How Countries are Competing to Attract Foreign Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship is ultimately a win for everyone. When a new business takes root and finds success, it can obviously be life-altering for the entrepreneur, and just as surely, the provision of new products and services is a boon to consumers. But in an even broader sense, entrepreneurship benefits everyone: When entrepreneurs set up shop, they create new economic stimulus, buying opportunities, and tax revenues for the nation in which they operate.

To put it simply: Entrepreneurship is good for national economic growth—which makes it not too surprising at all to find more and more national governments competing for global talents.

In many ways, this is the most significant form of international business competition in 2015: National governments trying to lure enterprising business-starters from foreign soil onto their own, poaching them from their mother countries in hopes of harnessing some of these economic benefits.

This is one of the rare issues on which there is widespread political agreement. Though general immigration laws remain a sticking point in U.S. politics, most everyone agrees that the targeted approach to encouraging the immigration of specific, talented entrepreneurs is beneficial.

It makes sense, even if it may also seem easier said than done. How, in the end, does one country compete with another to bring over entrepreneurs of foreign origin?

For answers, look no further than to the nation of Chile; whose national government has done much to draw thinkers, inventors, and business launchers from other parts of the world. To encourage these expatriates, the Chilean government has implemented an over-arching entrepreneurial incubation program that essentially boils down to two things: Money and travel visas.

On the one hand, Chile has awarded significant grant money to enterprising young business starters who are willing to bring their ideas to that nation. At the same time, these entrepreneurs are awarded travel visas to ensure their stay in Chile is comfortable and relatively hassle-free.

Of course, programs like this one are not unique to Chile, nor are they without some minor problems of their own. For one thing, there is a certain level of infrastructure needed to ensure that grant applications are reviewed and that only truly promising people are accepted into the program—but of course, the economic benefits of homegrown entrepreneurship more than offset these infrastructural costs.

When it comes to attracting foreign entrepreneurs, some countries have built-in advantages. Simply put, it’s easier to obtain bank loans and conduct other transactions in some nations as opposed to others, something that doubtless gives a leg up to the United States, Canada, and even Great Britain, among others.

Other issues are more cultural. Even grant money and a work visa can be unpersuasive if the entrepreneur simply does not want to live in a new land for an extended period of time, something that’s likely when there is a stiff language requirement. Multi-cultural and multi-linguistic countries have the advantage, though even here cultural hurdles can arise.

Something else that entrepreneurs must consider is the nation’s global profile, its level of prestige. The United States, Canada, China, Japan—all are nations that have a certain reputation for innovation and an entrepreneurial bent. Investors looking for the next big thing look here, which provides entrepreneurs in these nations a good platform for turning their ideas into concrete realities.

In a nation like Chile, that reputation for innovation is not quite there yet, though perhaps the current efforts at entrepreneurial development will foster it. That’s the catch-22 that many countries now face: They need to develop a better reputation for supporting entrepreneurs, but to do so they first have to actually coax entrepreneurs to set up shop on their soil.

For entrepreneurs, of course, these are exciting times. More and more, it seems like the opportunities are endless; and for anyone who has a brilliant idea, there may well be several governments vying for the rights to help launch it.

Social Media and Its Impact on Your Business

By: Contributed Content

It is truly a unique period to own and operate a business—whether it be big or small. Never before has there been a time where a business has the opportunity to directly connect and engage with potential prospects and current customers—and we have social media to thank for that.  Unlike traditional advertising methods that talk at consumers, social media offers a completely different form of outreach.  Social media ultimately allows a brand to talk with consumers, allowing an incredible opportunity for you to truly understand what is important to your customer, realize what they want, and know what they need.

The Benefits of Social Media

There are myriad benefits to properly using social media to showcase your business or product.  As noted, the first benefit that most businesses realize are the perks that come when you can directly engage with a customer.  Developing a strong social media presence will help create a brand personality and will allow you to remain relevant and forefront in the minds of your target audience.  However, in order for this to impact your business in the long-term, it is necessary for you to be very active on the social media platforms that your customers use.  Share informative and inspiring content, respond to messages and comments, and remember to follow the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of the time you should be informing and educating your customer…20 percent of the time is enough for talking about what you are selling.

Keep it Collaborative

It’s true that every business has competition, but realize that when it comes to developing a successful social media presence for your business you must take on a collaborative mindset.  Social media networks allow business owners to connect and engage with like-minded business professionals and brands.  This, in turn, can create deep relationships that can introduce your company to new audiences.  Ultimately, you must realize that social media is about being social—work to partner with business influencers and thought leaders who can benefit your organization.

Position Yourself as an Expert

Of course, it’s always tempting to want to talk about your business non-stop, but it is this type of behavior that turns social media users (your potential customers) completely off. Moreover, studies show that companies who do non-stop “horn tooting” are more likely to lose followers and loyalists as opposed to brands who look to educate.  Therefore, your focus on social media should be about serving as a source of information for your followers.  Provide them with the knowledge and strategy they need to solve a problem (likely also something that your product or service can provide) so that you are the first place they turn to when they realize they need professional help.  The more informative you are, the better the chance you have to drive people to your website or to pick up the phone and call you for help.

Be Relevant

Finally, if you want to do social media well, you must stay relevant.  Operating effectively on social media means remaining timely in your industry and marketplace.  You don’t want to be tweeting old news or sharing information that presents your brand as a figurative dinosaur on Facebook.  These platforms are all about sharing, talking about, and commenting on what is happening now.  Investigate relevant news topics, learn how people feel about those subjects, use hashtags that are trending, and keep your finger on the digital pulse of social media.  Doing all of this will help you create your own messaging and allow you to be effective when engaging in social discussions.


Coping with Unemployment

There’s no doubt that losing a job is a demoralizing situation—and when you have a family and loved ones to support, it can feel that much worse, knowing you have people depending on you.  However, countless workers in the past few years have faced unemployment, and it’s important for you to understand that you are not alone in your struggle.

Life does get much harder when you are unemployed and there are bills stacking up, left unpaid.  You might even be facing a situation where you know you could take “a job” but you don’t want to, because it’s not the job that you want and it feels menial compared to what you were doing before.  In this situation know that it might be wise to take that job—at least in the interim—studies show that the longer that you are off work, the less likely it becomes that you will ever return to work.  Realize that you might feel better doing something as you continue a job search as opposed to allowing that gap on your resume to grow bigger and more daunting.

However, coping with unemployment is about more than just making sure that your resume is up-to-date. For many people, being laid off or terminated from a position wreaks havoc on self-esteem and pride—but there are ways to get through this.  Follow this advice:

  • Identify and acknowledge your feelings.  Yes, it’s going to be tough.  Yes, it’s sad and upsetting.  Yes, you might be overqualified for a lot of positions.  But don’t give up.  You will get through this.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Contact your family, friends, and your professional network and ask point blank questions.  “Do you know of any job openings?”  “Can you help me with my job search?”  Use networking skills and create opportunities.
  • Know that you are worthy.  This thought encompasses so many things…worthy of support, worthy of happiness, worthy of success.  Work hard to make success a reality and whatever you do, don’t thrust all of the burden on your spouse or family.  Stay engaged with the process, keep your mind focused to fight depression, and above all else, get up and get going in the morning—don’t sleep until noon.  You do have an objective right now—it’s to get a job.
  • Focus on your health.  Studies show that during unemployment people are more likely to let their health go or engage in unhealthy behaviors.  Keep a healthy diet, don’t engage in excessive drinking or other risky behaviors, and get enough sleep.  When you do get called for an interview, you want to look sharp and alert.
  • Create a day-to-day schedule.  While it may be true that you no longer have a clock to punch, it’s important that you stay on a schedule in order to hold yourself accountable.  The only way you can look for that next opportunity is to actively focus.
  • Realize you need to be flexible.  This might be a trying time in your life, but you have to remain adaptable.  You must develop the mindset that this too will pass.  Keep an open mind and consider every opportunity that you uncover.  Reach out and introduce yourself to people.  Remain friendly, outgoing, and positive.  You never know what tomorrow holds or what great opportunity is just around the corner.

Remember, while coping with unemployment may be difficult, the fact of the matter is this:  The difference between winners and losers is that winners are willing to do what the losers refuse to.  Live in this moment to realize that good things are waiting for you on the horizon.

Best Practices to Deal with Difficult Co-Workers

The majority of offices are figurative melting pots—there are people from all backgrounds, belief systems, and walks of life, and therefore, there is considerable opportunity to encounter someone who is simply difficult, annoying, pushy, angry, aggressive or even…all of the above.  However, just because there is someone at your office that you are less than a fan of, doesn’t mean that each and every day has to be horrible.   Follow these best practices to deal with difficult co-workers at your place of employment:

  • Understand how to spot a “difficult” person in your company.  These individuals have the tendency to exhibit a lot of toxicity whether they are constant talkers and don’t allow a person to get a word in edgewise, slack off and dump work on others, dodge blame, or engage in shameless gossip. Your first line of defense against them is to identify who they are and know how they operate.
  • Learn how to work with a bad boss.  It’s probably every person’s worst nightmare to realize that the person they report to is not that nice.  Whether they are moody, arrogant, mean, or manipulative, you have to learn how to work with them.  Confrontation is not always the way to go as it can really put a crimp in your future plans with the company.  But if you do feel the need to state your case, plan out your words in such a way so the bad boss doesn’t feel he or she is on the defensive.
  • Analyze your circumstances.  When someone is mean to you at work or treats you badly, your first reaction is probably going to be shock at their lack of professionalism.  However, it benefits you to get over this shock and truly analyze the situation so you can better understand why that person is acting that way.
  • Put the offender on notice.  While sometimes it’s a rule to simply ignore a difficult person, if it feels like you might be in their crosshairs for future confrontation it’s time to turn the tables so the stress of the situation doesn’t impact your performance.  Bullies, for instance, rarely like to be called on their actions—they tend to feed off a weak person. If you are dealing with someone who is treating you badly, tell them that you are aware of their behavior and are ready to take it up the chain of command to someone in charge if it doesn’t stop.
  • Take action.  No matter what you decide to do, don’t let a situation fester.  The longer you have to deal with someone else’s toxic behavior, the angrier and more upset you will become, meaning that when you do have to report the behavior or confront it, you could put your own position at risk.   It’s better to handle a bad situation while you are still in control of emotions that could become volatile.
  • Remember to manage your own brand.  People talk a lot about brand management these days and when dealing with a difficult co-worker you must remain aware of your own actions, words, and reputation—don’t do anything that compromises the way people think about you at your office.  The last thing you want is to earn a reputation as a whiner, troublemaker, or tattle tale.

Dealing with a nasty person at work is never fun, but every person in their career is guaranteed to encounter this situation at least once. Remember, stay true to yourself, your ethics, morals, and beliefs regardless of the situation.  Allow your own good behavior to guide you and don’t hesitate to go to a person in charge if the situation becomes hostile or threatening.  Work your hardest to rise above the situation so you can control your stress, protect your career, and feel confident about your future.

5 Business Tips for 2015

Business Tips for 2015, A Muslim Guide

Here at Shia Wisdom, in addition to religious and spiritual related content, we try to provide others types content that can be useful for our readers. Many of our readers are either self employed or are business owners and leaders. The year 2014 is coming to an end hence we like to a few businesses tips that are going to be important for 2015;

  1. SEO Focus – SEO stands for search engine optimization and to businesses that means free traffic from search engines. The more optimized a website is, the more traffic it will get from search engines. SEO traffic isn’t actually free because you have to create a ton of good quality content and have to do a lot of analysis in order to rank on top of search engines but SEO is still much cheaper than other types of advertising channels hence we highly recommend that all businesses invest in SEO at some level.SEO has been around for a long time and it keeps changing so  business owners and leaders should try to stay on top the latest techniques and methods. Find out the top 2015 SEO trends to see how you can take advantage of your available resources to increase traffic to your website and increase revenue for you business.
  2. Happy Customers – A true business owner understands the value of a happy and satisfied customer, especially in the west and other capitalism societies where there is a lot of competition and customers have a lot choices.A happy customer is more likely to become a returning customer and also refer your business to others, hence as a business leader, you can grow your business continuously by simply keeping your customers satisfied.
  3. Happy Employees – Loyal and trustworthy employees are hard to come by these days. Keep your employees happy and they will keep you happy. Research shows that making keeping employees happy simply pays off.
  4. Keep Up – We live in era of data, information, and innovation. It actually somewhat works in that order. Because of digital revolution, businesses have a ton of data and information available and based on on those, they innovate new products and services or improve the existing ones regularly. Businesses that don’t keep up and don’t innovate tend fall behind and eventually go out of business.
  5. Remember God – You can’t find an advice like that in a regular secular business blog but as a religious based site, we believe it is our obligation to tie everything to God. He is the creator, the First and the Last.It is also well known that business success relies on many factor,  majority of those factors are not in control of business owners and leaders. For example, a business owner can do everything right but a sudden and unexpected downturn in the economy, a natural disaster, a sudden national or global crisis could really disrupt his business.  This is when remembrance of God and reliance on Godcould be the very factor that could define one’s success, or at the very least give one strength and patience.  Remembrance of God and trusting in him helps one to stay focus on doing good even in bad times. It helps entrepreneurs to be fair even when all seems to be unfair.We like to conclude this post by sharing you a narration from Prophet Muhammad, Peace & Blessings be Upon him & His Progeny:

Indeed the Holy Spirit blew informed me no soul shall pass a way before the depletion of his sustenance in this world, so be wary of your duty to God and see your livelihood through decent means, and let not a delay in your provision cause you to see it through unethical means. For indeed what is with God is only acquired through his Obedience.