Here’s What 11 Successful Entrepreneurs Do Every Day


©iStock/donskarpo

Success is a habit—and like all good habits, you have to work hard to achieve and maintain it.  We [Rieva Lesonsky for Bank of America] talked to 11 small business owners, including Laurel Delaney, about the daily habits they believe contribute most to their success. From exercise to quiet time to diligently tracking sales in QuickBooks, here’s what some successful entrepreneurs do every day.

Reading about other business owners’ daily success rituals is inspiring—but as Delaney says, “We cannot replicate business success by copying another business owner’s daily rituals—we need to cultivate our own.” 

Dive deep into what accomplished entrepreneurs do daily to foster entrepreneurial success.

How Mom-and-Pop Shops Can Thrive, Should You Wake Up at 4 AM Every Day?, How to Retain Your Best Employees and Other Things Entrepreneurs Need to Know

business

18 Things Small Business Owners Need to Know

By Rieva Lesonsky

1—AI & Email

Incorporating AI into your email marketing can help you drive higher conversion rates and sales, although it’s worth mentioning that email marketing in the U.S. already has a high ROI median at 122%—that’s four times higher than social media, direct mail, and paid search, according to the Direct Marketing Association and Demand Metric.

Connext Digital explains why marketers should take advantage of Artificial Intelligence to boost their email marketing campaign in the infographic below.

2— Small Business Week Hackathon

Small Business Weeks kicks off next week and Visa partnered with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to host a three-day hackathon at the Inclusive Innovation Incubator in Washington D.C.

Beginning May 3, local app developers, business owners and idea generators will face the challenge of mashing up APIs from FEMA, the Visa Developer Platform and business continuity planners to solve for how small businesses can restore their revenue streams, finance short and long-term recovery, establish a robust supply chain, deal with power disruptions and keep their employees on the payroll in the aftermath of a major disaster.

This hackathon is a part of Visa’s Back to Business project. Visa found 96% of affected small businesses see revenue losses after a natural disaster and on average it takes businesses $850,000 to fully recover. Visa and SBA are doing their part in helping small businesses establish recovery plans and be prepared for any disaster to strike.

For more information on the National Small Business Week hackathon, please visit the hackathon here.

3—The Psychology of Space

Do you ever think about how much your surroundings affect your mood and your productivity? At home things like unfinished projects or a paint color you really hate can grate on your nerves, adding up to an ongoing low level of stress. Marie Kondo is wildly popular right now precisely because many people realize just how much clutter affects their overall happiness. Even in the workplace your surroundings can affect your health, stress levels, and productivity.

Studies have shown that clutter and unfinished projects can trigger your stress response, and if you don’t address the problem, that stress can build up over time and keep you in a perpetual state of fight or flight. This is a difficult situation to overcome in the workplace because it may not always be immediately apparent who is in charge of taking care of small projects – building manager, business owner, or employee.

Taking back control of your space can help you feel less stressed about your surroundings, which can increase your productivity and make you feel less stressed out at work. It might make a great team building exercise to redo the break room to make it a place where your team will actually want to take breaks!

See the infographic below from The Patch Boys for more information.

4—Which Voice Assistant Has the Most Marketing Potential?

Uberall, Inc., the location marketing solution for businesses competing to attract and win local brick-and-mortar customers, released a new study about how SMB marketers feel about interactive voice technology. Interactive voice is the 2-way engagement that a consumer has with a voice assistant like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri. People can use these assistants in many different places like smart speakers, mobile phones, and connected services at home and on the go.

Here’s what they found:

48% think Amazon Alexa has most marketing potential: followed by: “Google Assistant” (29%), “Apple’s Siri” (17%), “Microsoft’s Cortana” (3%) and “Other” (3%). Florian Huebner, Uberall Co-CEO and cofounder says, “In terms of its install base, Alexa is the most popular voice assistant today. With its rising scale and growing ecosystem, it’s no wonder so many SMB marketers recognize its potential.”

Voice isn’t a major part of most SMB marketing strategies—but spend is rising: When SMB marketers were asked how their organization’s marketing budget for interactive voice channels is changing, 35% say it’s increasing. However, of that group, only 9% say it’s “significantly increasing” while 26% say it was “slightly increasing.” Just 3% say it’s “slightly decreasing” and 1% say “significantly decreasing.” Lagging behind, 38% of SMB marketers don’t do anything with voice.

“With voice technology still in its infancy, it’s possible that SMBs are waiting until it matures—either from a scale or technology point-of-view—before making it a more prominent part of their marketing strategies,” Huebner says. “There is also a learning curve on best practices and campaign development that is likely stalling investments.”

More than half would invest in voice if they had better insight into ROI: The respondents were asked what would make their organization invest more in interactive voice marketing. Their replies: “Better insight into campaign success and ROI” (53%), “more data for campaign targeting and personalization (47%), “lower barrier to entry on the technology side (33%), “more alignment with my performance campaigns” (32%), “deeper/wider integration into the overall product ecosystem (e.g. smart fridges, smart speakers, smart TVs, phones, etc.)” (28%) and “other” (10%).

40% think they should develop their own interactive voice channels: When asked who should be in charge of developing content for interactive voice channels, 40% say “us, the brand/in-house.” Other answers include “creative/content agency” (28%), “other/I’m not sure” (13%), “media-buying agency” (9%), “SEO agency” (7%) and “publisher partners” (3%).

“This is a very new form of marketing, so developing interactive voice content in-house allows SMBs to have a level of control they might not have with third-party vendors,” says Huebner. “It also keeps costs in check. However, most SMBs are just dipping their toe into voice marketing. As their ambitions grow and campaigns become more sophisticated, they will have to outsource more of the development.”

Check out the full study.

5—How Mom-and-Pop Shops Can Thrive

Mom-and-pop shops are typically family-owned and operated businesses that have a small sales volume and limited number of employees, but their value can’t be understated. The term ‘mom-and-pop shop’ can apply to a variety of brick-and-mortar business types, from boutique clothing shops to restaurants, bookstores, and just about everything in between.

Even in the face of competition from big-box stores and online retailers, the mom-and-pop shop isn’t dead. In fact, with more consumers choosing to shop local (and not just on Small Business Saturday), independent retailers are well-positioned to grow because they offer what mainstream competitors lack: personalized, in-store shopping experiences.

Mom-and-pop shops are tasked with being flexible and creative to succeed against competitors, and understanding what customers want is a great place to start. For instance, offering high quality, specialty products that can’t be found elsewhere can set a mom-and-pop shop apart and make it more likely for customers to pay more for niche offerings.

Because mom-and-pop shops are crucial to their communities, especially in boosting the local economy, it’s safe to say that the mom-and-pop shops are here to stay.

Check the infographic below with more tips from Fundera on how to help your mom-and-pop shop thrive against large retailers.

Please include attribution to Fundera.com with this graphic.

How Your Mom & Pop Shop Can Succeed Against Big Retailers

6—3 Ways to Make the 4 AM Club Work For You

Guest post by Judith Nowlin, Chief Growth Officer, Babyscripts. You can reach her here on LinkedIn.

“Early to bed, early to rise makes a [wo]man healthy, wealthy and wise.” – Ben Franklin

You’ve heard it said a million times before: the early bird catches the worm, and in the opinion of many highly successful people, the phrase is much more than a cliché. The benefits of an extremely early morning routine have been touted by so many self-made celebrities that the “4 AM Club” has become a part of the public vernacular. Any web search will pull up a dozen articles with contradictory research on the benefits and downsides of the routine, along with firsthand accounts of people “taking the 4 AM challenge.”

These trials are often full of negative impressions: disorientation in the dark hours before dawn; a mid-afternoon slump that belies productivity; and by dinnertime, the inability to form coherent sentences. And then, almost as quickly as it begins, the challenge is over, sworn off forever as an unrealistic, unachievable, and borderline inhumane goal.

Yet 4 AM remains the magic hour for many world changers like Oprah, Michelle Obama, and Tim Cook, and experience has taught me why. In my world, it’s a time of quiet, focus, determination and accomplishment.

My routine is not without naysayers. An 8 PM bedtime with a 4 AM wake-up call has made me the subject of much critique over the years. Many people feel uncomfortable with my choice, claiming that my practices are unhealthy and not sustainable for the long term. Yet I’ve found deep joy in the practice.

As an entrepreneur and the mother of a growing family, high-paced days at my desk and endless days on the road, are only outpaced by high-energy evenings and weekends with my family of five. My favorite use of this early morning time is for my own personal development and self-care so I can be at the top of my game during the remaining hours of the day. By waking up at 4 AM, I’m able to routinely take time for myself. I work out while listening to audiobooks, I meditate while I stretch, I prepare a healthy breakfast—and most important, I tackle my most critical work of the day while enjoying my espresso—all before 7 AM.

If this is something you’ve wanted to try but haven’t yet managed to find success in, here are a few keys I’ve found to making this routine not only possible, but extremely enjoyable as well:

Check your DNA: Have you ever referred to yourself as a “morning person” or “night owl”? We typically use these terms to indicate our preferred time of productivity—but they can signify something much more fundamental to our being. Our tendency to be productive at certain times of the day is often hard-wired in us, an internal clock that’s determined by our DNA. This genetic predisposition is called our chronotype. If you identify as a night owl, then you can stop reading now. This method is not for you and it never will be. In fact, research shows a correlation to weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease if you try to force an extra early wake-time when your DNA is telling you otherwise. But if you feel like you do your best work in the morning, or maybe you’re not sure, then the 4 AM club could be for you.

Check your watch: The key to making this system work, and to sustaining it, has everything to do with getting to bed at the right time each evening, and being consistent about it. Knowing the exact number of sleep hours that support your peak performance is requisite to success—mine is eight. While I can certainly make accommodations when my schedule forces me to get less sleep, more than a few nights of that in any given month effectively compromises all the systems that work together to make me successful in my day-to-day life. Without enough sleep, my motivation to exercise is zapped, my food choices start moving in a downward spiral, and my productivity at work takes a nosedive.

Check your excuses: If you’re going to take a shot at creating a new early morning routine, you must go into it knowing that this is a no-excuses kind of practice. Follow the 21/90 rule—on average, it takes 21 days (or three full weeks) to form a habit. If the system seems to work for you, another 90 days (about three months) practice is recommended to turn it into a permanent lifestyle change. That said, you can bet your money on the fact that the first few days will be brutal. The first morning your alarm goes off at that other-worldly hour, your instinct will be to hit snooze with your inner voice pleading, “just a few more minutes.” A few more minutes inevitably turns into another hour or two, which is not getting you any closer to seeing if this system really works for you. Try combating this sleep trap by using the Rule of 5 as soon as you hear your alarm go off. When you hear the buzzer, count to five, pop up, and start moving out of bed, no matter how you feel about it in that moment. It’s totally normal to move through the motions of the first part of your morning like a zombie at first, but don’t let that stop you from making a routine of it for a least three weeks. Watch out for that sneaky 10-day slump too—for some people, the excuses come out after we feel like we’ve accomplished something, and we let our guard down.

Above all, know that every person is wired in their own way, and successful habits look different for everyone. Do not try to define yourself by what works for others — instead, let them inspire you to find your own routines that drive you toward your goals.

7—HR Focus: How PR Can Help You Hire and Retain the Best Employees

Guest post by Jennifer Vickery, CEO, National Strategies Public Relations

In HR, we know how important it is to have the best talent feel rewarded, engaged, and part of supporting your organization’s growth. Today we focus on the magic that happens when human resources meets public relations as that’s when we see a true transformation of workplace culture.

For many businesses workplace culture can mean wellness time off, healthy habit campaigns, giving back to the community, and special internal events and rewards. But when HR teams up with PR, we see dramatic change in the way employees are hired and retained through simple efforts.

Here are the top three ways public relations can influence your HR planning for workplace culture and retain your best employees.

1—Asking employees what they believe in. Many times the simple step of surveying employees is missed when developing community efforts. We often see communications and marketing departments taking the reins of designing a community outreach program. While this is great for the overall business, it misses out on the opportunity for HR to tap into the causes that current employees truly care about.

Studies show when employees get to support causes they actually care about and are engaged in through their work, they feel happier and stay longer at their jobs. Why not have HR and PR collaborate on community outreach efforts and make for a solid plan? For more tips on how to do this, read our article here.

2—Spotlight employees with human interest stories. What we’ve learned time and time again is that everyone has a story. All people experience challenges and triumphs and that is often the thread that brings us together as humans. Conversely, what we find is often HR isn’t informed enough about employees’ human interest stories and therefore leave opportunities on the table that could truly shine the spotlight not only on your organization but your employees. We’ve seen amazing stories such as an employee raising funds for their mother who received a life-saving organ donation to an executive leader overcoming a spinal cord injury. Let these stories shine!

This is where management from all departments can help with setting a protocol for people to share their stories and get to know each other on a deeper level. Then HR can pick up the lead and work with marketing on communicating those stories via social media, newsletter, website, and to local media. When an employee is featured in such a significant way, it raises their level of buy-in to the business and again retains them much longer.

3—Celebrate milestones. Typically, when someone in leadership is promoted or receives an award, we hear about the news through business announcements or perhaps even a press release. While every employee’s internal growth simply cannot be turned into a press release, for example, it’s still wise to celebrate milestones for employees who are not at executive leadership levels. These employees are your hard-working life force and simple milestone celebrations can go a long way.

Typical milestone celebrations look like an official announcement along with a photo, a group event celebrating corporate anniversaries or a commemorative gift for major milestones. But what about taking a look at the unique ways PR can help assist with celebrating employee milestones? Could there be an unprecedented time off policy incorporated, a way to give back to the community celebrating the employee’s five-year anniversary by bringing puppies for adoption into the workplace or spending the afternoon at a children’s foster home facility playing board games? These are just some ways to make an employee’s milestone from drab to unforgettable, therefore, again keeping them engaged.

There are many ways HR can capitalize on hiring and retaining the best talent and we hope these top PR strategies help incorporate a new level of engagement among your team.

8—24 Million Americans Want to Become Self-Employed by 2021

FreshBooks recently released results from its third annual study, Self-Employment in America Report 2019, which reveals 24 million Americans want to leave traditional employment to become their own bosses by 2021, but face barriers to making the leap. Check out the full report for more information.

“Tens of millions of Americans have told us that their ‘dream job’ is to work for themselves,” says Mike McDerment, cofounder and CEO at FreshBooks. “But this is a scary proposition for most because the world is in many ways not ready for them. The good news is the payoffs—both financial and otherwise—are real. It’s a big part of our job, for those just starting out and those who’ve been at it awhile, to help entrepreneurs realize their full potential.”

Key findings:

Self-employment is the new American dream –but millions are ‘stuck’ on the sidelines. What’s holding them back? 24 million Americans want to work for themselves by 2021. There is no doubt a significant mindset shift is underway; however millions of aspiring entrepreneurs say they face barriers to making the switch:

  • 35% worry about inconsistent income
  • 28% don’t have the cash to invest or need to pay down debt first
  • 27% lack a complete business plan
  • 27% worry about earning less money
  • 20% don’t want to give up health benefits

Self-employed Americans are happier, healthier and have no desire to return to a ‘regular job’ anytime soon. The study sheds light on why so many want to be their own boss. Currently, Americans who work for themselves report high levels of satisfaction and well-being:

  • 96% have no desire to return to a ‘regular job’
  • 70% say they have better work-life balance
  • 61 % would be happy with their achievements if their career ended today
  • 55% have less stress
  • 54% say they are healthier
  • 27% spend more time outdoors and travel more

Career control is the #1 reason driving people to self-employment. What is it exactly, that motivates people to abandon the security of a 9-to-5 job and a regular paycheck? The majority of people aspiring to work for themselves are seeking freedom, flexibility and control:

  • 65% want to choose when they work
  • 56% want to choose how hard they work
  • 48%t want control over their own career development
  • 47% want control over where they work
  • 31% simply don’t like reporting to others

Small businesses (and their owners) are getting younger. Two years ago, the ‘typical’ self-employed professional was a tail-end Baby Boomer, but we’re fast approaching the point where millennials become the dominant self-employed workforce. This is not simply due to changing demographics, but also because Americans are choosing to become entrepreneurs earlier in their careers. The age of new business owners in the U.S. has dropped by 4 years (from 38 to 34 years old) since 2017.

College education is becoming less of a prerequisite. Should current trends persist, we might soon see the majority of self-employed Americans thriving without the benefit of a college degree. Over the last two years, the number of self-employed professionals with a college degree dropped by 8%. Among small businesses founded in the last two years, there’s no difference in revenue comparing those with and without college degrees.

Self-employed Americans typically earn more money and are more productive after making the switch. While 63% of self-employed Americans believe money is less important than quality of life, 55% say they’re earning more working for themselves. 40%work fewer hours but are more productive.

A small business brain drain might be on the horizon. Who’s most likely to be eyeing self-employment within the next two years? Contrary to popular belief, those most eager to leave traditional work are not looking to escape large corporations or cubicle farms. Actually, the opposite appears to be true. A much higher proportion (35%) of employees working at companies with less than 50 employees want to work for themselves within the next two years, compared to only 25% of employees at larger companies. This corresponds with another key research finding: Small business owners currently struggle with finding talented staff or contractors more so than any other challenge, including finding new clients.

9—Remote Workers Missing Out

New data from Igloo Software released today shows 56% of remote employees missed out on important information due to their remote status, with more than half left out of meetings. With working from home becoming a popular benefit, are employers actually doing a disservice by offering the option?

This study finds employers still have a long way to go in order to set remote workers up for success. And these collaboration challenges go beyond remote workers, the 2019 State of the Digital Workplace Report finds:

  • 43% of employees have avoided sharing a document with a colleague because it was too hard to find
  • Email is the top method for sharing sensitive or private information (69%), with 26% using instant messaging, leaving the organization vulnerable to a breach.
  • 55 % use a non-company approved communication app because it’s less likely to be monitored or tracked.

10—Companies Still Not Supporting Meaningful Change at Work

Greenhouse, a fast-growing Talent Acquisition Suite (TAS), recently announced findings from its Workplace Intelligence Report, which identified concerning gaps in employer-based programs that address diversity and inclusion (D&I) and sexual harassment.

Created in partnership with HRWins Founder & Principal Analyst, George LaRocque, Greenhouse’s report surveyed businesses and employees to analyze the most important aspects of the workplace and uncover the trends impacting it.

According to the report, talent is often considered an important business issue, but seldom gets the time and focus it requires. While 47% of CEOs surveyed felt that talent-related matters make up their most important business problems, more 51% of managers spend merely three hours a month on people-related concerns. More startling, 37% spend only an hour a month on those same matters.

“While we’re hearing that people issues are the most pressing business challenges for companies right now, we’re not seeing that translate into meaningful change,” says Carin Van Vuuren, CMO, Greenhouse. “People and talent programs require the same rigor around process and measurement that other business issues are given. Until organizations instill that same level of focus and accountability into their people programs, we will not see the systematic changes that need to happen to address the talent challenges companies face.”

Greenhouse’s report also found a gap between what companies say they’re doing to address D&I and employees’ awareness of those measures within their respective organizations. Despite the existence of Inclusion and sexual harassment initiatives, the trust gap between employees and employers isn’t closing. For example:

  • While 55% of companies say they have a D&I program, more than 45% of staff-level employees don’t know if their employer has a D&I program in place or claims their employer does not have a D&I program at all
  • Of employers surveyed, merely 8% say their companies are addressing the #MeToo movement and 24% are addressing sexual harassment
  • 47% of employers say that D&I initiatives have a positive improvement on company culture; yet 48% of employees say their employer only handles D&I issues through grievance processes.

Greenhouse’s Workplace Intelligence Report is the first major study of its kind to look at both the employer and individual employee perspectives on the most important issues surrounding work today. The full version of the report tackles a number of additional topics, such as hiring and onboarding, the multigenerational workforce, employee engagement vs. longevity and more.

11—Employee Time Off

Whatever the reason for employees, those paid (and unpaid) days of downtime are precious to your staff. But some countries are much more generous than others.

Using data from the World Policy Analysis Center, the International Labour Organization and Globalization Partners the interactive map below shows which countries are entitled to the most time off work.

Use the toggle buttons on the left of the map to refine the results by paid/unpaid leave and gender for parental leave, maternity/paternity leave, sick leave, public holidays and vacation days.
Here’s a preview of 7 key stats:

  1. The U.S. is the only advanced economy that does not guarantee anypaid vacation.
  2. Cambodia, Iran and Vietnam have the most public holidays each year—27days in all.
  3. Bahrain offers the most annual paid leave and public holidays—49 paid days off in all.
  4. Latvian mothers can take 658days of paid maternity leave—more than any other country.
  5. Poland offers the most parental leave, with 1,792days (728 paid days and 1,064 unpaid days).
  6. Men in Kazakhstan can have the most unpaid time off—1,116
  7. Mongolia provides the most paid time off for women—3,061

There’s more to know in the infographic below.

12—Online Financing Solutions

BlueVine, which provides SMBs access to fast and simple online financing, is now making term loan financing available for business owners through its suite of online financing solutions. provides small- and medium-sized business owners with fast and simple access to financing to grow their businesses through BlueVine’s advanced online platform. More than 59% of businesses are looking for funds to grow their businesses, according to the 2017 Federal Reserve Small Business Credit Survey Report on Employer Firms. With a BlueVine Term Loan, business owners can quickly pursue larger projects and investments to bring their businesses to new heights.

Fast and simple term loan financing with no origination fees: BlueVine provides business owners with access to term loans from $5,000 to $250,000, without charging origination fees. It offers one simple, fixed weekly rate over a six- or 12-month term. All lines of credit and term loan financing products are issued by Celtic Bank, a Utah-chartered Industrial Bank, Member FDIC.

With BlueVine’s easy-to-use online dashboard, business owners can apply for a Term Loan online in minutes with just some basic information about the business owner and the business, and they can get approved in as fast as 10 minutes. Once the business owner accepts the offer, the funds are deposited directly into their bank account in as fast as a few hours.

 

13—Tech Reports

Two new reports from AVANT were recently released:

State of Disruption: Powered by AVANT’s ecosystem of Trusted Advisors, this inaugural report surveyed enterprise technology leaders to assess the rate at which disruptive technologies are replacing legacy solutions, with key findings including:

  • 74% of companies that see themselves as leaders in innovation rely upon Trusted Advisors for assistance in IT technology decision making
  • 58% of respondents cited increased agility, flexibility and scalability as the most important reason for IT decision-making
  • 74% of technology decision-makers are more likely than not to feel a cyberattack could cost them their job

2019 Cloud Channel Survey: This 2nd annual report surveyed channel sellers. AVANT compared year-over-year data to identify shared attributes and strategies among top-selling cloud partners in the channel community. Key findings from this year’s report include:

  • Sellers are expanding their focus when it comes to their offerings. The average seller is expected to expand from 4 service offerings to 6 by 2020.
  • Data Networks dominate the total volume of sales transactions (25%), while UCaaS/CCaaS services have catapulted two positions higher in sales volume and 10% greater in share.
  • The top four services that Channel Partners expect to sell in two years are Data Networks (39%), UCaaS (67%), SD-WAN (61%) and Security as a Service (45%)—with 5G and Managed IOT emerging as areas to watch for in the future.

Quick Clicks

14—Cyber Safety: 50 essential cybersecurity facts for small business owners from BroadbandSearch

15—Business Model: Do you have a viable business model? The folks at Lean-Case help you figure it out.

16—Get Happy: What it takes to lead a happy life. Great advice from Conscioused.

17—Funding for Canadian Women Entrepreneurs: Check out the 3 funding resources in this post from Lending Loop.

 

Cool Tools

18—Online Vendors Look Beyond eBay and Amazon

Amazon and eBay have long ruled the online retail marketplace. Amazon, currently the largest retailer in the world, added over a million new sellers in 2018 alone. eBay currently has 25 million sellers and 250 million users. For sellers, the competition on these two giant retail sites is huge. Therefore, every online seller, who is using online retail as a source of income, is looking for alternative ways to sell online—and among other retail sites, new leaders are emerging.

For example, Etsy currently has around 32 million active buyers. Bonanza offers over 20 million product catalogue listing. Newegg, counting over 30 million customers, is one of the biggest competitors of Amazon and eBay.

There are also online retailers, oriented towards niche products. Manomano, popular for DIY and gardening supplies, has over 1.6 million products in its catalog and operates in Europe. Houzz is an online community and marketplace for home design and currently has more than 20,000 sellers and 25 million monthly visits.

How can online vendors sell their products across multiple marketplaces in the most effective way?

Multiorders, recently launched a one-stop-shop workflow-optimizing system for online vendors, allows sellers to sell across all channels with a push of a button. Multiorders offers such features as automated stock-tracking and shipping management, easy management of purchase orders, as well as the reduced cost and creation of shipping labels.

Multiorders has integrations will all popular online retail platforms, making it possible to control inventory and create shipments for multiple marketplaces in a fast and reliable way. For example, users can change price, description and stock-list, and this information will immediately appear in selected marketplaces. Multiorders also has integrations with most popular shipping companies (UPS, DPD, Royal Mail, Amazon FBA and others), so as soon as an order is received, a user can choose one shipping carrier and the order will be sent out to the buyer. Finally, the software automatically creates all necessary tools to fulfill an order – invoice, purchase order and payments.

In the end, what do online vendors gain by using such an integration platform? There are multiple benefits, among them:

1—Immediate visibility. Selling through multiple channels will make your brand recognizable. Customers who shop on different platforms will start to notice and remember your goods.

2—Wider reach. Every online platform has a huge and dedicated following – some customers can be found only on one platform. By selling on 7 platforms all at once, you will be able to significantly expand your reach

3—Increase in orders. When your visibility and reach increase, so will the number of your orders. You will be able to reach unique clients from various marketplaces.

Business stock photo by SFIO CRACHO/Shutterstock

This Top-Rated Commuter Bag Is Every Entrepreneur’s Dream

The Urban 21 Commuter Bag organizes everything you need for your day in one stylish backpack.

1 min read

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

Your daily commute to the office or a client meeting should be a breeze, but keeping everything you need organized and at your fingertips is easier said than done. Urban 21’s top-rated commuter bag was meticulously designed with the entrepreneur’s quotidian needs in mind, and it certainly shows.

The backpack is crafted with dozens of features to address bumps in the road you likely won’t even see coming. A water-resistant outer shell protects your laptop, which will sit comfortably in the padded laptop pocket. The bag’s hardshell pocket keeps your sunglasses or other fragile items safe, and HexBreathe technology on the back of the bag prevents unsightly sweat from wrecking your favorite work shirt.

The bag’s stabilized weight distribution fights poor posture, and memory foam straps keep your shoulders comfortable all day long. Many backpacks’ aesthetics are more suited for a long hike than a long meeting, but this pick’s professional gray exterior fits right in with your workwear.

The Urban 21 Commuter Bag normally costs $239.99, but right now you can look sharp on the train or in the boardroom for only $185 (22 percent off).

How This Entrepreneur Learned to Find Feedback in Every Rejection

Polly Rodriguez’s success didn’t just happen overnight — she has been building her business for years now.

2 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In this episode of Alley’s Jason Saltzman’s series Resilience, Unbound founder Polly Rodiriguez speaks with Aimara Rodriguez about how Unbound began to focus on the accessibility of sexual-health products and promoting conversations around female and non-binary people’s sexual health. Now, Rodriguez thinks of Unbound as that resource available when she was in her twenties, when she was first trying to take charge of her sexual health.

Rodriguez, who has been in business for almost a dozen years, discusses some of the takeaways she’s learned from being a founder. Notably, Rodriguez points out how startup culture emphasizes overnight successes, but in reality, the process of getting Unbound off the ground consisted of a long slog and plenty of rejection. However, these rejections inevitably helped Rodriguez and her team get valuable feedback.

Click the video to hear more. 

Related: Why It’s Important to Hire a Diverse Group as You Build Your Business

Entrepreneur Network is a premium video network providing entertainment, education and inspiration from successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders. We provide expertise and opportunities to accelerate brand growth and effectively monetize video and audio content distributed across all digital platforms for the business genre.

EN is partnered with hundreds of top YouTube channels in the business vertical. Watch video from our network partners on demand on RokuApple TV and the Entrepreneur App available on iOS and Android devices.

Treat Every Overseas Sale Like Its Your First


©iStock/gianliguori 

Innovator and designer Julia Christie of the multi-award-winning baby nail trimmer – the Nail Snail, has recently expanded her business outside of Australia and says that “Done right, it can be the best thing for your business.”

After selling over 20,000 nail trimmers since launching her product in 2017, going global was a natural naturally the next step.  In order to expand, Julia needed to have an understanding of the export industry.

One of the issues Julia wanted to be extra careful on are export contracts.  She consulted with a lawyer to ensure all relevant aspects to a sale were covered.

“I treat every overseas shipment like it was my very first. I methodically go through the procedures to ensure that my Nail Snails are distributed in a safe and timely manner. Shipping to an unknown destination can be a tad stressful but with tracking numbers, references and internationally recognised barcodes, I feel secure knowing that my shipment will go smoothly from start to finish. Understanding the different technologies used in the process was all part of my learning curve,” Julia said.

Learn more about Julia’s (ad)venture in going global here.

7 Reasons Why SEO Matters for Every Startup

No matter how lean your startup, you can at least afford do-it-yourself SEO.

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

For entrepreneurs, SEO is an integral part of building a successful startup from the ground up. Despite this, many founders neglect this low cost, high reward business strategy, according to digital growth expert Scott McGovern.

A Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy is a powerful tool for any startup — and doesn’t have to kill the budget. There are six reasons why optimization needs to be a priority for every business owner, according to McGovern.

1. SEO delivers customer behavior data to startups.

SEO uncovers significant data. The more search engine optimization research a startup does, the more data they have about what potential customers are searching for.

“When a founder is just beginning their business, they don’t have much data about their audience,” says Scott McGovern. “SEO helps accumulate that data over time. They can continue to benefit from it long after they’ve launched their business.”  

Some of the best SEO tools to help you rank higher in Google have free trial versions. Startups can see which words their target customer audience is using to conduct searches. A founder can also conduct their own Google search and input words that pertain to their business.

From there, Google will auto-fill those terms based on how often people search those words.

Related: 7 Best SEO Tools to Help You Rank Higher in Google

2. SEO results in higher traffic and conversions.

SEO helps startups get traffic that can yield conversions and revenue.

Instead of spending money on social media advertising and other marketing tactics, McGovern recommends building out SEO and staying current with Google’s best practices.

“Maybe you’re installing a product or you’re a publisher and you’re trying to get impressions,” explains Scott McGovern. “If you can rank particular keywords that don’t have high searches and aren’t very competitive like some long-tail keywords, then you can start driving organic traffic.”

“It’s been proven that organic traffic — traffic that comes from a search like on Google — converts 400 percent better than any other type of traffic besides email marketing,” he added.

3. It’s free.

SEO can be free — along with many of the tools necessary to use it, like Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

With Google Analytics, it’s possible to see what users are doing on a website or platform. Google Search Console shows a founder exactly what was searched and how visitors landed there. Broken links or 404s, which are bad for SEO health, can also be identified.

“All it takes is time versus money,” says Scott McGovern. “As a startup, all you have is time. You can go through Google’s platform and learn how to set up the entire process whether you use Shopify, WordPress, Magento, or whatever you are using.”

For businesses looking for professional help, there are also ways to keep costs low when choosing your next SEO firm.

Related: 5 Tips for Choosing Your Next SEO Firm

4. SEO helps startups make informed business decisions.

The same data that helps a founder understand customer behavior can be used for other critical startup actions. The information can be applied to an overall business strategy to shape the decisions a founder makes, leading to successful launch and growth stages.

“Once you figure out the consumer, you can decide how to convert them. Then you can vertically integrate that by creating specific clickfunnels geared toward those specific users,” says McGovern.

“For example, you can say, ‘my user is a 24-year-old male who typically lives in this part of the country.’ Then you can create content specifically geared toward that particular user.”

SEO data can also inform other business decisions.

“If one keyword is doing really well, then you can create other keywords off of that which aren’t searched as much,” McGovern explains. “Or, there might be other long-tail keywords which you can also drive other traffic for greater conversions.”

5. Optimizing for Google strengthens consumer trust and value.

SEO helps startups build relationships with potential customers with minimal effort. When a business shows up fairly high on the search results, it builds customer trust. From there, the company can work toward building respect and credibility, which are necessary for a new brand relying on digital channels for conversions.

“The last company I did it for, we collected 180 thousand emails from organic traffic,” McGovern explains. “Whether people sign up for a newsletter or they want alerts about discounts, when they see your search results in Google, it automatically builds intrinsic value for the consumer that they can trust your business.”

6. SEOptimization builds a long term audience.

Paying for advertisements delivers short term results for a high price.

SEO helps businesses provide their visitors with the content they want. Instead, of having traffic tank the moment an advertisement runs out, SEO will build an audience over time.

“The better and more popular your content is, the stronger its SEO will become over time as other sources link to you and Google rewards you for providing quality information, not spam,” Mcgovern explains.

Of course, SEO requires constant upkeep.

“Google is constantly updating its algorithms, which may or may not affect your business,” he adds. “Search isn’t a one-time solution but a constant process of staying up to date.”

That’s why it’s important to stay up to date on SEO marketing trends in 2019.

Related: 6 SEO Marketing Trends in 2019 That Entrepreneurs Should Know About

7. SEO delivers results for startups.

Building a digital presence is crucial for any startup, no matter the industry. The best way to gain awareness, brand equity and traction is through SEO. Optimization tools give businesses easy access to data about their audience. Beyond that, search engine optimization is the cheapest way to build a customer base and inspire consumer trust.

For startups and established companies that don’t want to spend on large scale advertising campaigns, search engine optimization is the best way to build a brand.

5 types of partner programs every web designer should join

Teaming up for mutual benefit

Being a freelance web designer or web developer doesn’t mean you need to go it alone. There are businesses out there looking to work with you and support you.

You might already have a relationship with these businesses as a customer. By joining their partner program, you’re moving yourself from the category of “I buy from you” to “I work with you”. And that opens a whole new set of opportunities.

Partner programs help you through revenue, resources, credentials, promotions, leads, and discounts. While the value of these benefits varies, depending on your business and the specific program, they’re all worth serious consideration.

Adding multiple revenue streams to your business mitigates risk. More income sources makes you less dependent on any one source. That gives you more negotiation power in dealing with clients, and it can help alleviate the “feast and famine” cycle of chasing the next big client or project.

Related: 6 ways to create multiple revenue streams as a web designer

Partner-provided resources, like free training or higher-level support, improve your business. The skills and capabilities developed through continued learning can help you take on bigger projects and raise your rates. Dedicated or exclusive customer support can help you resolve issues faster, giving you more time for billable work.

Credentials, like partner-exclusive certifications, set you apart from your competition. They display your expertise and bolster your credibility. Potential clients may not recognize you, but they’ll recognize the endorsement of Google or Facebook.

Partner promotion lifts your visibility and puts you in front of potential clients who might never find you otherwise. A basic example of a partner promotion is a partner directory. Additional levels of promotion may include sending you leads, or featuring you in marketing campaigns.

Discounts will either reduce your costs or, if they can be passed on to your clients, used as leverage. Imagine having a prospective client on the fence and being able to sweeten your proposal with a discount that tips the deal in your favour. You’re not eating the discount, but your client doesn’t need to know that.

So, with those benefits out of the way, let’s look at five types of partner programs you should join as a web developer or web designer.

5 partner programs you should join

There are five broad types of partner programs you should consider joining:

  1. Affiliate programs
  2. Reseller programs
  3. Certification programs
  4. Referral programs
  5. Reward programs

Let’s dig into each one in more detail.

Affiliate programs

Affiliate programs are a source of revenue. You’re paid you to promote a product or service. They’re performance-based, in that you’re only paid a commission if someone makes a purchase through your link, or uses your affiliate code during a transaction. Your commissions are either a one-time payout or an ongoing percentage of revenue, aka revenue sharing or “revshare”.

If you’re building websites with WordPress, you might be missing out on some easy affiliate commissions. Many popular plugin and theme developers operate affiliate programs for their premium products. If you’re already encouraging your clients to buy, say, a license for Gravity Forms, you could join the Gravity Forms affiliate program. Then get your clients to make the purchase through your affiliate link, so you earn a commission on that sale.

You could also turn your blog into a revenue stream by monetizing the traffic it receives. Think of it as another way to capture value from leads that don’t convert to clients. If they click on your affiliate links and make a purchase, you’re still making some money.

Related: How to start affiliate marketing on your blog

So how do you get started with an affiliate program?

First, look at what products or services you’re already encouraging your clients to purchase, and see if they offer affiliate programs. Check with your domain registrars, web hosts, WordPress theme & plugin authors, email service providers, and email marketing tools. Join their affiliate programs and get your clients to make purchases through your affiliate links.

Next, look at what products or services you’re using to run your own business. There’s likely some overlap between these and what you encourage your clients to purchase. But you’ll also have other tools and services, like project management or billing software, that you can refer other web designers & developers to.

Finally, look at joining major affiliate marketplaces like CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction), Rakuten Marketing, and ShareASale. These marketplaces include tons of vendors that you may have never heard of, but might be a great fit.

Three important things to note before we move on:

1. You need to disclose your affiliate relationship with these businesses. It’s a requirement under the FTC in the United States and to varying degrees in other countries. (Not to mention that, ethically, it’s the right thing to do.) The disclosure needs to be clear and prominent – you can’t bury it in your site’s footer or on a hidden “disclosures” page.

Related: How to use affiliate statements on your website and social posts

2. Most affiliate programs will require you to go through an application process. Becoming an affiliate puts in you in a business relationship, and each affiliate program will have their own set of policies outlining the terms of the arrangement. When you apply, they usually want to know how you intend to drive referrals, how many referrals you expect to make in a given period, and what websites you intend to link from.

3. Payouts have a minimum threshold. While one program might cut you a check for $50, another program might wait until you’ve hit at least $100 in referral commissions before paying out.

Reseller programs

Reseller programs give you discounts and resources. They typically offer a reduced per-unit price on their products. But as the reseller, you’re be responsible for covering your own marketing and support costs. Your clients will come to you when they have a problem – you can’t refer them to the company you’re reselling for.

Related: Solid reseller sales strategies for non-sales people

White-labeled web hosting is the most common type of reseller program for web designers and developers. Your clients won’t see any mention of the hosting company anywhere. As far as your clients know, you have a dedicated team of IT professionals managing your own servers.

But you’re not left high and dry as a reseller. The best reseller programs offer a higher level of support and free resources to help you succeed in business.

To get started as a reseller, check out your existing hosting provider(s) and see if they offer a reseller program. For example, the GoDaddy reseller program includes more than just web hosting – you can also sell domain names, business email, SSL certificates, website security, and managed WordPress plans. (And you can do it all from a super-simple WordPress plugin on your own site!)

Certification programs

Certification programs provide training and credentials. They typically come from companies who sell complicated products or services, or from specialized institutions that teach technical courses.

Web design, web development, and online marketing are unregulated industries. Anyone can claim that they’re a web designer. That’s why it’s so competitive — clients have so many options to choose from — and why it’s easy to get caught in a race to the bottom on pricing.

Credentials and certifications are a way to differentiate yourself from competitors, and to justify charging higher prices for your work. Even course completion certificates show that you’re invested in professional development and ongoing improvement. Showcase your credentials on your own site alongside testimonials from your best clients and case studies from your successful projects.

To get started, look at the type of services you’re already offering, or plan to offer in the future.

If you’re selling digital marketing services to small businesses, consider getting certified with Google Ads, Google Analytics, Facebook Advertising, and LinkedIn Advertising.

If you’re interested in improving your code, check out courses from sites like Team Treehouse, Codecademy, or Pluralsight. If you prefer in-person learning, look for local programs, like those offered by General Assembly.

Referral programs

Referral programs reward you for getting others to try or buy a product or service you’re already using. They usually do this with incentives, like tiered discounts or free upgrades.

To get started, check on the products and services you’re already using, and see if they’re offering a referral program of some kind. Even though it’s not additional revenue, the discounts and upgrades can add to your bottom line by reducing your overhead costs.

Don’t just think about your customer-facing products, either. Are there tools or resources you’re using that other web designers or developers in your network could benefit from? Are there tools you’re using that other businesses (not just web designers) could use?

Rewards programs

Like referral programs, reward programs incentivize behavior by offering perks. Unlike referral programs, rewards programs are about your loyalty and repeat business.

Consider something as simple as a stamp card at your local coffee shop. Every time you buy a coffee, you get a stamp. After ten stamps you get a free drink.

That’s a basic rewards program, incentivizing you to make repeat purchases by accumulating points. Every time you get a coffee elsewhere, you’ll think about that missed opportunity to earn a stamp from your usual spot.

To get started, look at what purchases you’re already making on a regular basis. Would you benefit from a rewards program that adds extra perks to something you’re going to buy anyway?

Get started with our GoDaddy partner programs

If you’re in the business of building websites for small business clients, we have all the partner programs you need.

We have an affiliate program that pays you a commission when someone makes a purchase through your affiliate links. We have a reseller program that lets you sell GoDaddy products through your own eCommerce storefront.

And then there’s GoDaddy Pro.

GoDaddy Pro is a collection of tools and resources created specifically for web designers and developers who get paid to build websites. As a GoDaddy Pro member, you receive exclusive perks and discounts, a central dashboard for managing all your client sites, and reward points for every purchase your clients make.

Best of all? It doesn’t cost a thing to sign up. Interested? Join GoDaddy Pro for free.

3 Every Day Planning Essentials for All Businesses

Formal business plan or not, here are three planning essentials that all business owners need to do.

You may or may not need a business plan document for your business. Some businesses have what I call a “business plan event” that requires preparing the plan document for outsiders. Common business plan events are applying for commercial credit and looking for investment.

But whether or not you need the plan document for outsiders, if you want to optimize your business and management, or steer strategically, or generate a growth spurt, then you still stand to gain from business planning process. And that’s with or without the formal plan. 

One: Manage essential numbers

Technically you can manage cash flow and financial health without forecasting; but it’s a lot harder. Managing without the numbers is like driving blind.

I made this argument in Why Bother with Financial Forecasts on a previous post in this space:

“The goal of business forecasting is not what you might think. It isn’t about accurately guessing the future. It’s about running your business right. With good forecasting you track your business numbers back to the drivers that you need to manage. You watch the connections between sales, costs, and expenses. You watch the ups and downs. If sales are up, you adjust inventory. If sales are down, you adjust expenses.”

The most critical factor is cash flow. Real-world businesses can’t survive without healthy cash flow. To manage cash flow, they have to manage sales and other revenue, spending on costs and expenses, and spending on debt repayment and buying assets. You may be smart enough to keep all of this in your head; but I’m not, and few of us are.

Instead, (quoting again from that previous post) …

So you forecast your key business indicators including sales, costs, expenses, and cash flow. And every month, you review results and compare what happened to what you expected to happen. Ideally, you compare it as well to the previous month, quarter, and year.

You don’t just look at the numbers. You look at the business behind the numbers. You identify what to do more of, what to do less of, and what to change.

Two: Manage the constant what’s next: milestones

Every business has important dates, deadlines, and specific task responsibilities. I like to call them milestones. It’s the new version, the new store, the new menu, a new marketing campaign, the important new hire, or whatever else. You, the business owner, can just take a step back from the details and see these steps in your head.

Write these things down for yourself and, if you have a team, for your team members. You don’t really get accountability into the business without writing down and agreeing on what’s supposed to happen, when, and who is supposed to do it.

And then, having milestones written, follow them up on a regular basis. Just like with forecasts, you review monthly, or quarterly. Go over the progress made towards the major milestones. Celebrate when you execute on time and worry and make adjustments when you don’t.

Three: Manage strategic alignment

Don’t get lost in the smoke blowing, hand waving, pomp, and circumstance of so much of what’s written on business strategy. Keep it simple. It’s about what you sell, who’s in your target market, and why you’re different. For a refresher, I posted A Simplified Approach to Setting Small Business Strategy on this blog a while ago.

Strategic alignment is as simple as matching your tactics to your strategy. For example, a restaurant selling high-end dining ought not to have a discount drive-through window or a playground for kids. Your pricing, messaging, positioning, delivery, channels, and administration ought to match the core points of your strategy.

The planning process involved in managing strategic alignment is writing down the key points — not elaborate text, just simple bullet points — and reviewing them regularly. As with the other essentials here, you do it for yourself, or, if you have a team, with your team. Reviews might be monthly or quarterly. And you write this down because it’s way easier to manage it written somewhere than to keep it all in your head.

Bonus thought: Redefine business planning

Here’s a final thought: if you have your essential numbers forecasts, your milestones and your simple strategy and tactics written down, and you review and revise regularly, then you’re getting the best of business planning for your business. Call it a lean plan, congratulate yourself on adopting planning to the realities of 2019, and keep it up.

10 Onboarding Best Practices Every Small Business Should Follow

Onboarding is the process where new employees get introduced to all the necessary behaviors, skills and knowledge they’ll need. In a nutshell, it’s the process of integrating a new person into your small business’ culture and procedures.

Small Business Trends contacted Tawni Reed,  an HR manager at BambooHR. She supplied the fact that 31% of new employees quit in the first six months and small businesses can’t afford these high turnover rates.

“The best of the employee onboarding programs we’ve seen are geared toward providing engagement to new hires from the beginning,” she writes. “ Showing new people how to move forward will give them a way to channel their fresh excitement and enthusiasm.”



Onboarding Best Practices

Here’s 10 Onboarding best practices every small business should follow:

Be Proactive

There’s a few things that you can do to start the onboarding ball rolling before your new hire shows up on day one. You can start building a sense of belonging by sending them any company information before they start. If there’s any paperwork that can be filled out, you can send it to them through email to start building their focus and engagement.

Make an Announcement

It’s a good idea to introduce a new hire to the rest of the team. Everyone wants to know who the new face is in the crowd. You don’t need to go too far into detail here. Just a few words about who the new remployee is and the role they’ve been hired to fill.

Go Over Company Policies

Making sure new hires start out with the right information about company policies is critical, according to Reed. She underlines the need to make sure they understand your small businesses dress code, time off policies and pay periods to name just a few.

It’s also important to take your time to get this right.

“Don’t try and cram your entire onboarding program into one day,” she writes. “Spread it out.”

Go Over Your Company Values

Once again, it’s important to spend some time with the new hire here. If you’re interested in having them engage with your values, don’t just read them. Explain why each is important to your company as a whole.

Assign Them a Buddy

“Give your new employees a buddy to help in their first few months,” Reed writes.

NYU has even standardized some guidelines that should help if you get stuck pairing people. They write that new hires should have this kind of help for the first 60 days.

Don’t Forget the Details

Your new hire might be fresh out of college or have years of experience in your industry. Either way, every office is different so you can’t forget any small details. Understanding the company culture and values is critical. However, you’ll also want to be sure to tell them when lunch break is and where they park.

Show Them Every Department

Onboarding can take up a fair amount of time for everyone involved. Still it’s critical for new hires to see the big picture if they want to know how their efforts contribute to the whole. Taking the time to show them every department in your small business pays off.

It’s also a good idea to assign one person in every department to answer questions.

Introduce Them to Management

Reed stresses that it’s important for new employees to be introduced to everyone including supervisors and management. She highlights how important it is to set aside enough time for a decent exchange.

“Make sure you set up some time to have your new employees not just meet your executive team but ask them questions.”

Be Clear

A new hire will be interested in everything that you’ve got to say. It’s important to be clear and consistent when you’re outlining what you’ll expect from them. It pays off to go over their job description yourself before the onboarding begins.

Make sure they understand it’s okay to ask questions during any part of the process.

Line Up Your Resources

A new employee can have questions even after the onboarding process is over. Having a team of people who can be available in key departments is invaluable. Setting up a social meeting or activity with this group and the new hire for the first few months can pay off in the long run.

Image: Depositphotos.com

Comment ▼


CEO Insights: 5 Essential Bits of Advice for Every Entrepreneur


04/19/2019
What is the best retirement plan for a self-employed person? Which is the best retirement plan for a small business owner? More importantly, which is the right retirement plan for you – as a business owner and / or a self-employed individual? Choosing the best retirement plan for you and your personal financial goals will depend on a few factors. Those include how much you can save into a retirement plan, whether or not you have employees and when you are setting up the retirement plan. Is it during the tax year or when filing taxes? To name a few.

complete article

04/17/2019
Here are 15 examples of great integrated marketing campaigns that work by combining content, digital and website marketing, with traditional marketing methods like PR.

complete article

04/15/2019
Here are three popular things that are actually not mandatory for all small businesses:

1. Aggressive Marketing

It is easy to go overboard with marketing. With so many tools available, your gut instinct is to try anything with the slightest potential. Even if you stand to lose money, you want the assurance of knowing you are doing everything you can to gain the interest of your target audience. And it is difficult to ignore a marketing tool that has worked marvelously for other small businesses. If they had to do it all over again, these businesses would likely spend 10% of their time developing their products or services and 90% marketing them.

complete article

04/12/2019
So what sets those who actually take the plunge from those who only dream? What pushes a keen hobbyist or excellent amateur into actually becoming a business owner? A recent study of more than 400,000 people out of MIT came to decisive answer, and it is not the one you are probably expecting.

complete article

04/10/2019
Many successful entrepreneurs were inspired to start their businesses after noticing a hole in the marketplace that needed to be filled, whether it was Bill Gates creating an operating system for home computers, Pierre Omidyar starting an online auction site, or Elon Musk building a reliable electric car.

But what happens when you want to jump feet first into a marketplace thats already crowded? We spoke to the entrepreneurs behind a wide-ranging group of successful companies in some of the most competitive digital spaces — from butchers to home brands to eco-friendly cleaning products — to get their insights into what makes a business that lasts.

complete article

04/08/2019
Today, tens of thousands of people are considering starting their own business, and for good reasons. On average, people can expect to have two and three careers during their work life. Those leaving one career often think about their second or third career move being one they can run out of their own home. The good news: Starting a home-based business is within the reach of almost anyone who wants to take a risk and work hard, as are a plethora of other low-cost ideas.

complete article

04/06/2019
Now, I do not want to burst any happy bubbles for those of you who are already treading the traditional pathway, but that traditional narrative no longer makes much sense, because over the past two decades, big corporations, big academia, and big corporatist government have rigged the business world so that the longer you wait to start your own company, the less likely you are to be successful.

Because of this, young entrepreneurs (Mil

complete article

04/04/2019
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) included a bevy of changes that will affect the 2018 federal income tax returns of many small and medium-sized businesses and their owners. As tax return time approaches, here are the 10 changes that are most likely to affect your business or you as an owner.

1. New flat 21% tax rate for corporations
Before the TCJA, C corporations paid graduated federal income tax rates of 15%, 25%, 34%, and 35%. Personal service corporations (PSCs) paid a flat 35% rate. For tax years beginning in 2018 and beyond, the TCJA establishes a flat 21% corporate rate, and that beneficial rate applies to PSCs too. So the tax cost of doing business as a profitable C corporation is greatly reduced, and this favorable development will show up on 2018 corporate returns. Enjoy.

complete article

04/02/2018
When done correctly, a tagline can become synonymous with a brand. A good tagline should communicate your companys message quickly and effectively, helping your target customers understand how you can help them in a way that’s easy to remember.

Since it is something that will likely appear in all of your companys marketing materials and may stick with you for years, your team should put a lot of care and consideration into crafting your tagline.

complete article

03/29/2019
A business plan is a written description of your business future, a document that tells what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If you jot down a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you have written a plan, or at least the germ of one.

Business plans are inherently strategic. You start here, today, with certain resources and abilities.

complete article

03/27/2019
Very few entrepreneurs have an accounting or finance background. Here are four tips to ensure your small business is achieving profitable growth.

Most small business owners start their own business because they have a passion for something, a new idea, want to be their own boss or are seeking more financial stability and/or earning potential. However, very few entrepreneurs have an accounting or finance background.

complete article

03/25/2019
The standards for small business success have unquestionably gone up. Todays small businesses must do a lot more to stay competitive than their predecessors. Myriad businesses, however, take this notion a bit too far. Once they discover yet another resource or strategy with the potential to elevate their success, they jump all over it. This is partially due to the many online articles urging business leaders to devote more effort to virtually every element of their businesses.

complete article

03/22/2019
Many small businesses start out with a single location or product offering and grow over time. Expanding your business is a good way to increase your long-term profitability and reach a wider audience.

But while growing your venture might be something you’d like to do eventually, now might not be the ideal time to dive in. Here are four reasons you might choose not to grow your business, and instead stick with the status quo.

complete article

03/20/2019
Get out your pink paint. Or your coral, or yellow or teal. By the time you finish reading this column, you’re going to be painting one wall of your small business a color that will pop on Instagram.

Why? Because Instagram is today’s powerhouse social media site for consumer businesses. And if you give customers an inviting way to post to Instagram, they’ll advertise your business for free.

A few years ago, if you wanted to reach retail consumers, the social media site of choice was Facebook. While it may still work for reaching certain demographics, many consumers – especially female Millennials – love Instagram.

complete article

03/18/2019
A new report is saying that almost half of people recently hired (41%) used an online job board to find work and 61% flagged automatic job alerts as helpful. What is more, a full 14% found their present job using social media. The findings from How Do People Find Jobs? published by the B2B research firm, Clutch, highlights how today’s candidates are connecting with small businesses and vice versa.

complete article

03/15/2019
How did life lead you to entrepreneurship?

I have been in the technology industry for 25 years. I am a business-facing technologist, which basically means I have a background in finance and business. However, I stumbled into being a software engineer early on in my career. This resulted in a passion for data and solution creativity.After hitting the 20-year mark of working for enterprise-size organizations, I decided I needed a change. I experienced some life-threatening health challenges–all while taking care of my two sons with their own unique needs. A culmination of it all really made me stop and reflect on what I really wanted to do on a daily basis and the people I do it with.

complete article

03/13/2019
Step 1: Set meaningful goals.
People do nott achieve goals unless the goals are meaningful to them. Sure, every seller has a quota for this year, but so what? If you want to maximize your motivation to achieve the goals, you must know why achieving it is important to you. To do that, go beyond your one-year quota-focused goal.

complete article

03/11/2019
Are you making big changes to your small business?

Whether you’re entering a new market, eliminating services that your clients love but no longer work for you, or changing the structure of your business entirely, follow these three tips to shake up your small business without losing revenue or hurting your reputation.

complete article

03/08/2019
Most working class Americans are employed by companies that either require or offer retirement savings options in the form of a 401(k), 403b), or pension plan. Because these contributions are automatically deducted from the employee’s paycheck, saving for retirement tends to be a rather painless process. Over time, the cumulative effect of regular monthly contributions leads to a nice sized nest egg that can be used in the retirement years.

But for entrepreneurs, the story is a little different. With no steady paycheck or employer-sponsored plans, many of these hardworking individuals forgo retirement contributions.  And though it may not seem like a big deal in the early years, this misstep can prove to be dangerous and irresponsible as entrepreneurs age.

complete article

03/06/2019
Crowdfunding has become a viable form for funding a venture, project, cause, event and much more. For small businesses looking to bypass traditional sources of financing such as bank loans, angel investing or venture capital, it is now a great option.

If you have been thinking about starting a campaign, it is important to note there are different types of crowdfunding. And this does not mean the platform or portal such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and others.

The confusion stems from clumping crowdfunding under one umbrella, when in reality there are different types or models. Depending on your project, choosing the right model for your small business is critically important to ensure the success of your campaign.

complete article

03/04/2019
Being a leader can be a difficult, and sometimes thankless, job. You work long hours, make tough decisions, and try your best to make your employees and your customers happy. But things don’t always work out the way you hope.

Every leader can use a bit of inspiration and humor every once in a while. Adding some fun to your day can make it all come together and, at the same time, perhaps even put a smile on your face.

The next time you feel down, here are 17 funny leadership quotes to perk you up.

complete article

03/01/2019
Procrastination is an odd compulsion. Everyone has experienced it, but the underlying reasons can be tough to pin down.

After all, procrastination delays the very activities that bring people closer to their goals — whether that is building a thriving business or stronger triceps. So why do not humans just sprint toward that brighter, fitter future?

The science.
Scientific studies of procrastination have spiked over the past 20 years. Researchers once considered the issue a basic time-management problem, but they now view it as a complex and highly individual phenomena.  

complete article

02/27/2019
Not every step you take to move your business forward will be a big one. But sometimes, even small steps can make a large impact on your future. Here are some recent tips and insights from members of the online small business community about big and small steps you can take to really make an impact on your business.

complete article

02/25/2019
Like departments and agencies throughout government, the Air Force is tuning its acquisition methods to get closer the speed of technology, and will be holding its first live pitch day in March, with an available funding pool of $40 million.

The Air Forces Small Business Innovation Research program has issued a call to start-ups and small businesses—those with fewer than 500 employees—to offer pitches on innovative technologies for secure communications, down-range battlefield operations and digital technologies.

complete article

02/22/2019
I am pleased to bring you my top five tricks for disconnecting – and at least temporarily escaping the job stress.

1. Make the business case.

Taking time to recharge is not just good for your mental and physical health — it is the smart thing to do for your business. Studies have shown that increased stress leads to reduced productivity, while decreased stress levels lead to increased productivity.

complete article

02/20/2019
The benefit of working for a large company is gaining access to an employer-sponsored 401(k) – a critical tool that helps millions of workers save for retirement.

But if you are a small-business owner, you should know that you have several tax-advantaged savings plans at your disposal that allow you to sock away substantial funds for your golden years.

Better yet, the annual contribution limits for all of these plans increased in 2019, so now’s a better time than ever to start funding one.

complete article

02/18/2019

The beginning of the year is a great time to make resolutions for your small business. Whether you’re launching a new product or implementing a new technology, you are setting goals and working hard to achieve them. The New Year could also be the perfect time to fix internal issues that are holding you back from success. Below is a list of common business hurdles that arise in small business and how you can overcome them.

Hurdle #1: Trying to do everything yourself

There are a lot of tedious tasks involved in keeping a small business running smoothly – like running payroll, approving time off requests, and so on.

complete article

02/15/2019
Rising interest rates and high levels of corporate debt have lots of investors concerned. Should small businesses be worried?

The majority of small businesses (in most industries) are able to pay their bills on time. According to Experian/Moodys Analytics Main Street Report, overall delinquencies for businesses with fewer than 100 employees were slightly down in the third quarter of 2018. Credit utilization rates were also down slightly.

At the same time, that same research has found that rates for delinquencies of 31 to 90 days rose slightly. While it is not yet a cause for concern, the report points out that the period of consistent declines in delinquency rates for small businesses may be near its end.

complete article

02/13/2019
Owning or running a small business comes with a special set of challenges that larger companies do not face. Major national brands have a lot of advantages, with the biggest one being that a single misstep probably won’t derail a business.

That is not always true for owners of small businesses, where the distance between success and failure can be precarious. Sometimes seemingly small decisions can send a smaller company on a course that can’t be corrected.

In some cases, however, it is possible to plan ahead to avoid certain pitfalls.

complete article

02/11/2019
As we welcome 2019, attention is shifting to what’s on the horizon for small businesses in the year ahead. The reality is that the nature of work is evolving. During my more than 25-year career, I have held a number of leadership positions. Early in my time in the health insurance industry, compensation reigned supreme among my employees, while health and wellness were perceived as a nice-to-have benefit.

Now, workplace norms are beginning to align more with employee wants and needs and new rules about conducting business are being established — particularly when it comes to employee health and wellness. I believe this shift, which I have witnessed within my own team, will continue to dominate work environments across the nation in the new year.

complete article

02/08/2019
Establishing a strong social media presence can mean big business for your small business. But if you don’t have dedicated resources to devote to it, or you don’t have much time to spare, you might find it tough to gain traction. Use these nine social media tips to boost business and grow your brand.

Set Clear Goals

No matter how eager you are to start using social media for your business, take the time to set clear goals before you begin. Try setting SMART goals — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely — to guide your social media strategy.

complete article

02/06/2019
On one hand, year-on-year improvements are what makes companies great; on the other, firms can’t control many of the factors that dictate whether, say, revenue rises or not.

complete article

02/04/2019
When Mandy Bass speaks to business leaders and professionals who want to improve sales, productivity, teamwork, customer satisfaction and profitability she consistently finds that they are working way too hard to achieve the results they seek. With that in mind, for the New Year she has compiled a list of seven small or low-cost things that could get small business owners, solopreneurs and sales professionals big results in 2019.

complete article

02/01/2019
The 2018 holiday season is in the books, and small to medium-size businesses (SMBs) sold big on Amazon. In fact, SMBs had their best holiday shopping season ever.

The e-tail giant itself had a record-setting holiday season as well: More items were ordered worldwide on Amazon than ever before.

But it was not just corporations like LEGO that benefitted from all this shopping. More than 50 percent of all items sold came from small and medium-sized businesses.

complete article

01/30/2019
A healthy economy means many small businesses are thriving — but they’re also having a hard time hanging onto employees. A good 24% of small businesses lost at least one employee in 2018, while 11% of small businesses lost 10% of their workforce, according to Bank of America. Not only that, but 58% of businesses had trouble finding qualified candidates for open roles, and 25% said it took more time to fill open positions in 2018 than it did in 2017.

And there lies the problem with a strong job market: When employment is plentiful, workers have more options to choose from, so getting them to join or stay with your team becomes more challenging for companies across the board, but particularly for small businesses with limited resources.

complete article