Seventhman Blog

  1. Five Questions You Need to Ask Before Building Mobile Apps

    "mobile apps"If there’s one thing entrepreneurs need to know, it’s this: Mobile is not a trend.  Rather, it’s a new mindset and everyone, from your employees to customers, will expect your brand to be on their mobile devices.  There is no room for disappointment this time.  The problem kicks in when you become too ambitious with your mobile app project.  Just because you find your idea interesting doesn’t mean you should assume the same reaction from your target audience.  Did you know that most mobile apps fail to deliver because those who built them did not spend time validating their products with real users who would be willing to pay?  Before you even shell out thousands of dollars and countless man hours, you have to ask these questions:

    1.  Is there a real need?

    Don’t be tempted to launch an app just because it looks ‘cool’.  There must be a real purpose.  Does your app solve a problem?  Start with this in mind.

    2.  Who are you building it for?

    You have to segment your target audience, whether you’re building a mobile app for new or existing customers.  It’s all about context and the benefits that will drive higher conversion.

    3.  How will it look like?

    You don’t have to come up with something totally disruptive just to make your app look innovative.  There is such a thing called as user experience and sometimes, making things simpler and faster works better than all those fancy graphics combined.

    4.  What type of device will your app run on?

    With the explosion of smartphones, tablets and phablets of all resolution and screen sizes, you have to consider the type of device your app will be running on.  For the same reason that many major brands are implementing responsive web design on their sites, studying the demographic behavior of your target customers will help a lot.

    5.  How do you build it?

    Ideas are just as good as the air you breathe if they’re not turned into reality.  You have to be realistic about your budget for building a mobile app.  Who will work on it?  You can either look for local talents or outsource work to trusted experts.

    The final goal you must aim for in terms of developing for mobile should be gaining customers’ loyalty and productivity among your team.  Gartner recently predicted that more than 2.3 billion mobile devices will ship worldwide this year. This tells you one thing – Mobile is the new normal of how we connect online.

    What will guarantee success for you then if you decided to build one?  The answer is really simple – as in keeping your end users in mind.  Their experience will spell your app’s success.. or failure.  The key here is to keep on improving what you will come up with, on promoting what works and ditching what doesn’t.

    You have a great idea, no doubt.  Are you ready to execute it well?

     

     

     

  2. Business Lessons: The Art of Doing Nothing

    "doing nothing style"Someone told me that if you want to succeed, you must learn how to do nothing.  I bet you’ll raise your eyebrows too and argue otherwise.  But if you take time to do nothing and ponder on the wisdom of these words, you’ll realize that to become a great leader, you have to stop over-managing and step away from the comforts of your status quo.  It can’t be any simpler than that.  It will all boil down to trust – you don’t have to be involved all the time in what your team does.  You can just observe from a distance.

    Cultivating Innovation in the Workplace

    If you’re open to change, it is easier for you to allow change to happen at work.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a small startup, a big business, or working with virtual teams across the globe.  Are you running an office without walls?  I’m not talking of physical barriers here.  Just take a dive at how Google works and what makes it an innovative place is its company culture.  But this doesn’t only limit you to working within the office.  You can also outsource innovation and create empowered teams regardless of culture, language and region.  Collaboration may be the key to creating and sustaining innovation at its prime.

    Do-Nothing Leadership Style Scrutinized

    So far, you must have thought that doing nothing is all about playing golf all day and placing your business in auto-pilot.  Wishful thinking, I’d say.  What I meant here is spending more time thinking of awesome strategies in the hope of helping your team implement these.  It’s about introspection, of taking the time to check every detail of your business road map and see to it that everyone is on the right path – making key decisions that will help everyone do their jobs better.  The next time you’re looking for the next big idea, why don’t you take a leisurely walk in the office and talk to your employees?  Your openness is the final test to breaking the barriers of conversation within your team.  You may just unlock the door to real innovation.

    Breaking the Do-Nothing Rule

    The biggest mistake any start-up founder can do is to be out in the open, doing everything.  There’s nothing wrong with that, you may think.  After all, the whole business is your idea and you want to get involved in every process.  You may feel vulnerable if you will take a step back and watch the process unfold.  Don’t be afraid.  Let things unravel as you take time to allow room for creativity, freedom and flexibility to work its magic.  The only time that you have to stop doing nothing is when you’re the only person who can do the task immediately or when no one feels like doing the dirty work.  That’s the time you take responsibility and spring from inaction.. into action.

    At the end of the day, doing nothing is doing the right thing.  Would you agree?

  3. Managing Virtual Teams: Five Keys to Success

    "virtual team management"Do you believe that teams working remotely can outperform those who work in the same location?  Virtual collaboration is shifting from trends to norms as more people are working from anywhere in the world.  They all have to thank mobile technology with this new-found freedom.  There’s no denying that we are entering the age of the global workforce and soon, team members working in the same cubicle will be obsolete.  We see teams working from their homes, across cities and even across the globe.  Everyone works independently this time.  Aren’t we so lucky to live in such a digitally-connected world?

    The Fallacy of Face-to-Face Meetings

    While it is undeniable that nothing beats the usual way people meet to brainstorm and synergize, leading teams across different time zones and conquering cultural divides can be felt in the virtual world.  Small businesses are taking advantage of running a virtual team as it means flexibility and minimal cost.  Though studies have found that collaboration across distance is tougher to manage, it is manageable still.  Proximity may promote frequent communication, but it can also be a hurdle when trying to accomplish complex tasks that need more focus.  A good example is those in the research and development industries, where their network of operations are scattered across the globe as they compete and work towards excellence.  The degree of expertise in these teams are more extensive, where they can work for the same goals while having a higher tolerance for diversity.  This diversity may cause problems in communication but overall, it enhances problem-solving skills so everyone can come up with a faster and better solution for a particular project.

    How You Can Lead a Virtual Team to Succeed Anywhere in the World

    I have worked with virtual teams for over two decades now and managing people in dispersed teams means helping them realize their potentials.  There are many socio-emotional barriers to cross and making sure that your remote team commits to your business goals is a learning process, even after this long.  What’s the secret formula?  There is NO secret! The future of work starts with having people skills so you can create trust, connection, communication, collaboration and commitment among them.  You have to:

    1. Place trust at the heart of your work relationship with your virtual team and employ strategies for building relationships over time

    2. Promote the idea of self-leadership among your team, so they can be self-sufficient in managing their work

    3. Set expectations early by communicating with your team what you expect for them to accomplish – from work hours, deliverables, status reports, to conference calls

    4. Stay virtually connected by utilizing platforms like Skype, GoToMeeting, Google Hangout and many more.. It’s all about creating an online water cooler for your team to feel that they’re stepping into the office.  It’s all about sharing ideas and breaking the ‘virtual ice’.

    5. Use new technology wisely as there are a plethora of tools available for you to use in managing your virtual team

    It all comes down to RESPECT.. and 360 degrees of communication at all levels.  By fostering a global mindset among your team, everyone will feel that they are part of something bigger than their geographic location.  This will make them respect the diversity of work, its schedules and stay committed to each other in meeting deadlines.  The degree of competitiveness lessens and collaboration heightens.

    Are you ready to keep your team together?  

    Bottomline is – the workplace has changed and we all have to adapt to survive and thrive.

  4. Why Entrepreneurs Should Become Radical Thinkers

    "radical thinking"They say that if you ask the right question, you will get the right answer.  It’s simple common sense.  Yet, we often miss opportunities because we kicked the ‘human’ out of the process, and bombard our questions with technological terms and jargon speak.  This may be one of the reasons why it is hard to find your business principles these days, that no matter how you try to get rid of the complexities, you just won’t do it.  To think strategically in terms of positioning your brand out there and gain competitive advantage is something of a hit-and-miss deal for many.  It’s a hard habit to break, don’t you think?

    The Bottom Line of Radical Thinking

    Umair Haque wowed me with his post on the paradox of radicalism.. and I have to agree that when all resources have been spent on thinking of the next great innovation, there’s always wisdom to be sought for in looking back to the past.  Maybe, you can spend time digging in to inspiring stories in that old history book and seek to challenge ideas that have worked before.  The problem with this consumerist age is that every entrepreneur wants to come up with the next shiny object without giving second thoughts on how these will make a difference in people’s lives, more accurately, in their customers’ lives.  You don’t have to go the extreme just to make an impact.  In times when even big brands reach an epic low, to be radical may simply mean taking the next step from being a spectator to a mind mover.  You don’t even have to become a rebel and protest in the streets.

    Is It Time to Change Your Mind Habit?

    When you’re used to the trivial way of things, it is quite hard to know if you’re practicing good or bad habits.  If you’ve read Charles Duhigg‘s new book, The Power of Habit, you’ll know exactly  what I mean.  Have you ever wondered why you struggle so hard to do something when you can do things now?  Maybe, you’re waiting for something to strike or waiting for someone to do things for you.  Be it boredom, complacency, distraction, procrastination, negativity or low energy in accomplishing tasks – the excuses can be plenty and you HAVE to do something about it!  When you became a business owner, you’re not an employee anymore and yet, you’re still working.. for yourself this time.  You can always schedule time to change these habits and brainstorm new ideas – before and after business hours.   Are you willing to sacrifice a bit to make things happen?  You are the only key to change.

    Real Innovation: Mindset or Skillset

    When you’re stuck with corporate thinking, you think about existing status quo and rules that are now the big barriers to creation of new ideas.  The old bureaucracy may not work in an environment that encourages openness and agility.  If you’re not willing to listen to your team, to challenge common beliefs, then, the room for growth becomes too small.  While acquiring new skills are called for in this age of outsourcing, big data and technology – it is your attitude, your view, and your passion which will drive you to the right direction.  Let your motivation affect your perception and you’ll start to perceive what everyone fails to see.  Sometimes, it is totally fine to do a counter flow to where everyone is going.  You may want to be trendy.. but would you really want to be another face in the crowd?

    Try solving real problems this time and create true value for your customers.

    *** and if you’re looking for words of wisdom to chill out your inquisitive mind, you can check out The 10 Best eBooks Entrepreneurs Should Be Reading This Summer

  5. Want to Succeed? Try Being Simple

    "art of simplicity business"Just because you need to come up with a strategy doesn’t have to mean that it has to be complex.  Success in business, sales, customer relationships… comes down to the new golden rule: SIMPLICITY.  Sometimes, the need to impress overcomes good judgment when it comes to creating an innovative product or service.  In the race to present the best features, we tend to overdo certain aspects, be it the use of jargon that makes our message hard to understand or vanity metrics that don’t add value to the business at hand.  Whether we talk or write about our business plans, products, services – we often forget to keep things simple.

    Creativity Can Mean Thinking.. Without the Box

    Whenever I’m in a room meeting with top consulting ‘gurus’, I often wonder just how big the box that they’re in.  Sometimes, the best way to come up with a business road map is to do away with the box and start on a clean slate.  Does it make you wonder why you spend too many hours in brainstorming sessions?  And most often, you get out of it more confused than ever.  It’s only human nature to love everything that spells complexity, not because we’re complex beings, but because we love drama – of coming out as the winning protagonist in some heroic tale of epic proportions.  All the praises and cheers after battling an eight-headed monster sounds greater than having to deal with a 100-legged worm.  All that glory is an illusion that at the end of the day, time is wasted on trying to unlock a door with a thousand keys when you could have simply turn the knob around and find out that it’s open all that time.

    Simplicity is More than Just Aesthetics

    We’ve seen the return of zen-inspired websites, of no-fuss design that makes it easier for readers to navigate a site.  But simplicity in business is more than just aesthetics.  Simplicity is innovation in its very basic, by solving complex problems in everyday life.  A great example of this is by looking at Steve Jobs and his Apple products, where simplicity of form follows ease of function – which became his most renowned legacy.  As he said to The New York Times, “…It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” Then, we can look back at the “less is more” concept when it comes to design and no matter how streamlined a plan can be, it is a product of careful analysis and commitment to excel at every turn.  This may be the top reason why people will want to buy a simple product with a high value at a high price; it’s the benefit that counts.

    The Art of Driving Sales and Customer Loyalty

    Again, the answer is simple.. Simplicity is the best driver of them all.  Most often, I talk to customers about what makes them buy from an e-commerce site and it all has its roots in simplicity.  Customers are frustrated these days with technological gimmicks like having to scan codes to get discounts, waiting in line to get an exclusive invite and so on.  Why make things complicated when you can easily display the info in one place, no matter what the screen size is?  Why make it hard for people to find what you have to offer?  In the need to look cutting edge, we may forget to map where our customers make decisions when they visit our website.  There’s just too much clutter and before you know it, your bounce rate hits higher than 70%.

    Someone said that ‘if you build it, they will come.’  I’d rather say that ‘if you make it simple, customers will not only come.. but, they will share this fresh experience with everyone.