Avoiding the fakes – when you’re looking for an online coach

Having a life or business coach is an invaluable investment in yourself. However, finding one that has the right expertise and who gives you value for money can be a search with challenges, especially if you rely on the online coaching industry.

When you venture on to the web, you’ll find coaches for every aspect of life and it is spectacularly easy to find them. But, as the Romans said,

“Caveat Emptor,” or “let the buyer beware.”

I say this because the Internet has made it very easy for anyone to set them up as some sort of guru, offering wealth and power in five easy steps, if you just pay for their book, course or one-to-one sessions with them. So, how can you tell the wheat from the chaff? Well, there are a few things you can watch out for.

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Exaggerated claims

Policing the Internet is a work in progress and currently it is still easy for those who want to trick you to get on the first page of results. These people know how to SEO their sites to the hilt. My advice is to look out for coaches who make exaggerated claims. Is the offer just too good to be true? Will you really make millions in a matter of months? Look for the coaches that don’t promise the spectacular and unachievable, who don’t use flashy language and who acknowledge you have to put the work in for any real change to happen.

Check their credentials

And I don’t mean their training certificates. If a coach claims they can help you to boost your income to seven figures, make sure you find out if they have been able to do that for themselves. Do your research to make sure the coach has achieved what they claim to be offering. But don’t stop there. Look deeper. Did the coach have a more advantageous starting point than you; in other words, did they work to get where they are, or have they benefited from a fortunate background? If you and the coach have very different starting points, then they possibly are not the one for you.

Watch out for the marketing tricks

Beware of certain sales tactics. For example, there are many who throw in an enormous number of ‘bonuses’, which is an attempt to make you feel more comfortable with the high cost of the course. Also, watch out for those who use special offers within a limited time period that are intended to make you pressure buy. This probably means they know the course isn’t worth the money they are charging. Instead, find one who understands the investment you are making and who can demonstrate that you will be getting value for money.

The free content

Like pressure buying, the offer of free content is another marketing trick. Sometimes the free content is a genuine offer. But, do study what you are offered gratis. Is it just a rehash of some information that is already on the site, for example? The quality of the free content directly relates to the quality of the course you will pay for. Is it going to be worth it?

Finally, you must go with your gut. What inconsistencies can you spot? Do they seem like a balanced person? Are they arrogant or do they brag about themselves? If something feels off, then it probably is. Trust your instincts before you spend your money.

 

 

Leadership Matters More Than the Leader

Some people think that a CEO determines the success of a business; that it is their personality and style that is the decisive factor. However,  CEOs come and go, yet the business they are in charge of survives, so I would argue that it is not down to one person and how they do things, but instead it is the leadership strategy that is the key to a company’s longevity.

As Josh Bersin wrote in Forbes magazine: “Long term business performance comes from leadership culture and careful continuous development of leadership at all levels.”

And his research into the business performance of a number of companies with high profile CEOs, indicates that it is the development of leadership within all levels of the business that has the most impact.

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The enormous benefit of developing a leadership culture is that it protects the business against changes in ‘personalities’ at the top. The boat is not so easily rocked when a healthy strategy is in place and there are several ways of achieving this kind of stability.

It is noticeable that the best performing businesses link leadership strategy to business strategy. What this means is that operations at the mid and lower levels are aligned in a way that ensures a business thrives. This is achieved through coaching and training programmes that enable the best leaders in the company to rise to the top of departments, and all of them understand that strategy and team work are more important than personalities.

Leadership is not the same as management. For example, ‘management’ is concerned with the overall organisation, planning, integrations, budgets and development. But ‘leadership’ is focused on a very different set of activities, because it is, or should be, based on leading the people who work in the company to ensure its success.

Therefore, leadership develops the following attributes:

  • Motivation
  • Encouragement
  • Selection of talented people
  • Coaching and training
  • Building trust

You can see that these are quite different qualities to those valued by the management function of an organisation. They are all people-centred and focused on getting the best out of everyone, at every level, and on finding the best people for every job.

Leadership is about team building and creating loyalty. It is about making every member of the organisation feel that they have something of value to contribute, regardless of what level they are at. A strong leadership strategy embraces its members, and in a way replicates our notion of family. This in turn creates an emotional investment in the success of a business, which is invaluable to its owners.

When an inclusive and encouraging leadership strategy is firmly established, the business is well defended against any mavericks who might set themselves above the rest of the organisation and try to impose their personal whims on it. Leadership strategy trumps the role of CEO in any business; that’s why leadership is more important than leaders.

6 Steps to hiring a great web developer

Building your brand online requires stylish web design and a website that works seamlessly. To achieve this you need a highly skilled web developer. At first, you may think that finding a great web developer will be an easy task, because there are so many developers available, but it isn’t as simple as that, as many have found out at great expense. So, here are six things you need to consider when you’re hiring a web developer.

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  1. What do you need the developer to do?

You need to decide what their task is first. Do you want them to work on the front end of your website or the back end? Or do you want them to do everything from A-Z? Front-end developers are more skilled in design; they code for ‘good looks’ with HTML and Javascript.  Whereas those who are better at back-end stuff, know all about databases and programming languages like PHP. The developers who can handle both are usually more expensive, but the upside of this is that there are no communication issues; you only have one person to talk to.

  1. Freelance or full-time employee?

There are plenty of freelancers available and this is a more flexible option. You can hire them on a per project basis, which is more economical than taking one on full-time.

  1. What’s your budget?

Website budgets vary greatly and the more complex the site, the more it will cost. Figure out your budget first and talk to the developer about what you can achieve with that. Also, be prepared to wait 12-16 weeks for a site to be completed, some may even take six months.

  1. Will you work well together?

When you are hiring a developer to work with you and your team you must consider how the person will get on in your company culture, even if they are freelance. Happy employees are more productive, so take time to assess the developer’s attitudes, enthusiasm and adaptability; it will save you time in the long run.

  1. What is their skillset?

You need to establish where they are strong and weak. Give them technical tests to complete, such as their proficiency in HTML, and ask questions like:

  • What are the benefits of using Javascript?
  • How do you devise a timeline for your projects?

Also ask to see their portfolio.

  1. Do they understand what you want?

The last step is essential because you need to be sure that you and the developer are on the same page. You should go over the following:

  • Reporting structure
  • Deadlines
  • Expectations
  • Tools
  • Payment

Hiring is always hard work, but it is worth the effort to get the right person, because that will pay off in the end in every way; in saving time and money and in building the brand that you really want. So, take the time to decide what you need first and then follow these steps to get the best web developer possible.

 

 

 

What You Don’t Know About Doing Business In Hong Kong

Interesting facts and finer points of doing business, and living, in the magnificent world city of Hong Kong.

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Hong Kong is vibrant and resilient. Since 1997, when it returned to being a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, it has sailed through global economic crises thanks to its key drivers of economic growth, which in the case of Hong Kong are retail, logistics and business services, financial services, real estate development (boosted by public infrastructure works), and tourism. The UK government –and the Wall St. Journal– has designated it the world’s freest economy for 20 consecutive years and it is ranked as the world’s eighth largest trading economy and a leading financial and business centre for Asia.

It is also important to point out that it has a significant degree of autonomy from China and has its own legal system currency and customs jurisdiction; the only area in which it must follow China’s ruling is in foreign affairs and defence.

Another key to its success is the business access it provides to mainland China and to other parts of Asia. Add to this the fact that Hong Kong is a free port that does not levy any customs tariff and has limited excise duties and you have an environment that businesses love. It may be a relatively small territory with a total population of just over seven million, but there are at least 1,362 subsidiaries of American companies based here, and that is just the USA. In the last two years some firms have started bypassing Hong Kong and setting up subsidiaries on the Chinese mainland, however, they have discovered that they face higher costs and longer delays than if they’d established a Hong Kong intermediary.

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5 reasons you should set up a business in Hong Kong

In my experience as an entrepreneur working around the world I strongly recommend doing business in HK and here are my five reasons for doing so:

 

  • China welcomes foreign entrepreneurs and business owners to develop their businesses in Hong Kong and provides them with the tools to grow successfully with little stress in the registry process of the business. The same can’t be said of many other countries.
  • The infrastructure facilities in Hong Kong are what make the city so well-known worldwide. Hong Kong’s air and sea transport facilities provide an excellent service for all customers, so all shipping, logistics and freight forwarding services are first rate. It is perfectly located for reaching other parts of Asia and has excellent telecommunications – a vital element for modern businesses.
  • Hong Kong has some of the lowest tax rates in the world and a simple tax system. Low taxes are a great incentive for businesses.
  • The legal system in Hong Kong tends to favour the business community and it is a transparent and fair system.
  • It is one of the world’s most liberal economic systems due to its free trade policy, no trade barriers and no limit for foreign onshore and offshore investments. Capital just keeps flowing here

 

A fantastic lifestyle

And, on top of a superb business environment, Hong Kong is a fantastic place to live. Its efficiency is on show from the moment you land at its international airport and find yourself in the centre of the city in about 25 minutes. It’s a ‘work hard, play hard’ city, with the same trendy areas that you’ll find in New York or London and you can enjoy weekend breaks in Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore or Thailand. It buzzes with a young, entrepreneurial spirit and it attracts an eclectic mix of fascinating individuals.

If you’re checking out Hong Kong as a place to set up your business, I’d recommend taking the Star Ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island to get a feel for the place. And, lunch on the IFC Terrace will give you a memorable view of The Peak and the harbour. As for restaurants and bars; Hong Kong has everything from fine dining to some of the best street food in Asia.

There are few downsides I can think of to doing business in Hong Kong and there are few places in the world that I’d put in the same class as this place, because it’s a city that just loves business like an entrepreneur.

I hope you enjoyed this and found it useful. Please subscribe to my blog if you’d like to receive an alert when I post new content.