3 Easy Ways to Self-Fund Your Startup

You Don’t Need Millions in Funding to Launch a Startup

When you’re launching a new startup, you may think that you need millions in funding to make sure that you get your new business launched properly. After all, the news reports are filled with numerous accounts of new companies receiving millions in seed money.

Yet the truth is that you don’t need millions, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, to get your new business off the ground. Spanx generates $400 million in revenue every year, yet it started as a $5,000 investment. Some companies became successful even without any venture capital funding.

So how do you succeed when you have a modest startup fund, to begin with? Here are 3 ways that can help you cope:

1. Get Paid Up Front and Deliver Services Later

You can burn through much of your initial capital if you tend to produce and deliver products and services first before you get paid. It’s much more efficient for your business if you can reverse this process and get paid first before you deliver.

This works very well with event-based services. You can promise to hold a grand party, a new instructional class, or a gaming event only after participants reserve and pay for tickets beforehand. You then get your money right away without delay.

2. Create an Incentivized Sales Force

Marketing can be a very expensive proposition for your brand, and there’s always a risk of spending too much on marketing without getting any revenue in return. But you can go online and offer incentives to potential sellers so that you have others that do the marketing for you. All you need to do is to offer a cut of the revenues.

This is the foundation of affiliate marketing. Your affiliate marketers build websites that convince people to go to your website and buy what you have to offer. Once the sale is completed, your affiliate marketer earns a percentage of the purchase price. This means you get the money first so that you have the capital to pay for your affiliate marketers.

3. Sales First, Branding Comes Later

One of the reasons why startups need lots of seed money is that the money is used to promote the brand first. If the advertising campaigns for the product are successful, the sales go through the roof and you recoup your marketing expenses.

But to be more efficient, you may want to focus on sales first. Your success in sales can actually increase your brand visibility so that your brand becomes more famous in your industry.

Many Other Companies Have Succeeded with Very Little Seed Money

It’s not just Spanx who has thrived with little VC funding. The people behind Tuft and Needle had just $6,000 to develop their superior box spring. Thrillist simply sent emails to build a hundred-million-dollar company. Shutterstock started with the founder Jon Oringer’s own stock of amateur photos. MailChimp used the revenues from their consulting business to fund their product development.

So you may not need as much money as you think you do. With enough creativity and determination, you can still get by.

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
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LA Startups Crew
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

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Blockchain: Trust Is Not A Binary Option

Blockchain: Trust Is Not A Binary Option

Trust doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition when it comes to Blockchain

Blockchain’s primary value proposition is decentralization, the idea that the “truth” can be validated without 3rd party intervention in a trustless environment.  As technology has proliferated over the last several years, we have seen the infrastructure incorporate many different types of protocols:

  • Public  – Fully open blockchains with no barrier to participating (eg, Bitcoin, Ethereum)
  • Permission – Private blockchains where a central entity controls access (eg, Orderers in Hyperledger Fabric)
  • Federated – A consortium of entities controlling the blockchain (R3 comes to mind)

Each of these options has a different take on “trust.”  There are some in the crypto space who feel the only groundbreaking solutions are the public, or “permissionless,” solutions.  Their argument is that a protocol is only decentralized when it is fully public, and only then can it reach the full potential of the blockchain.

It’s a fair point, to be sure.  How can you be decentralized if one or more entities are entrusted control access to the blockchain?  However, it occurs to me that this is a very binary view of trust – in reality, trust is more nuanced and multi-layered, like a set of qubits more than a simple 0/1 representation.

Every single day we maintain simultaneous levels of trust at the same time.  I trust my wife implicitly (I hope that is wise), while I have much less trust in the Lakers’ ability to win a title without LeBron.   I have varying degrees of trust in my employees based on past performance, while I have no trust in the cars speeding along my neighborhood street when I walk the kids to school.

Our entire day is defined by a cascading array of trust, depending on our situation.  We understand and accept this because trust is a tool we use to maximize our benefit in specific situations.  I’m not going into a conversation with my wife about whether to have a 4th child (spoiler alert – not happening) from a lack of trust, because the conversation would be utterly pointless.  Conversely, I’m not going into a startup pitch from a place of trust, because it would eliminate the healthy skepticism I’ll need to evaluate the opportunity.

Why wouldn’t the same concept apply to blockchain?  Does every system need to be fully permissionless to add value?  The security and decentralized nature of Bitcoin works great for payments between people who don’t know each other, but in certain environments, organizations can still benefit from blockchain with a degree of centralization, provided there is a healthy level of trust.  For a tight supply chain of organizations with the right incentives to work together, a federated or permission solution would do just fine.

Ripple uses roles to establish specific participants to act as transaction validators

I’ve heard the argument that blockchain technology isn’t needed in situations where a centralized approach is acceptable – a central database would do just fine.  Sure it may be fine, but why not use blockchain when the technology provides other value propositions out of the box – namely, transparency and immutability?

My point is this: because trust is a multi-layered concept in our daily lives, and blockchain can handle trust in many different ways, we should embrace its implementation to support more than just the no-trust situations.  Let’s not limit blockchain’s potential while we still shaping this exciting new technology.

Is Blockchain Truly Decentralized?

Chad Hahn
Contributor
Optimity Advisors, Inc.
Chad Hahn is a partner overseeing the digital & technology practice at Optimity Advisors. He is an entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in strategy, business development, operations, and technology, and has started and sold two successful service businesses. He has a strong background in software engineering and enterprise architecture, with deep expertise in both traditional and emerging technologies.
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Chad Hahn
Optimity Advisors, Inc.
Chad Hahn is a partner overseeing the digital & technology practice at Optimity Advisors. He is an entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in strategy, business development, operations, and technology, and has started and sold two successful service businesses. He has a strong background in software engineering and enterprise architecture, with deep expertise in both traditional and emerging technologies.

22 Best Invoicing Software for Startup

25 Best Invoicing Software for Startups

Whether you’re a startup or a freelancer, you need a good invoicing app that simplifies the invoicing process that saves you time and money. There are plenty of invoicing software options available today that allow you to easily send out personalized invoices. Also to make sure you get paid on time, without losing track of the payments that you are owed.

We scoured the web to find the best of the best invoicing app for you.  We looked for an app that, first and foremost, lets you make an invoice more quickly than you could in your word processor and ideally lets you get paid online or mobile.

When testing apps, we also considered pricing and usability, and we looked for apps with either unique or extensive features; those that do something no other app offers or handle everything from invoicing to accounting to project management and estimation.

Here are the 23 best invoicing apps you can try today.

1 Intuit Quickbooks

QuickBooks is a simple web-based accounting software package developed and marketed by Intuit. QuickBooks products are geared mainly toward small and medium-sized businesses and offer on-premises accounting applications as well as cloud-based versions that accept business payments, manage and pay bills, and payroll functions. We use Quickbooks for our company, it’s a great app.

2 Xero

Founded in 2006 in New Zealand, Xero is one of the fastest growing software as service companies globally. A beautiful cloud-based accounting app connects all of your staff anytime, anywhere, on any device. Give your staff access to the areas they need to do their job. And invite your advisor to collaborate with you on your business in real-time. Xero backs up your data and protects it with multiple layers of security including industry-standard data encryption and secure data centers.

3 FreshBooks

A cloud-based small business accounting software that enables you to quickly send invoices, track time, manage receipts, expenses, and accept credit cards. FreshBooks is simple and intuitive, so you’ll spend less time on paperwork and wow your clients with how professional your invoices look. One of the things we love is that FreshBooks integrates with lots of apps you already use to make running your business a breeze, here’s the list.

4 Bill.com

Bill.com is a US-based accounting software system, provided as a software as a service (SaaS) that integrates with accounting and banking systems. It enables you to easily get invoiced electronically, or drag, drop and enter bills yourself. And, send ACH Payments, or we can mail paper checks to vendors & contractors for you.

5 Chargify

Chargify is a web-based billing software for all of your Recurring Billing needs. Chargify manages billing for thousands of businesses and supports a wide range of billing scenarios from B2B to B2C. While the common business segments include SaaS, subscription boxes, agencies, consultants, and Web hosting, Chargify can handle any industry need that requires recurring billing.

6 Square

Square is a cohesive commerce ecosystem that helps sellers start, run, and grow their business. Square combines sophisticated software with affordable hardware to enable sellers to turn mobile and computing devices into powerful payment and point-of-sale solutions. Its tools help sellers make informed business decisions through the use of analytics and reporting. Sellers can manage orders, inventory, locations, and employees; engage customers and grow their sales, and gain access to business loans.

7 Wave

Wave is a company that provides a suite of financial services and online software for small businesses. Wave is headquartered in the Leslieville neighborhood in Toronto, Canada. Wave enables you to get paid on time, every time. You can set up recurring invoices and automatic credit card payments for your repeat customers and stop chasing payments. And, enables you to switch between automatic and manual billing whenever you want. Pretty cool feature.

8 Quaderno

Quaderno manages sales tax, VAT, and GST for you, automatically. It handles thousands of receipts every month from businesses of all sizes, all around the world. What’s cool about Quaderno is that it automatically calculate the correct tax amount for each customer and their location. And, Quaderno sends automatic receipts after every payment. Issue credit notes with every refund. Comply with local rules everywhere, including the US, Canada, Australia, and the entire EU.

9 Simple Invoices

Simple Invoices is the easiest way for freelancers to send invoices and get paid on time. Simple Invoices enables you to accept credit cards and PayPal payments in seconds. Freelancer friendly, try it.

10 Cushion

With Cushion, you can send invoices to clients by either downloading a PDF, copying a link, or sending an email directly from Cushion. On the surface, Cushion can generate and track invoices, but underneath, it can do so much more; like saving tax rates, so when you click to enter an amount, a helper will appear with a list of your saved tax rates. And, Cushion uses dates to track your invoices and visualize them in the schedule graph. Slick!

11 Zipbooks

ZipBooks is free accounting software that sends invoices, tracks time and expenses, integrates with your bank & lets you process credit cards. Simple, beautiful, and powerful, ZipBooks gives you the tools and intelligence to take your business to the next level.

Zipbooks enables you to customize your invoices according to your needs by adding your logo, specific colors, and contact info. Stay up to date by keeping track of customer payment and invoice history, overdue balances, and taxes collected. See when your customer has opened an invoice, and prepare and view receipts.

12 Accounteer

Accounteer is a cloud-based accounting platform for small businesses. It enables you to create invoices, track expenses and follow up on their finances with ease. Accounteer integrates with external services like banks, e-invoicing platforms, and e-commerce. You can quickly create sales invoices and offers with ease. With a few simple clicks, you can create your documents and send them digitally to your contacts reducing both time and cost. Using Accounteer out of the box reports you can easily track your receivables and make sure you get paid in time.

13 FreeAgent

FreeAgent is cloud-based accounting software targeted at freelancers, micro businesses and their accountants. FreeAgent lets you set up recurring invoices that can send themselves automatically, and nudge those pesky late-paying clients with automated reminders. It’s hands-free invoicing!

14 Due

Due has helped thousands of companies and freelancers get paid faster and increase their cash flow while offering a professional, branded approach to payment requests. Due also offers a wide range of payment options, including eCash, eChecks, and ACH, and domestic and international credit card process, as well as a digital wallet to store payment information and funds.

15 And Co

And Co is a company that develops and markets services as products for small businesses and freelancers. You can create an invoice in 20 seconds or less. AND CO automatically creates invoices based on your projects and contracts, alerts you of their payment and more.  Slick app!

16 Hello Bonsai

Bonsai is an online freelancing platform that helps companies and independent talent invoice better and faster. Bonsai enables you to create and customize invoices in seconds or generate them automatically from any proposal, contract or time sheet – this will save a ton of time. Try it today.

17 BallPark

Ballpark’s estimates and invoices help you streamline your process and make it easier for clients to pay you for your work. Ballpark enables you to create detailed estimates and send them to your clients for approval. Ballpark lets you know when clients have accepted or rejected your estimates so you can get to work.

18 Invoice2Go

Invoice2Go is a simple mobile and web app for invoicing, expense-tracking, and reporting tool for micro and small business owners. Say goodbye to hours of digging through files and boxes for receipts. Simply snap a photo to safely store it. You’ll thank yourself at tax time when you can export all of your expenses in seconds.

19 Momenteo

Momenteo is a cloud-based app that allows freelancers to easily manage their clients, invoices, expenses & travels while having a clear portrait of their financial health. It’s a fairly simple app to use – Invoicing is a streamlined 4 steps process: Prepare, Design, Send, Follow-up. Add your work done to an invoice, customize it to your tastes, send it to your client, add some payments.

20 Harvest

With Harvest, you can easily and quickly create invoices, customize logos, and invoice in different currencies. What’s great about Harvest is that it integrates with QuickBooks Online or Xero – it automatically copies all of your invoices over to them. Great for freelancers and young startups.

21 Invoicera

Invoicera is a cloud-based invoicing application with unparalleled features for various customer types, flexibility, scalability and flexible licensing powering more than 2M+ users and over 25 Enterprises generating more than 200M+ invoices each year. Invoicera comes with a range of features to manage a business effectively and efficiently. Here are 5 great features I like:

  • Easily convert purchase orders into invoices
  • Invoices are hyperlinked to the original sale and purchase in inventory module
  • Receive invoices and estimates from your vendors in one dashboard for hassle-free account payable management
  • Track invoice status in real time
  • Automate late fee and payment reminders to get paid quicker

22 OneUp

OneUp is an excellent online accounting software to run your startup.  OneUp is flexible, allow you to quickly create invoices from Quotes, enter Invoices by hand, or enter Sales Orders to fulfill customer POs. If your business uses Square Register, you can even connect to OneUp and your transactions will automatically appear in OneUp. When your invoice is ready, use OneUp’s built in the email system to put it directly in your customer’s inbox. I like the beautiful UX on the dashboard layout.

Find out how ZestFinance uses machine learning technology to help companies make accurate credit decisions.

 

Founder, Editor-in-Chief
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.
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LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.

Startup Should Create a Culture of Collaboration, Not Silo

Startup Should Create a Culture of Collaboration, Not Silo

A company needs its employees to work together.  For the organization to function well, it must have multiple people with different expertise and skills working together towards a single goal. Basically, a company needs its people to collaborate.

But moving fast, innovating, and excelling all at the same time is a hard thing to do. It’s even harder if you put people with varying beliefs, personalities and abilities together.

So the big question is, “How do we create a culture based on collaboration?”

Know the “Why”

Before anyone can collaborate, they need to know why they should do it in the first place. Some professionals may refuse to work with other people because they believe that they don’t need the help of others.

To convince these kinds of people, you need to show them that the project cannot be done by a single professional. Tell them that it will be faster and efficient if a group of people with special skills work together. Plant the seeds of cooperation early and you’ll see fantastic results.

Have a meeting and invite everyone involved in the project. Explain to them clearly why you need their services and why you need to solve this problem. If people know the “why”, then all that’s left for them is to “do”.

Use the UX Mindset

The user experience mindset or UX mindset for short is a way of thinking that puts the customer first. It reframes how you think and it will give you a new work perspective. Integrating the UX mindset into the team will instill cooperation.

People unite under the UX mindset because they have a common goal. Instead of bickering with one another, people will set aside their differences to create an amazing user experience.

Teach people to respect roles

Respect or to be more accurate, the lack of respect is one of the biggest reasons why people refuse to cooperate. Lack of respect stems from a feeling of loss, elitism, miscommunications, misunderstandings, and ignorance.

It’s hard to teach people to respect someone that they’ve just met. However “hard” does not mean that it’s impossible.

To remove lack of respect from your team, you simply need to show them respect. Respect can be gained by clearing up misunderstandings, having a positive outlook, and understanding the bigger picture.

An ignorant employee might complain that a certain job or role is useless but once you show them why the bigger picture, they will understand their foolishness and begin to show a little bit of respect.

Teach your people to accept and embrace change

The only true constant in this world is changing.  Change is something that happens all of the time but for most people change can be a bad thing.  Your people might be comfortable with the status quo and the thought of change is a scary notion for them.

However, change is needed for progress.  You simply need to convince yourself and your people that change can be good. You simply need to look at it from a different perspective. Show them that they’ll be getting more than what they’ve bargained for. All they need to do is to simply learn and embrace change.

Sure, some changes can be rough. And change may lead to tough times, but you have to take risks to move forward.

If this isn’t enough to convince them, then you can use change as a way to stimulate people. Frame the change as something that creates adventure and excitement. Frame it in a way so that they will learn to love the unknown.

Improve communication between team members

People cannot collaborate if they can’t communicate with each other. And standard communication isn’t enough, they have to communicate perfectly with one another.

Perfect communication between team members is hard and it isn’t just about telling people what to do. No, perfect communication is a much trickier task. You must teach your people to use the right words at the right time.

Improper communication can lead to arguments. The use of incorrect words might offend people and impact them on a subconscious level. Learn ways to reframe your words, because a single word can alter your intended message.

Effects of a Culture based on Collaboration

A culture that promotes teamwork and collaboration is ideal. There are tons of benefits from having your people work well together. But some of the most notable and most important effects would be…

An increase in creativity and morale

This is probably one of the most obvious and most notable effects of a collaborative culture. Teams are more creative and more positive since they get along well with one another. People will also feel better if the workplace promotes teaming up and working with others.

More innovative members

A culture that promotes working together will also promote new ideas and new opportunities. Team members are more likely to participate in meetings since they feel comfortable talking and sharing their ideas.

Innovation stems from the will to change. And if people are open to change and new opportunities, then they are welcoming innovation with open arms.

Better ROI

Achieving a culture based on collaboration is hard. It might even be impossible for others, but once you reach it, it would be worth your while.

When a team is collaborative, they work faster and better with one another. People are more content with their work and they will do their best most of the time. People are also more creative, and innovation blooms freely in the work area.

In the long run, the team will be able to produce quality products and the company will make more money in the long run.

Conclusion

Mankind is capable of creating wonderful and amazing things. I mean we’ve created airplanes that can fly in the air, we’ve harnessed the power of lightning, and we’ve created cities that can accommodate millions of people.

This is all thanks to collaboration and teamwork. Creating a collaborative culture in your workplace is a big deal. Expect better products, better relationships, and overall a better team.

Creating an ideal setting where people promote the idea of teamwork and camaraderie is hard but it is well worth it. If you’re a manager and aren’t doing this to your team, then you’re missing out!

Here’s a great read – Top 4 Tips for Building a Real Networking Community

Founder, Editor-in-Chief
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.
×
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.

8 Ways Your Company Can Save Money By Hiring Remote Worker

8 Ways Your Company Can Save Money By Hiring Remote Worker

Whether you’re a veteran or simply a new business owner, one thing is certain – overhead costs are a big pain in the @&&. So it’s a good thing that modern technology has helped today’s businesses cut down on costs.

You save a lot of money by not paying for office space, construction costs, electricity bill, rental fee, food expenses, and other expenses. You can simply hire your employees and have them work at home. It’s also a big benefit to the employee since they don’t have to worry about gas expenses or commuting expenses. They also work in the comfort of their own homes and they can set their own schedules as well. It’s a win-win situation for both the employer and the employee.

But if you’re still not convinced then take a look at these reasons that explain why hiring remotely can save you a lot of money.

1 Lower Operating Costs for Your Business

You don’t have to worry about renting office space, paying electric bills, paying water bills,  buying office supplies, providing for snacks, office repairs, buying hardware, fixing to plumb, and all those other expenses since most (if not all) of your workers are now working at home.

Based on a poll from Global Workplace Analytics, it was discovered that businesses and companies who allow their employees to work at home have reduced expenses and reduced company overheads of approximately $11,000 annually.

2 Your Remote Workers are More Productive

Working at home has a lot of perks. The most obvious perk would be that of time and travel expenses. Home workers don’t need to travel to the office which saves them a lot of time, they also don’t have to experience the stress of being caught in a traffic jam during rush hour.

Asides from the traffic, home workers have fewer distractions and they can devote 100% of their time and energy on work. Home workers have flexible work schedules that they can even take care of their children, cook their own food, and watch television. This flexible work schedule makes them more productive and it helps them produce high-quality outputs.

According to Tiny Pulse, about 91% of home workers state that they get more work done when they are working remotely.

3 Employee Turnover Will Be Reduced

A lot of employees are being replaced yearly. It’s costly to train new employees and it takes a lot of time and investment to make them as effective as the old ones.  You can convince your current employees to stick around by making them work at home.

According to the Global Workplace Analytics, about two-thirds of employees would switch their current jobs if they could ease the burden of commuting and deal with traffic. By relieving your employees the burden of traffic, you are also ensuring that they would stick around and work for you.

4 You will have more productive and efficient meetings

Payroll has reported that over 40% of office professionals see impromptu meetings as a major distraction in the workplace.

You don’t have to worry about impromptu meetings that hinder you from doing your work. Most impromptu meetings have little value to add and they are often used to kill time in the workplace. It’s even more annoying when people chat and goof around while waiting for the other workers to come to the meeting. You lose at least an hour of your work time in these meetings, an hour that you could have spent working on that project.

You can have more efficient and productive meetings if you have a lot of remote workers. Why? Because meetings have to planned and scheduled in advance which gives you and your employees more time to prepare for the meeting. So no more on the spot brainstorming or fooling around, you can now have meetings that help and improve your employees work rather than hindering it.

5 Your Workers Can Work Even on Sick Days

People in the office often take the whole day off when they call in sick. This would set back your profits and you’ll be at a loss. Remote workers, on the other hand, don’t have this problem.

Your remote workers can work from bed (if possible) when they’re sick. If they can’t work when sick it’s still okay since they have flexible work schedules that make it easy for them to catch up with work.

6 It’s Faster and Easier to Hire Remote Workers

Office employees undergo a very long and tedious hiring process. They undergo interviews, handle paperwork, background checks, and they have to be sorted out by the HR department. It would take a few days at best to hire a new employee.

Hiring a remote worker, on the other hand, can simply be done within a 24 hour period. There’s no bureaucracy that will slow you down.  However this comes at the cost of security and quality, you have to do the background checks yourself and make sure that they are up to par with your company’s standards.

7 You Don’t Need to Rely on Local Talent, You Have the World to Choose From

If your company is located in a big and thriving city. It’s very likely that your employees are also living in the city as well. The cost of living is high and you have to pay them a much higher rate.

However, you can pay remote workers much less since you don’t have to adhere to industry standards. You can pay someone a lower rate but with equal talent, whose living in a rural area and they’d still be happy about it. You can even completely outsource the work and hire workers from across the world.

8 You Can Work Remotely as Well

What’s so great about having all your workers work remotely? Well, it means that you don’t have to go to the office anymore! You’re basically working remotely as well. That means that you don’t have to worry about commuting/ driving, rush hour, and other daily work expenses. You now have more time to spend with your family and you can probably work while traveling the world.

And, here are 3 ways to build trust in remote teams

Founder, Editor-in-Chief
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.
×
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.

6 Easy Steps to Optimizing Your Voice Search – And Why It’s Important

6 Easy Steps to Optimizing Your Voice Search - And Why It's Important

Interacting with artificial intelligence may still seem like an idea from science fiction, but several companies have turned that idea into reality sparking the need to know how to optimize for voice search.

Is voice search really that important?

Yes, because it’s revealed something about us … we really, really like it.

When people have questions, they turn to the web for answers. If you want to learn more about a restaurant, the weather, or the score from last night’s game, you’ll probably turn to the web for the answer in most cases. It’s fast, efficient, and you can access it with your phone.

With voice search, you don’t even need your phone.

So, what does this mean for business owners?

Similar to the way you performed search engine optimization to align your website with the keyword your target customers use, you now need to understand how to optimize for voice search. Today, we’re taking a closer look at this process as well as why it’s important.

How Popular Is Voice Search?

The statistics on voice search definitely shows that it has become a lot more popular, and it will become even more prevalent in the future.

  • Compared to 2008 voice search stats, search queries on Google voice search has increased 35 times by 2016.
  • 4 out of 10 adults now use voice search at least once a day.
  • About a quarter of young adults (ages 16 to 24) use voice search on their mobile devices.
  • By 2016, 20% of searches on an Android app in the US were by voice search.

More and more people are using it. It’s just a fact of life, and it’s a practice that’s bound to increase in the future. It’s been predicted that by 2020, fully half of all searches will be by voice. Desktop users are using voice search more, and home automation and Internet devices are increasingly voice activated.

Top Reasons Why More People are Using Voice Search

There are several good reasons why more people are using voice search instead of typing in keywords into a search bar. One survey discovered the top reasons for resorting to voice search over keyboard tapping:

  • Voice search is great when you’re eyes or hands are otherwise busy at something else. In many cases, this “something else” means driving. But it can apply to many other types of activities and situations. You can be doing chores at home, such as vacuuming or watching TV. You can be working out in the gym. So when your hands are busy, this means you can’t type in the words in the search bar. When you’re watching something else, you can’t see what you’re typing. In both cases, voice search makes more sense.
  • Others use voice search because they appreciate the faster results. Think about it: how much faster is it for people to talk, compared to typing in the keywords? People can type about 40 words a minute, but they can speak up to 150 words per minute. Google can start its search much earlier with voice search.
  • Some people use voice search because it’s easier. In many situations, it can be difficult to type in the words. This is certainly true when you’re on the go. Others aren’t yet well-versed in tapping the right letters on a smartphone screen.
  • For some, it’s about the cool and fun factor. Kids and teens just think it’s a cool way to use Google. But quite a few senior citizens are enthralled by the technology as well. It’s just so Star Trek.
  • Voice search is also a good way to avoid using confusing menus. This is especially true for apps that allow for voice search.

How to Optimize for Voice Search

So now that you know that people are using voice search more frequently, you have to adjust your website to accommodate this new trend. It took too long for some brands and websites to factor in the rising popularity of mobile search in the past, and they paid for it with reduced traffic. Now your website has to account for voice search if you want to take SEO seriously.

So what should you do? Here are some ways you can improve your website so that you can accommodate the needs of people who use voice search:

1 Update your local listings

In many cases, people use voice search to find info regarding brick and mortar establishments. So you need to make sure that your local listings are set up properly and they’re accurate. Put in your business information and pick your categories wisely. Your information should also be consistent with all the listings they appear in.

2 Use natural language keywords

The most common keywords used in voicemail will usually be in the form of long tail keywords and natural questions. You have to optimize your site for those kinds of questions.

3 Have a Q&A section

This is an effective way to have natural questions in your content. At the same time, you can provide the answers right away. It’s best if you don’t limit your Q&A to just your FAQ section. You may want to have your blog posts contain this kind of format. In fact, you can put them on your product pages as well. You have to build your content around questions that people might post on voice search.

4 Optimize for mobile

While it’s true that voice search is even becoming popular for desktop PC, the fact remains that voice search is more often done on smartphones. This means you need to make sure your website looks great on such a small screen. It should also feature navigation features that work best for smartphone touchscreens. Don’t put in links and buttons too close together.

5 Boos your website speed

Many voice search users are on the go. They’re also mobile Internet users, and these people are notoriously impatient. About 40% of all mobile users wait only 3 seconds before they abandon a website. So if it takes more than a few seconds for your landing screen to load, people are just going to tap the back button and try another website instead.

 6 Make your content scannable

Most of the time, people won’t bother to read long articles on their smartphones. They’ve posted a question on their search, and they want to get the answer quickly. So use visual info if possible. For text, you need large fonts for headlines, simple sentences, and short paragraphs.

It’s imperative that you don’t miss the boat on voice search. You have to accept that more and more people are using this to find the website and data they need, and you have to optimize your website accordingly.

 

Founder, Editor-in-Chief
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.
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LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.