50 Sure Fire Ways to Get People Fired Up and Motivated as Self-Starters at Work

excited

A recent Gallup poll indicates that the percentage of U.S. employees who consider themselves “engaged” in their jobs averaged 31.5 percent, an historical low.

That means nearly 70 percent of American employees don’t consider themselves engaged at work.

Fired-up employees will perform their jobs more proactively. And you’ll realize benefits as well.

You will find that you can more easily delegate responsibility. That means you get to spend less time on the small, yet still important, stuff and focus on the big picture, such as kindling strategic growth.

Here are 50 surefire ways to spur employees get motivated, take the initiative and become a self starter at work.

Share Your Vision

You started your business with a vision that fired you up so much you expended enormous effort to get where you are today. Share that vision with your staff by telling your own “origin story.” (Be sincere.)

Listen

Aside from letting staffers get things off their chest, you have a great opportunity to put your finger on the pulse of your business and learn from your employees. You can learn invaluable things, including potentially innovative ideas to improve daily operations.

Express Appreciation

Sounds simple but this still addresses one of the greatest needs of people in general: the desire to feel appreciated. Some of your staffers will consider your appreciation as significant as — if not more significant than — more money.

Disrupt the Routine

If you want enthusiastic and productive people working for you, do all that you can to disrupt routine. Do whatever you can to make the work as interesting and engaging as possible. Don’t flick on autopilot.

Create Healthy Competition

In the office as on the sports field, people maximize their contribution when they know that exemplary performance will be rewarded. The trick is to make the reward system as transparent as possible to everyone.

Celebrate Success

Success doesn’t happen all at once. It’s often a string of continuous achievements. When you create a healthy competition for excellence, also be sure you celebrate every success when it happens.

Provide What is Needed

This can apply to small things, such as more sticky notes and yellow highlighters, or large ones, such as offering a formal training program. The easiest way to find out if your employees need anything is to simply ask them.

Show Respect

Awards are great but treating all the members of your team respectfully will help their overall performance as a group, too.

Never Micromanage

Leaders don’t lean over employees’ shoulders monitoring everything they do. Assuming you know how to hire people, you should trust them to do their jobs. Micromanaging is never helpful.

Lead by Example

Nothing is as contagious as the habits of a successful leader. But you must let your team see your successful habits in order for this contagion to work. Be a present leader who measures up to the same standard you’ve set for your team.

Be Amiable

Smile and let your employees know they can come to you with their problems and concerns — and maybe even a suggestion or two will float your way. Listening to their concerns will make them feel better too and will make them work harder and take more initiative.

Keep Your Word

By exhibiting the ability to follow through with everything you say, you will earn the respect of your team. This will increase their engagement. By contrast, imagine how engaged they will be if they don’t respect you.

Be Decisive

Remember Nike’s immortal advertising slogan when it’s decision time. Just do it. Procrastination only slows you down. Demonstrating an ability to be decisive can make a strong impression on your team and make them want to do the same.

Don’t Fear Emotion

Smile and crack a joke with folks around the water cooler. You’ll improve company morale and fire up employees in the process. As PsychCentral notes: “Even the most mundane task can be viewed with value when we are in a good mood.”

Push Limits

You will find you need to apply some pressure on occasion to prompt your team to perform beyond the usual. Otherwise, they will stagnate. Getting your team to that next level of being self-starters may take an extra push.

Be a Problem Solver

Recognize you don’t have all the answers and don’t pretend to. This isn’t a sign of weakness but of strength. Recognize these moments as chances to exhibit your effectiveness as a problem-solver. It will start to rub off on your team making them good problem solvers, too, and freeing you from needing to make every decision.

Avoid Fear-Based Management

Great leaders are with their teams day in and day out, offering words of encouragement and teaching or helping to refine the various skills required to succeed. Don’t ever stand on the sidelines screaming at them if you want them to become self-starters at work.

Cultivate New Leaders

As your business expands, it will prompt the need for new leaders. Be ready to fill this need immediately by letting all your team members know they have the opportunity to grow with the company.

Encourage Personal Growth

As a small business leader, you must consider practical ways of encouraging this growth. Give team members copies of your favorite personal success book. Tell them about an upcoming business networking event and suggest they attend. Try to enhance their personal development outside the office as well.

Help Correct Mistakes

When one of your employees makes an honest mistake, take the time and effort to explain what he or she did wrong. Then give pointers on avoiding repeating the blunder.

Promote Accountability

Your employees will feel personally invested in your company’s success when they are held accountable for their actions. They will realize what needs to be accomplished and they will expend their time and effort accomplishing it.

Show Flexibility

People are unique. No two members of your team are the same. As a result, you must be flexible in terms of how you lead each person, as some will require more of your attention than others.

Get Employees More Involved

Encourage staffers to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty by getting more deeply involved in more facets of their work, including longer-term projects. If they feel they are a part of the organization’s future, they will be inspired to work independently, freeing more time for you.

Brainstorm

Hold frequent brainstorming sessions and encourage your team to hold its own. This will help each team member creatively come up with innovative ideas for the company.

Inspire

Tell your team members how their contributions add to the company’s advancement. “Employees are more inclined to step up their game when they know their work can add value to the healthier whole,” Forbes proclaims.

Be Socially Responsible

Your employees want to feel good about their work beyond just their salaries and your bottom line. Where possible, show them your company is a good citizen locally and of the world. Explore green options to make your business process more environmentally friendly. And always look for ways to provide more socially responsible products and services.

Stop Lecturing

Today’s frenetic business world is not a good place to opine on and on (and on). Avoid long winded explanations and cut to the chase. Unneeded complexity is draining.

Sustain Fresh Ideas

Each team member will feel empowered by simply having the ability to suggest new ideas as well as help bring them to life. Give people a chance to take this kind of initiative and task them with the follow-through. You may be amazed at the results.

Create a Good Environment

Research shows that your office environment is very important to your team members. You can easily drive motivation here by considering what you can do to transform your office space into a cool place, where people want to work, rest and have fun.

Build Team Spirit

Your company team can be likened to a family. Or it should be. Help bolster this attitude by organizing team activities during work but also after work.

Provide More Freedom

Having the ability to choose their projects, including how, when, and where they get the work done is becoming increasingly important to talented professionals across sectors and industries.

Pay Staffers Properly

When you are working at establishing employees’ salaries, make certain that the pay is consistent with what your competitors pay, as well as similar companies in your region of the country.

Set Priorities

Employees report that they often waste time at work because they don’t know which of the many projects they are working on has priority, for example. As a leader, it’s your job to help them prioritize. Work with your team members to set clear goals, including details about each project’s priority.

Make Meetings More Efficient

Meetings have the potential to waste too much time — time that could be better spent completing priority projects with approaching deadlines. Set the agenda for each meeting, start on time and end as soon as possible.

Don’t Be a Drill Sergeant

Ordering people around like you’re running an army is counterproductive in every conceivable way. Instead of fostering engagement, you’ll encourage people to update their resumes. Offer direction but leave room for employees to develop their own processes.

Deal With Dissatisfied Employees

Some employees simply can’t be motivated. And with your repeated attempts, you will reach the point of diminishing returns, spending too much time and energy that could be spent on something else. The Wall Street Journal suggests: “Ask how you can help improve their work experience. Offer to move them into another work area, a different department or even a different company.”

Kill Rumors

Rumors need to be nipped in the bud. Depending on the nature of the rumor, it could destroy morale and hurt productivity. That’s bad news while you’re trying to teach your team to take more initiative.  Obviously, time is of the essence when dealing with this type of situation.

Share Long-term Goals

Fill your team in on some of your long-term goals. This can have an effect similar to getting employees more involved with projects. It signals to them that they have a long-term role to play in the company’s future.  And it could alleviate anxiety allowing staffers to take a more proactive role in day-to-day operations — your ultimate goal.

Get Them Out of the Office

Sponsor a community service day. Such an event will allow employees to get out of the office to participate in something that can make them feel good about themselves. Churches and charities are always available to help you find such day projects. These activities can also teach employees how to be more proactive leaders, something they can bring back to your business too.

Keep Personal Worries to Yourself

Whatever is keeping you awake at night, keep it to yourself. If you exhibit trepidation in front of your team, it can stimulate their anxiety, which never helps.

Launch a ‘Mini-CEO’ Program

Inc. relates the story of how when an employee has a new idea, Brian Halligan, CEO of Hubspot, a marketing software firm in Boston, sometimes will appoint that person as ‘CEO’ of a new in-house start-up. “We want to empower the edges of the organization, and we want to let the people who really understand our customers make decisions,” Halligan told Inc.

Give Ownership Stakes

Employee Stock Ownership Programs can be an attractive way to motivate your team, since the structure works by providing funds only from the company’s profits. This arrangement may promote more proactive behavior from employees because they benefit directly from the results.

Go Nuts (Once in a While)

Have a crazy hat or tie day in the office. Host a lunch-time dance party. Cut loose and do something crazy to break up the routine and lift spirits. It may also spark some creativity and improve your team’s work ethic. A little silliness is a small price to pay for employees that will take more of the load off you.

Give Handwritten Letters

Nothing says appreciation like a handwritten letter. Send these to team members who have exhibited the kind of proactive leadership you’d like to see from everyone at the company. The result may be more such leadership in the future from others who see the results.

Provide Nap Breaks

Depending on your comfort level with this one, napping may be a great motivator. Companies large and small have created nap rooms where employees can enjoy a restful 15-minute snooze.

Create Other Incentives

Incentives are well-known ways to motivate staff. They don’t necessarily require the expenditure of a lot of money. An extra paid day off, gift cards, or tickets to a movie are all excellent incentives for your staff, as is an occasional cash bonus.

Correct in Private

When you need to discuss a performance-related issue or correct a recent specific error, do so in private. Hold the conversation either in your office or the employee’s, with the door closed.

Praise Publicly

Companies celebrate Employee of the Month for the simple reason that people love praise. Make it a standard practice in your offices to recognize positive people by announcing publicly when someone has made a particularly dazzling achievement.

Ditch Managers

Try removing the project supervisor. Empower your staff to work together instead of having everyone report to one person. This can work wonders, as letting your team down is considered by many to be far worse than letting a supervisor down.


Excited Woman Photo via Shutterstock

More in: Motivational

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Blizzard Reveals Necromancer for Diablo 3 at BlizzCon 2016 as Paid DLC

Blizzard Reveals Necromancer for Diablo 3 at BlizzCon 2016 as Paid DLCBlizzard Reveals Necromancer for Diablo 3 at BlizzCon 2016 as Paid DLC
HIGHLIGHTS
The Necromancer will be coming to Diablo 3 in 2017
It will be a part of the Rise of the Necromancer Pack
Blizzard has not said how much it would cost
BlizzCon 2016 saw more Diablo announcements than usual to celebrate the series’ twentieth anniversary. Aside from stating that the original Diablo will be coming to Diablo 3 and Seasons Mode making it to consoles, Blizzard had one more trick up its sleeve, with plans to bring the Necromancer class to Diablo 3. But there’s a catch – it will be a part of paid downloadable content (DLC) referred to as the Rise of the Necromancer Pack.

“Necromancers can expect darker, more controlled gameplay centered around the raw materials of life: blood and bone. Grounded in a philosophical, pragmatic approach to life and death, they’re more like a calculated conductor of the darkest arts,” reads the description on Blizzard’s website. “ Deadly serious in their practice, they are the experts of curses and reanimation—and their pets obey their every command.”

(Also see: The Darkening of Tristram to Bring the Original Diablo to Diablo 3)
Though Blizzard are yet to detail the Necromancer’s abilities, a screenshot from BlizzCon 2016 has been doing the rounds confirming what you could expect when the class hits in 2017.

Diablo 3 Necromancer abilities: ​
Corpse Explosion: target an area exploding all corpses dealing damage.
Blood Rush: shed your mortal flesh and re-appear yards away, passing through most obstacles.
Siphon Blood: drain the blood of your enemies dealing damage and restoring essence.
Bone Spear: summon a piercing bone projectile that causes damage to all enemies it passes through
Decrypify: a crippling curse that reduces the enemy unit’s movement speed and damage done to you
Command Skeletons: command your skeletal minions to attack the target and increase their damage. The skeleton cap seems to be ten units ( seven melee and three ranged skeletons).
(Also see: Blizzard Announces New Overwatch Character Sombra at BlizzCon 2016)
“In addition to unlocking the Necromancer as a playable character, players will also receive an in-game pet, two additional character slots, two additional stash tabs (on PC), a portrait frame, pennant, banner, and banner sigil,” the site claims in way of what else will make up the cost of playing as a Necromancer.

It will be interesting to see what else comes along with the Necromancer since it is a paid piece of content. Other Blizzard games like Overwatch don’t charge for new characters, making this an oddity of sorts. And it seems that Blizzard isn’t ready to say much else about it right now aside from well, it will be purchasable.

“We’re not ready to announce a price just yet,” states an official FAQ.

While there was little in the way of an announcement of a new Diablo game or expansion to mark two decades of the series, some fans are holding out, expecting a hint during one of BlizzCon 2016’s many panels. Though it seems unlikely given that the opening presentation would have been the perfect stage for such a reveal.

Tags: BlizzCon, BlizzCon 2016, Blizzard, Diablo, Diablo 3, Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls, PC games, PC gaming, Xbox One, PS4, Necromancer, Diablo 3 Necromancer, Rise of the Necromancer Pack, Diablo 3 Paid DLC, Necromancer ability list, Diablo 3 Necromancer ability list

[“source-ndtv”]

7 Ways to Get Inspired as an Entrepreneur

7 Sources of Entrepreneur Inspiration

Yes, entrepreneurship is naturally exciting. Most of us get involved because we’re thrilled at the notion of getting to build our own enterprise, and the thought of building wealth keeps us going through a lot of challenges — but some days are harder than others, and inevitably, you’ll hit a wall when all that motivation and passion seems to slip away from you. It may not happen often, and it may not consume you completely, but it will compromise the energy and creativity you pour into your business. Furthermore, if you aren’t careful, it could escalate to become a real problem.

So when you hit these walls, on these bad days and in these tough circumstances, what can you do to get your inspiration back?

7 Sources of Entrepreneur Inspiration

Get inspired with one or more of these seven empowering strategies:

1. Read Real Motivational Stories

You could start by reading some motivational stories of entrepreneurs who have already overcome the challenges you’re facing, or who are going through them currently. Blogs like Revel Up Your Dream exist to provide these entrepreneurial, inspirational stories to other business owners, so take them for all they’re worth. You can take solace in the fact that you aren’t on this journey alone, or remind yourself that success could be just around the corner. You might even learn a new coping strategy or a way to reimagine your business.

2. Hit Some Motivational Quotes

In a similar vein to reading entrepreneurial stories, you can search for motivational quotes to keep you going. Look up quotes and interviews of major leaders in the entrepreneurial community. Most of these will probably register as white noise to you, but if you keep looking, chances are you’ll find at least one quote that really resonates with you on a personal level — enough to re-establish your personal motivation to keep going.

3. Remember Why You Got Started

Take a minute to step back and remember why you got started with entrepreneurship in the first place — it can be easy to lose this in the day-to-day responsibilities of business ownership. Did you want to lead a team? Are you after unlimited income potential? Realign your focus here, and you’ll get to see your business through fresher, younger eyes.

4. Take Some Time Off

This is an obvious method that too many entrepreneurs ignore. It doesn’t matter if the business isn’t in perfect shape. It doesn’t matter if you have a lot to do. You need to prioritize your own mental health and take a break every once in awhile. Take a few days off, or get away on a vacation. When you come back, you’ll find your inspiration is renewed. No matter how passionate you are about something, when you deal with it every day without a break, you’re going to get tired of it.

5. Talk to a Mentor

You can also talk to one of your mentors about what you’re facing, or find a new mentor to help guide you in the entrepreneurial world. These are people who have far more experience than you, and more perspective on the relatively small challenges and obstacles you’re facing. They’ll be able to give you some practical advice, or at least some coping strategies to rekindle your inner fire.

6. Exchange Ideas with Your Peers

You may find yourself revitalized simply by talking about your business and the nature of business development with other entrepreneurs in your area. These are people who share your passion, possibly to an even higher level, and passion is contagious. Surround yourself with these people, and you’ll find yourself naturally more inspired.

7. Get Creative

You can also engage in a creative activity to decompress your mind, break free from some of the stress you’re facing, and simultaneously exercise the parts of your brain responsible for coming up with unique solutions to problems. You could study art in a museum, play some of your favorite music, write poetry, paint or do anything else that keeps your mind active and relieves stress. It’s up to you.

Do Something

All of these strategies may appeal to you, or none of them might. You might try one and immediately feel better, or you might try a few and end up back where you started. There are no guarantees here, but there’s one thing you absolutely cannot do: nothing. If you feel your passion and your motivation slipping away, you have to do something — take an action — or else those stagnant feelings will only grow worse, and you’ll end up burning out. Something is always better than nothing, so if one tactic doesn’t work, you simply have to move on to the next one.

Inspiration Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

PC Gamers in Myanmar Cannot Access Origin, EA Pledges a Fix ‘Soon As Possible’

PC Gamers in Myanmar Cannot Access Origin, EA Pledges a Fix 'Soon As Possible'

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Gamers in Myanmar are unable to access or play PC games bought via Origin
  • Some claim this may be due to sanctions imposed on Myanmar by the US
  • EA tells Gadgets 360 it’s looking to resolve this as soon as possible

FIFA and Battlefield hit-maker EA may have reduced its presence in India over the past few years, but you can still get its games officially via Amazon or Origin – the company’s digital distribution platform for PC. Which is a bit better than what has happened in Myanmar.

According to a thread on Reddit, EA has revoked access to Origin completely in Myanmar.

“I live in Myanmar, and I own about 20 games on Origin, and have spent hundreds of dollars on the platform. I’ve bought the full editions of all of the Battlefield games up to this point, with their season passes,” claimed Redditor trivial_sublime.

(Also see:EA Wants to Win PC Gamers Back, but Its Actions Say Otherwise )

“ I was trying to log into Origin a few days ago, and got a bizarre ‘Access Denied’ message. I googled it, and found that ‘Origin is no longer available in Myanmar’, the post continues. “None of us has been offered a refund – just a ‘sorry, all your games are gone.’”

One of the comments on EA’s own forums claims it could be due to US laws.

(Also see:Steam vs Origin vs Uplay vs GOG vs Windows Store – A Definitive Guide

“Yes, with the Origin 10 update, US laws (which is where EA is based) forced them to block certain countries. Unfortunately you live in one of those countries. I’m sorry but there is nothing we can do here to allow you access again,” stated DarkAmaranth1966. This user is labelled as a Champion – a support volunteer picked by EA to assist other users but not an employee of the company. The response is odd considering that sanctions were lifted on October 7 and services such as Steam – which is also US-based, works fine.

(Also see:Here’s Why You Can Buy FIFA 16 and Other EA Games Only From Amazon India)

It’s chilling that legitimate paying consumers can lose access to their purchases at a moment’s notice. Yet another reason to avoid buying games digitally aside from the obvious costs on bandwidth and storage space.

Update, October 31, 2016:

EA has replied to Gadgets 360 with the following statement via email:

“We are working to restore access to Origin for our players in Myanmar.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused, and we’ll share updates on timing as soon as possible.”

Headline updated to clarify that EA is working on a solution and story updated to incorporate the company’s statement.

Tags: Myanmar, EA, Origin, Digital Distribution, PC Games, PC Gaming
[“source-ndtv”]

Sony Sees Strong Demand for PS4 Games as Mobile Business Slumps

Sony Sees Strong Demand for PS4 Games as Mobile Business Slumps

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Sony had a JPY 26 billion net profit in the six months through September
  • Revenue during the period fell more than 10 percent to JPY 3.3 trillion
  • Strong demand for games for its hugely popular PlayStation 4 game console

Sony said Tuesday its fiscal first half net profit dived owing to a sharp rally in the yen and losses linked to the sale of its battery business.

The Japanese electronics giant, which has been shedding assets as part of a broad restructuring, said it had a JPY 26 billion ($248 million or roughly Rs. 1,655 crores) net profit in the six months through September, down nearly 78 percent from a year ago.

Revenue during the period fell more than 10 percent to JPY 3.3 trillion “primarily due to the impact of foreign exchange rates”, Sony said.

The company said sales in its mobile communications business slumped, offsetting strong demand for games for its hugely popular PlayStation 4 game console.

(Also see: 47.4 Million PS4 Consoles Shipped Till Date, Announces Sony)

Tuesday’s first-half results come a day after Sony warned that it now expected a net profit of JPY 60 billion (roughly Rs. 3,820 crores) in the year through March 2017, down from an earlier JPY 80 billion forecast.

It cited impairment charges and other costs linked to the sale of its battery division to Apple supplier Murata Manufacturing.In July, Sony cut its full-year sales forecast – trimming it to the current level JPY 7.4 trillion – as it blamed the surging yen and slower smartphone sales.

Japanese firms have benefited from a weak currency in recent years, which allows them to make their products cheaper overseas.

(Also see: PlayStation VR: Almost There but Not Just Yet)

But the yen, which is seen as a safe bet, shot up since the start of the year amid wild volatility on world financial markets and as uncertainty over Britain’s decision to leave the EU stoked demand for less risky investments.

Sony has also warned that a pair of deadly quakes in Japan in April would also dent financial results.

The quakes, which caused major damage in southern Kyushu and claimed dozens of lives, forced Sony to temporarily shutter factories, hitting production and sales.

The once-iconic firm has been working to stay profitable after years of huge losses, under a painful restructuring that has included layoffs and asset sales.

Tags: Sony, Sony Earnings, PlayStation, PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR, Gaming, Console, Mobiles, Home Entertainment, Tablets,Cameras, Android
[“source-ndtv”]

Apple Sees Drop in Profit, Revenue as iPhone Sales Slump

Apple Sees Drop in Profit, Revenue as iPhone Sales Slump

Apple’s quarterly profit slumped on a widely expected drop in iPhone sales, but gains in services offered some optimism on the company’s efforts to curb dependence on its smartphone.

The company said Tuesday that profit fell 19 percent to $9 billion (roughly Rs. 60,134 crores) in the fiscal quarter ending September 24. Revenue fell nine percent to $46.9 billion (roughly Rs. 3,13,655 crores) from $51.5 billion (roughly Rs. 3,44,403 crores) a year earlier.

The results were largely in line with market forecasts and showed sales of the iPhone – Apple’s biggest revenue and profit driver – down five percent from a year ago to 45.5 million units.

The quarterly update only provided limited information on the reception of the newest iPhone models, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, which were released in early September, and was likely to benefit from the woes of rival Samsung, suffering from a massive recall of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 phone.

Analysts were expecting declines in iPhone sales with many smartphone markets saturated, a situation that has led Apple to focus on new products like the Apple Watch and services like mobile payments, Apple TV and streaming music.Chief executive Tim Cook welcomed what he called “our strong September quarter results,” saying they “cap a very successful fiscal 2016 for Apple.”

“We’re thrilled with the customer response to iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch Series 2, as well as the incredible momentum of our Services business, where revenue grew 24 percent to set another all-time record,” he said in a statement.

The world’s largest company by market value closed out its fiscal year ending September 24 with a net profit of $45.7 billion on revenues of $215.6 billion, both figures lower than the prior year.

Apple shares fell 2.7 percent in after-hours trade following the release.

“Previously, Apple was able to rely on strong sales of phones, tablets and computers to drive up revenue and profit across all geographies. This is no longer the case,” said Neil Saunders of the research firm Conlumino.

Still, Saunders noted that “Apple is being judged by its own incredibly high standards,” and that “even with the dips in growth it remains a phenomenally successful business that is far from running out of steam.”

More than device maker
Frank Gillett, a Forrester Research analyst, said the results show Apple is making progress in diversifying its mix of products and services as smartphone sales stagnate.

“The rise of services shows they’re more than a device maker,” Gillett said.

“It’s indicative of the depth of engagement of their customers.”

The more consumers use Apple applications and services, “the less likely they will switch to a rival,” Gillett said.

Apple’s results showed a six percent drop in iPad unit sales and a 14 percent decline in the number of Mac computers sold.

While iPhone sales accounted for more than half of revenues, services revenue grew to $6.3 billion as the company expanded services such as Apple Pay and its enterprise offerings.

In the key “Greater China” market, Apple said revenues were down 30 percent from a year to $8.8 billion. But the company noted a 10 percent rise in revenue from Japan and cited gains in other global markets.

Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy said Apple “met most expectations but didn’t have a great quarter” with sales of its main products lower.

“I’m suspecting there may have been availability issues on the iPhone 7 and Watch,” Moorhead said.

Still, Apple “had a banner quarter in services” which is a positive sign, according to the analyst.

“It’s important the investment community take a long view versus looking at short-term growth estimates as a knee-jerk Apple response would only work against the company and the stock price,” Moorhead said.

On a call with analysts, Cook declined to comment on what Apple has in the pipeline but did indicate the company was investing in “products in the development phase which have not yet reached the market.”

Asked to explain the sharp rise in research and development spending, Cook said, “We’re confidently investing in the future.”

Tags: Apple, Home Entertainment, Wearables, PC, Laptops, Internet, Apps, Tablets, Mobiles
[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Twitter Charts Solo Path as Salesforce Rules Out Takeover

Twitter Charts Solo Path as Salesforce Rules Out TakeoverHIGHLIGHTS

  • Salesforce said on Friday that it would not make a bid
  • Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey may now have to chart an independent course
  • Dorsey is likely to face intense scrutiny over his continued role as CEO

Twitter Inc faces an uncertain future after Saleforce.com Inc , the last of the companies believed to be interested in buying the troubled social network, said on Friday that it would not make a bid.

Twitter and Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey may now have to chart an independent course in the face of stagnant user growth, heavy losses and mounting competition from the likes of Facebook’s Instagram and Snap Inc’s Snapchat.

Dorsey is likely to face intense scrutiny over his continued role as CEO of both Twitter and the payment company Square , especially if the company’s next quarterly report in late October is as weak as some analysts expect.

Twitter grew rapidly for years after it was founded in 2006, and has assumed a unique and influential position in the global media ecosystem. But the company has been plagued by management turmoil since its earliest days and has long been criticized for a lack of product innovation and, more recently, lack of user growth.

Twitter last month hired bankers to field acquisition offers and companies including Alphabet and Disney expressed interest, according to sources familiar with the process. Google and Disney decided not to proceed, the sources said, leaving Salesforce, a provider of cloud computing software for businesses, as the last reported bidder.(Also see: Twitter Seeks New Path After Potential Bidders Said to Back Off)

But Salesforce investors reacted poorly to the idea, sending the company’s stock down when its interest in Twitter first emerged. Salesforce Chief Executive Marc Benioff said on Friday he had ruled out a bid.

“In this case we’ve walked away. It wasn’t the right fit for us,” Benioff told the Financial Times in an interview, saying there were many reasons the fit was not right, including price and the culture of the company.

A spokeswoman for Salesforce confirmed the comments. Twitter declined to comment.

Twitter’s shares closed 5 percent lower Friday at $16.88, while those of Salesforce rose 5 percent to $74.27.

Twitter had planned to wrap up any sale discussions by the time it reports earnings at the end of October, sources told Reuters earlier this week.

It is still possible that other bidders could emerge, according to people familiar with the matter. One source said the company may consider possible strategic investments rather than a buyout.

With a market cap of about $12 billion and losses running at about $400 million a year, Twitter was likely judged too expensive by prospective buyers.

(Also see: Twitter to Reportedly Conclude Sale Deliberations This Month)

Growth stalls
As an independent company, Twitter will likely need to address its unusual leadership situation, analysts said. Dorsey has split his time between Twitter and Square since he returned as Twitter’s permanent CEO about a year ago.

Investors are likely to pressure the company to appoint a “full-time” chief executive, said SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst Robert Peck.

“The most common question we receive from investors is given the struggling turnaround, doesn’t the company need a full-time CEO?” Peck said.

Dorsey sent a memo to employees earlier this month calling the company “the people’s news network,” and rallying them to “deliver a better Twitter faster.”

Twitter enjoyed a period of explosive growth in both users and revenues after its founding a decade ago, but growth has stalled over the past several years.

The company missed Wall Street’s sales expectations in both the first and second quarters of 2016, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine, and has yet to produce a net profit in 11 quarters as a public company. It will report third quarter results October 27, which SunTrust analyst Peck said he expects to be weak with data showing monthly active users flat or down.

To be sure, Twitter has become a focal point in the US presidential election. Many stories have unfolded on its service and comments made by the candidates have made big news themselves. No media company has a mobile product with as much reach as Twitter, BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield said.

Twitter has recently signed deals with a number of media companies and sports organizations to stream major events such as the presidential debates and Thursday Night National Football League games.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

Tags: Twitter, Salesforce, Social, Apps, Jack Dorsey
[“Source-Gadgets”]

7 Ways to Get Inspired as an Entrepreneur

7 Sources of Entrepreneur Inspiration

Yes, entrepreneurship is naturally exciting. Most of us get involved because we’re thrilled at the notion of getting to build our own enterprise, and the thought of building wealth keeps us going through a lot of challenges — but some days are harder than others, and inevitably, you’ll hit a wall when all that motivation and passion seems to slip away from you. It may not happen often, and it may not consume you completely, but it will compromise the energy and creativity you pour into your business. Furthermore, if you aren’t careful, it could escalate to become a real problem.

So when you hit these walls, on these bad days and in these tough circumstances, what can you do to get your inspiration back?

7 Sources of Entrepreneur Inspiration

Get inspired with one or more of these seven empowering strategies:

1. Read Real Motivational Stories

You could start by reading some motivational stories of entrepreneurs who have already overcome the challenges you’re facing, or who are going through them currently. Blogs like Revel Up Your Dream exist to provide these entrepreneurial, inspirational stories to other business owners, so take them for all they’re worth. You can take solace in the fact that you aren’t on this journey alone, or remind yourself that success could be just around the corner. You might even learn a new coping strategy or a way to reimagine your business.

2. Hit Some Motivational Quotes

In a similar vein to reading entrepreneurial stories, you can search for motivational quotes to keep you going. Look up quotes and interviews of major leaders in the entrepreneurial community. Most of these will probably register as white noise to you, but if you keep looking, chances are you’ll find at least one quote that really resonates with you on a personal level — enough to re-establish your personal motivation to keep going.

3. Remember Why You Got Started

Take a minute to step back and remember why you got started with entrepreneurship in the first place — it can be easy to lose this in the day-to-day responsibilities of business ownership. Did you want to lead a team? Are you after unlimited income potential? Realign your focus here, and you’ll get to see your business through fresher, younger eyes.

4. Take Some Time Off

This is an obvious method that too many entrepreneurs ignore. It doesn’t matter if the business isn’t in perfect shape. It doesn’t matter if you have a lot to do. You need to prioritize your own mental health and take a break every once in awhile. Take a few days off, or get away on a vacation. When you come back, you’ll find your inspiration is renewed. No matter how passionate you are about something, when you deal with it every day without a break, you’re going to get tired of it.

5. Talk to a Mentor

You can also talk to one of your mentors about what you’re facing, or find a new mentor to help guide you in the entrepreneurial world. These are people who have far more experience than you, and more perspective on the relatively small challenges and obstacles you’re facing. They’ll be able to give you some practical advice, or at least some coping strategies to rekindle your inner fire.

6. Exchange Ideas with Your Peers

You may find yourself revitalized simply by talking about your business and the nature of business development with other entrepreneurs in your area. These are people who share your passion, possibly to an even higher level, and passion is contagious. Surround yourself with these people, and you’ll find yourself naturally more inspired.

7. Get Creative

You can also engage in a creative activity to decompress your mind, break free from some of the stress you’re facing, and simultaneously exercise the parts of your brain responsible for coming up with unique solutions to problems. You could study art in a museum, play some of your favorite music, write poetry, paint or do anything else that keeps your mind active and relieves stress. It’s up to you.

Do Something

All of these strategies may appeal to you, or none of them might. You might try one and immediately feel better, or you might try a few and end up back where you started. There are no guarantees here, but there’s one thing you absolutely cannot do: nothing. If you feel your passion and your motivation slipping away, you have to do something — take an action — or else those stagnant feelings will only grow worse, and you’ll end up burning out. Something is always better than nothing, so if one tactic doesn’t work, you simply have to move on to the next one.

Inspiration Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek Becomes Chairman as Co-Founder Steps Down

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek Becomes Chairman as Co-Founder Steps DownSpotify CEO Daniel Ek Becomes Chairman as Co-Founder Steps Down
Spotify co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ek is consolidating power over the world’s largest music streaming service, taking on the role of chairman ahead of a planned initial public offering as soon as next year.

Martin Lorentzon, a co-founder of Spotify, is stepping down from his role as chairman after 10 years, a Spotify spokeswoman said in an e-mail. Lorentzon will become vice chairman, he said Thursday on his Twitter feed.

(Also see: Spotify Debuts in Japan, Complete With Karaoke Lyrics)

“I look forward to another 10 years at Spotify as vice chairman,” Lorentzon said.

Ek is leading the company as it prepares to make its case to public-market investors and takes on a growing list of rivals, including Apple, Amazon and Pandora. He’s taking a page from other technology industry founders such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg – who maintain tight control over the leadership and direction of their companies – as he oversees a growing staff spread across Stockholm, London, New York and Los Angeles.

The company is in the midst of critical negotiations with record companies that will determine how much Spotify pays to carry music on its service. The outcome will help determine whether the company can bend itself toward profitability, as it currently pays most of its revenue back out in the form of royalties to labels and publishers.
Spotify last month surpassed 40 million paying customers, and has 100 million monthly users including its free, ad-supported product. It generated more than $2 billion in revenue last year but remains unprofitable.

(Also see: Spotify Said to Be in Advanced Talks to Buy SoundCloud)

Earlier this year, Lorentzon joined venture capitalist and Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom, former Finance Minister for Sweden Anders Borg and several other business leaders in signing an open letter calling for reforms in Sweden’s education, tax and housing industries, and warned that failure to do so could force businesses from the Nordic region’s biggest economy.

© 2016 Bloomberg L.P.

Tags: Spotify, Music Streaming Service, Music, Internet, Home Entertainment, Apps

[“Source-Gadgets”]

As Technology Shifts More Layoffs Loom at Tech Companies

As Technology Shifts More Layoffs Loom at Tech Companies

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Hardware companies struggle to keep up with rapid technology shifts
  • This year, technology companies in the US have shed about 63,000 jobs
  • Job cuts to rise as companies subscribe to “super cloud” services

Cisco Systems’ announcement on Wednesday that it plans to lay off 5,500 employees is unlikely to be the last round of Silicon Valley pink slips as hardware companies struggle to keep up with rapid technology shifts, analysts and recruiters said.

Companies that traditionally have made most of their money selling computers, chips, servers, routers and other equipment are especially vulnerable, analysts say, as mobile applications and cloud computing become increasingly important.

The Cisco layoffs come in the wake of Intel’s announcement in April that it was laying off 12,000 workers. Dell said in January it had shed 10,000 jobs and is expected to make further cuts after it closes a $67 billion deal to acquire data storage company EMC.

So far this year, technology companies in the United States have shed about 63,000 jobs, according to outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

“The hi-tech industry is going through a serious deconstruction,” said Trip Chowdhry, an analyst at Global Equities Research. “There is more pain to come.”

Chowdhry said he expects job cuts to rise drastically as more companies subscribe to “super cloud” services from the likes of Amazon.com and Microsoft. These services manage hardware, software, networks and databases and eliminate the need for workers to manage various technology layers, Chowdhry said.

In January, Chowdhry estimated that layoffs in the tech industry would hit 330,000 this year. On Wednesday, he said he had raised his estimate to 370,000. Some other analysts said that forecast was too bleak.

IBM, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co, Oracle, and Dell could be the next to shed workers, analysts said.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Dell, and Oracle declined comment and IBM could not be immediately reached for comment.

Tremors of change

“Tech incumbents are all bracing for the tremors of change. said Glenn O’Donnell, an analyst at Forrester Research. “We fully expect a lot of collateral damage as this plays out – not just with Cisco.”

Cisco and other old-guard technology companies have been pursuing a challenging shift to software-oriented services. Margins in software services are higher than hardware because they bring recurring revenue and there are “fewer people involved on the cost side,” said Roger Kay, an analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates.

That could mean more job cuts. Silicon Valley job recruiters offered mixed views about the fate of hardware engineers laid off at Cisco and other tech firms.

“Nobody wants to be laid off but if job elimination is going to happen, 2016 is not a bad time for it to happen,” said John Reed, Senior Executive Director of the tech recruitment firm Robert Half Technologies.

Still, recruiters said, hardware engineers may need to be flexible and willing to retrain if they want to find work.

“Nobody wants hardware designers and engineers,” said Andy Price of executive search firm SPMB. “There was a moment in time when devices were hot and (action-camera maker) GoPro made everyone excited about devices, but a lot of those types of companies died on the vine.”

Currently, he said, “hardware engineers are probably the least attractive skill set imaginable in the Valley.”

© Thomson Reuters 2016

Tags: Cisco, HP, IBM, Intel, Layoffs

 

[“Source-Gadgets”]