Thursday, 29 December 2016

Developing Successful Strategic Partnerships

As businesses grow in size and expand operations, there is a need to look at partnerships to achieve goals and objectives. Trying to do it all yourself is no longer a good strategy in today’s times. There is instead an increasing emphasis on finding strategic partners to expand and support your business.

Defining Strategic Partnership

So what is a strategic partner? A strategic partner is a like-minded company that provides products or services that not only complement your business but also support its growth story. The partnership is usually defined by means of a business contract and is time bound. A common example can be found in the supply chain industry where logistics are usually managed by a 3PL that functions as a strategic partner. This allows the main company to focus on its primary business while leveraging the skills and experience of the partner to carry out the logistics function.

The success of the partnership largely depends upon the homework you have done while choosing the partner and if your partner’s goals match with yours. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Be Clear On The Objective

You need to be very clear on why you are venturing into the partnership in the first place. Make sure you have clearly laid out goals for the partnership and how they align with your vision and long term plans. Also, set up periodic checkpoints to ensure that the business case for the strategic partnership continues to hold true and goals are being met.

Focus On Similarities But Also Leverage The Right Differences

It is very important to find a partner who has similar values, ethics, culture as you in order to build a good relationship. Also, check if the partner can adapt to your changing needs and keep up with your pace of growth. While looking for similarities also spend some time understanding the differences. There might be some opportunities hidden here, for example, a marketing partner serving a different region could create future opportunities for you to expand your operations. If your partner is innovative then it creates new service opportunities for you as well.

Understand The Risks

While strategic partnerships are great for business you must also be aware of the risks involved. Think of the long-term implications before getting into the partnership. Also, be prepared with a mitigation plan in case the partnership does not work out. How will you measure the success of the partnership? How will you safeguard your interests in case of a discrepancy? The more risk identification and mitigation planning you do up front the easier it will be for you work with your partner.

Learn From Experience

Your long-term growth plan might involve setting up a series of strategic partnerships. As you go along, pause to reflect and debrief with key stakeholders. This learning will help you to setup a robust process for defining partnerships and making them work for you.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Increasing Your SEO Score for More Online Visibility

Here we provide a strategy to ensure your customers will find your online business when conducting internet searches.  

Search Engine Optimization (SEO), a fundamental component of website building and digital marketing, has been around long enough that we in the business already look back fondly at the “good old days” of SEO. Once upon a time, getting your website to rank was as simple as cramming enough keywords into a page, a practice that now has the opposite effect. These days, SEO is a complex set of best practices that is constantly being changed and updated, so keeping your website optimized can be a full-time job.
Before we go any further, to understand SEO we need to understand how search engines work. Basically, Google, Bing, etc. send robots all around the internet that “crawl” every website they can find. They pull all the data from these sites and, using a very large set of complex algorithms, attempt to identify which ones have the most valuable information for their users.
For example, when you type “e-commerce” into Google, it attempts to sort the search results in order of what you are most likely to find useful. The problem with this is that robots are not that good at deciding what is and isn’t useful to humans.
The practice of search engine optimization then is to find ways to tell those robots that your website is the one people are looking for. But this comes with a problem as well, which is that even poor or spam websites can still have good SEO, and so Google, etc. have to constantly improve their algorithms in order to filter out the sites that are trying to “trick” them into thinking they’re useful and return only the best possible results for their users.
So as search engines get smarter, SEO practices have to get more sophisticated. Let’s have a look at some of the key elements of SEO and how you can use them to increase your online visibility.

Terms you need to know

  • Keywords: Keywords are the terms or phrases browsers are searching for. Search engines catalog the keywords you’ve incorporated in your website and use them to rank your site appropriately in their results pages.
  • In-bound and out-bound links: Search engines consider how many other websites link to yours, as well as which websites you link to, to measure the legitimacy of your site. The quality of the in-bound and out-bound links will also influence your score.
  • UX: User experience is a broad category of its own which includes ease-of-use, intuitive navigation and quick loading times. Search engines consider how pleasurable it is to use a website when ranking them in their results pages.
  • Bounces: When someone clicks through to a site only to discover that it is not what they were looking for, they will hit “Back” to return to the results page. This is called a “bounce” and it signals to search engines that your site is not what visitors are looking for, so they will rank it lower in future search results.

Tips to get you on track

If you haven’t updated your SEO practices in the last year they’re at least partly out of date, but there’s another reason why you need to be constantly tweaking and maintaining your website. Search engines rank websites lower if they appear stagnant – if the content of your website is updated infrequently, it may do damage to your SEO score.

The main function of SEO is to leverage keywords. By modifying the structure and content of your website, you can incorporate keywords that are relevant to your products and that your target market is using to search for similar products on the web. However, it’s important to focus on target keywords very specific to your potential audience. Popular search terms are a double-edged sword – avoid common keywords unless they’re definitely favored by your specific audience, otherwise you risk a high bounce rate.

Slide3Analytics can help you keep it fresh. By keeping a watchful eye on your website analytics you can identify which of your SEO campaigns are performing well and how to deploy your resources most effectively. Pay attention to your bounce rates, paid vs. organic traffic, brand vs. non-brand keyword performance, and long-tail vs. short-tail traffic.
Search engines also use analytics to identify the legitimacy of a website. If you can increase the average time your visitors spend on your website, search engines will see that as a vote of confidence that your website is indeed useful to their users.

There are a few ways to optimize your site:Slide4
  • Pages more than three levels deep into your website are rarely going to be seen by a human being, so keep all the important information close to the surface. If users have to click more than twice from your homepage to get to the information they’re looking for, most of the time they will go looking for it somewhere else.
  • Trimming unnecessary pages from your site and eliminating duplicate content can increase your score since both of those are interpreted by search engines as spam.
  • Search engines consider loading times and broken links when ranking sites, so make sure your site is running smoothly at all times.

Slide5Good customer service never goes out of style – it’s even more important to the overall success of your business than SEO. In the age of social media, a bad review can spread like wildfire and severely impact your ability to reach new customers. Social media is a boon to SEO practitioners for its utility in link building, user-generated content and reputation management. Signals from social media, including the number of followers, community engagement and content sharing tells search engines that your brand and website are valuable to their users.
More traditional forms of marketing can be effective as well, such as email marketing, maintaining a local physical presence, and getting your business reviewed by popular blogs and news outlets.

We are far from the age of “If you build it they will come”, especially not in the crowded and competitive online retail industry. Search engine optimization is the key to standing out in this market –9 out of 10 consumers use search engines to make purchasing decisions, and SEO is the way to compete for their attention. If you have any further questions about implementing good SEO practices for your website, leave a comment below, and keep visiting the Payza Blog for more tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your e-commerce business.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Foreign Banks Trickle into Israel for FinTech

Israel has spent a long time trying to draw in foreign banks, to give their domestic ones some competition. However, it is only now that foreign banks are taking an interest in Israel, and it is not to be competition. On the contrary, foreign banks are still not interested in opening new branches in Israel.

So why are they there?

Banks such as Barclays and Santander have moved focus to Israel because of the FinTech that is growing there. FinTech is the unique combination of Finance and Technological sectors that has recently begun to grow in popularity. People are constantly looking for easier ways to manage their money, and FinTech startups realize that this management is most convenient through technological applications. The FinTech sector is a field in which Israel continues to excel. So, instead of opening bank branches, foreign banks are setting up hubs to invest in and provide mentorship to small businesses.

FinTech is a field that has expanded quickly since it was first created. It went from simply making bank transactions faster to encompassing a large range of technological innovations having to do with the finance sector. One such innovation,for example, would be mobile banking. FinTech has provided faster transaction speeds, more convenient banking, and tighter security for banks.

Now, Israel is expanding the technology in FinTech. For example, Citi Bank has set up a hub in Tel Aviv, and is already reaping the technological rewards from mentoring startups there. They recently were able to reveal a new mobile application called Citi Velocity. This application combines a trading platform for institutional investors with up-to-date market research.

There is no doubt that FinTech startups in Israel are doing well at this point. In 2014, six companies were sold for over 600 million dollars. However, Israeli startups have not always had free reign to show the world what they are capable of. Israel was filled with regulations that made being a startup difficult, as well as high costs to develop a product and a lack of investors. FinTech startups revolutionized this by changing who they show the end product to. They do not just focus on banks, but also on enterprises.

Now, bank owners are fighting to get their companies into Israel to mentor FinTech startups. The cost of setting up a hub is well worth the technology that they will get out of it.

For more information on Israel’s burgeoning FinTech startup scene, check out this Reuters article.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Pay Roll Cards: a Must for Today’s Global Workforce

Due to the sweeping changes that we’ve seen in technology over the past two decades, today’s workforce no longer faces the same limitations of remaining tied to a desk from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. Instead, many of today’s professionals have the opportunity to decide what their workday looks like. As long as employees have a strong internet connection, their offices could virtually be anywhere.

Given the nearly limitless possibilities for where and when employees choose to work, it’s important to offer payment solutions that address this evolving professional lifestyle. Payroll cards offer a viable alternative to direct deposit or traditional paper checks when it comes to distributing employee wages. Payroll cards are issued by major payment processors, and enable workers to use them anywhere credit cards of the same payment processors are accepted. 

Employees that have payroll cards are able to access their wages from an ATM, or even as cash back from an in-store purchase- as one would with a traditional debit or credit card. When members of your workforce are based in other countries, frequently travel, or work as freelancers, payroll cards offer a wonderful alternative to the traditional methods mentioned above because there is an immediacy of payment transfer and accessibility that might otherwise be absent in the payment process for these kinds of employees.

Another advantage to Pay Roll Cards, is that in some cases, these cards can benefit employees who don’t have a bank account because they will have instant access to their salaries. Instead of facing fees for cashing a traditional check, these employees simply use their reloadable pay roll cards in order to access their rightful wages. 

The new technologies involved in payroll card programs affords employers and employees wage payment solutions that offer both parties a plan that is flexible and convenient.  

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The Power of Partnerships

People ask me all the time, "How can I grow my business? What tricks are there to opening new markets and getting established?" For Payza, the answer has always been, "Find the right partners."

Payza is a global company because almost every one in the world uses money and because more and more people worldwide are connecting to the internet every day. With the rise of internet access even in developing nations, more and more people are able to take advantage of all the conveniences and benefits the internet has to offer.

But every country, every region is different, and a one size fits all approach rarely works on the global scale. That's where finding the right partners comes in. It's a good idea to have a global strategy, a global set of services, a global vision, but if you can tailor them on a local level, you'll be a step ahead of the game.

At Payza, we accomplish this by finding local companies that have an intimate understanding both of the market we're entering and the services we provide. That way we're able to present our services in a way that will appeal to the local market. The Payza platform was built to be easily adaptable, we need to be easily able to tailor our services to meet local realities. The way the system is built also allows us to quickly develop or adapt features that may be worthwhile to a specific segment of our global member-base, depending on the recommendations of our partners.

In business you don't need to do everything yourself, sometimes, trying to can hurt more than help. When you're looking to bring your services to a new corner of the globe, seek out the people and the companies that can help you customize the way you present your services to meet the needs and expectations of your new clients.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Is Bitcoin the Future of Ecommerce?

As Executive VP of Strategic Partnerships and Corporate Affairs for Payza, Firoz Patel plays an important role in setting the company's strategy. One way he's done so is by leading the charge in Payza's Bitcoin integration plans.

Firoz Patel knows that it's important to be ready to embrace new technology and advancements when they come along. Payza was one of the first e-wallet providers to allow members to buy and sell Bitcoins, but in his recent comments about Bitcoin, it's clear that Firoz Patel doesn't plan to stop there.

"The ultimate goal is to give our members a secure option to store their bitcoins in their Payza accounts, but we are working towards that goal in incremental steps. First we gave our members a way to buy Bitcoin directly from Payza, then we gave them a way to sell Bitcoin to us, that’s where we are currently. Our aim is to be able to treat Bitcoin like any other currency we deal with, that means letting members hold Bitcoin in their Payza accounts, and letting them send and receive bitcoins through our network, but we’re not there yet. That said, we have no intention of slowing down the adoption of Bitcoin services on the Payza platform."
Speaking about what's coming next for Payza and Bitcoin, Firoz Patel made it clear that the next option is to allow Payza merchants to start accepting Bitcoin payments on checkout.

Only time will tell whether Bitcoin has the power to revolutionize the internet and ecommerce the way some people believe it will, but Firoz Patel has made it clear that he is willing to explore new options for Payza and provide cutting edge service to Payza's members.

Friday, 27 March 2015

The Importance of Inclusion: Firoz Patel Helps Bring Payza to Bangladesh

Most of us have come to expect the first-world comforts of a computer, a laptop, a smartphone, a tablet or even a smartwatch. In fact, more than a few of us own several, if not all, of those items. They aren’t just our phones, they’ve become lifeline. We connect to the world around us through these new technologies. Yet, not every part of the world has access to such basic luxuries as an Internet connection. Bangladesh, for instance, struggles with reliable access to broadband that is stifling innovation.

The Internet age is at its infancy in places like Bangladesh, and ecommerce is only just beginning to take form. Firoz Patel and the platform Payza are taking a leading role in shaping the industry’s development in these economically disadvantaged parts of the world. Payza has been serving the working-class population of Bangladesh since its formation in 2012, and the company has brought revolutionary online remittance and payment processing services to more than 150 million residents who live there.

“We’re interested in many developing markets,” said Firoz Patel, “people living in these countries have difficulties to overcome that people in developed nations can’t even imagine. This breeds ingenuity. Coming from this type of environment helps you develop different ways of looking at and solving problems. At Payza, we want to give these people every possible opportunity to participate in the global economy.”

For more information on how Payza will impact e-commerce in Bangladesh, visit the Payza Blog: Bangladesh e-Commerce Scene Ready to Jump to the Next Level.