9 Simple (but Essential) Communication Rules for Success

Effective communication is extremely important in business. Not only do we want to send clear marketing messages to our customers–and customers to be–but we need to make sure that we build and maintain clear lines of communication with the members of our team.

Although most every leader knows the importance of communication for the success of their organization, their people, and themselves, a surprising number of leaders fail in this vital skill. According to a recent survey by Manpower and DDI, only 10 percent of frontline leaders are effective at conveying performance expectations, and facilitating clear agreement on next steps.

This is a problem.

According to Dr. Loretta Malandro, founder and CEO of The Malandro Consulting Group, and author of the book Speak Up, Show Up, and Stand Out, becoming a powerful communicator is possible by following 9 commonsense, but essential rules.

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Taiwan Startup iFit Raises $3M Series A To Expand Into China And Southeast Asia

iFit, an online fitness and weight loss community based in Taiwan, has raised a $3 million Series A led by Cherubic Ventures, with investors including Yuan-jin Capital, Sino Strategy Group, Alan Chien, and Ming-zhe Ou, the former general manager of Lenovo Taiwan.

The company says it will use its Series A to expand its online-to-offline business model, introduce new products like diet meals, and hire more employees.

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The Best iPhone Apps of the Year, According to Apple

At the end of every year, Apple releases a list of the best iPhone apps.

Apple is known for being extremely selective, and this year’s list contains a mixture of everything — from helpful productivity apps to cutting-edge games with stunning graphics.

We’ve collected all of Apple’s top picks in one tidy place for you to learn more about each one and download your favorites.

Waterlogue turns your photos into artistic watercolors.

Image credit: Waterlogue | iTunes

Waterlogue lets you watch as it paints over your photos to create a beautiful watercolor version. There’s 14 different styles, and you can create the perfect picture by tweaking wetness, pen outlines, and colors.

Price: $2.99

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What Does It Really Take to Be an Entrepreneur? 6 Beliefs That Are Dead Wrong

Do you believe all entrepreneurs are charismatic and daring? According to Bill Aulet, lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, you’re very much mistaken. Beginning in January, Aulet will be teaching online courses designed for aspiring entrepreneurs as part of edX, an online education initiative from Harvard and MIT.

Aulet is a serial entrepreneur himself. He’s raised more than $100 million in funding for his companies, one of which made it onto the Inc. 5000. Here’s a taste of his wisdom about what doesn’t–and does–make a successful entrepreneur:

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3 Social-Marketing Predictions for 2015

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away traditional advertising vehicles like commercials and print ads were viable purchase-influence methods for brands and retailers. However, today’s consumers are about as receptive to these methods as Star Wars fans were to Jar Jar Binks.

As social and mobile are now driving forces in the path-to-purchase, the very definition of “shopping” is evolving at a lightning-fast pace. Taking a page from the George Lucas-helmed film franchise, here’s how a new wave of social and mobile marketing is changing the retail game in 2015:

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The 5 Essentials for Aligning Your Budget With Your Business Strategy

In order to enable your business to function smoothly and do better, it is not only important that your budget mirrors its strategic goals, but you also need to have specific guidelines with regard to the steps to achieving those goals.

In today’s dog-eat-dog world, businesses need to be capable of managing their financial resources to be able to deal with unforeseen challenges.

A disconnect between the budget and business strategy can result in lackluster budgeting and poor strategy implementation, which could spell doom for a business.

It is only when the budget is brought in line with the business strategy that you know their impact on each other, and where to most effectively allocate spending and investments.

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Snapdeal, One Of India’s Leading E-commerce Sites, Acquires Wishpicker To Deliver Better Product Recommendations

Snapdeal, one of India’s largest e-commerce businesses, has acquired Wishpicker, a tech platform that uses machine learning to deliver recommendations for gift purchases. The deal’s financial terms were undisclosed.

The company says this is the fifth acquisition it has made so far. Back in April, the company, whose competitors include Amazon India and Flipkart, announced that it had purchased Doozton.

Since folded into Snapdeal’s main site, Dootzon, a fashion products discovery site, was also geared toward matching shoppers with products they are likely to purchase. Other companies Snapdeal has acquired include group buying site Grabbon in 2010; sports retailer esportsbuy.com in 2012; and Shopo.in, a marketplace for handmade items, in 2013.

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