Are You at Risk of Being “Uberized”?

If you’re like many Business Owners and Leaders you probably feel pretty good about the position you hold in your market… so did the taxi cab companies and drivers before Uber became a reality. Now they are scrambling and trying to find a way to survive… even to the point of trying to get political help in different cities to stay afloat.

Disruption and Commoditization have impacted virtually every industry today. There probably isn’t a single industry that hasn’t been impacted by a disruptive organization entering their market and stealing some of their market share. Uber is an excellent example but there are many others that have been equally disruptive. Companies such as LegalZoom have taken billions of dollars away from attorneys over the past several years. They captured and disrupted a document and transaction-based business and turned it into a commodity by substantially lowering the pricing of document preparation… impacting attorneys all over the country.

Amazon was an early disruptor to the entire book business… taking significant market share away from Barnes and Noble and Borders who were recognized giants in the book industry. And we certainly can’t forget about Blockbuster’s demise when Netflix entered the market. They were the unquestioned dominant leader in video rental and were virtually replaced overnight by an unknown company with a new disruptive business model that matched the needs of customers at substantial savings.

Even though these examples are in completely different industries there is one common thread that runs through all of them… they didn’t believe anyone could disrupt their dominance in their market. While it’s awesome to believe in your product or service, it’s dangerous to think there isn’t someone waiting in the wings to take away your position. Unlike any other time in history, we are now seeing new companies coming into traditional industries from many unrelated areas and establishing a disruptive model and capturing significant market share. This trend is only going to continue now that it has shown massive success over the past few years. So what can you do, as the leader of your business, to either avoid or minimize the impact of this potential disruption?

While commoditization is difficult to combat with products and services over a long period of time, there is at least one alternative that appears to withstand the test of time and delivers differentiation in the market… your CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.

It is difficult to continually come up with new products and services to satisfy the ravenous appetite customers have today. Just when you think you have the best and leading edge product or newest service, someone comes in and “one-ups” you and takes away the leading spot. While you might remain there for some period of time, it is difficult to remain at the top for extended periods of time. Apple is one of the few that has been successful at this… but it took them many years of living in the shadow of Microsoft and others before they became the dominant leader. Today, Microsoft is in this unenviable position and trying to fight their way back to the top… especially in the race for the Cloud.

But these are behemoth companies… not the SMB market. They can throw billions of dollars at innovation and products and hope they find a winner. The small and mid-sized business (SMB) can’t be this frivolous with their cash and making too many product/service mistakes can wipe out a business before anything comes to fruition. The proven alternative to this madness is to focus on the ONE THING that is completely in their control to design and deliver… their CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.

Customer Experience has both short and long term advantages. It is something that can be created and implemented within the year but last for many decades to come when implemented properly. And by properly I’m not talking about telling all your employees they need to be nicer to the customer… that never works for the long term… every company can be nice to their customers if they try. This isn’t the answer… this isn’t the differentiator… but it’s on the right track.

Creating a customized CUSTOMER JOURNEY that is built upon a very well defined Customer Experience Process (something we call Customer Experience Mapping) is what allows companies to reap these rewards for many years into the future. Think Disney… they created “the happiest place on earth” and continue to deliver this experience year after year after year. This didn’t happen by holding a meeting and telling all their employees and characters to be nicer to their guests… it happened because they have a very well defined Customer Journey that is built on a foundation of a well-designed and executed Customer Experience.

Nordstrom did the same thing many decades ago. They started selling shoes… then clothing… all at high prices. But they started with a very distinct process inside the organization for delivering an incredible customer experience day in and day out. Zappos followed this same model… sold shoes… one of the ultimate commodities in the clothing industry… and they dominate today. They don’t give discounts and silly things like “one day only” sales (every day)… they simply deliver a remarkable Customer Experience to every customer every day… and their customers love to buy from Zappos. And it has worked out pretty well when you consider they went from zero to over $1 Billion in revenues in less than 10 years and were sold to Amazon for more than a billion dollars. Not a bad model if you ask me.

One way to avoid being COMMODITIZED and losing customers is to design something even new entrants can’t copy… the experience you offer. If your Customer Experience is so incredibly amazing and remarkable… WOW… every single day with every interaction, this creates immediate differentiation and a long tail of success. It is the ultimate weapon against commoditization or even new entrants into a market. For a new disruptive entrant to take away market share they would need to be so much better and cheaper than anything you offered… which is difficult to do today. And for those of you that are saying to yourself right now, “Yea but we’re different, we do a good quality job and treat our customers well so we aren’t at risk,” I would offer you some instant advice… take the blinders off and get real with looking at your business. This is living in a fantasy world… this isn’t looking at your company from the eyes of your customer… they are seeing something very different. And if someone came into your market today and offered a completely different (and awesome) experience to your customers at or below your price they would be gone in a heartbeat.

Achieving long-term dominance doesn’t happen by “being nicer to your customers” and thinking you have created differentiation… you haven’t. Being CUSTOMER OBSESSED and creating a process based CUSTOMER JOURNEY that has a well laid out and documented CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE PROCESS at the heart of it is what will help you avoid being “Uberized.” This strategy gives you differentiation, uniqueness, and a special place in your customers heart and mind… it gives you the “long tail” of success.

I would strongly and passionately encourage you to learn more about why and how this is completely different than what you are probably doing today. If there was ONE THING TO FOCUS ON IN 2017 it would be to create a strategy based around a well-planned Customer Journey which incorporated an incredibly awesome Customer Experience by Mapping out all the experiences your customer will receive when they interact with your business (there are usually over 20 for most companies in the SMB market). If this is of interest and you want to learn more, let’s grab coffee and I can share how some of the best companies in the world have followed this path… for decades… and still dominate in their industries. I think you will find it a fascinating discussion…

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3 Affordable Cars for College Graduates and Young Students Living in Philly

Philadelphia, nicknamed Philly, is the fifth-most populous city of America. One of the main reasons of the city’s high population is the large number of students residing in Philly. It has the third-largest student concentration on the East Coast of America. It is home to more than 120,000 students who are enrolled in different universities around the city. There are more than 80 universities, colleges and schools in the region. Also, several young people are enrolled in the oldest university of America, University of Pennsylvania.

Buying a Car with a Limited Budget

As a student studying in Philadelphia, you must think that you should not spend your money on luxurious items. But, it doesn’t mean that you cannot buy a car to make your daily commute comfortable. Also, do not think that you will end up with an old, dilapidated car only. It is a fact that your limited budget will not permit you to buy a luxurious brand new car. But, if you research thoroughly, you will find several new car models that will fit your lifestyle and budget easily. Here are a few affordable car models that a student should consider buying in Philly:

· Nissan Versa

If you want to invest money in a good, reliable and sturdy car, you can consider buying Nissan’s Versa Sedan car. It is ranked as one of the cheapest cars in Philly. Nissan ensures that you become a proud new car owner for around $10,000. It means you can buy a car with the help of your limited budget. It is a great bargain because several new cars are priced around $30,000. The cheapest Versa S version of the car has a powerful engine with 109 horsepower. Its unique halogen headlights provide maximum visibility at night and make sure that you reach home safe.

Before visiting a dealership in Philly, make sure that you register as a Nissan College Grad on the company’s official website. Once you finish the registration process, print the Nissan College Grad Certificate and show it to the dealer for obtaining discounts.

· Hyundai Accent

Critics consider the car as a perennial best seller. You can buy the new Hyundai Accent for $14,745. However, you will be able to reduce the price of the car with the help of Hyundai College Grad Program. The auto manufacturer offers a student incentive program to college graduates and young students of Philly. Hyundai offers a $400 bonus for buying a car in Philly. The dealer will consider the bonus as a part of the down payment amount for buying the car.

Hyundai Accent will quench your thirst for a powerful car because it has a 137 horsepower, 1.6 liter four-cylinder engine. Also, you can make a choice between six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions. The car is a joyful ride for the young generation because it provides a great audio system with six speakers, tilt-steering wheels, dual vanity mirrors and exterior temperature display.

· Kia Rio

Kia Rio is a favorite car among the young generation of America. It is because it offers spacious cabin space and cheaper maintenance costs. The 2017 model was unveiled at the 2016 Paris Auto Show. And, since then, it has captured the attention of car lovers across America. The South Korean manufacturer has packed several features for the tech-savvy students of Philly. It provides rear-camera display to help you park properly at your college. Also, its connection-on-command service UVO will provide you with driving directions and access your favorite apps to help you improve your driving skills. Similar to Hyundai, Kia Motors also offers a student incentive program in Philly. It provides a $400 discount along with other incentives to college graduates and young students.

Buying a new car signifies your entry to adult life. It is an important decision that will have immense consequences on your financial situation. So, do not make a hasty decision. Spend time in finding a car model that suits you. Do not forget to consider different incentive programs that auto manufacturers offer to college graduates and young students of Philly. It will make the car buying process affordable for you.

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The Future of Android Games, Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality

Mobile gaming has come a very long way since the introduction of crude & simple games like Snake and Pong which were available on early Nokia phones. Mobile processors and graphics are now as powerful as desktop computers were just a few years ago. Older generations still remember lugging around a Game Boy or Game gear and begging their parents for another game. New generations literally have access to 100’s of thousands of games on their mobile device.

In short, mobile gaming has exploded in just a few years time. In the month of July 2016 there were 63.1 million arcade games downloaded & games in the “strategy” category generated $195M revenue. In a recent study over 37% of mobile app users with 30 minutes of free time choose to play games over any other activity. We’ve all seen it and we’ve all done it ourselves, whether its waiting for an appointment or sitting at the airport, we pull out our mobile device and jump into a quick game to kill the time.

So what does all of this mean for the future of android gaming? For starters, the massive amounts of revenue and user interest in android gaming has bolstered continuous innovation and fierce competition in the global marketplace. For example, just 12 months ago, top executives were saying they didn’t see any major benefit to augmented reality. With the release of Pokemon Go and estimates citing as much as $500 million in revenue in just 60 days, I think we can all agree augmented reality is here to stay. Virtual reality is another area that has been picking up steam in recent months. You can now buy virtual reality headsets at local gas stations for a mere $30. Or if you’re on a budget you can purchase Google Cardboard for as little as $7.00. There are still only a limited number of VR enabled games but that number is increasing daily. Not only that, as more and more people experience VR we are sure to see a blockbuster release sooner or later.

Let’s take a look at some real life examples of recent game releases. Dawn of Titans which was recently released on Google Play was in development for over 2 years. This is akin to the development cycle of a mid-level PC game release on Steam. The game features mass controlled troops, world building elements and impressive graphics. A few years ago this would be considered a major release for the Android platform. These days this is just another drop in the massive pond. With over 2.4 million apps and games currently listed on Google Play it’s become harder and harder to stand out. This is actually good news for gamers as developers are working harder and faster to create new innovative titles to attract users.

I firmly believe that both Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) titles are going to gain more traction in 2017. Major developers who can pump out triple A content can’t be left in the dust while indie developers pump out AR and VR enabled games. They will be forced to port existing titles and come up exciting new ways to interact with the mobile devices.

There are many gimmicky games available that utilize the phones microphone, gyroscope, camera and accelerometer. However, these sensors combined with AR and VR could bring a whole new experience to gamers. Imagine walking through a recreated 3D world that represents your neighbourhood, immersed in full virtual reality, and using your phone as a targeting device to defend against waves of zombies. This is already possible with the technology that is available, it just needs to be packaged in a user friendly way that people can enjoy. Combining meticulous graphics with well thought out virtual reality experiences would be impressive indeed. If you’re familiar with PC based virtual reality demo’s you already know how immersive the experience can be. It’s only a matter of time before these same experiences make their way to our mobile devices en masse. And to think, only 30 years ago we were playing Mario on our beloved Nintendo consoles. Let’s not even mention the Virtual Boy that burned your eyes after 2 minutes of playing tennis. Android games and mobile games in general have come a long ways since then and they will continue to push barriers even further in the near future.

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The Best Way to Learn Something New

When learning something new, the quickest easiest most successful way is to find a great coach and mentor. Recommendations are great, or Google the trainer you have in mind especially if the training involves the internet.

If you are learning anything, driving, hobbies, or even setting up a business expert advice to copy is the best way.

You need someone on hand to answer questions, offer training and monitor progress to make sure actions are followed in the right manner. Tutors work in schools, colleges and universities to teach and guide students, apprenticeships work in a similar way. Online language courses are guided with sound tracks to test yourself. Nurses are trained in hospital with supervision from superiors, in virtually all areas of life people are advised by others. Imagine athletes perfecting their style, golfers wanting to improve their swing without a coach. They may be picking up bad habits that are hard to correct in stance or execution. the same applies to most forms of learning, even learning a language, there is usually a voice operated system to copy.

So you need to be sure the coach you have chosen is honest and trustworthy and that they offer training that suits your learning style. Video is good as you can stop and start the video as you attempt to copy the actions. which is probably why YouTube videos have become so popular. However you also need direction to guide you through the learning process

There are currently 2,000,000,000 people daily searching Google for ways to work at home. A growing popularity of the internet, the growth of the relatively new industry and the fact that computers are included in the curriculum for schools. Most families now have laptops and other similar devices.

Franchises have always been popular because of the higher success rate that support gives the venture. The training the supervision and the system to copy. Internet marketing with a good coach and mentor works in a similar way without the extortionate expense of many franchises.

I am very lucky I found a great coach when I set out to develop an online business, it made my learning curve much faster and simpler. I didn’t feel so isolated or overwhelmed. Not only did I have a coach but the comradeship and support of others learning too. Another advantage is regular training and a great range of best-selling products provided for your customers and whilst you are learning the techniques you can earn commissions too. I found it much simpler than attempting to learn it all by my-self, source best-sellers and service my customers, when much of it was done for me.

So if a new venture appeals to you look out for a great coach, take a look at magazine racks for topic ideas and enjoy your new venture.

Make 2017 a year to remember!

 

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5 New Year’s Resolutions for Busy Families

It somehow seems that modern life is busier than it has ever been. As well as our work and family commitments, there are now so many ways to spend our leisure time; it often feels like 24 hours is simply not long enough to get everything you wanted done in the day.

The problem of being busy all of the time (even though it is a good problem to have) hits those of us who have time-consuming jobs and are also raising a family the hardest. If you fall into this category, you may find it helpful to read the following list of five potential New Year’s resolutions you could make to ensure your 2017 is less stressful than this year may have been!

1) Leave the office on time – Even if it’s only on one or two days a week, it is important that you sometimes put your foot down and leave your place of work as soon as your day is meant to finish. You’ll find that you get much more done in the evenings!

2) Invest in a 2017 calendar – It may sound like a simple step, but that’s sort of the point. Having your work and leisure commitments mapped out for the weeks and months ahead in an easy to view format will allow you to see at a glance just how busy you are and whether you are taking on too much.

3) Spend 10 minutes doing nothing – Again, this is more productive than it sounds! Set your alarm ten minutes earlier every day so that, before you get up, you can spend this extra time in completely undisturbed silence, thinking about what your priorities should be for the day to come.

4) What are your two most important tasks? – Speaking of priorities, it is also a good idea to take a step back from time to time and decide which the two most important jobs are that you wish to accomplish on any given day. This is a great way of clearing your head when you feel overwhelmed.

5) Consider hiring household staff – You may have thought that hiring a nanny or other household staff might be the ‘easy way out’, but this is not the case. Those who have invested in professional assistance of this kind know that hiring a caring and responsible person to help run your busy home is a fantastic way of relieving domestic pressures.

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