Your Competition Is Really Your Best Friend

By Cheval John

Photo Courtesy of Phanlop88

Photo Courtesy of Phanlop88


Everyone has heard the mantra that in order to succeed, you must beat your competition.

That mentality has been around for a long time.

If someone has a successful business and are doing well, you will want to know how they did it so that you can do it better.

In this day and age, your competition will be someone different you did not expect.

Facebook became the dominant player in social media for years.

They were keeping their eye out on new technologies that would have tried to compete with them.

Then Twitter came along and gave them a run for their money.

A few years later, Pinterest and Instagram came along and have given many people options to find their customers and communicate with each other.

You should not worry too much about your competition because they will always change.

I am not saying to ignore your competition completely.

What you should do is try to learn from them and even lift them up.

Share their content on your social media channels because they are providing tremendous value for your audience.

When they see that you are willing to share their content and lift them up, they will most likely go out of their way to help you in a lot of ways.

Patty Farmer, who was one of the presenters at the inaugural Social Media Day Houston event, shared a great quote about competition.

“If you feel that you need to crush your competition, then you have a scarcity mindset. There is a customer for everyone who is in business.” #paraphrased.

This quote by Mrs. Farmer is right on the money.

When you think you need to dominate the market, you will go so far to the point that you will cross the line.

They are many examples of companies who try to use illegal means to crush their competition.

British Airways is among those companies.

They were trying to crush Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic in the late 80s because they did not like the fact that he had entered the airline industry.

They felt that Mr. Branson’s fun personality and reputation of running Virgin Records was not great for them or the airline industry.

So they used an illegal method called the “Dirty Tricks” campaign in which they would have representatives pretend to be workers of Virgin to convince passengers that their flights were canceled, or that the airline was insolvent.

The method put Branson’s airline in jeopardy as they were struggling to gain new passengers.

In an attempt to save the airline, Branson did the unthinkable.

He sold his Virgin Record label in order to save his airline, took British Airways to court and won.

As a result, British Airways had to pay for their mistakes and issue a public apology.

When you go to any means to crush your competition, you will end up losing money because of fines that you payed.

In addition, you will end up hurting your reputation which will take years to rebuild.

If you just focus on building your business and not worry too much about your competition, the right customers will come along.

Plus, your competition will end up becoming your ally in the long run because you are willing to lift them up and not tear them down.

Your competition will even push you to be better and make you a better person.

Isn’t that what competition is all about?

What are your thoughts on competition?

The Impact Of Social Media

By Cheval John

Many thought that social media was just a fad that would go away.

They did not believe that it would have a tremendous impact on the way we live.

There were different social media sites like MySpace, Friendster, etc.

All of a sudden, Facebook came into play and became a major player in the world of social media.

A couple of years later, Twitter inserted themselves into the social media space and have grown to play an important role in the way we communicate.

They have been other major sites like Pinterest and Instagram that has made the world more visual.

Now it is impossible to keep up because there is a new social media site popping up almost every day.

There is no doubt about the impact of social media.

That is why it has become an official day on June 30th.

Mashable started this tradition five years ago with it first conference in 2010.

Five years later, the event has grown to almost every city around the world with their very “own” conference.

The city of Houston has joined in on the party with their inaugural conference with dynamic speakers who have been recognized for their expertise in social media.

This event has been recognized by high ranking officials in the different cities of the world and in some states as well.

Social media has given many people, businesses and organization the opportunity to showcase their expertise and build their own brand.

One person that has taken her brand and built her business through social media is Melany Berger.

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Ms. Berger started her blog a couple of years ago and has grown the blog to the point of where she has won many awards including this year’s Shorty Awards in the blogging category.

Ms. Berger earned the nomination because of her loyal followers on Twitter.

Her combined social media following is over 80,000.

Melany has stayed true to herself and did not deviate from that true personality.

Also, she engages with her audience on a daily basis that has played a major role as well in growing her following.

It has allowed her to work with some of the major brands like American Express.

That is the exact reason why businesses should be working with her because they don’t know how to interact with their customers.

They feel that social media is another mechanism to broadcast their message without listening to their customers.

The truth is if they want to succeed in this digital age, they must engage with their audience and not just sell.

And if they are smart, they should attend conferences that deals with social media in addition to today’s conference.

They will be glad they did.

College Is Not Worth Your Time

By Cheval John

Everyone grew up hearing that college was the best investment of our lives.

Parents would gear their offspring towards studying hard in school, get good grades and make the honor roll in order to impress the decision makers at major universities.

Major universities would blast their message on television about the benefits of their university programs if you are watching their college football teams or basketball teams playing.

We all believe that if we gain a college degree, we were on the road to job security and not have to worry about the so-call instability of the part-time work.

And who would blame them for believing the hype of going to universities.

Statistics would show that a person who have an bachelor degree or higher will be more likely to remain employable according to the National Center For Educational Statistics (NCES).

Those same statistics shows that a person who only have a high school diploma are less likely to remain employable at a stable workplace.

Everyone believe this message and the number of college attendees are increasing.

The same statistics by the now enrolled in college.

The NCES shows that they are 20.4 million people attending both 2-year and 4-year colleges/universities.

That should be encouraging for everyone because they are taking their education to the next level.

They are enhancing their level of knowledge because of the quality that the professors bring to the classroom.

The professors are recognized for their academic knowledge of their fields and are getting invited to teach or share their knowledge with other universities/conferences around the country and especially around the world.

These qualities alone should make the students more knowledgable and prepared for the real world.

They are paying (I mean their parents) are paying an average of $9,000 dollars a semester which includes books, student fees, etc. if they are at a public universities.

That is just in-state tuition.

It is much higher if you are out-of-state and worse if you are attending a private university or the elite universities like Harvard, Princeton and Yale.

Community colleges (2-yr colleges) are much cheaper.

So that is a bargain to cut the expenses in half if a person is transferring to a university after completing the first two years.

So when the person/s graduates from university, they should have proven that they are ready for the real world and the workforce.

They are aiming to gain great work that will allow them to make great salary in order to pay off the loans that they acquired while gaining their degrees.

Unfortunately, that is not the case.

It is true that the economy has rebounded since the “Great Recession of 2008-09.”

Many college graduates are struggling to find work with the fancy degrees that they earned.

They are wondering how they are going to pay off their student loan debts, which is an average of $28,400 according to the U.S. News and World Report in 2014.

My guess is that number has risen tremendously.

And the masses who have graduated from high school this year, are looking forward to entering the next four years of university life.

Don’t get me wrong, college is a unique experience.

I know.

I gained an associate degree in liberal arts and a bachelor’s degree in spanish.

Plus I had years of experience in public relations, journalism, television, and radio at my alma mater while I was a graduate student for most of those.

However, you should look at the alternatives to college.

We are in the age of the internet where anyone can learn about business, science, history, etc. thanks to YouTube, podcasts, and webinars.

A person can form their own business at a less expensive price because they don’t have to worry about setting up a brick and mortar store.

They don’t have to worry about having a hefty marketing budget because they can market themselves by building an online presence through social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.

The main thing is if you interact with your potential customers through these social media channels on a daily basis, you will gain new fans.

So if you still feel that you need to go to college to gain knowledge in the arts, business, languages, history, etc., go for it.

Only if you are studying for a degree that you need to be certified in order to practice like a doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc.

As for the rest, you can learn about history, business, languages, etc. outside of college and save yourself the agony of dealing with debt after gaining a piece of paper that says your are educated.

Don’t Skip Out On Sleep

By Cheval John

If you are a college student, you might get in the habit of studying a lot with little sleep.

You might think that it is the best thing to do because of the amount of work you have to do in order to pass a test.

The same could be applied to someone who is running a business or an employee of a large corporation.

They put in the hours without little sleep while drinking a lot of coffee/caffeine in order to stay awake to get their work done.

They might feel that it is a badge of honor to say that “they got little sleep after putting in a whole lot of hours at their work.”

And the entrepreneur might feel that they can skip sleep because they are wearing many hats in making their business profitable

The truth is that nothing can substitute sleep

According to this article on Health.com, sleep helps to improve your mind and be more creative.

My guess is that the most successful people in the world recognize the importance of sleep and don’t allow the superhero syndrome to take over their life.

I can also guess that Anh Nguyen understands the importance of sleep as well.

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So if you feel pressure about working a lot without getting a lot of sleep, stop and think about the benefits of sleep.

Because no paycheck or promotion can replace your health in the long run if you don’t get enough sleep.

Small Businesses Are Really The Innovators

By Cheval John

I had made a promise about two months ago that I was going to have articles out twice a week.

I was going to put out an article as an continuation of a series of companies/people who are doing more with less resources.

Last week I broke that promise and missed putting out the article last Thursday and I want to say that I am sorry.

Though they is a valid reason for missing out on last week posting, which I can explain, I will take full responsibility for missing the deadline.

What I should have done was write the post the day before and let it rest for a while before putting out that Thursday.

I should have forseen the circustance of not being able to write the post on the very same day and getting it out to all of you to keep the schedule and my promise.

Now, I have learned my lesson on writing an article the night before publishing so that when something unplanned comes about, I will be ready to just hit publish on the same day.

Here is another example of people/organizations who are doing more with less:

Kelly Hungerford

Mrs. Hungerford is a small business consultant who co-host “bizheroes” every Tuesday at 1 p.m. central.

She was working with Paper.li for about four years before striking out on her own.

With the limited resources that they had, Kelly used her imagination and build the Paper.Li community into a loyal following.

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One of those innovations was #bizheroes chat.

She started the chat last year and over that period, amassed a loyal following.

#Bizheroes has also trended on Twitter for the majority of the time they have been in existence.

That ingenuity of Mrs. Hungerford has made Paper.Li one of the most respected small businesses in the world.

By the way, she still co-host the #bizheroes chat with Paper.Li even though she is on her own because of the company treating her right.