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How To Know If Your Business Needs To Seek Outside Help

“Success is the sum of small efforts – repeated day in and day out”, said Robert Collier. With new competitive opportunities in the business market, many companies are facing the reality of change, and with that development. Expectations from potential and current customers are requiring new efforts in digital proficiency, organizational efficiency and data strategy implementation. Over the last decade, innovative technology has been in great demand in relationship to customer experience and a business’s sustainability. The Economist describes this increase as a capability for these departments to provide a competitive edge for their organizations.

Some companies may find these requirements for business growth to be new or more advanced territory among the current employees’ skills and experience. The technological advancement within programming, marketing and administration have brought new questions to companies who are considering and calculating decisions toward developing these departments. For company leaders, this may entail inquiring outside of the organization to fulfill this need whether it be through hiring a new employee or possibly a consultant, a trainer or some outsourced personnel. There are benefits and risks to deciding either for a permanent hire or a temporary. To decipher the best course of action, one should consider the current internal capabilities, company values and financial factors.

5 Ways to Determine if There is a Need for Outside Help?

All business leaders are faced with the difficult decisions on boosting a company’s capabilities to advance its potential. While I often believe this can be achieved through its internal, creative thinking, there are times when an external source can further drive the existing team. As George Ivanovic Gurdjef has said, “A man can only attain knowledge with the help of those who possess it. This must be understood from the very beginning. One must learn from him who knows.” This applies for organizations as well.

  1. Evaluate the Deficiency from Data

Upon collecting the measurements of your industry’s technological norms, take some time to survey and clarify these results with current customers or prospects within their frequented places. Narrow these findings and prioritize which developmental needs are most important.

 

  1. Assess the Current Skills and Level Among Employees

Once the data has been determined, refer to the current employees or employee department leads (depending on the size of your organization) for capabilities. Usually, strategic thinking meetings of the customers’ demands provide opportunities for employees to evaluate their own professional skills reflect on experience and offer their own abilities to push the company forward.

 

  1. Identify the Risks of a Long-Term Hire

If current employees do not possess the requirements to fulfill the market’s expectations, it is important to determine if adding a new full-time employee is the best next step. Reconciling the decision for new company hires must evaluate the benefits provided toward the goal in contrast to the financial and organizational risks. These include a combination of salary, employee benefits, space and company culture.

 

  1. Consider the Company’s Values

The feedback from employee capabilities will give a clear picture on if it is possible for individual or team learning. Some businesses have continued education benefits for its employees, and this encouragement reflects the value of employee investment those companies uphold. For this reason, creating avenues for learning that best advance the organization’s growth may be the most important. The questions regarding time and learning capabilities must be chosen. Since the quickest skill advancement happens among those with basic performance abilities, you should assess the level of the team or individual who will pursue learning. If it is difficult for someone within the organization to evaluate this, a trainer or consultant can also provide insight.

 

  1. Compare these Possibilities and Values with Costs of Outside Help

After collecting all the information from data to possible choices for solution within the organization, compare these with the costs and benefits of receiving external assistance. These include: consultants, trainers, classes and outsourced work from agencies or individuals.

 

By improving the digital skills of the company’s output, it has potential for reaching customers and accomplishing its vision and market significance into reality.

More Than a Desk: Community

What is Community?

Community is a word that we hear a lot, but often we don’t fully understand what it means or its importance in our lives. So, what is community, and why is it so important to have community in a coworking space? Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a community as “an interacting population of various kinds of individuals in a common location.” One word that stands out in this definition is “interaction.” When you have a group of people from various backgrounds who are truly interacting with one another and seeking mutual understanding and friendship, it creates a dynamic workplace.

Everyone has been designed to live in community. Even the most introverted person, like myself, benefits from spending time with people who are trying to reach their personal and professional goals. One major benefit of a coworking community is the discipline that comes from seeing others work hard to accomplish their goals. Seeing this discipline provides indirect and informal accountability. It also provides a level of motivation that cannot be duplicated at home or in a café.

In addition to this, a coworking space provides an opportunity to collaborate on projects with other people. The unique perspectives from other members of the space can help people to look at something from a different point of view.

How is Community Formed?

Community is not formed by simply having an open space for people to socialize and gather together. While it is essential to have a balance of personal desks as well as open areas for building relationships, this is not enough. Community is formed when people take the initiative to reach out and build relationships with their fellow coworkers. It is incredibly important for the owners of a coworking space to take the first step in forming the foundations of a community. This can be done by inviting people out to lunch, giving new workers recommendations on what to do around the city, and creating an inviting atmosphere.

When an environment is welcoming, people are more likely to gather together in shared spaces to socialize over a cup of coffee. After this foundation is laid in a coworking space, it is important to keep building upon it to ensure that new members feel welcome and included. One way to build upon this foundation is to offer social events outside of work hours. This can be done by holding a pizza and movie night to provide a platform for individuals to get to know one another better outside of the work environment.

Every day I have seen community demonstrated in the speech and actions of coworkers at Beta Bar. Whenever people take a break from work to share jokes with one another, we find out more about each other’s personality and bond through lots of laughter. Whenever people bring in food to share at the workspace, we are able to connect over a meal and learn more about people’s culture. Whenever people invite each other out to coffee after work, we deepen our relationship past the surface and create an opportunity to learn more about people’s life story.

A coworking community should be a place where people can go learn, grow, and have fun together. When people have ample opportunities to interact with one another, it creates an inviting atmosphere where people truly feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves. A coworking community isn’t formed overnight. It takes time, but the benefits that flow from working and interacting with like-minded people in a coworking community are numerous.

PRESS RELEASE: Beta Bar Wins 2018 Coworker Members’ Choice Award for Coworking Spaces

BAR (April 16 2018) Beta Bar today announced it has been recognized as winner of the 2018 Coworker Members’ Choice Award for Montenegro. Members’ Choice award winners were determined based on the thousands of reviews, votes and opinions collected in a single year from coworking space members worldwide.

“Our mission is growing businesses and investing in people through collaboration, community and sustainability,” said Jennifer Buxton, co-founder of Beta Bar. “This award recognizes our hard work to make that mission a reality for our members and all the businesses that Beta Bar touches. One of the greatest things about being a part of Beta Bar is our membership, which include many different people and their diverse businesses from all over the world.”

“Coworker is excited to announce the winners of the 2018 Members’ Choice Awards and celebrate the coworking spaces around the world that are making an impact in their community”, said Leanne Beesley, CEO of Coworker. “By putting a spotlight on coworking spaces that are providing a great environment and creating a community for their members, Coworker gives coworking spaces both large and small the ability to shine and attract new members.”

About Beta Bar

Beta Bar is the first coworking // shared workspace in Montenegro for everyday tasks, rooms for intentional collaboration, access to mentors for business development and opportunities to connect with the Bar community. Beta Bar offers dedicated desks, open coworking spaces, kitchen / lounge area for casual networking, located at Makedonska G-18 in Bar, Montenegro.

About Coworker

Coworker, the member-powered platform for the global coworking community, enables people to find & connect with their perfect coworking space wherever they are in the world.

Planning an Effective Business Seminar

Business Seminar

Business seminars can require a lot of time, energy, and preparation, but they can be incredibly beneficial for everyone involved. A well-planned seminar can provide a platform for participants to learn more about a particular subject, network with like-minded people, and renew their enthusiasm. Here are 5 ways to make the most of your next seminar.

#1. Start Promoting At Least Two Weeks in Advance

When planning an event, include essential information such as date, time, and location on all promotional materials. Make sure that all promotional materials such as brochures and posters are created and printed at least two weeks in advance. This ensures that there is adequate time to proofread and edit all materials. Promoting the event at least two weeks in advance also gives possible attendees a sufficient amount of time to add your event to their schedule.

#2. Present a Topic That Is Relevant to Your Audience

When determining what topic to speak about for a seminar, consider what subject matter will be relevant to your target audience. This aspect is crucial to creating interest in the community. By selecting relevant themes, people will be more likely to share your event on social media and attend your seminar.

#3. Keep It No More Than 6 Hours With Coffee Breaks

Try to keep the seminar six hours or less with coffee breaks scheduled at different intervals. This provides attendees with an opportunity to build relationships with one another and to connect with the speaker. Coffee breaks also help participants stay alert and focused throughout the entire seminar, so they can get as much out of it as possible.

#4. Create an Atmosphere for Q & A

One way to engage the audience is to ask for questions or comments periodically throughout the seminar to ensure that participants have a clear understanding of the subject matter. Another way to increase participation is to introduce segments that are conversational as opposed to only following a lecture style of teaching. This creates an interactive atmosphere where participants feel open to ask questions.

#5. Provide Resources After the Seminar

During the seminar, have each participant sign in and include relevant contact information such as a phone number and an email address. At the end of the seminar, email copies of PowerPoint slides and other presentation materials to the participants. This provides beneficial resources to the people who have attended so that they can refresh themselves on what they have learned. It also gives you an opportunity to follow up with those who attended to determine which aspects of the seminar were the most beneficial and what areas could be improved.

Book Review: Failing Forward

Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping stones for Success by John Maxwell will help you stop making excuses, start embracing failure as a natural, necessary part of the process and let you find the confidence to proceed in business and in life.

Failing Forward handles the psychology of success and failure, presenting case studies mostly of people and businesses that managed to come back from major setbacks or failures to succeed. Written in the typical John Maxwell style, it has anecdotes, stories and quotes relevant and leading towards the lessons to be learned from the book.

“Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward.” John Maxwell

This is the attitude that Maxwell wants to teach us with this book. Failing Forward is about losing some of the conditioning that we have all come out of school learning – the paralyzing fear of failure. Maxwell wants us to see failure at the horizon and move ahead with confidence.

Here are 3 lessons to help you change your perspective:

#1: You might not be responsible for your failures, but you can sure take responsibility for your success. It’s not always your fault when things go wrong, but, when you give up and feel sorry for yourself, that is. When successful people fail, they see it as a momentary event, not a lifelong epidemic. It’s not personal. If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, don’t let any single incidence color your view of yourself or your business. Do you know what all successful entrepreneurs have in common? The ability to bounce back after an error, mistake or failure. Figure out what you didn’t do right, so you don’t do it again. That’s the key to bouncing back and failing forward.

“Every successful person is someone who failed, yet never regarded himself as a failure.” John Maxwell

#2: Turn failure into knowledge and knowledge into success.
Failing is not losing unless you do not learn from what went wrong. As an entrepreneur, making multiple attempts to launch your business can take the pressure off every single one.  We must come to the realization that entrepreneurs will go through multiple stages of failure, which will allow us to learn from each one and improve their next product or service we offer. This is how failure leads to success. When we put too much pressure on ourselves, we often don’t have the stomach to revisit our failure. But, how else should we find out what we did wrong? Make more. Quantity over quality. Be determined to understand your failures and then improve each time.

“Achievers are given multiple reasons to believe they are failures. But in spite of that, they persevere. The average for entrepreneurs is 3.8 failures before they finally make it in business.” John Maxwell

#3: Three things help you make the most of the opportunities that come your way.
When you begin to realize that your failure is actually a step forward, you will move forward and be open to opportunities that comes your way. Take captive every opportunity. Maxwell suggests working on three things to ensure you do: set clear goals; work on your social skills; and, keep a positive mindset.

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” John Maxwell

These are just the beginning. The more you fail and learn from them, the more you will be prepared in the future. Meaning, do not let setbacks hold you back for too long. We recommend this book to anyone striving to succeed despite all odds and needing some inspiration. Failing Forward can be applied to your entire life and not just to business.

6 Reasons to Mark Your Calendar for Spark.Me #SparkMe

Mark your calendar for the 6th annual Spark.Me 2018 that will be happening on May 26-27, 2018 at Hotel Mediteran in Budva, Montenegro. You can’t miss this and here are 6 reasons why!

#1. Spark.Me is Back in Budva! Breathtakingly beautiful Budva lies on a small peninsula and represents a treasure chest of culture heritage. Crossed with narrow streets and squares, you can also visit many shops, cafés, restaurants and galleries in Old Town Budva. The Budva coast is 21 km long with 17 beaches. It is among the most beautiful coasts in the world. Also, you can find a wide range of accommodation, from very affordable to exclusive and luxury. Click here to see our recommendations! If you live in Budapest, London or Stockholm, there are great options for discount airlines like EasyJet which flies into Tivat and RyanAir & Wizz Air which fly into Podgorica.

#2. The Connections. So many connections have been made at Spark.Me. Business partnerships. Brand relationships. Job offers. Life-long friendships. And, the list goes on and on. Spark.Me is a place where people are actively looking for ways to connect with others and promote their next projects, their next ideas and their next dreams. It’s real and it happens every year.

#3. The Speakers. This is the best part of the conference experience. You’ll be in touch with other international professionals and experts to ask questions, share your concerns & experiences and seek solutions.

#4. The Schedule. It’s going to be the Most Epic Spark.Me yet! Fortunately, this 2-day 3-day conference with a workshop day added on Friday gives you the most bang for your buck in a short period of time. But, do not fret that you will be inside all weekend because Spark.Me will organize a cocktail party, host the conference feet away from the beautiful beaches of Montenegro and offer breaks between talks to have informal gatherings that will surely add fun during your Spark.Me weekend.

#5. The Opportunities. They are always so numerous, such as Spark.me Startup Competition. Spark.Me focus on innovation, the power of ideas, the startup’s potential to grow and team diversity. Participating in the competition enables you to have access to advisers, mentors and a network of investors, industry experts and entrepreneurs.

#6. The Community. This powerful community of business people, marketers and media impresses and engages us every conference.

Buy your tickets here before they sell out!

PRESS RELEASE: Beta Bar Will Participate with European Creative Hubs Workshop in Edinburgh

The partners of the European Creative Hubs Network project (co-funded by the EU’s Creative Europe program) are pleased to announce its third and final skills workshop for creative hub leaders, taking place in Edinburgh on October 26-27, 2017. Produced by Creative Edinburgh in collaboration with Creative Dundee, How to Future Proof Your Creative Hub, aims to build professional capacity by developing tailored support and skills for 25 creative hub leaders, including Beta Bar.

What do we mean by creative hub?

A space that brings creative people together, whether that be a physical or virtual space, is a creative hub. It can be as small as a collective or as large as a building that houses a multitude of creatives – made up of one sector or a variety. It can also be a virtual hub, with an online network that might meet up physically via an events program throughout the year.

How to Future Proof Your Creative Hub
This workshop will build leadership skills and provide practical tools and tips to help identify future trends, the impact of these and how you can plan for the future of creative hub.

The workshop is closed for the public, but interested audience will have a chance to meet attendees of the workshop on Thursday, January 26th at Talking Heads: Loving EU event hosted by Creative Edinburgh. The event will celebrate Edinburgh’s links with Europe, its cultural links and creative collaborative strength as a community with other European friends. It will also show solidarity and appreciation for creatives from EU countries who have come to Edinburgh.

More information can be found at www.creativehubs.eu and Creative Edinburgh.
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Why Small Conferences Are Beneficial #SparkMe

July 28… and yes, I’m still thinking about Spark.Me.

The lasting benefits of attending a small conference like Spark.me are not only about the sessions, but they have been about the networking and relationships that have followed online and off.

Not every professional conference has the clout or size like SxSW or TechCrunch, which is why some amazing ones can slip right past you. For me, Spark.me was one of those. It’s a two-day tech/marketing conference in the country of Montenegro. If it had not been for my internship in Montenegro, I would never have heard of it.

And, I would have missed out.

Spark.me changed my view of small conferences and why these conferences are worth attending. Here are a few reasons conferences like Spark.me are worth your time and money.

  1. They Create Networking Opportunities. You will not meet and add a thousand people to your LinkedIn network if you go to a small conference, but, that’s not all networking is.

    The best business connections you can make are the ones that will last, and it takes a good conversation between two people. In a smaller setting, you will be able to really hear what others are doing and what their business is creating.

    It’s not about how many people you meet, but more about the conversations that you have during the coffee breaks. This easily happens at smaller conferences for a couple of reasons: less people (less noise) and easy accessibility to speakers and attendees.

    You don’t have to go to a big conference to find great people in your industry. You just need to make an effort to meet them and make a sincere connection.

  2. They Help Local People. Small conferences, while more regional in their reach, can be very powerful in effect.

    Spark.me provides a great example. Each year they inspire tech and marketing people in the Balkans to set and achieve great goals. It is easier for local students and entrepreneurs to engage in the industry’s conversation while not traveling too far.

    The people at Spark.me are improving their community through education and business opportunities – and that’s definitely something that I support.

  3. There’s Always Something You Can Learn. The big conferences have the thought leaders of today. You’ll hear the latest trends and buzzwords and encounter the industry’s “celebrities.”

    Fortunately, small conferences bring in speakers who you may have never heard of, and that is not a bad thing. There are many people who are working hard and creating new ideas in the industry and also working on “smaller” lesser-known projects.

    Great speakers who are working hard in the industry can provide practical information and hands-on information that are on par or even more informative than these well-known thought leaders.

    Spark.me organizers work hard on bringing in speakers who are entertaining and engaging, but who also provide diverse content, such as Rory Sutherland and Heather B. Armstrong.

The bottom line: don’t underestimate a small conference.

If you’re looking to network or get up-to-date information on industry practices, any good, reputable conference can offer you this. Do your research by searching the Internet and asking others. See if there are any professional conferences near you.

And if you are still unsure what professional conference you should attend, I suggest you see when the next Spark.me conference is and you, too, will see how great a small conference can be.

3 Ways Your Presentation Can Make An Impact #SparkMe

Presentation skills are important to both individual success and business success.

Even if you have not attended conferences like Spark.Me, where you see presentations by the newest thought leaders, you have listened to them on YouTube. Perhaps you are one of these popular speakers, or aspiring to be one. The public speaking market has grown drastically over the years, and great speakers are highly sought after for a myriad of conferences.

But, presentations are no longer only limited to “public” speaking. Great business presentations step into our “private” lives through our computers via YouTube videos, webinars, and podcasts, etc. These are becoming common methods of learning new professional skills. Social networks and the Internet have opened doors for people to establish themselves as experts in their fields by creating online presentations and effectively promoting their business or personal brand.

After Spark.me 2017, here are my reflections on three great lessons that I learned on how to present online and off professionally.

  1. Bold Visual Illustrations Grab and Hold Attention. The speaker that stood out from Spark.Me was Dr. Max Mckeown, who is a business psychologist, public speaker, and author. The audience quickly found out that he was missing one more title from his bio: illustrator!

    As Dr. Mckeown spoke, he also illustrated his presentation on a large paper-covered board (see image below). He didn’t just write key points on a board; he drew images of his examples in creative, imaginative ways that stimulated genuine fascination.

    Maybe you are not an artist like Dr. Mckeown (I’m certainly not), but think about creative ways that you can visually engage your audience. Find ways to incorporate strong, unique and relevant images into your presentations, and your audience will love it.Dr. Max Mckeown illustrates for his Spark.me 2017 presentation
  2. Thoughtful Content Is Valuable. As I mentioned earlier, Spark.Me brings new thought leaders together to Budva, Montenegro, which is what made this conference highly recommended. Note: start saving your money for next year. You will not be disappointed. Many business conferences have talks like “How to Start Marketing Your Business on Social Media,” etc., but in an over-saturated market, how can presentations bring people to your conference, to your YouTube channel, to download your podcast? The answer is simple: thoughtful information and deep discussion.

    Aza Raskin gave a presentation on modern technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Instead of just saying “Hey, tech can now do ‘X, Y, and Z’”, he went deeper. He posed questions about the implications. He opened up possibilities, which weren’t only positive and hopeful. Aza is a realist, and he wanted the audience to thinker deeper than just the technology – to think of the implications that this technology has on our society.Known as one of the first celebrity “mommy bloggers,” Heather Armstrong spoke about authenticity. In a highly competitive professional blogging industry, authenticity has become a commodity.

    Presentations are not just about giving information, but you must create a connection with each audience member and invite them to dive deeper.

  3. Your Audience’s Time Is Valuable. Whether you are giving a Ted Talk or a two-hour webinar, your audience’s time is valuable. High priority should be placed on providing beneficial content that the audience can learn from and take away to their work, to their communities, to their lives.Rory Sutherland’s presentation at Spark.me was packed with useful information and illustrations. He connected data and story in ways that were impactful, and the audience loved him. Dr. Mckeown’s presentation about “Nowism” and innovation was not only engaging and memorable, but also relevant and inspiring. Both of these speakers packed so many great things into short presentations that my hands were exhausted from tweeting.

If I were to sum up everything I learned about presentations and public speaking from Spark.me 2017, it would be in this statement: “Seek the good of your audience.” It’s easy to present something that anyone can just Google. It’s easy to draw attention to yourself or talk about your accomplishments, but that is inward-focused instead of outward-beneficial.

Create content with the goal of helping your listeners or your viewers. Think about how you can challenge them, how they will remember you and your talk. Ask yourself, “What do you want to really stick with them?” The answer might not just impact your audience, it might also impact you.

How to Network Like a Boss

Photo credit: Igor Milić Photography

Let’s face it—there are two types of people in this business world: those who like networking and those who do not. Those who do are usually bubbly extroverts who would be comfortable talking to a wall or self-promoting people who are always trying to advance their careers. Networking can be effortless and graceful for all if done properly. If this skill doesn’t come naturally to you, here are some ways to properly build and maintain career-oriented relationships that will help you as you navigate through the world of business.

#1. Build Up Your Contacts

Traditionally, this would mean collecting business cards, which may be the best method for you. If there are other means that you use to keep track of your professional contacts, make sure to using and updating them regularly. Having these contacts organized and up-to-date can help you in the future when you need mentoring, funding or potential partnership.

#2. Get to Know People for the Sake of Them Being People

Nothing feels worse than a “cold call” with the obvious goal of soliciting career or financial help. To network most effectively, keep up with your connections by paying them regular attention throughout the year. Actually, take interest in their families and careers. Do not treat people like projects or numbers-they will see through it. Business works through relationships, so work on listening to others and building them. TIP: Try to remember at least one thing about what is happening a person’s life, so if you see them at a conference or out-an-about, you have a conversation starter. 🙂

#3. Use Social Media

Technology has really helped with networking, such as social media. It can ad value to you in searching for a job, an investor or even continuing education. LinkedIn is a great tool, but depending on your career, Instagram and YouTube may prove even more useful. And, engage with comments or maybe article shares with people. “Liking” their pictures or posts is not enough.

#4. Follow Up

When you meet someone at an event and exchange contact information, be sure to follow up with them the very next day. Even if all you did was follow each other on Facebook or Twitter, it can’t hurt to message them a “Nice to meet you” text with your email included. If someone gives you a card, we highly recommend emailing them the following day, if for no other reason than you’ll have each other’s contacts long after the card is lost. 😉

#5. Help Others

We all lead super busy lives—probably too busy—which is why it can be difficult to commit to people who ask for coffee, etc. However, once you have some longevity in your career, you realize how important it is to do for others what you will eventually need for yourself. Take time to help those who reach out to you when possible (including friends, interns, virtual strangers and others). Remember point #2.

#6. Connect Them, Too

One of the great things that we love about networking is connecting people who haven’t asked for it. If you know your friend is a graphic designer, and you have a friend who’s working on building a website, it’s going to be appreciated by both if you intro with a note such as, “Thought you two might be into a coffee, I’ll let you take it from here!” Contacts are valuable, especially when they are referred by a trusted friend and business associate.

#7. Do Not Burn Bridges

Not all working relationships end well, but it is important to “take the high road” and move forward, not dwelling on the past or bad mouthing your previous work associate(s). This speaks volumes to all parties involved and those who are watching your interactions.