Trending December 2023 # 5 Tips For Optimizing Your Startup Financials # Suggested January 2024 # Top 19 Popular

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You are exceptionally good at what you do. You’ve hired the best employees and you treat them well. Customer satisfaction is through the roof. You’ve found ways to outwit and outshine your competitors at every turn. Surely you are destined for long term growth and success. Aren’t you? Maybe not.

The truth is, almost all startups fail with a couple of years, and it usually has nothing to do with any of the factors mentioned above. All too often, when a startup crash lands, it is because of financial troubles. You can know the ins and outs of your niche, but if your financials are not optimized, the truth is, you are going to get into trouble quite quickly. Don’t let that happen to you. Instead, check out these 5 tips for optimizing your financial assets early on.

Hold On to Your Equity

Securing investment funding can be tricky for a startup. Then, when you do get the ear of investors, the idea of paying back the funds you get with interest can be extremely intimidating. After all, how can you pay them off when you are concerned with keeping the lights on.

Unfortunately, many investors realize this and will tempt you with offers involving gaining equity in your business rather than requiring you to pay them back. Approach these offers with care. Giving up 5 or 10 or 15 percent might not seem like a big deal now, especially in return for the funding you desperately need, but as your business grows that’s going to become pretty significant. You may be better off holding onto your equity and taking simple interest based investment offers.

Tighten Your Belt

Until you are out of the startup phase, and are at the very least ready for round 2 financing, both you and your startup should live as leanly as possible. This means no frivolous business trips, paying yourself a minimal salary (or perhaps none at all), and backing away from all but the most necessary purchases for maintenance and growth. This will put you in a better position financially, when you are eventually ready to invest in assets and activities that will help you get to the next level.

Think About Pensions and Retirement Now

Paying fair salaries is only one way that employees remain assured that you have their best interests in mind. They also want to know that you care about your futures. These reasons and regulatory compliance are why you want to auto-enroll in a smart pension plan. The initiative is already well-adopted in the UK with chúng tôi and is steadily getting traction in the US. Consider creating a similar scheme within your company instead of the standard 401K to retain the most valuable talents.

Simplify Your Accounting

Unless you are an accounting or financial management startup, chance are that accounting is not your specialty. Unfortunately, if you aren’t on top of your accounting, you can make some very costly mistakes. To avoid this, find a way to simplify your accounting system and to foolproof it from any mistakes that you might make. Fortunately, there are many automated accounting packages to choose from. There is usually a fee for using these packages if you are a small business, but it is well worth the investment and peace of mind.

Be Ready for Emergencies

Inevitably something is going to happen that is going to throw you and your business off track. This could be anything from a shift in the market that you didn’t predict, to a lawsuit from an angry customer or vendor, to an illness or accident. If you are prepared for this, you can survive such things. If not, you are in deep trouble. To be ready for disaster, start an emergency business savings fund to keep things afloat for at least 9 months to a year. Also, consult an insurance agent to ensure that you have all of the right insurance policies in place in case something goes horribly wrong.

Living lean, thinking strategically, planning for emergencies, and staying on top of your accounting are keys for long term survival. Follow the 5 tips above and your business just might be one of the few that survived the tough startup years.

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10 Tips For Optimizing Mysql Performance

As practitioners in the tech space, we are often expected to deliver consistently under the pressures of data growth, system complexity, and high user expectations. Central to this challenge is the effective management of our databases, which are, in essence, the lifeblood of our applications. MySQL, an open-source relational database management system, is at the forefront of many of our applications, powering the robust and dynamic data interactions that fuel today’s tech ecosystems. However, as we are acutely aware, the success of our endeavors isn’t always about the raw power at our disposal, but rather the finesse with which we wield it.

Every database comes with its own quirks and intricacies, and MySQL is no exception. Even a seemingly well-tuned MySQL environment can often be further refined, resulting in dramatic improvements in response times, throughput, and overall system performance. This article aims to delve deeper into these aspects, providing you with proven strategies and techniques for optimizing your MySQL performance.

We’ll explore the various facets of MySQL optimization, from adjusting server settings and refining schema designs to the artful crafting of SQL queries. Whether you’re dealing with a heavy load database serving millions of transactions per minute or a smaller setup looking to squeeze out every bit of efficiency, these tips should provide a valuable guide on your path to MySQL mastery.

Remember, a well-optimized MySQL database is not just about bolstering performance, it’s about reducing costs, improving customer experience, and ensuring that your technology continues to serve as a solid foundation for your applications in the rapidly changing tech landscape.

1. Choose the right MySQL storage engine for your needs

Optimizing MySQL performance starts with selecting the right storage engine tailored to your specific needs. Storage engines are the underlying components of MySQL that manage how data is stored, retrieved, and manipulated. Each storage engine has its unique features, strengths, and weaknesses that can significantly impact your database’s overall performance.

There are two primary storage engines you should consider: InnoDB and MyISAM. Let’s dive into their key differences and when to use each one.


InnoDB is the default storage engine for MySQL since version 5.5. It offers a robust set of features, including:

ACID Compliance: InnoDB ensures data integrity by following the ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) properties. This means transactions are reliable and can be rolled back if needed.

Row-level Locking: Instead of locking an entire table during updates or inserts, InnoDB allows concurrent access by locking only the affected rows. This improves performance in multi-user environments.

Foreign Key Support: InnoDB allows you to define relationships between tables using foreign keys, which helps maintain referential integrity and simplifies complex queries.

Crash Recovery: In case of a crash or power outage, InnoDB can automatically recover unsaved data from its transaction logs.

In general, InnoDB is best suited for applications that require high concurrency or involve frequent updates and inserts.


Full-text Indexing: MyISAM supports full-text indexing for efficient text-based searches in large datasets.

Table-level Locking: While this may be a downside for some use cases, table-level locking can be beneficial for read-heavy applications with minimal concurrent updates.

2. Optimize MySQL queries and indexes for better performance

Optimizing MySQL queries and indexes is a crucial step in enhancing the performance of your database. By fine-tuning your queries and strategically creating indexes, you can significantly reduce the time it takes to execute queries and retrieve data. Here’s how you can improve the performance of your MySQL queries and indexes:

Refine your SQL queries

Limit the number of retrieved rows: Use the LIMIT clause to fetch only the necessary number of rows, minimizing the amount of data returned by a query.

Avoid using wildcard characters: Instead of using SELECT *, specify only the columns you need to reduce data transfer.

Use proper join operations: Opt for INNER JOIN over OUTER JOIN whenever possible, as it tends to be faster.

Minimize subqueries: Replace subqueries with joins or temporary tables when feasible, as they can be resource-intensive.

Create efficient indexes

Choose appropriate index types: Understand the differences between primary keys, unique keys, and regular indexes to select what works best for your specific use case.

Index frequently used columns: Columns that are often used in WHERE, JOIN, or ORDER BY clauses should be indexed for faster query execution.

Avoid over-indexing: While indexes can speed up searches, they also slow down insertions and updates. Strive for a balance between indexing important columns and maintaining write performance.

Optimize existing indexes

Analyze index usage: Tools like MySQL’s built-in EXPLAIN statement or third-party applications like Percona Toolkit can help you evaluate how effectively your current indexes are being used.

Remove redundant or duplicate indexes: Review your existing indexes and eliminate any that are unnecessary or overlapping to save storage space and improve write performance.

Consider covering indexes: A covering index includes all columns required by a query, allowing the database to retrieve data from the index itself, rather than accessing the table.

Monitor and adjust

Track slow queries: Enable MySQL’s slow query log to identify queries that take longer than a specified time to execute. Analyze these queries for potential optimizations.

Test different approaches: Experiment with different indexing strategies and query structures to find the most efficient solution for your specific use case.

By following these guidelines, you can optimize your MySQL queries and indexes, resulting in better overall database performance. Remember that optimization is an ongoing process; continue monitoring and adjusting your strategies as your application evolves and grows.

3. Use proper data types to reduce storage and improve query efficiency

Using proper data types in MySQL is essential for optimizing storage and improving query efficiency. By selecting the most suitable data type for each column in your database, you can significantly reduce storage requirements and improve the overall performance of your queries. In this section, we’ll discuss how to choose the right data types and offer some tips for making the best use of them.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that MySQL offers a variety of data types to store different kinds of information. These include numeric types (such as INT and DECIMAL), string types (like CHAR and VARCHAR), date and time types (such as DATE and TIMESTAMP), and more. Each type has its own characteristics, storage requirements, and performance implications.

To make the most out of these data types, you should:

Be specific with your numeric data types: Instead of using a generic INT or BIGINT for all your numeric columns, consider using smaller numeric types like TINYINT, SMALLINT, or MEDIUMINT when possible. This will help reduce storage space while still providing enough range for your values.

Use variable-length string columns wisely: VARCHAR columns are great for storing strings with varying lengths since they only use as much storage as needed for each value. However, be cautious not to set excessively large maximum lengths for your VARCHAR columns; doing so can lead to unnecessary storage overhead.

Consider the trade-offs between CHAR and VARCHAR: While CHAR columns have a fixed length and can be faster than VARCHAR in some cases, they may also waste space if you’re storing short strings in a long CHAR column. Assess the nature of your string data to determine which type is more appropriate.

Optimize date and time columns: Use DATE or TIME columns when you don’t need both date and time information in a single column. This will save storage space compared to using DATETIME or TIMESTAMP columns.

Choose appropriate ENUM and SET types: These special data types can be efficient for storing a limited set of distinct values, but they may not be suitable for columns with a large number of unique values or frequent updates.

By carefully selecting the right data types, you can optimize your MySQL database for storage and query efficiency. This will not only help reduce the amount of storage required but also improve the performance of your queries, leading to a more responsive and efficient application. Remember that it’s always a good idea to review your data type choices periodically as your application evolves and its requirements change.

4. Configure MySQL server settings to match your hardware and workload

Optimizing MySQL performance requires fine-tuning server settings to align with your hardware and workload. By adjusting various configuration parameters, you can achieve better performance and resource utilization. In this section, let’s explore some key aspects of configuring MySQL server settings.

First, assess your hardware capabilities, such as memory (RAM), CPU, and storage (disk space). Knowing the limitations of your hardware helps you make informed decisions when configuring MySQL settings. For instance, if you have ample RAM available, you can allocate more memory to caching mechanisms like the InnoDB buffer pool.

Here are some essential MySQL settings to consider:

InnoDB Buffer Pool Size: The buffer pool is where InnoDB caches table data and indexes in memory. A larger buffer pool allows more data to be cached in memory, reducing disk I/O operations and improving query performance. Set the innodb_buffer_pool_size parameter according to your available RAM and workload requirements.

Table Open Cache: This setting controls the number of open tables that can be cached by the server. Higher values for table_open_cache reduce the need for opening and closing tables frequently, which can improve performance on systems with a large number of tables.

Query Cache: Enabling query cache stores the result sets of SELECT statements in memory so that identical queries can be served faster without re-execution. Configure query_cache_size based on your available RAM and query patterns.

Sort Buffer Size and Read Buffer Size: These settings determine the memory allocated for sorting and reading data, respectively. Adjusting sort_buffer_size and read_buffer_size can improve performance for specific query types, such as large JOIN operations or complex sorting tasks.

Remember that every environment is unique, so it’s crucial to test and monitor the impact of configuration changes on your specific system. Tools like MySQLTuner or Percona Toolkit can provide valuable insights into your server’s performance and suggest configuration optimizations.

5. Implement caching mechanisms like query cache, buffer pool, and key-value stores

To optimize MySQL performance, implementing caching mechanisms is an essential step. Caching can significantly improve the efficiency of your database by reducing the need to perform expensive operations repeatedly. In this section, we’ll discuss three types of caching mechanisms: query cache, buffer pool, and key-value stores.

Query Cache

Query cache is a built-in feature in MySQL that stores the results of frequently executed SELECT queries. By caching these results, MySQL avoids executing the same query multiple times and reduces the load on your database server. To enable query cache, you need to set the query_cache_size configuration variable to a non-zero value.

However, it’s important to note that query cache may not always be suitable for all scenarios. For instance, if your database has frequent write operations or if your data changes often, query cache could lead to stale data being served. In such cases, you might want to disable it or fine-tune its settings using variables like query_cache_limit and query_cache_min_res_unit.

Buffer Pool

InnoDB storage engine uses a memory area called the buffer pool to store frequently accessed data pages and index pages. The buffer pool helps in reducing disk I/O operations by keeping frequently used data in memory. You can configure its size using the innodb_buffer_pool_size configuration variable.

To get optimal performance from your buffer pool, consider allocating as much memory as possible without causing swapping on your system. Additionally, monitor metrics like buffer pool hit rate and page read/write ratio to fine-tune its configuration.

Key-Value Stores

Key-value stores are external caching systems that can be used alongside MySQL for faster data retrieval. Popular key-value stores include Redis and Memcached. These systems allow you to store frequently accessed data in memory with an associated key for quick lookups.

Using key-value stores can offload some workload from your MySQL server by serving cached data directly from memory instead of querying the database. To implement key-value stores, you need to modify your application code to read and write data from the cache before accessing the database.

6. Monitor performance metrics using tools like MySQL Performance Schema, InnoDB Monitor, or third-party tools

Monitoring performance metrics is a crucial aspect of optimizing MySQL performance. By keeping an eye on various metrics, you can identify bottlenecks, diagnose issues, and fine-tune your database for better efficiency. In this section, we’ll discuss the use of tools like MySQL Performance Schema, InnoDB Monitor, and third-party tools to monitor performance metrics.

MySQL Performance Schema

Performance Schema is a built-in feature in MySQL that collects detailed performance data about your database server. It helps you understand the internal workings of the server and provides insights into query execution, resource usage, and other vital information. Some key benefits of using Performance Schema include:

Low overhead: Performance Schema has minimal impact on server performance.

Flexibility: You can enable or disable specific instruments or consumers to focus on the data you need.

Rich data: It offers a wealth of information about various aspects of your server’s operation.

To get started with Performance Schema, ensure it’s enabled by setting the performance_schema system variable to ON. Then, use SQL queries to access the data from its tables.

InnoDB Monitor

InnoDB Monitor is another built-in tool specifically designed for monitoring InnoDB storage engine performance. It provides valuable information about InnoDB internals such as buffer pool usage, transaction status, and lock contention. To use InnoDB Monitor:

Enable the innodb_status_output system variable by setting it to ON.

Query the information_schema.innodb_metrics table to access InnoDB-specific performance data.

Third-party Tools

There are numerous third-party tools available that can help you monitor MySQL performance metrics more conveniently. Some popular options include:

Percona Monitoring and Management (PMM): An open-source platform for managing and monitoring MySQL and MongoDB performance.

SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer (DPA): A commercial tool that offers detailed analysis and optimization recommendations for various databases including MySQL.

VividCortex: A cloud-based monitoring solution that provides real-time insights into database performance.

These tools typically offer user-friendly dashboards, alerting mechanisms, and in-depth analysis features that make it easier to monitor and optimize your MySQL server.

7. Optimize table structures by normalizing or denormalizing data when appropriate

Optimizing table structures in MySQL can significantly improve the performance of your database. This process often involves normalizing or denormalizing data, depending on the specific requirements of your application. Let’s dive into the details of these techniques and explore how they can enhance your database operations.


Normalization is a technique used to eliminate redundancy and improve data integrity in your database. By breaking down complex tables into smaller, more manageable ones, you can reduce the amount of duplicate data and ensure that each piece of information is stored only once. This approach not only saves storage space but also makes it easier to maintain and update your data.

To achieve normalization, you’ll need to follow a series of steps known as normal forms (1NF, 2NF, 3NF, etc.). Each normal form imposes specific rules on how data should be organized within tables. As you progress through these forms, you’ll create a more efficient and reliable database structure.

However, keep in mind that normalization can sometimes lead to increased complexity in queries and decreased performance due to the need for additional JOIN operations between tables.


Denormalization is the process of intentionally introducing redundancy into your database by combining multiple tables or adding calculated fields. While this may seem counterintuitive at first, denormalization can actually boost query performance by reducing the number of JOIN operations required to retrieve data.

By carefully considering which parts of your database would benefit from denormalization, you can strike a balance between storage efficiency and query speed. It’s essential to analyze the specific needs of your application and weigh the trade-offs before deciding whether to normalize or denormalize certain aspects of your table structures.

Finding The Right Balance

Optimizing table structures in MySQL involves finding the right balance between normalization and denormalization based on your application’s requirements. To make an informed decision:

Analyze query patterns: Identify frequently executed queries and determine whether they would benefit from a more normalized or denormalized structure.

Assess data update frequency: If your data is updated frequently, normalization can help maintain consistency and reduce the risk of update anomalies. On the other hand, if updates are infrequent, denormalization might be more suitable for improving query performance.

Evaluate storage constraints: Depending on your hardware and storage limitations, you may need to prioritize reducing redundancy (normalization) or minimizing JOIN operations (denormalization).

8. Utilize partitioning and sharding techniques for large databases to improve query performance

Utilizing partitioning and sharding techniques for large databases is an effective way to improve query performance. These techniques allow you to manage and store data more efficiently, ultimately leading to faster query execution times. Let’s dive into the details of partitioning and sharding, their benefits, and how they can be implemented in MySQL.


Partitioning is a technique that divides a large table into smaller, more manageable pieces called partitions. Each partition is stored separately and can be accessed and maintained independently of the others. This means that when you execute a query, MySQL only needs to search within the relevant partition(s) rather than scanning the entire table.

To implement partitioning in MySQL, you’ll need to define a partitioning scheme based on one or more columns in your table. Commonly used partitioning methods include range, list, hash, and key partitioning. The choice of method depends on your data distribution and access patterns.

For example, if you have a table containing sales data with a timestamp column, you might choose range partitioning based on the date. This would create separate partitions for different date ranges (e.g., monthly or yearly), allowing queries that filter by date to only search within the relevant partitions.


Sharding takes the concept of partitioning one step further by distributing data across multiple database instances or servers. Each shard (or server) contains a subset of the data and is responsible for handling queries related to that subset. This helps distribute workload evenly across all shards, resulting in better performance.

Sharding can be achieved through various strategies such as horizontal partitioning (splitting rows), vertical partitioning (splitting columns), or functional segmentation (based on business logic). The choice of sharding strategy depends on your application’s requirements and access patterns.

To implement sharding in MySQL, you’ll need to set up multiple database instances or servers and configure your application logic to route queries to the appropriate shard. This can be done using built-in MySQL features like the MySQL Fabric framework or third-party tools like Vitess.

Benefits of Partitioning and Sharding

Both partitioning and sharding offer significant performance improvements for large databases:

Reduced query execution time: By dividing data into smaller chunks, queries can be executed faster as they only need to search a subset of the data.

Improved maintenance: Smaller partitions or shards are easier to manage, backup, and optimize.

Increased parallelism: Multiple queries can be executed simultaneously across different partitions or shards, leading to better resource utilization and faster response times.

9. Regularly perform database maintenance tasks such as defragmentation, index rebuilding, and data archiving

Maintaining a well-performing MySQL database involves performing regular maintenance tasks, such as defragmentation, index rebuilding, and data archiving. These activities help ensure that your database runs smoothly and efficiently. Let’s dive into each of these tasks and explore how they contribute to optimizing MySQL performance.


To defragment a table in MySQL, you can use the OPTIMIZE TABLE command. This command reclaims unused space and reorganizes the table’s data to improve performance. For example:

OPTIMIZE TABLE my_table_name;

Keep in mind that running this command on large tables may take some time and could temporarily lock the table. Therefore, it’s essential to schedule defragmentation during periods of low database activity.

Index Rebuilding

Indexes are crucial for speeding up queries in a MySQL database. However, just like with table data, indexes can become fragmented over time due to frequent updates or deletions. Rebuilding indexes helps maintain their efficiency by updating their structure based on the current data distribution.

To rebuild an index in MySQL, you can use the ALTER TABLE command with the FORCE option:

ALTER TABLE my_table_name FORCE; Data Archiving

As your database grows over time, it accumulates historical data that might no longer be relevant for day-to-day operations but still needs to be preserved for reporting or auditing purposes. Archiving this old data helps reduce storage requirements and improve query performance by keeping only the most relevant data in your active tables.

To archive data in MySQL, you can create separate tables for storing historical data and periodically move old records from active tables to these archival tables. Alternatively, you can also use MySQL’s built-in partitioning feature to automatically manage the separation of historical and current data.

10. Keep MySQL version up-to-date with the latest stable release for improved performance and features

Keeping your MySQL version up-to-date with the latest stable release can significantly improve performance and offer new features that help optimize your database. By regularly updating, you ensure that you’re benefiting from the latest improvements, bug fixes, and security patches.

Why Update MySQL?

MySQL developers are continuously working to enhance the performance of their product. Each new release typically includes optimizations to the query execution engine, storage engines, and other components. These improvements can lead to faster query times, better resource utilization, and overall better database performance.

Additionally, new features introduced in recent releases can simplify tasks or provide more efficient ways of handling specific use cases. For example, MySQL 8.0 introduced support for window functions and common table expressions (CTEs), which can greatly improve the efficiency of complex analytical queries.

How to Update Safely

While updating your MySQL version is essential for optimal performance and access to new features, it’s crucial to do it safely to avoid potential issues:

Backup your data: Before updating, create a backup of your entire database. This ensures that you can quickly restore your data if something goes wrong during the update process.

Read release notes: Familiarize yourself with any changes or known issues in the new version by reviewing its release notes.

Test in a staging environment: Set up a staging environment that mirrors your production setup as closely as possible. Update MySQL in this environment first and thoroughly test its functionality before deploying it into production.

Monitor performance: After updating in production, keep a close eye on performance metrics to ensure everything is running smoothly.

Staying Informed

To stay informed about new MySQL releases and updates:

Subscribe to the MySQL Community Server Announcements mailing list.

Follow MySQL’s official blog for news on updates and best practices.

Regularly check the MySQL Release Notes for information about new features, improvements, and bug fixes.

5 Tips To Improve The Windows 8.1 Startup Experience

There are lots of things to love and hate about Windows, but if you’re going to have the best possible experience, it’s important that things get off to a good start. Getting off on the wrong foot with a slow or irritating startup is going to taint your computing time. Here are five of the best tips that will help you to iron out niggles, eliminate bottlenecks and generally improve the startup process of Windows 8.1.

1. Boot straight to the desktop

This is something that has annoyed Windows 8 users ever since the operating system was released – booting to the Start screen rather than the desktop. With the release of Windows 8.1, Microsoft saw fit to address users’ concerns and introduced the option to boot straight to the desktop. You’d be forgiven for not having notice the option immediately as it’s not blatantly obvious.

If you are still using Windows 8, it’s still possible to skip the Start screen with a little trickery.

2. Jump straight to Apps on the Start screen

Despite Microsoft’s push of Modern apps, most of us are sticking with regular desktop apps. The fact that the Start screen lists tiles and Modern apps first can be annoying and may mean that it takes longer to launch the program you’re looking for.

3. Eliminate launch delay for startup apps

You probably have a number of applications that are configured to start automatically with Windows. Windows 8 tries to be helpful by staggering the launch of your startup programs to try to avoid bottlenecks building up. In reality, you may well find that it just takes longer for the apps you need to reach a usable state. By editing the registry, it is possible to completely eliminate this delay so that all startup apps will be launched as soon as possible.

4. Automatically log into your user account

Having to enter a password just to use your own computer can be a pain. There are certainly security benefits to it, but if you are the only person who has access to your computer, you may want to be able to get straight down to work. We’ve previously looked at how you can skip the Welcome Screen in Windows 7. The same technique can be used in Windows 8.1 as well.

5. Make use of Sleep or hibernation modes

Whatever you do to help speed up your computer, the boot process always seems to take a little too long. It’s easy to forget, but Windows can be put into Sleep mode in which the current state of the computer is saved to memory so it can be very quickly restored – resuming from Sleep is much, much faster than cold booting.

If you have any other time-saving, speed-enhancing tips, share them below.

Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is a software fiend and a fan of the new, shiny and intriguing. Never afraid to get his hands dirty with some full-scale geekery, he’s always trying out the latest apps, hacks and tweaks. He can be found on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

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5 Ways To Implement Change In Your Startup

Throughout the life of your startup, you’ll be forced to implement new ideas to improve your culture, management, employee relations, and the overall success of the company. Especially as a manager or founder of a startup, you’re constantly faced with the challenge of maintaining innovation while simultaneously keeping your competitive edge.

Implementing change in the workplace is necessary for any company, regardless of its size. Whether it’s your goal to increase sales or improve employee relations, one of the most challenging tasks for managers is implementing a new direction for the startup and encouraging employees to get involved with the change.

Since many startups are small in size, the transition for change can definitely be influenced by your company’s culture, employees, and environment. This is why it’s very important for startup founders and managers to understand effective ways to implement change. If you’re preparing to introduce change into your company, here are five ways to help you meet your goals:

1. Create the motivation for change.

This is the first step to take when implementing change in your startup. Sparking the need for change in the workplace isn’t always the easiest task for managers, especially if it’s a change with a large impact (such as changing a company procedure or increasing sales goals). You can initiate the motivation for change through emphasizing the goal you have for your startup and giving your employees time to think about that goal. This way, your employees will have time to allow your ideas to sink in and they can approach you with any questions or concerns that arise.

2. Establish the urgency for change.

Sometimes, implementing change in your startup can be a scary process. However, to overcome this, it’s important to establish the urgency for change. You can create this urgency by encouraging your employees to step out of their comfort zones and approach your new direction as a positive challenge.

Tell your employees your old strategies are losing relevance for the company and you need to move forward with the latest trends present in your industry. To illustrate the urgency, share with employees what your competitors are doing and how the change will improve your bottom line. These approaches are a surefire way to get employees thinking about the goals you have for your startup.

3. Explain the benefits of change.

Before implementing the change, build enthusiasm for your goals by explaining the benefits to your employees. Will this change create opportunities for raises or promotions? Can employees benefit from a more flexible work schedule? Whatever change you are going to make, your employees are going to want to know how they will benefit from the decision. Whatever you do, make sure it is clear to your employees how they will benefit when your startup reaches its goals.

4. Ask for feedback from employees.

Remember, your employees are still human! To successfully implement change you must involve your employees with every step along the way. Make sure to request their feedback and listen to their ideas. By allowing your employees to provide feedback regarding new changes, there can be potential to discover ways to improve the initial change. Employees want to feel like they can make a difference for their company; by welcoming their feedback and ideas, you will be able to help the change transition more smoothly.

5. Set clear expectations.

Your employees can effectively adapt to change when they have measurable and tangible goals to work with. You should be able to relate the change to your employees and provide them with strategies to implement the change. As management, it’s your responsibility to measure your goals and determine the rewards. By setting clear expectations for your employees, you will be able to help your employees adapt to the change and meet your goals.

Whether you’re leading big or small change in the workplace, your employees contribute greatly to the change. Always consider their needs whenever making a decision that will impact your company. More often than not, change is usually necessary in the workplace. As the manager, it’s your responsibility to help your employees embrace your new ideas with a positive attitude.

How do you implement change in your startup? What strategies have worked best for you?

Top 5 Tips For Businesses Selling Directly

One of the fastest-growing strategies in eCommerce is the direct-to-consumer business model. But what does D2C really mean and why is it so popular?

The D2C model means selling products online directly to end-consumers, bypassing the middleman. This model empowers manufacturers to get more control over their brand reputation, truly understand their customers, and offer their products at more affordable prices while retaining their desired margins.

The model doesn’t come without challenges, however. When the competition is so fierce, marketing becomes expensive. Order fulfillment is difficult to manage when customers expect same- or next-day delivery. Optimizing raw material inventory management, avoiding stock-outs, and boosting production is essential in staying efficient and keeping up with customer demand.

A recent study reveals that almost 90% of consumers prefer to buy directly from the brand if given the option and more than 80% expect to be able to transact with a brand on its website. These findings pressure manufacturers to include D2C into their strategy, regardless of the challenges they might face.

The only thing left to do for manufacturers is to plan for the potential obstacles that come with going D2C and find ways to overcome them. Here we discuss 6 essential strategies to ensure success when selling directly to consumers.

1. Have Your Stakeholders on Board

Although it might seem pretty straightforward at first, going D2C isn’t as simple as building up a website and setting it live. It requires a significant amount of investment, necessary to hire new people or train existing staff, change business operations, manufacturing processes, and essentially reorganize the entire organization.

That means that adding D2C to your strategy is a major decision, which might not succeed if it lacks attention, commitment, and resources. Having every stakeholder in your organization on board with this move, involved in this process, and ready to prioritize this strategy is essential to take your organization in the right direction.

2. Have The Right Infrastructure

Bypassing the middleman has major benefits, but it also means you’ll be responsible for order fulfillment, shipping, and delivery, as well as marketing your products. Organizations ready to adapt quickly and implement new technology to help with these processes are the winners in this equation.

However, partnerships are also a solution if you don’t have the possibility to fulfill orders on your own. For example, Amazon fulfillment is a great option to ensure fast and reliable shipping for your customers.

3. Take Advantage of Data

4. Offer Sustainable Packaging 5. Offer Personalization Options

More than half of consumers interviewed in another research by Deloitte showed interest in buying personalized products or services, and 1 in 5 are ready to pay a 20% premium for that. This means that businesses not offering the option to customize a product to their customers are at risk to lose both revenue and customer loyalty.

Final Thoughts

Selling directly to consumers is a potentially profitable avenue to explore, especially if you are ready to join the manufacturing digital revolution and bring your brand to the modern world. But although this strategy comes with various benefits, it is not easy nor expensive to implement. You must have a complete overview of your business’ capabilities to add D2C as a sales channel before you embark on this journey.

Alina Akk

Alina Akk is a marketing and communications professional with a proven track record of success growing SaaS businesses. A tech enthusiast and an avid reader, she loves to write about direct-to-consumer trends, e-commerce, and the latest software products impacting the manufacturing industry.

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5 Tips For Safe And Pleasurable Sex

5 Tips for Safe and Pleasurable Sex

Sexual Health

5 Tips for Safe and Pleasurable Sex

Did you know September is Sexual Health Month? If you’re sexually active (or thinking of becoming sexually active), it’s a good reminder to check in on this important part of your health and wellbeing. Here are some resources and ideas for how you can do that! 

1. Get familiar with the resources available at BU and nearby

Here at BU, there are a ton of sexual health resources that are available to undergraduate and graduate students. Student Health Services (SHS) can help you with birth control and emergency contraception prescriptions, IUDs, PrEP for HIV prevention, STI testing, and free safer sex supplies (more on that below)! Go to Patient Connect to make a free appointment.  BU SHS sexual health services are available to all full-time BU students and part-time students with the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP).  

Some student organizations offer resources for your sexual wellbeing, too. Students for Reproductive Freedom has emergency contraception vending machine in the basement of the George Sherman Union (find updates on the availability of emergency contraception from the vending machine on Instagram @bostonusrf; as of publication, it is currently being restocked), and the Queer Activist Collective offers Gender Affirming Products (like tucking tape and packers). 

Off-campus, there’s Planned Parenthood (which is right in West Campus), and Fenway Health (a 15-minute walk from campus), which offer many sexual health services and specialty care for the LGBTQIA+ community. 

2. Order free condoms (and other safer sex supplies) from  the Condom Fairy

Courtesy of the BU Student Health Instagram

The Condom Fairy at SHS delivers safer sex supplies and sexual health materials in discreet packaging to BU students’ mailboxes – whether they live on or off-campus. You can order external condoms, internal condoms,  lube, and oral dams – and sometimes get extra surprise items with Condom Fairy promo codes – look for those on Instagram and in the SHS monthly email sent to students. It’s all free and anonymous!

3. Learn about pleasure to enhance your experience

Pleasure is powerful! It’s one of the many reasons that someone might choose to have sex and is vital to your sexual health. But what does pleasure even mean? Pleasure Activist Adrienne Maree Brown defines pleasure as “happiness, joy, contentment, and overall satisfaction.” That definition may seem broader than what we usually think of – like orgasms. Orgasms are important, but they do not always have to be the end goal of sex. The goal of sex may be different for everyone – but everyone is deserving of pleasure.

So, how can you add more pleasure to your sexual experiences? 

Take some time to find what feels good for you. This can look like reflecting during or after sexual activity with yourself or a partner. 

Once you know what feels good, you can find what you like and dislike! This is unique to everyone and can change over time. 

Once you know what feels good and what you like, you can decide what you want. This means making those actions a priority in your solo or partnered sexual activity. Communication is key here! 

If you want to learn more…

Visit one of Boston’s sex shops like Good Vibrations to explore pleasure-enhancing items like sex toys, lubricants, and sex education resources  

“Come As You Are” by Emily Nagoski covers the science behind sexual pleasure 

Want to learn how to infuse more pleasure into your life? Take “Pleasure Activism” by Adrienne Maree Brown for a spin!

Important note ⚠️: No one is required to give you pleasure. Healthy sexuality affirms that everyone should be able to seek out experiences they want – but no one has to do anything they don’t want to do either!

4. Know when and how to get an STI test

Getting tested regularly is super important because some STIs don’t have any symptoms at all – but they can still affect your health (and you can still transmit them to others). If you’re having sex, getting tested should be a regular part of taking care of your health – and we’re all about normalizing it!  

Here’s how to remember when to get tested: 

If you’re sexually active, get tested at least once a year

If you plan to have a new sexual partner, get tested

If you have multiple or anonymous partners, get tested every three months

If you have symptoms or think you’ve been recently exposed to an STI, get tested immediately

SHS offers STI testing right on campus. (It’s one of the most common appointments at SHS!) You can learn about what to expect and how to make an appointment – or find off-campus options – in this STI Q&A.

5. Get involved on campus

If you’re interested in learning more about sexual health, there are student organizations that do awesome things on campus, this includes Students for Reproductive Freedom, Center for Gender, Sexuality & Activism, and Queer Activist Collective. 

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