Richard Branson’s 4 Tips on Building a Thriving Tech Startup

Learning from one of the best

Richard Branson is arguably one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the last century. He is responsible for developing the brand “Virgin”, which is one of the most popular brands in the world. Although he is now the owner of companies such as Virgin Airlines and Virgin Galactic, he did not start his entrepreneurial career firing rockets into space. He started in a small basement in London.

Over the course of his life, he has learned a lot concerning how to create a successful startup. The following list shows just a few examples of how the strategies and efforts these companies made to achieve their growth and success, reflect Richard Branson’s ideas on how to start and grow a successful business.

 

Be brave

It is no surprise that Richard Branson would consider being brave as an important factor when creating your own startup. Anyone who began a startup that later became successful must have had some degree of courage. A contemporary startup that proves how Richard Branson’s advice on bravery is a key factor when beginning a startup is the company AvidXchange, inc.

The company was founded in 2000 by Michael Praeger, David Miller, and a few of their buddies in a garage/warehouse-like space in Charlotte, NC. It started out with 5 team members sitting at 5 desks. The function of the business was to automate bill payments and invoices for mid-sized companies. Although the talent and basic idea for the business were there, starting from such humble beginnings does present a little bit of a risk, to say the least.

Little did this group of entrepreneurs know what this company would become 17 years later down-the-road. Now, AvidXchange is a leading fintech provider of accounts payable and payment automation for mid-sized companies. The company now serves over 5000 clients in North America. Its annual revenue is now over $30 million dollars and has over 900 employees. That doesn’t seem too shabby for a company that 17 years prior had only 5 employees. But none of this success would have been possible if they didn’t have the courage to take that initial first step to start their own business.

 

Value your employees

This one seems like a no-brainer. But it does happen that companies will underestimate the value of their employees. Richard Branson makes it abundantly clear that employees (and the way you treat them) are crucial to the success of any startup. A good example of how properly valuing your employees can lead to success can be seen in the company Red Ventures.

Red Ventures is a marketing and sales firm that specializes in online marketing, telephone sales, home services, and insurance markets. This startup was founded by Ric Elias and Dan Feldstein in Charlotte, NC. They founded this tech startup days before the dot-com bubble burst in 2000, but that didn’t stop them from moving forward. The company now has over 2,500 employees and brings in an annual revenue of $234 million. It is now valued at $1 billion dollars.

When asked about the reason behind the success of the company, the senior leadership attributes it directly to its employee base. Co-founder Ric Elias is quoted as saying  “our greatest asset is our people. At work, we believe people should feel free to say what they think, not what the leadership wants to hear. The result is a culture of collaborative employees that do whatever it takes to make sure the team succeeds. We are constantly evolving and finding ways to empower employees to author our story.”

 

Financial backing

Although Richard Branson doesn’t think to have vast amounts of money is crucial when creating a startup, it is important to have access to some capital either from yourself or from investors if you want to get your business up and running. The startup SmartSky Networks, also based in Charlotte, NC,  has been able to do just that to make their game-changing company a reality.

The co-founders of this startup are Stan Eskridge and Ryan Stone. What they set out to accomplish in 2011 was to make WiFi on passenger jets as fast as it is at your home or office. Currently, no airline offers this kind of internet speed simply because the costs were deemed too high. SmartSky, however, has discovered a way to provide high-speed 4G LTE internet, at thousands of feet in the air, for an affordable price. This was only made possible by spending years convincing investors to give them hundreds of thousands of dollars to get their idea off the ground. Finally, in 2018, the company accumulated the multi-million dollars of investment to begin service. This game-changing startup will eventually make it possible for average airline passengers to FaceTime, watch Netflix, and upload large files during air travel. None of this would have been possible if they were not able to get the financial backing.

 

Build a startup that will make people’s lives better

Richard Branson believes that your startup should make the lives of others better in some way, shape, or form. Not only does this attract more customers, but it also ignites inside you a passion to constantly improve your business, knowing that you are truly affecting others in a positive way. One can see a good example of his point in the tech startup SignUpGenius inc.

SignUpGenius is a startup that was founded in 2008 by Dan Rutledge and his wife in Charlotte, NC. It is an online sign-up service for event and volunteer management. Since then, the startup has seen great success. In 2016, 66 million people visited the site to plan a total of 2.3 million events. However, this startup was not founded with the goal of making millions, but simply to help other people. When asked how Dan and his wife founded the company, their answer may surprise you.

“We were having a party for our small church group one time and told people with last names starting with A-M to bring drinks and those with N-Z to bring snacks. We all showed up and were shocked to find that every snack family brought chips and salsa, and every drink family brought diet coke! It was the most disgusting party ever.” He later thought to himself “I’ve got too many important things on my plate to stress about stuff like this. I kept thinking to myself…there has to be a better way to do this. So I set out to create one.”

And that’s exactly what he and his wife did. He created a website for nonprofits to organize events. This ranges from helping volunteers register for a nonprofit event to helping with the scheduling of community events. The organizations that have benefited from his work help house the homeless, give gifts to orphans on Christmas, fundraise for donating cures to diseases, etc.

As your startup grows and thrives, be sure to visit PDFfiller.com to help your company save time and money by going 100% paperless.

7 AI-Based Platforms that Will Affect Recruitment and HR in 2018

Artificial intelligence and machine learning have taken the business world by storm. When it comes to solving critical business problems, these innovative technologies lend more than a helping hand. Recruitment and Human Resources is one of the spheres that could be significantly improved by collaborating with AI companies and integrating their applications. We’ve collected 7 of the most effective and efficient AI solutions that may help enhance talent acquisition and help HR departments find and hire that “perfect fit” for their business.

 

#1 Chatbots: Olivia and Mya

In 2018, chatbots (also known as AI-powered assistants) are expected to be widely used in different segments of HR. This technology is used by many companies to engage with their prospective customers. By implementing chatbots in recruitment, companies can significantly reduce time spent on hiring. Used correctly, chatbots may positively influence the experience of candidates. Olivia and Mya are two chatbots we want to acquaint you with.

Olivia helps HR managers engage with candidates through social channels and different mobile platforms. Due to natural language processing (NLP) and the possibility of scheduling recruitment processes, Olivia makes filling job positions with suitable candidates easier. Mya helps source, screen and schedule recruitment processes. This chatbot also uses NLP. She collects information received in conversation with candidates and creates their profiles.

 

#2 Textio

Textio is a platform that helps build creative job listings. Textio analyzes over 10 million job advertisements a month. This AI-based service can provide you with high-quality guidance on how to make your job posts better.

 

#3 X.ai

X.ai created two AI-assistants: Amy and Andrew. They are fully autonomous and help you easily schedule meetings. They’re offered in three available plans: individual, team and enterprise. Using the individual plan, you do not have to download any software. Andrew and Amy can respond to clients faster than any HR manager and they become smarter while you’re using them. With the team plan, chatbots are able to integrate with your business calendar. The enterprise plan includes all features of the individual and team plans and provides higher security. It helps you enhance the productivity of your team and optimize time management more efficiently.

 

#4 Paññã

Paññã is an AI-based video interview platform that will make the recruitment process less challenging and more effective. The key feature of this platform is live interviews. It includes technical questioning, instant evaluations, feedback systems, chatting and many other elements for screening the perfect candidate.  

 

#5 Engage Talent

Engage Talent is one more AI-based platform that helps recruiters predict when people are ready to change their jobs by creating a database of passive candidates. They analyze data from 30,000 sources about 6 million companies and 100 million professionals. Due to validated AI models, they identify and assess the likelihood of people potentially changing their current jobs. This platform could be a great helping hand for HR managers and recruiters who have many job positions to fill.

 

#6 ClearFit

ClearFit is another service that provides predictive data and objective insights to help recruiters build progressive teams and hire qualified employees. The company has two products: SmoothHiring and CareerSpark. SmoothHiring helps hire qualified candidates faster. CareerSpark is a solution that helps assess people that already work at your company to identify their strengths and weaknesses and enhance their productivity.

 

#7 Filtered

Our last solution for your business for hiring top technical talent is Filtered. This service makes it possible to assess candidates for technical positions without even reading their resumes. If you are not competent in programming and have no idea what questions to ask, the Filtered platform will help assess the candidate with the help of coding interviews based on machine learning and artificial intelligence. Filtered collects thousands of coding exercises of different levels that help screen, assess and eventually hire qualified people.

 

With PDFfiller, you can easily create customized job applications, employment contracts, and agreements. More than 45K HR specialists and recruiters use PDFfiller to edit, sign and send their job offers to candidates. Fast, easy and secure! Try it now to hire talents.

5 Questions You Have a Legal Right to Never Answer in an Interview

Under federal and state law, prospective employers are prohibited from asking questions that are not directly related to the job position they’re hiring for. Asking about religion, gender, color, race, birthplace, disability, national origin, previous salary, marital status or age on an interview is illegal unless job requirements are based on some of these criteria. Such questions are considered legal only if the employer demonstrates that they are BFOQs (bona fide occupational qualifications).

Age/Date of Birth

Employers may find themselves in a situation where it is required to determine the age of an applicant. If a company observes a standard age for retirement, the interviewer must be sure that the candidate is under that age. Or, for example, when a position is aimed at a candidate of minimum legal age (like bartender), inquiring about a candidate’s age is still prohibited. The interviewer may only ask for appropriate documents to be provided (certificate of birth, driving license, etc.) as a confirmation of age. Questions like How old are you? or What is your date of birth? are not legally acceptable. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, you have a right to avoid answering. You may choose to respond with My age is not an issue for my performance in this job.

Race/Ancestry

An employer has a legal right to ask a few questions that relate to race and ancestry if they are pertinent to the job position. Questions like What languages you’re fluent in? and Do you have a legal right to work in the U.S.? are acceptable in the interview. However, when an interviewer asks such questions as Are you a U.S. citizen?, Is English your native language?, What race do you identify as? or Were your parents born in the U.S.?, a candidate is not legally required to answer. When faced with any of these questions, simply state that answering them won’t influence your ability to properly perform the job.

Disability

Questions relating to a candidate’s ability to perform specific tasks are not acceptable in an interview. For example, if an employer asks whether you’re able to carry things weighing more than 25 pounds, you have a right not to answer. Or, if the position you’re applying for requires standing/sitting for the entire shift and the employer wants to know if you’re comfortable with that, you have a right not to answer. Avoid answering questions related to any mental or physical limitations you may have. Job applicants with disabilities in the U.S. are protected by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).

Gender

An employer has no right to take into account gender when assessing your ability to perform a job. However, it is unlikely that during a face to face conversation an interviewer won’t know the gender of a candidate. You should answer gender-related questions only when applying for a position that requires the employer to know your gender (for example, an attendant for a gender-restricted restroom or locker room).

Family/marital status

Some job positions require a candidate to be able to attend late/early meetings or make business trips to distant cities or even countries. This is a reason why employers may wish to know about a candidate’s family status in order to ensure all tasks will be completed properly and without delay. Nevertheless, it is forbidden to ask whether you’re married, have children or inquire about the salary of your spouse. If asked about your marital status, simply state that you’re able to perform all duties regardless of being single, married or divorced.

How to File a Charge of Discrimination

If you believe you’ve been discriminated against by your employer or interviewer because of your gender, religion, disability, age, race, color or marital status, you have a legal right to file a charge of discrimination. Learn how to file a charge with PDFfiller in seconds here.

Make Your PDFs Fillable and Save Them to any Computer or Cloud with Editable Fillable Fields

One of the most common feature requests that PDFfiller’s support team developed over this past year of 2017, was the ability for users to save fillable PDF forms to a computer or cloud storage with editable fillable fields. Now, why exactly is this so important?

The Problem of ’locked’ Fillable Fields Slows Down your Business Workflow

Let’s say you want to send an invoice with fillable fields to be completed by your business partners.

Transforming any static invoice, survey, application, contract or agreement into an interactive fillable PDF form is fun and easy: you just drag and drop smart fillable fields onto your document.

You don’t have to worry that your invoice will look different on a recipient’s desktop or mobile screen: a fillable PDF invoice will preserve the format of the original document.

The problem that arises once you decide to save a fillable PDF form to your computer is that your invoice is no longer dynamic. In other words, the fillable fields in your PDF are not editable. Sending this invoice to your business partners is always a risk: if they don’t have tools for editing PDFs installed on their computer, they won’t be able to quickly fill out and send you the document back. Installing special software like Adobe Acrobat Pro to a computer takes almost an hour and it will cost you somewhere between $180-$250 just for a single download. Besides this, learning the functionality of a complex product for editing PDFs can take up to three hours. As a result, you won’t have all the necessary documents in time to close a deal.

Simplify your Document Workflow and Make Clients Happy

Good news: PDFfiller has managed to solve the problem of ‘locked’ fillable forms. You can now save your fillable document as a PDF file on your computer or cloud storage while preserving the editable fillable fields! You can now share the same fillable document with multiple customers and business partners as many times as you need. Once a recipient downloads a fillable document to a computer, they can quickly complete all fillable fields even if they are offline, simply by using the available desktop tools.

How do I Export my Fillable PDF Form with Editable Fillable Fields?

Once you’ve added and customized fillable fields into your invoice, click the orange DONE button and select Save As from the drop-down menu.

Choose the format for the invoice you’d like to save and specify the destination place.

Set Export Options: enable Save with Fillable Fields to make your invoice editable offline even without special software. Once your clients receive the invoice, they can easily download and complete it on any device in minutes.

If you want to save only the information you’ve added to the fillable fields, enable the Save Content Only function. This option comes in handy if you need to transfer your data to a blank document of any format.

To make sure you never lose your invoice on a hard drive or on cloud storage, add PDFfiller to your document’s name.

Finally, protect your fillable invoice with a password.

Click Save As to download the fillable invoice with the selected options.

Now you’re done! The whole process takes less than a minute. Now you can email your invoice to recipients so they can enjoy completing it offline even without special tools.

 


 

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5 Smart Ways to Reveal Your True Personality from Your Signature

The way you write your name says a lot about your personality. An optimist, a straight shooter, a light-minded or a trustworthy person will reflect their basic character traits each time they sign a document without even realizing it. This article will help you understand yourself better and explore another person’s communicative potential. If you want to figure out what kind of a person your boss is – simply analyze their signature.

What is more, you can improve your own character by making an effort to change your signature. Read the following signature analysis tips and learn how your signature can tell others something special about you:

The size of your signature shows how you value yourself

Analyze the height and extension of your signature. The height defines your self-esteem and the concept of yourself, while the extension reflects projected strength and intensity at the time of closing the deal.

  • An extremely large signature belongs to a bold and confident person, who demands to be noticed. Such individuals often consider themselves superior to others by having greater capacity and wider experience.
  • A medium-sized signature reveals the desire of the person to just fit in. The signer has neither inferiority nor superiority feelings towards others.
  • A smaller signature is a clear sign of a desire to fly under the radar. Such signatures might belong to individuals who experience inferiority, lack of trust or difficulty in social and business communication.

Can others read your signature? Legible signatures reflect a level of responsibility

Try reading the signatures of your co-workers or relatives. In general, a signature is considered legible when you can easily recognize the first and last names.

  • A legible signature reveals a balanced personality that feels identified with oneself. Such people have clear goals, high motivation and a strong sense of responsibility.
  • A semi-legible signature is not easy to read, but it is possible to identify and associate the strokes with the letters. These types of signatures are associated with the feelings of impatience and anxiety at the moment of completing the action.
  • An illegible signature, particularly, in official documents, could be a sign of unwillingness to accept authority. At the same time, if the signature is always illegible, it indicates the writer’s desire to avoid any arguments or conflicts.

Do you underline your signature? This could be a sign of selfishness

Graphologists claim that a straight line underneath the signature indicates family pride. However, could also reveal egoism and a natural tendency for domineering.

On the contrary, a straight line above the signature indicates an individual able to interact with others in a sensitive and tactful way.

Your signature doesn’t match your handwriting? You might be hiding something

Compare your signature with the handwritten body of text. If your signature is completely different from your usual handwriting, you might wish to disclose something about yourself. This mismatch could also signal the presence of the conflicts in personality, feeling unfulfilled or disillusioned by the present life of the signer.

The signature and handwriting of a self-confident, harmonized individual will usually coincide.

Are the letters of your signature connected? That’s totally a good sign.

If your signature looks like a thread connecting the letters, then you are capable of reading other people’s thoughts and can help them solve their issues. People having thread-like signatures is a true pleasure to keep company and work with.

The signature analysis is not an exact science, so you shouldn’t make any hasty conclusions about the true feelings of your spouse or cruel intentions of your new boss. A basic study of signatures and handwriting, however, will help you grasp the writer’s frame of mind, basic traits of character and even discover something you didn’t know about yourself.