How to Be A Brand New You

By Masimba Biriwasha | OpEd | January 02, 2013 | @ChiefKMasimba

It’s not easy to make a brand new YOU. After years of doing the same things, change can be like an exercise in futility. Think of it like climbing a mountain on a soggy, cloudy day. Or worse still like pushing a wheelbarrow loaded with boulders down a slippery path. Old habits set themselves as booby traps for your failure: if they had a face, they would grin every time you stumble.

Exasperation with failure along the newly chosen path can make you slide back into the very behaviors and patterns of thought that you want to abandon. The most common reaction is to berate yourself. You blame yourself for not making the brand new YOU in one big swoop.

Along the way to becoming a brand new YOU, you’ll be confronted by two choices: to either give up or fight it out. What will ultimately decide your success is not the BIG outcome you seek, but the blood-sucking punches you’re willing to take and torturous steps that you’ve to take on a moment-by-moment basis.

What is difficult about change is that the old-self revels in established pattern. Any attempt to change the set up is faced with resistance. It’s akin to a despotic political system that sinks in its feet when faced with a threat to its self-serving ways. That’s why it’s important to be committed to go all the way even amid missteps or initial failures. Gird yourself.

You must badly want to be the brand new YOU that falling does deter you to get up, dust yourself and march on towards the prized goal. That’s why it’s so important to have a clear-cut picture of what exactly you want to become. You need to have fully formed picture of the person that you want to become etched in your imagination. It must be bold, loud – totally unmistakable.

Having that image fully formed will prove handy during the times when your old habits and thought patterns sneer at you like a famished serpent. If you think of it, old habit are pregnant with venom and at the slightest ruffle stand up to maintain their grip. They’re like an old dictator. They know their ways around you so much they’ll fool you all the time clouding the path to becoming the brand new YOU.

So here are three quick steps:

  • Develop a full vision of the brand new YOU. Without a full picture of the brand new YOU, you’ll falter at the slightest irritation. The brand new YOU must be so bold and inspiring to carry you through the rough paths.
  • Commit to seeing it through. Whether you want to drop an old habit or forming a new one, commitment to seeing it through as trite as it sounds energizes you to put failure into context. Say, if you commit to quit candy, if you find yourself having fallen into the temptation to eat candy in one moment, remember you still have the next moment to pursue your commitment.
  • Be inspired by the metamorphosis of the caterpillar into the butterfly. Ultimately change begins inside you: you’ve to develop a new self concept based on the vision, of course. The process of the caterpillar turning into a butterfly is a highly painful process. Through embracing the pain of developing to become a brand new YOU, you can emerge a beautiful better self. Develop the courage to change from within.
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A Question of Social Media Etiquette

By Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor-At-Large | January 01, 2013 | @ChiefKMasimba

Many a time I find myself thoroughly outraged by social media. My blood boils. I cringe, gritting my teeth. My frustration is not at the technology itself but the way some users post half-formed, uninformed, misogynistic, racist, homophobic, narcissistic, splenetic comments. Even if you try to comment, what I have realized is that many of these postings have little engagement value or quickly degenerate into rants.

To save myself, I breathe in and out – slowly. Thank God, social media’s ephemerality helps to calm my nerves.  I don’t mean to be censorious. It’s just that I find myself scouring the social web for discussions of value, spending precious amounts of time, to only come up with zilch. As a firm believer in freedom of expression, I am aware of the deep and sweeping vista of opportunity to free expression opened up by social media.

In fact, the power of social media has been evident in dislodging dictatorships and giving goose bumps to those cloistered in corridors of power. With social media information is moving at a faster pace making the world flatter. It’s a great connector. It has helped me to connect with friends and relatives, some of whom had fallen by the wayside.

Maybe social media’s global capacity to connect everyone is also its source of banality. As New York Times’ columnist, Frank Bruni, puts it, “it feels at times as if contemplation has given way to expectoration with speed overtaking sense and nuance exiting the equation.” He even suggests reading fiction as a counter to the rit-tat-tat nature of social media conversations.

Lack of civility and decorum in many social media conversations is certainly undermining the medium’s value as a connector, town crier or public square. Instead of serving the common good, social media has fast become a poster for a rapid succession of inconsequential conversations, escapism, pandering to the base and vulgar. At  worst, it provides a false sense of participation – a voyeuristic fetish – in causes that more often than not need foot soldiering.

Even the role of social media in the Arab spring was not merely in relentless postings and rants but in people taking to the streets to fight for a new political order, risking life and limb. Everything happens too quickly on social media, maybe a tad too quick for sensibility which is essential for engagement.

As long as its used a megaphone for self-centeredness, rants and diatribes, social media’s full potential will never see the light of day. That is why its important to have a sense of decorum next time you make a posting social media. A bit of etiquette on your part can help to build a social media universe that advances humanity.

How to Be A Social Media Superstar in 2014

By Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor-At-Large | December 30, 2013

Social media is not going away anytime soon whether you like it or not. It’s now the staple food of the Net, multiplying on a daily basis. While it’s virtually impossible to jump on every social media junket out there fact is you can ignore the phenomenon at your own peril especially if you’re in trying to reach huge volumes of people at the lowest cost possible.

The caveat though is with social media platforms getting clogged by the day, it’s becoming harder to be noticed or get your voice heard. To rise above the fray requires astuteness, creativity, hard work, playfulness, consistency and user sensitivity.

Ultimately, the content you produce is the currency that will define your success in the social media universe. Content is the lynchpin to cut through the noise. To help with framing your content, remember the principle of Five Ws and one H. But you need to add a B. to that, that is, short for budget.

That content needs to be on target and to the point. It does not magically come out of thin air, you need budget for it and devote time to producing it. Attention spans are short-lived in the social media space. Only highly-engaging, interesting, funny, thought-provoking content will attract audiences and provoke interaction with a brand, issue or cause. But it’s always to say it. Often times, sharing on social media is self-serving; after all, social media platforms tend to promote narcissism.

If you want to get more value out of the medium especially for marketing or promoting a cause, you’ll have to be adopt a more nuanced approach. You’ve to cut all the narcissistic crap and put your audience first: informative, engaging, and shareable content that is relevant to a user’s location will be a winner. Understanding user location will drive greater ROI in social media efforts. That’s why it’s important for your content to speak directly to a specific target audience.

“Understanding customers’ location patterns will help companies better predict the behavior of their users, thus a chance to market to them in the right place at the right time,” says Kevin Alansky, CMO at SocialRadar.

Micro videos have great engagement power if executed properly. People like video. But it has to tell a good story. Other visual tools such as images and infographics have potential to increase engagement.

Because of the ephemeral nature of social media, it’s important to adopt a constant and consistent strategy. This will help to build rapport with target audiences. Otherwise you risk becoming a victim of out of sight, out of mind. In the social media world, for you to matter, you’ve to keep showing up.  Real engagement takes time and attention on a daily basis. Most important, don’t forget to measure and report on your efforts: it’s what will tell you whether your are succeeding or not.

Why Zimbabwean Businesses Need A Social Face

By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha | iZivisoMag.com

It’s unfortunate that in this day and age most Zimbabwean businesses are still relucntant to embrace the opportunities provided by the digital age. The reluctance to embrace change in the digital era only means that local businesses will continue to be relegated to the dustbin of history. According to a recent Ernst & Young report, Into the Cloud, Out of the Fog, 64 percent of surveyed business respondents in Zimbabwe have implemented limited or no access to social media sites as a control to mitigate risks related to the platforms. The global average is apparently 54 percent. While on the surface of it, it may appear that social media causes time wasting among employees it is unfortunate to have such a negative approach to its use within business.

Social media integration into business can indeed contribute to the bottomline if implemented properly – if anything, it can help business to stay in touch with their target audiences and customers. Executives must embrace new media in order to not only compete for the future, but for mind share, market share, and ultimately relevance.

Corporate entities in Zimbabwe need to recognise that social media is a goldmine that can facilitate the achievement of key business objectives. With over a billion people on social media it’s irresponsible for any brand not to have some sort of presence. Now is the time for brands to engage on a direct-to-many basis. Social media is changing everything about the way people relate socially, in commerce, and politics.

An effective social media strategy is more than just setting up a Twitter, YouTube and Facebook account – in other words, it’s more than just broadcasting advertising messages to accumulated fans. Social channels need to be treated as integral part of the communication process.

In particur, social media channels need to be used to humanize brands and/or businesses. Such channels – if used properly – can help to build stronger emotional connections with brands. The key for any successful social media campaign is to generate more and deeper involvement with the product or service. Social media can give voice, credibility, and connections to both companies an their customers.

For starters, Zimbabwean corporates need to identify great conversations about their brands, it all starts with conversation – the kind of conversations that engage, enthrall and enrapture audiences as well as influence the emotional connection and subsequently sales. Of course, social media is not a cure for bad products or services but it can sure help in eliciting rapid customer feedback.

Social media allows us to open up an invaluable dialogue with customers in a way that was simply not possible previously. It’s important to state that the execution of social media within the corporate set-up needs to prioritise substance over cheap thrills and style. While putting the brand in the middle of a conversation is key, it’s even more critical to be real and authentic.

For corporates, especially those involved in the publishing business, engaging audiences is an essential part of their continued success and relevance in an ever-connected universe. As people continue to turn to the Internet for information, businesses that continue to stick to the old ways of engagement will soon find themselves in the cold.

Is quality important in business?

Quality is a non-negotiable element of business. Business is all about transcation. It’s a give and take. The level of quality at every stage of that exchange process is what can make or break a business.

 Quality Chart

In that sense the, quality in business must be maintained at many levels of the business cycle, including internal operations, shareholder and customer service management, product or service innovation, design, costing and delivery.

 

With better quality in its approach, a business exponentially increases its chances to capture the market share. Put in other words, quality is the currency of staying in business.

 

Ensuring quality in business involves detecting defects or problems in a product or service and correcting them before they get to the customer. In the event that a customer has problems with a product or service, quality involves redressing the issue through good customer management service.

 

In its simplest form, it’s about taking each and every customer to heart and ensuring that they are fully satisfied by the nature of the exchange process.

 

Of course, some business gurus say that quality is a perceptual and subjective attribute, but with proper systems and processes in place, it is an attribute that can be transformed from the abstract to the measurable.

 

In short, quality can be made concrete.

 

Business that ignores quality in its product or service provision only does so at its own peril. The business wil inevitably lose credibility and customers in the marketplace, and will experience a downturn in its bottom line.

 

So the fewer the defects in a product or service, the greater will be the customer satisfaction and customer retention. It is more likely that customers will also recommend their friends and relatives to purchase the business’ product or services.

 

As stated already, quality in business enhances the relationship between a given business and the customer.

 

Having said that, it is important to note that quality in business in not a static. Rather, it is a dynamic, living process. As times and circumstances, and market charachteristics shift, a business needs to continue redefining what quality means in its focus area. Of course, there are some long-standing values that will never be eroded by time such as good aesthetic, delivery on time, absense of errors and defects among others.

 

But the metaphysics of quality demand that business exercise an awakened consciousness to ensure that a customer’s experience of the business is enhance.

 

Quality in business does not happen in a vacuum, it has to be exercised with full consciousness of intended results.

How to Be a Generous Entrepreneur

The bottom line (no pun intended) is that being generous is a habit that can be developed – and if entrepreneurs take the time to invest in it, it can radically transform their own lives, and that of the people around them.

Developing a reputation as a generous entrepreneur is a product of purpose, vision, character and conviction. If an entrepreneur is simply after building personal reputation without being truly generous, the chances of failure are numerous.

Put simply, generosity must be based on good intentions aimed at promoting the common good within the community.

An entrepreneur needs to clearly understand why they are being generous otherwise they risk being accused of manipulation. Indeed, many entrepreneurs engage in generous acts so that they can attract media attention in order to increase the market value of their company.

However, an entrepreneur needs to understand generosity alone will not provide enough fuel to make the business, no matter how well intentioned it is.

1. It’s a Habit

Generosity is a habit that needs to be developed. An entrepreneur must have a clear vision about being generous, and they must work hard to achieve it. As part of this vision it must be clear to the entrepreneur that generosity is not some sort of a media stunt aimed at boosting the fortunes of the business. Generosity must be practiced in its own right and not as a hidden agenda.

2. Make Money

Business exists to make money. An entrepreneur’s generosity must be a natural extension of the success of the business. There is no point trying to be generous when the business is going broke. Besides operating a profitable business only allows the entrepreneur to be increase the opportunities to be generous with wealth.

3. It’s Not All About Money

Even though the business needs to be functional, its important for the entrepreneur to recognize that money is not always needed to enagage in generous acts. The entrepreneur can dedicate their time to social causes. They can give of their time and knowledge for free.

Take, for example, a business person can start a mentoring programme program for young high school students to learn more about how to start a business. That, in itself, will increase the reputation of the entrepreneur as someone willing to sacrifice their time to share knowledge and expand the cake of opportunity.

4. Make It a Part of the Business Plan

Being generous must not be left to chance. Rather, it should be incorporated into the business planning processes. An entrepreneur must from the outset know what they are able to be genereous with in the evolution of the business. As entrepreneurs get lost in the money-hunt, it can be easy for the ideal of generosity to get lost. Making generosity a part of the business plan will force the entrepreneur to be obligated to the process of generosity.

5. Have a Cause

Undoubtedly there are loads of humans needs in the world, and no-one entrepreneur can resolve the problems. It is important for an entrepreneur to be passionate about a cause so that they do not appear like a hoax. An entrepreneur must embrace the cause with vision and courage, and be able to contribute time and resources to make sure that it is realised.

Many entrepreneurial endeavours have a latent value, something that they add to society, and when an entrepreneur can identify it, they can use that as a starting point for generous activities.

6. Start Inside

This is perhaps the important tip on developing a reputation as a generous entrepreneur because everything that a business does reflects the character and content of his or her life. When a paradox exists between an entrepreneur’s generosity and their private life, it can spell doom. The entrepreneur must always make a conscious effort to ensure that they are generous with employees and family.

As the old adage goes, if it doesn’t begin in the home, it will not go far. Generosity must begin within the entrepreneur’s own organization.

In essence, generosity can open up new opportunities for the endeavors of the business person.

At the same time, generosity has a boomerang effect which can help to propel the fortunes of a business.