• +(+502) 2381-0800
  • info@iba.gt

Uncategorized

Screen Shot 2017-06-21 at 5.03.39 PM

Feng Shui: Transform Your Office In 5 Steps!

Katia Arias No Comments

Although I’m no “Feng Shui” expert, I’ve managed to discover it’s great power!

To lead a more positive and successful life experts suggest that you transform your environments into places were you feel safe, happy and at peace. And, since you probably spend most of your day at the office, why not start there?

Here are 5 easy-to-accomplish tasks that will have a great impact and will require little effort!

  1. Keep the air flowing and clean

Feng Shui practitioners insist that the first step into a better environment is a “clear air”. And yes…plants are the best element to accomplish this!

According to Smallbiztrends and Greatist.com, there are many plants that could make your office look great but they recommend these for better results  (regarding health benefits, maintenance and air purification): Peace Lily, English Ivy, Aloe, Garden Mum, Spider Plant and Weeping Fig. Small, effective and….cheap!

Source: www.pinterest.com

  1. Choose the right lighting for your eyes

Experts agree that having optimal lighting is very important for productivity. If you want to improve your results you must improve your “visual performance” and adjusting the color, direction and level of light to your eyes’ needs.

Lighting Deluxe suggests you create a balance between daylight and artificial light and avoid glare or shadiness at all costs. Try not to have light hitting windows or computer screens directly and place all artificial light somewhere it doesn’t hit your eyes directly.

Choose the illumination intensity that makes your eyes feel “at ease”, using light tones that inspire you to stay awake but at peace. And…as an extra tip, try to use energy-saving products to cut costs and reduce carbon footprint.

Source: www.relumination.com

  1. Place the right pictures in the right place

Putting pictures of your partner and/or family on your desk is a great way to enhance the “good vibes”. It brings positive thoughts and in turn it stimulates you to do better.

To take full advantage of these pictures, “Feng Shuists” recommends putting the picture of a partner on the “right back corner” of the desk and that of family on the left center corner, in front of the computer screen. Also, it is advised to keep at least half of your desk free of things to let the air flow more easily and reduce any chances of stress and overwhelm.

Source: www.pinteres.com 

  1. Use the right colors

The bottom line here is that color matters….a LOT! When if comes to color experts suggest you never stick only to one, since different colors stimulate different parts of yourself. Experts recommend blue to inspire productivity and loyalty, green to create balance, yellow to spur creativity and orange to create a sense of emotion.

Source: www.pinterest.com

  1. Bring in positive energy by being and thinking positively

 As I mentioned in a previous post, nothing will change if your inner self is not ok. So even if you re-arrange your office space, if you’re not happy with yourself the new look will get old pretty quickly. If you want to learn more techniques to be and stay “mindful” keep reading here.

I hope you enjoyed this short post and that you let us know in the comments!

 Sources:

https://greatist.com/connect/houseplants-that-clean-air

https://smallbiztrends.com/2014/11/indoor-office-plants.html

http://www.lightingdeluxe.com/workplace-lighting-ergonomics.html

https://greatist.com/happiness/ultimate-guide-to-feng-shui-for-desk

http://changingminds.org/disciplines/communication/color_effect.htm

 

Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 8.45.53 PM

Tips For Smooth Business Travel

Katia Arias No Comments

Recently I had to organize a business trip and believe me when I tell you, it is not something you should take lightly. To ensure a smooth trip, I advise you to plan ahead and try to travel as light as possible.

Based on personal experience, I’ve put together a short list of tips to help you on your next trip.

1. Before going anywhere, check if you need a visa!

There’s nothing more frustrating than buying a ticket and then realizing you can’t enter the country. That’s why, before you do anything I advise you to check your destination country’s embassy website and review their entry requirements. Many countries have convenient exceptions but many others don’t and paying for a “rushed visa service” could end up raising your trip costs.

2. Book with a reliable airline

Everyone loves cheap, but cheap can sometimes turn to be more expensive. Booking cheap airlines can result in delayed or cancelled flights, lost luggage or inconvenient malfunctions, which only adds to your stress and puts you in a bad mood.
To prevent any surprises and ensure a pleasant (and on schedule) trip, it’s better to book a reliable airline for a bit more.

3. Pack Light

Increase your peace of mind by avoiding checked luggage. Unless you absolutely need to check liquids or sharp objects, try to fit your clothes in a carry-on you can take with you at all times. Especially if you’re taking trains, subways or any other public form of transport, carrying a small bag will make your life easier.

4. Keep all your information in one place

If you’re visiting more than one country or city during your trip try to keep a binder or folder with all your reservations, flight tickets and important numbers/addresses. Make sure to book your hotels and locate the best mode of transport (if you’re not being picked up) before you go.

5. Keep local currency

From public transportation to hotels and cafés, there are many establishments (especially in small towns) that only accept cash. To ensure you can pay for any emergency it is always advisable to keep a good amount of money in local currency (depending on your lifestyle and needs).

6. Advise your international partners when you arrive and where you’ll stay

Letting your partners know about the technicalities of your trip could play to your advantage. They can offer to pick you up at the airport, advise you on the best hotels and tour you around. Keeping good personal relations with your partners can also increase your chances of closing that deal!

7. If it’s your first time visiting the country: do your research!

To avoid huge culture clash, make sure you look at pictures and maps of the places/areas you’re visiting. Learn some phrases in the foreign language and (if you’re going to Asia or Eastern Europe) you can even study some important symbols. That way you will avoid getting “too lost” or overwhelmed.

8. Take the new culture into account

Knowing how to properly address people of different cultures and bringing business cards in both your and their language shows a great deal of professionalism, commitment and respect. And proves to your partners that you appreciate not only their business but also them as people and as a culture.

9. Make room for sightseeing and fun

Lastly, it is not worth it to travel places if all you’re going to see is a meeting room. If you’re on a “very tight” schedule plan at least to have a meal outside or stroll down the street for a break.

If you have a bit more room for activities, plan to visit at least some of the most famous landmarks of the place!

If you find this post useful, please let us know in the comments!

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 3.01.08 PM

6 Business Bestsellers You Must Read!

Katia Arias No Comments

Reading does not only increase your knowledge in a certain topic. If you get into the habit, reading can also stimulate your mind, expand your vocabulary and equip you with skills to write, analyze and strategize at a higher level.

Imagine then if you got into the habit of reading about business? You wouldn’t only learn from the best guys out there but also you will start to develop unique skills to generate better ideas, try and test new strategies, innovate, increase your personal effectiveness and of course stay updated on important issues.

To get you started on this amazing habit, we’ve shortlisted some of the best business books out there! All you got to do now is choose your favorite.

  1. Unshakeable – Tony Robbins (#1 NYT Bestseller)

BB UnshakeableIf you find yourself trapped in your financial situation, then this book is for you. Robbins has effectively created a step-by-step playbook that promises to take you towards financial freedom in no time. Starting by helping you understand your current financial position, Robbins then guides you to become a smarter investor and a wiser administrator by pointing out how to get the best out of today’s financial systems.

You can get it on Amazon for only $15.32!

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Tools of Titans – Will Farriss

BB Tools of TitansFrom the thousands of interviews Will Farriss has done for his podcast, he created the ultimate “toolbooK” Gathering the most meaningful parts of each interview, Farriss shares with you the “tactics, routines and habits” that business titans (amongst other professionals and icons) followed to be and stay where they are. This amazing book covers topics from AcroYoga to Gut Investing and Hacking, allowing the reader to use it as an encyclopedia of advice given by no other than the very best in each category.

You can get it on Amazon for only $16.80!

 

 

 

  1. Option B – Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

BB Option BA great read not only for business but also for life. In this incredible book, Sheryl Sandberg along with psychologist Adam Grant analyze the ability of the human spirit to deal with loss, conquer adversity and build resilience. This emotional yet practical guide is a must-read if you want to build stronger and more resilient workplaces that know how to handle adversity, accept change and thrive even when things don’t go as planned.

 You can get on Amazon it for only $9.19!

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Joy, Inc. – Richard Sheridan

BB Joy IncWritten by Menlo Innovations co-founder and CEO Richard Sheridan, Joy, Inc. is an insightful and fun guide to increase employee engagement, ensure a happy and motivated workplace and increase profit all at the same time.

Basing the culture exclusively on the value of “Joy”, Menlo has been able to grow like no other tech business in a short period of time. Sheridan, in turn, attributes all of this to happier employees and in this book he gives you all the tips so you can achieve the same!   You can get on Amazon it for only $11.06!

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Emotional Agility – Susan David

BB Emotinal AgilityAn incredible research and experience-based piece, Emotional Agility displays a series of steps and exercises to help you identify, manage and get the most out of your emotions. After reading this book you will be able to handle difficult situations (in life and at work), by facing them intelligently with courage and serenity. Also, you will learn valuable skills to lead the behavioral change that will unleash your full personal and professional potential.

You can get on Amazon for only $9.26!

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. The Leadership Challenge – James M. Kouzes & Barry Z. Posner

BB Leadership ChallengeDisplaying the scientific, artistic and social sides of leadership, The Leadership Challenge holds valuable expert advise to help leaders understand the importance of their role, guide their workforce towards team work, learn the power of motivation and take advantage of today’s electronic environment to do so. This book, without question, is an amazing guide to build the leadership and social skills necessary to boost your organization.

You can get it on Amazon for only $23.79!

More resources: 

  1. https://800ceoread.com/bestseller_lists
  2. https://hbr.org/2012/08/for-those-who-want-to-lead-rea
  3. https://www.nytimes.com/books/best-sellers/business-books/?_r=0

If you found this post useful, please let us know in the comments!

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 11.53.23 AM

Guatemala’s Holy Week: A Unique Experience

Katia Arias No Comments

Guatemala’s Holy Week celebrations are a splendorous display of history, religion and Latin American tradition.

After the Spanish introduced Christianity in Guatemala the 16th century, the indigenous people began to worship Christ the “Guatemalan” way. Mixing colors, music and gatherings this intercultural mix of European religion and indigenous worship methods created a new set of customs that became a cornerstone of the country’s present identity.

Of all the Holy Week traditions, we’ve put together a short list of the most famous ones, hoping you can enjoy some of them this year and get to experience one of the richest cultural experiences in the world.

Here is a short video from Aspectos Digitales, who presented the tradition perfectly

  1. The Passion of The Christ (live version)

In many Guatemalan departments like Huehuetenango and Santa Rosa, hundreds of actors come together to reenact the passion of Christ in the streets of their towns, allowing people to live the Stations of the Cross, side-by-side with Jesus.

  1. Sawdust Carpets

This is one of the biggest Holly Week traditions and is lived all around the country. Made of colored sawdust, each carpet either tells a religious story or displays important Christian images, such as rosaries, Hosts and images of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. During Holy Week, entire communities and parishes get together in advance to prepare the materials and put the carpets together so that Jesus (in the procession), can walk on them later on!

Source: flickr.com

Source: flickr.com

  1. The Processions

 Antigua Guatemala is mostly known for this Holly Week tradition. Processions start out on the first Thursday of Lent and then are carried out every week until Palm Sunday, and then every day until Resurrection Sunday. The processions not only tell beautiful stories but also bring people from all economic and social statuses to work together. Some processions are carried for more than 15 hours and they all include music, prayers and a lot of emotions.

  1. Penitence

 Throughout Guatemala, many communities practice interesting activities to pay for their sins. Curious enough, many of these practices date from the time of the colonies and have been passed down generations until this day.

In Quiché, the “gateadores” crawl around the city streets with their faces covered and with thorns on their backs.

In Chichicastenango, people carry a small cross on their shoulders and follow the procession on their knees all the way to the temple.

In Sololá, you have the “Toronjeada” where people fill bags of oranges and hit each other with it. And finally, in Sololá as well, communities are allowed a time to hit each other to settle any dispute and reconcile.  

Source: Pinterest.com

Source: Pinterest.com

  1. Food!

And last but never least, during Holly Week celebrations Guatemalans prepare their souls and also treat their stomachs with a lot of their traditional and delicious food!

Amongst these incredible dishes you can find enchiladas, “canillitas de leche”, “tostadas” with frijoles, guacamole or red sauce, “molletes”, “rellenitos” (plantain cakes), and Horchata (rice-based juice).

And just like these, there are many more traditions in every town of this beautiful country.

If you are religious Guatemala might be the right place to be during Holy Week and if you’re not Guatemala may also be a great place to visit this April if you want to experience something beautiful.

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 10.50.03 AM

25 Facts That Will Make You Think Again

Katia Arias No Comments

We live in a world that we often don’t know. However, it is never too late to start exploring or keep on learning.To inspire your curiosity, we’ve put together a list of 25 mind-blowing facts that put the world into perspective and show you a new side of every-day topics.

SCIENCE…did you know that

  1. If you align an average person’s DNA molecules, one after the other, you could go from the Sun to Pluto 17 times (Zmescience.com).
  2. The Amazon Rainforests is responsible for 20% of the Earth’s oxygen. An average person takes in 550 liters of pure oxygen every day. (Howitworksdaily.comsharecare.com)
  3. If there was a tunnel going from the top of the Earth to the bottom, it would take around 42 minutes to cross it (urbantimes.co)
  4. Venus experiences metallic snow and sulphuric rains. So far two new metals have been discovered: galena & bismuthinite. (Ebaumsworld.com, emgn.com)
  5. The deepest part of the ocean lies at 11,000 meters bellow sea level. The pressure at the deepest point can reach 8tons per square inch, which is equivalent to an average woman carrying 48 airplanes. (Seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov)

 

POLITICS-PEOPLE…did you know that

  1. The CIA established the “Acoustic Kitty” program in the 1960s to spy on Russia. The program entailed installing microphones and other gadgets inside real cats. (All-that-is-interesting.com)
  2. In 2004 former Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev was awarded a Grammy for his voice contribution in the recording of “Peter & The Wolf.” (Grunge.com)
  3. Scotland’s national animal is the unicorn (Thefactsite.com)
  4. The Nazis were the first modern group to start an anti-smoking campaign. (Thefactsite.com)
  5. Hungary got its name from the “Huns” who invaded the area in the first years of the Middle Ages.

 

ART-TECH…did you know that

  1. Painter and inventor Leonardo Da Vinci could write and paint at the same time. (All-that-is-interesting.com)
  2. Today’s smartphones are more powerful than the computers used in the first moon landing. (percentagecalculator.mes.fm)
  3. Vincent Van Gogh created 900 pieces in his lifetime but only sold 1. (Webdesignschoolsguide.com)
  4. In 2012, the Indian film industry produced 1,602 films compared to 476 produced by the American film industry (forbes.com)
  5. Pablo Picasso’s real name was: Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz Picasso (quora.com)

 

ECONOMICS-INDUSTRY…did you know that

  1. The world consumes 1.9 billion servings of Coca-Cola beverages every day.(Percentagecalculator.mes.fm)
  2. Apple’s assets equal the GDP of Hungary. (Huffingtonpost.com)
  3. Bill Gates, 61, is the richest man in the world with a net worth of $86 billion. (Forbes.com)
  4. In 2010 the world produced 275M metric tons of plastic, of these around 5-15M metric tons ended up in the ocean. (Time.com)
  5. The world spends around 3 billion hours a week playing videogames (Ted.com)

 

HISTORY…did you know that

  1. Cleopatra lived closer to the first moon landing than to the construction of the Pyramids of Giza. (Businessinsider.com)
  2. Casualties from the Black Plague round up to 200million (percentagecalculator.mes.fm)
  3. Adolf Hitler’s relatives agreed to never have children so the family would die out once and for all. (Blazepress.com)
  4. In the Middle Ages, myths and stories were fueled after people found dinosaur fossils and took them for dragon remains. (Blazepress.com)
  5. Guatemala was once the capital of the Federal Republic of Central America. (Wikipedia.org)

 

Interesting, Huh? How many of these facts did you know already?

If you found this post useful, or want to add an interesting fact to the list…please let us know in the comments!

SOURCES:

  1. http://www.zmescience.com/other/feature-post/10-quick-scientific-facts-will-blow-mind/
  2. https://www.howitworksdaily.com/15-amazing-science-facts-that-will-blow-your-mind/
  3. https://urbantimes.co/2014/05/40-interesting-science-facts-that-will-blow-your-socks-off/
  4. http://www.ebaumsworld.com/pictures/30-scientific-facts-that-will-blow-your-mind/83744023/
  5. http://emgn.com/entertainment/20-crazy-scientific-facts-that-will-legitimately-blow-your-mind-2/
  6. https://seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov/OCEAN_PLANET/HTML/oceanography_conditions_1.html
  7. http://all-that-is-interesting.com/interesting-facts-about-the-world#5
  8. https://www.sharecare.com/health/air-quality/oxygen-person-consume-a-day
  9. http://www.grunge.com/9761/strange-facts-never-knew-former-world-leaders/
  10. https://www.thefactsite.com/2015/04/100-mind-blowing-facts.html
  11. http://www.businessinsider.com/the-most-interesting-and-weird-facts-2015-5/#e-woolly-mammoth-was-still-around-when-the-pyramids-were-being-built-10
  12. https://percentagecalculator.mes.fm/interesting-facts/19-billion-servings-of-cocacola-products-consumed-daily
  13. https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2014/09/03/bollywood-indias-film-industry-by-the-numbers-infographic/#d5e895d2488b
  14. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/03/economy-facts-that-will-blow-your-mind_n_2792286.html
  15. https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-mind-blowing-facts-about-art-history-or-literature
  16. https://www.forbes.com/billionaires/list/
  17. http://blazepress.com/2014/09/17-historical-facts-that-will-blow-your-mind/
  18. http://time.com/3707112/plastic-in-the-ocean/
  19. https://www.ted.com/conversations/44/we_spend_3_billion_hours_a_wee.html
  20. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Republic_of_Central_America

 

Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 1.38.11 PM

10 Tips To Improve Customer Loyalty

Katia Arias No Comments

In an time where customer is “king” company’s must pay a more attention to the way  they treat, learn and engage with their customers.

To help you, we’ve put together a list of 10 tips that will guide your organization towards ultimate customer care, hoping you never loose a customer again!

  1. Make it Personal

Almost anyone who is in customer care will advise you to “get to know your clients.”

Showing authentic interest in their needs and developing client-centered solutions will make your clients feel they have a mutually benefiting relationship with your brand, which in turn will keep them always committed to you.

  1. Praise their loyalty

 When someone engages in a relationship with your brand, they trust you will value their choice.

If you haven’t done yet, build a loyalty program. Devote time and resources to thank your clients for trusting you and keep reminding them how important they are for your company.

Feeling appreciated is one of the greatest factors that make people come back to your company.

  1. Be Transparent

Loyalty is built on trust. That said, it is crucial that you always communicate to your clients the information that directly affects them.

If you are raising money, for example, tell them where the money is really going. If you are a distributor, be honest about who your providers are, etc.

Transparency is about being honest and delivering on your promises. And about being consistent on what you offer and what you actually do or give.

To communicate your decisions or results with clients, you can choose reports, social media, webpage or focus groups.

  1. Respond Kindly to Bad Reviews

 People can be rude when they are angry. The key is not to focus on the “bad language” but the actual problem that triggered it. try to leave your feelings out of the response.

Experts from the Entrepreneur.com, recommend that you answer promptly and politely and offer your assistance without “over promising”. Sometimes a nice “I’m here to assist you” will ease their anger and make them happy again.

  1. Take The Necessary Time to Help

If your client has a problem don’t rush it. Try to listen to what he/she needs and then do everything in your power to fix it (even when it doesn’t’ make sense or sounds very dumb).

People tend to feel more appreciated when you show true interest in fixing their problem than when you do something really fast but wrong.

So remember…. doing it right is better than doing it quick.

  1. Say Hello, Goodbye and Thank You

 Common courtesy shouldn’t be a thing of the past. When you greet someone kindly you instantly set the right tone and give way to the conversation that can lead to a relationship.

Thanking your customers for their business and wishing them well is also a great way to make them feel welcome and appreciated, making them more likely to come back.

  1. Follow-Up Constantly

 Clients like to know they’re on your mind and agenda. Try to follow up with them after a purchase or deal to see if they are pleased with their product/service, or if they need anything else to maximize their experience.

  1. Keep Learning From Your Clients

Although customer surveys can be a bit daunting, they are a great way to keep learning. Ask them how they feel with your current products/services, what they would like to see or get from you and even how their shipping experience was.

When clients are consulted they feel like an important part of your decision-making process and in turn more connected to your brand.

  1. Offer Solutions You Know They Need

 When talking to your clients don’t be afraid to offer solutions they didn’t ask for. Sometimes they are looking for something and they don’t know how to ask.

Offering solutions lets clients know you brand cares about their needs and is genuinely interested in serving them.

  1. Enjoy The Process

 Learning with and about your customers is a never-ending process that’s why you should find a way to make if fun.

If your resources allow plan fun focus groups or customer events. Innovate the way you conduct surveys, add creativity to how you approach or thank your clients!

It’s a job you must do, so why not enjoy it?

 

If you found this post helpful, please let us know in the comments!

Build New Year resolutions (2)

Make Work-Life Balance a Reality

Katia Arias No Comments

An article from Forbes revealed that 94% of professionals clock more than 50 hours/week and some even jump to 65 just to meet work demands.

Countless factors such as unemployment, strict operation systems, and corporate climbing (amongst others) have made people addicted to work, leaving little space for friends, family and hobbies consequently hurting their mental and physical health.

To avoid becoming an unhealthy workaholic, health and profession experts have suggested many techniques but to make it easy I summarized them in 5 key points…

  1. Sort out your priorities

 Australian marketer, Nigel Marsh has spent seven years studying and writing about work-life balance. Through his research he found that most people suffer because they choose jobs and “dreams” that are not compatible with the life they actually lead.

If you were raising a young family, for example, it would be very hard to dedicate your full potential to a 65hr/week job.

Work-life balance, in turn, becomes a very personal choice and depends on what you value most and how much you’re willing to sacrifice to get it.

This does not mean, however, that you can’t work and be a parent or an entrepreneur at the same time. It means you must be willing to divide your potential between tasks and give each one the time it deserves to be done right (not perfect).

To hear Nigel Marsh’s complete TedTalk, watch this video…

                                                                                             

Source: GoodTherapy.org

Source: GoodTherapy.org

2. Don’t judge yourself too quickly

According to Marsh, you can’t expect to be balanced in a glimpse or live 365 balanced days. Instead, it is recommended to set clear goals and follow a realistic timeframe to achieve them.

Say you don’t have time for your hobbies (and that’s very important to you) you can slowly work towards getting a part-time job and then transform your hobby into an extra source of income. To do that you may need weeks even months, but knowing where you’re going keeps you motivated to work for it every day.

  1. Source: SalesFocus.inc

    Source: SalesFocus.inc

    Communicate and stick with your choices

 If you choose to work and lead a personal life, it is key to communicate your choices to those around you, so they know what to expect from you and vice versa.

Say you’re working part-time, for example, your boss must know that after 1pm she cannot expect you to do what you would from 8-12. Whatever you do, respect the time you spend on every activity and try to live the present. If you are at work, don’t distract yourself with outside things. And, if you are with your family don’t take away their time by checking emails or answering work calls.

  1. Realism vs. Perfectionism

 Usually we spend endless hours on something because we strive for perfection. To find your balance it is important to perform with quality but not obsess with the details.

An article from Forbes suggest you seek to delegate or outsource some activities so you can spend less time worrying about the mess (at the office or at home) and enjoy more of life.

Source: www.7cups.com

Source: www.7cups.com

  1. Take advantage of all your resources

To save up time, try to get help from the people and technology around you.

You can take meetings over Skype if you need to stay at home, or ask your neighbor to help you with carpool. If you are raising a young family seek “flex-schedules” options or go freelance.  When you are clear on how your balance look like it is easier to build a support system around it.

To conclude, it is fair to say that work-life balance is all about priorities, time management, communication and commitment! And it can be a reality for you if you are clear on what you want and you work every day towards it.

Do not expect to be balanced in one day but also do not wait to start living until retirement comes along!

screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-7-17-58-pm

Hallmark and The Business of Love

Katia Arias No Comments

As we get closer to Christmas, I would love to highlight a company that has transformed the way we live the holidays and any special occasion for that matter.

Making the world “a more caring place”, Hallmark has become a leader in both the greeting card and entertainment industries, sustaining its place in the market since the 1910s.

Today this $3.7 billion business has reached more than 40,000 retail stores and audiences in over a 100 countries, printing and showcasing content in over 30 languages.

So, Hallmark is huge! But, what is it that makes the Hallmark’s merchandise so attractive?

As TIME author Graeme McMillan points out, Hallmark has been able to give people “exactly what they want”, offering products that satisfy the needs of the “heart” and being there for customers to translate their deepest feelings into beautiful messages.

Source: Hallmark Youtube Channel

On top of things, the creative process behind Hallmark’s products goes beyond a simple brainstorming. Employees have access to immense resource libraries, creative workshops, innovation labs, and art collections, which gives them the ability to think bigger.

All these things, however, wouldn’t do much if the staff wasn’t committed to the vision of creating a more “emotionally connected world”.

Brought in from every path of life, Hallmark’s employees are individuals who wish to make a difference in other’s lives. They see their work not only as an opportunity for themselves but also as a chance to spread hope, empathy and laughter to the world.

Source: Hallmark Youtube Channel

In 2007, CBS News had the opportunity to visit Hallmark’s comedy department “Shoebox”, and captured key moments that make up this company’s amazing culture.

Hiring only 50 people, Shoebox brings in artists from every background, from flight attendants to musicians and ministers. Later on this group of diverse individuals comes together simply to find the right joke. It is such a creative and purposeful atmosphere that a lot of the staff assures they’ve found their calling in what they do.

Moving a little forward into the entertainment industry, who hasn’t heard of the “Countdown to Christmas”? Or the “Thanksgiving Event”? With two TV channels, Hallmark has been able to enchant viewers all over the world, ranking No. 2 amongst cable networks during Thanksgiving week 2015, which then led to a very successful streaming during the Christmas Season.

1900s Hallmark Christmas Commercial 

Source: Hallmark Youtube Channel

The secret? As Variety writer, Rick Kissell puts it; Hallmark has found its niche offering “family-friendly” entertainment. Which, as we all know, is very hard to find in today’s TV. All Hallmark movies follow somewhat the same plot, offering people a second chance in life and hopeful happy endings. The films often speak of “holiday spirit” and try to spread long-term values rather than instant pleasure to the viewers.

In conclusion, Hallmark is today successful because it has genuinely understood the essential yearnings of people. Everyone wants to love and be loved. And, employing innovative technologies and a socially conscious workforce, this multi-billion dollar company managed to satisfy the needs through simple solutions: kind words and happy endings.

Everyone at Hallmark wants to make the world a better place and that feeling is then transmitted through the products, which in turn attracts everyone out there who believes in the same mission.

So, are you ready to buy your Christmas cards now?

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-10-07-33-am

5 Skills That Make Women In Business Unique

Katia Arias No Comments

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-10-07-33-am

According to Catalyst.org, women currently hold 23 (4.6%) of CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies.

Even if the transition has been slow, companies have finally understood the immense power behind women leadership and are shifting towards a male-female power balance. Women bring a unique set of soft and hard skills to the table that increases a company’s ability to strengthen relationships, carry out strategies and seize opportunities!

In this post, I will introduce five great skills women can bring to business and how these can put companies in the best and brightest path.

 

#1 Women are natural team players

A study from the University of New Zealand stated that women made exceptional leaders because they were natural community players and they were not usually concerned with ego.

By putting others before them, women seek to be “at the center of a web rather than at the top of a hierarchy”. Their ego-free approach allows them to consider more collective approaches and to embrace change more easily. They are more likely to accept creativity and diversity in the workplace, hence enabling them to reach faster and better outside-the-box solutions.

A woman’s goal is to impact society and they believe the best way to go is by making everyone feel important and seeking genuine dialogue amongst peoples.

 

“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence” – Sheryl Sandberg COO at Facebook.

 

#2 Women are “Relationship Specialists”

 According to Glen Llopis, founder of the Glen Llopis Group “women are specialists at cultivating relationships that are purposeful, genuine and meaningful.”

Researcher Helen Fisher accredits that to a woman’s “executive social skills”, which, according to her studies, have evolved to help women detect the smallest changes in a person’s behavior and emotional state.

Women seek to facilitate communication between people and to connect the right people with the right resources. They are detailed-oriented and they want everyone to feel comfortable, excelling that way in creating an atmosphere of synergy and loyalty amongst people.

 

“Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” – Michelle Obama, USA First Lady

 

#3 Women are empathizers

Empathy is the key skill to have when building successful marketing campaigns, CSR programs, political campaigns, and much more.

Studies from ISPO News revealed that people rely up to 90% on their subconscious, emotional brain when making a decision; and women are specialists at understanding and managing the emotional side of people.

Their sense of community, sensitivity and ability to listen helps women detect emotional drivers faster and create more effective strategies to attend people’s needs.

 

“Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around their neck that says, “Make me feel important.” Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.” – Mary Kay Ash, Founder at Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc.

 

#4 Women are excellent persuaders 

To be a good persuader you need charm, empathy, brains and persistence. And, although these traits don’t belong to women only, women do have the quality of displaying them all together in great balance.

Today, women are more prepared. According to a TIME article on higher education, the percentage of women attaining college degrees rose from “26% in 2005 to 30.2% in 2014”. Great knowledge paired up with the desire to do better, has put women in a position to fight hard and persistently to prove their good leadership and achieve their goals.

And, as we said before, women most often put their skills in to help others and to reach common goals. That allows them to win people’s hearts and sustain that feeling.

 

“Don’t be afraid to be you and own it. If you think being a leader is about having some agenda, it’s not. Being a leader is actually being completely with who you are and speaking from that place, giving feedback, sharing opinions from that place. That’s why people follow you” – Danae Ringelmann, Co-Founder and CDO at Indiegogo. 

 

#5 Women focus on goals but don’t forget about the process

Women are detailed-oriented and like to take a step-by-step approach. This helps them recognize mistakes on time, evaluate different courses of action and manage change more effectively.

By focusing on the process, women also take the time to evaluate their team’s personal and professional performances and work towards more efficient people-resource fits.

 

“There is nothing like a concrete life plan to weigh you down. Because if you always have one eye on some future goal you stop paying attention to the job at hand, miss opportunities that might arise, and stay fixedly on one path, even when a better, newer course might have opened up.” – Indra Nooyi, CEO at PepsiCo.

 

 In this post I do not intend to generalize women or categorize women as “better than men”, I only wish to highlight the great skills that most women can bring to the table. Because we are wired in a specific way, women can often exercise certain tasks more naturally. A woman’s careful personality and nurturing approach has become essential to manage effective teams, create proactive communication strategies and sustain more purposeful relations inside and outside the company!

If you found this post useful, please let us know in the comments! 

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-10-03-55-pm

New iPhone 7: Yes or No?

Katia Arias No Comments

The iPhone 7 is out. And, while some loyal fans welcome the new release with joy, others worry the new phone won’t meet their expectations.

And as we welcome water-resistance and wireless headphones, let’s outline some of the biggest pros and cons Apple’s new creation has to offer.

 

pros_cons

PROS: 

  1. Weather resistance – Although weather resistance does not mean your phone can survive a major drown, its internal-external hydrophobic coat keeps the phone safe from rain, dust, splashes and the accidental toilet slips (must get it out immediately though).
  1. Brighter camera colors – although many say the camera features haven’t changed much from the iPhone 6 to the 7, there are many improvements. Optical zoom, OIS and a wider aperture of f/1.8 are some of this. The image coloring is also better and even if the camera has the same megapixel count as the iPhone 6, it offers better quality images.
  2. More storage space – finally, after many generations of iPhones, Apple has increased the standard storage setting to 32GB. For people who love to store a lot of music, pictures and files, these are excellent news. And to those who need even more, there’s also an option to upgrade storage up to 128GB (with extra cost of course).
  1. iOS 10 – amongst the best features of the new iPhone is the software. iOS 10 offers quicker and more efficient applications that save up storage space, set “bedtime alarms”, avoid toll roads (with Apple Maps), close all shortcuts at once, and receive notifications for “read messages” on message.
  2. Improved Battery life – if you get iPhone 7 plus, your battery is set to last 2 hours longer than the iPhone 6, if you get the iPhone 7, you get 1 extra hour.

 water-resistant

CONS:  

  1. No headphone jack – another big change that came with the new iPhone are the new wireless headphones. Having wireless headphones, users no longer need a headphone jack. This allows the phone to be thinner but also limits users extensively. Auxiliary cables and noise cancelling headphones are no longer an option. And, in case you wanted to charge your phone and listen to music at the same time, you can’t.
  1. Little to no aesthetic changes – if you look at the iPhone 6 & iPhone 7 you can notice that not much changed in the design. Maybe the touch button was taken away and replaced for a buzzing touch spot. But other than that, size, screen display and application arrangement remain very similar to previous models.
  1. Limited innovation – unlike the competition, Apple did not launch the iPhone 7 with highly competitive features. While the competition offers phones with 3D cameras, USB hard drive mode, VR and other incredible features, Apple has resulted to its traditional approach. Yes iOS 10 is a big breakthrough but users are now expecting smarter phones that combine more and more gadgets each time in one pocket-sized device.
  1. $$$ – And finally, the iPhone 7 is offered at $649 and the iPhone 7 Plus starts at $749. If you compare these prices to the competition they are WAY higher. Young Millennials, who are the ones most likely to buy, are also the ones most likely on a strict budget. Making Android options a safer bet.

iphone-7-headphones

In the end, buying or not an iPhone is more a question of loyalty than it is of functionality. With new technologies, Android is catching up very quickly and offering phones as innovative and “cool” as Apple. Design and aesthetics, however, still remains Apple’s domain since they still offer (by far) the prettiest phones out there.

I hope this list helps you take a better and more informed decision on whether or not to invest in Apple’s new model. And I leave you with a list of sources to guide you even further:

  1. Paste Magazine : Pros And Cons of iPhone 7 Without A Headphone Jack
  2. In-Depth iPhone Review : iPhone 7 Review
  3. Tech Times : iPhone 7 Review Roundup, What Experts Are Saying
  4. Forbes : 25 Secret Features Of iOS 10

 

If you found this post useful, please let us know in the comments!

 

1

Llevándote a 'ese' nivel de éxito

Con nuestra metodología de Inglés enfocado hacia los negocios. Conoce nuestros planes, paquetes y horarios!