Do you ever want to sell your business?

If you’re a business owner, one of the things you should always consider is whether you’d like to sell it at some point. This probably shouldn’t be your biggest concern of course, but it’s something you should keep in mind.

If someone wanted to buy your business, could they run it without you after a transition period? This is critical, because if you’re irreplaceable, you really don’t have a business you can sell without binding yourself to years of additional work.

Think about it, and it will probably trigger some additional thought as to how you structure your business. Think about what you should be teaching your team so that others can run certain aspects of your business that you control.

This is difficult for many entrepreneurs, but it’s essential if you ever want to have a real exit strategy.

3 Industries Set to Explode in 2015

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In today’s world of fast moving technological advancements and changes around every corner, it can be hard to keep up with the latest trends. Looking from the past and into the future can give us great insight into what industries are ready to make their mark on the world over the coming 12 months. You may have heard of a few of the below industries or be more than well aware of them, but the advancements over the next year or so are what will set these industries apart from the rest – and will even set them apart from the past years where they have less than flourished in their field.

Virtual Reality

3D Gaming is no longer a thing of the future, as developers and gamers all around the globe brace themselves for the release of the Oculus Rift, from Oculus VR. While it has been a long time in the works, the release of the latest in gaming technology is closer than ever, with preorders for developers now available online, with the beta stage of the product to be released to those in the industry in August this year. With the final stage being put into development, predictions are standing strong that the Oculus Rift will hit the market in a big way in 2015.

Electronic Cigarettes

They’ve been available on the international market for just over 10 years, yet electronic cigarettes are still considered to be a thing of the future, with many new designs recently surfacing that have provided a whole new take on the product. The newest designs of e-cigarettes provide a better experience for the consumer and have also worked out the kinks that were found in many of the earlier prototypes. The latest designs of electronic cigarettes have seen shoppers having more choice, with sleeker and cooler styles now available, along with a huge range of different flavours. With celebrities openly showing their love for e-cigs in 2014, we are sure to see this industry boom in 2015.

Mobile Gaming

While mobile gaming won’t be a new industry in 2015, it does look like one that is well and truly ready to explode. Over the past 24 months mobile and social gaming have experienced phenomenal increases in popularity, due to the wider range of availability across the market and advancements in gaming technology for portable devices. As the graphics become even better and the playability becomes even further enhanced, there will be no stopping the mobile gaming industry over the next 12 months, which will prove to be a very exciting time for developers and gamers worldwide.

Whether you’re looking to the next big thing in virtual reality or want to see what all the hype is about with the hot trend of electronic cigarettes, the future truly is now and it’s time to embrace these industries that are set to make waves in 2015.

5 Tips to Set Your Brand Apart from Your Competitors

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We all want recognition, but if you are business in a market with competition, you don’t just want recognition, you need it. As you explore ways to define your brand and stand out from the crowd, take a look at what Simple has done for others to get an idea of what they can do for you.

Consistency

It is important that when you display elements which identify your brand, there is a common theme that clearly links them all together. Think of it as a thread that serves to link all of the elements together. If any of the elements don’t fit in along the thread, find a way to make them fit in or eliminate them.

For example, consider what a customer may see after they have acquired one of your business cards and subsequently make their way to your website. Other than the name, do any of the style elements match. Have you used the same colors, fonts, logo and general theme? If not, they should and this type of branding should persist into any visual representation of your company.

Focused marketing

Marketing a product or business is not cheap so you want to be sure you are making the most out of your investment. Sure, ideally you want everyone to purchase your brand but your marketing dollars are best spent on ensuring that your brand is the one chosen by those interested in your product in the first place.

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Hire an MBA by the hour

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Tired of getting gouged by consulting firms? BusinessWeek recently profiled a new site called Skillbridge where you can engage consultants by the hour or on a flat fee basis for prices that are much more reasonable than firms like Bain or McKinsey. Or, you can rent out a qualified candidate as opposed to hiring a new employee.

A growing number of companies are using freelance MBAs to access the same brain power they might find at a top-tier consulting firm. The demand has given rise to online marketplaces that are a cross between executive search agencies and freelance job sites—where the featured contractors are skilled at financial modeling, competitive analysis, and marketing.

The site claims that every consultant is screened and has a minimum of two years’ experience. For small companies and startups, this looks like a nice option to have.

It also offers a nice career option for consultants who are sick of the long hours and endless travel.

Cutthroat professional life in Washington, D.C.

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Netflix scored big this year with its new, original TV drama “House of Cards,” depicting life in Washington D.C. Needless to say, the cutthroat nature of life in our nation’s capital takes center stage, as most of the characters will do anything to advance their careers and influence in the city. Yes, it’s fiction, and some of the stories are a bit far-fetched, but a recent book called “This Town” by New York Times Magazine writer Mark Leibovich portrays DC as a craven town where everyone is just focused on getting ahead. You can get some of the story in his latest article titled “How to Win in Washington.”

It’s not that Washington hasn’t forever been populated by high-reaching fireballs. But an economic and information boom in recent years has transformed the city in ways that go well beyond the standard profile of dysfunction. To say that today’s Washington is too partisan and out of touch is to miss a much more important truth — that rather than being hopelessly divided, it is hopelessly interconnected. It misses the degree to which New Media has both democratized the political conversation and accentuated Washington’s myopic, self-loving tendencies. And it misses, most of all, how an operator like Kurt Bardella can land in a culture of beautifully busy people and, by trading on all the self-interest and egomania that knows no political affiliation, rewrite the story of his own life.

So read the entire article and the book and check out the show before you venture off to DC. This way you’ll have some idea of what you’re getting into.

But keep in mind that you’ll be one of many if you venture off there. DC is booming and life there was detailed in an article last year in time called “Bubble of the Potomac.” The author explains how a new affluence is flooding DC and likes to refer to it at über-Washington, working off the name of the popular Uber limousine app that is so popular in the city. This affluence, along with the natural political power base, has helped amplify the competitive climate described above. The article describes some of the realities in the city:

- there are two government contractors for every government worker. Yes, people are getting wealthy on government contracts.

- Washington is filled with young people. That’s always been true but seems even more true today. That culture is definitely affecting the nightlife and the city in general.

- Thursday night wheels up parties at Happy Hour are huge.

- Much of this is fed by the intern culture, which starts with free internships during college, then paid internships or entry-level jobs, and then it goes from there.

For may this will seem exciting. For others not so much. It’s another example of where you need to have your eyes wide open before making a decision.

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