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Starting Up- Advice from 15 Local Entrepreneurs

Starting Up
Advice from 15 Local Entrepreneurs

Recently I was interviewed by the Anniston Star about the advice I would give to someone starting a business.

The main comments I had were:
– Do your research and know your target market
– Find a mentor that can provide some advice and feedback.

The full article can be found on page 26 here. –> ADVICE <–

Interested in promoting your business online? Check out how I’m doing it HERE

If you have any comments please post them below.

Ken

10 Things Successful People Never Do Again

Successful people never again…

1. Return to what hasn’t worked. Whether a job, or a broken relationship that was ended for a good reason, we should never go back to the same thing, expecting different results, without something being different.

2. Do anything that requires them to be someone they are not. In everything we do, we have to ask ourselves, “Why am I doing this? Am I suited for it? Does it fit me? Is it sustainable?” If the answer is no to any of these questions, you better have a very good reason to proceed.

3. Try to change another person. When you realize that you cannot force someone into doing something, you give him or her freedom and allow them to experience the consequences. In doing so, you find your own freedom as well.

4. Believe they can please everyone. Once you get that it truly is impossible to please everyone, you begin to live purposefully, trying to please the right people.

5. Choose short-term comfort over long-term benefit. Once successful people know they want something that requires a painful, time-limited step, they do not mind the painful step because it gets them to a long-term benefit. Living out this principle is one of the most fundamental differences between successful and unsuccessful people, both personally and professionally.

6. Trust someone or something that appears flawless. It’s natural for us to be drawn to things and people that appear “incredible.” We love excellence and should always be looking for it. We should pursue people who are great at what they do, employees who are high performers, dates who are exceptional people, friends who have stellar character, and companies that excel. But when someone or something looks too good to be true, he, she, or it is. The world is imperfect. Period. No one and no thing is without flaw, and if they appear that way, hit pause.

7. Take their eyes off the big picture. We function better emotionally and perform better in our lives when we can see the big picture. For successful people, no one event is ever the whole story. Winners remember that – each and every day.

8. Neglect to do due diligence. No matter how good something looks on the outside, it is only by taking a deeper, diligent, and honest look that we will find out what we truly need to know: the reality that we owe ourselves.

9. Fail to ask why they are where they find themselves. One of the biggest differences between successful people and others is that in love and in life, in relationships and in business, successful people always ask themselves, what part am I playing in this situation? Said another way, they do not see themselves only as victims, even when they are.

10. Forget that their inner life determines their outer success. The good life sometimes has little to do with outside circumstances. We are happy and fulfilled mostly by who we are on the inside. Research validates that. And our internal lives largely contribute to producing many of our external circumstances.

And, the converse is true: people who are still trying to find success in various areas of life can almost always point to one or more of these patterns as a reason they are repeating the same mistakes.

Everyone makes mistakes…even the most successful people out there. But, what achievers do better than others is recognize the patterns that are causing those mistakes and never repeat them again. In short, they learn from pain—their own and the pain of others.

A good thing to remember is this: pain is unavoidable, but repeating the same pain twice, when we could choose to learn and do something different, is certainly avoidable. I like to say, “we don’t need new ways to fail….the old ones are working just fine!” Our task, in business and in life, is to observe what they are, and never go back to doing them again.

If you have any comments, please post them below.

Ken

Interested in promoting your business online? Check out how I’m doing it HERE

The Science of Colors in Marketing

The Science of Colors in Marketing

Why is Facebook blue? According to The New Yorker, the reason is simple. It’s because Mark Zuckerberg is red-green colorblind. This means that blue is the color Mark can see the best. In his own words Zuck says:

“Blue is the richest color for me; I can see all of blue.”

     Not highly scientific right? Well, although in the case of Facebook, that isn’t the case, there are some amazing examples of how colors actually affect our purchasing decisions.

     After all, the visual sense is the strongest developed one in most human beings. It’s only natural that 90% of an assessment for trying out a product is made by color alone.

     So how do colors really affect us and what is the science of colors in marketing really? As we are also trying to make lots of improvements to our product at Buffer, this was a key part to learn more about. Let’s dig into some of the latest, most interesting research on it.

First:

Can you recognize the online brands just based on color?

        Before we dive into the research, here are some awesome experiments that show you how powerful color alone really is. Based on just the colors of the buttons, can you guess which company belongs to each of them:

Example 1 (easy):

the science of colors in marketing

Example 2 (easy):

the science of colors in marketing

Example 3 (medium):

the science of colors in marketing

Example 4 (hard):

the science of colors in marketing

 These awesome examples from Youtube designer Marc Hemeon, I think show the real power of colors more than any study could.

How many were you able to guess? (All the answers are at the bottom of this post!)

 

Which colors trigger which feeling for us?

               Being completely conscious about what color triggers us to think in which way isn’t always obvious. The Logo Company has come up with an amazing breakdown which colors are best for which companies and why. Here are 4 great examples:

Black:

the science of colors in marketing: black

Green:

the science of colors in marketing: green

Blue:

the science of colors in marketing: blue

Especially if we also take a look at what the major brands out there are using, a lot of their color choices become a lot more obvious. Clearly, everyone of these companies is seeking to trigger a very specific emotion:

the science of colors in marketing: color guide

 

On top of that, especially when we want to buy something, the colors can play a major role. Analytics company KISSmetrics created an amazing infographic on the science of how colors affect our purchases.

                 Especially the role of “Green” stands out to me as the most relaxing color we can use to make buying easier. We didn’t intentionally choose this as the main color for Buffer actually, it seems to have worked very well so far though.

                    At second look, I also realized how frequently black is used for luxury products. It’s of course always obvious in hindsight. Here is the full infographic:

the science of colors in marketing: buying

 

How to improve your marketing with better use of colors:

This all might be fairly entertaining, but what are some actual things we can apply today to our website or app? The answer comes yet again from some great research done by the good folks over at KISSmetrics.

                    If you are building an app that mainly targets Women, here is KISSmetrics best advice for you:

  • Women love: Blue, Purple and Green
  • Women hate: Orange, Brown and Gray

the science of colors in marketing: women

 In case your app is strictly targeting men, the rules of the game are slightly different. Here it goes:

  • Men love: Blue, Green and Black
  • Men hate: Brown, Orange and Purple

the science of colors in marketing for men

 

In another amazing experiment Performable (now HubSpot) wanted to find out whether simply changing the color of a button would make a difference to conversion rates.

                  They started out with the simple hypothesis of choosing between 2 colors (green and red) and trying guess what would happen.

For green, their intuition was this:

“Green connotes ideas like “natural” and “environment,” and given its wide use in traffic lights, suggests the idea of “Go” or forward movement.”

For red, their thinking went like this:

“The color red, on the other hand, is often thought to communicate excitement, passion, blood, and warning. It is also used as the color for stopping at traffic lights. Red is also known to be eye-catching.”

                So, clearly an A/B test between green and red would result in green, the more friendly color to win. At least that was their guess. Here is how their experiment looked like:

the science of colors in marketing performable

So how did that experiment turn out? The answer was more surprising than I had expected:

The red button outperformed the green button by 21%

What’s most important to consider is that nothing else was changed at all:

21% more people clicked on the red button than on the green button. Everything else on the pages was the same, so it was only the button color that made this difference.

                       This definitely made me wonder. If we were to read all the research before this experiment and ask every researcher which version they would guess would perform better, I’m sure green would be the answer in nearly all cases. Not so much.

             I’ve also conducted dozens of experiments to improve my conversion rates through changes of colors. Whilst the results weren’t as clear, I still saw a huge change. One hypothesis is that for a social media sharing tool, there is less of a barrier to signup, which makes the differences less significant.

             Despite all the studies, generalizations are extremely hard to make. Whatever change you make, treat it first as a hypothesis, and see an the actual experiment what works for you. Personally, I’m always very prone to go with opinion based on what I read or research I’ve come across. Yet, data always beats opinion, no matter what.

Quick last fact: Why are hyperlinks blue?

This is something that always interested me and is actually a fun story. It’s to give the best contrast between blue and the original grey of websites:

why are hyperlinks blue?

Here is the full explanation:

“Tim Berners-Lee, the main inventor of the web, is believed to be the man who first made hyperlinks blue. Mosaic, a very early web browser, displayed webpages with a (ugly) gray background and black text. The darkest color available at the time that was not the same as the black text was that blue color. Therefore, to make links stand apart from plain text, but still be readable, the color blue was selected.”

I think it is extremely fascinating that simply changing something as small as the color, can completely chance the outcome of something. What have been your findings in terms of colors and marketing? I’d love your ideas on this.

Solution to the riddle: Example 1: Facebook, Example 2: Google, Example 3: Flickr, Example 4: LinkedIn

If you have any comments please post them below.

Ken

Interested in promoting your business online?
Check out how I’m doing it HERE

The Science of Colors in Marketing

The Science of Colors in Marketing

Why is Facebook blue? According to The New Yorker, the reason is simple. It’s because Mark Zuckerberg is red-green colorblind. This means that blue is the color Mark can see the best. In his own words Zuck says:

“Blue is the richest color for me; I can see all of blue.”

     Not highly scientific right? Well, although in the case of Facebook, that isn’t the case, there are some amazing examples of how colors actually affect our purchasing decisions.

     After all, the visual sense is the strongest developed one in most human beings. It’s only natural that 90% of an assessment for trying out a product is made by color alone.

     So how do colors really affect us and what is the science of colors in marketing really? As we are also trying to make lots of improvements to our product at Buffer, this was a key part to learn more about. Let’s dig into some of the latest, most interesting research on it.

First:

Can you recognize the online brands just based on color?

        Before we dive into the research, here are some awesome experiments that show you how powerful color alone really is. Based on just the colors of the buttons, can you guess which company belongs to each of them:

Example 1 (easy):

the science of colors in marketing

Example 2 (easy):

the science of colors in marketing

Example 3 (medium):

the science of colors in marketing

Example 4 (hard):

the science of colors in marketing

       These awesome examples from Youtube designer Marc Hemeon, I think show the real power of colors more than any study could.

How many were you able to guess? (All the answers are at the bottom of this post!)

Which colors trigger which feeling for us?

               Being completely conscious about what color triggers us to think in which way isn’t always obvious. The Logo Company has come up with an amazing breakdown which colors are best for which companies and why. Here are 4 great examples:

Black:

the science of colors in marketing: black

Green:

the science of colors in marketing: green

Blue:

the science of colors in marketing: blue

              Especially if we also take a look at what the major brands out there are using, a lot of their color choices become a lot more obvious. Clearly, everyone of these companies is seeking to trigger a very specific emtion:

the science of colors in marketing: color guide

                On top of that, especially when we want to buy something, the colors can play a major role. Analytics company KISSmetrics created an amazing infographic on the science of how colors affect our purchases.

                 Especially the role of “Green” stands out to me as the most relaxing color we can use to make buying easier. We didn’t intentionally choose this as the main color for Buffer actually, it seems to have worked very well so far though.

                    At second look, I also realized how frequently black is used for luxury products. It’s of course always obvious in hindsight. Here is the full infographic:

the science of colors in marketing: buying

How to improve your marketing with better use of colors:

                        This all might be fairly entertaining, but what are some actual things we can apply today to our website or app? The answer comes yet again from some great research done by the good folks over at KISSmetrics.

                    If you are building an app that mainly targets Women, here is KISSmetrics best advice for you:

  • Women love: Blue, Purple and Green
  • Women hate: Orange, Brown and Gray

the science of colors in marketing: women

             In case your app is strictly targeting men, the rules of the game are slightly different. Here it goes:

  • Men love: Blue, Green and Black
  • Men hate: Brown, Orange and Purple

the science of colors in marketing for men

            In another amazing experiment Performable (now HubSpot) wanted to find out whether simply changing the color of a button would make a difference to conversion rates.

                  They started out with the simple hypothesis of choosing between 2 colors (green and red) and trying guess what would happen.

For green, their intuition was this:

“Green connotes ideas like “natural” and “environment,” and given its wide use in traffic lights, suggests the idea of “Go” or forward movement.”

For red, their thinking went like this:

“The color red, on the other hand, is often thought to communicate excitement, passion, blood, and warning. It is also used as the color for stopping at traffic lights. Red is also known to be eye-catching.”

                So, clearly an A/B test between green and red would result in green, the more friendly color to win. At least that was their guess. Here is how their experiment looked like:

the science of colors in marketing performable

So how did that experiment turn out? The answer was more surprising than I had expected:

The red button outperformed the green button by 21%

What’s most important to consider is that nothing else was changed at all:

21% more people clicked on the red button than on the green button. Everything else on the pages was the same, so it was only the button color that made this difference.

                       This definitely made me wonder. If we were to read all the research before this experiment and ask every researcher which version they would guess would perform better, I’m sure green would be the answer in nearly all cases. Not so much.

             I’ve also conducted dozens of experiments to improve my conversion rates through changes of colors. Whilst the results weren’t as clear, I still saw a huge change. One hypothesis is that for a social media sharing tool, there is less of a barrier to signup, which makes the differences less significant.

             Despite all the studies, generalizations are extremely hard to make. Whatever change you make, treat it first as a hypothesis, and see an the actual experiment what works for you. Personally, I’m always very prone to go with opinion based on what I read or research I’ve come across. Yet, data always beats opinion, no matter what.

Quick last fact: Why are hyperlinks blue?

            This is something that always interested me and is actually a fun story. It’s to give the best contrast between blue and the original grey of websites:

why are hyperlinks blue?

Here is the full explanation:

“Tim Berners-Lee, the main inventor of the web, is believed to be the man who first made hyperlinks blue. Mosaic, a very early web browser, displayed webpages with a (ugly) gray background and black text. The darkest color available at the time that was not the same as the black text was that blue color. Therefore, to make links stand apart from plain text, but still be readable, the color blue was selected.”

I think it is extremely fascinating that simply changing something as small as the color, can completely chance the outcome of something. What have been your findings in terms of colors and marketing? I’d love your ideas on this.

Solution to the riddle: Example 1: Facebook, Example 2: Google, Example 3: Flickr, Example 4: LinkedIn

Please Comment, Like and Share if you got some value from this.

 Play Safe

Ken

 
Find Me on Facebook 

Interested in promoting your business online?
Check out how I’m doing it HERE

The Science of Productivity

The Science of Productivity

 

 

            I’m always looking for ways to improve productivity.  Rather than just working more, I want to work smarter and get more done in less time.  That gives me more time for the things I really want to do in life, like spending time with my family or just plain relaxing.  I found this video today and it packs a TON of incredibly useful information in 3 short minutes.  This is a no-brainer video to watch, there are enough ideas that there’s no way your productivity won’t improve if you put even one idea to immediate use.

 

 


        Following are links to the sources used in the video if you want to delve deeper.

Willpower is a finite resource

Most parents know this – it’s a lot harder to be a good parent at 8pm than 8am.  Scientifically this is called ego depletion; I call it too tired.

Getting started really is the hardest part

                And it has a name too – the Zeigarnik Effect.  When it comes to big projects, we tend to visualize the hardest parts and that prevents us from starting.  I can’t think of a better way to improve productivity than to actually do the work.

 

We use busy work to procrastinate

                    When we have big work to do, our brains simulate real work by doing small, mindless tasks that feel like work.  That certainly puts checking the email obsessively in perspective for me.  

Focus on the hard stuff

                Deliberate practice is a method used by elites in all fields.  It means focusing on harder, specific tasks for a period time.  If we were basketball players, that would mean doing specific drills for a couple of hours instead of just playing.

Improve productivity 90 minutes at a time

           It’s impossible to maintain our energy through the whole day.  It’s much easier for our brains to work when it knows there will be a break coming up.  This part has been a challenge for me as I like to put my head down and just GO until it’s done You can learn more about ultradian rhythms and the research behind it here (if you want, there’s a whole book about it too).  I’ve also put the 10-15 minute breaks to use too by taking a walk..  I come out of my breaks feeling energized and ready to get back to work.

We need deadlines and accountability

     This is one of the hardest parts for someone leaving a J.O.B. and starting their own business. Deadlines work – and research backs it up.  Ask any student how productive they are in the 24 hours before an assignment is due vs the week before.  Accountability – aka tracking progress – is important too as it improves self-control.  Check out the  Accountability Chart shown at 1:56 in the video. It’s like checking off a to-do list but even better because it helps me avoid mindless busy work too.

Here is a question you need to ask yourself. 

“Would I fire myself for doing this?” Are you really getting dsomething done or “just working”?

And finally – stop multitasking

         I used to think multitasking was good – and that I was good at it.  Now I know that focused, sustained work is MUCH more productive.  Science backs this up – multitaskers are less productive even though multitasking makes us feel good.  Time to pare back & FOCUS!

        That’s everything the video covers, except the video does it really, really well in 3 minutes.  I hope this helps you work smarter and create more time for the really important things in life 

 If you have any comments please post them below

Play Safe.

Ken