Seventhman Blog

  1. SaaS: Innovative Solution or Inevitable Trap?

    "saas"You probably have encountered the term SaaS and wondered what exactly it is.  Short for ‘Software as a Service’ – this is a model in which an application is managed by a certain provider, paid for on subscription basis and accessed by users over the internet.  In fact, you might have been using it right now without ever knowing that you’re one of the many who have driven the growth of Saas.  There’s your popular iTunes, iCloud, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft to start with.  There are many more notable service providers on the list.  Sometimes, these are referred to as ‘on-demand’ software that you can use for business or leisure (or both).  In the end, it’s all about convenience, customization, flexibility, collaboration and accessibility that turned SaaS applications into an integral part of how we do computing these days.

    The Pros and Cons of the SaaS Model

    For businesses, the major benefit is the cost savings of a subscription model vs. the large expense they will incur just to run and maintain an on-premise IT infrastructure.  With the cloud comes a whole new world of possibilities, especially when you need to scale bigger, implement faster and run your business 24/7.  Trouble is, along with these benefits come the risks.  There have been talks lately on data security breach and government access to your private data which may adversely affect cloud providers in the U.S.  Despite all the best packages around, system outages do happen and the last thing you want is a downtime.  With the rise of many startups in the SaaS scene, the worst case is not having an exit strategy when that provider goes out of business.

    SaaS: The Beginning of an End?

    It is quite mind-boggling to learn that something this forward is getting a nasty bite where revenue is concerned.  Just read this blog recently and the first few lines got me hooked: “Marketo filed for IPO with impressive 80 percent year-over-year growth in 2012, with almost $60m in revenue. Except, they lost $35m…”  There’s something wrong in this picture.  One reason I can think of for this major loss are serial switchers, those who will jump from one vendor to another because there are simply too many right now and most are offering freebies.  Why would you upgrade to a paid account when you can get something this good.. for free?

    When the Software Landscape Looks Greener for Small Businesses  

    Opinions are split though when it comes to the future of SaaS.  There are those who say that this model is ready to take off.  There is a push towards a single-sign up for multiple applications and more businesses are shifting from paper trail to going digital this time.  Who wouldn’t want to work on something that delivers functionality without having to do patches and updates themselves?  This may be great news for small businesses who, years ago, don’t have access to world class software.  Now, they can compete with  big brands on a fair game.

    Wouldn’t it be right to say that SaaS is the greatest equalizer of them all?  No matter who you are, you now have a cloud of opportunity waiting to be explored, thanks to powerful and affordable software solutions out there.

     

     

     

  2. Seven Habits of Highly Productive Entrepreneur

    "productive entrepreneur"The first week of the new year is up!  I’ve been contemplating on writing more blog posts this year and yet, I had the same sinking feeling when I think of achieving tons while staying relaxed.  On top of managing my business and various client portfolios.. I also consult, network, socialize, travel.. and try my best to achieve work-life balance this time around.  I know it sounds ridiculous, but I do envy those who manage to juggle things without having to sweat a lot.  Perhaps, they do.  But, they appear just too happy to be bothered.  I’ve asked myself a couple of times if there’s really a quick fix to becoming really productive overnight?

    Seven Habits of Highly Productive Entrepreneurs Revealed

    The answer came close to home, when I’ve had the chance to reunite with a long-time friend and entrepreneur ( just like myself ).  It started with a trivial discussion on multitasking and whether such a thing really exists.  You see, the brain can only handle enough information and you’re not really doing all things at once – but many things at a faster rate than before.. unless you have four pair of hands, two sets of brains.  This is his argument and if you come to think of it, it’s no farther from the truth, that trying to do so much with twice the speed lets you lose focus and you end up with more unfinished tasks than ever.  So, is productivity a myth then?  Not really.  It all starts with following these seven paths that highly productive entrepreneurs follow:

    1.  Be Clear About Your Priorities

    Knowing what you want most will help you list a set of priorities to accomplish, starting from the most important to the least.  You only need to have five goals to start with and see how it grows.

    2.  Learn When To Say No

    Accepting that you can’t do everything, that you don’t know everything is the first step.  Don’t take too much that you can’t handle and never compromise your personal happiness as well.

    3.  Enjoy

    If you don’t start your day with activities you enjoy, you may just end up procrastinating about finishing anything.  Be grounded.  Be passionate about work.  You will achieve more things if you love what you’re doing.  And this means having more time to enjoy those precious moments in life.

    4.  Work Mindfully

    Whether you’re returning a call or listening to your client, you have to be completely focused in what you do.  Being present is pretty relaxing.  Less stress means more accomplishment.. and lesser attention to distractions or time wasters.

    5.  Discover New Things

    Or, new and efficient way of doing old things.  There are plenty of online tools that can help save you time.  You can even outsource tasks to virtual assistants so you can focus on the core competencies of your business.

    6.  Add Value

    Whenever you think of doing something, always ask yourself if it is really necessary.  When you value your time, you also value your worth.. and others will value the idea that you have something unique to offer them.

    7.  Be Positively Persistent

    If at the end of the day you haven’t achieved everything you planned, don’t beat yourself up.  Mistakes do happen.  But your positive attitude in wanting to do better tomorrow may just put you back on the right track.

    Above all, gratitude is the best attitude any entrepreneur can ever have.  It’s all about being grateful for a day of having worked smarter that will save you from working harder the next.  ( and that makes it the 8th habit to have this year ).  Sorry, there are just no shortcuts to these habits this time.

    Would you rather join me in a 30-minute power nap to increase your productivity towards the end of the day then?   Let’s sleep on it!

  3. How Can Entrepreneurs Build Better Business Relationships?

    "customer relationship"I have many times asked myself if entrepreneurship is a lonely road – where only the brave pursue visions at the cost of sacrificing traditional employment to make that passion a reality.  Maybe, I’m right all along that entrepreneurs are radical thinkers when it comes to engaging themselves in this self-involved mindset, where success is a gamble.  Along the way, these people will meet other like minds and the call to build relationships for business and personal success is growing stronger.  The problem is, many small business owners are struggling with deepening these relationships with fellow entrepreneurs.

    Where Relationship Meets Business

    When your business is growing, having business relationships is crucial if you’re looking for referrals along the way.  These relationships fuel your business, other than your customers.  Most often, we are caught up in selling our products and services that we overlook building stronger ties with long-term customers, vendors and potential business partners.  Like any other type of relationships, business relationships is all about mutuality, of give and take, of sharing and supporting.  Unfortunately, it is easier for us to automate the process that we approach everyone in our network like we were out hunting for a bargain.  The human factor that made the brick-and-mortar business survive this far amidst all the technological innovation is out.  We focus so much on transactions, on sales, on closing deals… and less on communication.  Are we really that busy?

    Keeping In Touch: Who, Where and How

    For those of you with online presence, keeping a balance between conversation and marketing may seem like a curse, especially when there’s too much noise to deal with.  Staying in touch with everyone in your network is a time-consuming activity.  Someone even call this phenomenon as ‘social media saturation’.  Come to think of it, it’s easier to accept anyone into your network with a touch of a button.  It’s harder to know who are for real and who are just hoping for your follow back.  While having a large number of following on your social account can be flattering, it’s not how many that matters – but who these people are.. and how often you talk to them.  Whether you keep in touch each week, every 15 days or once in a month – it’s all about continuity without bombarding that person with spammy, purely promotional type of monologue.  Starting with an open, honest relationship is all about listening more than you talk.  While it’s tough to say you don’t have answers to all the questions about your niche, you’ll be surprise how this admission will earn you more respect as an expert in your community.

    Entrepreneurship and Business Relationships:  Nurture, Conquer or Divide

    Anyone who is running their own business is so passionate about its goals that they can’t talk about anything else.  You’re not to blame if you picture yourself as one.  You just see a bigger world of opportunities, collaboration and risks that while you actively engage in climbing the ladders of success, you may feel alienated in the process.  You may even lose old friends who are not in tune with what you believe in or be called a mercenary in your quest to convert a friend into a customer.  But true business relationships is all about nurturing, of learning more about your connections so you can share values while complimenting each other’s strengths and weaknesses.  Just how often do you get out of your office to meet new people is not really the issue here.  It’s more on a question of how willing are you to give more than you take, of how good are you in working with other people.

    When was the last time you took the time to say ‘thank you’.. or sent out a hand-written note of appreciation to folks who have helped you out?

  4. Innovation or Excellence: An Entrepreneur’s Calling

    What if you have only five minutes to call in the shots and make the biggest decision that will cost you millions of dollars?  Would you hold on to excellence or would you risk innovation?  I find it amazing that many who are endowed with herculean talents don’t find success in their field, simply because they are learning the wrong things and repeating the same old, bad habits as if they are in the first circle of Dante’s Inferno.  What have gone wrong?  Perhaps, we are not learning from our experiences right.  Yes, we win some.. we lose some… and together with our many failures come plenty of success stories as well.  What we fail to learn are the good things; we always tend to focus on the bad.  The vicious cycle then goes on.

    When Steve jobs proclaimed that he will put a dent in the universe, he wasn’t kidding after all.  Who could have thought that Apple will reach the pinnacle of fame and fortune in the tech field?  He took the risk and still, a lot of us are resilient to the idea of welcoming innovation because of bad experiences we had from the past.  There’s nothing wrong in holding on to time-tested values with the unpredictability of these days, where even the major league players are booted out of the game.  But, how will you ever know if your ideas will work if you won’t remove your shoes of doubt and dip your bare foot in the water of discovery that runs beneath?

    The question now is:  Are you willing to hold on to the values of excellence that gave you predictable results you can control…OR, will you permit innovation to take over and let your business ride the waves of the growing market, no matter where it will take you?  Yes, passion in what you do is the fuel that drives you to success.  But, which vehicle do you ride on?  For example, if your business is on the brink of a major change, do you inspire your employees to think like entrepreneurs?  It’s very interesting that a research made by Dr. Roy Baumeister, an expert in Social Psychology, found out that we don’t have the will and discipline to do difficult tasks – but, we can build habits around them and in time, turn them into some sort of a sacred ritual.  By that time, there is not much difference between excellence and innovation; it is just a matter of perception, self-control and choice.  Can you handle this challenge?