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Luxury-Lifestyle-Awards-2015-Middle-East-Ceremony

The most anticipated event in the world of luxury – the Gala Ceremony of the Luxury Lifestyle Awards 2015 Middle East – took place on the 21st of May at the fabulous Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Dubai. More than 250 guests, anxious to be the first to find out the names of the Winners, gathered for the Gala Dinner.

Luxury Lifestyle Awards 2015 Middle East Ceremony 1

After months of excitement and anticipation, the names of the Winners were finally revealed. Please welcome the Winners of the following categories:

Luxury Hotels: Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah (United Arab Emirates), Waldorf Astoria Jeddah – Qasr Al Sharq (Saudi Arabia), Rixos Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt), Palmalife Marina Hotel (Turkey)
Luxury Spa and Wellness Center: Dalouk Wellness Spa (United Arab Emirates), Al Faisaliah Spa by ESPA (Saudi Arabia), Celebrity Spa (Kazakhstan)
Luxury Restaurant: Zuma Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Nozomi (Saudi Arabia), EAST restaurant a part of Parmigiano Group (Kazakhstan), Mangal Steak House (Azerbaijan)
Luxury Residential Real Estate: Alfardan Properties (Qatar), Tatweer Housing Company (Saudi Arabia)
Luxury Jewelry Brand: Toujous Jewellery (United Arab Emirates), L’azurde Jewelry (Saudi Arabia)
Luxury Beauty Salon: Rimax Beauty Center (Kazakhstan)
Luxury Interior Design Company: 4 SPACE interior design (United Arab Emirates), CHELEBI Furniture and Décor (Azerbaijan), Batyr Ospanov Designs (Kazakhstan)
National Brand: SYLKA™ Carpets (United Arab Emirates), Sia & Moore Architecture Interior Design (Turkey), Sara Hegazy (Egypt), Pasha Life Insurance (Azerbaijan), Fanilla Couture (Qatar)
National Fashion Designer: Zeina Slaiby (Lebanon), Mamzi by Mariam Abdelghany (Egypt)

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Luxury Lifestyle Awards 2015 Middle East was attended and evaluated by the honorary guests and juries including the members of Royal Families of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Qatar, representatives of world-renowned luxury companies such as Bvlgari and LVMH, Xerjoff International, RFMAS Group, EMEA Trump Hotel Collection, The Kanoo Group, ESCADA, Vertu, L’oreal Luxe and others.

All the Winners have been rewarded with the Golden Crowns by the Italian jewelry brand Faraone Mennella, as well as with the custom-made certificates in support of their undeniable excellence.

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Luxury Lifestyle Awards expresses its deepest gratitude to its Title Partner Audi Corporate for its contribution to the event and providing the guests with an opportunity to appreciate the perfection and magnificence of Audi RS7 and A8 models.

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The time flew by with Talos Diamond Watches Partner that dazzled the guests with its high-end timepiece craftsmanship and exclusive diamond encrusted pieces. The Artisanal Partner Le Vault displayed the extraordinary handcrafted pieces and presented the custom-made gifts to the Luxury Interior Design Studio Winners while Atelier Habib, Interior Design Partner, displayed the artwork by Helmut Zwerger.

BLK, an Official Water Partner of the Luxury Lifestyle Awards granted the guests with the refreshing experience of tasting the first fulvic-enhanced mineral water. Crochet Flowers, Official Flower Partner, provided the beautiful flower arrangements and stunning winners’ bouquets for the Gala Ceremony.

Luxury Lifestyle Awards 2015 Middle East Ceremony 5

Luxury Lifestyle Awards also expresses its gratitude to the Falcon Aviation Services – Jet Partner, Pasha Life Insurance – Insurance Partner, and Luxury World Key – Concierge Partner for their supporting the Middle East Gala Ceremony.

An unforgettable evening in Casino Royal style would have been impossible without the help and support of the event agency Plan A Events, creating the real “Bond” atmosphere.

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Luxury Lifestyle Awards wishes all the participants to maintain their high-level status and to delight clients by excellent quality and would be pleased to see them among the guests of the Luxury Lifestyle Awards 2015 Singapore.

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6 Ways Music Affects Your Productivity
Complete silence or a non-stop Pandora playlist? People are often divided on what type of work environment they prefer. Whether you’re a frequent loud music listener or you can’t stand any kind of background noise, chances are you’re pretty set in your ways.No matter your stance, music has a number of important effects on our workplace performance—and it could make you a better, or worse, worker.

Your Favorite Songs Give Your Brain a Boost

Though your coworkers may hate trying to get your attention when you’re jamming away with earbuds in, tuning out your environment and turning on a playlist of songs you enjoy boosts your mood, creativity, and productivity.

Image by Ginny/Flickr

Music triggers our brains to release dopamine, a chemical that typically makes its appearance when we’re feeling happy. Dopamine increases the positive feelings we experience when hearing music, helping to keep us in an upbeat mood.

Seeing our workload in a positive light motivates us to get working and opens our minds to a broader range of possibilities and solutions, according to University of Miami assistant professor Teresa Lesiuk in an interview withThe New York Times.

Repetitive, Boring Tasks Become Easier

If you dread the hundreds of emails that flood your inbox overnight, make the task easier by turning on some music while you read through them. Why? The less immersive, or mentally demanding, a task, the better it is to turn up your music.

Image by Justin Meyers/WonderHowTo

Work that’s easy to understand and repetitive benefits from background noise—partially due to the way in which music improves our moods. Yet, as researchers J. G. Fox and E. D. Embrey discovered in their study, workers who listened to some kind of background music while completing monotonous tasks became happier and more efficient. No matter what kind of music you hear in the background, your productivity will pick up—but it’ll increase even more if you like what you hear.

However, keep in mind that when faced with projects that require a great deal of creativity, or involve a variety of skills and mindsets, it’s better to work silently.

Your Mind Stops Wandering When Listening to Music

Distractions are easy to fall into when you’re not exactly thrilled about sitting down to work. Though giving in to temptation and letting your mind run free might seem like a good idea, reigning your brain in will help you stop wasting time.

Image by William Brawley/Flickr

Typically, an unfocused mind is a sign of unhappiness. To get back on task, the work before us needs to become more enjoyable—or, at the very least, appear less misery-inducing. That’s where music comes in.

When we listen, the tunes snap our minds out of their funk and help us block out distractions. With a little background music, you’ll forget about your coworker’s loud typing, and better ignore those chattering away.

Music Distracts You During the Learning Process

When trying to master a tricky new skill, or understand a complex problem, it’s better to tune out than in. Although you might think your favorite music makes learning fun and easy, silence is actually best.

Image by Phil Gradwell/Flickr

Attempting to complete a task for the first time requires your brain to focus on every little detail. You need to memorize and grasp each step in order to perform it again at a later time. When music is thrown into the mix, it becomes a source of distraction. Researchers found that, when learning and listening to songs, people became unable to properly execute the task. Music didn’t keep them focused; instead, it drew their attention and brain power away from memorization.

Source: By Heather Fishel

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Productivity

Are you the type of person who procrastinates over menial chores or unpleasant errands you’d really rather not do? Shane Cochrane has pulled together a list of ways to help you tackle those tasks simply and effectively.

Whatever your role in life, chances are you have too much to do. Take my nine-year-old niece, for example. Her average week consists of school; homework; Irish dancing lessons, practice and competitions up and down the country; caring for three donkeys; and attempting to train a bear-sized dog that likes to dig really big holes and play on trampolines.

For most of us, the daily tasks we’re juggling are a lot less fun. There’s a lot to be done, and our days are often spent doing the things we have to do, rather than the things we want to do.

Those activities that may take us closer to our dreams and goals have to wait until we’ve finished those that keep the lights on and put food on the table. And it’s very much a health issue.

Depressed
Sander van der Wel / Foter / CC BY-SA

The constant struggle to get things done can be very stressful. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are plenty of ideas that we can all use to get stuff done with less stress. Here are 15 of them.

 

1. MAKE A LIST

The best starting point for getting stuff done is actually knowing what stuff you have to do. So, before you start, you’ll need to prepare a list of all those things that are waiting to be done. Don’t overthink it.

If it needs doing, write it down. Making a list like this saves so much time in the long run. You can tell at a glance what tasks you have to do – and not having to remember them really helps reduce your stress. It’s also very satisfying when you start ticking tasks as completed.

2. DEFINE YOUR GOALS

Being busy isn’t the same as being productive. It’s easy to be busy doing things that aren’t that important. One of the best ways to make sure you’re getting your most important tasks done is to take the time to discover what’s important to you.

What are your goals? What do you want to do with your life? Once you have the answers to these questions, it becomes easier to prioritise your tasks. Do the important things first – the rest can wait.

3. EAT A FROG

Personal development expert Brian Tracy believes we should begin each day by eating a frog (metaphorically, of course). According to Tracy, frogs are those tasks that we tend to put off because they seem too big, or complex, or time consuming.

But many of those tasks, if completed, are also likely to make the biggest impact on our lives. And because of that, Tracy suggests we tackle those tasks first each day. But what if you have a number of frogs on your plate? Tracy recommends you eat the ugliest one first.

4. BREAK IT UP

For bigger tasks, you might have to break them up to make them manageable. Tracy suggests using the “salami slice” method, where you cut the task into smaller, more manageable pieces that you then complete – one at a time.

He also advocates the “Swiss cheese” method. It’s slightly less methodical, but just as effective for getting certain jobs done.

Like the name suggests, you take small bites out of a big task, hitting it hard for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, before moving on to something else.

5. GIVE IT YOUR FULL ATTENTION

Regardless of whether you use the “salami slice” or “Swiss cheese” method, once you’ve started on the task you should give it your full attention. Don’t think about all those other tasks waiting to be done, or all those other things you’d much rather be doing. Focus on the task in hand.

Primarily, this is so you can get it done – quickly, and to the best of your ability. But Brian Tracy believes that when we focus in this way, we become more productive, more confident – and happier.

6. USE THE TWO MINUTE RULE

David Allen is famous for Getting Things Done, a task management system that can be used to run your life or your company, even if that company happens to be Microsoft.

Allen’s system sets out how to break projects down into actionable tasks, how to schedule the completion of those tasks using task lists and diaries, and how to delegate tasks.

But most important is his two-minute rule.

Allen says that if you come across a task that can be done in two minutes or less – such as returning a phone call or sending a short email – you just do it. Right there. Right then. You don’t postpone it. You don’t write it in your diary or put it on a task list. You don’t leave it in the hope that someone else will do it. You get it done.

7. FIND THE BEST TIME TO BE PRODUCTIVE

Ray Josephs, author of How to Gain an Extra Hour Every Day, believes we should do our most important tasks during our most productive hours. And when is that? It’s when you feel at your most alert. So it’s not going to be the same for everyone.

Some of us feel at our best in the morning, and some of us come alive later in the day.

Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to this ebb and flow of productiveness. Puberty does something that makes it near impossible for them to be in bed before 11pm, which means they are at a disadvantage when required to do anything that requires focus and concentration early in the morning.

This isn’t about late night socialising; something hormonal is going on. A study by the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Centre in Rhode Island found that by having later school start times and allowing teenagers to sleep a little later in the morning, they became more alert and better able to learn.

8. DON’T JUST WAIT, GET STUFF DONE

Ray Josephs also believes we could make good use of time that’s normally wasted. Whether it’s waiting on buses, commuting on trains, or walking from A to B, this time, he says, could be put to good use making phone calls, answering emails, revising, listening to audio books, updating task lists – anything really.

It’s amazing what can be done. When Arthur Conan Doyle first opened his GP practice, he had very few patients and even less money.

But he used the gaps between patients to pursue his literary ambitions – and make some money – by writing detective stories. It paid his bills – and gave the world Sherlock Holmes.

9. PLAN YOUR DAY THE NIGHT BEFORE

Many success gurus extol the virtues of planning your day the night before. “Never begin the day until it is finished on paper,” said Jim Rohn, the gurus’ guru.

Basically, you select those tasks on your to-do list that you’re going to tackle, and you schedule the time to do them. There’s any number of reasons why this is a good idea, but the main one is that when you’re ready to get stuff done, you’re not wasting time on deciding where to start. According to Brian Tracy, you can save two hours a day when you spend 10 minutes planning the night before.

10. TRY THE POMODORO TECHNIQUE

For tasks that require focus and concentration, you could try the Pomodoro Technique. Set a timer for 25 minutes and work on the task – giving it your full attention, with no distractions – until the timer goes off. Then take a five-minute break. Repeat this process another three times, and then take a half-hour break. Continue until the job is done.

The technique was devised by Francesco Cirillo, who believed that taking frequent breaks improves mental agility. Cirillo devised his method using a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato – or pomodoro in Italian.

11. KEEP SCORE

According to Jack Canfield, author of The Success Principles, successful people keep score. They continually monitor their progress and their achievements. It lets you know if you’re getting more done, and it lets you know if you’re closer to reaching your goals. But more importantly, it can give you a sense of achievement. This can motivate you to do more, and it’s incredibly good for your wellbeing.

12. UNDERSTAND YOU CAN’T DO EVERYTHING

You really can’t do everything. In fact, you don’t have to do everything. But some of us will really struggle to let go of those jobs that we feel we should be doing ourselves.

For example, if you’ve grown your business from nothing, you might seethe at the very idea that you now need someone to help you manage it.

And if you’re a parent, you might fight any suggestions that you need help with the kids.

But it’s okay to ask for help, and it doesn’t have to mean giving over control or admitting defeat. It may even be as simple as asking your partner to do a little more.

13. LEARN TO SAY ‘NO’

You may be the kind of person that likes to help others; and you always make time and do your best for friends and family.

But making someone else’s life easier often makes your life harder. So, sometimes you’re just going to have to say no.

Fergus O’Connell, author of Earn More, Stress Less suggests being honest when you do this and say, “I don’t really have time to do that right now.” Failing that, he also suggests working in places where friends and family are unlikely to find you.

14. STICK WITH IT

Not everything in this article will be useful to you. But if you do find something that works for you, stick with it.

Committing to a successful system can lead to great things. For example, Anthony Trollope enjoyed his job with the post office, but he wanted to be a writer. So every morning, beginning at 5.30am, Trollope would write for three hours before going to work.

He worked continuously during that three hours; and if he finished writing a novel, he would immediately begin the next one.

And though Trollope’s job took him to as far from home as Egypt and Central America, he still wrote for three hours each morning, and became one of Victorian England’s most successful and prolific writers.

15. DON’T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF

Finally, we all make mistakes, particularly when we’re pushing ourselves.

And the harder you try, the more likely it is that you will make mistakes. But don’t be so hard on yourself.

As Richard Carlson, the man who told us “Don’t sweat the small stuff”, said: “We learn from our mistakes and from stumbling. The best any of us can do, in any given moment, is to call it as we see it, to give it our best shot. None of us, however, certainly not I, have mastered life.”

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“Have you ever planted a garden? Have you ever tended to living, growing plants? As a child in school or as an adult did you help grow anything? Did you germinate seeds? Do you remember the process? Do you recall the time it took? You had to wait, didn’t you? Whether you liked it or not you had to wait.

People are in a hurry. They want everything fast and they want it yesterday. Well, some things just take time.  For everything there is as season. You just have to endure winter when it is upon you. It still takes the same amount of time whether you like it or not.

Patience Is How You Wait When You Have To Wait

wait and smoke

How you go through it though makes the difference. Summer is shorter typically because we enjoy it more. Most of us. If we enjoy something time seems to go by quickly. Too quick. The key to being patient, when you have to, is HOW you spend your time.

If you are having fun and enjoying it will go by quickly. If you are counting the days and comparing the distance between now and then it will seem to take forever. Waiting is completely dependent on you and how you wait. If you are desperate it sucks. If you are fulfilled while you wait it is a breeze.

Growing up as an actor in Hollywood I discovered everyone wants to ‘break through’ to ‘hit it’ to become an ‘overnight sensation’ this moment. Especially teens and twenty somethings. At that age we want it all!  In the film business, most everyone comes to realize, an overnight success takes between 10 and 15 years.

You Cannot Rush It You Cannot Push A Rope

It is not just a saying. It is a reality. Few pop. Most take years and years. Exceptions are child stars. Look at anyone’s credits on imdb and you will see most started with uncredited roles or one liners and worked hard at it, for years, before you or I ever heard of them. They put in years worth of work before anyone noticed. During that time countless thousands of others gave up.

Those who keep at it usually have success of some kind. Those who quit, well, they quit. If you stop and give up, then you stopped. If you keep going you can prevail. Being patient doesn’t mean you don’t do anything while waiting it means you keep moving forward and keep the faith. What you think and do while you wait is critical!

You have to believe in yourself and what you want. You have to keep faith in your ability to accomplish what you set out to do.  You have to know in your heart that you will make it happen in spite of the odds and the time it takes. You have to know that you can do it and will do it!

Don’t Give Up If You Want To Succeed Keep At It

There will be obstacles, set backs and temporary defeat but if you keep at it you can accomplish it. You can and you will!

Did you know that most successful people nearly gave up just prior to gaining their success? Did you know that prior to ‘popping’ most experienced their biggest ‘failures’?  They were nearly crushed and threw in the towel. Those who did not went on to success.

Did you know the first million seems the toughest to make? Do you know Researchers like Napoleon Hill, going back over 100 years ago discovered this and it remains true today. It always seems darkest right before the dawn. Out of chaos and calamity stars are born!

Stay Focused Stay Purposed Stay Passionate And Have Fun

Any worthy purpose takes time to come into being. Be absolutely clear on what you want and you absolutely want it no matter what. If you believe in yourself that you can make it happen then you can find legitimate means to bring it to pass. Stay focused! Stay purposed! Stay Passionate!

When you plant seeds they germinate. The seed must crack open and send out shoots into prepared soil where it can grow in the cover of darkness for however long it takes. It takes time and we can’t see it. We have to believe all is well and make sure it gets nourished. Then one day it breaks forth from the ground a tiny plant.

With continued nourishment it can continue to grow. Depending on what you planted it could be a flower, a food, or a giant tree. It all takes times. It takes whatever time it takes. Ultimately, it produces more seeds and the cycle continues. All the while we wait patiently there is activity. Their is growth and development.

Keep The Faith You Will Succeed 

Patience is a quality you have. It is HOW you wait. It means expect to win while you wait. It means do whatever is necessary knowing your efforts will pay off even if you can’t see the results today. Stay steady and stay consistent. Step by step you get there. Persist!

It means you can’t hurry or rush it. Take steps each day and nourish your success. Stick with it and you will make progress. What you planted you will one day reap. Don’t abandon your positive garden! How you wait is important! Affirm, acknowledge, stay positive.

Focus on the end result. You can glance at present circumstances or difficulty as you do your dash board indicators, while driving, but keep you eyes on the road ahead and keep faith in your heart. You may need to adjust your plans or take detours occasionally but keep on going. Know your destination and keep traveling to get there. You will. Be patient”

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Startups eager to be part of London’s tech story

As London Technology Week draws to a close, it’s been great celebrating the fact that London is now the capital of Europe’s tech scene, with almost three times as many startups choosing to base themselves in the city.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said he was hardly surprised that London’s entrepreneurs are “clamouring to be part of the incredible London tech story”.

Rooster Punk who held a storytelling breakfast briefing (as part of London Technology Week).

has listed the top takeouts of the event below:

  1. The biggest challenge for human beings today is we’re struggling with all the choice we face, and stories help cut through the complexity.
  2. Old-world phrases like ‘Selling’ and ‘Media’ are being replaced by relationship-building phrases like ‘Stories’ and ‘Sustainability’.
  3. You can’t fake it like in the pre-recession days and sell everyone an average product or service and still turnover a profit. Now customers see through this, so you have to be truly remarkable in everything you do.
  4. Storytelling is like joke telling – you have to get the punch line right.
  5. Nine out of 10 of companies make us think too hard – it’s the ones that don’t make us think that are successful. When our brains are on ‘autopilot’ it is stories that rise above the noise, not product messages.
  6. If you’re not sharing emotional content with your audience, you’re missing out on customers willing to pay eight times more for your product.
  7. No one cares about your product but you. Every brand should be telling 13 core Stories to help surface emotional messages your audience relates to.
  8. Meaningful brands make 46 per cent more profit than average brands. Customers are looking for meaningful brands with meaningful stories that tell them how a brand is going to help improve the quality of their lives. “It’s business suicide to not think about and tell the audience the ‘why’ of what you do.”

Source: By Gemma Huckle

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urban outfitter

You know Country Outfitter. You’ve heard the name, you’ve seen the boots. If you used Facebook at all in late 2012, it was practically impossible to have missed. The company spent a lot of money to guarantee as much.

Three summers ago, Acumen Brands, the online retailer’s parent company, doubled down on plans to make Country Outfitter the internet destination for cowboy boots and all things Western wear. Intending to bring industry to Fayetteville, Arkansas, Acumen recruited talent with the enticing carrot that it might transform the city that less than 80,000 people call home into the Silicon Valley of the South.

cowboy boot
cowboy boot

At that moment, the company didn’t have much to boast about, save for a troubling surplus of inventory. Country Outfitter, Acumen’s flagship brand, was a boot company that could hardly move a boot. “To be honest, Country Outfitter was failing,” says Josh Clemence, who was a brand manager at Acumen in 2012. “We had a lot of product that we could essentially give away.”

So they did: They gave away at least one pair of boots a week for more than a year via an audacious, unproven, and arguably infuriating takeover of countless targeted Facebook feeds. Within four months of its initial giveaway push, Country Outfitter amassed 7 million Facebook fans.

The brand was loved. The brand was reviled. The brand was relevant. But now, after a few years of staggering success, it appears 7 million Facebook fans—now down to 6.6 million on its main page—aren’t enough to keep a small-town startup afloat.

This is the story of how Country Outfitter seized the internet’s attention, and how it intends to keep it.


Owning the country market wasn’t Acumen founder, and now ex-CEO, John James’s initial grand vision. The company only began designing its own line of boots last year. In the beginning, Acumen sold scrubs.

“The original plan was to build 25 online stores selling 1000 brands,” says Rich Morris, Acumen’s VP of strategic partnerships and vendor relations, who has been with the company since its founding in 2009. Those stores, Acumen’s team first envisioned, would emphasize function over form, catering to workplace-specific demands.

James’s credentials as a physician (the ambitious entrepreneur left medicine after completing his residency) inspired the first store, a medical scrub business. That led the startup to sell nursing shoes made by Timberland, then Timberland’s arsenal of work boots, then outdoor boots in general, then cowboy boots—footwear that, Morris admits, nobody at the company wore at the time.

Acumen knows country because it’s their business to know country. They know country because country keeps the lights on.

Wherever there was an underserved niche, James began to see opportunity for a new digital storefront. Acumen went after nurses and cooks, artists and moms, baseball fans and dancers. The company bore no singular identity.

But scale became an ever-growing roadblock. To be everything to everyone, the company needed a staff equipped to handle global sales. It had neither the money, the time, nor, in Northwest Arkansas, the bodies.

“I think at our height, we had between 11 and 15 different stores,” says Clemence, who was among Acumen’s first dozen hires. “If you have 11 different niches, then you have 1,100 different types of consumers, and that becomes very difficult, especially at a startup. That begun to take its toll on us.” Spread thin, the small team began closing down the stores “that we weren’t able to become the best at,” says Clemence.

All Around Dance. Hectic Gourmet. The Mom. The Baby Habit. Ruby Canvas. Fat Chance. Top Slugger. Scrubsy. Acumen ditched them all, in addition to dissolving partnerships with Capezio and Gannett Healthcare, in an effort to streamline.

What was left—what Acumen believed it could leverage best—was country. Enough of its verticals were country-adjacent that it seemed like a natural consolidation.

“We know country,” Country Outfitter’s tag line, rings true not because the company is owned and operated by cowboys and cowgirls who ride to work in pickup trucks. Acumen knows country because it’s their business to know country. They’ve made it their business to know country. They know country because country keeps the lights on.

Dustin Williams sat on the team that came up with that catchy slogan. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, I actually like that,’” laughs the former director of user experience. “Because when you think about it, we were selling nothing but boots at the time, and a little bit of clothing. How do you take a company that’s just selling boots and grow it into other pieces of that industry? Sell everything that’s country.”


Country Outfitter sells leather. Country Outfitter sells fringe. Country Outfitter sells cutouts and embroidery and studs. Country Outfitter sells cowboy boots from companies like Lucchese, Ariat, Frye, and Corral, brands invested in showstopper shoes. Stub-toed, square-toed, steel-toed. Country Outfitter sells home goods, accessories, and apparel that capitalize on recognizable iconography of country living, like the American flag, guns, and Johnny Cash.

It quickly became important to not isolate Country Outfitter in its genre specificity, but rather to stretch the meaning of the name without shredding its value. The hope was that “the country look” and “the country life” could appeal to anyone. You didn’t need to live in the South to listen to country darling-turned-mainstream pop star Taylor Swift. You didn’t need to grow up on a farm to dream up a barnyard-chic, Pinterest-worthy wedding.

The hope was that “the country look” and “the country life” could appeal to anyone.

Presentation was the trick. As Acumen grew in that summer of 2012 from a multi-vertical e-commerce business to a singularly-focused retailer, the company invested time and money into stylized photo shoots, taking care to present its products not as purely functional, but as fashionable too.

“We were able to style things differently than, say, a gal wearing a pair of jeans on a horse,” says Morris.

The company also realized the country niche had another perk: timelessness.

“We thought Western was a category that made sense because of, really, the model,” Morris continues. “In fashion, there’s new product every year, there’s new product every season. But Western brands keep all the products from previous seasons and continue to roll those out. That’s a much easier inventory model than when seasonal products roll in and are no longer good at the end of that season, so you’ve got to buy new. You don’t get into dead inventory positions and have a lot of excess and obsolete inventory. For a startup company, that made a lot of sense.”

But by Labor Day 2012, Country Outfitter’s warehouse held gobs of dead inventory. Old or new, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t sell.


“If you were on Facebook in 2012 and 2013, there was a nine out of ten chance that you saw a Country Outfitter ad,” says Clemence, one of the key players behind Acumen’s early social media strategy. “Country Outfitter was Facebook.”

Advertising was a piece of the Facebook experience from the earliest days of the social media monolith’s existence. Banner ads first surfaced on the site in 2004, the year Facebook launched. These ads appeared in the sidebar margins of profile pages. Ads appeared on the same screen as friends’ photos, status updates, and wall posts. You probably ignored most of those ads, until you caught on that the same ads appeared again and again and again. The brute force via blunt object approach.

In 2012, Facebook went public and began to feel pressure to monetize its platform. This meant more ad products and opportunities for companies like Country Outfitter. “Facebook didn’t have any barriers, or really any rules,” continues Clemence, “so we could easily pay to be in front of as many people as we wanted.”

Clemence adds that the algorithm that served ads at the time was aggressively viral. Acumen harnessed that reach capability, not only purchasing sidebar ads, but also paying Facebook to promote content published on Country Outfitter’s page on the News Feed of users whose friends liked or shared that content. That’s why it looked like Country Outfitter was all over your personal feed, even if you’d never visited Country Outfitter’s Facebook page before.

“It was a different day on Facebook than it is now,” explains Stephanie McCratic, Acumen’s fourteenth employee and first director of content and social media marketing. Overly-promotional posts had yet to be penalized. “Back then, you could buy Facebook ads so cheap,” echoes Williams. “And then you could pay for likes that were extremely cheap.”

Country Outfitter knew it wanted to corner a more non-traditional country enthusiast, but wasn’t sure where exactly to find that unique flavor of customer. It guessed that this consumer pool existed not as one particular subset, but within several potentially overlapping groups, so it targeted ads at a smorgasbord of demos: big brand fans, high-fashion shoppers, mommy bloggers, trendy teens, and everyone in between.

“We had to get rid of the boots somehow anyways. People love free stuff.”

“At any given time, we could have a hundred different types of ads going on Facebook,” says Clemence. His team took painstaking efforts to “segment” Facebook, or break down users into different categories that could be approached in different ways with different language and imagery. “We were trying to quickly and cheaply see if any of these different markets would take the bait. And if they did, we’d hit the gas pedal and see how fast we could get as many different people as we could.”

Country Outfitter began to gather likes and amass the foundation for a devoted fan base, but there was still that arsenal of dead inventory. So like a cowboy on the ranch, it took Facebook’s platform by the horns, letting those new fans move product for them.

“We said hey, let’s use this excess inventory as part of the marketing cost to gain customers as fast as possible,” recalls Clemence. “We had to get rid of the boots somehow anyways, so we were either gonna sit on it” —or take a gamble. “People love free stuff.”

The marketing schedule was meant to juice every post, like, and potential fan. It went like this:

  • On Monday, Country Outfitter would announce a new contest where Facebookers would like and share photos to vote for their favorite pair of boots from a choice of five.
  • On Tuesday, Country Outfitter would announce the top three choices. Facebookers were invited to like and share to vote again.
  • On Wednesday, Country Outfitter would announce the top two. Facebookers were invited to like and share to vote once again.
  • On Thursday, Country Outfitter would announce the winning pair of boots that would be given away. Facebookers were invited to like and share to actually enter the contest.
  • On Friday, Country Outfitter would announce the Facebooker who won the fan-chosen pair of boots.
  • On Monday, the whole play would be repeated.

While the company is unable to provide the exact number of free giveaways, Lela Davidson, who joined Acumen in 2013 as a publishing manager and transitioned into a new role as VP of media and entertainment this past January, says that from late 2012 through mid-2014, Country Outfitter gave away hundreds of pairs of boots.

Each step of the way, Country Outfitter’s page received more likes and more shares, all through what’s defined in digital marketing as “organic reach.” Yes, organic. Country Outfitter’s giveaways were posted directly to its company page. These were not “Click for Free Boots” banner ads. You saw a Country Outfitter giveaway because you had already liked its page, or your friend liked its page, or a friend shared its posts. Country Outfitter paid for likes and shares to get the ball rolling, but after that initial investment, virality took over.

But here’s the real secret sauce: In order to sign up for a contest, you had to enter your email address. “A like is not worth anything to us other than being able to expand upon our reach,” explains Clemence. “An email address is a thousand times more valuable because we can market to them again.”

The more fans Country Outfitter accumulated, the more users wanted to join the crowd. Adds Williams, “That really helped, people from the outside looking in, saying, ‘Oh wow, they have a million likes.’ It bumps up your credibility. And during that time John [James] was spending quite a bit of money on that, but it was paying us back in spades. It was pretty crazy.”

“That really helped, people from the outside looking in, saying, ‘Oh wow, they have a million likes.’ It bumps up your credibility.”

Former Acumen CEO James declined participation in this story, as did current CEO Terry Turpin. However, James did tell press earlier this year, as reported by Northwest Arkansas-based online publication The City Wire, “We cracked the code on Facebook on Labor Day of 2012 and went from zero Facebook fans to 7 million in just four months time. The business went from $1 million in 2011 to $15 million in just one month by the end of 2012.”

It was the perfect growth strategy. Country Outfitter collected scores of fans in record time, enjoyed word-of-mouth advertising, and perhaps even more importantly, got free market research. With customers sharing photos of their favorite boots and Acumen’s team tracking which brands and styles traveled across Facebook best, the company learned what to promote and what to purchase for additional inventory. Not only that, it also learned which demographics preferred which boots. It no longer had to shoot in the dark. It had fired indiscriminately into the internet’s deep, dark void until it hit the bullseye.

“You know what’s crazy?” laughs Clemence. “I’ve been to the Google offices, and every time I go and meet with people, they’re like, ‘Oh we’ve heard of you guys, we’ve heard of Country Outfitter, you gotta tell us all about this.’ And I just sit there and think, to this day the growth was amazing, but it’s just ordinary practice to me now.”


It goes without saying that you can’t acquire 7 million fans without making some enemies.

“Take me the hell of your page!!!” reads one angry Facebook comment from January 2013.

“I am being bombarded with SPAM from Country Outfitters [sic] sweepstakes to like their page to win boots,” reads a frustrated request for help from that same month on the page for Facecrooks, a self-proclaimed social media watchdog. “It appears on my news feed constantly. I keep reporting it as offensive and as SPAM to no avail. By the comments on the page, there are plenty of others who are being harassed constantly by this unwanted, unsolicited ad. What would be the next step?”

There are more. Many more.

“I have vowed to never shop through your link,” reads yet another comment on a Facebook giveaway later in January. “Hate your ads on Facebook,” the user clarifies four minutes after the initial posting.

Some things to consider: First of all, “love these boots” and “need these boots” comments abound too, in caps lock with exclamation points and more wide-mouthed smiley faces than a text message from your grandma. Secondly, Facebook is not always a breeding ground for positive or thoughtful discussion.

Complaining happens to be part and parcel of digital advertising, and in this brave new world, digital reputation and real-world reputation are very much tied together. Country Outfitter’s damaged rep follows it to this day, in the form of one-star Yelp reviews, for its—now closed—brick-and-mortar store, critiquing not the store itself, but frustration with aggressive Facebook tactics, poor online customer service, and defective product.

“We’d get messages like, ‘Why are you stalking me?’ It was people just not understanding how Facebook works.”

Former Acumen employees agree that the giveaway strategy angered a huge cross-section of its fan base. Says Clemence, who left the company in December 2012, immediately after that insane quarter of skyrocketing popularity, “As many people as we attracted, we also annoyed.”

Seconds McCratic, who left Acumen in August 2013, “A lot of Facebook users got really irritated with us because they thought that we were taking over their feeds. It wasn’t that we necessarily weren’t, we were just the first to really leverage the platform, so nobody else was fighting for those ad spots.”

Those ad spots were won via a bid system, and with little competition over them, Country Outfitter was able to exploit the model to its furthest extent and be everywhere, all the time. “You’d see posts like, ‘I hate Country Outfitter, please get off my Facebook,'” McCratic continues. “We’d get messages like, ‘Why are you stalking me?’ It was people just not understanding how Facebook works. Somebody in customer service would reply and say, ‘Hey, just letting you know, so sorry it seems like we’re following you, I promise we’re not.’”


“Our story has been that we are a funny little high-tech company stuck here in the middle of Arkansas,” says Davidson.

Surely you’ve spotted the paradox here: A funny little company doesn’t find itself with 7 million Facebook fans.

Kiva robots at Country Outfitter’s Arkansas warehouse. Photo: Country Outfitter

There’s a tug of war at play when it comes to Country Outfitter’s identity. It wants to be seen as a folksy boot retailer in an Arkansas town, but it has leveraged the same tools as giant corporations, unafraid to harness tech innovations and new trends. Take the fact that its distribution warehouse uses Kiva, a state-of-the-art robotic fulfillment system bought out by Amazon last year; other companies using Kiva include Walgreens and Zappos. Acumen has 175 employees. Country Outfitter has those millions of Facebook fans.

But all of that pales alongside the company’s latest plan.

“In my head, I’m going after BuzzFeed, I’m going after the big dogs,” says Lauren Cowling, managing editor of Country Outfitter Style, the retailer’s lifestyle blog that launched in February 2014. The blog reports on country music superstars, country cooking recipes, and creative ways to use mason jars. Content turnaround is quick, with an average of 32 posts a day, ranging from 500-word entries to meme roundups to lists: “5 Reasons We Want to Be Martina McBride,” “5 Country Music Songs We’re Still Waiting for Someone to Explain to Us,” “5 Kacey Musgraves Inspired ‘Biscuits’ Recipes for the Summer.” The site uses PlayBuzz for quick quizzes like, “Which Diva Country Music Star Are You?” and “What Country Music Star is Under the Cowboy Hat?

“Has anybody told you yet that country’s not a zip code?” jokes Cowling. She’s referring to the mottothat strings through County Outfitter’s branding. This is a point that Acumen’s leadership emphasizes at every opportunity. “We believe that country is not a zip code; it’s a state of mind” is how the official copy reads.

“We embodied and embraced the country lifestyle theme because it’s about being rich in Americana, wide open spaces—it’s aspirational, laid-back, a little bit slower-paced, rich in family,” says Morris. He cites New York as Country Outfitter’s second-most popular state for sales, and Davidson insists that although Southern pride plays heavily into the company’s messaging, it’s only a slice of the pie.

“There’s a hunger for this type of representation of a country lifestyle, for people who hold Middle American values to see their lifestyle celebrated and reflected back to them, and not in a cliched, hackneyed way. It’s not redneck, it’s not Branson, it’s not only riding horses, but it does include riding horses,” he explains. “If you look at our sales map, it looks just like a population map of the United States. We literally sell in all areas of the United States. It’s not the South, it’s not rural areas, it’s not only the flyover states. We sell everywhere.”

Natalie Harber-Romero has been a Facebook fan and customer of Country Outfitter for two years, and reads the blog nearly every day. “I click on almost all of the short articles on their Facebook page, and most are fun and a quick read,” says the California transplant now living in South Carolina. The 29-year-old seems to be a good example of that “not a zip code” idea Acumen is so feverishly after. “I consider myself more of a Southern and country girl even though I grew up in California, though some of their stuff is a little too country for me. The country lifestyle for me means bonfires, country dirt roads, some alcohol, and spending time with friends and family.”

“If Facebook’s now only showing posts to 2 percent of the people who like you, why spend a ton of money growing your Facebook presence?”

Country Outfitter’s continued play into the media space hinges on exclusives with country music stars, text-to-win contests at live events, and a YouTube channel that Cowling and her small editorial team are working to build out. Soon, Country Outfitter Style will be its own standalone site, living separately from CountryOutfitter.com. Davidson says that a separate URL for its media property will most likely launch in the fall, but that there’s no hard and fast date yet.

Acumen’s new media strategy follows a relatively recent about-face in regards to Facebook. The company has more or less exhausted the giveaway model, the cost-to-profit ratio for display ads stopped making sense once Facebook’s pricing increased, and, most notably, Facebook changed its algorithm since Country Outfitter’s social media heyday.

“If you had 7 million people who liked your Facebook page when you posted, especially when you posted a photo, it was likely that a large percentage of people who liked your page were going to see that organic post,” says McCratic of the platform, pre-algorithm change. “Now we know it’s closer to, across the board, 2 percent, if you can even get that. So if Facebook’s now only showing posts to 2 percent of the people who like you, why spend a ton of money growing your Facebook presence?”

Country Outfitter’s current Facebook stats are down substantially since the giveaway glory days. It no longer posts for marketing purposes—you won’t see product photos or links—but rather to promote stories from Country Outfitter Style. Engagement on these posts is drastically lower; Country Outfitter is seeing well below 100 likes per post, compared with the tens of thousands giveaways attracted.

Photo: Country Outfitter

You can’t blame it all on algorithm changes though; the company’s social media methods are no longer cutting-edge. Facebook posts featuring celebrities don’t even tag those stars’ names, making each one a wasted opportunity for appearing on more News Feeds. It’s clear the company hasn’t learned to game Facebook in 2015, and it certainly hasn’t learned to game Facebook as a media company in 2015.

But Acumen as a media company isn’t a backup plan. It is the plan.


Employees of Acumen past and present like to use the startup-friendly term “iteration-driven” to describe the company, but perhaps the more apropos way to put it is that every time Country Outfitter falls off the horse, it hops back on. It’s always looking to dust itself off and try something new.

In 2014, the retailer introduced three boot brands that were designed and manufactured in-house for the first time: the feminine Eight Second Angel, the urban Independent Boot Company, and the classic American Rebel Boot Company. Williams, who left Acumen in May 2013 to co-found a higher-end country style brand, Bourbon and Boots, thinks it was a smart play: “I tell people that Country Outfitter can do boots from cow to boot. They have the cow, they have the factory that actually produces product, they can ship the product, and they can sell the product online. If you can own that whole supply chain, your growth margins go up exponentially.”

“I tell people that Country Outfitter can do boots from cow to boot. If you can own that whole supply chain, your growth margins go up exponentially.”

Those in-house brands team up frequently on special collections with country music stars like John Rich and Colt Ford. Star power sells. Likewise, Country Outfitter’s first digital shift away from Facebook giveaways involved working with bloggers and “influencers,” including Ree Drummond, a.k.a. The Pioneer Woman, though those partnerships often just resulted in, you guessed it, different kinds of giveaways.

“We knew that we needed virtual wingmen and wingwomen out there telling our story on their social platform,” explains McCratic. “For our own credibility and our own brand awareness and exposure, and also, you know, it didn’t hurt SEO either.”

Now Country Outfitter’s has scaled back on influencer collaboration to focus more heavily on branded content on its media platform. And, of course, there’s the in-progress plan for retail expansion, a plan that appears to outsiders as if it were thwarted by theshuttering of its flagship—its only location—this past May. The company, however, maintains that the two-year lifespan of the brick-and-mortar storefront inside downtown Fayetteville’s Old Post Office was a learning experience and an opportunity to give life to a neglected historical building.

“Part of the challenge is we want to create something we can replicate en masse,” says Davidson, adding that the building’s woodwork, brickwork, and natural light created a great environment for photo shoots, but is hardly a practical model to reproduce elsewhere.

Morris says that Acumen will begin rolling out new retail plans by this coming winter: “We understand the e-commerce space probably better than most. Brick and mortar is not one of our core competencies, I’ll just be real honest. We’d love to be able to sell and leverage from a supplier’s standpoint, but also by learning from other brick and mortars across the country. There’s more to come on that. We absolutely know that’s an opportunity for us to continue to grow, through driving people from online to offline and offline to online.”

The Old Post Office location remains in the family, so to speak: It’s now the home base for former Acumen CEO John James’s newest startup, Hayseed Ventures, which calls itself “a venture capital production studio,” according to Blake Puryear, Hayseed’s technology and project management lead and an alum of Acumen. In fact, many of the former Acumen employees interviewed for this piece are in some way still professionally linked to James.

James is one of the advisors for McCratic’s influence company, Acorn, and Williams says that he and James are discussing investing in a new company together. McCratic and Williams were both recruited aggressively by James when he was at Acumen, as was Clemence, who is now CEO at curation website Boutiques Daily. All credit James with being their mentor. All insist they wouldn’t have the careers they have today without him.


In 2014, James told the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal that Acumen’s “revenue will likely hit nine figures next year, if not sooner.” When asked about that figure, Davidson laughs and sighs. As a private company, Acumen refuses to disclose financial information, which includes company valuation. According to CrunchBase, Acumen has received $93 million in funding. (The most recent round was led by General Atlantic, an investor in Racked parent company Vox Media, in April 2013.)

What about sales numbers for its biggest products? The best response Nicholas Sammer, Acumen’s general manager of brands, can give me is that its top-selling boot has been “wildly successful,” adding, “we literally cannot keep it on the shelves.”

What about that sales map, that looks like a population map of the United States? This map is for internal purposes only, says Davidson.

Photo: Country Outfitter

For how forthcoming the company is about its accidental discovery of the country market, controversial social media strategy, and ambitious aspirations for global domination, Acumen’s leadership is tight-lipped on the nitty-gritty. It’s tough to say what the future actually holds for Country Outfitter, which experienced a restructuring andround of layoffs earlier this year.

Davidson says that Country Outfitter wants to be the “first mainstream pop culture destination” for people who live and breathe country, but besides its perceived competitor in BuzzFeed, it has powerhouse publications like People (which debuted People Country in 2006) and Rolling Stone (which launched Rolling Stone Country last year) to contend with, not to mention country lifestyle mainstays Southern Living and Country Living.

As for that top seller, Sammer says it is, by far, a collaboration between Country Outfitter’s private American Rebel label and country singer John Rich’s Redneck Riviera brand. It is called The Freedom Boot. It’s red, white, and blue, and star-spangled in the most literal sense. It’s a little on the nose, but this is what Country Outfitter does best.

It sells 24 styles of American flag boots. It sells American flag tank tops, and star-emblazoned shorts, and a whole range of Americana-inspired pillows and quilts. Shop at Country Outfitter, and you can wear your patriotism on your sleeve, sheets, and feet.

For a startup that never meant to be a country brand in the first place, Acumen is steadfast in its hand-over-heart commitment. This is what it wanted those 7 million Facebook fans to understand. Country is, after all, a state of mind.

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creativity is the key to strategic success

 

Creativity is a hot topic nowadays. Top business schools are all over it, investigating how a creative mind makes for a successful business tactic. In fact, it’s becoming more apparent that creativity and logic are the ‘yin and yang’ of effective strategy.

Picture business strategy as a game of chess, and we can start to understand how creativity can spark that lightbulb solution and enable a checkmate. It’s all about innovation and pushing boundaries, or in the words of the German philosopher Goethe,

“daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward; they may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.”

But what, exactly, is creativity?

creativity is the key to strategic success
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According to Linda Naiman, founder of Creativity at Work, it’s

“the power to create something new, to reach deep into our subconscious for that ‘aha’ solution.”

We can also learn a lot from the Latin words, ‘creare’ (to invent, create, produce) and ‘crescere’ (to happen and to grow), which have evolved into the term ‘creativity’ as we know it today. They teach us that growth and innovation can’t occur without a creative approach.

Now for the science-y bit… Creative thought takes place in the right associative brain hemisphere, whilst logical thinking happens in the left associative brain hemisphere. Two parts of the brain that, when used in conjunction with one another, can be a force to be reckoned with.

Make no mistake, creativity doesn’t have to be expressed through a piece of visual art or interpretive dance… Being creative is about being proactive and perceptive of the things that happen around us. It’s about using our curiosities and observations to connect experiences and synthesize new things.

So why is it important in business?

These qualities of curiosity, sensitivity, and spontaneity are vital for a business to flourish and to maintain success. Analytical, logical thinkers will be better at their jobs (and at chess!) if they can think outside the box, and approach problems from renewed viewpoints in order to provide creative solutions. A truly innovative idea isn’t just a tweak to the system. It’s a radical new perspective that leads to something entirely new. It provides a fresh and superior replacement to old and tired ways of operating.

Creativity at work is great because it:

  • Promotes problem solving and productivity
  • Encourages analytical rigor and innovative thinking to provide breakthrough solutions
  • Allows businesses to stay ahead of their competitors
  • Encourages communication of findings and results to become more engaging
  • Helps to provide a more innovative and spontaneous work environment
  • Enhances collaborative teamwork and increases staff morale
  • Improves a business’s ability to attract and retain quality employees

Putting it into practice…

Feeling uninspired? There are many ways re-ignite your creative flame and bring a fresh perspective to your work…

Intellectual and thought-provoking conversation can help to inspire you and those you work with. It’s a great way to learn about the thoughts and perspectives of colleagues and makes teamwork more varied and rewarding. Innovation flourishes in a team environment, so share your ideas with others. It might just spark something ground-breaking.

If you lead a team at work, there are many ways to actively foster creativity and innovation in the office. Start by becoming a creative role model, and provide your team with an environment that encourages new perspectives and fresh ways of thinking. Give greater time and attention to the more ‘off-the-wall’ ideas. Rather than shooting down wacky suggestions, suspend your judgement and be open to new approaches and viewpoints, no matter where they come from. Use this as a building block for development and progress. As long as an idea is appropriate and do-able, it could be an effective way to improve how things get done.

So, a lesson learnt. By being more creative you can find that ‘aha’ solution and take your organisation one step closer to that checkmate victory.

Source: By GEORGINA PALMIERO

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costs of owning a yatch

In many people dream list, a yatch is probably a common one that can be found. The cost of owning a yatch can adds up and it could be a costly hobby to take on.  Roxanne Garnier from Agenceluxury.com recently wrote an article about this subject.  It can help you by giving further insight.

cost of running  yatch
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We all have goals that we want to achieve in life. A good goal should really ignite a strong desire within you and motivate you to take action. You want the goals that you set to be realistic so that you can actually achieve them.

Many people don’t fully understand the importance of setting goals, yet they still desire to be healthy, have good relationships, and spend more time with their family. To help you cross the finish line and accomplish your goals, here are some tips that will help you become a doer rather than a dreamer.

 

Write Your Goals Down on Paper

It’s much easier to achieve your goals one-by-one after you’ve written them down on paper. Most people skip this step because it seems unnecessary to write them down. However, this is the initial and most important step because it makes the goal real and tangible.

In fact, research shows that people who write down their goals achieve 76% of them, whereas those who only think about their goals in their head achieve 43% of them.

Break Big Goals Down into a Series of Smaller Goals

 

Big goals are intimidating and seem impossible. If Mark Zuckerberg had started out with the goal of having over a billion users on Facebook, it would’ve been daunting and seemed impossible. Take your bigger, long-term goals and break them down into smaller, achievable goals. Make them so small, that on a daily and weekly basis, you can achieve them. If you don’t, you’re likely to lose your motivation for achieving your bigger goals. This is something that a life coach can help you with.

Set Multiple Goals

Don’t set your goals in only one area of your life. Set financial goals, fitness goals, career goals, health goals, relationship goals, and so on. Set at least one goal in each aspect or area of your life. This will keep you challenged, focused, and growing.

Stay Focused

You have to know exactly what you want to achieve from a certain goal, or you’ll flounder and wind up cheat yourself. If you set a goal, you should know that you are bound to it from start to finish. Be ready to face any challenges that come up along the way.

 

Apply the SMART Goal Approach

SMART is an acronym created by Peter Drucker. Here’s what each letter stands for.

  • S-pecific: Your goal must be specific, the more specific the better. It should answer the questions: who, what, where, why, when, how, etc. If your goal can answer these questions, then you have gotten more clarity and you are identifying the exact outcome you’re aiming for.
  • M-easurable: Your goal should be measurable so that you can tell whether you’re making progress or not, and how quickly.
  • A-ttainable: Your goal should be realistic and attainable. If you have never practiced the guitar, you won’t become a rockstar if you’ll never pick it up and practice.
  • R-elevant: Your goal should be very meaningful to you. If it’s not, then it’s not worth pursuing. Attach your goal to your deeper values so that you can get behind it and stay motivated.
  • T-ime bound: You need to create a deadline for your goal so that you can reverse engineer the plan you need to take action on, to achieve it by the date that you have set. Otherwise, if you don’t set a deadline for yourself, your dreams won’t become reality. Deadlines force you to stay committed.

The more that you set goals, the more that you can achieve them. By setting goals, you will give yourself a sense of direction. This is the reason why some people have been very successful in many areas of their life – because they plan out what they want to achieve. They then

take action and execute on their plan.

Success isn’t just handed to you, you have to work hard to get it.

And it’s never too late to set your goals, so get started today

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Startup Live

All startup founders believe that their startup is the best thing in the world, but is there anyone else buying that? Every early-stage startup needs to get recognition, if not capital or funding. Thus, if the startup founders can’t convince people on how their startup product can change people’s lives, the startup won’t be one long-lasting startup.

Really, one of the best ways to get attention for your startup is not just having a mind-blowing product. Else, you need to able to tell a great story about your startup. They say, “Great leaders are great storytellers!”, and it is true in the startup world.

Selling your startup story is not a piece of cake, especially if you are only specialised on coding or design. You need to grab people’s attention to be your prospective investors or customers. In fact, being successful in business depends on how well you can master the art of telling a captivating story.

Here are several keys on selling your startup story, especially at the beginning stages of the startup:

1. Tell your personal journey

People love to have personal connections to the storyteller, especially emotional attachments. If you only talk about your product, you’re not a storyteller but a salesman, instead. You need to tell them the backstory in a compelling way. That way, you can make the connection evident to your audience.

Here are a list of questions to help you tell-all your startup story:

  • What events in life led you here?

  • Why now?

  • Why are you creating this product/service?

  • How will this product/service value-add to people’s lives?

  • What challenges have you faced along the way?

  • How did the challenges affect your outcome?

  • What about this venture has you most excited?

2. Keep it short, keep it simple

Since you are not revealing your memoir, keep it simple and short. Crafting the story, but still keep it brief, because nobody would listen to long draggy stories. Connect any relevant dots and make sure it will excite other people who are listening. No need to ramble on.

3. Honest confession

Although you have to tell an exciting story, keep your startup story straight! Don’t make a single false confession to the listeners. Nowadays, people can easily double-check whatever you are saying. If people found out, your startup would be considered as a fraud. Of course, you don’t want to make this blunder.

4. Listen to people’s responses

After they hear your startup story, you should now focus on listening to their feedbacks. Some of them might ‘fall in love’ with your startup product, immediately. While some others might feel your startup not relevant to their lives. Do not be upset if you meet those people. Rather, listen and ask them about what they care and matters to them. Their priceless feedbacks may improve your startup product.

Are you ready to tell and sell your startup story? You must be!

Source By Startup Jobs Asia

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