UX for Online Business – A Short Series

Series 1: 7 UX tips to Convert Visitors to Users

When it comes to making a sale, whether you run a conventional market or an online one; it all boils down to user experience. Without one’s users, their business is as good as dead. Here is an analogy to help you understand online user experience; when people walk into a shoe store, they walk in with certain qualitative expectations.

This is why, if upon arrival they find it difficult to locate what they’re looking for and no one there to assist them, they are most likely going to walk out disappointed and with a promise to never return. This is the kind of impression that has a lasting impact on them. This is exactly how it is for those who run online businesses. An online user’s experience boils down to how they felt when they clicked your link.

Here are 7 highly effective and useful UX tips for all the people who earn or want to earn a livelihood through their online business:

  1. The Landing Page

To boil it down further, this is specific to the upper half of the front page. When a new user comes across a website, it takes them just a few seconds to decide whether or not they will stay on or not. This is the very reason why the above-the-fold space of your home page is imperative.

The incentive behind bringing a new user to this page is to encourage them to want to look around and scroll. The best way to achieve this is to ensure your design is highly interactive. Do not cram a lot of information in the above-the-fold space. This is the make or break space that allows the visitors to decide based on experience if they will become a user or not.

  1. Keep Things Simple and Familiar

It has been recorded by Google AI blog that visitors often take less than 50 milliseconds to decide if they will continue scrolling through a website or not. That is far less than the time one takes to even blink. To ensure these seconds work for your benefit, it is always recommended to keep the design fairly simple and familiar for the visitors to understand and maneuver through.

If a visitor is having a hard time just locating things on their page or getting distracting by all that is happening, they are most likely to not return. Keep is easy for the visitors to move through and click around to explore as much as they can and have an experience that makes them return each time.

  1. Don’t Make Things Too Long

A lot of the times businesses make the ridiculous mistake of turning text as a fluff needed to fill in the gaps. The easiest way to identify whether or not people read big blocks of text is to observe yourself. How often do we read pages upon pages of policies? Almost never.

The 21st century generation is one of bullet points and visuals. You are required to use this to your benefit. Write bullet points that catch the attention of the visitor. This does not mean you stick purely to text or to visuals – the intention is to be able to find the right balance. If you feel there is a lot of text that is important for them to know, break it down and use it in small portions that are easy to read. Embolden the words that you think will catch their attention and force them to read what needs to be read.

  1. To all the copywriters

When it comes to introducing what product it is you are selling, do not dilly dally with your language. Keep your language simple and clear. Confusing your visitors won’t do you any good.

  1. Make Forms Friendlier

When it comes to filling out forms, you have to take into consideration the ease of the user. Do not start your website with the form. It is important that the user develop some sort of amicability with the be website. In that regard, place the link for the form at a point where you believe conversion is possible the most.

  1. Study Conversion Based on Devices

An example to follow to increase conversion rates is the Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly. The main reasons why this happens is because they immediately provide their users with useful details that help the retailers make quick decisions. This is the kind of impact your business you have on the people visiting your website for the first time. It is important for online businesses to know the upgraded rates of conversion based on the device being used. This allows them to be better prepared. People using smartphones is often beneficial for businesses.

To simplify this thought further, one must question what makes consumers to buy something using a smartphone? Because of the ease and convenience, smartphones are preferred over desktops, however for purchases, only desktops are used. Therefore, to increase conversion rates, online businesses must understand the audience’s requirements using smartphones.

  1. Sustaining Conversion

Only if your visitors and users have had a good experience will they click on the call-to-action posts. It is important that the little things be taken into consideration. Thank your users for sticking around, encourage interaction, inform your users by recommending products and also provide incentives like freebies to show appreciation.

And to Wrap it Up!

It never hurts to learn, unlearn and then put to use what has been learnt.

Startup weekend 2018 – Sign up Now!

One of the most prodigious startup competitions of Pakistan is back! This time around it’s even bigger and better than before. Fifty-four hours of intense competition, coupled with an unparalleled entrepreneurial learning experience, await you at Startup weekend 2018.

The event would be held at NIC Lahore, from 16th to 18th November 2018.

Techstars Global Startup weekend, powered by the tech-giant Google, is an internationally recognized competition that offers a platform to the budding entrepreneurs to present their creative ideas, hone their entrepreneurial skills, and execute their plans.

National incubation center (NIC) opens the doors to the vast entrepreneurial world. Participants are given the opportunity to interact with the renowned and adept entrepreneurs of the industry, and subsequently augmenting their team-building and networking skills.

Wining team is honored with a chance to convert its ideas to reality through a fast track incubation at NIC itself!

DAY 1

Being a 3-day event, startup weekend’s first day would kickoff with the participants checking in, followed by an opening ceremony where guests and speakers would reminisce their past experiences regarding the event.

After that, participants would pitch an idea in 60 seconds, and through voting, 20 to 30 ideas would be qualified for the remaining rounds. Day 1 would come to an end with a scrumptious dinner.

Day 2

On the second day, the remaining participants, now in teams, would be exposed to rigorous counselling and mentoring sessions with acclaimed entrepreneurs and coaches.

This would entail an unprecedented experience of building effective and coherent business models under their guidance.

Day 3

On the third and final day, the participants would present their business models in front of a panel of reputable judges, followed by a critical Q&A session. The third day would finish with the dinner and a closing ceremony where the names of the winners would be disclosed. NIC would award the winners with an incubation opportunity at its highly-specialized and capacious, internationally recognized, entrepreneurial facility.

Besides the incubation opportunity, Startup weekend offers a plethora of benefits to the participants. Through networking, they would be interacting with the brightest minds of the entrepreneurial milieu. Being an internationally-recognized prestigious event, Startup weekend allows its participants to compete with the contenders from other startup weekends around the globe.

Some of the judges and coaches from past events include notable names like Zafar Khan (CEO Sofizar), Shayan Zaeem (Co-founder Caramel Tech Studio), Sajjad Kirmani (CEO Infogistics), Tosheeba Sarwar (Founder Management Outfit), and Amena Hasan (CEO Business for Social Progress), Faisal Sherjan (Director National Incubation Center, Lahore), Huamyun Mazhar (Founder, Chairman, CEO CresVentures) etc.

The venue for the event is NIC Lahore. The National Incubation Center Lahore (NIC Lahore) is a first of its kind Incubation & Acceleration platform, launched under the public – private partnership of Ministry of Information Technology & Telecom, IGNITE, Fatima Ventures & Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).

It provides state of the art facility established to nurture startups during their early phases whereby they provide affordable space, shared office spaces and included services, hands-on management training, marketing support and, often, access to financing.

The registrations for the event is open and the entire registration process can be accessed online.

To register: https://www.facebook.com/276793985720254/posts/2258612317538401/

Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/startupweekendlahore/

#TGSW #SWLHR

Dangers for Startups – Recruiting Friends as Investors

Usually when startups go into business they decide to trust their family and friends as long-term investors. Stats have reported that a huge percentage of these startups receive more than 50 billion dollars’ worth of investment from their family and friends.

On the one hand, getting your family and friends to invest in your idea is advantageous in many personal and legal elements. On the other hand, there are several factors that overrule the advantages and make recruiting family and friends as investors a step into the dangerous territory.

When family and friends invest in your startup, equity will immediately be divided to ensure equal shares. Over or under evaluation is often a possibility that can lead to legal penalties. Following are some of the things that need to be considered gravely when stepping into the dangers of recruiting relatives:

  1. The Pressure is Far Too High

If your relative wishes to invest their life’s savings in your idea, that is probably not a good idea. When you know what is at stake from the investor’s end added the personal relationship, the pressure becomes far too high. The pressure to be able to return the investment in the form of profit can drive you to take decisions that may not be fruitful in the long run thus jeopardizing the whole process altogether. A small scaled investor may not put that kind of pressure on you and often allows the startups the space needed to grow at a reasonable pace.

  1. Their Involvement May be Bothersome

When family members become investors, the boundaries get blurred. Therefore, their investment in your idea has the tendency to exceed the monetary limitations. They often require constant updates and even expect their involvement to be imperative in the decision-making process.

Even though, it is reasonable to keep them informed; their involvement in the day-to-day may become problematic. Investors with extensive experience are often allowed interference in business decisions of startups because of what they might bring to the table. Allowing relatives that level of participation can be more damaging than helpful.

  1. Strengthen the Business Idea

It is imperative that your business plan be a strong one, especially when dealing with relatives. Often relatives don’t push us to the extreme we would like to be pushed at. They overlook loopholes an outsider investor may not. This is a deceptive fault that can be detrimental for the business when it comes to profit and longevity.

  1. Don’t promise what can’t be delivered

Just because you are excited about the venture you are endeavoring on, it does not mean you promise what you cannot accomplish. More so, when relatives invest money in your idea, they must be informed of all possible risks and downfalls. Not only is this important to ensure their expectations are not exceeded but also to ensure your relationships do not get damaged.

  1. Avoid putting relationships at stake

There is no surprise in the fact that sometimes businesses fail, and ideas do not work out as anticipated. When something like this happens, you may be unable to return the money to the investors. It is important to always anticipate a possible downfall when getting into a new business venture. Also, voice your anticipations honestly to your investors.

There are many advantages to hiring investors from the outside as opposed from within your social and familial circle. Hire a lawyer as well as they may be able to guide you better when looking for tangible and profitable investments.

When to Boost Posts on Social Media – A Guide Startups

If you have a startup or a full-functioning business with a social media profile, then you are probably aware of the “Boost Post” button. The purpose why this button is made available is to help businesses increase their overall reach. However, when it comes to boosting a post, selecting which to boost is a predicament. More so, the amount that should be spent is also a question.

So, if you wish to boost your post on Facebook and Twitter here are answers to some of your questions.

Boosting Facebook Posts

Managing a Facebook page means you’ve often come across the system telling you that a certain post is performing better than the rest. This automatically also states that Facebook is suggesting for you to boost it. Where several people tend to ignore these notifications; they are there for a reason.

The in-built assessment feature of Facebook posts allows it to keep you informed. It keeps track of the quality of the posts and their performance on an average basis. It also often recommends how much you should be spending on boosting the post.

Facebook posting it not limited and allows the leeway to ensure a strong post is being viewed by a wider audience. Here are three ways you can boost a Facebook post:

  1. To Followers: Unfortunately, often the organic reach of certain posts is not as far reached as one would hope. For this very reason, the marketing strategies for all social media platforms keep altering. So, if you wish to boost a post to increase its reach to people who already follow you then the best options are features, updates, or events. These are elements that create hype amongst those who already know what you’re doing.
  2. To friends of followers: If you wish to increase your number of followers then this type of boosting needs to be considered. Pick your best post and boost it so that it appears on a non-follower’s page and is intriguing enough to get them to follow you.
  3. To selective group of people: If your post is getting a lot of shares, boost with a wider audience based on select criteria.

Important Boosting Hacks

It is always a bad idea to boost a post right after you’ve posted it. It is always a smart idea to wait for at least 3 days before pressing that button. Oftentimes, people decide to not boost a post if it did not organically manage to get any notifications. Just because Facebook did not inform of that a certain post is doing well, it does not mean you shouldn’t boost it. Keeping track of the insights can help learn which post is reaching how many people.

It is always a smart idea to boost videos mainly because it is the most engaging kind of content one produces. Text only posts are often limited to a certain type of audience. However, posts that are videoed or have graphics automatically intrigue more people just because they are visual.

However, this does not mean that you don’t put out any text whatsoever. The credibility of a page often relies on the content that is being produced whether you choose to boost it. It is always a smart idea to boost those posts that are original. Where sharing posts by other pages isn’t a bad idea, it does not have the desired impact. It is always smarter and more effective to boost a post that is exclusive to your page.

The goal of boosting a post is to get your brand in front of more eyes; therefore, what you’ve created wholly should meet more eyes.

Budgeting your Boosts

Boosting costs of a post are not as high as one would expect. You can set a daily budget for yourself and ensure you’re meeting that benchmark. Boosting a post is often better than ads because of the time allowed to use the former. Ads limit you to a certain sum monthly limiting your overall budget. So, for startups who do not wish to invest a great deal, boosting a post is a great way to go about marketing your product or service.

Boost with A Resolve

It is important to have a proper marketing strategy regardless of the platform where you choose to market. Knowing when to spend the money and where to spend it, is a big plus especially for startups who already have a limited budget to begin with. It is irrelevant and will be lost in vain if you boost posts without a final resolve in mind. Set an objective or a goal for yourself; it can be as simple as gaining 100 more followers after boosting a post.

There are many ways one can gain traffic in an organic way. However, where investment is needed it should be made but with a clear head and with an objective in mind. If you can witness the strength in one of your social media posts, make the smart call and boost it.

The Importance of a Sales Strategy for a Startup

Any business or company that designs a product or service, must at one point sell it. Often when businesses are in their startup phase they focus on not just developing the product but on marketing as well. Lost in the above two steps, they often overlook and fail to provide the required attention to sales. This is something that can be detrimental to the growth of their business.

Therefore, it is important for companies to invest the same amount of effort on developing a strong sales strategy. There is no denying that a well-orchestrated marketing strategy places a business and its services on the roadmap to visibility, a sales plan allows them to make profits out of their product. The gist of a good sales plan must include:

  1. Acquiring new customers.
  2. Retaining previous customers and
  3. Making more sales.

This article answers some of your pressing concerns that must have arisen during the Sun Tzu and Sales Panel discussion arranged by NIC.

Why Must you have a Sales Plan?

A sales plan is more focused on acquiring new customers and therefore must be developed keeping that in mind. This allows you to understand that the targeted individuals do not know about the product and must be informed. To address their concerns from all angles, a thorough strategy must be devised. Here I what this allows you to do.

1. It improves your team’s return on investment

A plan or a strategy ensures you have the big picture in mind. It allows you to focus on obtaining new clients and identify if your current strategy works for you or not. It also allows you streamline areas that are most profitable. You can devise tactics and maximize results while keeping in mind your budgetary limitations.

2. It ensures you Hire People Beneficial to your Business

Startups often overlook the importance of hiring a good sales person. This allows you to have set goals and adhere to methods that are beneficial as well. Doing so allows you to set reasonable expectations and track your own growth over the months.

Developing A Strong Sales Strategy

To develop a strong sales strategy, you must follow the 6 steps provided below:

Priority 1: Make a spreadsheet of your customer journey and see how they behave before and after the sales.

Priority 2: Analyze the journey and come up with smart ways to reduce the cost to ensure increased customer contentment.

Priority 3: Ensure you integrate your sales plan with your marketing plan.

Priority 4: Come up with a key sales strategy and track its growth.

Priority 5: Identify a process of your sales activity and them build resources to maximize profit from it.

Priority 6: Stay patient and don’t expect immediate results. Consistency of investment will be fruitful.

If the right approach to expanding one’s business is adhered from day 1, any idea can go a long way. So, don’t ignore your sales plan and ensure all things are in order before going into business.

 

 

8 Legal Mistakes Entrepreneurs Should Avoid

The life of a startup is often quite precarious. This is why even a single wrong turn can lead to disastrous outcomes. If you are a founder setting up the groundwork for your business idea, there are various elements that need to be considered. Where creativity is imperative on one hand, the legalities that come along with stepping into the professional world as a service provider should never be overlooked.

Here are 10 legal mistakes entrepreneurs should avoid:

  1. Ignorance towards early Incorporation

Often in a startup, one founder consequently abandons the idea. However, all things considered, when the idea picks up and receives funding and financing, the partner often returns demanding parity. This is often followed by a string of contributions made by them on their end. To cater to this problem founders should be given incorporated shares early on. As a result of this, each founder should then be prerequisite to dispense to the new corporation.

  1. Shares without Conferring

Conferring allows founders to protect the founding members of a startup. This way, as long as someone stays on board and is working towards a common goal, the shares are vested. Upon leaving the shares can be retrieved and reassigned to their replacement.

  1. Hiring an inexperienced lawyer

Several investors often judge the worth of a startup based on their legal choices. This is why it is imperative to ensure one hires a lawyer who has experience dealing with startups. This is because experienced attorneys are able to look for loopholes others might consider insignificant or ignore. Hiring someone who knows the tricks of the trade and understands the mode of negotiations goes a long way for the future of a new idea.

  1. Negotiating investment based on estimation.

It is important to go beyond the basic estimation when it conversation with a potential investor. There are many ways in which compensation can be demanded if they pay a high price. Therefore, apart from basic evaluation other aspects of the capitalist must also be taken into consideration. These include their reputation, their relationship with entrepreneurs in the past and their response to roadblocks. A capitalist’s reputation within the industry also makes a lot of difference.

  1. Unveiling ideas without a nondisclosure agreement

It is very important for entrepreneurs to not get carried away when revealing new ideas. For a startup experimenting; any idea can work and therefore must not be disclosed in passing especially if a nondisclosure agreement has not been signed. The only protection available is to ensure required steps have been taken to protect the secrets from competitors in the market.

  1. Hiring or getting hired by possible opponents in the market

Often entrepreneurs come up with interesting ideas while working for a firm. Though the venture begins while still being employed, it is very unsuitable to do so if the employer is a possible competitor. Doing so can lead to a lawsuit and therefore jeopardize the future of a business before it is even launched. Therefore, they should either formally leave the job or ensure their employer is aware and raises no concerns regarding their entrepreneurial idea.

  1. Overselling and failing to deliver

It is understandable when entrepreneurs come up with an idea and dream for it to make it big. However, overselling an idea on the basis of just that can backfire in the ugliest ways. Promising something without a certainty to deliver falls into fraud and can be detrimental for your startup. It is important to make realistic claims when selling an idea to avoid being sued. When a business flourishes, investors pour in automatically, conducting the activity the other way around may bring your startups journey to one that is short lived and not pretty.

  1. Ignoring legal concerns

Entrepreneurs often overlook the legal concerns and postpone them for later. To run a successful business one has to be farsighted and make the right calls at the right time. Hiring a competent attorney who takes care of the legal matters is a smart way to go about the business. You can stay focused on investors while they ensure your company meets legal benchmarks.

So if you have a business idea you’re willing to take into the professional world, be sure to handle all the legal matters beforehand.

PayCard; the Smart Way to Make Payments

The National Incubation Center at LUMS Lahore has always encouraged and taken in startups that stan for what they believe in. Diversity and contemporary nature of the businesses is something that the startups of NIC are known for. Under this prestigious influence NIC is the proud incubation center for PayCard, a smartcard that

PayCard is the brainchild of a LUMS alumnus Shujaat Ali. It is a contemporary card that allows you to make your over-the-counter payments within a second by simply waving your PayCard in front of a scanner.

It is a newly introduced and a highly convenient and secure contactless payment method that harbors no hassles of PIN codes or signatures.

This is a digital wallet that aims to helping users make transactions in a quicker, easier and a user-friendly way. Paycard started its journey by enabling smart cards with “Near Field Communication” capabilities to make transactions by simply tapping the card on a special terminal to pay.

In order to test the product, the founders of Paycard introduced it within the LUMS Superstore. The product has been taken by Futureonics Pvt. Ltd to ensure maximum productivity and minimum cause of complaints. The founders have demonstrated due diligence by ensuring that not only does their product understand but also follows the rules and regulations of The State Bank of Pakistan. Under this understanding the founders and the minds at Futuretronics have integrated this state of the art product with the SIMSIM wallet. This amalgamation ensures our users are provided the security of transactions.

On July 12th 2018, PayCard was lucky enough to sign a contract with Futureonics and FINJA. Under the promising guidance of NIC and hosted by the establishment itself, this new collaboration is intended to bring the SIMSIM wallet on board with the PayCard platform.

As a result of this fin-tech collaboration, PayCard is all geared up to ensure the experience of making payments is made much not just easier but far more exciting for our users.

It intends to offer them a plethora of nifty ways that will allow our users to maintain their budgets, manage their funds, block their cards without delay in case of loss or theft. Our users will also have the super convenient option to transfer funds to friends or family with just a tap along with several other futuristic features that come with our PyaCard.

PayCard ensures that the priority is always the users. They strive towards providing them convenience, one tap at a time.

Education, An Awakening by Ilm Ideas 2

Ilm Ideas 2 focuses on improving the condition of the supply and demand of education in Pakistan. It is a 4 year program that runs locally and is funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DIFD) and is managed by Cambridge Education. The intent of this program is to develop and support innovative educational establishments to ensure the demand of education in Pakistan is being met. Therefore, in the grand scheme of things it ensures that the youth of Pakistan is well-endowed and literate.

The program itself focuses on 3 primary strands:

  1. It supports startups establish their business ideas that work towards improving the quality of education. This is where the National Incubation Center at LUMS Lahore steps in and scouts for startups working under the said category.
  2. Once that has been accomplished, IIM2 may provide them with grant funding to ensure the outcomes of the business plans are being met effectively.
  3. Most importantly, the program ensures that new and innovative ideas are being continuously supported even after the program ends.

In order to accomplish the three strands meritoriously and to guarantee plausible improvement in the education system of the country, NIC LUMS plays a pivotal role.

How NIC Scouts for Promising Startups

NIC is an established incubator in Lahore and holds one of the strongest networks of investors, education mentors, alumni network, facilities and other useful amenities. The establishment is already responsible for incubating several new and innovative education institutions. Under the funding of ILM2, NIC set out to look for visionaries in the education sector that desired to potentially change the face of education in Pakistan.

At the same time, NIC also believes in catering to the education facilities often found at the bottom of the pyramid. Under this approach, supported by the likes of Akhuwat and other similar foundations, NIC took over approximately 20 education micro entrepreneurs last year under a different program, training youth from low income communities, out of which 15 ran their own schools. NIC is a firm believer of balance, equity and diversity. The micro-entrepreneurs taken under the guidance were located in areas ranging from Bedian Road, Walton, Cantt, Mughalpura, Nishat Colony, Sadar, Manalwala, Kotlakhpat and others.

Inspired and motivated by a similar approach, higher in the pyramid of social hierarchy, under the funding of ILM 2, NIC was able to incubate approximately more than 10 educational-technology (ed-tech) companies as well. The most promising ones amongst them were Grassroots, Edkasa and BigBytes.

BigBytes is a group of Technology Educationists. The startup belongs to the current cohort of incubated businesses at NIC Lahore. The incentive of this establishment is to teach people how to make use of the tools of technology, and their creative faculties to solve real-life problems. The business was initiated by a community of tech enthusiasts through collaborative, hands-on learning. Their aim was to introduce robotics and the latest technologies in the schools of Pakistan by conducting workshops and establishing the model of a tech-focused makerspace.

Grassroots Consultants provides management consultancy services, as well as edTec solutions in the education sector. One of the solutions they developed and deployed is “School Service Quality Management” program.  Through this solution they are able to obtain monthly feedback from a sizable sample of each school’s parent community on how satisfied they are with the education services being delivered and the performance in light of specified performance indicators.

The received information is then digitally captured into a designed Education Service Score Card and then circulated to School Heads and their Management. This allows them to keep track of the progress of each school through close monitoring. The technology and the processes used are relatively low costing, more so, they are customizable and highly effective. Grassroots is currently working on deploying similar solutions at a lower cost for public schools as well.

EDKASA – Our Success Story

The founders of this business Annum Sadiq and Fahad Tanveer displayed immense skill, talent and experience in their respective fields.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amongst the plethora of accomplishments under the ILM2 program, the one greatest success story is EDKASA. This business aims to increase access to qualitative secondary education by making available top notch teachers across the country through a collaborative online learning platform. The platform allows live, cooperative and interactive classes connecting one teacher to approximately 100 students at a time. Using the EDKASA Direct product, students from anywhere in the country can join the platform just as long as they have access to the internet. Autonomously, EDKASA aspires to make available its ‘teacher stream’ to its own franchisees. The incentive behind this is to target those students who cannot directly connect to the platform thus ensuring that this unavailability does not impact their academic exposure.

EDKASA was able to receive an investment of up to £150,000 by the Ilm Ideas 2 program. This allowed them to pilot test their business model and to conduct more market research to increase accuracy and efficiency of their approach. EDKASA achieved a flopping sum of £ 1.5 Million  from the ILM2 program because of various factors. The most promising ones included its potential to scale, its likelihood to reach young people in poorer communities who were at a risk of dropping out of schools and lastly, EDKASA’s committed team of highly ambitious, driven and innovative individuals.

Story Kit

Story Kit or, Kahani Se Kitab Tak is another program incubated at NIC that works towards for teaching children the Urdu language through story telling. The organization works on developing products for historical sites and monuments, such as, Wazir Khan Mosque. It aims to substitute the methods of teaching Urdu currently by introducing children to Urdu literature and folktales through stories while also organizing free Story Kit sessions on weekends in schools located in the relatively low income areas. Developed by Pakistani–Canadian writer, translator, and essayist Musharraf Ali Farooqi the Kahani Se Kitab Tak program partnered with Children’s Global Network, Pakistan State Oil, British Council also a brand called Leisure Club, introduces children to Urdu literature while ensuring their learning of the language.

Story Kit has partnered with Knowledge Platform, Alif Ailan, British Council, Ferozsons Lab, PSO, Arbisoft and is launching a product specifically targeting exclusive schools like Lahore Grammar (LGS), International School Karachi, Beaconhouse Newlands, Roots Millennium, SICAS, LACAS and others. They are currently working on marketing their products and simultaneously targeting more schools to branch out their services and reach a wider audience.

Education, An Awakening!

The National Incubation Center stands firm over the belief that innovative learning is the future and the best way to enable the youth of today for a more promising tomorrow. Keeping this view in mind, the implementation of the ILM2 program allowed NIC to scout and home some of the sharpest and most pioneering minds in the country. Through this inventive approach, NIC was able to provide stable grounding for establishment to the likes of BigBytes, Grassroots and EDKASA. The forces at NIC LUMS believe that an investment in the innovative minds of today through knowledge pays the best interest in the future of the country.

Connection between Hands-on Founders & Successful Startups

Reports have claimed that startups that have hands-on founders not just witness their firm to thrive but are also more likely to preserve their employees.

It is true that once a founder has established a firm, they’re caught up with the nitty gritty. Their job doesn’t end with the idea but continues with recruiting human force to execute notions, they have to develop partnerships and come up with solid business strategies that promise both longevity and are lucrative. These are just some of the many responsibilities under a founder’s belt. These individuals are often pulled in all directions and can easily get lost in the rut of mentoring and monitoring.

Often the founders get caught up in the grand scheme of things, overlooking and possibly remaining oblivious towards the more menial tasks. This is a rookie mistake. Researches have proven that it is these tasks that hold more significance in the long run. Managing human resources and ensuring the right energy is being spent on specific tasks is primary. Providing and receiving regular feedback is secondary.

Through research and time, it has been proven that managing members within a team is worth a lot more of a founder’s time. Under the branch of this management fall several aspects such as evaluations conducted at regular intervals, setting realistic prospects, sharing mileposts, pursuing progress and setting futuristic goals in order to run startups that flourish.

Being Open to New Learning

Though several founders may struggle with the above mentioned ideas, they can always be learnt through networking and through keen observation. They can learn to anticipate responses based on stimulus being provided by them to their employees and can even come up with new tactics to implement their learning in a productive manner.

Researchers conducted thorough surveys to understand the basics of running an effective startup and aspects where several founders lacked. The main categories were:

  1. Setting reasonable expectations,
  2. Instituting goals shared by all members of the team,
  3. Reviewing the performance of involved personnel and
  4. Providing constructive feedback.

It was learnt that founders that were more hands-on inclined towards using these tactics frequently as opposed to those who tried to micro-manage. Self-analysis under the magnified lens of the four categories can help founders come up with business plans that are more balanced and well endowed.

To ensure complete transparency, hands on founders are known to track their own progress under the four categories.

It is important for founders to visualize themselves as leaders and mentors and therefore comply to similar approaches. As advisers they are always required to come up with a management style that is thorough and inclusive. They are mandated to identify how impactful the distribution of work is. Founders that outsourced the more demanding and less challenging tasks to their employees faced increased employee-dissatisfaction in comparison to those with a rigorous approach. The latter are likely to retain their employees and thus increase the performance of their startups by a decent percentage.

Founders that avoid micro-managing all the tasks send a positive message of trust and reliability and can therefore maximize productivity. Though, understandably, it is often difficult for founders to let go of the administrative decisions and consequently end up governing all tasks. Employee reliance and delegation allows them to shift focus on the significant aspects of their startup that are often directly associated with its growth.

Investing in Cooperative Pedagogy

Often founders select training programs that are more time consuming and expensive. These are often less prolific and more difficult to implement given time management. Founders are often more invested in running their firms full-time and therefore require a more cooperative and inclusive approach.

In order to accomplish that with minimum time wasted, founders must always seek mentorship within the network. This leads to a more personalized sense of understanding as it allows specified discussions with effective solutions. It might also regulate how well a startup thrives in given circumstances.

As a founder, there is always a lot on one’s plate. However, in order to ensure that only the more imperative and required tasks take up that room, a founder must mindfully delegate and built a trustworthy and reliable network and management. Only then can they enhance the productivity of their

NIC Lahore and AYEco – A Voice Controlled Wheelchair

The National Incubation Center Lahore is a firm believer of giving light and resources to the innovative and unique. The team has the insight to recognize ideas that hold the potential to produce magnificence. Such is the case for one of our incubated startups that produced a state of the art and contemporary device specifically for the disabled. On July 5th 2018, AYEco launched the first ever voice controlled smart wheelchair.

Faaiz Arbab, a student in the electrical engineering graduate program at Lahore University of Management Sciences’ (LUMS) incubated at NIC Lahore, urbanized a voice-operated smart wheelchair called GOBEE.

How It Operates?

To add ease and convenience for the paraplegic and quadriplegic, this voice controlled wheelchair can be operated through a mobile phone application. With a ‘Call N Go’ feature, the user can summon the wheelchair from a distance of up to 15 kilometers. This unique piece of technology responds to the vocal stimuli and follows the provided commands. The device has an instilled ability to maneuver its way through all possible obstacles in its path and find its owner without a hiccup.

The Exceedingly Inimitable Features

With a vision and final product in mind, Arbab began the innovative designing of this wheelchair several years ago while still being a student of engineering. Despite his best efforts, Arbab always felt room for improvement and hesitated from submitting this state of the art product to NIC Lahore. However, the idea was revisited by him as a graduate student at LUMS. NIC Lahore homed at LUMS provided Arbab with an environment and support needed to give to a technology that would change the face of wheelchairs. Here are some of its most refined features:

 

  • Equipped with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi facilities.
  • Remote control operation facility that goes up to 100 feet.
  • Water resistant
  • Anti-rust exterior
  • Anti-sweat seat
  • A powerful dual 3200 RPM motor allowing an inclined drive up to 300
  • Long life battery power with 2 batteries of 18Ah each
  • Drive power up to 40km per charge
  • Charging time as low as 100 minutes
  • Bright LED lights for active maneuvering at night
  • Emergency stop and call button
  • And a battery status bar assimilated on a Joystick module.

 

Arbab plans to continue refining the design of the wheelchair. He has expressed his intent to eventually equip in the future by equipping it with an IP Camera and Artificial Intelligence technology.

NIC Lahore Launches GoBee on July 5th

The National Incubation Center Lahore provided Arbab and his product with a platform to officially launch GoBee into the market. Hosted at NIC Pakistan’s 1st voice controlled smart wheelchair was presented on July 5th 2018. Several distinguished personalities and noteworthy businesspersons attended the ceremony. This plethora of distinguished members included the likes of Dr khalid Jameel, Almas HaiderRafia Ilyas, Zahra Abbas, Dr Anam Najam, Ilyas Saeed, Shafeeq u Rehman, Dr. Izhar, Aftab Nazir, Shiekh parveiz, Imtiaz, FatimaSaima Ashraf, Ayesha Malik, Syed Faraz jamal, Aman Ullah Riaz, Taqwa, Ali Imran, Mansoor Ahmed Golra, Farhana Ayub, Abbas razi UllahDr Sohail Ahmed, Dr Hassan Tareen Dr Irfan Gull, Amir Naseem and several others.

Faaiz Arbab, has also been acknowledged for his determination, skill and execution by the National Design Awards (NDA) Pakistan. The establishment has designated GoBee for the 2018 Consumer Product Design Award.

Through his company, Ayub Yaqoob Engineering Company (AYECo), Arbab has already begun internal distribution of the product within the Pakistani market. However, he intends to make this product a universal asset once his agreement with International Health Regulations (IHR) of World Health Organization (WHO) reaches completion.

Faaiz Arbab intends to ensure GoBee is evidently exported across countries and we at NIC Lahore wish him the very best of luck.