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Unique Australian handcrafted teddies

The most distinctive Australian Teddy Bears can be found at Tambo Teddies in Queensland. They have created a unique range of quality handcrafted Australian teddy bears from natural woollen sheepskin which are delivered around the world. The teddies are so highly regarded that in recent years they have been given to royalty visiting Australia. www.tamboteddies.com.au

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4 ways to avoid burnout in small business

How many cups of coffee do you need to get through your workday? If the answer seems to keep climbing, while your energy levels only drop, you might be suffering from burnout. Burnout in leaders and small business owners is incredibly common due to the long hours and high-stakes decisions required to run your own business. Given the effect that burnout can have, it’s important to take steps to mitigate it to ensure the health of both you and your business. If you aren’t sure whether or not you’re burned out, look for these common signs: feeling a lack of purpose or drive, feeling a loss of confidence, experiencing excess cynicism, increased mistakes on a daily basis, and physical exhaustion or even sickness. Here are few key ways to reduce your small business burnout: 1. Lean on others. Whether you have a formal mentor, a partner, or a wise friend, asking people for advice can be a great way to take some of the burden off your own shoulders. And it’s been proven that business owners who have mentors are more likely to find success in their business. In addition to leaning on others, it’s important to trust your employees and colleagues with other tasks. If you have too much on your plate every week, it’s likely past time to delegate a few tasks to a capable employee. 2. Establish a work-life balance. Do your best to assign yourself acceptable working hours, and only work within them. Working weekends, responding to a critical email at midnight, and planning the next day’s events won’t give you the proper time away from your work you need. Not only will setting healthy boundaries help you avoid burnout, but time away from work can clear your mind so you work more efficiently and require fewer hours for the same tasks. 3. Remember why you started. If you’re feeling just plain demotivated, take some time to reflect on why you started. Try writing down a mission statement or set of values for your business. Thank about your motivating factors for going it alone. Was it for more freedom? Greater opportunities? To be able to give back, or support the ones you care about? Reconnect with your original motivations.  Not only that, but do your best not to get too caught up in the results, rather than enjoying the process. 4. Get Organized. The last and most obvious step if you’re still struggling with too many tasks that can’t be delegated and have to get done, is to make your processes more efficient. Organize your desk so you don’t waste anymore time searching for notes or files. Set up a time management calendar with every task for the week, and simplify communications with your team by using a project management software. You’ll be amazed how much time staying organized saves you. Brigid Ludwig Content Marketing Specialist, Seige Media www.fundera.com

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6 simple points to address in a startup

When you are starting a business you will experience many difficulties and stressful times, as well as fun. You can overcome difficulties if you address some crucial points right at the beginning of the business. Given below are points that, if you follow them properly, can help in laying a solid foundation for the startup. Understand your idea This sounds obvious as you can never start a business without an idea or a vision. You will be surprised however to know that a number of startup founders believe that they have a good idea, but they find it extremely difficult to explain it. Founders often face difficulties in explaining their ideas and vision to others or they explain it in different ways when asked by different people. This sends mixed messages to the potential investors as well as to potential customers and it can have a negative effect on your business. Keeping your basics clear like who you are, what you are doing and why is extremely important. When you understand your idea well you can state your purpose which is increasingly important for all organisations, including startups. IdeaSpies is a platform that encourages startups to post their ideas simply as “elevator pitches” so they can be well understood. This is a free service. 2. Set out the values of your startup It is important that you specify the values of your startup. You need to set a few core values which will be helpful for you, as well as for any supporters and employees, to understand the behaviours you are encouraging in your startup. These values will be important when you are thinking of expanding the team and the business, as well as how it is explained. Values help in keeping people connected with your business moving in a similar direction. 3. Understand the target market When you have a good idea, can express it well and the core values have been set, you should do research to determine your most likely customers. You should first try to understand what potential customers think about your idea and how they could use it.    You also need to conduct research to understand if similar products or services are already present in the market so you have a clear understanding of the competition. Narrow down the research to a particular group and gather important demographic information like gender, location, age, job and income range. There are many ways to do research depending on your idea. 4. Brand your startup When the vision of your business has been clearly explained and the target market has been identified, you will need to consider branding. Your brand is related to the vision for your business and the core values that you have set. You need to consider the tone and the visual language Ensure that it can be identified easily and is beautiful and eye-catching. It’s not easy to attract attention in a crowded marketplace. A good brand connects with people at an emotional level, they feel good when they buy the brand. 5. Share your idea Ensure that you are active on  social media to get as much free publicity as possible. Set up  social media accounts for your startup that connect to a website. Ensure your website is mobile friendly mobile friendly as many people prefer using smartphones instead of desktops or laptops. 6. Do your sums A financial analysis is an important part of starting a business. You need to add the expenses: overheads, the projected cost of wages, purchases and everything else your startup will need. You also need to make assumptions to estimate the income needed to cover expenses and make a profit. At least a 3 year budget for income and expenses is suggested to survive in a competitive market. Isabella Rossellini  Liberty Lending

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How to use AI in E-commerce

Do you run an e-commerce store that sells fast moving products or services? Well, if you do, then you are lucky. Research by Statistica shows that in 2018,  total e-commerce sales hit $2.8 trillion. It is expected that this figure will significantly increase in 2019, and might hit $4.88 trillion by 2021. This means that, if you do everything right and reach a wider target market, your business will grow tremendously. Similar to e-commerce,  artificial intelligence (AI) is another booming field. A survey by Statistica shows that the global revenue of products and services using AI is over $482 billion, and is expected to hit $3.61 trillion by 2024. With the above statistics, you learn one lesson – if you want to succeed in your e-commerce endeavours, you should incorporate AI. But how do you do this? Below are some innovative ways you can use AI for your e-commerce store: Provide A-class service Today, your credibility, trust, and reputation are dependent on how you serve your customers. If they have a bad experience, they are not likely to come back to your business, and they will most likely give you poor reviews in multiple review sites. However, if you give them the best customer service, they will come back for more, refer you to others and give you good reviews which will enhance your reputation. You can use AI to enhance customer service by using chatbots, which give customers 24/7 customer support even when you are not online. Chatbots are capable of saving you money by improving response times and offering quick solutions to the most pressing issues about your website. They also enhance personalisation in your business, which goes a long way to increasing sales and profit margins. Optimise searches and recommendations Most people who visit your e-commerce store will search for products using natural language, and if they are unable to find them, they will believe they are having a bad shopping experience and leave your site. You can fix this by using AI. Today, it is not wise to create a search box and leave it as it is. Instead, optimise it and include some recommendations with the help of AI. For example, when a user searches for a product the system could automatically recommend similar products and display their prices. This will ultimately increase your sales. Retarget potential clients Are there people who showed interest in your products or services, but never completed a transaction, or didn’t perform any action? You don’t have to ignore them and carry on with your business life. You can retarget them using AI. AI will automate your sales process and give you necessary information such as user behaviour which you can then use to retarget your client. It will also give you insights on the types of products you can target for a particular audience depending on their behaviour patterns. You can also use AI to; Create an efficient sales process through voice and natural language inputs Identify exceptional target prospects through predictive analysis Automate back-office processes such as product data management and manual mapping of products If you want your e-commerce store to succeed don’t treat AI as an emerging technology. Treat it as a mature technology, and use it in the innovative ways mentioned above.  Danny Kariuki  https://fitzallblades.com

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Sparking useful ideas by creating an innovative culture

Research has shown that long term organisational success depends on developing, testing and implementing new ideas- not being satisfied with the status quo.  The increasing pace of change resulting from the digital age is putting more pressure on the need for ideas that lead to new products and services as well as ideas that improve the way we work. The easiest way to get ideas to improve your business is from your employees. They understand your business and want you to succeed, so why don’t most organisations do this well? There are three key reasons: Established organisations are focused on execution. Managers want their people to focus on what needs to be done soon rather than think about the future. Many managers believe that ideas from lower level staff are not useful, hence it’s a waste of time to ask for and consider them. There isn’t a simple process to capture and rate ideas from employees. An innovative culture- what is it? The most successful organisations have leaders who understand the value of innovation and address the above issues They encourage an innovative culture by offering positive employee experiences which results in high employee engagement The best people stay and there is a constant flow of ideas that improve the business. Innovative cultures offer jobs that promote teamwork and offer opportunities to make a contribution so talented people can learn and progress. When a culture is innovative, people are honest and open, encouraged to share ideas and able to explore initiatives without fear of failure. There is recognition that failing to try anything new is often the biggest risk. People feel more empowered and rewarded when they know that they will receive credit for ideas they suggest, their ideas will be seriously considered for testing or implementation, and rewards are both transparent and timely. For anyone thinking that innovation is a fad, 2018 marked adoption of the world’s first global standard for innovation processes. We all have choices about how much thought and time we put into something. When our ideas and suggestions are not adequately considered we just seek to contribute elsewhere. Insync research has shown that 51% of people rate lack of job enrichment as the most important reason they leave their job. More and more people want to work in an innovative culture where work has meaning, brands have genuine value and new thinking leads to useful ideas being implemented. Purpose and passion are now the lifeblood of a successful organisation. Organisations with innovative cultures embracing new thinking are the most likely to succeed. Encouraging an innovative culture Leading tech companies have innovative cultures. However many more established organisations have hierarchical structures that make it difficult to adapt to change. Therefore they are vulnerable to disruption. To avoid disruption and encourage an innovative culture there must be leadership from the top with innovation as a key strategic focus. There needs to be a process for encouraging useful ideas that’s well understood. Some organisations have established innovation management positions that are tasked with promoting and supporting innovation across the organisation. Other suggestions to encourage an innovative culture are: including ideas from employees or innovation on committee agendas, an award for innovation, investing in an idea capture tool that gives people at all levels a voice in contributing ideas, and ensuring leaders are well trained so they are receptive to suggestions and ideas from their employees. Innovation should involve all people in an organisation, not just a select few. IdeaSpies Enterprise is a new idea capture tool that’s designed to turn the tide in your favour… naturally.

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Detecting cancer from a drop of blood

Researchers from the University of Kansas have developed a new type of microfluidic lab-on-a-chip which is optimized for detecting exosomes, the tiny parcels of biological information that carry important instructions for tumor growth. In recent years, biologists have mapped exosome behavior to detect cancer. This new device significantly improves exosome detection. It can produce these microfluidic sensors in a cheaper, easier and faster way.. https://www.futurity.org/cancer-blood-lab-on-a-chip-1992392/

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Thumb prints instead of passwords

Google and Android are eliminating the need for passwords on mobile devices, while simultaneously making interactions more secure. Creating and remembering secure passwords is a growing problem and drain on productivity. Android is making it possible to log in to websites in Chrome via thumbprint identification or hardware dongles like a YubiKey. This security move will affect over one billion devices. Android developers will be able to design simpler interactions into their websites, dramatically improving ease of use. https://www.wired.com/story/android-passwordless-login-fido2/

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Birth control for mosquitoes voted top idea at Ashurst Boardroom Lunch

Three ideas from IdeaSpies were presented by Rachel Tate at the Ashurst March 2019 Boardroom Lunch. The idea receiving the most votes from directors was birth control for mosquitoes! This idea now goes to the final at the December Boardroom Lunch to select the top idea for the year. www.ideaspies.com/preventing-diseases-by-stopping-mosquitoes-reproduce/.

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How to get your startup noticed- be interesting and interested!

You’ve got a great business, but no one knows about it. Time to get yourself noticed. And sites like Ideas Spies are always on the hunt for people doing new and interesting things. So how do you go about it? ‘Be interesting and interested’ A former boss of mine had a phrase for most scenarios. Little pocket-sized mantras. ‘Be interesting and interested’ sounds obvious, but it involves being able to know what will appeal to others. You spent time honing the audience for your product – now you should spend a little time reading the media to understand which journalists already write about your sector, and what gets them excited. Would I read it? Generally the media will be looking for a human interest angle – whether that’s your founder’s story or the impact you’ve had on your customers’ lives. Stats will help to quantify success in the mind of a journalist or their readers (number of users, fundraising figures, etc). At the end of the day, ask yourself if you would read the article if it wasn’t about you. Not every announcement is going to cause bottle-popping celebrations outside of your business. Which is fine. For those stories which you ‘have’ to get out there, make them work from an SEO perspective and document it on a free listings site like: PRLog, BusinessWire, PRweb, MediaPost, there are hundreds of sites – just Google ‘free press release distribution’. Thinking about context You will need to demonstrate that you’re aware of things outside of your own world. Be interested in what is going on in your industry and trends from other sectors. It will help you when you’re trying to illustrate to the media where your business sits in the wider world. What are you doing that others aren’t? Does your business sit in a trend which a journalist can include in a wider feature? Get out there The ‘be interesting and interested’ advice applies to networking too. It’s not all take. The most famous startup communities are well-known because of the amount of time people give back. But you need to build your network. Event sites like Meetup and Eventbrite will give you access to a world of people who could help your business. Give up the occasional evening and reap the rewards. Most of these events are free and it could result in your startup’s next investment. If your startup is based on a clever idea, which it should be, you can also post your “elevator pitch” on IdeaSpies for free. ‘What matters is what matters, to the people that matter’ When speaking with the media be aware that the journalist will likely have to pitch in your idea to their editor. So think like an editor and argue why readers will be interested in your story. Tips Avoid jargon – general rule, if you can’t explain it in a sentence your mum would understand it’s too complicated. Talk about the benefits not your product – why should the reader care about your business? Get to the point – who, what, where, when, why in two paragraphs both in emails and releases. Look for journalists who write similar stories – both Fairfax and News Corp news brands have ‘Small Business’ sections looking for startups to feature. Liam Fitzpatrick , Communications Manager of  Freelancer, recently talked about getting PR for your startup as part of the StartCon Leadership series.

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