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Competition is an inevitable social norm and can be so very frustrating especially when you're a start-up. Competition though is healthy for business as it prompts you to do better and magnet more customers/clients than your business rival.

But if you want to dominate the market and win, one of the most vital things to do is to tangibly define your distinctive business proposition.

Make sure that you give your customers good reasons to come to you rather than your competitors. Your unique selling proposition should be obvious – no one should have to ask.

However, where little distinguishes your product or service from your competition, as a business leader you need to make sure that your core processes and strategy set you apart from the rest.

Here are 5 easy steps:


1. Identify and solve the pain points of your customers.

Take a survey and list all the pain points of your customers. It is essential to ask open-ended questions to find exactly what your customers want while using your products or services.

The key here is to provide solutions to the prospects and supply them what they need as opposed to selling them what you want to sell. You only need to fulfill the need, not "sell" anything. Your product or service will automatically start to sell more the moment you fill the void that your competitors are lacking.


2. Build your own niche to have more room for your business.

A market that's already crowded has less scope for expansion. It is essential to offer something unique to your customers in order to build your own niche and minimize the existing competition.

Storytelling is a great way to build your own niche by creatively crafting stories around your products. With the help of stories, you can become a part of your prospect's lifestyle, not remain a stand-alone product or service. Burst offers free stock photography that you can use for creating and promoting stories about your brand across social media.

Specialization always leads to a scalable and successful business. A niche market is reliable, and the prospects are easier to target. Moreover, the customer retention rate is good. Start targeting locally relevant platforms where your target customers might be present and adopt a niche marketing strategy for them.


3. Get the pricing correct.

Perfect pricing strategy revolves around marketing psychology. Before you set your own pricing strategy, it is essential to know the competition. You must identify who is offering the best value for money. The price you set should be standard and must have a competitive advantage.

A great pricing strategy does not always mean lowering the prices of existing products in order to win more customers. Every market is divided into three segments – the lower, middle and upper class. The first step is to identify the class you are targeting. Once you get an answer to that, it will be much easier to set a price that your audiences will love to pay. Sequoia's guide to pricing strategy covers all the tactics to help you set a pricing strategy that can beat your competitors.


4. Make innovation your best friend.

Change is the only thing in this world that is permanent.

Urban Outfitters was able to create a powerful disruptive force because it hired artists instead of businesspeople to manage its stores. They had full freedom in shaping the interiors of their stores, and the result was remarkable. Every Urban Outfitter store was unique, while the competitors' stores all looked the same. The company was able to raise revenues by a massive 500 percent to around $3 billion in the last 10 years.

Innovate with your products and services, and don't hesitate to take the risk. For example, you could add enhanced capabilities to your existing business processes using virtual reality applications like Samsung Gear VR.

Giants like Nokia and BlackBerry were wiped out from the smartphone market because of lack of innovation. Always remember that your competitors are regularly innovating and new entrants are disrupting the marketplace. Your business should innovate often and in a manner that the competition finds hard to follow.


5. Improve your customer service.

People love businesses that provide exceptional customer service. If you delight your customers with great service, you'll make loyal customers who will refer your business to their family and friends.

Hire staff who have a good understanding of your products or services. Ensure that they remain patient and provide satisfying answers to every customer query.

Your staff should greet customers with a pleasing smile and must show gratitude. It is essential to boost the team spirit of your staff and hire team players. Remember to reward the team players, as employees need constant motivation to outperform others.

Your customer care team should always remain courteous and respectful. They must always be responsive to customer queries. They should have a problem-solving approach and always ask for customer feedback. Customer-centric companies are powered by dependable staff who raise the level of customer satisfaction.

It is essential to define your brand, set a USP, and stay ahead of your competition in terms of quality, price and customer service. Moreover, you must talk to your customers so that you can retain them for a lifetime. 

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Do what you love, love what you do. This is a cliché we tend to throw out the window once real life sets in. Because of this, it isn’t surprising to find out that 70% of employees actually hate their jobs. 

Let’s face it—pursuing a career is easier said than done. You’re stepping out of your comfort zone and trying to get good at something you may know little or nothing about. Chances are strong that it’ll take some time to turn something you care about into cold, hard profit. Not to mention, you’ll probably fail at your first few attempts. So, it makes sense that a lot of people begin with a lot of enthusiasm, and then quickly give up because it goes from fun to frustrating really fast.


It is a common scenario that we end up taking jobs we hate, convincing ourselves that it is only temporary. The next thing we know, years have passed and we’ve become too complacent, stuck on the wrong job, and working for the wrong people.

Keep in mind that one of the most frustrating things you’ll experience in your adult life is to find yourself working a job that you are not really passionate about. Being uninspired by what you do is not only unhealthy but also unnecessary.

What most people don’t realize is that they can find joy in what they do. In fact, they can turn their hobbies into a full-blown career. But of course, let’s understand that it is also a risk. Ditching a career for a startup, for instance, is a daunting thought.

So how exactly do you reduce these anxieties? How do you become one of those people? There’s no one right way, but below you’ll see six ways to make that happen.



1. Unveil your passion.


Your passion should be the thing you enjoy and for which you are naturally wired to excel. There is a huge difference between a hobby and a passion, and it is crucial that you differentiate between the two before quitting your day job. For instance, just because you enjoy painting does not necessarily mean you should make it your profession. You might be better at graphic design, which uses some of the same artistic talents as painting. Keep an open mind and explore all of your options.


2. Determine the demand.

After you have discovered your passion, determine the level of demand for your skills and choose a field. It’s risky to plunge into a career with very low demand, or one with a large number of competitors even though you love it. However, the number of competitors should not be a deal breaker. If you are confident in your skills, it is very possible to establish yourself and compete quite comfortably, as long as you have a strong marketing strategy.


3. Do your research well.

Conduct a detailed search on what it would take to launch your career in this field. You may need to acquire specific machinery or equipment or earn a certification, degree, or special training. You may even need to hire employees or solicit funding. To save headaches later, find out all you can now.

Interview people who have or are in a similar business to the one you’re considering. Learn what they did to succeed and follow their path, especially if you choose to work in a niche market.


4. Make a plan.

Make a detailed plan of the steps you need to take to make your passion a realistic career opportunity. Include what you need to do and how much you need to spend before you launch into your new venture. If possible, always have a Plan B in case Plan A doesn’t work out.


5. Create your own professionalism.


To be taken seriously, you must first become a professional. Having a special skill may not be enough to deem you an expert, so acquire the training necessary to become marketable. Take a night, weekend or online class while you’re in your current job, or a sabbatical to attend an intensive training or internship. As the saying goes, “The more you learn, the more you will earn.”


6. Be bendable.

Your road is not always going to be smooth, so plan for hiccups and make adjustments along the way. Be open to advise and criticism; other people’s insights may open your eyes to something new. No one can succeed alone. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with talented individuals or to form an advisory board to help you make the right decisions.

Turning your passion into a career requires motivation. Be proactive and take a step every day that gets you nearer your goal. The fruits of your labor will eventually pay off and you’ll be well on your way to doing what you love.  

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic says Manchester United must forget Sir Alex Ferguson because his former success is holding the club back.


Ferguson retired in 2013, having won 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and two Champions League trophies during an unprecedented 26-year reign, and has since watched United struggle for consistency.


Under three separate managers - all of whom appeared keen to distance themselves from Ferguson's regime - United have failed to win a league title at five times of asking, finishing outside the top four three times.


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, however, has never shied away from mentioning "the gaffer" since taking caretaker charge in December, inviting his former manager to the training ground, and the dressing room on one occasion.


But former United striker Ibrahimovic feels this is the wrong approach, telling the Mirror: "Everything that happens is judged by the era of Ferguson.


"They are saying if Ferguson was here, this would not happen, Ferguson would not do it like that. Ferguson would do it like this. Everything was Ferguson.


"If it was me, I would say I don't have Ferguson anymore. And I come here and I want to make my own history, I want to make my own story.


"So I do not want to hear what happened before. I want to do it in the present. You come in with a new mentality.


"Ferguson has his place in history at this club but now the club continues. It has to find its own identity and it is difficult."

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Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes should expect a Ferrari resurgence in F1 2019's next races after pre-season predictions were turned on their head at the Australian GP.

Mercedes' one-two qualifying and race finish in Melbourne was an "incredible achievement", according to Hamilton, after a winter testing programme where their Italian rivals had looked ominously strong.

Asked if he was surprised to see Ferrari so far behind on the opening weekend, Hamilton replied: "Everyone is, probably. No one was expecting to have a gap like that when we came into the weekend.

"Honestly, what I was shown and led to believe from the analysis we were given, was that they were ahead. It obviously wasn't the case during this weekend and I'm not quite sure why their performance was how it was.

"I wouldn't say we particularly over-delivered, we did our normal job in the sense of our operations, and the team did an exceptional job throughout the weekend.

"I don't know what their problem was. I'm sure they'll come back strong in the next races so we've got to stay on our toes."

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Stunning Nollywood superstar Adesua Etomi, has been receiving commendations from fans and several other persons, including her husband Banky W for sharing the cover of the prestigious Vogue Magazine with global superstars like Scarlett Johansson, Eiza Gonzalez, Doona Bae, Hera Hilmar, and Vanessa Kirby. 

A Nigerian blogger, vlogger and web designer has interpreted the #vogue cover as a racist-picture. According to him, he is so happy about the star's accomplishments but she is not in any way satisfied with the way she looks in the picture.

Oluwatosin Silverdam asserts that Adesua looked more like a slave than a star. He argues that Adesua is very pretty but the same cannot be said about the picture used for the cover of the magazine.



He took to his IG page to share his thoughts:

This cover is quite disappointing

Honestly, I am not surprised this @adesuaetomi’s vogue magazine cover didn’t the break the internet. Although, this is a great feat and deserve somewhat celebration but sincerely speaking, this cover is quite disappointing. I’m not a hater, she looks like a slave on this cover. She looks so inferior compared to the other ladies on the cover, what did they do to her skin tone? She looks so bad and almost unrecognizable, when I first saw the cover, I didn’t even know she’s the one. @adesuaetomi is extremely beautiful but then again, she looks so odd and more like a slave to the other girls. She should have complained about the cover, this is not impressive at all. No wonder it didn’t break the internet. Anyway, some argued she doesn’t deserve this space, oh well, also the magazine regarded her as one of the biggest actresses in Africa. Seriously? Well, the likes of @genevievennaji, @realomosexy @ritadominic or even @funkejenifaakindele are veterans and they are too big for this type of cover, especially sharing space with other actresses. I would be disappointed if any of these big actresses accept this offer. But come to think of it, if @genevievennaji is actually on this cover, damn those melanin will be popping out gracefully… 

The latest issue of Vogue celebrates 14 superstar women from 14 countries.

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Three people have died and more than 150 have been reported sick in the last few days in Uganda. Uganda has gone further into investigating a supply of food from the World Food Program (WFP) which is suspected to have caused the social ill.

The food was part of a community feeding programme in the northeast Karamoja region, a semi-arid area where the UN food agency has long provided food aid for people facing poor harvests.


People suffered diarrhea, nose bleeds, and other health problems after eating the food, police said in a statement.

"Police are “actively investigating the death of three people…from eating adulterated or poisonous food supplied by the WFP,” according to the statement".


Samples of the food and patients’ urine and blood had been sent to a government laboratory for analysis.

WFP was not immediately available to comment on the police investigation.

The food agency said on Saturday it had suspended distribution of Super Cereal – a fortified blended food – at all its operations in Uganda.


“From the outset, WFP has treated this as a matter of extreme urgency,” the agency said.

Uganda hosts a large population of refugees mostly from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo where widespread insecurity has uprooted hundreds of thousands of people.

 (Reuters/NAN)

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has moved to seize plots of land and buildings valued at N4.8 billion from the  Shehu Yar’adua Foundation and 29 other firms.


ICPC Spokesperson, Mrs. Rasheedat Okoduwa disclosed this in a Press Statement in Abuja.

She said that the properties included 22.9 hectares of undeveloped land, one plaza, and a block of six two-bedroom flats located in Wuse, Zone 1, Abuja.


“These belong to Shehu Musa Yar’adua Foundation, Vibrant Issuance Brokers, Millard Fuller Foundation, Maibuhu Farm and Construction Limited, Gabcon Enterprises Limited and a host of others.

“In the course of investigations, the alleged owners of the property disclaimed ownership.

“The move to seize the property spread around Abuja follows a petition to the  ICPC by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) accusing the companies of defaulting in tax payments to the tune of N288.2 million.”


Okoduwa said that section 37 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 empowered the commission to seize assets alleged to be subject of an offense under the law.

“While Section 48 authorizes it to apply to a High Court for an order of forfeiture within 12 months of the date of seizure,” she said.


NAN

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There’s no doubt that setting up and making money from your own business is one of the most rewarding ways to earn a living and can also be the most challenging. You’re in complete control of your own destiny and the power is in your hands to increase your chances of success and outwit the competition. That also means you’re responsible for all your decisions and for tackling whatever challenges that may arise along the way. So it’s vital you get your business on a firm foundation. Better that, than quit your day job straight away! Here are six key steps you should take.


1. Research your market.

Knowing what the competition knows won’t cut it. Go deep. Dive in to your market and study it like an expert.  

Search Google for keywords that are related to your industry. Don’t get discouraged if the market seems flooded. You can use this to your advantage. It means that it is working for those people and you can make it work for you. There is money there.


2. Set a tangible financial goal.

Successful people always set new goals every six months and always stretch my initial mark. Work backwards and figure out what you need to do each day to get to where you want to be. Set a goal that is a stretch for you and look at the steps you need to take every day to accomplish that goal.


3. When you create a website, make the content shareable.

It’s great to reference some the leaders in your space, but when you are developing your own brand, it’s important to create unique content on a single hub. A site that your readers and viewers can reference back to, for more of your incredible content.


4. Build on a list.

Email is best form of currency online and building an email list is one of the most important tools in building a business. As you develop your shareable site, begin building a list of emails of the people that visit your site. Then continue to provide them with value. This will translate into buyers for the future launch of your product or service.

Adding in an opt-in form on your website and having a place to store your emails are the first two steps to building your email list. Free resources allow you to collect email information on your website. To store email addresses, I recommend the program Aweber, which even offers a free 30-day trial.


5. Launch a sellable product or service.

If you have a financial goal that you’ve set out for the next six months, then you have to sell something. Take the time to figure out the biggest challenges your audience is facing and build your relationship with them. Then create something that solves their problem. I know this is easier said than done, but it’s critical. Your leads come from your list, you convert them to customers, follow up and build a relationship.  


6.  Don't wait to have it all, Start NOW and improve as you go.

A lot of people waste time thinking about making things perfect before they launch their business. The logo, the website, the copy -- everything. This is a waste of time. Sell your product before you make it by offering a pre-order. Focus on getting sales and attracting leads. Successful companies launch all the time and they aren’t perfect.  

Think of Facebook and all the changes and improvements it has made. Start with a small product and always be improving.  Launch online you can sell over and over and not have to trade time for dollars.

The most important thing is to enjoy the process and know that you don’t have to make it perfect. Start today. If not now, when?

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Success in entrepreneurship isn’t just about your idea or your money. Plenty of people have interesting ideas or a lot of cash to throw around — and they never quite manage to find success in their ventures.

If you want to be an entrepreneur, take a step back and evaluate whether or not you have the following characteristics. (And remember: if you don’t have these traits now, you can develop them down the road to improve your chances of success.)


1. Self-Motivation

One of the most important traits of entrepreneurs is self-motivation. When you want to succeed, you need to be able to push yourself. You aren’t answerable to anyone else as an entrepreneur, and that sometimes means that it’s hard to get moving without anyone to make you. You need to be dedicated to your plan and keep moving forward — even if you aren’t receiving an immediate paycheck.


2. Understand What You Offer

As an entrepreneur, you need to know what you offer, and how it fits into the market. Whether it’s a product or a service, you need to know where you fit in. That means you need to know when it’s time to tweak things a little bit. This also includes knowing whether you are high end, middle of the road or bargain. Being able to position yourself and then adjust as needed is an important part of entrepreneurship.


3. Take Risks

Successful entrepreneurs know that sometimes it’s important to take risks. Playing it safe almost never leads to success as a business owner. It’s not about taking just any risk, though. Understanding the calculated risks that are more likely to pay off is an important part of being an entrepreneur. You’ll need to be willing to take a few risks to succeed.


4. Know How to Network

Knowing how to network is an important part of entrepreneurship. Sometimes who you know is an important part of success. Being able to connect with others and recognize partnership opportunities can take you a long way as a business owner. Figure out where to go for networking opportunities and make it a point to learn how to be effective.


5. Basic Money Management Skills and Knowledge

We often think of successful entrepreneurs as “big picture” people who don’t worry so much about managing the day today. And it’s true that you might have an accountant or other team members to help you manage the business. However, if you want to be successful, you should still have basic money management skills and knowledge. Understand how money works so that you know where you stand, and so that you run your business on sound principles.


6. Flexibility

To a certain degree, you need to be flexible as an entrepreneur. Be willing to change as needed. Stay on top of your industry and be ready to adopt changes in processes and product as they are needed. Sometimes, you also need flexibility in your thinking. This is an essential part of problem-solving. You want to be able to find unique and effective solutions to issues.


7. Passion

Finally, successful entrepreneurs are passionate. They feel deeply about their product or service or mission. Passion is what will help you find motivation when you are discouraged and it will drive you forward. Passion is fuel for successful entrepreneurship. If you find yourself losing your passion, that might be the clue that it’s time to move on to something else (that stokes your passion). There are many serial entrepreneurs that create successful businesses, sell them, and then create something else.

As you consider your characteristics, think about how to better develop them to help you become a better entrepreneur.

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In-form Romelu Lukaku will need a late fitness test ahead of Manchester United's FA Cup quarter-final against Wolves on Saturday due to a sore foot.

Lukaku has regained his position as the first-choice striker in recent weeks and has scored six goals in his last four games.

His double against Paris Saint-Germain helped United overturn a first-leg defeat to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

Solskjaer said he was "hopeful" the striker would pass an injury assessment on Friday.

Phil Jones is available again for Solskjaer after missing four matches through illness, and Anthony Martial, Ander Herrera, and Jesse Lingard are all training again.

Ashley Young is suspended for the match, while Juan Mata, Antonio Valencia, and Matteo Darmian are also unavailable.

"Obviously we've got a decision to make as to who is match fit," said Solskjaer.

Alexis Sanchez is not expected to return to action until at least United's trip to Everton on April 24, but the forward will return from Barcelona this weekend after receiving treatment on his knee injury.

"He's not been on grass yet," said Solskjaer. "He's been seeing his people in Barcelona. He's still a few weeks away.

"If we get to Everton, Manchester City, Chelsea - that period - he probably will be available."

Sanchez has scored just five goals in 41 games since joining United from Arsenal.

Asked if the club will ever see Sanchez's best form, Solskjaer said: "I hope so.

"You can never be 100 per cent sure but Alexis is such a determined lad, he loves football, so I'm sure he's doing everything he can that when he comes back he's going to show his best side."


Source:

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