How to Determine Your Market Profitability

From: Intuit QuickBooks, by April Maguire on June 25, 2014

When it comes to market profitability, not all industries are created equal. According to Bloomberg’s Industry Leaderboard, while Apple commands the largest percentage of the computer hardware market, that market ranked No. 51 (of 60) in terms of profitability. The most profitable markets include banking, tobacco, biotech, internet media and rail freight transportation.

When determining your business’ performance, assessing your market’s profitability helps you determine whether or not your company can attain success selling a given product or service to your target audience. 

Determining Market Profitability 

While finding a niche market for your business may seem simple, determining the potential profitability of that market is more complex. Market profitability refers to the financial factors that affect a company’s ability to make money after subtracting overhead costs like employee salaries, rent and equipment. Whether you’re starting a new business or just introducing a different product in your market, it’s important that you determine whether the market can support you and your goals.

Along with determining the interest level in your product, you need to assess the competition among similar industries in the area. One of the most useful frameworks for determining market profitability is known as “Porter’s Five Forces.” Developed by economist Michael Porter, the framework assesses the following elements that affect a market’s profit potential: <READ MORE>

8 Essential Functions for the Right Task Manager

From: Law Technology Today, by: Gwynne Monahan  , September 15, 2014

On any given day, there is a lengthy list of items to be completed. Phone calls. Emails. New client meetings. Follow-ups.

In this episode of the Kennedy-Mighell ReportDennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell discuss taming the to-do list, their own approaches to using technology to help with task management, and questions every lawyer should ask when looking for a management tool to suit their needs. Kennedy shapes his list management around David Allen’s “Getting Things Done,” a system which allows him to see his weekly calendar as a big picture and sort priorities to avoid being overwhelmed by the enormous list of projects. Mighell says lawyers should watch for eight essential functions when looking for the right task manager:

  • Available on Multiple Platforms
  • Ease of Entry
  • Recurring Tasks
  • Multi-List Capable
  • Assign Priority Levels
  • GTD Functionality
  • Notes and Attachments
  • Ability to Share Task Lists

He recommends every lawyer weigh the importance of each of these before choosing a task management tool. Both @DennisKennedy and @TomMighell stress that this is a personal choice and ask the listeners for feedback on the to-do technologies they like best.

The Rise of the Robot Pitchman

From Mashable – Business – September 15, 2014 – by Sam Ewen

At one time it seemed like everywhere we looked we were seeing some animated baby mouth trying to sell us something. If it wasn’t a baby, it was an animal. We couldn’t trade stocks, buy insurance or sign-up for phone service without having some ridiculously cute, but somewhat creepy uber-intelligent and anthropomorphized being whispering tag lines into our brains.

Recently, it feels like the tide is starting to shift, and no, those babies are not growing up into spokestoddlers. The current must-have ad accessory is going a little more high-tech.  Enter the era of the robotic shill.

Robots are au courant. Robots are the future. But can robots make a brand seem…cool? Somewhere the robotic head of Philip K. Dick is smiling.

Companies from Cadillac to Maker’s Mark are utilizing automatons to make us think that not only are they the brands of today, but instead are furtively grasping at the future. And to be clear, we are not talking about CGI hyper-real fiction droids like Svedka’s discontinued Fembot. These are real, bread and butter, build-me-a-Tesla-type robots. Ones that, if we are not careful, may evolve into Skynet. <READ MORE>

7 Steps to a Happy, Authentic Company Culture

From: Mashable Business,

When I started my company 15 years ago, I didn’t really know — or care — what “company culture” meant.

I figured it was a concept that only mattered to MBAs and struggling companies. I was laser-focused on building quality products and services, not fluffy-sounding “company culture.”  In other words, my company’s culture developed pretty organically.

But, during the process of building a business, I learned the value of a positive, authentic culture. And, almost without realizing it, I learned how to build one from scratch. From one employee to the hundreds we now employ in cities around the globe, my team and I have built a culture we can be proud of.

Below, I’ve outlined tips for fostering a company culture that will make work both fun and rewarding, for you and your employees.<READ MORE>

It’s finally here: Apple’s first foray into wearable technology is called Apple Watch

From GIGAOM – By , September 10, 2014

Summary: The speculation is over: Apple’s long-rumored smartwatch is called the Apple Watch. Pricing starts at $349 and it will be available in early 2015.               <READ MORE>

 

Ditching Paper Signatures: Are All Electronic Alternatives Equal?

From: Law Technology Today, By Eliya Fishman August 28, 2014

More than 90% of the world’s digital data has been generated within the last two years. Everything around us is moving faster. Our on-demand, in-an-instant mindset has zero tolerance for bandwidth limitations and mobility constraints. And then, we suddenly find ourselves facing a stack of paper that should have been signed yesterday…

Paper might be dying, but the tried and true process of ‘printing to sign’ continues to linger. In fact, according to a recent ALM Media online reader survey on signature-dependent processes and the use of digital signatures, 49% of all documents are printed for the sole purpose of adding signatures. And with 47% of respondents signing documents at least four times per week, you can quickly figure out what that means in terms of wasted resources, precious time, and money. Speaking of time, the survey also revealed that processes involved with obtaining physical signatures were extended by 1.24 days on average, spelling potential disaster for time-sensitive transactions. <READ MORE>

 

3 Steps to Producing Powerful Passwords

From: Law Technology Today – Posted by: Craig Huggart  September 4, 2014

What do you do when that dreaded moment comes when you have to come up with another password? Maybe they are out there but I don’t know anyone who thinks coming up with passwords and remembering them is fun.

On the one hand, if you use a password that is easy to remember it will likely be easy to hack (and probably won’t meet the password requirements). On the other hand, if you use a complicated password it will be difficult to remember. Let’s take a look at how you can easily balance these two tensions by using a proven 3 step method.

What are the goals?

To create reasonably secure passwords. First off, it is impractical to memorize unique passwords for all the places you need them. That why I recommend using a password manager. Instead, the goal is to create secure passwords for your “master password” and for those places you can’t use a password manager. I am not a security expert but I trust Steve Gibson. His general recommendations are: <READ MORE>

In Brief: Cloud Computing for Lawyers

From: Law Technology Today, Posted by: Gwynne Monahan August 29, 2014

The phrase “cloud computing” is ubiquitous. Instagram. Dropbox. Google Apps. Evernote. Netflix. There is little in every day life not touched by cloud computing. That’s increasingly true for the practice of law and running a law firm as well. Here’s what you need to know to get the most of cloud computing applications, with an eye on ethics and client confidentiality.

The Basics of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing, broadly defined, is a category of software and services delivered over the Internet rather than installed locally on a user’s computer. Cloud computing offers a variety of potential advantages, including:

  • Low upfront costs.
  • Access from any device with an Internet connection.
  • Simple setup and configuration.
  • Built-in disaster preparedness.  <READ MORE>

The Dangers of Micromanaging: When to Delegate

From Intuit QuickBooks, by Bridgette Austin on June 25, 2014

For employees who’ve had to deal with or report directly to a micromanager, it can be a stressful and frustrating experience. As the CEO of your business, the director of a department or the head of a team, you should be concerned with leading rather than completing your subordinates’ projects. This can be especially difficult for founders or early employees of a business, since they have a large stake in succeeding and have set a vision for the company since the beginning.

In the article “The Consequences of Micromanaging,” The National Contract Management Association defines micromanaging as “a management style in which a supervisor closely observes or controls the work of an employee.” In other words, micromanagers tend to monitor and observe every step of every project instead of allowing employees to complete smaller tasks on their own. It’s no secret that this type of management style is toxic, ultimately reducing productivity and decreasing employee morale.

Most micromanagers don’t even realize they are doing anything wrong; their approach hasn’t changed, but their company has. As your company grows, you’ll need to recognize when to start letting go of more responsibility to focus on guiding and growing your business. Recognizing when to delegate is one of the primary skills of managersand the greatest shortcoming of micromanagersand it’s the first step to giving your employees the opportunity to excel professionally and help your business flourish.<READ MORE>

5 Simple Tips to Improve Your SEO

From: Intuit QuickBooks, by Bridgette Austin on July 17, 2014

During the early days of the internet, major search engines paid lots of attention to backlinks (links to your website) and keywords, the words and phrases that websites use to define and describe their webpages (or integrated within the webpage itself) in hopes that they match the terms entered by users in search engines. Today, search engine optimization (SEO) is not just about optimizing your website with keywords, but it’s also about building content around concepts that enable search engines to deliver even better results in a highly interactive and social web. Practicing good SEO, the processes that drive free and organic traffic from search engine results to your websites, is also tied to creating quality content that can be easily crawled and indexed by Google, Bing, Yahoo! and other search engines.

To continually deliver reliable search results, search engines are constantly refining their algorithms so their search engines are smarter and more intuitive when indexing content. Google claims that its algorithms (i.e. programs and formulas that dictate the actions of the online software) use over 200 factors to crawl and index web content that consistently matches the most relevant webpages with users’ keyword searches. Moreover, these “spiders” are not only crawling your webpages for relevant keywords, but also indexing content for behavioral, categorical, demographic and geo-localization purposes.

While the thought of optimizing a website to adhere to 200-plus values might seem overwhelming, there are simple best practices you can follow to help boost your site’s search rankings. If SEO is brand new to you, view this videoby Google engineer Matt Cutts for a basic overview of how search works. However, if you’ve already dived into the basics of SEO and are ready to take your search strategy to the next level, continue reading below. <READ MORE>