SMART — which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound — goals set the parameters for actions you and your staff take to improve personal performance and your small business’s overall progress. SMART business goals break down broad objectives into well-defined, attainable milestones to ensure success.
Why Set SMART Goals?
SMART goal-setting is an effective way to help refine your ideas, clarify your objectives, focus your efforts and productively allocate your resources. It also helps promote transparency and accountability throughout your company so employees can be empowered to prioritize their efforts and resources toward accomplishing common goals.
SMART Business Goals’ 5 Elements
Specific: Your goal should be well-defined and focus on a particular outcome. For example, instead of saying, “we want to increase sales,” it should state, “we aim to increase sales by 80% in the XYZ market.”
Measurable : Each SMART goal should have a starting point and a finishing point that can be quantified and tracked. Besides the key metrics, you should indicate a system, method and procedure used to measure progress.
Attainable: This criterion prompts you to take stock of timeline, budget and resource availability (e.g., talent), and even industry averages so you can evaluate how — and if — a goal can be realistically achieved.
The “A” in SMART goal also can stand for “acceptable.” It refers to getting buy-in from everyone involved, so you can rally employees behind a common objective and motivate them to take the initiative.
Your goal also should address market conditions and the realities of the business climate. For instance, a goal might not be relevant if you’re trying to increase your sales by 50% in an economic downturn.
SMART Goals Examples for Work
Consider applying SMART goals to several aspects of running your small business, including leadership, management and employee performance. Here are some SMART business goals examples of setting meaningful SMART goals that’ll help you achieve tangible results:
SMART Goals Examples for Employees
General Goal: Improve Customer Service Quality
Attainable: Provide training sessions to ensure all employees understand expectations and are prepared to execute proper procedures. Ensure we have standards in place to assess customer satisfaction. Customer complaints will be reviewed, and corrective action will be taken where necessary.
General Goal: Increase Blog Traffic
Specific: Increase blog traffic by 200% using search engine optimization (SEO) and email marketing strategies . The web team will monitor blog stats and provide a weekly report to help fine-tune the tactics. Work will begin on [XX date], and the goal is expected to be achieved by [XX date].
Relevant: Robust blog traffic will expose our work to a larger audience and help establish us as an authority in our industry. We’ve also seen a healthy conversion rate from blog readers to paying customers.
SMART Goals Examples for Managers and Leadership
Managers need to set SMART business goals that aim to improve their performance and the performance of team members. Remember that it’s important to be a leader as well as a manager. Objectives for developing leadership capabilities include:
General Goal: Improve Communication Clarity
Specific: Develop presentation skills and improve the clarity of my communication to reduce the number of questions in team meetings by 30% in 6 months. This will reduce the time spent on answering questions and minimize misunderstandings to improve the team’s productivity.
Attainable: Take training courses to improve presentation skills. Assess previous Q&A sessions to assess where the confusion arises. Solicit feedback from fellow managers or staffers regarding communication clarity.
Relevant: Clarifying communications and reducing the amount of questions employees need to ask will cut back on misunderstandings and potential errors. Less time devoted to questions can also improve staff productivity.
General Goal: Improve Management and Coaching Skills
Specific: Develop management and coaching skills by having weekly 1-on-1 meetings with direct reports and quarterly 1-on-1 meetings with indirect reports to achieve a 10% improvement in employee engagement in 6 months.
SMART Performance Goals Examples
These SMART business goals can guide employee performance reviews to help workers focus on improving areas most relevant to their professional development and business objectives. Some of these goals focus on meeting specific performance metrics, while others revolve around acquiring professional knowledge and updating relevant skills.
General Goal: Grow Engagement on Business’s Social Media Accounts
Attainable: Take an online course and implement the lessons in my business’s social media strategy. Track account metrics to help chart progress and adjust strategy when necessary.
General Goal: Improve Cost Efficiency In the Procurement Process
Specific: Spend 2 days each month shadowing operation and sales teams to gain customer insights, which will be applied to the procurement process to improve cost efficiency by 10% in 8 months.
SMART Goals Examples for Small Business
Small businesses operate differently than large corporations and require setting SMART goals with a level of granularity that allows you to stay focused on results without losing sight of the big picture.
General Goal: Gain New Clients
Specific: Gain 4 new clients this quarter, each with a monthly retainer fee of 5000,000. This will be achieved by repackaging my services, increasing my fees, improving my lead-generation efforts so I can have 3 or more sales conversations each week and build a pipeline of high-quality prospects.
General Goal: Add Customers and Grow Profits
What Are Personal Development Goals for Work?
It can sometimes take a long time to achieve your career goals, they don’t often happen overnight. It’s important to embrace the experiences along the way instead of being narrowly focused on a singular path. Things can happen differently or unexpectedly, and that’s okay.
What are you willing to give up or sacrifice to achieve your career goals? For example, if being close to friends and family is important to you, moving far away for a dream job might not work out. Or, if you love to travel, committing to a job that keeps you behind a desk might be a recipe for disaster. You want your career path to be fulfilling, not draining.
There are going to be rough patches and moments of stress. You can work with a mentor or someone who can help provide advice and solutions to help you get through any struggles.
Paying it forward is one of those things that have unintended positive results. Help other young professionals or students through mentoring or by offering career advice. Do you remember someone who gave you advice early in your career and how helpful it was? Try and return the favor and give back when you can.
Goals and milestones are useless if they’re not attainable. Use the SMART goals process, which is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. This framework helps ensure your goals are specific and quantifiable.
Balancing work and personal life can become stressful. You want to make sure you are delivering on your tasks and responsibilities at work but you also want to have time at home with friends and family. It can sometimes be even more difficult to try and set personal business goals to achieve.
The good news is that there are tons of things that you can do to help you set your goals and ultimately achieve them. Becoming a thought leader, generating new business ideas or improving your focus are just a few of the goals you can set and achieve.
When you are figuring out which goals you want to set, it’s important to make sure that they’re attainable and specific. If they’re not, your journey to achieving them will become bumpy and will likely have some detours. Use the SMART acronym to help make sure your goals are quantifiable and contribute to your growth mindset.
How To Find and Choose A Ghostwriter For Your Project
For authors who decide to work with a ghostwriter, the whole point is to make the process easier—less time, fewer headaches, more support, and ultimately a better experience and product. But the first step of that journey—finding a suitable partner—can seem every bit as daunting and challenging as writing the book itself.
That’s in no small part because ghostwriters are meant to be invisible, after all. Most pro ghosts typically don’t market themselves and certainly don’t showcase their clients. Moreover, outside of our agency and our friends at United Ghostwriters, almost all ghosts work on their own. So searching for a writer is extremely different from trying to hire a PR or digital marketing or pretty much any other less anonymous, atomized communications or creative related service.
What makes the selection process especially tricky is the unique, intimate nature of the work we do. In most cases, our clients make their careers, their lives, even their families an open book to their collaborators. It can be an intense, emotionally trying experience that demands reliability, care, and commitment. It’s a little bit like getting married for a moment.
That’s why we advise our clients to think about picking a writing partner like choosing a life partner. Skills and experience are important, of course, but ultimately, chemistry and trust matter just as much, if not more so.
With this installment of our Ghostwriting Confidential series, we share the most important insights and best practices we have learned from over a decade of matchmaking to provide a “ghost dating manual” that helps authors just starting their journey find the right person for their project. Specifically, we cover:
Decide what you want your book to accomplish and who should read it.
“You may want to do a book to raise your profile or position yourself as an expert or attract more clients,” James says. You should decide what your top priorities are for your book, what topics it will cover, and–importantly–who your target readership will be.
In fact, she says, it will help both you and your ghostwriter a lot if you can find one or two examples of the kind of book you want, similar in structure and style if not necessarily on the same topic. “Have something that you can say, ‘This is the kind of thing I’m thinking of,'” she advises. “Think about where it would go on a bookstore shelf and have some idea of what it should look like. Otherwise, it’s going to be hard to be happy because you don’t know what you’re aiming for.”
Skills for ghostwriters
Attention to detail
Ghostwriting involves researching, writing and editing, which require attention to detail to ensure cohesion and readability. Because different industries and businesses can vary in what citation or writing style to follow, attention to punctuation, diction and formatting is necessary to replicate a brand’s voice. Companies target different audiences and understanding those audience details can guide content writing in reading level and vocabulary.
Understanding how to manage the content you write allows you to remain organized and efficient in your work process. Clients may require you to use specific content management systems to track your work. Having a familiarity with these systems can help you navigate each one to optimize your performance.
Research is an important part of the ghostwriting process for fact-checking and consistency. You may research to propose topics, understand topic trends and content performance. Researching after writing is necessary to make sure that published information is accurate.
UX designers come from all walks of life, and you don’t necessarily need a university degree to break into the field. Employers tend to look for a mixture of design skills, business acumen and soft skills. Some requirements you will often see in UX designer job descriptions include:
First things first: What do UX and UI actually mean? The people you have eavesdropped on are actually discussing two professions that, despite having been around for decades, and in theory for centuries, have been defined by the tech industry as UX and UI design.
UX design refers to the term “user experience design”, while UI stands for “user interface design”. Both elements are crucial to a product and work closely together. But despite their professional relationship, the roles themselves are quite different, referring to very different aspects of the product development process and the design discipline.
What is user experience (UX) design?
User experience design is a human-first way of designing products. Don Norman, a cognitive scientist and co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group Design Consultancy, is credited with coining the term “user experience” in the late 1990s. Here’s how he describes it:
Clear, right? Well you might note immediately that despite what I implied in the introduction, the definition has no reference to tech, no mention of digital, and doesn’t tell us all that much about what a UX designer actually does. But like all professions, it’s impossible to distill the process from just a few words.
Still, Don Norman’s definition tells us that, regardless of its medium plenty of non-digital UX (and there is out there!), UX Design encompasses any and all interactions between a potential or active customer and a company. As a scientific process it could be applied to anything; street lamps, cars, Ikea shelving, and so on.
UX and the digital world
However, despite being a scientific term, its use since inception has been almost entirely within digital fields; one reason for this being that the tech industry started blowing up around the time of the term’s invention.
Essentially, UX applies to anything that can be experienced—be it a website, a coffee machine, or a visit to the supermarket. The “user experience” part refers to the interaction between the user and a product or service. User experience design, then, considers all the different elements that shape this experience.
What does UX design involve?
A UX designer thinks about how the experience makes the user feel, and how easy it is for the user to accomplish their desired tasks. They also observe and conduct task analyses to see how users actually complete tasks in a user flow.
What is user interface (UI) design?
Despite it being an older and more practiced field, the question of “What is user interface design?” is difficult to answer because of its broad variety of misinterpretations. While user experience is a conglomeration of tasks focused on the optimization of a product for effective and enjoyable use, user interface design is its complement; the look and feel, the presentation and interactivity of a product.
UI and the digital world
So let’s set the record straight once and for all. Unlike UX, user interface design is a strictly digital term. A user interface is the point of interaction between the user and a digital device or product—like the touchscreen on your smartphone, or the touchpad you use to select what kind of coffee you want from the coffee machine.
In relation to websites and apps, UI design considers the look, feel, and interactivity of the product. It’s all about making sure that the user interface of a product is as intuitive as possible, and that means carefully considering each and every visual, interactive element the user might encounter.
What does UI design involve
Like user experience design, user interface design is a multi-faceted and challenging role. It is responsible for the transference of a product’s development, research, content and layout into an attractive, guiding and responsive experience for users.
The history of UX design
Some of the most basic tenets of UX can be traced as far back as 4000 BC to the ancient Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui, which focuses on arranging your surroundings in the most optimal, harmonious or user-friendly way. There is also evidence to suggest that, as early as the 5th century BC, Ancient Greek civilizations designed their tools and workplaces based on ergonomic principles.
In the late 19th century, great thinkers and industrialists like Frederick Winslow Taylor and Henry Ford began integrating basic experience design principles into their production processes. On a mission to make human labor more efficient, Taylor conducted extensive research into the interactions between workers and their tools—just like UX designers today investigate how users interact with products and services.
“When the point of contact between the product and the people becomes a point of friction, then the [designer] has failed. On the other hand, if people are made safer, more comfortable, more eager to purchase, more efficient—or just plain happier—by contact with the product, then the designer has succeeded.” — Henry Dreyfuss, Industrial Engineer
In the early 90s, cognitive scientist Don Norman joined the team at Apple as their User Experience Architect, making him the first person to have UX in his job title. He came up with the term “user experience design” because he wanted to “cover all aspects of the person’s experience with a system, including industrial design, graphics, the interface, the physical interaction, and the manual.”
Since then, each of these areas have expanded into specializations of their own. These days, there’s a growing tendency for companies to hire for very specific roles, such as UX researcher or interaction designer, to cover all of the different aspects of user experience.
For centuries, humans have been seeking to optimize their surroundings for maximum user comfort. These days, the term UX design has strong digital connotations, often referring to apps, websites, software, gadgets and technology, but also appears is in the non-digital world.
UX design disciplines: The quadrant model
Experience Strategy (ExS)
UX design is not just about the end user; it also brings huge value to the business providing the product or service. Experience strategy is all about devising a holistic business strategy, incorporating both the customer’s needs and those of the company.
Interaction Design (IxD)
Interaction design looks at how the user interacts with a system, considering all interactive elements such as buttons, page transitions and animations. Interaction designers seek to create intuitive designs that allow the user to effortlessly complete core tasks and actions.
User Research (UR)
UX design is all about identifying a problem and designing the solution. This requires extensive research and feedback from existing or potential customers. During the research phase, UX designers will launch surveys, conduct interviews and usability testing, and create user personas in order to understand the end user’s needs and objectives. They gather both qualitative and quantitative data and use this to make good design decisions. Learn how to conduct user experience research in our article on it.
Information Architecture (IA)
The short answer is that information architecture is the practice of organizing information and content in a meaningful and accessible way. This is crucial in helping the user to navigate their way around a product. To determine the IA of any given product, information architects consider the relationship between different sets of content.
Within these four areas, there is a whole host of sub-disciplines. As you can see in the following graphic, user experience design is so much more than just a case of sketching and wireframing. It’s a multidisciplinary field, drawing upon elements of cognitive science and psychology, computer science, communication design, usability engineering and more.
UX vs. UI design: Which career path is right for you?
While UX and UI design do go hand-in-hand, you don’t need to be a master of both. If you want to figure out which career path is right for you, it’s important to consider the key skills required by UX vs. UI designers, as well as the typical day-to-day tasks of each. In the following infographic, we’ve highlighted the main hard, soft, and transferable skills for both UX and UI designers. And, in the next sections, we’ll consider the main tasks and responsibilities.
What does a UX designer do?
So we now know, in abstract terms, what the role of the UX designer entails—but how does this translate into everyday tasks? Here is a cliffnotes example of a UX designer’s typical tasks and responsibilities. You’ll find a more detailed account of the UX design process in this guide.
Strategy and content:
Wireframing and prototyping:
Execution and analytics
So part-marketer, part-designer, part-project manager; the UX role is complex, challenging and multi-faceted. In fact, the role of the UX designer varies hugely depending on the type of company they’re working in. You see that iteration of the product, as connected to analysis or testing is indeed mentioned twice, but in reality you would put it in between every other item on the list. Ultimately, the aim is to connect business goals to user’s needs through a process of user and usability testing and refinement toward that which satisfies both sides of the relationship.
What does a UI designer do?
If you like the idea of creating awesome user experiences but see yourself as a more visual person, you may be more interested in UI design. You’ll find a brief snapshot of the UI designer’s key tasks below, or a more comprehensive explanation of what a UI designer actually does in this guide.
The look and feel of the product:
Responsiveness and interactivity:
As a visual and interactive designer, the UI role is crucial to any digital interface and, for customers, a key element to trusting a brand. While the brand itself is never solely the responsibility of the UI designer, its translation to the product is.
You’ll also note the final point which states a responsibility for “implementation” of the design with a developer. While this is generally how UI jobs have worked in the past, you should be aware that the lines are blurring, as the term “web designer” (essentially a UI designer who can code) is being replaced by expertise of user interface designers. While UX has no need for coding, UI is a role that, as time progresses, will rely on it as part of building interactive interfaces. We discuss whether designers should learn to code in this piece.
Which is better paid, UX or UI?
On average you’ll find that UI and UX jobs have similar salary ranges across startups and minor tech industries. You’ll find however that in tech industries outside the web and mobile fields (e.g. car companies, medical equipment manufacturers, etc) there are more and richer opportunities for UI designers, as the field is not only more established but has a more direct, business-driven application.
Why do companies often advertise UX/UI roles as one?
The truth is, in the grand scheme of things, UX and UI are still relatively new fields—and, as already mentioned, they tend to be specific to the tech industry. Outside the worlds of design and tech, they’re not so widely understood, despite being incredibly important for business. While the business value of good design is increasingly recognized, there’s still a tendency for hiring managers and recruiters to assume that UX and UI are done by the same person—hence the catch-all job ads you’ve no doubt come across.
It’s not always a simple case of misunderstanding, though. Many companies will deliberately seek out versatile designers who can cover both UX and UI, or who at least have an understanding of UX or UI principles in addition to their main skillset.
So how can you work out what’s really going on? Whether you’re looking for a UI-only role, a purely UX-focused career, or a mixture of both, it’s important to look beyond the job title and pay close attention to the skills, tasks and responsibilities listed. Now you know the difference between UX and UI, you should quickly be able to determine whether a job ad is actually geared towards one or the other, or if it’s deliberately targeting both.
UX vs. UI: How do you work out which is a better fit?
If you’re keen to pursue a career in design but still aren’t sure whether to focus on UX or UI, you’ll need to spend some time thinking about where your interests lie, as well as what you’re naturally good at. Both UX and UI design are highly collaborative, varied career paths, placing you right at the cutting edge of technology and innovation. With that said, there are some key differences between the nature of the work and the skills required.
Why did I write this article?
I would like to quickly articulate the motivations behind this post. Firstly, there is seemingly a clear need for more articles of this type as I find few experts bothering to publicly define the differences of UX and UI design. As I’ve mentioned time and time again, the fields are confused, and unnecessarily so. My hope is that, whether beginner or expert, you can take something away from this article and share it with others who are as confused as the hiring managers writing the job posts.
Secondly, if you are interested in learning either or both of these disciplines, I hope to have made their definitions clear enough for you to better decide which to start with, or which may be inherently more attractive to you as a future profession.
For example if you think it’s UX that’s the path for you, you can start drawing up a step-by-step guide to your career change. In this video, professional UX designer Maureen Herben shares her advice on making a plan:
Lastly, I feel it important to stimulate conversation. I am hoping that some of you lovely readers disagree with me and that you will voice it publicly by getting in touch with us or publishing a response. If our industry is confused, it is our job to un-confuse it, and the more passionate professionals that step up and contribute to the definition, the better.
The difference between UX and UI: A visual overview
It’s common for folks to use these terms interchangeably, or sometimes incorrectly. If you’ve ever wondered, “What is UI, what is UX, and what’s the difference between them?” in today’s post we’ll dig a bit deeper into UI and UX to get a better understanding of the differences between them.
Simply put, user interface (UI) is anything a user may interact with to use a digital product or service. This includes everything from screens and touchscreens, keyboards, sounds, and even lights. To understand the evolution of UI, however, it’s helpful to learn a bit more about its history and how it has evolved into best practices and a profession.
A brief history of the user interface
Back in the 1970’s, if you wanted to use a computer, you had to use the command line interface. The graphical interfaces used today didn’t yet exist commercially. For a computer to work, users needed to communicate via programming language, requiring seemingly infinite lines of code to complete a simple task.
By the 1980’s the first graphical user interface (GUI) was developed by computer scientists at Xerox PARC. With this groundbreaking innovation, users could now interact with their personal computers by visually submitting commands through icons, buttons, menus, and checkboxes.
The accessibility and prevalence of personal—and office—computers meant that interfaces needed to be designed with users in mind. If users couldn’t interact with their computers, they wouldn’t sell. As a result, the UI designer was born.
As with any growing technology, the UI designer’s role has evolved as systems, preferences, expectations, and accessibility has demanded more and more from devices. Now UI designers work not just on computer interfaces, but mobile phones, augmented and virtual reality, and even “invisible” or screenless interfaces (also referred to as zero UI) like voice, gesture, and light.
Today’s UI designer has nearly limitless opportunities to work on websites, mobile apps, wearable technology, and smart home devices, just to name a few. As long as computers continue to be a part of daily life, there will be the need to make the interfaces that enable users of all ages, backgrounds, and technical experience can effectively use.
L’UX est holistique !
Quelle est l’origine du terme UX ?
Pour rappel, Don Norman estimait que les termes “IHM” (Interactions Homme-Machine) ou “utilisabilité” ne couvraient pas l’ensemble de l’expérience. En créant le terme UX, il a souhaité insister sur l’expérience humaine dans sa globalité, non limitée aux interactions avec un système (IHM) ou à l’efficacité d’une interface (utilisabilité).
Une vision trop étroite de l’UX
Don Norman souligne – dans une interview datée de 2016 – à quel point le terme UX est mal utilisé désormais. Des concepteurs restreignent l’UX à la fabrication d’applications digitales ou de sites web alors que l’UX est holistique. C’est une expérience qui, dès son invention, est censé s’inscrire dans une globalité.
Cette notion de globalité est particulièrement importante à l’heure actuelle, où il est partout question d’écosystème. Les entreprises doivent utiliser plusieurs canaux pour atteindre leur cible et réfléchir à l’expérience complète, sans rupture ni “pain points”. Soigner l’UX favorise la création de valeur pour les clients ou consommateurs. C’est en cela qu’un Design centré sur l’utilisateur peut répondre aux désirs des utilisateurs et aux objectifs business. Cette valeur ajoutée de l’UX Design est aussi un élément déterminant dans le cadre d’une stratégie d’innovation.
Une marque telle qu’Apple l’a compris très tôt en développant une offre consistant à rendre un bon produit encore meilleur grâce au travail sur l’expérience utilisateur. Cela a donné le succès qu’on connaît à la marque à la pomme.
Qu’est-ce que l’UX Design ?
UX Design ou comment accroître la satisfaction de l’utilisateur
« Le Design de l’expérience utilisateur (UXD ) est le processus qui consiste à accroître la satisfaction de l’utilisateur en améliorant l’utilisabilité, l’accessibilité et le plaisir procuré par l’interaction entre l’utilisateur et le produit.»
UX Design ou comment faire coïncider les besoins de l’entreprise avec ceux des utilisateurs finaux
Le spécialiste UX (UX Designer), se pose ces questions mais tient aussi compte des objectifs business de l’entreprise. À partir de techniques scientifiques, le Designer évalue la qualité de l’interaction entre l’utilisateur et le produit. En définitive, l’UX Design permet de faire coïncider les besoins de l’entreprise et ceux des utilisateurs finaux. Cette caractéristique rappelle le Design Thinking en tant qu’approche de l’innovation comme nous le verrons plus bas. D’ailleurs, la « pensée Design » tend vers la résolution de problèmes.
UX Design ou comment provoquer une réaction émotionnelle
L’explication qu’il en donne est intéressante. La plupart des définitions de l’UX Design mettent l’accent sur la facilité d’utilisation du produit et la satisfaction ressenti. Or on peut noter que certaines personnes peuvent aimer jouer à un jeu angoissant, regarder un film d’horreur, vouloir prendre des risques etc. Une expérience pourra être perçue négativement par tel utilisateur et positivement par tel autre. Le principe est donc de concevoir le produit qui amène LA réponse émotionnelle recherchée par tel utilisateur, de là l’usage du Design émotionnel.
Web Design: Strategy and Information Architecture
This course is focused on the early user experience (UX) challenges of research, planning, setting goals, understanding the user, structuring content, and developing interactive sequences. While the concepts covered will translate to many kinds of interactive media (apps, digital kiosks, games), our primary focus will be on designing contemporary, responsive websites. In this course you will complete the first half of a large scale project—developing a comprehensive plan for a complex website—by defining the strategy and scope of the site, as well as developing its information architecture and overall structure. Along the way we will also discuss:
– Different job descriptions in the web design industry and where UX and UI skills fall within this spectrum – The difference between native apps and websites – The difference of agile vs. waterfall approaches – User personas and site personas – User testing The work and knowledge in this course continues in the last course in the UI/UX Design Specialization, Web Design: Wireframes to Prototypes, where you will tackle—finally—wireframes, visual mockups, and clickable prototypes. This is the third course in the UI/UX Design Specialization, which brings a design-centric approach to user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design, and offers practical, skill-based instruction centered around a visual communications perspective, rather than on one focused on marketing or programming alone. These courses are ideal for anyone with some experience in graphic or visual design and who would like to build their skill set in UI or UX for app and web design. It would also be ideal for anyone with experience in front- or back-end web development or human-computer interaction and want to sharpen their visual design and analysis skills for UI or UX.
People react to their user experience at 3 levels of emotion, as defined by Don Norman: Visceral, Behavioral, and Reflective emotions. Understanding these different types of emotions is important for better UX design.
Craft, a plugin from InVision, works right alongside what you might be doing in Photoshop or Sketch, with a sync function that updates what you’re working on. Along with this time-saving feature, Craft offers everything you need for prototyping and collaboration. Changes in styling, edits, and other tweaks are updated across the board so that everyone is referring to and working from the same version of a project.
Craft sets itself apart from other UI design tools with its placeholder content. You get access to both Getty and iStock photos, letting you fill your layout with better visuals. And if there’s data in your layout, you can use your own or bring it in from other sources. Not many UI design tools let you fill your mockups with more meaningful content. This special feature of Craft gives your mockups a more accurate representation of what a final design might look like.
Hastings is the co-founder and CEO of Netflix. What originally started as a no-late-fees, no-due-dates subscription service soon transitioned into online streaming, which shook the very foundation of digital entertainment. In addition, Hastings constantly uses his position of influence to promote change and reform in the California State Board of Education and through charter schools.
What Is Business Leadership? Definition, Skills of Effective Leaders
Strong business leadership is a vital part of every successful company. A team with strong, skilled leadership is more likely to be productive than one without. If you are interested in being an effective leader, you will need to know what strong leadership looks like in the workplace. In this article, we will define business leadership, discuss several key leadership skills and offer suggestions for improving those qualities.
Business leadership refers to how individuals make decisions, set goals and provide direction in a professional environment. Business leadership can take many different forms, but usually involves a CEO or higher-level employees guiding and inspiring the rest of the team. The goal of business leadership is to find the leadership model that works best for a particular company and its team of employees.
There is always a need for strong leaders in business. No matter what your job title is, you can be a business leader if you have the right skills. If you can show your competence as a leader and an affinity for leadership roles, you will likely be given opportunities to use those skills to lead a team or project. Growing in your understanding of business leadership and what it takes to be a good leader can help you become a more valuable asset in any workplace.
11 qualities and skills for business leaders
are associated with strong leaders. Most involve your ability to accomplish tasks efficiently, influence others to perform well and consistently meet and exceed expectations. Some are personality qualities that you already possess while others are skills that might need development. Here are some of the most common qualities and skills seen in successful business leaders:
A successful leader should be able to take initiative, which involves being able to complete tasks without asking for guidance or assistance. As you become more competent and skilled in your role, you will likely need less supervision.
Self-motivation involves completing a project or task on time without the constant encouragement or direction of a manager. If you can carry out your assigned duties and also take the initiative to go above and beyond what was asked of you, you will quickly set yourself apart as a leader.
Effective leaders recognize the importance of being organized in the workplace. They adhere to schedules, meet deadlines consistently and follow through with promised results. Organized leaders can keep track of multiple assignments and projects at once. If a business has an organized leader, the entire team is more likely to perform well and function efficiently.
A critical skill for leaders is the ability to delegate tasks to other members of a team. It also requires leaders to recognize when someone else may be more capable or have more time to accomplish a particular task. To be able to delegate, a leader must know their team well enough to be aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Delegation also allows leaders to offer leadership roles to other promising employees. Leaders who delegate are better equipped to maximize their team’s potential and efficiency.
Good communication skills are a vital part of being a capable leader. In the workplace, efficient communication is often the foundation of a productive team. Leaders should set an example for their teams by creating open and efficient channels for communication. They must also be able to listen actively and speak confidently. Leaders who can effectively communicate their vision, address issues and exchange ideas with their team members are more able to foster a productive work environment.
Responsibility is one of the most sought-after skills in a leader. Taking responsibility means accepting the consequences of one’s actions whether positive or negative. A responsible leader views every success and failure of their team as if it were their own. Leaders speak on behalf of their teams and strive to make decisions with its best interests in mind. Responsible leaders accept every aspect of their role and work hard to both remedy mistakes and reward triumphs.
Strong business leadership involves the ability to focus on a vision for the future. Business leaders must set strategic goals to help the company succeed and grow. One of the primary functions of business leadership is to encourage all employees to work together to accomplish common goals. Setting achievable, meaningful objectives and communicating them effectively to the rest of the team is one of the most important tasks a business leader has.
Effective leaders understand that the business world can be challenging. They aren’t afraid to take risks and be innovative to solve those challenges. Good leaders use data to make their decisions even when they are risky or unconventional.
A team’s success relies heavily on the integrity of its leader. It involves the leader’s honesty and commitment to do the right thing even when it is difficult. Leaders with integrity lead by example. take pride in their work and deliver positive results.
Good leaders constantly look for new ideas and innovative solutions to move their company or team forward. The willingness to try new things can create inspire and encourage others to also be forward thinkers.
A good leader makes an effort to know their team personally. This means taking the time to talk to their coworkers and provide guidance. Interpersonal skills involve the ability to successfully navigate conversations, meetings and other workplace interactions. Leaders with strong interpersonal skills can address disagreements, negotiate compromises and encourage productivity within their team.
Before you can identify strengths and weaknesses in others, you must be able to do the same for yourself. Good leaders recognize what they can and cannot do well and then, take action to improve. Showing vulnerabilities inspires team members to step up and possibly become leaders themselves.
13 Business Leaders Who Changed The World For The Best
Just like empires, companies can come and go with the times. However, there are some that last for ages, and great leadership is the secret. Great leaders have the ability to motivate employees, help others see and believe in a vision, and lead innovation in the company. Having a great leader at the helm is something that all investors, consumers, and employees want. Here is a list of the 13 most influential business leaders that are changing the world.
Cook is the CEO of the most valuable company in the world, Apple. He took over Apple after the company’s founder, Steve Jobs, succumbed to cancer in 2011. Cook has helped navigate Apple through the transition after Jobs’ death as well as developing new product lines and opening Apple retail stores in China. He has also led a very public battle against the FBI and their demand that Apple creates a backdoor for users’ iPhones.
8) Jack Ma
Ma was the first entrepreneur from mainland China to appear on the cover of Forbes magazine. He is also the founder of Alibaba Group, a group of internet companies. Before getting accepted to Hangzhou Teacher’s Institute, Ma was rejected from university three times. After graduation, he applied for 30 jobs and was turned down for all of them. He first learned about the internet during a short trip to the U.S., and when he returned home, he created a small website about China and Chinese products. This would be his first step towards creating a company that would hold the record for largest IPO in history.
This case study from Trello is straightforward and easy to understand. It begins by explaining the background of the company that decided to use it, what its goals were, and how it planned to use Trello to help them.
What Is a Case Study in Marketing?
For that reason, it helps to know you’ll perform a case study from the beginning. In other words, try not to reverse-engineer a case study from a great result. Instead, track your arrangement with your customer throughout the process.
Imagine that you’re a customer who’s trying to decide between two businesses, each of which offers time management software. One company has a marketing case study that illustrates how it helped a customer save four hours per week. The other company has no case study.
Too many businesses copy their competitors or other businesses. Instead, you should spend time being more creative and innovative. Below is a video by Neil Patel that illustrates why you need to quit copying digital marketing strategies.
Why is it so important to build trust?
Marketing case studies show how you tackled a problem and overcame it on behalf of your customer or client. It’s that simple. The more detail you give, the more authority you create for your company — and the more your leads will trust your expertise.
4 Case Study Examples
The Shopify case study by HubSpot demonstrates how a narrative can be woven from a company’s journey. When Loren Padelford became head of sales, he immediately identified weak spots in Shopify’s sales cycle, so he decided to adopt HubSpot.
This case study highlights the ways in which Shopify used HubSpot’s email plugin to save time and improve communication flow. There’s a quote from Padelford in the case study, which can add even more impact in terms of building trust among leads.
Ecommerce marketing case studies can become extremely valuable. In this case, Bit.ly used a more traditional template for a marketing case study. The PDF document includes several sections that take you through the process of how Vissla improved its omnichannel marketing with Bit.ly.
The results were that Vissla was able to visualize and centralize data in one place. They gained greater control over their social media marketing, which resulted in faster and better improvements in the content they shared.
There’s also a quote from Vissla’s media marketing manager, Keegan Fong: “Bitly Campaigns offers us a whole new way to look at our marketing channels. By giving us an easy-to-use dashboard that instantly displays the results of our multichannel promotions, we can see what kinds of content work on what channel, which channels we should be investing in the most, and what we need to do to optimize our content.” [ For Social: @vissla ]
There’s a great marketing case study from Viperchill that you’ll want to check out. It’s a quick, fun read that explains how the author created a squeeze page that generated more than 700 leads and results in a conversion rate of 64 percent.
This MarketingSherpa case study is super detailed and describes the process by which MarketingSherpa helped a natural foods company boost revenue by 18 percent with a site redesign. You see the entire project from start to finish.
You’ll notice that there are lots of visuals. Since this marketing case study focused on design, visuals were imperative. Let your business and its niche guide the way in which you construct your case study.
Case Study Templates
Tell us a little about yourself below to gain access today:
And to give you more options, we’ll highlight some useful templates that serve different needs. But remember, there are endless possibilities when it comes to demonstrating the work your business has done.
1. General Case Study Template
Starting off with a straightforward, generic template can be a great foundation for your case study. With this first template, your business can elaborate on any solution provided to a satisfied customer — from their background, to what led to them doing business with you, to the results they’ve seen.
Along with the simplistic design of this template, each section is clearly distinct and outlines the type of information or direction to take to tell you and your customer’s story better. And for added benefit, when you download this template you’ll find bracket prompts for ideation and instructions to follow as you fill it in.
2. Data-Driven Case Study Template
For those looking to show off objective and numeric solutions, HubSpot’s Data-Driven template is a great template to work with. It’s structured to highlight the most notable achievement metrics that a specific customer has seen with your product and/or service.
As you work through this template, you’ll find similar bracketed prompts and sections as the generic template — but with more eye-catching visual cues for your customer’s success points to be properly showcased.
3. Product Specific Case Study Template
This template relies less on metrics, and more on highlighting the customer’s experience and satisfaction. As you follow the template instructions, you’ll be prompted to speak more about the benefits of the specific product, rather than your team’s process for working with the customer.
4. Bold Social Media Business Case Study Template
In this template, you can tell the story of how your social media marketing strategy has helped you or your client through collaboration or sale of your service. Customize it to reflect the different marketing channels used in your business and show off how well your business has been able to boost traffic, engagement, follows, and more.
5. Lead Generation Business Case Study Template
It’s important to note that not every case study has to be the product of a sale or customer story, sometimes they can be informative lessons that your own business has experienced. A great example of this is the Lead Generation Business case study template.
If you’re looking to share operational successes regarding how your team has improved processes or content, you should include the stories of different team members involved, how the solution was found, and how it has made a difference in the work your business does.
How to Write a Case Study
1. Get started with case study templates.
2. Determine the case study’s objective.
3. Establish a case study medium.
Case studies don’t have to be simple, written one-pagers. Using different media in your case study can allow you to promote your final piece on different channels. For example, while a written case study might just live on your website and get featured in a Facebook post, you can post an infographic case study on Pinterest and a video case study on your YouTube channel.
Written Case Study
Consider writing this case study in the form of an ebook and converting it to a downloadable PDF. Then, gate the PDF behind a landing page and form for readers to fill out before downloading the piece, allowing this case study to generate leads for your business.
Video Case Study
Infographic Case Study
Use the long, vertical format of an infographic to tell your success story from top to bottom. As you progress down the infographic, emphasize major KPIs using bigger text and charts that show the successes your client has had since working with you.
Podcast Case Study
Podcasts are a platform for you to have a candid conversation with your client. This type of case study can sound more real and human to your audience — they’ll know the partnership between you and your client was a genuine success.
4. Find the right case study candidate.
It helps to select a customer who’s well-versed in the logistics of your product or service. That way, he or she can better speak to the value of what you offer in a way that makes sense for future customers.
Clients that have seen the best results are going to make the strongest case studies. If their own businesses have seen an exemplary ROI from your product or service, they’re more likely to convey the enthusiasm that you want prospects to feel, too.
One part of this step is to choose clients who have experienced unexpected success from your product or service. When you’ve provided non-traditional customers — in industries that you don’t usually work with, for example — with positive results, it can help to remove doubts from prospects.
While small companies can have powerful stories, bigger or more notable brands tend to lend credibility to your own. In fact, 89% of consumers say they’ll buy from a brand they already recognize over a competitor, especially if they already follow them on social media.
5. Contact your candidate for permission to write about them.
To get the case study candidate involved, you have to set the stage for clear and open communication. That means outlining expectations and a timeline right away — not having those is one of the biggest culprits in delayed case study creation.
Most importantly at this point, however, is getting your subject’s approval. When first reaching out to your case study candidate, provide them with the case study’s objective and format — both of which you will have come up with in the first two steps above.
To get this initial permission from your subject, put yourself in their shoes — what would they want out of this case study? Although you’re writing this for your own company’s benefit, your subject is far more interested in the benefit it has for them.
Benefits to Offer Your Case Study Candidate
Explain to your subject to whom this case study will be exposed, and how this exposure can help increase their brand awareness both in and beyond their own industry. In the B2B sector, brand awareness can be hard to collect outside one’s own market, making case studies particularly useful to a client looking to expand their name’s reach.
Allow your subject to provide quotes with credits back to specific employees. When this is an option for them, their brand isn’t the only thing expanding its reach — their employees can get their name out there, too. This presents your subject with networking and career development opportunities they might not have otherwise.
This is a more tangible incentive you can offer your case study candidate, especially if they’re a current customer of yours. If they agree to be your subject, offer them a product discount — or a free trial of another product — as a thank-you for their help creating your case study.
Backlinks and Website Traffic
Here’s a benefit that is sure to resonate with your subject’s marketing team: If you publish your case study on your website, and your study links back to your subject’s website — known as a “backlink” — this small gesture can give them website traffic from visitors who click through to your subject’s website.
Additionally, a backlink from you increases your subject’s page authority in the eyes of Google. This helps them rank more highly in search engine results and collect traffic from readers who are already looking for information about their industry.
Business case study examples
Marketing case study templates
No two businesses are alike, and case studies vary widely in terms of style, tone, and format. One thing that all marketing case studies share, however, is their purpose – to convince prospects that doing business with you is a good idea. With these case study steps, tips, examples, and templates, you’ll be well on your way to producing stories your prospects will actually want to read.
Meet The Author
Kristen is the Senior Managing Editor at WordStream, where she helps businesses to make sense of their online marketing and advertising. She specializes in SEO and copywriting and finds life to be exponentially more delightful on a bicycle.
From my perspective, taking the fear out of ghostwriting comes down to knowing when to use your subject’s voice or your own. And it should be a half-and-half blend — too much from column A, and the piece can lack structure; too much from column B, and you’re just writing, not ghostwriting.
The Entrepreneur’s Complete Guide to Ghostwriting
You have a book in your head that you need to write. You know it will help you and your business, but you haven’t done it, and you probably aren’t ever going to do it yourself. So, what now?
One common solution that a lot of entrepreneurs use is to hire a ghostwriter. A ghostwriter is someone hired to author a book that someone else will be credited for. Quite simply, you’re paying someone to write your book for you.
Shockingly, there is no comprehensive resource that answers all the common questions about ghostwriting and explains the different options to give authors a framework for making a decision. So, I will attempt to give you that here — a complete examination of all aspects of ghostwriting: the positives, the negatives, the alternatives, where to find writers and how to hire them, so you can decide if you want to use a ghostwriter — and if you do, how to do it right.
Co-Authors vs. Ghostwriters
Here’s the surprising truth: the vast majority of books by celebrity authors are written by ghostwriters or co-writers (approaching 100 percent).
My first full-time, professional writing job was ghostwriting a book for my mentor. I’ve continued doing it, and right now I’m working on two ghostwriting projects: by a Navy SEAL and the owner of a large exercise franchise.
First, it’s not my idea. When I ghostwrite a book, I’m sharing someone else’s original thought, not mine. They came up with the content. Also, most of my clients are fantastic public speakers, people who have been talking about their ideas for ten years or more. My job is just to take their life message and put it into book form. Honestly, it’s a great job, because for each book I write, I feel like I get to sit at the feet of a world class expert and soak up their knowledge.
Second, ghosting allows me to get paid for my writing. Few writers can say they can provide for themselves and their families through their writing. Would I prefer to live off my own work? Sure, which is why I still do my own writing at the same time. However, ghostwriting has been a great way to apprentice myself to the craft, not to mention learn from some pretty amazing people.
Why Become a Ghostwriter + How Much Do Ghostwriters Make?
The biggest reason is that ghostwriting jobs are more lucrative than other jobs like I provide – blog writing. You can grow your freelance writing business or take the next level by going this route.
Another reason why you might want to be a ghostwriter is that once you’re done with the work (and the client likes it), that’s it. There is no need to promote your client piece on social media.
And another big reason to start ghostwriting is that there will be less research overall. Your client has to supply you with the research material. So, you save the time from doing all that research yourself!
Finally, being a ghostwriter can help you and your freelance writing business in many ways. You get to learn how to communicate with clients better and help them open up you. Your writing also becomes better over time since you have to learn how to write in other people’s voice effectively.
Association of Health Care Journalists
Barbara Mantel (@BJMantel), an independent journalist, is AHCJ’s freelance community correspondent. Her work has appeared in CQ Researcher, Rural Health Quarterly, Undark, Healthline, NBCNews.com and NPR, among others. She helps members find the resources they need to succeed as freelancers and welcomes your suggestions.
Wendy Lyons Sunshine is an award-winning writer, editor and collaborator based in Sarasota, Florida, whose byline is in scores of publications including Scientific American and Psychology Today.
Sunshine’s first book, “The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family” (McGraw-Hill), is an award-winner that she co-wrote with two child development experts that has since been translated into multiple languages.
Her most recent book, “Raising the Challenging Child: How to Minimize Meltdowns, Reduce Conflict, and Increase Cooperation (Revell),” is a five-star rated collaboration with leaders of a social services agency.
In this new “How I did It,” Sunshine shares her journey into book authorship and offers tips to journalists interested in collaborating with an expert on a book project. (The following Q&A has been edited for clarity and brevity.)
How did you come up with the idea for you r first book, “The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family?”
I began freelancing for some local publications, and that’s how I met the first set of authors, Dr. Karyn Purvis and Dr. David Cross. I was assigned to cover the amazing work they were doing in the community, helping turn around really difficult cases with some adopted children who are struggling. By the end of the process, they felt I really understood them, and so they asked me if I would help them write a book to capture their message to share with more people than they could reach directly.
When to Use Your Voice
Generally, people who use ghostwriters are busy doing fascinating stuff. That means that their minds are crammed with interesting information, and with so much on their plates, they may not always be the most organized speakers. They probably didn’t have time to document exactly what they would like to talk about, and they might interject an off-topic fact or two.
The subject’s ideas should be the meat of the piece, but it’s the writer’s responsibility to organize those thoughts in the most logical and effective way. Set the subject up for success by grabbing an anecdote they mentioned in the middle of your interview and moving it up to the opener if you think that’s where it belongs. Similarly, conclusions can come from anywhere — carefully listen for a solid closing thought, and bring it to the last paragraph.
List out the arguments presented, and arrange them in whatever way you think flows best. Odds are, your subject will be grateful for the organization help.
Not many people move from one point to the next with perfectly crafted segues. Instead, they jump back and forth, interrupt themselves, or abruptly change directions.
That means it’s up to you to add the nice transitions. I find that these are easier to provide in your own voice, since everyone has their own way of making arguments flow. Trying to mimic someone else’s segue style might result in a garbled article.
3. Very Necessary Explanations
Some subjects are so embroiled in their area of expertise that it can be difficult for them to break down their arguments for laypeople. The writer should act as a proxy for the audience, and if they think a point could use some clarification, they should circle back to the subject. If the subject fails to deliver an adequate explanation, ghostwriters should then take it upon themselves to provide succinct supporting information — but it should be done in no more than a few sentences.