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What makes Video Walls Suitable for Every Business Out There?

In this highly competitive world, it has become important to remain ahead with technology to grab the attention of audience and sustain growth. When every other business out there is expanding its reach through LCD video wall solution, then it becomes crucial for you as well to get a bespoke video solution that can boost up the growth of your business. Video walls offer higher content quality which can be extended to any size, without affecting resolution. It offers high resolution and quality, which makes every head to turn towards it. The superior quality, high brightness and excellent contrast ratio is what makes video walls far better than any projector. Video walls possess high processing power and designed to be active and durable for a long period of time. Moreover, video walls do not possess controllers and processors that are consumed in short period of time, neither do they require frequent maintenance.

Video walls are designed in a way to provide smooth functioning 24*7 with minimal maintenance needs. No doubt, a project is quite cheaper to install than video wall, but it requires much maintenance and needs to be replaced after a certain period of time. Video walls operate with an aid of video wall controller and processor. Processor is the most important of video wall that allow a multiple number of inputs and outputs and hence multiple contents to be displayed at a single time.

This makes video walls useful for every industry. Whether it is a sports arena, a shopping mall, a railway station, an airport, a restaurant or an educational institution, every commercial place which boast video wall is able to gain attention of the audience. It displays the content in an extraordinary fashion, which any other video display can’t even match. Video walls not only make your commercial place popular among the customers, but also offer you a chance to display advertisement and earn additional income through these advertisements. Video walls at places like airports, restaurants and shopping malls can generate greater revenues by displaying third-party’s advertisements.

The inventions of HDMI video wall controller have raised the bar of audio/video to a great extent. The interactive and eye-catching features of video walls make them incredible source of entertainment. Using video walls in an interactive manner can ignite curiosity in every viewer and enhance the ambiance of your place.

Summing up, there are several commendable features in video walls, which makes them suitable for business. However, video walls can make you achieve your desired target only if they are installed with proper planning and used rightly in your business setting.

It is imperative to seek assistance from reputed companies like iSEMC while going for the installation of video walls. iSEMC, being a leading manufacturer of video walls is able to provide you display system that are designed exactly according to the need of your business. From matrix switches to extenders, video wall units and controller, they offer you all and deliver services that exceed your expectations.

For more information, please visit www.isemc.com.

5

Operational Coherence: Instilling Confidence in Potential (and current!) Investors

It is axiomatic that startup founders in search of investors are anxious to tell the best story they are capable of to secure funding. And why not? First time founders are classically running against the clock to secure funding before their own meager resources are totally consumed, and they are typically unsophisticated and inexperienced in negotiating with VC’s. VC’s on the other hand, by their very nature are sitting on relatively large amounts of capital and employ experts in the field of funding businesses. It is – by definition – the VC’s game that founders are playing, so the conditions are ripe for founders to be tempted to put the best possible spin on their story, the better to wow the VC’s with. The VC’s are quite literally examining the investment opportunity – as presented by the founders – from the aspects of upside and downside risks. The more the upside and the less the downside, the higher the likelihood of investment. Therefore, it is a no brainer to say that one of the founders’ key jobs is to speak as clearly and thoroughly to those risks as they possibly can. The challenge is that every business is steeped in a myriad of interlocking risks, and risks have a strange way of behaving like bubbles in wallpaper.

I recently had a very nice chat with a mentor of mine, who has spent a long career helping VC’s repair struggling funded companies. He also founded a software company and raised $6M in capital early in his career, so he has seen this from both sides (with a successful exit to boot!). He observes that VC’s factor in founders’ over-optimism when considering startups’ performance projections, and that a nominal adjustment multiplier that typically gets applied is 60%, i.e., if the pitching founder projects revenues of X at the end of year 1, the VC’s will mark that down to X*0.6 in their own analyses to make the revenue projection more realistic. They are artificially – but prudently in their eyes – adjusting the story to assume the most likely outcomes, which are then used as the basis of their fund/don’t fund decisions; this is a tactic for factoring in risk, in this example dampening the risk that the founder was overly optimistic.

My friend also says that pitching founders are often short on the “here’s why we believe this” aspect of supporting their projections. Ultimately, the more a founder can do to proactively address risk in an orderly fashion, the better and cleaner the picture he will leave with the prospective investors, thus improving the odds of a deal being struck in a timely fashion.

Two simple but powerful elements can be built into the brief to help instill investor confidence in the business seeking funding.

First, give a three-dimensional performance projection, not just a one-dimensional, rosy, hopeful case. It is simple Human nature for an optimist to sincerely believe that the best case is eminently achievable and as good as done…and entrepreneurs, founders, and puppies are all born optimists. As outsiders though, VC’s suffer no such fantasies; they are inclined to be much more clinical about the whole enterprise and it is frankly proper that they exercise healthy skepticism during their due diligence. Recall here that the entire point of the Sprocket Blueprint is to groom invest-able startups through a thorough sequence of due diligence exercises…to enable the startups to progress easily and cleanly through the deal flow and secure funding.

Ultimately, it is better to under-promise and over-deliver than to over-promise and under-deliver.

The thoughtful startup’s projection series would include these three cases:

A. Worst Case (Easiest to Achieve) – This integrated strategic, operational, and financial plan set is 90% likely to be achievable with the team and resources given, considering assumptions and known facts included in the plan(s).

This is the foundational level of your funding case; it has the least amount of embedded downside risk for all parties.

B. Middle Case – This case is 50% likely to come to pass with the given team and resources. Some assumed downside don’t come to pass, some upside beats assumptions. It’s all gravy on top of the Worst Case scenario.

C. Best Case (Most Difficult to Achieve) –  5% – 10% likelihood of achievement; all or most optimistic objectives are met with given team and resources.

By presenting this three-dimensional laydown of projections, with its broader contextual terrain of possibilities, you give the prospective investor a range of potential ways to see a fit.

In the second element to work into your confidence-generating structure is the solid delivery of a coherent, well-integrated plan that addresses your Strategy, Financials, and Operations. A full-blown discussion of the ins and outs of planning is beyond the scope of this post; for our purposes here, the Operations plan is the founder’s ultimate expression of exactly “how” the Strategy will be carried out in conjunction with the Financial plan. The “business side” of the VC team of experts is most likely extremely strong on the Strategy and Financials; these are more generic across business models and technologies and so are the easiest to rapidly understand and digest. Operations, however, will vary more from business to business as there is more sensitivity to particular technologies, attendant processes, and relevant skill sets.

A solid plan clearly lays out the foreseeable work, skills, resources, and time it will take to reach Strategic objectives, broken down in to smaller goals and milestones. At the investor pitch level, the summary Strategic plan is overviewed, then each supporting, more detailed plan is briefed at its summary level, but the presenters should be able to speak to the next few levels of detail down in response to questions. The supporting plans are arranged however makes the most sense for the organization, but a simple way to arrange things is along functional area lines since it is a common way organize activities. For example:
• Adminstration/HR
• Facilities
• Marketing
• Sales
• Software Development
• Customer Service
• Etc.

In order for operations (broadly, all the activities within the business) to be coherent, each necessary task must be feasible, every resource should be sufficiently available to the demands placed on it, only the activities necessary to the plan should be undertaken, and all activities must be in harmony.

In order to achieve this, each plan must be arranged to maximize its support of, and eliminate any interference with, other functional area plans. This means that the planners MUST cooperate with each other. The maximum positive effect of a good operations brief to investors is achieved when the primary briefer, the lead Founder, introduces each functional area lead in turn to present their plans. This is an opportunity to showcase each manager/leader’s competence and to demonstrate that the leadership team can work together.

It should go without saying that the startup team should rehearse this brief relentlessly… any gaps in the plan(s) will be spotted by the evaluating VC members involved, which will incline them to ascribe higher risk and/or further discount founders’ performance projections.

Some final tips on preparation: Murder Board the heck out of the Pitch brief. The pitching team should rehearse this relentlessly and conduct internal critiques and revisions. Find soft spots in the plans by having outsiders pick them apart for you, and find soft spots in the presentation by rehearsing in front of non-team members (Mentors, friendly experts, consultants, directors with domain expertise, etc.).

In the end, a solid investment up front in a coherent plan, hard practice, and relentless constructive criticism will put your investment pitch in its best light.

5

Don’t just look for a Mentor: Develop your Personal Board of Advisors!

“You need a mentor.”

If you’re like most working professionals, this is one of the first pieces of advice you heard around college graduation or upon landing your first job.  (Stressed out at work? Get a mentor. Not sure how to navigate office politics? Get a mentor. Want to know whether going to grad school or switching careers is the right option for you? Get a mentor. Ad nauseum.)

But whether you received this advice from one of your professors, your mom, your neighbor, or a co-worker, finding a mentor is a lot easier said than done. (It’s not only hard to locate someone with the professional chops and time to help you out, it can be even harder for some people to ask for help in the first place.) And how do you know whether the mentor you do eventually hook up with is the right person to help you with your current challenges, let alone professional issues you encounter five or ten years from now?

Here’s the thing—you don’t.

The reality is that we need more than one mentor throughout our careers. We need many different mentors for many different things. We not only need different mentors over time as our careers grow and change, we also need different mentors at the same time.

Again, easier said than done, right? Well, not if you play your cards right.

You probably aren’t close friends with the all the people you spent every weekend with in high school anymore. Why not? Because you’ve changed a lot since high school, that’s why—you have an adult life with adult responsibilities. And just like you’ve moved on from several of your old high school friends, the close confidants you have at your current job or career stage may not be able to relate to you a decade down the road when you’re navigating the complex issues a top manager or executive faces, either.

Mentors are human—they have their own strengths and weaknesses, just like you do. They grow and change, just like you do. And the people you look up to as role models now might not be the role model you want a decade or even a year from now. Or you may find yourself needing help in a pinch for a unique business or personal situation that your current mentor has no concept of.

You Need a Team
This is where having a team of mentors, rather than just one, can come in handy. Take it from me—I once relied on only one professional mentor. But I soon found I needed more than that. So I eventually evolved past having just one mentor to having what I like to call a Personal Board of Advisors.

My advisors come from many different walks of life. Some are young—even students—while some are my age or older. Some work in my field, and some come from other fields. Some are still working, and some are retired. In all cases, though, they have a certain type of expertise or experience that I’m lacking—whether it’s a deep trove of professional contacts, financial acumen, the ability to speak frankly about difficult topics, or wisdom gained from many years of experience. (Or in the cases of my young/student advisors, it’s often youthful energy and a better understanding of new technologies like Snapchat, Periscope, or other emerging social-media platforms.) This allows me to have a variety of people I can choose from when I need specific advice about different topics at different times.

In this way, my personal board of advisors is similar to the boards of directors that advise CEOs at major corporations. Corporations make a point to build advisory boards where each member contributes according to a different specialty or strength. Why not have the same kind of board for your professional and personal development?

As my own personal board of advisors illustrates, not all mentors are gray-haired businessmen in drab suits. They are young and old, male and female, working and retired, in your industry and outside it.

Your own Personal Board of Advisors is out there, waiting to help you. You just need to go out and find them, and build those relationships. (Be prepared to mentor them in return, too—a big part of relationship-building is reciprocity.)

9

What’s the Secret to Great Networking? Become the Missing Link!

Networking can be intimidating even to the most seasoned business people. It’s especially daunting when you don’t know anyone at the beginning of your career, or you’re starting out in a new industry (or country!) completely from scratch. But in today’s competitive business environment, the best opportunities often come to us from the people who already know and trust us. Without a solid professional network in place, you could miss out on these opportunities.

But how do you start building that professional network?

Let me tell you what’s worked for me. My name is Leandro Margulis and I am originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I moved to the United States twelve years ago to attend school and pursue business interests, and, at that point, did not know many people in the United States.

Like many working professionals, I did not have a strong network.

As time went by, I discovered that interacting with other people energized me, and I wanted more of that. I enjoyed bouncing around ideas with others, as well as learning about other people’s customs and culture.

I also discovered that not everyone felt the same way about networking as I did. Some people preferred to avoid interaction with others altogether. Some were shy, some feared rejection, and some had other reasons not to connect, like family obligations that took up a lot of their time. These people had even more difficulty building networks than most—but I’ve found that everyone has networking challenges to some degree.

This discovery showed me that I could add value to both individuals and organizations by helping to connect people I met in different places and through different sources. Sometimes one person I met was looking for what another person I knew could offer. But these two people would not have met unless I made the connection, because they frequent different circles.

In other words, I became their “missing link.”

The Missing Link As Snowball Effect

Everyone in the professional world should constantly be asking themselves this question: how do I add value? When I was thinking about what tagline to use on my LinkedIn profile, I realized that the best way to describe my personal business value is to show how I can connect people in ways that can benefit both them and their businesses.

I also realized that the more I connected people, the more events I was invited to. Each connection led to many more connections, snowballing upward and outward at a rapid pace. People started coming to me for referrals when they had trouble finding the expertise they needed. Not only that, people from my network began to call me for advice on an array of different issues.

In other words, I had not only managed to grow my network on a grand scale, I had also become a trusted advisor to my network. My personal brand as a connector of people continued to grow, too—attracting even more professional connections.

By leveraging my personal interest in meeting and socializing with new people and places, I became an essential business asset to my network. Being resourceful earned me access to contacts I did not have before. It also helped me enhance my reputation among different clusters of people. I became the “go-to” person for finding talent and ideas across wide groups—and the more people who consulted me, the more my credibility grew.

It didn’t happen overnight, of course—but networking is something that tends to build upon itself over time. You get out of it what you put in.

The Weakest Link Is Also The Strongest Link

Another term for “the missing link” is “the weakest link” Think of the person in your cluster of contacts who seems the least engaged. Maybe that person is only someone you run into occasionally at the coffee shop or gym. Maybe it’s the person on your work team who is the most reserved and least outgoing. Maybe it’s a person you worked with several years ago and liked, but have since lost touch with.

That person might seem like the weakest link in your network. But if you take the time to reach out to this person and find out more about what makes him or her tick, you might discover he or she has hidden talents, interests, or contacts that are exactly what you or someone else you know is looking for. By exploring the weakest links in your network, you might discover stronger links in their network. Or you might even find that the so-called weakest link can do something someone in your own network is dying to find.

For example, what if the shy software developer who never speaks up in weekly department meetings has a great idea for a new product or service one of your other contacts might be interested in? What if your former secretary who retired last year has relatives in the venture-capital world that could fund a startup? What if the intern who makes your coffee and organizes your files knows something about the sharing economy in Brazil because she backpacked there last summer?

The possibilities are endless. You never know until you ask.

Believe it or not, there is science supporting this theory. When I was a student at the Yale School of Management I learned about learning to leverage the weakest links in our networks  from Joel Podolny, who is now Dean of Apple University. (Talk about building great connections!)

During his research on the subject, Podolny created a graph similar to the one below to illustrate how the weakest link in one social cluster could be the strongest link between two or more social clusters:

The so-called “weakest” link might even be you! Contrary to its name, it’s a very strategic position to be in, both personally and professionally.

Do you want to become the missing link that could solve other peoples’ business problems? It’s easier than you think. Start out by learning to hang out in many different crowds across both your personal and professional lives. Keep your eyes open for new contacts—even unusual or shy ones—and actively listen to what people are saying. More than that, learn to read between the lines. (Your best friend’s rant at the bar last night about what a hard time he’s been having at work might be a clue that his business needs a smart consultant to help them solve a problem!)

And most of all, become the “go to” person everyone wants to invite to their meetings, parties, and social gatherings. Have the information and insight that people are looking for. Make introductions, and also seek them out. And never turn a blind eye to someone with an interesting story to tell, even if it’s not work-related. You never know where these contacts might lead you!

Article originally posted on LinkedIn

6

Your Clients and Partners Are Selecting Your Team – Not Only Your Product

I realize there are exceptional sales and alliance people that utilize individual approaches and derive excellent results. Here’s an approach I use and am happy to share.

Before launching into a product demonstration or a presentation, I ask if I can take 5 minutes to provide more insight into our company, our focus and investment areas, and introduce members of our team that will support them. I explain that it will help provide a complete picture so once they see the product, they will better understand not only the product, but the value we are determined to deliver.

I typically start with an overview of the Product Development and Engineering teams. I explain the focused priorities of the group and the ways we are investing in that organization. Clients and partners want to know that we value this team and are continually investing in them – those investments result in exceptional products.

I speak about Customer Success and Support. By explaining that a key focus is to optimize the client or partners benefits and utilization of the product (or service) I stress the importance that our relationship starts when the order is signed and our focus is on delivering flawless execution and performance in supporting the client.

I speak about our field sales and pre-sales team. The importance we place in their knowledge, expertise, and their value to the company. This is the team that is closest to the client and we want to empower them to accelerate sharing and learning from our clients and partners.

I finish by speaking about the company, the values are principles we operate the business by, and the leadership team’s role in remaining fully involved and integrated with clients and partners. Clients and partners need to hear specifically that product enhancements, new product development are often a result of customer requests. Its very important to make the specific point that the collaboration is beginning and that the senior leaders of the company are active participants.

In each section, I introduce key contacts so they begin to see our team as proven, complete and defined.

I stop, ask if that was useful, answer any questions, then begin the demonstration or presentation. The feedback we receive is always very positive.

One last thing – this approach helps me align more people from the client side to my team. All too often we are “single threaded” into opportunities and fail to develop coaches across the various teams that make up the client.

You can always reach out to me directly for any questions or clarification.

3

Coporate Vision and strategical partnerships

Does it exist an optimal sequence for partnership?

Is it right to challenge strategical partners and corporate finance from the beginning of a project?

3