StartUp Growth: SurveyStud

Mohan Sawhney, a professor at the Northwestern Kellogg School of Management, notes that “[while] it’s tempting to view business growth as a smooth, linear path, the reality is much more complicated.” Often, the talent and leadership that enable rapid expansion in a company’s early stages may not be enough to keep fueling high growth and this causes businesses to stagnate.

Four fundamental steps growth-stage businesses must take:

1. Stay focused on what sells best.

Many startups fail because they spread themselves too thin at the growth stage. They try to do everything for any client or they try to expand into multiple new markets simultaneously. And many times these strategies just do not work.

Instead, business owners should concentrate on core business areas. Expansion is a must but thoughtful, targeted growth is what wins the day. Being too opportunistic can waste precious resources, as well as take focus away from what made them successful in the first place.

2. Then innovate and expand strategically.

During the growth stage, pivoting towards what sells best and moving away from what doesn’t is the key ingredient to maintaining, or even increasing, expectations. Entrepreneurs need to strategize and innovate into niches that will help the core business expand.

Consider everything Uber has done to date. Uber continues to penetrate new and potentially lucrative markets around the world. Their mobile payment services have evolved to accommodate multiple payment options, which has proved useful in international markets–thus the company is consistently increasing its selection of vehicles. Hence maintaining focus on what it sells best and what its customers want most — rides.

3. Let processes and products take center stage.

During the initial startup phase, many companies rely on the skills of a small core team to seize opportunities and impress clients. But during the growth stage, maintaining that level of quality becomes a very difficult task, especially as core team members move on to new opportunities.

As small businesses transition into the growth stage, they need to standardize business processes so that great experiences can be consistently reproduced. This is accomplished by embedding expertise into the processes and structures that keep a company afloat.

4. Build your brand.

The startup phase is driven by client relationships. A great way to ensure clients think well of a company is to focus on building a positive brand image. This makes it less likely that a customer will leave if their current account manager calls it quits — something many small businesses fear.

By staying laser-focused on what works, pivoting away from what does not, continually innovating, and gauging feedback from your customers with tools like SurveyStud (smartphone survey app), a mid stage company should be able to avoid falling into the trap of the growth plateau. 

SurveyStud: https://appsto.re/us/Ddj18.i

Statistics on Female Self Esteem: SurveyStud

Pressure & Perfectionism

74% of girls say they are under pressure to please everyone (Girls Inc, The Supergirl Dilemma)

98% of girls feel there is an immense pressure from external sources to look a certain way (National Report on Self Esteem)

92% of teen girls would like to change something about the way they look, with body weight ranking the highest. (Dove campaign)

90% of eating disorders are found in girls (National Association for Self Esteem)

1 in 4 girls today fall into a clinical diagnosis – depression, eating disorders, cutting, and other mental/emotional disorders. On top of these, many more report being constantly anxious, sleep deprived, and under significant pressure. (The Triple Bind, Steven Hinshaw)

By age thirteen, 53% of American girls age 13 are “unhappy with their bodies.” This grows to 78% by the time girls reach seventeen.

Gender Disparity

34 women have ever served as governors compared to 2319 men (Center for American Women and Politics)

3% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women (CNN Money)

3% of clout positions in the mainstream media – telecommunications, entertainment, publishing and advertising- are held by women

3% of creative directors within ad agencies are women (Advertising Age)

80% of all purchasing decisions are made by women (Forbes)

89 countries have more women in national legislatures than the United States (Miss Representation/Inter-Parliamentary Union)

29% of American firms are owned by women, yet employ only 6% of the country’s workforce and account for barely 4% of business revenues. 

SurveyStud: https://appsto.re/us/Ddj18.i

Stats on Employee Feedback: SurveyStud

When you go into work, how often are you being given advice or feedback from your management?

The ole school approach is to give employees the task and expect them to succeed. They do the same thing over and over and the paycheck is the reward. No questions asked.

However, we have advanced in workplaces since the early 1900’s. Labor and productivity has increased, but unfortunately, happiness and communication between management, has been on the decline, till now.

HR managers are using advanced metrics and data to better their office. Employee engagement surveys [SurveyStud] have been a new craze that people are using in order to receive employee feedback.

Employee feedback is becoming a major point of emphasis as of late, as managers are utilizing feedback to make workplaces better and recognizing their employees by giving them more than the metaphoric pat on the back.

The feedback they’re obtaining from employees are coming in many forms, recognition platforms, employee surveys, even employee engagement platforms [SurveyStud]–and endgame is to give and get information from the employee and managers.

SurveyStud: https://appsto.re/us/Ddj18.i

Creating an Effective Survey: SurveyStud

Creating online surveys is as much an art as it is a science. It involves attention to detail in the design and flow of your survey. Creating an effective survey that yields actionable insights can be difficult.

Here are 4 tips for creating an effective survey.

1. Keep It Simple

Do you remember taking the SAT or ACT? It’s a long and boring process. Your average survey respondent can start to feel that way about 15 minutes into a survey. Fifteen minutes is a strong upper-limit for most surveys.

When a survey is too long, two bad things can happen:

— Respondents mentality drop out

— Clients get frustrated

2. Use Scales Whenever Possible

Scales are more than a little important.
Rather than asking respondents a basic yes or no question, use scales that measure both the direction and the intensity of opinions.

Scales extend the power of analysis from basic percentages to high-level analyses based on means and variance estimates

3. Keep Coded Values Consistent

Every survey response, option, question, or answer is coded as a numeric value that is reported as a percent of responses or as a mean, median, range, etc.

These values are the basis for analysis.

  — Mean: Often referred to as an average, it is the sum of all the values divided by the number of values.

  — Median: The middle point in a data set. To determine the median, lay out a distribution from lowest to highest and select the middle value.

  — Range: The highest and lowest data points in a distribution form the range. VARIANCE: A dispersion measure of how far a set of numbers is spread out.

For simplicity, keep your scale direction consistent throughout your survey. This makes it easier for respondents to answer and for you as a researcher to conduct your analysis.

The simplest solution is just to keep all scales consistent throughout every survey.

4. Explain Why

Respondents are more likely to help you if they see something of positive value for them. Value offerings can range from a very general altruistic appeal for their help to a very specific offer of an economic incentive. For instance, with a customer feedback survey, you can explain that feedback will help improve customer service.

Here are some quick examples:

Make it specific to them: With employee evaluations, you can explain that feedback will be used to determine awards, promotions, and pay raises and will help management make organizational decisions that will affect them.

Explain unexpected questions: For instance, if it’s important for you to ask toy store customers their preferred color of jeans, you might want to explain why that is relevant.

The plug:  If this made sense to you try our smartphone (survey) app… SurveyStud https://appsto.re/us/Ddj18.i

StartUp Market Research

Research, as a general concept, is the process of gathering information to learn about something that is not fully known. Nearly everyone engages in some form of research. From the highly trained geologist investigating newly discovered earthquake faults, to the author of best selling spy novels gaining insight into new surveillance techniques, to the model train hobbyist spending hours hunting down the manufacturer of an old electric engine, each is driven by the quest for information.

For Startups, research is not only used for the purpose of learning, it is also a critical component needed to make good decisions. Market research does this by giving Startups a picture of what is occurring (or likely to occur) and, when done well, offers alternative choices that can be made. For instance, good research may suggest multiple options for introducing new products or entering new markets. In most cases marketing decisions prove less risky (though they are never risk free) when the StartUp can select from more than one option.

Using an analogy of a house foundation, marketing research can be viewed as the foundation of marketing. Just as a well-built house requires a strong foundation to remain sturdy, StartUp decisions need the support of research in order to be viewed favorably by customers and to stand up to competition and other external pressures. Consequently, all areas of the StartUp and all marketing decisions should be supported with some level of research.

While research is key to StartUp decision making, it does not always need to be elaborate to be effective. Sometimes small efforts, such as doing a quick search on the Internet, will provide the needed information. However, for most StartUps there are times when more elaborate research work is needed and understanding the right way to conduct research, whether performing the work themselves such as using apps like “SurveyStud,” to get a pulse within a specific social-ecospace, or hiring someone else to handle it, can increase the effectiveness of these projects.

Gender vs Survey 

The purpose of this article is to examine the correlation between online (i.e… smartphone via Twitter, Facebook etc.) survey non-response and various demographic factors, including gender.

Studies have shown that trends exist with regard to who responds to surveys, at least with regard to traditional modes of survey administration. Reports suggest that many demographic and other correlates with non-response to online surveys may indeed mirror those of more traditional modes of survey administration. However, the influence of such a basic demographic factor as gender on online survey response behavior is unclear.

In this study, a record-linking technique was employed to compare the gender of online survey respondents directly to available demographic data of all members of a sampling frame, thus allowing comparison of demographic information of both respondents and non-respondents.

The sampling frame, which consisted entirely of university faculty members of a large research university in the southeastern United States with a full-time faculty of approximately 1000, was specifically chosen to minimize the effect of other potential correlates to non-response behavior, such as education level, Smartphone access, geographic location, occupation, and income. Pearson’s chi square analysis showed a significant relationship between gender and survey response rates: female faculty members contributed disproportionately to the respondent data set.

One possible explanations for the observations is that the observed differences in female and male faculty response rates is a product of differences in female and male values operating in a gendered online environment.

Results of this study suggest that researchers should not assume that response behavior toward online surveys, and therefore data gathered from online surveys, is free of gender bias. 

Hence highlights the value of smartphone survey apps such as SurveyStud: https://appsto.re/us/Ddj18.i

Unemployed: Never Ask For Help

My job search activities started on the very day the bad news came. Updating resumes, refreshing network connections, applying for unemployment benefits to name just a few. It was bad news, you bet, but I felt confident that my unemployed status would be short-lived.

Networking Not Working

Then I attended my first “lunch and learn” meeting sponsored by a professional association. It didn’t go well. I was embarrassed to tell others that I had been laid off, but worse, when asked about my job search plans and goals, I stammered out some words as my unfocused ideas buzzed around my head and slipped out of my mouth. People at the meeting who even had job openings at their companies would politely excuse themselves to connect with others after only a few minutes with me and my unprepared job search ideas.

I walked to the parking lot after that event knowing I needed to get better at planning for and having effective job networking conversations. I didn’t know where to start, but I knew I needed to do something and quickly.

Help Wanted Fast

A career coach recommended a book called The 20-Minute Networking Meeting to give me some practical steps and an easy to follow outline for preparing and engaging in job networking conversations. Here are a few ways that this book has helped me and hopefully will help you.

1) Always Prepare

If you know ahead of time who you will be talking with, spend time learning about their background and experience before the meeting. This preparation helped build up my confidence and saved time for a richer discussion and deeper relationship-building instead of me taking time for things I could have found out on LinkedIn or from some other source.

2) Begin with Relationship

Using the first 2-3 minutes to talk about how you and the network contact are connected will help get the meeting off to a positive start. “I was excited when our mutual friend, Sally, recommended for me to reach out to you. She really enjoyed working with you on the Greenfield project. Did you know Sally before that project?” Adding this tactic to the meeting introduction helped me and my contact feel more at ease (and, yes, networking contacts feel nervous too).

3) Never Ask for a Job

This may sound counter-productive, but wait. I don’t like pushy or manipulative sales people when I am in the market to buy something. Your network contact doesn’t either. Avoiding this direct approach can help you make a great impression by showing off your positive attitude, your skills and experience, and your professionalism. Make a commitment to earn their trust first. If your networking contact has or knows of a job opening, the topic will be introduced by the contact in the meeting. If not, it often will come up in the follow-up communication.

4) Ask “How Can I Help You?”

I have been shocked by how grateful many of my networking contacts have been when I have offered to help them. Sometimes, because of my prior research, I have been able to offer a specific piece of assistance, but other times I just ask the generic version of the question. If you are sincere and really do want to help, it will be appreciated by your contact. It becomes a bit of proof that you are truly willing to serve instead of only looking out for your interests.

These are just a few of the tips and ideas from the book that helped me. I hope they can make your networking more enjoyable and effective

As usual if this seems plagiarized that’s because it probably is–if you see something that’s yours let me know and I will remove it. Cool Beans…

Embracing Ambiguity 

Instead of offering definitive answers to the country’s biggest questions, the 2016 election results provoke even larger questions. How could the forecasters and the campaigns themselves been so wrong? What and maybe who did all the pollsters miss? Was there a late breaking voter phenomenon that was hard to measure?

These are critically important questions, and investigations are already underway. We may find answers to many of them; we may find others where the evidence will not be conclusive. But we need to let the chips fall where they may, including on my plate as a pollster with a newer platform.

I’m confident in one fact: we canvassed enough people. At SurveyStud we interviewed thousands over the course of the campaign, more than any other public source and more than the campaigns themselves. Our data consistently got big things right: like Donald Trump’s outsized support in the Midwest and Rust Belt.

But there’s another thing that’s absolutely clear to me, and it’s a categorical failing of data wonks trying to grasp certainty through research: too often we are guilty of failing to embrace uncertainty — specifically, the uncertainty embedded in the data itself.

Even our electoral map contained clues that the prevailing narrative was wrong. In our final 50-state map, we had Clinton with only 257 solid Electoral College votes, shy of the 270 needed to win and trending down from the 307 number we showed when we launched our daily tracking two weeks before Election Day. The rest were toss-ups. Our own data showed an open path for Trump. But the surface narrative lined up with the Clinton sweep that our own national numbers and everyone else was pointing to — from the New York Times to HuffPollster to the neuroscientist tapped as this year’s “Nate Silver.” Even the Trump senior adviser who told CNN on Election Day that it would “take a miracle for us to win. It all made the countervailing data points seem smaller than they should have appeared.

Now, people are asking if they can ever trust data again. In fact, we need data more than ever.

We will understand our numerical misses only by getting more information, doing deeper data analysis, and committing to even more rigorous efforts to constantly challenge our assumptions. Since pride tripped us up, humility may prove a better guide.

Some of the big areas for further exploration throughout the polling industry are already clear:

Likely voter models. Whatever the true magnitude of the errors this year, estimating who will actually cast a ballot — a future, yet-to-exist population — has long been a weak part of survey research. In the end, this year’s surveys may have collectively done a really good job at registering voter preferences, but where we all seemed to have slipped is in adequately gauging intent. It’s one thing to support a candidate in one’s head, with a yard sign, or on a survey. It’s another thing entirely to cast an actual ballot for that candidate. We need better, more reliable ways to bridge the gap between attitudes and actions.

Uncertainty estimates. We need better, more user-friendly ways to express the likely variability around polling estimates. More sophisticated poll consumers expect a “plus or minus” around our numbers, but even they latch onto the specific numbers we present. In a sports-dominated culture, numbers automatically become scores. A false sense of precision sets in when media narratives get created out of those numbers. For the most numerate out there, forecasters’ probabilities are a welcome and sufficient way to build in some doubt. Everyone else needs something more.

We are working on all of these challenges — and have the tools to tackle them. At SurveyStud, we’ve built a methodologically rigorous, smartphone-based program for political polls that rivals the best surveys around. But surveys need to be better, and we have the tools to improve our data even more. We’re already moving to develop advanced adjustments to our samples to handle a range of non-response issues; we will leverage external data to make more robust likely-voter models; and we will make everything, including possible errors, more comprehensible.

As usual if this seems plagiarized that’s because it probably is–so if you see something and I need to remove it let me know.  Cool Beans…

President Donald Trump: A Must Read

Donald  Trump represents a throwback to the 1950s — a time when the Midwest was a beacon of affluence for many working class whites with high-paying factory jobs.

What you saw [Tuesday] is the revenge of the angry white working class voter, but I think this really will be the last gasp of the angry white male. 

For months Donald Trump has dismissed polls and experts and proclaimed that he was at the head of a movement of disaffected voters that would upend conventional political wisdom and kick out the Washington establishment. 

The New York businessman was proved right on Tuesday as he rode a wave of anger with economic change, dogwhistle racial politics and pledges to crack down on immigration and rip up trade agreements to a stunning upset win. 

More so one demographic above all took him there: the once solidly Democratic blue-collar white voters that may now be known as Trump Democrats. “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer,” the tycoon declared in his victory speech.

According to exit polls, across the US Mr Trump carried the white voters who made up 70 per cent of the electorate by a 58:37 margin over Hillary Clinton.

Among white voters without a university degree that margin grew to 67:28. But even among white voters with a degree, exit polls showed him carrying the day 49:45, despite surveys that for months had predicted they would be part of a demographic firewall benefiting Mrs Clinton. 

Some have said this was a whitelash. This was a whitelash against a changing country;  others believed It was a whitelash against a black president, in part. And that’s the part where the pain comes.

Tuesday’s scream of the angry white voter was heard loudest in rust belt states such as Ohio and Indiana and threw into play previous Democratic strongholds such as Michigan and Pennsylvania — neither of which had voted for a Republican presidential nominee since 1988.

Overall Mr Trump’s campaign and his appeal to white voters had an ugly side, unleashing a previously unseen level of vitriol in American politics  He was criticised widely for courting the vote of white nationalists and the “alt-right” movement that has taken anti-semitic and racial bullying to new levels on social media.

Yet at the end of the day… regardless of how some feel he [Donald Julious Trump] is the next President of “These” United States of America.

Ok as usual if you feel any of this was plagiarized that’s because it probably was.  If you see something that may be yours let me know and I will remove it.  Cool Beans…. 

New Business

This may sound like a no-brainer, but if you don’t know who your target customer is, you’ll have a tough time retaining loyal consumers. I don’t mean just knowing who your customer is, but really being attuned to everything he or she does, wants and thinks. How old are they? Where do they live? How much money do they make? What colors do they prefer? Where do they buy their clothes? A middle-aged housewife with a disposable income may not be looking to buy a sequin G-string with matching garter, and failing to tailor your product to her needs can quickly result in loads of missed opportunities.

Surveys (using SurveyStud), focus groups and research can be a great way to learn about your customer’s preferences and buying habits. Another helpful tool that worked for me was to identify an actual person (celebrity, athlete, musician) as my target customer. I got to know everything about that person, and was soon able to pick up on little cues and details of what they wore and where they shopped. Now, whenever I’m unsure if a certain style will resonate with my customers, I always refer back to that person and ask myself, “would they wear this or not?” to help me decide. Having a consistent vision across the board, from your product to your marketing, is invaluable these days and can save you a lot of money in the long run.