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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!

6 Influential Women

6 Influential Women Of Our Time

Katia Arias No Comments

March is Women’s History Month, and we’ve decided to celebrate it by recognizing some of the most influential women of the century!

From business to politics and sustainability, these women come from all paths of life and corners of the world to tell the same story. Through their work they inspire us to break the stereotypes and treat everyone and everything fairly and with respect.

  1. Michelle Obama – Former U.S. First Lady

    Source: TheSource.com

    Source: TheSource.com

 Michelle dedicated her time at the White House to fight child obesity, promote food security in the USA, give military veterans a proper reintegration and encourage the young to pursue higher education. Thorough her many programs she also launched the “Let Girls Learn” program along President Obama to help girls from all around the world get proper education.

“There is no limit to what we as women can accomplish” (YourTango.com)

 

  1. Malala Youzafsi – Pakistani Blogger, Women & Girl Rights Activist
Source: Theodysseyonline.com

Source: Theodysseyonline.com

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala was shot by the Taliban in 2012 for defending women’s right to education. Today she studies, writes and advocates to ensure that women around the world get a proper education. At her young age this Pakistani heroine has created an education fund (Malala Fund), raised awareness against women oppression, help refugees in the Middle East and had a book published.

“When the whole world is silent even one voice becomes powerful” (BuzzFeed.com)

 

 

  1. Wangari Maathai – Kenyan Activist and Ecologist
Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai

Wangari was a true African heroine. She paved the way for other African females when she became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize and get a PhD in Biological Sciences. Wangari was also recognized for her great contributions to sustainability and democracy. She defended democracy in Kenya and founded the Green Belt Movement, which led to the plantation of over 30 million trees all over Africa.

“Until you dig a hole, you plant a tree, you water it and make it survive, you haven’t done a thing. You are just talking.” (omgvoice.com)

  1. Yulia Marushevska – Ukrainian Civil Servant & Anticorruption Activist
Source: ccdrl.fsi.stanford.edu

Source: ccdrl.fsi.stanford.edu

 

In 2014 she starred in the video “I Am a Ukranian” in response to the EuroMaidan protests against dictatorships in Ukraine. Since then she’s been fighting corruption and oppression and has made many public appearances speaking for egalitarian and fairness in government.

“Public servants have limited possibilities. Now we need to understand what we can change, and what we can’t.” (Kyivpost.com)

 

 

  1. Anastasia Lin – Chinese-Canadian Beauty Queen & Human Rights Activist
Source: alchetron.com

Source: alchetron.com

 

Banned from entering China in 2015, Miss World Canada Anastasia Lin has used this as motivation to fight for human rights and religious freedom. Speaking in the Geneva Summit and Oxford Union, Lin has made evident the oppression and torture that the Chinese people suffer. In her speeches, Lin has made a strong call to action to get the international community to fight against injustice and to put human rights before any monetary or economic interest. She insists that every person should be treated with respect and she just wants the Chinese people to be treated as fairly and just as any other person.

 

      6. Marissa Mayer – American CEO

Source: en.r8lst.com

Source: en.r8lst.com

Visionary Marissa Mayer is an acclaimed businesswoman in the USA. At a young age she became one of the first female CEOs leading a fortune 500 company and before she became Yahoo’s CEO she worked for Google where she helped develop many successful products and create the company’s current image. Apart from breaking stereotypes in the business world she did also in the tech world by graduating with a B.S. in symbolic systems and an MS in computer science and artificial intelligence (biography.com).

“If you push through that feeling of being scared, that feeling of taking risk, really amazing things can happen.” (likesuccess.com

 

Sources:

http://blackdoctor.org/483712/job-well-done-first-lady-16-accomplishments-of-michelle-obama/2/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/10/malala-nobel-peace-prize-winner-important_n_5965490.html

https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2004/maathai-facts.html

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2016/07/12/the-truth-about-yulia-marushevska-vs-the-western-media-version/comment-page-1/

https://www.kyivpost.com/special/yulia-marushevska-revolutionary-leader-embodies-hope-ukrainians-bright-corruption-free-future.html

http://www.biography.com/people/marissa-mayer-20902689#early-life

 

 

 

 

 

 

screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-10-44-42-am

Is UBER Doing Bad By Doing Good?

Katia Arias one comments

Disruptive innovation is a great thing. In fact, we need this type of innovation to offer better products and services in time. The catch is, however, when a business model seeks to “disrupt” an existing system, the adjustment period can be very tough and harshly unbalancing for those disrupted. Which, in turn, raises the questions of “does innovation do more bad trying to do good? Or, “Is the “bad” more an excuse for big corporations to keep the status quo?”

The incredibly successful carpool platform known as UBER was officially launched in San Francisco, California in 2011. Built as a mobile application, the founders intended to shift the cab services from the “market economy” into the “shared economy”, where every-day car owners could put their car to work and those who were carless could get a pleasant ride for cheap.

In theory it all seems great, more jobs have been created and people get cheaper rides. Why then, are there so many parties fighting against new e-based models?

twitter-picture

Source: twitter.com/WetpaintMena

The primary allegation comes from the taxi industry. The fact that UBER drivers don’t have to face the strict regulations taxi drivers do creates a competition gap that is perceived as unfair.

According to an article from Bruegel.org, taxi licenses can cost as much as $1M in the USA, which, in turn, creates an entry barrier to the industry and keep the competition in check. With UBER previously requiring no license, taxi license prices went down by almost 30% in some states and taxi drivers were slowly being kicked out of the market. In Toronto, Canada “drivers have lost a third of their business since 2012” due to this issue.

On a similar note, fixed ride rates have also given UBER a significant advantage over the cab industry. UBER drivers are allowed to “surge price” and fix their rates depending on demand volumes and time of the day/year. Cab drivers, on the other hand, depend on the government for pricing regulations and are limited to an hourly wage.

Source: bizjournals.com

Source: bizjournals.com

So, even if it is understandable why Taxi drivers consider their UBER counterparts a “scam”, the cab industry complaints went further to say UBER was unsafe and even threatening to passengers since drivers were not required to fulfill background checks and driving tests like taxi drives do.

Taking everything into consideration, UBER has advanced its application requirements by requesting a proper background check along with a vehicle check and a city-specific set of regulations.

The second allegation, though, comes from drivers themselves. Although UBER currently employs 160,000 drivers who seem happy with the job, many find it to be below decent standards.

UBER drivers get paid after every ride but 20% of what they make goes back to the company. On top of this they are responsible of covering gasoline, repairs, insurance and registration costs plus any depreciation. Drivers are also required to own a smartphone (unless they rent from UBER for $10/week) and do not receive proper worker compensations for they are considered contractors and not employees.

Source: Uber.com

Source: Uber.com

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Real Life

Is Augmented Reality The Future Of Business And Marketing?

Katia Arias No Comments

Imagine if you could bring all your marketing material to life, giving clients the opportunity to try your products on their phone.

Thanks to augmented reality live business is now a possibility. Easy and convenient, clients need only a phone to scan the pages of a catalog and superimpose virtual images over their own reality.

If you think this approach is too “far-fetched” I invite you to take a look at Pokémon Go, the app that reached 100M downloads in the span of weeks. Surpassing Twitter and Snapchat, users and experts both accredit the app’s success to augmented reality, which combines: real-virtual experiences, mobile friendliness and nostalgia.

 

  1. Real-Virtual Experiences

People love Pokémon Go because it takes them from being “watchers” to active “participants”. By imposing the virtual world of Pokémon over the user’s real surroundings, fans can finally know what is like to be a Pokémon master.

Now, imagine if you applied the same principle to your business. You could easily increase purchases by enabling customers to visualize how your product would look on them or in their home.

If you are a real state company, why not transforming your 2D images into 3D interactive experiences? Or, in the case of a clothing store why not let people try your virtual collections on their real bodies? just like Styliff did:

  1. Mobile Friendliness

When they launched Pokémon Go, Niantic and Nintendo understood their target market. The kids that loved Pokémon and waited 20 years for its return are today’s millennial. The generation that can’t live without technology.

To attract the new generation of buyers, I suggest you digitalize your marketing materials and make them mobile friendly. Allow your content to fit an iPhone screen and tailor it to be short, practical and shareable.

As the following image from Insperity shows, the best way to get to your new markets is through tech…

  1. Nostalgia

And lastly, Pokémon Go succeeded because it appealed  to people’s emotions. First, the app brought something that was old and cherished and made it new again. And second, the game focused on bringing back familiar faces from 1998.

Augmented reality can help your business play nostalgia by imposing the past over the future, creating a dual-reality that mixes old and new. It can adapt memories to fit new technology and use the power of familiarity & active participation to attract new customers.

So, in the end, what does augmented reality mean for business? It means a better way to attract, engage, and retain loyal customers. It attracts because it lets people access new worlds easily, it engages because it blends business and customer realities, and it retains because it can go directly to people’s hearts.

 

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

Business English with International Business Academy

Experience and Travel within Guatemala City

Jackie Jacobsen No Comments

When I first came to Guatemala I was excited as well as nervous. I was not sure what to expect coming into a new culture. There are many differences here compared to the United States. For example with how people greet each other, the food, the language, and etc. It was challenging to adapt at first, but as time went by and I started to become close with people and get in a routine, which has helped me to consider this country a second home for me.

For my traveling within Guatemala it has been quite adventurous. Recently I had traveled to the Peten to visit the Mayan Ruins of Tikal. It was so beautiful and interesting. I have never seen or done anything so adventurous in my life. Walking through the Jungles of Tikal and climbing the ruins was a whole new experience for me that was very enjoyable. download (8)

Now with completing my internship in another country has been quite an experience in itself as well. The internship at IBA has been great. I have learned so much about important business topics as well as my own personal career development. I have also been working on developing a training for the Company, which has helped me learn how to use the skills I have learned in my studies within a real world setting.

Overall this experience has taught me many lessons thus far within my career as well as my personal life. I feel I have grown as a person and have conquered many fears and aspirations sense being here. I do not regret my decision to come and live in a new country to complete my internship because it has been one of the most beneficial experiences of my life. If you are considering traveling abroad to Guatemala or in general I say try anything to make it happen because it really does change you and helps put your life into perspective.

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