the tools necessary to create professional sales proposals quickly and easily – complete with templates, videos, and images to make your proposal all the more compelling.  When the team behind Plus23 started building it, team collaboration wasn’t such a hot topic, Evernote didn’t have collaboration, and Slack did not yet exist.  But collaboration has always been a successful formula for getting more done.  Founder SengHee Tan wanted to do his part in helping sellers in small business use the web in order to serve their prospecets, and Plus23 is a complete software for proposal management – where you can compose, collaborate, add e-signatures, send documents, and have access to templates as well as much more.  Plus23 allows both sales teams and buyer teams to interact and collaborate online, as a supplement to their in-person meetings.  Features for this include online chat with photos and videos, thus making it easy for a buyer to ask questions or add comments. Buyers can also use Plus23’s e-signature facility to approve the proposal or quotation.

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SengHee Tan has specialized in bringing new technologies into new markets for quite some time, having been a sales journeyman for much of his career.  Plus23 was born out of a desire to do his part in helping small businesses use the web to serve their prospects – after all, sales teams in larger corporations have the advantage of periodically having access to new software and technologies, but there has been little for smaller businesses and so Plus23 was developed to give them a tool for automation and collaboration.  This has especially been relevant in recent years, given how much more difficult selling has been in light of the global financial crisis.  Basically, the desire was to create a platform which saves time for both buyers and salespersons, since time is such a precious commodity. Tan says that the biggest competition that the platform faces is non-consumption, and sales teams continue to use older methods for sdisplaying proposals, particularly PDF files.  Plus23 is targeted towards English-speaking markets, and is based on a freemium model.  Plus23 Free does away with the team collaboration aspect, but still allows users to create proposals and utilize prospect collaboration features.

These days, everyone seems to have a mobile phone, including students, and teachers have always had difficulty with effective communication outside of class.  Arch – The Way is here to solve the problem of teacher-student communication, by allowing teachers to connect with their students and parents on their phones.  Teachers can broadcast messages and files to the entire class, and can receive feedback from the students’ parents privately.  This solves the hitherto existing disconnect between teachers and their students and students’ parents due to limits on time and communication.  Teachers can use an Android device or their computer to send updates, and students can receive them through their email or via an Android, iOS, or Windows device, so basically anyone with access to technology can use Arch.  Currently, the service is free for both teachers and students, and the team behind Arch intend on keeping it that way, though perhaps with introducing a few premium services in the future.  The platform emphasizes simplicity and privacy – there is no need for parents and students to exchange contact details in order to connect.  Basically, every teacher is assigned a unique class code, and students/parents have to subscribe to this via the app, thus making it simple to connect quickly.

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Founder Rudresh Chowdhary dropped out of his Chartered Accountancy course to start up with Arch, which seemed to be a bold and risky step at the time – but now he’s very much satisfied with having taken that step.  He and the Arch team wanted to do something about teachers having difficulty with communication outside of class, and came with that platform as a solution.  The closest thing that Arch – The Way has to competition is US-based Remind, but that service is limited only to image-sharing and messaging.

Wondering if you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.  Well to be candid, they are as anonymous as we are, with unexceptional mastered traits. These virtues make them seasoned against the monotony and drive them beyond their threshold point to achieve their reverie.  Such qualities does not comes from genes but can be cultivated by everyone.

It is a proven theory that it takes only 21 days to change or manifest new habits for anyone. So if you are planning to have your own a company this article is your road map to gain all you need.  These infectious abilities will make you a different person in total.

Lover of Jeopardy

“To win without risk is to triumph without glory.”- Corneille

While talking to many thriving entrepreneurs, they often gladly stated quitting a handsome job to follow the beats of a different drummer.  The rage to be the owner can overtake all fears. They swear an oath to enforce their dream into the world no matter what comes their way. This unbeatable trait gives the entrepreneurs courage to roar out the dreams to the world.

Naturally Bootstrapped

“What is not started will never get finished”- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Only a self-motivated and insanely inspired person can afford to be entrepreneur. It is mostly like a man army constantly fighting with all odds to follows one’s own vision.

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Be the Legend

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”- John C. Maxwell

The covetousness to rule your own aspirations can get the true leader out of you. You need to merge your goals with others in order to gain more follower and co-workers.  People will only follow you and dreams if it’s worth the pain. A legend induces others to work hard and  exercise the protocols.

 Trendsetter

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”- Peter Drucker

Taking an initiative to implement changes is a role to be played by the responsible individuals. It can bring in remarkable evolution to the world by being innovative and reasonable. Most successful entrepreneurs follow their own path to achieve their goals. Be the change to see it!

Art of Persistency

“Winners never quit and quitters never win.”- Vince Lombardi

Persistency is the quality owned by the wiser people who know to stay composed and stable in order to get what they want. Being relentless in odds situations can help to win the battle. So stay calm and focus on the priorities.

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Fluently Resourceful

“If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”- Napoleon Hill

Operating effectively and rightly will make the best use of the opportunity. A genuine entrepreneur should know how to avail the breaking prospects. Be quick-witted to make good decision for you and the people working for you. This will win hearts to your own! Have the subject knowledge from end-to-end to avail the unseen advantages.

Be the entrepreneur or no! Take your call now and master these traits and be your own idol.

 

Investors are the Gods that breathe into the ideas with money. Most entrepreneurs with the greatest ideas fail to show the investors the actual worth of the bud. Their inkling dies the death of denial by the VCs because the entrepreneurs do it the wrong way. If you have gone through such rejection or preparing to approach an investor, we understand that, your dream is precious and remarkable. The right strike can indeed get the bend straight and persuade the investors.

Dear readers, we spoke to some successful entrepreneurs to bring to you the art to gain favour from the investors.

Find Intelligent Investors

An intellectual investor can be a good advisor as well because he/she has seen many businesses rising and falling. This can be quite a help for the new entrepreneur with good ideas waiting to serve their dreams. Choose the investor that suits your business type. There is an actual danger that an investor who does not understand your space or business can be quite taxing to answer to and might even end up frustrating you to the point of quitting your venture.

Entrepreneur-and-Investor-Communication-1

The Idea Says It All

To get started, the idea is the key that unlocks the question “Why should I invest.” Many investors are looking for smacking idea that has the potential to leverage money and create colossal turnover. The idea should have the knack to stimulate the instincts of investors.

Deliver your idea to show more of their benefits by merging your dream to theirs. Your idea should broaden their vision and tempt them to join your cause.

Total Addressable Market

“The TAM is important for new projects. It says about your targeted customers in the market. This determines the revenue opportunity for the idea. It prioritizes the scope for the business by analysing a quick metrics of primary prospects of the business,” said an entrepreneur.

Execution of the Idea

Investors defy the execution process. On demanding their money, the investors ask the entrepreneurs to prove the efficiency so far. This includes the team size, skill set available at hand, using the available resource smartly. This would create a sense of confidence in the investor to have faith on your work.

investor-pitch

Negotiating on the Term Sheet

The term sheet is a legitimate document between the founders and the investors. This document acts as an agreement on terms and condition upon which the parties have consented.  There is hours of negotiation behind the term sheet. So invest your time and get things the way you want it!

Unveil the Information                                                                  

The founders advised, not to keep secrets regarding the past history, blunders, business strategies or future plans from the investors. They are like doctors and advocates to whom all the felonies have to be confessed. Sharing a pleasant bond with investors can build the way for the success.

Now get up, dust yourself and get ready to give a kickass presentation because confidence is your virtue and armour!

 

 

 

Stuck in an office all day, and noticing that you have started losing your focus?  Here are seven ways to limit unproductivity while at work, so that you can focus and be more efficient.

Track and Limit Time Spent on Specific Tasks

If you’re reading this article, chances are that you are a human and not a robot, in which case you have a limited attention span.  For most people, that lasts for around 20 – 25 minutes at best, after which your focus degrades rapidly.  It’s generally unfeasible to take short breaks that often, but it is helpful to not focus on any one task for too long – just as cramming for a test or exam is of little benefit (as opposed to studying over the course of time, allowing yourself to take in information), so too is trying to intensely focus on one task for an extended period.  It just won’t happen.  A much better strategy is to come up with a list of tasks which you need to focus on, pick one and focus on it for 25 minutes, take a five minute  break, and then move on to the next task.  It’ll make things flow much more smoothly.

Take Breaks

As we’ve just said, you can’t focus on anything for too long before your attention just sort of vanishes.  And if you’re stuck in an office building all day without ever stepping out, it doesn’t do much for your concentration.  So in other words, don’t waste your break on Facebook or CandyCrush, take a step outside instead, or at least get up and move around for a bit.  Staying cooped up inside all day doesn’t really offer any benefit for productivity.

Your office should not look like this.

Your office should not look like this.

Have a Nice Work Space

Sitting in a folding aluminum chair at a plastic table, surrounded by cinder-block walls and fluorescent lights, without any windows?  You’re probably not going to be productive at all, then, considering the circumstances.  Your office or work space should not be offensive to your senses, for the environment that you work in can greatly affect your productivity, maximizing it or perhaps eliminating it entirely.  So make your space a pleasant one – try adding photos or artwork, perhaps a plant or two, perhaps you should open the blinds.  It’ll help.

Follow the “Two-Minute” Rule

If you have tasks to complete which would take two minutes or less, you should do them immediately rather than putting them off until later.  You’ll notice that your workload will move along much faster, and your days will go more smoothly as a result.

Counterproductive.

Counterproductive.

Do Not Multitask

It’s a popular myth that multitasking can be a productive activity to engage in.  It isn’t.  If you’re dividing your attention among several different things, it’s counter-productive –adversely affecting your concentration and energy.  There are exceptions – automatic activities combined with others (after all, if you’re walking and having a conversation with someone, you can still breathe and see at the same time), or if the tasks require two different parts of the brain (ie, reading and listening to instrumental music).   But if your multitasking does not fall into either of these categories, the solution is clear – give it up and focus on one thing at a time.

Stay Hydrated/ Nourished

It can be difficult to focus when you’re hungry, and quite a bit harder if you’re dehydrated.  Drink water, have breakfast and lunch, as the dizziness and fatigue caused by dehydration will do nothing for your ability to focus on work.  And neither will hunger pangs.

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Put on Headphones

Offices can be busy, noisy places.  So if you want to focus, you do have the option of putting on headphones to shut out unwanted distractions.   Don’t play anything too distracting – classical music or any other instrumental music is best for work, because lyrics can be distracting.

Let’s say that you want to become an entrepreneur, and don’t want to deal with finding a nice storefront space, but would rather deal with online business transactions.  Besides, there are numerous advantages to the approach of selling things online – in addition to not needing a physical storefront (which saves on rent and interiors, since you can start an online business from the comfort of your home), it’s also rather simple these days, with numerous platforms to help you develop, run, and advertise your online store.

"You know, we could really use a website. . . "

“You know, we could really use a website. . . “

Figuring things out

What sort of product do you want to sell?  If you have no idea, you should think things through a bit more thoroughly before starting your online business – there’s little point in selling a hypothetical product which you’ve yet to decide on.  Once you’ve got that sorted out, you should come up with a name for your online store, and start considering what you want the website to look like – in terms of your description, your aesthetic,  And then there’s the question of payments – one simple solution is PayPal, since that allows secure online transactions and has a widespread reputation.  Otherwise, you can set up merchant accounts with credit card companies, or you could use another online payment portal.  But the catch is that services like PayPal and the like will take a certain percentage of the sale price as a transaction fee, and Authorize.net will charge a set-up fee in addition to a monthly one (the advantage here is that each transaction fee is only 10 cents, which is significantly less than Paypal’s or those taken by credit card companies). Stripe is another online payment platform, and there are always the online payment portals run by banks.

You should ensure that you have unique products to offer, because if you’re selling something that everyone else is, then you’ll have a lot of competition, narrow profit margins, and generally will face difficulty in getting your business to prosper.  And it’s good to look and see what the competition is doing – if their pages are outdated and badly designed, you have a better chance, but keep in mind that other competitors can come into play, and thus you should consider that possibility.

When it’s a bad idea

It’s not always the best idea to try and start your own business – there are various circumstances in which it’s a genuinely bad idea.  If you’re trying to make money quickly, want guaranteed success, if you’re not web savvy (yes, there are tools that make setting up your online business easy even without web development or programming skills, but if you’re struggling with online banking those will be of little help), and if you’re not willing or able to invest time and money, then starting an online business is really not for you.  This does not mean you should be cynical or get discouraged about the prospects of starting a virtual store, but it’s important to remember that as easy as this can seem, there are investments and difficulties which go along with it.  So be aware of what you’re getting into, or do something else.

ipad_2096321b

How to start

So perhaps you know for sure now that you want to go ahead and start your online business, but you know absolutely nothing about creating a website or dealing with online payments.  Don’t fret, there are various platforms that you can use to start an online business such as Jimdo and Shopify – but do note that these generally charge a fee, usually minimal (Jimdo does have a limited free option as well).  If you really want to be elaborate, then you could hire a web developer, or if you have the necessary skills then the obvious choice would be to do it yourself.  You can also look into these options from Gentle Ninja, if you want to buy the tools you need to create an online sales platform for yourself, without needing programming experience or using one of the existing platforms.  And if you want to create your own platform for online stores, there’s always this option.

Once you have that part sorted, you now need to consider things like how you’ll handle the logistics like customer service, shipping, and product images and descriptions.  One important consideration is that you might want a dedicated toll-free number for customer service, or if you can run it 24/7, then a live chat facility on your online store could be the way to go.

Shipping is an important part of your online business if you’re selling a physical product, because you will inevitably have to send your products to customers, and unless you’re going to hand-deliver every single one of them (obviously unfeasible), then you have to team up with a carrier.  If you’re using an e-commerce platform, this becomes much simpler to deal with, since those platforms will help you with calculating shipping costs and integrate them into your checkout section – typically without charging any additional fee.  It also may be a good idea to consider free shipping for orders over a particular amount, especially if your competitors offer this sort of option.

As far as product descriptions go, you have to be descriptive and accurate – remember that customers cannot touch, smell, or look at your product in person.  Thus, you have to document its characteristics as well as you possibly can, while keeping your description relatively concise.  The more interesting details you provide, the better your description becomes, and you can always play on customer emotion with your descriptions as well.  As far as photos go, they should be crisp and clear, providing an accurate rendition of what your product is like.

You should also consider what you’ll put in the static sections of your website – those pages like “About Us”, “Contact Us”, Disclaimers, FAQ, Return Policy, and Shipping Info, et cetera.  You shouldn’t put this off until the very end, either. In fact, do it at the earliest – because it’s important to design these features into your site.

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Once you’re up and running

After your online store is up and running (or perhaps before, but these should come after you’ve dealt with the logistics), you need to work on getting customer traction.  There are several things you can do in regard to this – expand your product pages with customer content (this works particularly well if you have an online clothing store, where you can have customers upload photos of themselves wearing your wares, perhaps with hashtags), run a newsletter, have a social media presence, and implement structured data like customer comments or videos on your site.  It’s also advisable to do a bit of SEO work as well for your product pages, since if you’re selling things online, people should be able to find your products.  And pay attention to things like customer service (you have set that up, after all?) – because customers are vital to any business, so if your service is bad, it’s difficult to rebuild your reputation.

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