Joy Broto Nath A Optimistic,Resilient,Mindful, & Skilful HR

I am an meticulous and efficient HR Executive with approx 1 year of experience in hiring and training procedures for new employees in indian companies. I have Coordinate and direct work activities for managers and employees and promote a positive and open work environment both on national and international scales. I have advised companies how to create a better working environment, and enhance their work performances. As an HR I have always aimed towards the people and organization connection and how they can strive for a better future. I have first hand experience of the whole business setup of a startup in India and the challenges that they face at both economic, social and political levels. Facebook: Linkedin:

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The best way to evaluate any candidate is Interviewing method. Interviewing a product management candidate (and hiring product managers in general) is more art than science. There are not many quantifiable indicators of future success, as a product manager’s “soft skills” are often way more important than their technical chops. You must look for the following competencies in a product manager candidate.
1. Can the product management candidate write?
While in-person presence and verbal communication skills are essential, product managers constantly express their ideas, thoughts, and needs via the written word. Whether it is email, Slack messages, bug reports, user stories, or more complex documents, product managers are constantly using text to get people on the same page. If a product manager cannot write, the risks run from simply looking unprofessional to providing less than precise or downright misleading direction to other teams. This could result in wasted development cycles, unhappy customers, or sales and marketing using incorrect information. When interviewing product managements candidate, make them author something as part of the hiring process. While you could ask for sample of their previous work, most product managers with any integrity won’t be able to hand over examples from their current or previous employers, which is why you should give them an assignment that involves synthesizing information and then communicating it clearly to a specific audience. These shouldn’t be term papers; ask them to write about something where the source information they need is readily available and based on concepts and subject matter they’re familiar with—you can even let them pick the topic. There are plenty of other chances to test their subject matter expertise; this is an opportunity to see if they can follow instructions, communicate clearly, are conscientious enough check their work and catch errors, and whether they’ll just do the bare minimum or go the extra mile.
2. How well does the product management candidate present?
No matter how good their ideas may be, a product manager must be able to sell their vision and use data to back it up. This often involves standing in front of a room of doubters and convincing them with a presentation. To make sure your candidate does not get stage fright and can win over a crowd, ask them to present to a larger group as part of the interview process. It does not have to be a long presentation, but it should contain some original thought and maybe a few slides to make sure they can sling some PowerPoint when they need to. Ask them to prepare a presentation for the second interview so they have time to feel comfortable with the material. It should not be purely informational and should require them to have reached a conclusion and make a compelling argument.
3. Can the candidate hold their own with the techies?
While there is plenty of debate about whether a product manager needs a technical background, there is no question they will be interacting with technical people on a regular basis. Given they have a well-earned reputation for being a bit sceptical of new hires and non-engineering types, it is worthwhile to have them spend a bit of time conversing with a couple of developers. This is NOT a time for the technical team to grill the product management candidate and trap them with tricky questions. But rather, an opportunity to see if the candidate can follow along when developers are discussing technical challenges or limitations. Both sides should walk away feeling that they can have a productive and non-confrontational relationship with the other party. Ask your technical team rep to explain how some part of the product works and see if the candidate not only follows but asks clarifying questions without trying to assert themselves too much.
4. Can the product manager do math?
While most product management roles do not involve quantum theory or calculus, there is some math involved when it comes to looking at important metrics such as growth and profit margins. Plus, there is all those experiments and A/B tests that will need to have their results calculated. While interviewing product management candidates, asking them to “show their work”—even if they are using a spreadsheet to do the actual calculations—is worthwhile. This doesn’t have to take up too much time during the interviewing process but asking them to quantify a particular scenario is a reasonable ask. For example, give them a scenario where a cost increases and then ask them to calculate the impact on profit given static revenue. For bonus points you can ask them to figure out how many additional users/purchases your company would need to return to your previous profitability level.
5. How well does the product management candidate communicate with customers?
While you certainly are not going to ask a job candidate to talk to actual customers during their interview, you should still try to get a sense of how they will fare in those scenarios. Will they ask appropriate follow-up questions? Do they lead the customer or listen and react? Are they empathetic when a customer complaint, or are they dismissive? This can be accomplished with some simple role playing, but it can offer a glimpse of their aptitude for this essential product management task.
6. Can the candidate talk to senior management?
A good product manager will be eager to speak directly to senior management and not just rely on a superior to convey their product vision upward. But senior management can be a demanding audience, particularly since their interests and motivations vary based on their own role and inherent biases. The best way to accomplish this during the interview process is to let final candidates interview with a C-level employee. This should be one of the last steps in the process because those folks probably have better things to do with their time and you certainly don’t want your judgment to be called into question by putting a sub-par candidate in a corner office interview before you’ve had a chance to vet them yourself. You’ll get an honest take from most executives, since they don’t want anything other than the best getting a paycheck but follow up with them in person (and quickly) before their impressions fade.
7. Can the product manager talk business?
While an economics degree or MBA likely isn’t required for most product management roles, candidates should understand the basic concepts and be able to make decisions with this big picture in mind vs. a myopic view of the world based only on the product they manage. One great indicator of this is whether they did their homework before the interview and have a basic understanding of your company, the business model, competitors, and overall industry/market dynamics. And not only can they regurgitate facts they gathered from your website, but also, they have meaningful questions based on that information regarding your business strategy, customer base, and growth.
8. Have they done it before?
Product management candidates should not be ruled out just because they have not done every single bullet point on your job description before. If they have, why would they want the job? Instead, you want someone who has relevant experience combined with growth potential to learn and master the additional things you will need them to do. Unless you are making a true entry-level hire, you will want your candidate to have some experience. So, it’s important to look at their resume—along with your expectations for the role and probe them for examples of the things where they claim to have experience. The important thing here is specificity they should be able to tell the full story.
9. Can the candidate problem solve?
This is an opportunity to both delve into prior experiences as well as theoretical. For the latter, it is not about the actual solution they come up with but asking them to walk you through their decision process and noting what types of clarifying questions (if any) they ask. This is essential when interviewing product management candidates. In addition to asking about past experiences, you also want to see if they are quick (enough) on their feet. Curveballs will come at them, crises will arise, and they will eventually be put on the spot. How they react and handle those situations can be the difference between a rock star and mediocrity. So, throw them some wild card questions and ask for their gut reaction.
10. Are they data driven?
Managing products and devising a strategy using gut instincts, hunches and anecdotes does not cut it in today’s fast-paced environment. Making decisions and prioritizing should be based on something real and ideally quantifiable. Ask the candidate how they used metrics in the past, which metrics they think they would want in this new role and have them share some examples of where they have used data to overcome faulty assumptions. You can also see how often during the entire process they reference data gathering and analysis to determine if it is something truly ingrained or just something, they can handwave about in a pinch.
11. How well do they listen?
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a product manager’s listening skills might be more critical than any others. Their ability to succeed is predicated on asking questions and truly hearing what others are saying. This applies whether they are talking to a customer, colleague or superior. The best listeners do not interrupt, do not “lead the witness,” and give positive reinforcement that demonstrates they really hear what is being said. Not only do they display “active listener” tactics, but they are able to incorporate what they have heard into their thinking and subsequent questions and statements. If they think they’re the most interesting person in the room and have all the answers, they’re not likely to pick up on the subtle clues and insights others have to offer, which is where the true nuggets of wisdom that drive innovation are found.
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Here are a few notable alternatives to
1. Acuity Scheduling
2. Checkfront
3. Schedulista
4. vcita
5. Bookedin
6. Planyo
7. Regiondo
8. OnSched
9. Agendize
10. Bookeo
11. Zen Planner
12. The Studio Director
13. Skedda
14. AppointmentPlus
15. DocMeIn
16. My PT Hub
17. GymMaster
18. Perfect Gym
19. FitSW
20. Accelevents

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There are pros and cons of outsourcing an app building business are as follows:
Pros of Outsourcing:
1. You Do not Have to Hire More Employees: When you outsource, you can pay your help as a contractor. This allows you to avoid bringing an employee into the company, which saves you money on everything from benefits to training.
2. Access to A Larger Talent Pool: When hiring an employee, you may only have access to a small, local talent pool. This often means you must compromise. Many companies have found that outsourcing gives them access to talent in other parts of the world. If you need specialized help, it often makes sense to expand your search.
3. Lower Labour Cost: Every company has its own reason for doing this, with many chasing lower labour costs. You do not want to trade quality for price but outsourcing often allows you to get the best of both worlds. By searching a global talent pool, it is easier to find the right talent at the right price.
Cons of Outsourcing
Despite the many benefits of outsourcing, you don’t want to go down this path until you compare these to the potential drawbacks:
1. Lack of Control: Although you can provide direction regarding what you need to accomplish, you give up some control when you outsource.
There are many reasons for this, including the fact that you are often hiring a contractor instead of an employee. And since the person is not working on-site, it can be difficult to maintain the level of control you desire.
2. Communication Issues: This does not always come into play, but it is one of the biggest potential drawbacks. Here are several questions to ask:
a. What time zone does the person live in and how does this match up with your business hours?
b. What is your preferred method of communication? Phone, email, instant messaging?
c. Does the person have access to a reliable internet connection?
According to Cameron Herold, the founder of a COO training program, communication is essential to success in the business world. Since a large number of U.S.-based employees report not being engaged at work, communication remains a major problem. Will this get worse if you outsource?
3. Problems with Quality: Despite all the benefits of outsourcing, it is only a good thing if you are receiving the quality you expect. Anything less than this will be a disappointment.
This is not to say you cannot successfully outsource tasks, but you need to discuss the expected quality upfront.
Pros and Cons of internal development team are as follows:
Pros of In-House Development:
1. Cultural fit: Developers that work as permanent members of the team tend to pay much more attention to the specific needs of company. It means they’re motivated to achieve the best results and bring as much value as possible. It is easier for in-house developers to integrate with your company’s culture.
2. Face-to-face communication: Having the same working hours and being in the one office allows making the communication process much more comfortable and clearer. Direct conversations help avoid misunderstanding and increase effectiveness.
3. Quick changes: When you have an in-house team of software developers, it’s always faster to change project's features, add new ones, and discuss their technical background. Also, in-house developers usually process bugs quicker.
Cons of In-House Software Development
1. High cost: The price is an issue that can change everything. It’s obvious that in-house development is much more expensive than cooperating with a vendor. The final price makes up of many expenses like rent, taxes, software, hardware, and more. In fact, there are some additional spending like training for employees, sick days, and benefits.
2. Staff turnover: Software developers tend to change the working place quite often. It happens because the demand for talented developers is high and other companies tend to offer better working conditions. As a result, you may face some challenges with labours and lose time. Finding a new developer is always time-consuming, so your project development can be stopped or slowed down for some time.
3. Lack of tech talents: The ever-rising IT market brings an overwhelming demand for tech specialists. It is already tough to hire the right person in some regions. Apart from meeting soft and hard skills, the developer should fit into the planned budget. Which is often hard because of competition from other companies.
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I believe it is not that simple. The pre-money valuation and the amount invested determine the investor’s ownership percentage following the investment. For example, if the pre-money valuation is $4 million and the investment is $1 million, then the percentage ownership is calculated as:
Equity owned by investor = Amount invested ÷ (Agreed pre-money valuation + Amount invested)
Equity percentage owned by investor = $1M/ ($4M + $1M) = 20%
Post-money valuation = Pre-money valuation + Amount invested
= $4M + $1M = $5M
The pre- and post-money valuations cannot be analysed in isolation when evaluating the financial merits of a proposed valuation. You should also consider other factors—such as liquidation preferences and dividends—to determine if it truly is a good deal.
Most traditional corporate finance valuation methodologies do not work well for early-stage companies. Discounted cash flow (DCF) is an appropriate methodology for established companies that have a history of revenues and costs. Assumptions about market growth rates, market share, gross margins and other variables can be made to generate scenarios that will establish a valuation range. These assumptions cannot be accurately approximated for an early-stage company, which makes the results questionable.
Price/earnings (P/E) multiple is not appropriate, since most early-stage businesses are losing money. Price/sales (P/S) may be used if a company has generated some sales for a few years.
Most venture capital funds (VCs) investing in early-stage companies will use two valuation methodologies to establish the price they will pay for an investment:
1. Recent comparable financings: The VC will identify similar companies, in sector and stage, as the investment opportunity. Several databases—including VentureSource, Venture Wire and VentureXpert —might provide information that establishes a valuation range for comparable companies. However, transactions that are more than two years old are not considered market. Although some information may not be public, many entrepreneurs and VCs know through word of mouth what the recent valuations have been for comparable companies.
2. Potential value at exit: VCs and other investors have a good sense of a company’s exit value. The value can be based either on recent merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions in the sector or the valuation of similar public companies. Most early-stage investors look for 10 to 20 times the return on their investment (later-stage investors tend to look for 3 to 5 times the return) within two to five years.
For example, assume an exit valuation of $100 million and the VC owns 20% of the company at the time of the exit. The VC would earn $20 million on their investment at exit. If the VC invested $1 million into the company, they would make 20 times their investment. If the VC owned 20% for a $1 million investment, then the post-money valuation of the company at the time of the initial investment was $5 million. As you can see, investors use the post-money valuation to estimate the price an investment must command when they exit or sell the company.
Investors will use these methodologies to set a valuation range. They will have a maximum valuation based on their view of the future valuation and the perceived competitiveness for the deal but will try to keep the price they pay closer to the lower part of the range.
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Let us look at the pre-valuation methods that can be applied to Healthtech.
1. Berkus Method: The Berkus Methods was developed in the 1990’s by prolific angel investor David Berkus for application to pre-revenue start-ups. Berkus has stated that fewer than one in a thousand start-ups meet or exceed their projected revenues in the periods planned. Consequently, his method ignores the founder’s revenue and profit projections. In addition, the investor/valuer must be of the belief that the company will reach $20 million in revenue by the fifth year. A value is assigned to each of five key elements. Then these values are combined to derive the start-up valuation. The five key elements in the Berkus method are:
1. Sound Idea (basic value)
2. Prototype (reducing technology risk)
3. Quality Management Team (reducing execution risk)
4. Strategic Relationships (reducing market risk)
5. Product roll-out or Sales (reducing production risk)
2. Scorecard Method: This method was developed by angel investor Bill Payne. Key is a comparison between the target business and other similar start-ups.
Ignoring subjective financial forecasts, the first step when applying the Scorecard Method is to determine the average pre-money valuation of pre-revenue companies in the region and business sector of the target company. Without a thorough involvement in the industry this could be difficult in Australia (it is a lot easier in the United States).
Once you have this average valuation, adjustments are made by comparing the start-up to the perception of other start-ups within the same industry. Factors compared are:
1. Strength of the Management Team (0–30%)
2. Size of the Opportunity (0–25%)
3. Product/Technology (0–15%)
4. Competitive Environment (0–10%)
5. Marketing/Sales Channels/Partnerships (0–10%)
6. Need for Additional Investment (0–5%)
7. Other Factors (0-5%)
The valuation is then calculated by applying the weightings outlined above. Like the Berkus Method, the Scorecard Method ignores revenue forecasts. The problem with this method though is, firstly, the initial step of finding average start-up valuations in the area/industry is exceedingly difficult. Secondly, even with this data, one then needs to compare the target company with other start-ups, to undertake this step, one would need a very thorough knowledge and understanding of their local start-up market.
3. Risk Factor Summation Method: Like the Scorecard Method, it starts with the average pre-money valuation of pre-revenue companies in the region and business sector of the target company. Once the average value of pre-revenue and pre-money start-ups has been determined, it is then adjusted for 12 standard risk factors. This method forces investors and valuers to consider the various areas of risks which a venture must manage to achieve success. The 12 risk factors are:
1. Management
2. Stage of the business
3. Legislation/Political risk
4. Manufacturing risk
5. Sales and marketing risk
6. Funding/capital raising risk
7. Competition risk
8. Technology risk
9. Litigation risk
10. International risk
11. Reputation risk
12. Potential lucrative exit
4. Values are attributed to each of the above factors which in turn are added/deducted from the average to determine the final valuation amount.
Below is an example of how these factors might be quantified:
1. Very Low (+$500k)
2. Low (+$250k)
3. Neutral ($0)
4. High (-$250K)
5. Very High (-$500k)
5. Venture Capital Method: The Venture Capital Method looks at what an investor requires in return for their investment. The VC Method was first described by Professor William Sahlman at Harvard Business School in 1987. The first step is to estimate the terminal value of the business at some point in the future, for example five years. The terminal value is the return the investor receives when they exit the company. The selling price can be estimated by determining an expected revenue level, and then applying industry specific profit margins. Finally, broad based earnings multiples are applied to the estimated net earnings. For example, a software company is expected to reach revenue of $30 million in five years. Average net earnings for software companies might be 20%, so a net profit of $6 million is used. Industry specific earnings multiples for software companies are then applies to the estimated profit. Let us assume 7x earnings, resulting in an estimated terminal value of $42m ($6m x 7). The second step is to compensate for the high risk involved with investing in start-ups. Let us say the investor requires a return of 20x their investment within the five-year timeframe. This would value the company at $2.1m post-money ($42m/ 20). If the founder and investor agreed on an investment of $500,000, this result in a pre-money valuation of $1.6($2.1m less $500k).
6. First Chicago Method: The First Chicago Method is essentially a variation on the Discounted Cash Flow method, constructed by combining three scenarios: Best Case, Base Case and Worst Case.This method supports the established premise that the value of a financial asset is the discounted value of its future cash flows. To that extent it aligns closely with established valuation theory and practice. However, it is still subject to the high sensitivity of the data being input in the model, however mitigated somewhat with the use of three scenarios.
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It is important especially start-up drive enough demand. Let us look at it in details:
1. “On Demand Services caters to the vast spectrum of user’s need.”
Services ranging from medical services to business consultancy are also utilized with the help of mobile applications. It has also led to the increasing demand for mobile app developers that resulted in a rapid increment in the number of mobile apps development companies. As observed, everyone who gets exposed to advanced technologies like a smartphone is aware of how things work on smartphones and how it is possible to book various services through a mobile application. As a result, web portal dependent customers have shifted their dependency to mobile applications, and this has mushroomed the start-ups offering on-demand services such as Uber for transportation services, has effectively leveraged on the taxi app development. While on the other hand there is Groffers for groceries, and HourlyNerd for business consultancy services to name a few.
The Uber for X model is also a collection of different types of on-demand services that aim to save time. The on-demand economy is growing continuously at a rapid rate considering the growth rate of start-ups like Uber, Ola, Jugnoo, Zopper, and Urban Clap. Uber has managed to raise approximately $10.2 billion, Urban Clap has raised nearly $35 million, and Ola Cabs has raised nearly $1.18 billion after having completed seven stages of funding. Surely, on-demand start-ups have turned out to be more convenient, more technically updated, and highly efficient. However, there have been various reasons for people to start relishing on business ideas like Uber as they are more user-friendly and easier to use. Accuracy, speed, quality, and customer satisfaction are the values that shape up the on-demand economy. It has motivated youngsters for implementing their innovative ideas and managing to retain their start-ups in an efficient way. By carefully observing the prevalent factual advantages, it is quite evident that this trend of utilizing services has turned out to be a success for investors, customers, and start-up owners. However, more reasons have attracted the concerned authorities and business entrepreneurs towards the on-demand economy.
2. “Investors have also started considering these on demand start-ups as a big source of attraction as they have the ability to predict the future of each and every trend that results from technological and business integration.”
Customers’ expectations have been increased due to such high-quality services that are being offered in a short time span. Due to the high availability of options, customers either prefer to get the desired satisfaction level, or they tend to look for other options. It has made the on-demand economy more competitive for the businesses. On the other hand, the increasing demand is used as an opportunity for investors and industry tycoons to shift their focus to on-demand business. The credit for the success of on-demand mobile apps goes to the customers who have learned to take an advantage of the smartphones. It has shaped up a new apparent world where any service can is easy to book with just a few clicks. The pioneers in the concerned area, industry tycoons, and investment agencies that keep their eyes over an on-demand economy at a bigger level believe that the world is witnessing the first phase of a rapid shift to the on-demand business. The hidden yet vast potential within the various departments is unfastened by many entrepreneurs. Customers or end users have also managed to reciprocate appropriately by appreciating the advantages of the on-demand business.
3. “The scope of On-Demand business is bound to scatter to various industries in near future.”
The entire model of on-demand start-ups seems to be a highly efficient model and a big success shortly. After having observed the way it has changed consumer behavioural patterns and buying patterns, it would not be an exaggeration to claim that the on-demand economy might lead to more and more start-ups catering the needs by offering essential services like water, delivering gas cylinders, and repairing the damaged electronic equipment. The primary focus is on how on-demand mobile applications can decrease the efforts of consumers without compromising the quality of services. Several on-demand start-ups and businesses have made it easier for customers to have access to solutions by offering a symbiotic equilibrium for the ongoing on-demand economy. However, the four values that would grow the already growing economy at a faster rate are speed, accuracy, convenience, and quality. It will be made feasible by the genuine efforts of mobile app development companies that, at times, do not manage to retain the user-friendly nature of mobile applications and to provide customers with a highly satisfying experience due to management issues.
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There are many online marketplace businesses popping up, but it can be hard for investors to know what they are worth. We all know valuation is an art not a science. We also know investors love marketplaces, and for good reason. Marketplaces can be exceptional business models. There are several metrics investors look for when valuing a marketplace, but here are the most important.
1. GMV, Gross Merchandise (or Market) Volume: GMV is the Holy Grail of marketplace metrics. In the first few years of a marketplace’s life, monthly GMV can be jagged, but up and to the right over the course of a full year is a positive trend. A marketplace is one of the hardest businesses in the world to start — you are trying to attract two sets of customers (supply & demand), often with opposing views, from a cold start. As a result, in the beginning growth looks like a jagged saw on a monthly basis until the flywheel starts spinning. As the marketplace’s network effects kick in, monthly growth becomes more consistent. Marketplaces, particularly pre-IPO marketplaces, are typically valued off of a multiple of run-rate GMV (i.e. existing month x 12). For our company’s fundraising rounds, we have gathered data on marketplace comps and found the valuation multiple is often 1-2x the run rate GMV, with an average of 1.4x and a median of 1.3x.
2. Revenue: True marketplaces charge a commission (or "take rate"). Typically, the commission is charged on the supply side rather than the demand side. Supply is, for example, the drivers in Uber’s case, or the hosts on Airbnb. The best marketplaces in history – eBay, OpenTable, Uber, Airbnb, and Lending Club all charge a commission. The challenge for a true online marketplace is to set a take rate that promotes both supply and demand and allows the marketplace to thrive. Finding that optimum take rate is critical since a take rate that is too high can spell trouble over the long term. Circle Up is an online private equity marketplace that connects consumer businesses to investors. When we initially set our take rate, for example, we recognized that the offline alternatives (small, regional investment banks) often charged 8-12% cash, plus 2-4% warrants, plus a monthly retainer, to raise equity for a company. These comps gave us a lot of space to set our own take rate aggressively lower. Investors should look for a healthy take rate, but not one that is so high it allows competitors to undercut on price.
3. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) for Supply: Supply is typically the harder side of a marketplace to acquire, and so the amount that is spent to ramp up supply is an important metric. For Lending Club, Prosper and SoFi it is the cost to acquire a borrower. Uber and Lyft are fighting ruthlessly over drivers. And OpenTable had to work hard to acquire restaurants and lock up their participation in the marketplace. In online marketplaces, customer acquisition cost is the cost to acquire supply. This is true whether that supply is borrowers, drivers, restaurants or, in the case of private equity platforms, companies selling equity. The best investors look for a healthy CAC relative to Long-Term Value (LTV). If you are overpaying on CAC relative to LTV, is there good reason? Is there a reason to believe the LTV/CAC ratio will normalize? (Investors typically look for 3-5x.) PayPal famously paid up for growth in its early days, paying $20 in cold hard cash for every new user: $10 to each new user and $10 to the user who referred them. Users could immediately spend or withdraw this balance. No strings attached. The company spent tens of millions on this promotion to grow their user base. And it worked. User growth went exponential: 7-10% a day. PayPal eventually phased this program out, dropping the bonus to $5 before ultimately stopping the program entirely when the marketplace reached critical mass.
4. Network Effects: There are a lot of ways to demonstrate network effects, and a healthy marketplace should be able to point to several. Fundamentally, if a marketplace has network effects then, when another participant joins, each participant receives more value from the marketplace. Think of how much value each restaurant and diner had when there were only a handful of restaurants on OpenTable. How valuable to diners or the restaurants could the platform possibly be? Now that there are several million, it is clearly a much more valuable marketplace to all participants. In our industry, private equity platforms, we find various indicators of network effects. They include rising quality of companies on the platform; lower marketing expenditures relative to GMV; more investors—the demand side—as the supply of companies grows; and faster and larger investment cycles as the platform grows.
5. Barriers to entry: As a marketplace grows, it becomes a stronger competitor, particularly to upstarts. Starting a ride service, for example, would have been far easier 10 years ago in San Francisco than it would be today with Uber and Lyft as competitors. Because of the network effects realized by Uber and Lyft, it would be next to impossible today to attract drivers or riders to a new entrant in the Bay Area.

There are other barriers to entry that add value to a marketplace:
1. Scale: How hard is it to build scale? In some markets it is difficult, but in others there are still opportunities to grow rapidly. In online lending, for example, the cost to create the evaluation algorithms is extraordinarily low. In addition, there is a lot of unmet demand so building scale is still relatively easy. You see that with nascent platforms getting scale quickly – the result will help drive down margins for all industry participants.
2. Brand: Just as a dollar value can be placed on the Apple or Coke brand, online marketplace brands have value that can be estimated based on several factors. Kickstarter has a strong brand and is the place to fund creative projects. Projects raising funding elsewhere have presumably been passed over by Kickstarter and so are perceived as less valuable trying to generate support on a second-tier crowdfunding platform. The premier marketplaces protect their brand by being selective while maintaining strong demand and supply. A brand can also be valued based on the expertise of the team operating the marketplace and, on the investors, backing the marketplace. (A quick look at Crunchbase will tell you who’s backing who.)
3. Regulatory barriers: Most successful marketplaces have dealt with regulators at one point or another. Those that engage effectively with regulators tend to become massive. Uber, Lending Club and Airbnb have all confronted regulatory challenges head on. Those that ignore regulators or try to go around them tend to lose out eventually. I predict, for example, that the days are numbered for those online equity marketplaces that are trying to avoid charging commissions to get around broker-dealer rules. Those businesses will either exist as online VC firms that are undifferentiated and add little or no value for investors or companies raising capital, or they will be forced to comply with regulations and modify their business model, leaving them to recreate themselves and play catchup to well-established online private equity marketplaces. Several of those platforms also struggle to raise capital for their own businesses because the smartest investors have realized the non-registered platforms are in trouble over the long-term.
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I will go with Targeted Niche if you ask me because Marketing to a niche is much easier than appealing to a broad market, since a niche has much more in common in terms of needs, wants, or preferences. Selling handbags is a huge market, for example, and there are many niches with many different uses for a handbag within it. You might have new moms who want a handbag that can be used as a diaper bag, you might have college students who need a bag to hold their books, single women in need of an evening bag to hold their phone, keys, and credit cards, vacationing moms who want a large beach bag to hold their family’s gear, and many more. But understanding the different needs of each niche makes it possible to speak directly to them in your marketing – you will have a greater chance of attracting a buyer’s attention and winning their business by making it clear that your product is for them specifically.
On the other hand, when target segments are broadly defined, prospects are easier to find and target with scalable marketing channels and tactics, but there will be a significant level of variation of needs and buying behaviour within each market segment. Prospects will not react consistently to your content and messaging, making it hard for your team to optimize your marketing mix and implement fully targeted campaigns.
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The reviews are important in the marketplace. The reasons being the following:
1) Better Understand your Customers & Improve Customer Service: Analyzing reviews left to you by customers helps keep your feet on the ground in respect to overall customer satisfaction, as they can provide your business with feedback regarding what your customers truly want. By using this information as input, you will be able to improve customer service by quickly and efficiently resolve the issues that consumers faced, thereby creating a positive experience for the consumer and keeping your focus on their needs.
2) Credibility & Social Proof: No doubt, we are social creatures since the moment we come to this world and we are interested in knowing what other say before we make our buying decisions. Much like we would ask friends and family for recommendations, review sites allow us to do this online with just some clicks.
3) Fight with experience to save margins: Reviews enable new businesses to stand shoulder to shoulder with more established competition, and potentially gain a positive niche in people’s estimation and expectations.
4) Allow Consumers to Have a Voice and Create Customer Loyalty: Consumers that take the time to leave an online review for your business are far more likely to feel a certain loyalty to you and keep coming back. Through the act of leaving a review and establishing a relationship with your business, it allows consumers to feel like they have a voice even behind a desktop and/or mobile and/ or tablet screen and are able to provide feedback in a positive and meaningful way.
5) Improve Rankings: Reviews appear to be the most prominent ranking factor in local search. It helps businesses rank well even if they have low quality link profiles. According to Google, “pages with reviews which mention a keyword and/or the name of a city, were found to have higher rankings in Google’s local pack. At a high level, having a keyword you are trying to rank for, and a mention of a city you are working to rank in, in reviews has a high correlation with high ranking Google My Business results”.
6) Consumers are Doing your Marketing for You: Positive online business reviews are worth a great deal and can offer your business benefits that a simple marketing campaign can’ t. In a nutshell, they are like micro – marketing campaigns that keep working long after the online review has been posted, providing, thus, a constant positive image to potential customers and creating a continual brand awareness that benefits the business for both the short and the long term.
7) Reviews Generate More Reviews: When a business has already received online reviews, it encourages other visitors to leave their own feedback. Just the appearance of several reviews seems to be enough to give new customers the incentive and confidence to submit their own opinion on a particular product or service.
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I will not suggest a custom support software, but I will go with Zendesk.
Zendesk is a suite of support apps that helps transform your customer service into agents for customer retention and lead source. It has one of the most flexible plan structures, making it ideal for business of any size. It consists of support, chat, call centre solution and knowledge base modules that you can upgrade separately. However, its support plans include the basic versions of chat, call centre and knowledge base, so you get all sides covered right off the bat. This setup affords a start-up or small business to implement at once an industry-class help desk. They can easily upgrade to more advanced tools like CSAT surveys, web SDK, IVR phone trees and answer bot as their business requirements get complex. Zendesk Support puts all customer interactions in one dynamic interface for an efficient, seamless process. You can bring in customer queries from almost any channel via pre-defined ticket responses, web widgets and customer search history, allowing you to respond faster and with the right context. The main module can also be customized to fit your customer service workflows or apps that you are already using. It also features customer satisfaction ratings and analytics via performance reports and dashboards. The software also lets you develop institutional knowledge culled by your customer service over the years. The Guide module helps you build a help centre, online community and customer portal. You can direct FAQs and low-touch tickets to this portal, while your agents deal with high-value customers and leads. An AI Answered Bot can also direct queries to relevant articles in your base, squeezing out more ROI off your content marketing budget. Zendesk also gives you the option to set up a call centre with web, mobile and messaging channels. This is ideal for highly engaged customers or prospects; your agents can instantly connect to them via automated trigger. Through the integrated live chat, your agents can also proactively engage customers on your website or ecommerce page. You can also use analytics here to make sense of the conversations collected by your call centre. As for the Zendesk Live Chat, it is one of the simplest but best ways to engage high value leads when they land on your website. Studies have shown that customers are three times more likely to buy when they get chat support right when they need it. The chat comes free but can be scaled for unlimited chats, conversation tracking, widget unbranding and other advanced IM tools. Its latest app to date, Zendesk Message levels up your chat support by engaging customers in their favourite messaging apps. Instead of waiting on your website for prospects to ask questions, this tool allows you to follow them wherever in social media they are mentioning you. The message tool integrates with Facebook and Twitter and is available through the Chat module. Overall, Zendesk is a comprehensive and focused help desk suite with all the essentials your support needs that you can scale according to your growth pace: ticketing system, knowledge base, community forums, live chat and call centre. An IT Help Desk edition is also available.
Zendesk Benefits are as follows:
1. More than just ticketing: Zendesk is more than just a help desk. It crosses over to CRM because it allows you to organize processes, workflows and tracking of customer engagement. On its own the software can turn your huge volumes of support data into a treasure trove of leads, opportunities and market insights. Zendesk helps you consolidate these data and leverage them to build or nurture long-term relationships with your customers. To fully leverage CRM, Zendesk integrates with popular solutions such as HubSpot and Zoho CRM. This means the data you collect in Zendesk can be consolidated for further use to develop marketing campaigns and funnel potential new leads into your sales pipeline.
2. Scale your customer service: Zendesk is a comprehensive suite of support apps that you can scale as your business needs grow. You can treat is as an end-to-end solution, structuring around it a help desk, live chat, knowledge base, call centre and community portal. Or you can start with the main support module and build your support architecture along your budget line. The main support module comes with the Lite version of chat, call centre and knowledge base. You can say you are getting these add-ons for free, so your help desk does not start bare, rather, it rolls out built with industry-class tools. The whole pricing setup of Zendesk lends to your support reliability and scalability, and to your cash flow flexibility.
3. Engage high-value prospects: Proactive live chat with automated trigger lets you engage prospects who are lingering on your website or checkout page and help. You have a small window to convert these prospects while they are interested in your product, and the live chat connects you to them in real time. Moreover, studies have shown that customers are three times more likely to purchase when given chat support in real time — right when they need assistance. Prospects who linger on your product page or checkout page may be confused or having second thoughts; the live chat links you up to these near-to-convert leads at the right moment and lets your support agents, or maybe sales, do the finishing touch.
4. Go where prospects are: The Zendesk live chat on your website is great at answering queries in real time. But it sits there waiting for prospects to come to you. To complement this setup, the vendor rolls out a messaging tool that allows you to reach out to customers and prospects in their favourite messaging apps. It lets you follow leads where in social media they are talking about you. Messaging apps are becoming the primary driver for customer service, too, and this tool ensures you got this area covered. Where a complaint or negative comment is lodged on a social media site you can quickly address it before it escalates.
5. Maximize your content: Zendesk features an AI-powered bot that you can use in the Guide module. The bot surfaces relevant content in your base as customers type their query. If you have an archive of practical guides and articles sitting unused in your website, they can now add value to your customer service via this bot. That means you are getting more ROI from your content budget.
6. Self-service: Zendesk allows you to build a self-service customer portal using its knowledge base and community features. Combined with the AI-powered bot that can direct FAQs and low-touch tickets to the portal, the self-service feature takes repetitive work off your agent’s shoulders, so they can focus on high-value tickets and promising leads. It levels up efficiency in your customer service workflow.
7. The Essentials of a robust helpdesk: The software has all the key features you need in a powerful help desk solution. It has got ticketing system, knowledge base, community forums, call centre, live chat and messaging tool. You can build an efficient and powerful customer service process around this structure, if not at once, one module at a time. For IT assets, Zendesk offers an ITIL-ready IT Help Desk edition. Likewise, it integrates with important business solutions like CRM, salesforce automation and over 600 apps in its marketplace.
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