Have you ever had a great manager? Someone who made you extra excited to go to the office and do your best work possible every day.

How did they do that?

Even though management is an essential skill for most business owners, it’s often overlooked as something that needs to be learned and practiced. This can have negative consequences on factors that directly impact the bottom line, including team productivity, employee turnover, and client relations. Thankfully, because it is a skill and not some innate talent — anyone can improve their management capabilities.

Earlier this month, we shared some helpful management tips from the Thirukkural, a 2,000-year old classic Tamil text, for our weekly Book Corner. Here are three more tips from a modern text — Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion by George J. Thompson — to improve your team management skills.

Tip #1: Stay humble.

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Thompson’s first tip is that no matter how large your business grows, never lose touch with the front line. Even if most of your work becomes planning and directing at a high level, spend at least a few hours per month working in the field.

Taking some time to do the work that your team is doing ensures that you maintain real-time knowledge of what is happening at every level of your business. It is also a way to gain the respect of those who work for you and to show them respect as well.

Tip #2: Forget yourself.

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The moment you begin managing others, you are no longer one person — you are your team. That means that the success of your team members takes the spotlight over your own individual career success. This echoes the tip from the Thirukkural that your job as a manager is to make sure your people have everything they need to succeed.

The main point: look after your people, and you shall rise.

Tip #3: Punish positively.

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Everyone makes mistakes, including the people who work for you. How you respond to those mistakes defines who you are as a manager.

For example, it may be tempting to blow up in frustration at an employee who disappears for multiple hour-long breaks everyday without clocking out or letting anyone know. But yelling at them will not make them want to do a better job. In fact, it’d probably have the opposite effect.

In his book, Thompson makes the point that the goal of punishment is positive, so the tone and language should be positive, too. Never show anger when disciplining a team member. Make corrections using disinterested language that shows no bias. The moment you show anger or condescension when you punish is the moment you lose power in the situation and cause permanent harm.

You can express displeasure if you need to. Just don’t do it while you are disciplining. Make it a separate conversation.

Keep practicing.

Management is an essential skill that can make or break your business, so it is worth taking the time to learn, practice, and improve your capabilities. No matter how happy and productive your team is, there is always room for improvement, and bettering your management skills will always be a step in the right direction.

AirSend is a versatile digital workspace for professionals to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you as your business grows here.

Introducing AirSend’s new weekly theme…drum roll please…productivity trends!! Every Friday, we will be releasing a new post on the latest productivity trends that are happening in the world. We figured, instead of us giving you great advice, let everyone else give them to you. For more productivity advice, check out our podcast recommendation. Without further ado, let’s begin with the first current trend. 

Break Time! 

According to a recent study done by AtmanCo, quantity is no longer equivalent to quality. In other words, the more time you work (quantity), the less quality you produce. “Less can be sometimes more,” (Roy, 2019). Based on their study, it is concluded that taking short breaks to move around, stretch, socialize, or even contemplating a screensaver, “can increase concentration and performance at work,” (Roy, 2019).

Zero Waste

What is Zero Waste you might ask? You didn’t? Well, we asked for you anyway. In the past year, Zero Waste has increased in popularity. Not only does it benefit the environment, but it has also been proven to make those who implement the strategy more productive. According to Mandy Gilbert, founder, and chief executive of Creative Niche, Zero Waste involves, “eradicating your workplace operations so that not one ounce of garbage goes into the landfill,” (2019). By taking on the challenge of Zero Waste, goals and challenges are created that can help bring your team together, i.e. bonding. Gilbert further mentions that setting goals and benchmarks is a great way to keep everyone involved, and therefore more motivated and connected to the cause. 

Maximizing Soft Skills!

Due to the ever-present influence of our new and upcoming generation, soft skills have become one of the top leading productivity trends. “Soft skills are the personal attributes, personality traits, inherent social cues, and communication abilities needed for success on the job,” (Doyle 2020). Essentially soft skills are similar to emotions, the ability to create and innovate, and characterize a persons’ interaction with others. The way soft skills implement further productivity is by allowing expressive creativity, communication, and leadership skills. After all, creativity leads to innovation. For more information on understanding soft and hard skills, check out this article, here.  

Summation

There are plenty of hacks, tricks, methods, and tactics to become more productive. Of course, that’s our job to tell you what the latest trends are, so stick around for next week to see the latest, latest trends. To briefly cover this week’s productivity motto: take breaks, get rid of unconventional work items, and embrace your creativity/soft skills. 

AirSend is a versatile digital workspace to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you.

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How are you doing? The end of January is a great time to check-in with yourself on the goals you set at the beginning of the year. Hopefully, we’re all still working hard at our new year resolutions. If not, no worries. This blog post is here to give you that extra push you need to keep going.

Whether your resolutions are to be healthier, increase work performance, improve financial well-being, or a combination of those, the top three 2020 health trends can make it easier for you to achieve your goals. Here are the top current health trends to increase wellness and boost productivity.

Trend #1: Meditation

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Meditation has been mainstream a while now, and it remains a crowd favorite for everything from stress-relief to anti-aging. Other health benefits of meditation include:

As you can see, many of the benefits you can get from meditation have a clear connection to productivity.

So how do you start?

If you’re tech-savvy, there are meditation and mindfulness apps that can help. Two top-rated ones are Calm and Headspace. There are also many videos and articles with simple step-by-step instructions. Here’s a good one to start with: Go to Video >>>

No matter how you choose to start, the important thing is to do it consistently, even if it’s just three minutes a day.

Trend #2: Healthy Snacks

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What is your go-to snack in the middle of the afternoon when you just want something to nibble? If your answer is a bag of chips or a candy bar, this next health trend is for you.

It’s easy to overlook what our snacking habits do to our health and work performance, but what you snack on can have a big impact. For example, most chips and candy bars are 150 – 200 calories per serving and high in carbohydrates. Eat a few per day and say goodbye to your fitness goals and hello to carb hangovers — both barriers to a healthy, focused, and productive you.

So what should you have instead?

Here are some alternatives that will satisfy your hunger and keep you healthy and productive:

Like most things in life, the key to healthy snacking is finding a good balance. Don’t be afraid to explore and keep switching it up until you find what works for you.

Trend #3: Fitness Challenges

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Studies show a positive correlation between physical movement and workplace well-being and productivity. This isn’t surprising considering the benefits of exercise. Exercise improves sleep, mental health, and mood. It also tells your body to release chemicals that enhance brain structure and function.

We all know that we need to work out. The problem is getting ourselves off the couch. If working out feels like a chore or you’ve been having trouble getting started, a fitness challenge might help.

Fitness challenges appeal to our competitiveness. Many also come with the additional benefit of community support and accountability. Here are a few popular ones to consider:

Ready, get set, go!

Being healthy and more successful are the most common new year resolutions, and they go hand-in-hand. Taking steps to improve your mental and physical health will always positively impact productivity.

Wishing you a healthy, productive, and successful 2020!

The AirSend Team

AirSend is a versatile digital workspace for professionals to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you as your business grows here.

In our previous post about how to hire well, we talked about some tips on hiring the right person that can be learned from the Thirukkural. But putting together a great team is only the first step. Next you need to figure out how to manage your team in a way that is easy for you and effective in getting work done.

Again, the Thirukkural can help.

The Thirukkural is a 2000-year old classic Tamil text written by Thiruvalluvar on every aspect of life, including leadership. It is considered one of the most important texts in Tamil literature and has been admired by many influential people over the years, including Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi.

Over 40 translations of the text exist, but many are outdated and difficult to apply to modern times. That’s why we chose the easily relatable modern rendition of the text written by Kannan to use for this post.

Here are three tips on how to manage your team successfully.

Tip #1

அறிந்தாற்றிச் செய்கிற்பாற் கல்லால் வினைதான்
சிறந்தானென் றேவற்பாற் றன்று.

“Assign the task to those who know it, can plan, execute and get it done; and not to the most prominent, or likeable, person.”

– modern rendition of the Thirukkural by Kannan
Source: unDraw

If you read our previous blog post, this tip might sound familiar. Just like with hiring, when it comes to choosing which of your team members should do a task, be sure you select based on ability and not likeability or popularity.

This can be hard to do. We all want to be good to our friends, but at the end of the day, things need to get done. This is especially true in a small business where every resource (time, money, energy) counts. And despite our good intentions, the best person to get those things done may not be the best liked.

Tip #2

வினைக்குரிமை நாடிய பின்றை யவனை
அதற்குரிய னாகச் செயல்.

“After figuring out who should own a task, equip and empower him to get the task done.”

– modern rendition of the Thirukkural by Kannan
Source: unDraw

One you’ve chosen the right person for the job, the next part of your job as their manager is to make sure they have everything they need to succeed.

This could be knowledge, time, or financial resources. Whatever it is, if they don’t have it — provide it or point them in the direction where they can find it. Sometimes this process is called unblocking. A good manager’s job is to remove any roadblocks that are keeping her team from succeeding. The key is to set up the right conditions for excellent work to be created, and then to let it happen.

You don’t want to be totally hands off if its obvious your team member needs help. This could leave them feeling unsupported and lead to bad work. But, you also don’t want to micromanage. This leads us to the third tip.

Tip #3

இதனை யிதனா லிவன்முடிக்கு மென்றாய்ந்
ததனை யவன்கண் விடல்.

“This task – he can do, using these resources : once you reason it out thus, leave the task to him.”

– modern rendition of the Thirukkural by Kannan
Source: unDraw

Don’t micromanage. You hired this person for a reason, and you chose them to do this task for a reason. Once you’ve provided them with all the necessary resources, trust that they will do a good job and leave them to it.

Micromanagement is a killer of team energy. It’s exhausting to deal with and exhausting to do. So don’t do it.

Instead, manage through context rather than control. Context is the information behind all the decisions of an organization. People who have the same responsibilities have the same context. So context isn’t based on individuals, it’s based on function. The stronger context you create for your team, the less control you need to exert to get things done.

Feeling better about team management?

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Management is a skill, so it takes knowledge and practice to get things right. These ancient, time-tested tips will start you on the right path for both you and your business to succeed.

AirSend is a versatile digital workspace for professionals to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you as your business grows here.

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The start of a new year is a great time to review your previous year in business and set a new vision for the coming year. New year resolutions get a bad rap for being overly positive goals that never actually get done, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The difference between a new year resolution that gets accomplished and one that doesn’t is the goal-setting process. So instead of giving up on new year resolutions entirely, why not try a different way of setting them?

Below is a short but effective visioning process to help you make 2020 your best business year yet.

Step 1: Reflect on the Past

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Pull out your journal, laptop, or a piece of paper and take a few minutes to answer these questions. Your answers can be as simple or detailed as you like. Do what feels right to you.

  1. What were some of the high and low points for your business in 2019?
  2. What are some entrepreneurship lessons you learned throughout the year?
  3. Which things do you want to take with you and what do you want to leave behind in 2020?

Step 2: Observe the Present

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The next step is to assign a rating to each major area of your business based on your current state. On a scale of 1-10, rate the following:

  • Client / Customer Relations
  • Product / Service Quality
  • Team Collaboration
  • Sales / Marketing
  • Finances
  • Overall State of the Business

Step 3: Envision the Future

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After you’ve assessed the present, it’s time to envision the coming year in business and what you want it to be. Write a short story (a few paragraphs) about your ideal year and write it in the present tense as if it’s happening right now.

For example, if getting more clients is something you want, one of your paragraphs might start like this: “I am spending more time networking and am landing more clients per week than 2019.”

Try to take at least fifteen minutes for this part of the exercise and think about what you really want to do. How do you want to feel? What would be fun? What would be a worthy challenge?

Step 4: Set a Theme

Source: GIPHY

In our blog post about start-ups, we talked about the importance of having an overarching vision for your company and product. A vision guides you like the North Star. It keeps you from getting lost in the day-to-day by reminding you of what you’re working towards.

The final step is to give your 2020 a theme. Some examples could be: “2020 – The Year of Expansion and Revenue Growth” or “2020 – The Year of Mindful Habits and Work / Life Balance.”

Write down your theme and pin it somewhere where you will see it everyday.

Ready for an amazing 2020?

At AirSend, we like to give credit where it’s due. This process is something we first discovered on an excellent business coaching Instagram. You can view the original post here. You can also click here for a longer, more personal and detailed version of the process.

We hope that your 2020 is off to a great start and that it only gets better from here!

Happy New Year from The AirSend Team!

AirSend is a versatile digital workspace for professionals to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you as your business grows here.

Meditation is defined as a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. Meditation has been known to reduce stress, control anxiety, promote emotional health, and more. There are two major styles of meditation:

  • Focused-attention meditation: Concentrates attention on a single object, thought, sound or visualization. It emphasizes ridding your mind of attention and distraction.
  • Open-monitoring meditation: Encourages broadened awareness of all aspects of your environment, train of thought and sense of self. It may include becoming aware of thoughts, feelings or impulses that you might normally try to suppress.

According to Johnson and Kristeller (2005), meditation often is associated with solitary retreat, if not the preoccupation with one’s own concerns. The question they propose is, “how, then, does such a practice promote compassion for others?” Through their research, the authors proposed a two-stage model. “The first stage involves disengagement from usual preoccupation with self‐reinforcing, self‐defeating, or self‐indulgent behaviors and reactions; the second involves a focused engagement with a universal human capacity for altruistic experience, love, and compassion,” (Johnson and Kristeller 2005). Their findings indicate that with meditation comes altruistic behavior and self-compassion, therefore by enforcing a positive and healthier mindset.

This blog post will explain how meditation is a proactive practice by listing its benefits, why it is now becoming the new practice in business, and mention a few successful leaders that have taken up the practice. Ultimately, meditation has now become a practice that has helped leading businesses and leaders find further success. Let’s start with the benefits. 

Meditation is a Stress Reducer

When increased by mental and physical stress, the hormone cortisol, a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands, can produce harmful effects, such as inflammation-promoting chemicals. Many styles of meditation can help reduce stress, such as Mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation is the psychological process of purposely bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present without judgment. 

Enhances Self Awareness

Some forms of meditation, such as self-inquiry meditation, aim to help develop a stronger understanding of the self. Understanding the self, or self-awareness has been found to improve self-esteem, reduce feelings of loneliness, and development of empathy. Essentially, self-inquiry meditation helps with the process of knowing/finding yourself. This style is also a great starting point for making positive changes. 

Meditation Improves Sleep

Meditation helps control or redirect the racing “runaway” thoughts that most people experience each night. Further, mindfulness meditation can help relax the body, releasing the tension, and placing you in a peaceful state. In addition to better sleep quality, meditation also helps with better memory and self-observation. Now that I have listed some benefits, allow me to introduce the effects of meditation in relation to business.

Meditation=Discipline

In addition to the benefits listed above, which are also beneficial to business, I will list more specific-oriented benefits that focus on your most valuable asset: the mind. By not immediately reacting to feelings of pain and pleasure, we toughen our minds and boost our sense of inner peace. Additionally, we broaden our perspective and capability to understand things that stress us out. Unfortunately, most things in our life are out of our control. However, we can control OUR minds. Through patience and persistence, which is also the key to success in terms of business,  meditation teaches discipline through the mind. The effects of discipline allow the mind to stay focus, become resilient, especially for overworked CEOs, and improve long-term mental health.

“I came to meditation in my own life during a very stressful work period that then turned into a very stressful personal period. But it freed me from so much pain. It completely inverted my entire point of view on life. I’ve been meditating consistently….and I’ve seen an exponential impact. In terms of scale, the more you do the greater the reward. More than linear.”

Ray Dalio

Communicate Effectively While Under Stress

An important trait for entrepreneurs, especially while under stress, is to communicate effectively. Mindfulness meditation can alleviate this stress. Instead of avoiding daily issues, such as investor oversight or negotiations, you can confront them with a level head, therefore increasing the rate of success. With mindfulness meditation, you can hone your communication skills, thus ensuring future personal/professional growth and success. 

Awaken a Deeper Creativity

Allowing yourself some time for peace and quiet will allow your mind for some decompression. Why is it important to give our minds some decompression? Silly question, but it is so your mind can refresh itself and allow you to tap into a deeper and creative self. Additionally, giving yourself some quiet time, allows the mind to better manage emotions effectively and productively.

It is hard to be told that failure=success; however, with mindfulness meditation, the idea of failure makes for more of a positive and motivational feeling. Why? Again, it is because you have given your mind to breathe and understand all the things that went wrong, instead of trying to overload yourself with emotion. Meditation allows for better control of emotions and allows a level head, which is what everyone needs when they are in the face of failure. After all, the way you deal with your failure is what defines your next innovative project. 

“You cannot change the past, other people or the outcomes you will face as an entrepreneur. However, the one thing you can do is be in control of yourself. In doing so, you will easily find that certain situations, your lifestyle and ultimately your business will prosper with a new mindset.”

Kumar Arora

Enjoy the ease of productivity with all the benefits of guided meditation.

Successful Leaders

Now, if you are not fully convinced that meditation is the right practice for you, let me introduce to you a few successful leaders that may change your mind.

AirSend helps the average busy bee create a versatile digital workspace to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you.

We’ve all been there before. We experience the high of being productive, and then one day we just stop. We aren’t experiencing a crisis or anything (at least most of us aren’t), but we just experience the feeling of unproductivity. Telling ourselves to be productive isn’t doing anything, therefore we don’t. Well, that all ends now. Here at AirSend, we have come up with a list of disciplines that is guaranteed to keep the productivity train in motion. 

Stop Multitasking.

While the idea of multitasking sounds amazing, it actually slows down the productivity train. Having multiple tabs opens actually increases stress, and reminds us that we have unfinished assignments. Pace yourself! Take your time and create a schedule of what you will accomplish. In essence, learn how to manage your time. It’s not easy, but once you get the hang of time management, productivity becomes much easier.

Take Breaks.

While it may seem like taking scheduled breaks periodically is counterintuitive, it actually improves concentration. If you have a set of tasks ahead of you or a long task, scheduled breaks maintain performance levels. Give your mind a refresher. Taking 15-minute breaks three-five times a day is suggested. Lie down, color, eat, watch your favorite youtube video, knit, exercise, read, do whatever you need to do to relax and refresh yourself. Additionally, having scheduled breaks gives you something to look forward to. 

Add Aesthetics to Your Life.

Research shows that adding pleasing elements to your workspace can increase productivity by up to 15 percent. Add things that will make you smile such as, candles, knick-knacks, pen collection, motivational signs, whatever makes you happy. By having aesthetic, you will feel more inclined to be productive; simply because you have things around you that make you smile. 

Eat a Live Frog!

Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” It’s a metaphor, calm down. Don’t actually go hunting for a live frog. The ‘eat the live frog’ technique is actually an immense asset to productivity. Brian Tracy explains this technique. Summed up, your frog is the most crucial task on your to-do list. It is usually the task we tend to save for last or even procrastinate.

Well, according to Tracy, the key to reaching high levels of performance and productivity, is to actually conquer your frog first thing in the morning. “If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first,” Tracy. In essence, if you have multiple crucial tasks, take on the hardest, or in this case the ugliest, one. “Discipline yourself to begin immediately and then to persist until the task is complete before you go on to something else,” Tracy.

Get Organized and Limit Distractions.

This is a two-in-one double-decker sandwich. Research says people who have messy workspaces tend to be less efficient and more frustrated. Note that being organized is different from having an aesthetic workspace. Aesthetics= happiness; similarly, clutter=sadness. To improve your mental help and work efficiency, retire all things unnecessary from your workspace; and this includes distractions such as cell-phones, iPods (if those still exist), books, lotion, chapstick, chargers, unnecessary tabs open, etc. If it helps, mute your notifications, so you don’t have a waterfall of notifications pouring down your screen. 

Follow these disciplines, and I guarantee your productivity train will be full-speed ahead. 

AirSend is a versatile digital workspace to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. With AirSend, we apply the aesthetics, multitasking, and organization. See how AirSend can help you.

In our previous post about branding, we talked about some of the lessons we learned along the way to develop and launch a product successfully in four months. As we discussed previously, one of the keys to bootstrapping your way to a successful new product or service launch in less than half a year is having a clear vision and roadmap.

But clarifying your vision and roadmap is only the first part of developing a complete brand.

The next part is deciding how you are going to communicate those aspects of branding (vision, mission, guiding principles, and core values) with the world. Communicating these aspects helps not only your customers but also your team know what you are all about. If done correctly, it lets your customers know what to expect from you and it lets your team know what is expected of them.

Logo and Brand Voice = Face of Your Product

Source: unDraw

With AirSend, we built a contextual workspace that brings all your conversations, files, and to-do lists into one place so that you can get work done better and faster. This workspace will save millions of hours for professionals who work with clients, improve their focus and quality of life, and help them get work done faster and more easily.

So how do we communicate that with the world? There are a lot of different approaches to marketing, but the most basic and necessary step before social media, ads, and press kits is to decide on your logo and brand voice, or the face of your product.

The AirSend Logo

When trying to decide on a logo, think about what you want your logo to convey.

What attributes of the product should it represent? What feelings do you want it to evoke?

We spent weeks thinking about these questions before we chose a dandelion to represent AirSend. We chose the dandelion because it is simple and accessible, yet wondrously capable. Dandelion seeds spread over vast distances quickly and effortlessly through their perfect design.

Like the dandelion, AirSend is about effortless connection. AirSend makes communication a breeze and is built for easy, every-day use to connect people to get work done.

If you get stuck, try listing out the top three best attributes of your product. Then, try thinking of plants, animals, items, or symbols that also have those attributes.

The AirSend Brand Voice

Source: unDraw

The other way that you communicate your brand is through your brand voice. This is the voice you use to write everything from emails to website copy. And since it is often the first impression that customers have of you, it’s important you develop your brand voice wisely.

For AirSend, we wanted to continue with the theme of simplicity and accessibility that we started with our dandelion logo. AirSend is for all professionals and their clients, so we want to make sure that we use simple language free that is of technical jargon.

Show who you are.

There are many other aspects of branding, such as brand colors, typography, visual design, and marketing content, but your logo and voice are the guiding factors when it comes to how you communicate your brand to the world.

At the end of the day, branding is about letting people who you are and what your product is all about. So first, know who you are and what you are offering. Then, announce it to the world.

It’s as simple as that.

To see the complete AirSend branding guide, click here.

Running a business has been described as “insomniatic,” “constant,” and “challenging.” It’s not for everyone, but for those who choose entrepreneurship, the process and result of creating a new brand and launching a product or service can be highly rewarding. The excitement and sense of accomplishment that come from solving a problem and sharing your solution with the world far outweigh the stress of never-ending coffee breaks and sleepless nights.

AirSend began as a desire to make something new that would help take us to the next level of success as a company with prior experience in file storage and sharing.

As with many bootstrapped start-up product launches, the story of AirSend is one of camaraderie, vision, and leadership. We went from product concept to MVP launch in four months and created a digital workspace for professionals and creatives that has already begun to garner high praise from users.

We wanted to share our story because we think it could be helpful to other entrepreneurs.

These are the lessons we learned through the process of creating the AirSend brand story to launch our MVP.

Lesson #1: Every good solution begins with a worthy problem.

The best products and services make your customers’ lives easier, and the way to do that is to solve a problem.

So how do you find a worthy problem?

We used three criteria to find our problem space.

  1. The problem needed to be personal — something the team could relate to with ease.
  2. The problem needed to be an issue faced by large numbers of people on a daily basis (thus generating the possibility of millions to billions of future customers).
  3. The problem needed to have a solution that we could provide which would have a transformative impact on customers’ lives by saving them time and money or improving their quality of life.

After extensive team brainstorming using our criteria as a framework, the problem we zeroed in on is context switching at work.

What is context switching?

Source: unDraw

Context switching refers to the act of jumping, or switching, between different tasks and apps. It requires significant mental energy and has been called a killer of productivity.

As a team, we experienced the negative impact of context switching on a daily basis when we created our first product — FileCloud, an enterprise file sharing platform that is currently used by millions of users in 3000+ organizations across 90+ countries. Working as a bootstrapped start-up meant that everyone was constantly juggling multiple tasks and apps to get work done. We also saw the negative impact of context switching on FileCloud customers since the product gave us an inside view on how people do work and share files.

Context switching was a problem that we could deeply relate to; it is a problem that is faced by almost everyone; and because of its large negative impact on productivity, creating a solution to this problem — which we did with AirSend — would have a transformative impact on customers’ lives.

Lesson #2: Have a clear vision so you know where you are going.

Once we had our problem, we needed to form a clear picture of our destination. We needed to give voice to our vision.

Vision is all about the future. It’s the North Star that guides you over mountains, across rivers and oceans, through seemingly insurmountable challenges.

When forming your vision, make sure it, like the North Star, is lofty and inspiring. A vision is what keeps the team going through those sleepless nights. It is fuel for passion and a guiding light that ensures everyone continues to work towards the same goal.

Our vision for AirSend is: Connecting People to Get Work Done.

We want to help people increase productivity — get work done better and faster. And we want to do that by making it easier to connect and collaborate by addressing the issue of context switching.

Research says context switching can cost up to 40% of your time (one to three hours of an eight-hour work day).

Imagine if AirSend helped reclaim just 15 minutes of productivity per day for 10 million people (just 0.14% of the world’s population). That would be 625 million productive hours per year, or $10.6 billion of additional productivity based on a median hourly wage of $17.00 per hour.

Even a small improvement to productivity can bring transformative benefits to society. If we can accomplish the above, then we will have achieved our vision.

Lesson #3: Choose the path you’re taking to get to where you want to go.

Source: unDraw

After homing in on our North Star, we needed to clearly define the road we were going to take to get there. This is where mission comes in.

While vision is all about the future, mission is about what you are doing right now and who you are serving to reach your vision. Mission is the strategy, the actions that you need to take on a consistent basis, to accomplish your vision.

While context switching affects all professionals, it is worst for freelancers, creatives, lawyers, accountants, and other professionals who work with clients. These professionals not only need to handle work context, they also deal with client context on a daily basis.

We decided to make AirSend about solving the problem of context switching for these professionals, so our mission became to build a people-centric digital workspace that is easy to use, fast, and functional so that professionals and their clients can get work done.

Lesson #4: Decide on your mode of transportation.

Once we had a clearly defined path, it was time to decide how we were going to travel that path — we needed to develop our guiding principles.

Guiding principles are an extension of your mission statement. They tell you how to execute your mission and give your team a solid vehicle to get where you want to go.

We believe that for a digital product to become beloved and iconic, it has to be blazing fast, immensely appealing, and of high value to its users. With these factors in mind, we decided on the following guiding principles to fulfill AirSend’s vision and mission:

Source: unDraw
  • Easy, Fast and Functional — Our product needs to be easy to use, fast, and functional at all times.
  • Exceptional Utility and Value Pricing — We will offer exceptional utility at a compelling price point to make our product accessible to as many people as possible.
  • Perfection with Purpose — We will work with purpose towards perfection in everything we do, from design to development and beyond. Perfection may be impossible, but we will never give up. That is perfection with purpose.

Lesson #5: Know who you are.

Source: unDraw

At the end of the day, who are you? In other words, what are your core values? Knowing the answer to that question has a huge impact on everything that you and your team accomplish.

Clearly defining your core values is essential. It is the final piece of the picture. Your problem is your reason to start the journey, your vision is your North Star, your mission is your path, your guiding principles are your vehicle, and your core values are you.

Without Odysseus there would be no Odyssey. Similarly, a team without core values isn’t a team.

Our values are that we are customer-centric and authentic. That means we strive to solve the difficult real-world problems that matter most to our customers, and we stay true to ourselves by adhering to that purpose.

Summary

Here is a summary of what we came up with after going through the above brand creation process.

Our Vision

Connecting People to Get Work Done.

We envision a world where professionals and clients connect and collaborate quickly and easily to get work done.

Our Mission

Our mission is to transform the way professionals work with clients by providing a people-centric digital workspace that is easy to use, fast, and functional.

Our Guiding Principles

  • Easy, Fast, and Functional — We ensure that AirSend is easy to use, fast, and functional.
  • Exceptional Utility and Value Pricing — We strive to offer exceptional utility at a compelling price point to make our product accessible to as many people as possible.
  • Perfection with Purpose — We work with purpose towards perfection in everything we do, from design to development and beyond. Perfection may be impossible, but we will never give up. That is perfection with purpose.

To see the complete AirSend branding guide, click here.

The journey continues.

Based on our vision, mission, guiding principles, and core values, we built a contextual workspace that brings all your conversations, files, and to-do lists into one place so that you can get work done better and faster. This workspace will save millions of hours for professionals who work with clients, improve their focus and quality of life, and help them get work done faster and more easily. But the AirSend journey is far from over. In fact, it has just begun.

One of the key pillars that has helped us create and launch a product successfully has been the work we put in to defining who we are and what we want to do as a team. Everything else — the meticulous work that goes into design, development, marketing — is driven and guided by the factors discussed in the lessons we’ve learned so far.

We hope that sharing our story helps you on your own journey of entrepreneurship.

Bon voyage! — The AirSend Team

Source: unDraw

What is a PBC list?

PBC (Prepared/Provided By Client) is a request from external auditors to clients for the things needed to complete an audit. Usually, this begins as a preliminary list to start the audit process. As the audit progresses, the list dynamically increases.

What does a PBC list include?

A PBC list includes the financial documents of a business like its balance sheets and cash flow statements. It also includes any calculations or documentation needed to verify revenue, expenses, loans, and other contractual obligations. Basically, any and all items that impact the business’ finances.

Auditors request the PBC list to ensure that all necessary documents required to complete the audit are in place. This allows the audit to happen smoothly. It also drastically decreases the time the auditor spends conducting the audit.

Source: unDraw

How is a PBC list formatted?

Usually, auditors prepare dynamic PBC lists in an Excel sheet, Word document, or Google sheet. The people responsible for putting the materials together then complete it by circulating it amongst themselves. Each entry is given a specific identification code and description which includes the auditor and custodian name and the date by which it is required. The codes and descriptions help everyone keep track of what is happening.

The actual PBC list materials are shared with auditors through email or a file-sharing platform which the auditors are given access to. The status of materials is then tracked by audit teams. Additional ad hoc requests that auditors make are communicated to businesses through various mediums like email or text. Ad hoc requests form the “dynamic” part of dynamic PBC lists.

Source: unDraw

What are some PBC list challenges?

Challenge #1: Decentralization

Process decentralization is one of the biggest challenges which businesses and auditors face. Decentralization leads to disorganization and confusion, especially when there are many ad hoc requests. Issues like duplicate requests, unavailability of custodians, misplaced documents, and difficulty recovering past audit documentation or references are common. Also, updating the list by matching available items to their respective identification codes and tracking every ad hoc request is a challenge.

Challenge #2: Security

Security can be another issue when documents are shared through a public file sharing service. It goes without saying that financial documents are some of the most sensitive ones for a business. Therefore, sharing them over insecure or unreliable channels can put the business at risk of security breaches.

Source: unDraw

Obviously, there is a great need for auditors and businesses to streamline and centralize the dynamic PBC list process and mitigate security risks through technology.

How can technology address these challenges?

Feature #1: Process Automation

A good way that technology can help handle dynamic PBC lists is to have automated emails and alerts sent when a document is needed and received. Automatic updates to entries in the dynamic PBC list can also help alleviate inconsistencies. These features would mean that the entire audit team has access to all necessary information at all times. Thus, no one has to waste time and energy with repeated follow-ups.

Feature #2: Centralized Dashboard

Another helpful feature to have is a clear dashboard showing the status of multiple PBC lists. That way auditors can easily see what is coming in and what is still in progress all in one place. That will lessen confusion and improve the efficiency of their audits.

Source: unDraw

If a platform can provide the features mentioned above, it will be able to help auditors and businesses achieve the goal of easy, fast, and cost-effective audits.

What is a way to easily manage PBC lists?

AirSend is a digital workspace that allows for clear and easy collaboration. With AirSend, businesses can share files, send messages, complete tasks, and get work done in one space. The ability to create actions with automatic reminders and see alerts in one place make it an ideal option to manage dynamic PBC lists.

Send Messages

Auditors and businesses can have seamless conversations in secure, private channels.

Organize Files

They can complete PBC lists by sharing and organizing files using AirSend’s powerful file management system.

Track Open Items

They can also easily assign actions to track and complete the lists quickly in one place.

Find Everything Fast

No more endless searching for documents or requests. Auditors and businesses can files and open items in seconds.

Source: unDraw

As tax season comes around, its good to know a little about how audits work. As you can see, the right technology can make audits easier for everyone. So what’s your experience with PBC lists? We’d love to hear about it, so comment below.

You can also find out more about AirSend here.