So you’ve been asked to take the photos at your friend’s wedding. You’ve tried to persuade them to hire a professional, but they are happy with you. Don’t panic, they asked you because they like your style. Wedding digital photography is no different from other photography, but there a few things you need to consider when planning for the big day.Turn off the sound on camera – there is nothing worse than the sound of electronic beeping during a solemn moment.Take more photos. A perfect moment will only happen once so don’t stint on the number of photos you take, this is one occasion when less is definitely not more. And don’t automatically discard shot you don’t think is good enough. Judicial cropping or editing may capture a moment you didn’t expect. The blurred shot of the flower girl – maybe there is an artistic photo here. Stand back and objectively (or perhaps subjectively) evaluate each shot for its own merits.Be prepared! Make sure you have spare batteries and multiple memory cards. Know the wedding venues and times. Check out places where you will be able to stand during the ceremony. Think about the shots the bride and groom will want of their big occasion and how you can move between them during the proceedings. The same applies to the reception venue. It is important to know where the speeches will be given and where the dancing will take place. When checking for locations for posed shots think about the background and places you can get good group shots of the entire wedding party.Be comfortable with the operation of your camera. A wedding is a busy event and at times a quite stressful one. There will be little opportunity to repose or reshoot if you hesitate with a shot. One option to reduce stress on you the photographer is to have an assistant. This could be someone nominated from the happy couple or someone you organise yourself. This person can spend time rustling people into groups, setting up shots and generally keeping things moving. This will leave you free to concentrate on the wonderful and flexible shots that come from wedding digital photography.Think about using the continuous shooting mode that your digital camera has. This will allow you to capture a second shot after the main shot has been taken. Sometimes you can just guarantee everyone will have their eyes open and be smiling one second after the shot is taken – don’t miss that opportunity.Weddings are a celebration. Make sure you cover off the tips above and your contribution to the day will be priceless.
Since April 2009 Google has been serving local listings in its search engine results pages. Although the layout has changed a bit and the number of business listings it provides has varied, what has remained consistent is a local Google map and listing of local businesses that are relevant to the keywords entered by the individual searching on Google.For local small businesses this has been a tremendous boost when it comes to competing with large national franchises since it gives precedent to the small business in local markets. And the price is right, too! Google provides a business listing to small businesses for absolutely no charge. However it is important that the small business know a few key points so that it leverages its business listing to the fullest.Choosing the right categories for your Google business listingOne of the most important factors to a successful business listing is choosing the right categories for which your business appears in the local search results. To date, Google allows businesses to choose five (5) categories. One of the categories must be a current Google category, and the other four (4) can be categories that you choose for your listing.The categories typically correspond to keyword phrases that an individual searching for your type of business would enter as a search term. For instance, if you are a plumber, typical keywords that someone searching for your business might use would be “plumber” or “plumbing.” To determine the existing Google category all you need to do is start typing the keyword in the Category section of the Google Business Listing (called Google Places) and Google will automatically suggest keyword terms that are relevant to your business. Just pick the one that suits your business best. That satisfies their requirement for using one of their existing categories. Now the other four (4) are up to you…and it’s important that you get this right as it can mean the difference between receiving multiple leads for your small business…or none at all.Choose Popular Keywords as CategoriesAs mentioned before, you want to use keywords and keyword phrases as your categories, but which ones do you choose? You’ll want to choose the ones that people search for the most, of course. Those most popular keywords will put your business in front of the most prospective customers and give your business the most visibility. And, guess what? Good ‘ol Google helps you with that, too. Just go to the Google AdWords Keyword Tool, enter a keyword in the “Word or phrase” box that describes your business, enter the letters displayed by the “captcha” security code and hit the “Search” button to get the list of keywords Google suggests. Pick the keywords with the most monthly searches that are also relevant to your business.But don’t stop there…Unfortunately for many (but fortunate for you), many businesses pick the four most popular keywords that are relevant to their business from the Google Keyword Tool, use those as their remaining categories and stop there…but that’s where they make a critical mistake because not all of those keywords result in a local search.Now this is a very important point so let’s be very clear. The key to identifying optimum categories is to make sure that the keywords that you pick are popular plus they must also produce a local search, too. Let’s look at an example -Let’s say you are a piano teacher, and you use the Google Keyword Tool to find the most popular keywords associated with your business. Google suggests the following keywords as popular keywords – “piano lessons”, “play piano,” “lessons piano,” and “how to play piano.” That sounds reasonable enough, but it isn’t until you check Google Search that you find some very important information. Only two of the keyword phrases produce a local search – “lessons piano” and “piano lessons.” The other two keyword phrases do not. Interesting!Keyword Lessons LearnedSo the lesson to be learned to get the most visibility for your local business is to choose popular keywords that are relevant to your business but also make sure that those keywords deliver local search results. If they don’t, you are wasting opportunities for your business listing to be shown and not fully utilizing the the visibility that Google wants to give you and your local business.
Having a business for sale can mean a lot of things – more than people might think. How does one business value compare to another, and how to arrive at that value? Because there are many types of businesses that exist for many different industries, it stands to reason there are numerous ways of approaching the process to find the value.There are the three main approaches to value, which are the income approach, the market approach, and the asset approach. There are variations of these approaches, and combinations of them, and things which must be looked at because each and every business will have variations of what gives the business worth, and some of these differences are substantial.First we must identify the type of sale: stock sale or asset sale. A stock sale is the sale of the company stock; the buyer is buying the company based upon the value of its stock, which represents everything in the business: earning power, equipment, goodwill, liabilities, etc. In an asset sale, the buyer is buying the company assets and capital which enable the company to make profits, but is not necessarily assuming any liabilities with the purchase. Most small businesses for sale are sold as an “asset sale”.Our question, when selling a business or buying a business, is this: what are the assets considered to arrive at an accurate value? Here we will look at some of the most common.1. FF and E: This abbreviation stands for furniture, fixtures, and equipment. These are the tangible assets used by the business to operate and make money. All businesses (with a few exceptions) will have some amount of FF&E. The value of these can vary greatly, but in most cases the value is included in the value as determined by the income.2. Leaseholds: the leasehold is the lease agreement between the owner of the property and the business that rents the property. The agreed upon leased space typically goes with the sale of the business. This can be a significant value, especially if there is an under market rate currently charged and the lessor is obligated to continue with the current terms.3. Contract rights: many businesses do business based on ongoing contracts, agreements with other entities to do certain things for certain periods of time. There can be immense value in these agreements, and when someone buys a business he or she is buying the rights to these agreements.4. Licenses: in certain business sales, licenses do not apply; in others, there can be no business without them. Building contracting is one of them. So is accounting. For a buyer to buy a business, his purchase includes either buying the license to the company or the license to the individual. Often times, the buyer will require the access or availability of the license as a contingent element of the sale.5. Goodwill: Goodwill is the earnings of a business above and beyond the fair market return of its net tangible assets. In other words, whatever the business makes in excess of its identifiable assets is considered “goodwill” income, where there exists a synergy of all of the assets together. This one can be tricky. Most business owners assume they have goodwill in their business, but goodwill is not always positive; there is such things as “negative” goodwill. If the business makes less than the sum total of its identifiable assets, there exists negative goodwill.6. Trade secrets: some businesses are all about secrets. The reason the business is in operation may be because of a trade secret, some aspect of a product or service that sets it apart and gives it a market. In a business purchase, these secrets have value and go with the sale.7. Trade names, telephone numbers, websites, and domain names: some businesses generate business simply because of its name and identifiable aspects. If those were to change, so would the profits. So in buying a business, the buyer will have need of those names and numbers to continue on in business. Of course, in some cases these things would not matter at all, and that is why each one must be approached individually.8. Works in progress: a construction company may have a multi-million dollar job going on at the time of the sale, which can take months to complete. In case such as this, the buyer would have need of continuing on in the particular job the company was engaged in; for money and for reputation. This is considered a work in progress and has value and therefore is considered an asset and made part of the sale.9. Business records: the history of a business detailed in documents and spreadsheets must necessarily become part of the business sale. The new owner can make use of records in identifying progress, tracking increased or decreased sales, adjusting expenditures and depreciation rates, etc. When someone purchases a business, they are buying the current operation and all the details that led to it.10. Real estate: the seller-owned property on which the business does its business is inherent to the operation and therefore the value. There are times when the new buyer needs to move the business to purchase it, but more often the real estate is viewed as a major aspect of the business value, especially if there is equipment attached to the property and buildings suited specifically to the business.When a business for sale is valued by a professional appraiser, a business broker, or a business owner, more than just the income is considered. Assets, economic values used by the business to produce revenue and profits, are weighed heavily to determine the worth of the business. And they must be considered to understand what a “business for sale” really means to a buyer.
Selling your business is an arduous and very demanding task; it is time consuming, stressful and often emotionally draining. Naturally the sale will dominate the owners thoughts and resources during this period and it is very easy for an owner to take their eye of the ball. The key to a successful sale is planning and preparation. Founders should build an exit strategy into their initial business plans, and this strategy should contain information on how the business will be advertised and marketed once the time has come for it to be sold.Owners who have not been through the process of selling a business before often underestimate how important it is to market, and package their business so that it appears attractive to potential buyers.As with all things pre-sale, the marketing must be thoroughly planned and executed perfectly. The aim of the marketing period is to drum up enough interest among qualified and motivated buyers to increase the chances of you business being sold for a premium. As many owners, business brokers and intermediaries will testify this is easier said than done.When attempting to market your business the first place you should start as an owner is your own market or industry. You will know your market better than any business broker or intermediary, and as a result you will know which individuals, companies or organizations will deem your business to be an attractive proposition. If you have decided to market and sell your business without the use of a professional you will have to find the balance between reaching the widest audience possible and keeping the fact you are selling away from those who do not need to know. Marketing your business is a delicate task, if you do not reach enough buyers you risk entering negotiations at a disadvantage, however if you market to aggressively you may end up alerting vendors, creditors, customers and key members of staff. The fact you are selling, may, in their eyes be an indication that something is wrong, and your business may turn south at the worst possible time. Therefore the marketing of your business must be carried out with the least possible disruption to the day to day running of the business. Once you have identified a list of suitable candidates you would be interested in speaking to you need to draw up a non-disclosure agreement, and following that the chief marketing tool which is the sales memorandum.There are hundreds of businesses for sale at any given time. To make your business stand out, you need to provide potential buyers with information that will help them to make an informed decision. A descriptive and well-organized sales memorandum will help in the sale process. The sales memorandum is a document which is used to present your company in the best possible light and motivate prospective buyers into making a solid enquiry. The sales memorandum can be prepared by a business broker, an accountant or by the owner of the company. This document will highlight all the positive things about the business and will help whet the appetite of potential buyers.The sales memorandum contains information on areas of possible growth and expansions, information on the unique value proposition of the business, its current assets, and key financial figures such as profit, cash flow, and total debt.This document should be tailored to the individual or group you are in negotiations with as different aspects of your business will appeal to different types of buyers. If you are talking to a company that offers a similar product, or serves a similar customer base as your own, your marketing efforts should be tailored to present your company as one which has a large and loyal customer base, in doing so you will increase the appeal of your company in the eyes of the buyer, and this will help you achieve a better deal during negotiations. If the buyer is part of a large conglomerate which is more interested in acquiring the skills of your workforce or the technology your business runs on, then these are the things which will need to be stressed within any marketing material you produce and put before them.During the sale process sellers must make sure that the business’ physical state is in good condition. The premises should be clean, the inventory current, and the equipment in good working order. It is very easy to overlook this during the marketing process, so you should ensure that your office, factory or shop is well kept, as a neglected workspace is often a red flag to many buyers. It is important to sell or dispose of any unused or outdated stock, apply a lick of paint to the premises, and check that all machinery and equipment is up to date and working, as many buyers will factor the cost of replacing or fixing damaged machinery into their offers. Doing this will create the impression of a well organized business and this inspires confidence in prospective buyers.Many owner managers do little, if any marketing once they have decided to put their business up for sale and as a result they can end up leaving money on the table when they eventually sell their business. Marketing, when done effectively can increase the amount the owner finally receives as there is nothing which drives up the price of a business then a room full of motivated buyers bidding on the business.
Organizations are in desperate need of creating predictable outcomes and managing the risk inherent in almost all of their project management initiatives. This is true whether they are designing products, performing services for clients, managing technology, implementing a government initiative, or any of a number of different projects. The purpose of this white paper is to identify five lessons (there are many more) that project management can learn from the aviation field to accomplish this objective of predictable outcomes and managed risk.Why Aviation?
Aviation is a rich source of information because it has already gone through the pain and consequences of not having predictable outcomes and has largely come through the other side. That is not to say that aviation is perfect, but aviation has done a stellar job of taking an inherently risky activity (flying) and creating safe, predictable outcomes. It has learned what is necessary.Project management does not pursue predictable outcomes to the same degree as aviation has pursued them. This may be due to the fact that the consequences of a failure in aviation are far higher than the consequences of a failure in the typical project that we manage.This idea of consequences is we target aviation as a good source. Aviation has been forced to develop methods of dealing with risk and creating predictable outcomes. Many of these same lessons that aviation has already been forced to learn can be applied directly to project management.Implement Predictable and Standardized Processes
When you fly, you cannot do things on a whim. There are specific procedures that you must follow. When an airliner comes in to land, there are certain things you do at certain times – when the flaps come down, when the landing gear comes down, the specific route to fly for a specific airport. If there is an emergency, there is a procedure for it. Pilots do not wonder what to do. They have been trained to follow certain procedures.Aviation has recognized the great importance of creating these predictable processes where risk is involved. For example, when approaching a major airport, there are documented, published procedures that every pilot must follow called Standard Terminal Arrivals (or STARs). A pilot will review these procedures even before they take off. When they are assigned by air traffic control what the currently used STAR procedure is, they know exactly what they will do and how they will fly. There is no “I wonder how we should fly into Atlanta today?” Project management cannot create predictable outcomes if it does not similarly implement predictable and standardized processes to deal with normal operations as well as contingencies.Here are some of the specific guidelines we can learn from aviation as to the implementation of these processes:The processes must be well documented and accessible.
Everyone must follow the processes.
Everyone must be continuously trained on the processes.
The processes must be continuously evaluated and improved over time.There are several advantages to implementing this in our project management practices. These advantages include:Eliminating confusion (everyone knows the proper steps and activities).
Providing a clear plan for how to produce a desired outcome.
Communicating the desired outcome.
Reducing workload by eliminating needless communications, decision making, and activities that should be routine.Just like aviation has created standard procedures to create the predictable outcome of landing at a major airport (thus making it safe and routine), project management needs standard procedures to create the predictable outcome of a new product, a customer implementation, a new service, or whatever your desired outcome happens to be.Defining Clear Roles and Responsibilities
Clear roles and responsibilities are critical in aviation. Each pilot knows their responsibility for each phase in flight and for every contingency. For example, when an airliner takes off, one pilot is the flying pilot and is focused on flying the airplane. The other pilot is the supporting pilot and does almost everything else such as talking with air traffic control, calling out airspeeds, and raising the landing gear and flaps at the appropriate times.In the Hudson River incident for US Airways flight 1549 was ditched in the Hudson River, there was a brief but interesting exchange on the cockpit voice recorder transcript. First Officer Skiles was the flying pilot, but after the incident with the birds, Captain “Sully” Sullenberger said “My Aircraft.” No additional explanation or instruction was given, but both pilots knew that their role had just changed. Captain Sully was now the flying pilot and First Officer Skiles focus shifted to getting out the emergency engine out checklists.The reason for these clear roles and responsibilities is because of the repercussions when they do not exist. In a lesser known event during the Apollo space program, Gene Cernan and John Young found their Apollo 10 lunar module (the one before the moon landing) spinning out of control. They were able to correct the situation, but the root cause was a simple misplaced switch. One pilot put the switch in one position. The other pilot inadvertently put the switch in the other position, not realizing what the first pilot had done. There was not a crystal clear distinction on who would throw the switch.How many times in project management has there been a lot of unneeded activity, lack of decision making, duplicate effort, or competing initiatives simply because roles and responsibilities have not been clearly defined? Aviation’s experience would offer valuable lessons to implement in project management including:Documenting roles and responsibilities (as opposed to assuming).
Setting roles and responsibilities for every project.
Setting roles and responsibilities for every process (that may be used across multiple projects).
Routinely communicating roles and responsibilities (instead of assuming everyone knows and understands them).
Continuously reviewing and updating responsibilities as needed.
Making sure that someone has the authority to make a decision.There are several tools and methodologies for accomplishing this, including creating a RACI (responsible / accountable / consulted / informed) matrix.A common argument is that people do not have the time for such definition. However, that is one of the benefits of doing so: to eliminate all of the time wasted because people do not understand everyone’s role. Additional benefits include:Understanding who has the authority to make a decision.
Preventing competing activities.
Knowing who to keep informed.
Implementing proper accountability.If your projects seem to be slowly spinning out of control, defining roles and responsibilities may be a good place to start.Implementing Accountability
Aviation does not assume that everyone is following the standardized processes and maintaining their responsibility. It implements accountability measures to ensure that this is the case.Pilots are required to attend training regularly where they learn new procedures, but they are also evaluated to ensure they are following proper procedures and have maintained a proper skill level. It doesn’t stop there. New pilots initially fly with an instructor pilot to ensure they are following what their training taught them. All pilots must occasionally fly with a check airman who evaluates the pilot’s performance in real-world operations. Captains hold First Officers accountable for following proper procedures.When procedures are not properly followed, there is a clear course of action. That may be as serious as action from the FAA, or dismissal, or perhaps a visit to the airline’s chief pilot’s office.Accountability is sometimes a bad word in project management but it is equally important. If people are not held accountable for following standardized procedures, how valuable are the procedures? Not very. If you are trying to implement predictable outcomes, how can you predict the outcome of a series of activities where people are not accountable to perform those activities in any sort of predictable fashion? You cannot.Accountability provides many benefits to project management as it does to aviation:It provides a clear view of what is expected of everyone.
It provides a clear understanding of what happens when the expectation is not met.
It ensures that activities are performed in a predictable fashion, thus contributing to a predictable outcome.Employ Effective Training
Most people assume that the pilots that are flying their airliner have been properly trained, but they do not give it any more thought. The fact is that training is a huge part of the aviation paradigm and for good reason. Who wants to go on a flight with their family and put their lives in the hands of poorly trained pilots? There are a couple of key facets of aviation training that stand out:
Training is continuous.
Training is comprehensive and diverse.We often view training as a one time event in project management. We train on a new system or to get a certain certification or learn a certain methodology. In aviation, training is a continuous part of the culture to create a safe, predictable outcome.Pilots go through weeks of training when they first hire on with an airline. After that initial intense training, they perform additional training through on the job supervision and one on one training. It does not stop there. At least once a year, pilots are required to attend extensive classroom and simulator training.The continuous training they undergo is also comprehensive and diverse in scope. It is not focused on a single area, such as technology or how to fly an airplane. Training includes at a minimum the following aspects:
Training on policies.
Training on standardized procedures.
Training on rules and regulations.
Training on roles and responsibilities.
Training on cockpit resource management (how to work better together).
Training on how to fly the airplane (skills).
Training on how to utilize the technology in the cockpit.
Training on the aircraft systems of the aircraft they will fly.
Training on contingencies.Our training in project management is often a single event or is focused on technology instead of on ensuring that everyone has the knowledge and skills to create a predictable outcome for the organization.Applying the experience of aviation, our project management training should turn into a continuous program. That does not mean it needs to always be formal training, but it does not to be continuously intentional.Training also needs to cover the following essential areas:
Training on the organization’s standardized processes and how to follow them.
Training on roles and responsibilities.
Training on skills (how to be a good project manager or team member).
Training on the technology that will be used to accomplish the processes and predictable outcomes.You cannot expect a predictable outcome if you do not regularly train people to create that predictable outcome.Utilize Proper Tools and Technology
There was an article in a recent aviation periodical that referred to a newer generation airliner as a “650,000 pound laptop.” This referred to the fact that there is a lot of technology in today’s airline cockpits. In fact, when a pilot moves to a new airplane, much of the training is not on how to fly the airplane but on the technology and aircraft systems that need to be mastered.Aviation uses technology to perform a number of support roles such as providing situational awareness during each phase in flight, and performing routine tasks that can be automated.If we take this lesson in the perspective of what we have learned so far, it should also be recognized that utilizing tools and technology is an important but balanced part of the predictability of aviation. This simply means that:Technology is not put off as not important to the overall goal of predictable outcomes.
Technology is also not overly emphasized over other aspects such as creating standardized processes.There are clear lessons to learn in project management. Too often in project management we either focus too much on the tools and not the processes, or we focus on the processes but use poor tools such as spreadsheets. Either way, it is hard to create an environment of predictable outcomes.Specifically in project management we need to use the right tools that:Support our standardized processes.
Provide situational awareness.
Provide up to date information that the organization needs.
Provides insight into problems.
Automates things that can easily be automated.
Provides data from which to learn and improve processes.Technology in the right context and usage provides another pillar from which to create those predictable outcomes.ConclusionAviation has already learned through much experience (some good and some not so good) the important lessons of how to create predictable outcomes and manage inherent risk. It provides a good source of information that can be applied to our project management practices. Specifically, project management needs to:Implement predictable and standardized processes
Define roles and responsibilities
Employ effective training
Utilize Proper Tools and TechnologyWhile certainly not an extensive list of the lessons that can be learned, these provide a good starting point to create the predictable processes in project management that our organizations today desperately need.
Digital Marketing is much like modern architecture in many ways. It is the way of the world and these guidelines are just a start to get your business off on the right foot. Mastering digital marketing isn’t a cakewalk. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, it is the required result of digital channels to promote or market products and services to consumers and businesses. It believed to be wavering these days as many companies that once used the old style of marketing are now going digital. It is essential in today’s world that a company which exists physically, must exist digitally as well. It is believed that existing digitally enhances advertising process. There exist a different and more approachable digital marketing tools like web designing, pay-per-click marketing, SMS, and email marketing. The following article will educate you in not one but many ways.Direct marketing and advertising is an advertising in which companies offer physical marketing and advertising materials to consumers to communicate details about a service or product. Inbound marketing can likewise be an essential tool in the continuing retention of present customers, by creating communication with those customers and enabling business to engage with other customers by giving informative, educational result together with product promotions. While outbound marketing could reach a larger audience, additionally, it runs the danger of barring uninterested consumers also. If you prefer to do better marketing without harming your finances, direct marketing will probably be somewhat decent for you. Second, content promotion is a pull, instead of a push, strategy. To the contrary, it is a refreshingly new concept in marketing which provides a unique comprehension of consumer behaviour.Content can typically be about a service or a product, it might be item, price, service charges or the selling of digital products like books, movies or software. It is something that helps in relaying old customers and thereby helps in pulling traffic from popular search engines. The very first and most crucial issue is quality content, try using attractive words that could connect nicely with readers. Step one on any advertising (or indeed, marketing) campaign needs to be to recognize the aims and goals of the campaign and the way they fit into the aims and goals of the business all around. Digital advertising and marketing campaigns will need to rely on these limits to be prosperous. Together with creating great advertising text (copy), you may want to study the way you can earn a corporation’s marketing campaigns visually appealing, through the usage of banners, images, videos and more.Although these facts may be true, but sometimes it gets difficult to do all these techniques in the company. Therefore, known and recognized companies and firms may hire a digital marketing agency to do on behalf of them. Most renowned digital marketing agency may not only offer quality and dependable benefits, also they have a digital marketing and advertising strategist which may help plan the most helpful campaigns. To be successful in today’s day, companies need to continuously create new content that doesn’t only get them found but also lets them capture leads. Soon it won’t be enough for businesses to understand what you might want. All businesses wish to strengthen their relationship with clients and prospects. Now everyone is aware of what the business is shooting for. It is essential that businesses optimize their online properties effectively to be able to get to the top of the entire important search engine result page.Even though many mistake digital for internet, to their surprise online marketing is only a part of the huge digital marketing framework. In a broader sense, the net is the centre of digital marketing. It has made easier for marketing managers to measure the results of a campaign. Since you can see the internet is by far not the only spot for marketers to assemble success, even in past couple of years. The web and the world have brought in an entire new perception of the advertising market. Thus, if you need to effectively advertise your business on the internet then seek the services of a renowned digital advertising company at the earliest.
The only hope: let’s go back to its roots.The best thing that ever happened to social media marketing was the hacking of the 2016 US election of Donal Trump by the Russians. Why? Because it laid bare what many in social media marketing has known for a long, long time: that social media platforms are a joke, their valuations are based on imaginary users, and their integrity lies somewhere between Lucifer and that guy who eats people’s faces in the movies.For marketing consultants such as myself, recommending existing social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram has been increasingly difficult, because -quite frankly- many of us don’t trust the metrics.And why should we? Facebook doesn’t.This is from Facebook’s 2017 SEC filing (emphasis mine):The numbers for our key metrics, which include our daily active users (DAUs), monthly active users (MAUs), and average revenue per user (ARPU), are calculated using internal company data based on the activity of user accounts. While these numbers are based on what we believe to be reasonable estimates of our user base for the applicable period of measurement, there are inherent challenges in measuring usage of our products across large online and mobile populations around the world.The largest data management company in the world says it doesn’t really know if its numbers are accurate. Estimates? What marketing professional wants estimated results after the fact?It gets worse. Emphasis mine:In the fourth quarter of 2017, we estimate that duplicate accounts may have represented approximately 10% of our worldwide MAUs. We believe the percentage of duplicate accounts is meaningfully higher in developing markets such as India, Indonesia, and the Philippines, as compared to more developed markets. In the fourth quarter of 2017, we estimate that false accounts may have represented approximately 3-4% of our worldwide MAUs.Let that sink in. Facebook is admitting that “approximately” 10% of its monthly active users are fake. Interestingly, they don’t mention what percentage of their daily active users are fake.And that’s the problem with social media. You don’t know what’s real and what’s fake anymore.Social media hasn’t been real for a while.As marketers and advertisers, we pride ourselves on accuracy. In the olden times of marketing and advertising, we obsessed over rating numbers of tv shows, readership for print promotions, and delivery success rates for direct mail.In all cases, the platforms of the day were heavily audited. You knew, with fair certainty, was the audiences were for any particular medium or channel because there was usually a point of review somewhere for the numbers.Traditional media such as radio, TV, and print had been around long enough that there were thousands of case studies one could study the success or failures of individual campaigns. Because these mediums were part of the public record, it was easy to work backward to see what mix of media and budget worked and what didn’t.As an industry, we could quickly establish benchmarks for success – not just based on our personal experiences- but in the collective experiences of very clear strategies laid bare for everyone to dissect.Well, that all went out the window with social media.Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram’s numbers were always a joke.In days of yore, company valuation was based on revenues, assets, and human capital, and performance.That all changed when someone came up with the concept of “daily active users.”The race to gain users became the driving force for social media platforms in a way that we’ve never seen before. Now, the obsession with user growth opened the door to advertising and marketing fraud on a scale that just wasn’t possible previously.Let’s get something clear: any platform that allows for people to create thousands of fake profiles so others can buy likes, followers, retweets, or shares is toxic to advertisers and brands alike.Now, I understand that the word “allows” is doing a lot of work in that sentence, so let me expand a bit what I mean.I don’t think I’ll get many arguments when I say that -regardless of what I think of them- the most successful social media platforms on the planet are also some of the most sophisticated technological enterprises on the planet. They have -arguably- some of the best AI around, as their entire business models revolve around being able to crunch numbers, facts, and obscure pieces of data millions of times a second.They are also massive corporations, with an army of lawyers and IP bulldogs waiting to protect their brand against any hostile outside forces.So explain to me, how is it, that even after all we have seen in the news people can still buy Facebook likes, or Twitter followers, or Instagram fans?The reason: it was always a scam. And we got conned along with everyone else.If your company is valued on your number of users and the activity of those users on your platform, what do you care if they are fake or not? If you did, you’d hire an armada of auditors to ensure the integrity of your userbase. I don’t believe they ever did and will never do this.Social platforms deploy their honey trap.Initially, social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter lured brands and companies onto their platforms with promises of free marketing and advertising. The ability to quickly grow a fanbase and follower base, without the need of hiring marketing shmucks like me. Why waste time on hiring a professional when you can do it all yourself for nothing?At first, I was a supporter of this. I believed that marketing and advertising was often something that only larger companies could afford, and that small business marketing was being left behind. Social media marketing allowed for even a mom and pop shop to compete online.So many businesses spent countless hours and thousands of dollars in human resources to grow their followers online.Having lured them into their honey trap, social media companies then held followers and fans hostages. You had to pay to have access to the userbase that you built up and cultivated.Suddenly the numbers didn’t make any sense. You had to pay to promote or boost posts when previously it was free. The result was disastrous for many businesses. The ROI’s didn’t add up, but with so many of their customers on these platforms, they had little choice but to continue to try and get whatever value they could for them.Moreover, the move to such promotions opened up the Pandora’s box to further abuses. The drive for revenue seemingly caused social platforms to continue to look the other way on fake profiles and social media bots because they drove ad sales. Personal data was harvested and manipulated in ways that users could not fathom and did not agree to.Mostly, it did something to marketing that I’m not sure we can recover. For many digital marketing firms and marketing agencies, it forced us to down the Kool-aid with everyone else. People that should have known better doubled down on social media marketing for our clients when we knew -for most of them- it was unnecessary.Marketing and advertising agencies became accomplices after the fact.Like I said earlier, marketing and advertising agencies and consultants are supposed to obsess with accuracy. We want our clients to have the very best ROI available.However, like professionals in any business vertical, we’re self-serving.One of my favourite examples of how people who would know better will say anything for a buck is real estate agents.Have you EVER heard a real estate agent tell you it’s a wrong time to buy a house? In all of my days, I have never read an article by a real estate agent saying that people should hold off on a purchase. House prices going up? A great time to buy; you’ll make your money back immediately! House prices going down? It’s a buyers market! Lock in your savings now!Marketing and advertising professionals did something similar with social media marketing.We saw the platforms’ rise in popularity and didn’t want to get caught in a lurch. The buzz was building behind them, and clients were often demanding us to help them. So -even though Facebook and Twitter were mostly unproven with little to no actual case studies to speak of- many firms told their clients to throw money into the black hole of social.What was the result? The majority of social media campaigns are disasters. I only know of a fraction of companies that continue with any seriousness on social media compared to the rates companies did with traditional advertising or even SEO and non-social digital ads.You see it in the positioning. When digital marketers talk about social media, they discuss it regarding “reach,” “exposure,” “presence,” “awareness.” That’s code word for “throw your money away.” Do an online search of the effectiveness of social media, and you will find the results filled with SEO and social media marketers praising the platforms and the strategies.Real marketers talk about ROI. Impact on sales, and impact on lead generation. You can’t pay the rent on brand awareness. I’m saying this as someone who builds brands for a living.And it’s not just me saying this. One of the largest brands in the world, Proctor & Gamble, gutted their ad budget and walked away from a host of agencies because of digital advertising and marketing fraud.Social sharing has been automated to death:According to Buzzsumo, average social shares per article had declined by 50 percent in 2017 in comparison to 2015. Their data also shows how fast most hot topics become saturated with articles, leading to only a relatively few winners getting the majority of the societal shares and hyperlinks.Another found that, that bots automate nearly two-thirds -66%- of all HTML links posted on Twitter.Again, if social media platforms truly valued their user-experience and cared about social being social, they would have banned such practices years ago. No more social automation. If you want to engage with your fans and followers, you have to be there for them. You have to be live, online, ready to connect.However, bots are good for business. They boost their daily active user accounts; they make their platforms look more popular than they are. Bots post content, bots like content, bots share content, bots follow people, bots message people -it’s endless.Bots account for an ungodly 52% of internet traffic in 2017. That number is only set to rise further as social media continues to be an arms race. Caught in the middle of all of this are businesses who think their digital marketing metrics have any meaning.Your Influencer isn’t that influential.I’m a firm believer in influencer marketing because I believe it is a natural extension of relationship marketing. People will buy from people they trust and will accept the suggestions of people they like.However, with the growth of online influencers, things have taken a turn for the surreal.First off, many fans and followers of social media influencers are as fake as anything. Social media bots follow celebrities as a means to spam their pages and/or a means to scrape a list of people to spam later with content.Secondly, as marketers and advertisers, we are supposed to care about accuracy. But the ability to verify the fan base of an influencer is almost impossible within the platforms. You have to go to third-party apps to try and get any real understanding of the legitimacy. Moreover, even then, you are at the mercy of the third-party to provide you with accurate data. Should Instagram decide to shut down the API to these applications, you will have no idea how popular your influencer is.The future of social media: live, direct, and transparent.The way to solve the social media problem we’re facing today is simple: social media was great when it was social and personal. A return to the basics is needed.No more automationIf you don’t have the time or the energy or the interest actually to ENGAGE with human beings, then social media is not for you. What’s more, you’re not for social media.Automation should stop. Period. Let’s return to a more natural engagement between brands, companies, customers and leads. Human interaction is the most powerful driver of revenue and sales, as is the best metric for the real value of a platform.See and be seenThe use of live video to establish authenticity in an age where everything is anonymous will be a dominant driver of change in the next five years. Instead of hiding behind memes, and curated content, companies should leverage influencers and their employees to champion their brands. Reconnect with the basics: one-to-one or one-to-many communications.The revolt of investorsI genuinely believe that the majority of social media firms have fudged the books when it comes to their userbase, activity, and popularity. It’s time for investors to demand third-party audits of the data before the entire house of card falls on people’s heads.Look, I’m a marketing consultant. I enjoy using social media. It allows me to stay in touch with the people and the brands I care about most in the world. But at the heart of it is a flaw -a glitch in the Matrix- that needs to be sorted out.There’s a bubble out there, and social media firms that allow for fake profiles and anonymous users are at the heart of it.
Even a person with significant financial or business knowledge finds navigating the financial world difficult. The world of finance is a world full of legal riddles and unfamiliar speech. To help professionals and laypersons to maneuver in this complex world, a multitude of analysis tools, like a finance calculator, comes into play.
A finance calculator is an online tool which allows anyone to calculate the specific data for a financial plan that works with a client’s specific budget to meet their specific needs. There is a finance calculator for everyone.
The most popular financial calculator is used to calculate mortgages and their impact on one’s household budget. These mortgage calculators compute amounts of monthly payments as well as the impact of any prepayments. Using a mortgage calculator, a potential owner can determine how much he can afford in a mortgage as well as if he would like a 15-year or 30-year term mortgage and which is the best for his current and potential financial situations. Often mortgage calculators help consumers determine if refinancing their current mortgage is a worthwhile investment of time and their money.
Mortgage calculators help a consumer become financial-savvy and easily able to determine if a fixed or flexible interest rate is better for them or if allowing for adjustments would be a high risk or low risk course of action.
Other financial calculators cover a variety of financial areas including:
1. Retirement Savings and Planning
2. Social Security Payments
3. Roth IRA and Traditional IRA analysis
Additional business calculators provided necessary tools and information for sales volume analysis,
cash flow calculations, inventory assessments, working capital needs and financial profit to loss ratios.
Loan calculators are financial assessment tools that allow a consumer to break down and understand loan amortization, debt consolidation, the details of loan and credit payments and how to compare the specifics of certain loans such as car loans.
Credit cards and debt calculators offer items for determining the debt amount, accelerated debt payoff, and credit card payoff.
Savings calculators are helpful to determining all aspects of savings as related to short-term goals as well as long-term goals. There are even financial tools for calculating taxes as well as the impact inflation with have on our financial affairs.
No matter what the financial area, there is a financial calculator available to help each of us understand the numerical specifics that make up our financial well-being.
Finding a car loan finance calculator can help you determine the best rate, amount and payment terms for your new or used car loan. These calculators are an important part of the car financing process. Thanks to the Internet, you can now find a variety of car loan finance calculators with just the click of your mouse.
Car loans help you finance the purchase of an automobile. They can be used for new or used cars, but normally you need to purchase through a dealership of some sort in order to get a loan. Car loans may or may not require a down payment, depending on your credit score, your income and how much you want to borrow.
Before you find a calculator and plug in your numbers, make sure that you are using the right kind of loan calculators. There are tons of loan calculators available online, but not all are for auto loans. Real estate loans, commercial loans and credit cards all have calculators available online. Be sure you’re using an auto loan calculator.
Car loan finance calculators will help you determine what is possible based on your qualifications. You’ll need to enter the amount of the loan you want to obtain, the rate of the loan and the length of repayment. Auto loans normally run for 36, 48 or 60 months. The longer the term of the loan, the lower your payments will be. However, you’ll also have to pay more interest if your loan is for a longer period of time.
The car loan calculator will help you find a variety of different options for your car loan. You can play around with the different figures to see how your rate will be improved by different factors. Advanced car loan finance calculators will give you extra details on your loan that will help you evaluate it more carefully. You’ll be able to see how much interest you can save by having a shorter term loan or how much of a difference a few percentage points of interest can make.
Loan calculators will help you evaluate the best options for you before you go shopping for a car loan. By using a calculator before you shop, you can find out what type of rate you can expect. You should note that a loan calculator is just a tool to use. It is not a guarantee that you’ll get those rates. Banks have different rates for auto loans, so it pays to shop around. In addition to considering the amount of money that you want to borrow, the bank will also look at the current interest rates and your ability to repay.
After finding a variety of quotes with an online car loan finance calculator, you’ll be better prepared to find out more about a car loan from a lending institution. For the most accurate rate, you should meet with a loan officer or contact a lending institution online. While you’ll be able to plug numbers into a calculator, you won’t know the exact rate you’ll receive.
For anyone who is involved the financial health of any organization, a finance calculator can be a great asset. Here are some examples of situations where this specialized calculator would make the task a much easier.
When a business needs to borrow a sum of money, one of the first things to that much be agreed upon is how must interest the organization can afford to pay over time, including the principle. Projecting the interest plus the principle lump sum and then breaking it down into payments can help the borrower have a better handle on what the business can afford in the way of payments on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. Having a calculator that has the proper features to run these projections makes the process much quicker, and allows the borrower to be better informed when approaching a financial institution about obtaining the loan.
Individuals who are engaged in the process of approving persons for loans will also find a finance calculator to be a great help. With the calculator at your elbow, you can run various repayment scenarios with ease, which will allow you to present the various repayment options that are available to a given client. Between the two of you, it is possible to arrive at terms that are acceptable to both the lender and the borrower in a very short period of time.
Having the right kind of calculator also makes the business of analyzing the current financial health of a business much easier as well. Utilizing a good quality finance calculator, persons who are involved with the Payables and Receivables can work hand in hand with finance directors. Together, they can get an accurate assessment of the company finances as they stand today, as well as where they should be in a week, a month, and a year. This sort of information can be especially helpful with a new business that is just beginning to find its legs or a company that has been through some rough times and is now showing signs of becoming profitable. With both of these situations, basing expenditures on accurate projections will help them both to continue on the road to success.
While a finance calculator may not offer much in the home setting, they can come in handy for some people who have a rather detailed budget and require additional tracking and projections compared to the rest of us. Helping to project expenditures when one has household staff, college tuition, and loans for home improvement to incorporate into the household budget may find that this more robust calculator would be a better choice than the standard calculator.