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17 Absentminded Mistakes That Will Cost Your Business Big Time

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Distracted by daily tasks and critical goals, most entrepreneurs let a lot of seemingly unimportant issues slip through the cracks.

Business owners often make the mistake of overlooking small changes and tweaks that they could make that would do wonders for their bottom line.

These are among the silliest things entrepreneurs do that negatively affect their business:

1. Accepting too much responsibility. The much praised “can do” attitude is more limiting than it sounds. Business owners who insist that they can do it themselves unintentionally neglect the efficiencies that come with delegating tasks to others, including outsourcing. Leaders lacking skills in certain areas should accept their role as being responsible for recruiting smart candidates who will excel in their roles and lighten the leaders’ workload.

2. Assuming debt. Debt financing is a viable option for businesses that are unwilling to give up equity, but loans from banks and investors can be hard to come by and can cost more than they’re worth to a company. If a firm expects to grow 10 percent  in the next year, it will be hard to justify taking on a loan that accumulates 15 percent annual interest. Credit cards, with up to a 21.99 percent annual percentage rate are an even clumsier way to finance a company.

3. Being unresponsive. As of January, 58 percent of American adults have a smartphone according to the Pew Research Center. Businesses that generate a lot of leads, revenue and sales online are leaving a ton of money on the table if their sites are not mobile optimized. Few customers have enough patience to pinch, zoom or finger drag to read or see anything on a website.

4. Communicating the wrong thing. Entrepreneurs have the job of ensuring everyone on the team is on the same page. Though it is tedious to be careful with words, clarify points and overcommunicate; communication failures easily create new issues and damage morale. It is better to err on the side of caution than allow someone to misinterpret meaning.

5. Counting research as a productive activity. Reading about startups, management, marketing or programming is a waste of time if an entrepreneur doesn’t put that knowledge to use. I’m all for personal enrichment. That being said, I’m also a firm believer that if people can’t turn information into action and create value, they haven’t done anything productive.

6. Failing to encourage action. Every page on a company’s website should serve a purpose. It is very altruistic for a business to create content that informs consumers about the industry or teaches them something new, but opportunity is lost without a meaningful call to action on every page.

7. Forgetting about site performance. A fancy site is nice, but no one will ever see it if it takes minutes to fully load. Digital audiences are impatient and will not hesitate to bounce, finding their way out of a website’s proverbial door.

8. Forgoing vacations. An executive’s relationship to work is toxic if he or she feel unable to stay away from the computer for a full work week, let alone a few hours. The feeling of constant anxiety is all too familiar to many business owners. Stress and burnout are serious issues. What’s being ignored is that the costs of running on a tank that’s half full are significantly higher for the leader and the business than expensing a five-day resort getaway in Aruba.

9. Limiting your social media reach. Although it is harder than ever for companies to have their messages heard as a result of algorithm changes by search engines and competing marketing campaigns, users can do some of the work. Adding obvious social share buttons make it a no-brainer for any site visitor to “like,” tweet or pin a company’s awesome content.

10. Loosely tying up loose ends. A change to a business leader’s contact information can be as painless as an Uber ride without surge pricing, but it is a nightmare for acquaintances, customers and friends who find it nearly impossible to reach the person. Though it is a common practice to alert one’s contacts about a new address, email or phone number, consider having forwarding services for an extended time. One never knows when someone from a former life may ping with the next six-figure deal.

11. Making decisions without data. Without using performance metrics,making the same mistakes over and over again is easy. Use analytics to identify fundamental problems with the business such as a leak in the sales-conversion funnel or a high customer-attrition rate.

12. Mismanaging supplier relations. Neglecting to inform suppliers about slow months when they expected a steady stream of orders can quickly put a business on their less-preferred client list. This, done over several months, may eventually cause them to fire a company and label it as an unreliable partner. Earn their trust by being upfront and honest to cement the foundation for a viable long-term relationship.

13. Missing a marketing moment. It’s a miserable user experience when users click on a link that reaches an unimaginative 404 page. Optimize the error pages for the company’s website in a way that makes users giggle at the hiccup rather than shake their head in disappointment. Lack inspiration? These are among the best 404 pages on the internet.

14. Paying too much to receive payments. Credit card processing is expensive. Most merchants are at the mercy of firms that charge 2.9 percent plus 30 cents a transaction. Cheaper alternatives worth adopting exist, such as LevelUp, which charges businesses 1.95 percent, or Freshbooks, which partners with PayPal to charge a 50-cent flat fee for online payments.

15. Selling features, not solutions. Customers have a slew of problems, yet a company’s products and services won’t mean anything to them unless the benefits are spelled out. Features only tell part of the storywhile most customers really only want to hear the spoiler, which is how a particular offering can help them in their current situation.

16. Skimping on scale. It is easy to scoff at the idea of spending hundreds of dollars each month for something as basic as web hosting. Although a current plan offers the best value at $19 per month, a company owner might wish he or she had upgraded months ago if the website crashes. It’s possible to lose more in sales during a site outage than it costs to upgrade to premium web hosting.

17. Taking SEO for granted. For many websites, search still drives about 40 percent of overall traffic. Optimizing the company’s content for search engines isn’t rocket science, and while it has become an advanced skill for many marketers, most entrepreneurs simply need a basic understanding of SEO to reap the benefits.

As a business owner, what numbskull mistakes have you made that cost you more than monthly office rent?

source:http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/233646

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Former Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime announces new game company

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Two years after stepping down as CEO at Blizzard, the game company he co-founded in 1991, Mike Morhaime is back with his next venture. It’s called Dreamhaven, and it’s a combination of a publisher and developer, with “a common goal to empower creators, help bring their ideas to life, and create original gaming experiences that foster meaningful connections between players.”

As part of the announcement, Dreamhaven also revealed its first two internal studios: Moonshot Games and Secret Door. Moonshot is headed by a trio of Blizzard veterans, including former Hearthstone lead Jason Chayes, StarCraft II director Dustin Browder, and Hearthstone creative director Ben Thompson. “Though it’s very early days, when we think about Moonshot, we imagine a studio that celebrates curiosity and courage,” Chayes said in a statement. “We aspire to be bold in our approach, and we think the best way to do that is to create a culture centered around trust.”

Secret Door, meanwhile, is similarly led by a team of former Blizzard developers, including Chris Sigaty (executive producer on Hearthstone), Alan Dabiri (technical director on Warcraft III and StarCraft II), and Eric Dodds (designer on World of Warcraft and Starcraft). No projects have been announced for either studio.

Morhaime stepped down as CEO of Blizzard in 2018, though he stayed on in a consultancy role until last year. In an interview with The Washington Post, he said that one of the goals of the new company was to build an environment focused on creators — something that was likely a challenge under Activision, which became Blizzard’s parent company in 2008.

“We’ve learned a ton about what goes into creating an environment that allows creators to do their best work, and we were very successful doing that for many years at Blizzard,” Morhaime told the Post. “We reached a crossroads where we reassessed what we want to do with the rest of our lives.”

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2020/9/23/21452256/former-blizzard-ceo-new-game-company-dreamhaven-morhaime

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Apple Loop: Shock iPhone 12 Details, Massive iOS 14 Problems, Macbook Pro Delay

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Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes surprising iPhone 12 benchmarks, big problems with iOS 14, two new iPads, Apple ignores MacOS, the “good/better/best” of the Apple Watch, the controversy around Apple One, and the Macs’ never changing system System Preferences.

Apple Loop is here to remind you of a few of the very many discussions that have happened around Apple over the last seven days (and you can read my weekly digest of Android news here on Forbes).

Just How Fast Is Your Next iPhone?

We might not have seen the iPhone 12 family as part of Apple’s virtual September launch event this week, but we have seen the benchmarks pop up on the AnTuTu website. That gives us a raw comparison of the numbers from last year’s iPhone to this year’s. Philip Michaels reports some pretty shocking numbers:

“Leaked benchmarks from Antutu, purportedly showing off an iPhone 12 Pro Max’s performance, may help fill in some of the blanks. MySmartPrice spotted the leaked numbers, which claim to show off a device with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage running iOS 14.1.

“According to the leaks, the iPhone 12 Pro Max tallied a score of 572,333 on Antutu’s test, which is a 9% gain over the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s 524,436 result on the same test. MySmartPrice says the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s reported tally would be the highest score ever posted by an iPhone, which you’d hope given that it’s a new model.

More at Tom’s Guide.

The Big Problem With iOS 14

Apple may not have announced a release date for the iPhone, but it did announce the release date of iOS 14. And that has caused problems. Normally Apple will provide a week’s worth of ‘heads up’ time to Developers so they can ensure their apps are ready for the jump up to the next major version of iOS. Not this year… developers had less than a days notice, and they are not happy. Matt Binder reports:

““Gone are the hopes of being on the store by the time users install the new iOS 14 and are looking for new apps. Gone is the chance to get some last-minute fixes into your existing apps to make sure they don’t stop working outright by the time users get to upgrade their OS,” explained Steve [Troughton-Smith from High Caffeine Content.”

““There are some developers who have spent all summer working on something new, using the latest technologies, hoping to be there on day one and participate in the excitement (and press coverage) of the new iOS,” he continued. “For many of them, they’ll be incredibly upset to have it end like this instead of a triumphant launch, and it can dramatically decrease the amount of coverage or sales they receive.””

More at Mashable.

Take Two Tablets And Call Your iPhone In The Morning

Taking the flagship spot away from the ‘missing presumed having a good time’ iPhone 12 was Apple’s new iPad Air. Beating the smartphone as the first device with Apple’s new A14 ARM-based processor. Samuel Axon and Jim Salter report for Ars Technica:

“The iPad Air gets the new A14 Bionic CPU, built on 5nm process technology. It’s a six-core CPU with two high-performance cores and four lower-power, more efficient cores for simpler background tasks. The A14 Bionic offers a 30 percent GPU performance boost compared to previous generations, and Apple says it puts up double the graphics performance of typical laptops.”

As well as the increased power, 2020’s iPad Air has a new design; USB-C has been added, the bezels have been trimmed away, the home button has been removed, and TouchID has been integrated into the power button. It;s not the only new iPad, as the entry-level iPad moves up rom the A10 to the A12 Bionic processor. Benjamin Mayo reports:

“The jump from A10 to A12 means Apple’s cheapest iPad will feature the Neural Engine for the first time. Apple says the A12 chip offers more than twice the performance of the top selling Windows laptop, 6x faster than the top-selling Android tablet and 6x faster than the best-selling Chromebook.

“The 8th-generation iPad keeps the same price as the 7th-gen: that’s $329 for general sale and $299 for education.”

More at 9to5Mac.

Will Mac Owners Be Satisfied With Safari After macOS Delay?

If you were waiting for MmcOS Big Sur to drop for your Mac or MacBook, then you are out of luck. Apple’s event saw updates to iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and watchOS… but macOS has been delayed. The ‘Big Sur’ release is still in the future, but a small crumb (perhaps from a cookie) has been handed to Mac fans in the form of Safari 14, presumably to offer cross-OS support with other devices. Juli Clover reports:

“Safari 14 brings improved performance, customizable start pages, a Privacy Report to see which cross-site trackers are being blocked, and a new tab bar design that provides tab previews so you can see what you have open at a glance. Today’s update also removes Adobe Flash.”

More at MacRumors.

The Apple Watch Strikes Three 

Two new Apple Watch models were launched, and as the Apple Watch Series 3 remains, there is now a low-, a mid-, and a high-level smartwatch in the classic triplet that Apple was once famous for. Todd Haselton looks over the Series 6 Apple Watch for CNBC, including the headline ‘wellness’ features:

“The Series 6 also has Apple’s most advanced sensors. You can run the ECG app for an electrocardiogram, for example, a feature that’s not on the Apple Watch SE or Series 3. It’s also the only model with the new blood-oxygen app. I tried that and it told me my blood oxygen was 96%, which seems good.

“…Apple is careful to explain that this isn’t a medical device. You can use it if you’re curious about your blood oxygen when you’re hiking at high altitudes, but Apple isn’t making any promises about detecting low oxygen should you fall ill with coronavirus.”

Meanwhile, Apple has brought the ‘SE’ brand to the Apple Watch, again with the promise of a cheaper ‘mid-range’ slice of hardware that still delivers the core Apple experience. Chris Velazco has spent some time with the wearable to try and work out where it fits into the portfolio:

“For one, the SE uses the same S5 system-in-package (or SIP) that we got in last year’s Series 5, which in turn contains the same dual-core processor as the Series 4. Meanwhile, Apple has confirmed that the SE has the same compass and always-on altimeter as the Series 6, along with a very similar screen.

“From what I can tell, it’s the same bigger display we got in the Series 5, just without the always-on functionality enabled. And while the Series 4 was the first Apple Watch to come with heart-sensing ECG support, you simply don’t get that here. Ditto for the Series 6’s new blood oxygen measurement features.”

More at Engadget.

Bouquets and Brickbats For Apple One 

Also announced alongside Apple’s hardware, and perhaps an indication of where Apple wishes to focus on the future, were new options for the various subscription services offered by Cupertino. Apple One takes the popular options and bundles them together while offering a discount. Brian Heater reports:

“It’s not quite mix and match yet, but there are three pricing tiers. Individual offers Apple Music, TV+, Arcade and iCloud for $15 a month. The Family version will get you those four services for $20 a month. For the hardcore, there’s the $30 a month Premier tier, which bundles iCloud, Music, TV+, Arcade, News+ and [the new service] Fitness+.“

“For those who have been putting off a given Apple subscription, such a bundle could certainly sweeten the pot — and make it even harder for users to escape the pull of the Apple software ecosystem.”

More at TechCrunch. Given Apple’s market position, using one service to pptentiallybolster another through a bundle has drawn the eye of the competition. Spotify – which has already filed an anti-trust complaint with the European Commission against Apple – drew attention to the issue shortly ager the end of the event.

“Once again, Apple is using its dominant position and unfair practices to disadvantage competitors and deprive consumers by favoring its own services. We call on competition authorities to act urgently to restrict Apple’s anti-competitive behavior, which if left unchecked, will cause irreparable harm to the developer community and threaten our collective freedoms to listen, learn, create, and connect.”

More on the Spotify statement at Apple Insider.

And Finally…

The look of the MacOS user interface has evolved since OSX was announced in 2000. One area has stayed relatively contestant, but the small changes highlight the thinking behind the OS over the years.

“The interface started glassy and skeuomorphic, mimicking the materials used on Macs. Over the decades, it went through significant revisions. One thing that seems to have remained relatively unchanged over the years is the System Preferences screen.

“But, at a closer glance, we’ll see that this mundane part of the operating system has changed quite a bit and hides some fun easter eggs and surprises.”

Arun Venkatesan has taken a closer look on his blog.

Apple Loop brings you seven days worth of highlights every weekend here on Forbes. Don’t forget to follow me so you don’t miss any coverage in the future. Last week’s Apple Loop can be read here, or this week’s edition of Loop’s sister column, Android Circuit, is also available on Forbes.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ewanspence/2020/09/18/apple-news-headlines-iphone-12-benchmark-specs-launch-dates-ipad-air-apple-watch-se-ios-14-macos-macbook-pro/#2f5105752c07

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Apple reportedly acquires VR startup ‘Spaces’

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Apple has now acquired another startup, Spaces, which has a team specialized in virtual reality technologies (VR). The acquisition was announced today by a Protocol report citing its own sources.

Spaces was created in 2016 by DreamWorks Animation veterans, and the startup has been developing VR products since then, including a Zoom add-on that allowed users to hold virtual reality video conferencing using animated avatars.

The company discontinued all its services last week without further details. The official Spaces website just mentions that the startup is now “heading in a new direction.”

Thank you to our users and partners who participated in our awesome VR video conferencing product and the many people who enjoyed our VR location-based entertainment attractions found at theme parks, theaters, and more.

According to the Protocol report, both Apple and Spaces did not immediately respond to a request for a comment on the acquisition. The price paid by Apple on the Spaces startup is also unknown.

While it’s not certain that the team behind Spaces will join any VR related project at Apple, rumors suggest that Apple is working on AR and VR headsets for 2021 and 2022. Bloomberg says the headset will reportedly feature high-resolution displays and a “cinematic speaker system,” which should make it difficult for the user to notice the differences between real life and the virtual reality experiences the headset will provide.

As Apple continues to invest in its ARKit and new features such as the LiDAR scanner in the new 2020 iPad Pro, it’s plausible to expect that all of these technologies will be merged into a new product to offer advanced augmented and virtual reality capabilities.

Source: https://9to5mac.com/2020/08/24/apple-reportedly-acquires-vr-startup-spaces/

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