15 Expert Tips for Scaling Your Small Business


05/13/2019
Smart companies are not just those that have intelligent leaders. They also have systems, tools and proper planning in place that allow every department or function to run together seamlessly. To become a smart company, you need to integrate smart ideas into every facet of your business. Here are some tips from members of the online small business community.

Manage Your Website Effectively
Your website is one of the most important tools your small business has. To manage it effectively, you need access to the right tools. In this WP Buffs post, Brenda Barron provides a full explanation and walk-through of GoDaddy Pro, so you can see if it may be helpful for your business.

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05/10/2019
SBDC Centers offer free consulting and free or low-cost training. (Find yours here.) Their results speak for themselves: SBDC clients grow sales by an average 18.1%, which is 4.3 times the national average. March 20th is SBDC Day, and to celebrate, we assembled some tips from their experts.

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05/08/2019
Small businesses can be more vulnerable to cyberattacks than larger companies because they often do not have sophisticated and comprehensive systems to protect themselves from hackers, viruses, malware and whats called ransomware. And owners who are focused on customers and employees may not ensure that their defenses are up to date.

But there are things small businesses can do to improve cybersecurity.

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05/06/2019
Whether you are an entrepreneur plotting to launch a startup or a CEO strategizing where to put another office, knowing where the next hot city is would be a game changer. Should you expand to Raleigh? Would you attract better talent in Austin or Atlanta? With the new Surge Cities Index, Inc. and innovation policy company Startup Genome crunched the data to score and rank the top 50 metro areas in the U.S. on seven key indicators–from early-stage funding metrics to job creation. Finally, here’s the smartest way to answer the age-old question: Where should you go next?

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05/03/2019
We are creatures of habit. Everything we think, say and do is a result of deep-seated habits etched into our minds through years and years of repitious behavior. Those very same habits either help to propel us forward or to hinder our progress in life. In fact, the state and quality of our lives right now is a direct reflection of our daily habits.

Habits are an undeniably powerful part of life.

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05/01/2019
Big companies often have big perks. That is especially true in the technology Opens a New Window.  space, where free meals, gyms, and even day care are quite common. Even more traditional large companies that do not offer those kinds of benefits still have things that smaller businesses Opens a New Window. do not — there are more opportunities for advancement, more training opportunities, and maybe even the option of transferring to another location.

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04/29/2019
The latest report from Clutch says 39% of small businesses will add sales and marketing employees.

This data point underscores the importance of sales and marketing in today’s digital commerce. You must optimize websites, social media channels and eCommerce sites to make it happen. And you need sales and marketing employees to do  the heavy lifting.

Some small businesses have already created a digital presence. And the job of sales and marketing generally goes to in-house staff. This job often goes to employees with the necessary skill sets or to someone learning on the job. But remember how important these positions figure in the company’s growth.

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04/26/2019
Billing your customers is, of course, vital — but even more critical is getting paid for those bills. Thanks to the ongoing evolution in the payments industry, there are more payment tools and platforms to choose from to help find the perfect option for your business based on how many payments you receive, the type of business you have and your budget.

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04/24/2019
Ever wonder how people get chosen to speak at TED? Well, it is curator Chris Andersons job to weed through the thousands upon thousands of possibilities and choose who will appear on the events prestigious main stage. Clearly, the guy is amazing at separating the wheat from the intellectual chaff.

Which is why TED fans (or anyone looking to make themselves smarter and more aware in easily digestible 20-minute chunks) should pay attention to Andersons picks for the 10 best TED talks of 2018. Touching on topics ranging from astronomy to social justice to artificial intelligence, they are guaranteed to change how you think about the world.  

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04/22/2019
Switching careers can feel intimidating, but you have got to make some moves if you’re spinning your wheels at your current job. Tech industry jobs are hot right now, and you can make great money once you’ve got the know-how to compete with other tech candidates. Here’s a breakdown of the fields with the best opportunities.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Launch a Lucrative New Career as an Agile and Six Sigma Expert

The ‘Complete Project & Quality Management Certification Bundle’ covers all of the vital project management methodologies.

3 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.

One of the “soft skills” you need to run a successful business is organization. You can’t find the best candidates, create the most efficient processes or address complex problems without project management basics.

There are plenty of digital tools to help you organize your data and progress, but they won’t be much help unless you have teammates are following smart principles when they use them. The Complete Project & Quality Management Certification Bundle lays out the principles of the most effective project and quality management techniques around.

Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a set of management techniques that originated in manufacturing plants. It was initially created at Motorola to create highly predictable, customer-oriented processes that would reduce the defect rate of Motorola’s electronics to practically nothing.

Today, Six Sigma has benefits that reach far beyond physical manufacturing plants. This bundle’s two courses in Six Sigma Green Belt and Six Sigma Black Belt will show you how to apply its methodologies to project management. You’ll learn how to thoroughly assess your business’s existing processes, find weaknesses and correct them. You’ll earn you certifications after you discover how to define customer needs and eliminate unnecessary steps toward your final product.

Agile

Agile is another popular project and quality management technique. Its 12 principles also emphasize putting the customer’s needs first and maintaining simple, repeatable processes to help your business run smoothly day in and day out.

The four Agile courses in this software bundle focus on software engineering with Agile, as well as implementing cost-saving measures to get your numbers in the black. You’ll also work towards a certification in Scrum, which will help your team tackle complex adaptive problems.

Project Management

All of these courses cover elements of project management, but these two classes will help you become a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) or earn the industry’s top certification and become a Project Management Professional (PMP). The classes provide a vast overview of business models and methods as a whole, demonstrating how to create processes that work based on the ten project management knowledge areas. You’ll also learn how to master risk management, absorb the essentials of product life cycles and ensure initiatives arrive on time and within budget.

Each class helps you work toward valuable certifications that can boost your resume for just $39

Apply These 14 Expert Techniques to Make Your Job Postings Stand Out

The job hunt can seem like a never-ending stream of applications and interviews for candidates.  And it can feel that way for the companies posting jobs too. AmdIn order to stand out from competitors, keep the job posting fresh for as long as possible and, ultimately, find the ideal fit for the position, companies need to continually refine their job-posting processes. That’s why we asked entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:

“What is your preferred method for making job postings stand out for as long as possible? Why does this approach work so well?”

How to Make Job Postings Stand Out

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:



1. Target Specific Personalities

“Know the type of potential employee you are targeting. Understand the persona you’re looking for — the type of person who will fit in with your company culturally and professionally. Use language that would be receptive by this type of person. Are you looking for someone fun, creative and quirky, or technical and by the book? Tailor your listing accordingly so it sparks a connection with readers.” ~ Stephen Beach, Craft Impact Marketing

2. Emphasize Perks

“We like to highlight the benefits of working for us, like remote work and flexible schedules. We also emphasize our culture. [And] we show that this is a place you want to work. Also, a lack of culture fit is just a waste of time and energy because the person will end up leaving or we will have to pull the plug. It works because the perks draw people in and the cultural aspect helps refine the search.” ~ Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

3. Highlight the Skills

“Our job postings start with a list of skills required, taking a different approach from the traditional description-based posts. We are a software company, and we need candidates with the same tech stack as ours. The skills-based posting format effectively automates candidate sourcing and drastically compresses time-to-hire, especially for roles that require a set of must-have technical skills.” ~ Sean Hinton, SkyHive

4. Encourage the Team to Circulate Postings

“I’ve seen an incentivized newsletter list be quite effective at catching people who can find quality candidates. Offering something in the realm of $200 for a successful applicant is a good way to get people to consistently read the posting and to share it with relevant people.” ~ Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting

5. Make It a Social Ad

“We turn our job posts into ads on various social networks so they can appear at certain times and remain top of mind. This also allows us to target certain audience segments that may be looking for us like we are looking for them.” ~ John Hall, Calendar.com

6. Incorporate Different Media Formats

“Instead of making your job posting just a wall of text, incorporate different media formats. Add photos, videos or even infographics that either help to describe the job position or help showcase your company culture. Adding different media formats will not only help you stand out for longer, but it will keep candidates engaged as well.” ~ Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

7. Add the Word ‘Remote’

“If you truly want to stand out and find the best talent, let them work from home. A lot of candidates these days are only choosing to apply to remote jobs, so having someone come in to the office every day will limit the amount of interest your post receives.” ~ Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

8. Use the Job Board’s Easy Way to Apply

“If you integrate your posting with the job board, your posting will stand out more. For example, if you give users the option to apply via LinkedIn’s “Easy Apply” button, passively looking candidates will be able to filter and find your posting much easier, and then conveniently apply to your job opening.” ~ Jared Atchison, WPForms

9. Keep It Simple

“Job postings that stand out are simple and easy to get through. By using tools like bullet points, italics, numbered lists and the proper use of paragraphs, your posting is more likely to be read through to the end. Remember, just like you probably look through lots of resumes when hiring, the same goes for job seekers. Make it as easy as possible to read your posting.” ~ Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

10. ‘Pin’ Them to Everyone’s Social Profiles

“The most effective tactic we have for awareness on critical roles is asking our team and advisors to “pin” the job posting to their profiles. On Twitter and Facebook, this can literally live up top on an individual’s profile. On other networks, we just ask for consistent reposts. When you identify something as your first priority, people listen and try to help, which leads to great referrals.” ~ Aaron Schwartz, Passport

11. Share Business Info

“Including business information in a job posting is a great way to stand out. Most companies are overly specific in their job postings, in terms of tasks and actions they need from the employee. If you share the business background first, tell more of a story, then explain the role, you’ll find it more compelling to more candidates.” ~ Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure

12. Update the Posting

“I will update the job posting about once a week. Many employment advertising services will move the post to the top of their list and treat it as a new posting every time it is updated. This trick is very helpful but does not work with every employment service. You will need to check with each service you use to confirm.” ~ Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.

13. Make It Interesting and Add a Twist

“With job postings, we highlight our company, culture and the challenges the role will take on, but we also add a twist to the post to give it personality and filter out applicants that don’t pay attention to detail. We’ll add what we refer to internally as an Easter egg to the post; it may be something like: “Let us know what your favorite movie, book, etc. is when applying.”” ~ Brian David Crane, Caller Smart

14. Don’t Follow the Typical Format

“Most job posts follow the same type of format and they all look pretty much the same. So if you want your job posting to stand out from the crowd, don’t follow the typical format. Show some personality or humor, add extra detailed information about your company or fun facts. Whatever you do, just do it a little differently and you’re sure to stand out.” ~ Blair Williams, MemberPress
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How to Set Up a Successful Affiliate Marketing Partnership: An Expert View

Geno Prussakov is an award-winning affiliate marketing professional, CEO & Founder of AM Navigator, and a guest of our recent #SEMrushchat. We asked him to give us expanded answers on how to find a valuable affiliate partner. Here are the main criteria of successful collaboration and the biggest mistakes to avoid.

What are the three parameters one should look at first when searching for an affiliate partner?

Quality and Targetedness of Referred Traffic

One would assume that, by its very definition, affiliate marketing is about these two elements as affiliates get compensated on a performance basis and should have no interest in sending low quality or untargeted traffic. The reality, however, is such that we do see low-quality affiliates out there. So, advertisers should look for those affiliate partners whose audiences they really want to touch through them – in a targeted and value-added way.

Marketing Complementarity

Ask yourself if the affiliate’s marketing efforts will complement your own, helping you amplify your marketing message, lubricating the path to conversion. Be it a unique mobile app that they have, or a consumer advice website, or skills to market you in ways that you yourself cannot look for the element of complementarity. If missing altogether, move on. If elements of potential marketing cannibalization are found, stay away. Look for valuable affiliate partners!

Incrementality of Referred Business

Whether it is an affiliate who can refer new-to-file customers or one who can effectively re-engage those customers who are no longer actively spending their money with you, look for affiliates who have the capability of driving incremental business. You do want to compensate affiliates on return customers, but it’s important to also reward them for incremental business.

Preview: How to Evaluate a Prospective Partner

Looking for a reliable way to evaluate a potential affiliate, co-marketing or business partner? Fill in the ultimate SEMrush cheat sheet to choose the most promising candidate! Evaluate the main metrics to figure out your future partner’s potential and make the optimal decision.

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What are the best ways for a startup to find their first valuable affiliate partner?

Startups are typically bootstrapped. Therefore, they should first consider the lower-cost ways of recruiting affiliates. Here are a few ideas:

  • Contact your happy clients. Who could be a better advocate than a satisfied customer?

  • Identify potential prospects within an affiliate network if your affiliate program is run on one. Search for them by type, niche, keywords, etc.

  • Look into giving your affiliate program additional visibility through paid search. You’ll be surprised how affordable it can be.

  • Submit your program’s information to affiliate program directories. We know that one in five affiliates uses them when searching for new affiliate programs to join.

  • Target attendees of affiliate conferences as well as your niche-specific conventions and meetups.

  • Identify your competitors’ affiliates or those who make your direct competition successful through affiliate marketing relationships. This method will require website traffic analytics tools, which means additional investment, but it has high chances of paying off.

What are the biggest mistakes people make when choosing affiliate partners? How can they overcome them?

  1. Auto-approving affiliates. An open door is never a good idea. To ensure that you’re partnering with those you do want to partner with, I recommend that you vet every affiliate application manually.

  2. Being misled by affiliate network size. What is more important is the number of strong affiliates in your niche that are active in the network.

  3. Focusing on quantity of onboarded affiliates. The number of recruited affiliates is irrelevant. It is the activated affiliates that are important.

  4. Failing to police compliance. Having rules and policies in place is important, but it doesn’t guarantee compliance with them. Having these gives you a solid foundation to police and enforce affiliate compliance, but it is important to devote the effort to doing it.

  5. Failing to diversify. Putting all your eggs in one basket has never been a good strategy. Do not rely on any one type of affiliate (be it coupon aggregators, ranking sites, incentive affiliates, or anyone else). Make sure to build a diversified affiliate base to effectively influence your customer throughout their journey through the sales funnel.

What are the best ways to estimate the number of leads/ROI that you can get from an affiliate?

This is a really tough question. The reason for this being that there are always too many contingencies and variables to make feasible predictions. And not only on the affiliate side but also on the brand side (price competitiveness, user-friendliness, CRO aspects, etc.).

Of course, you could estimate the number of conversions based on the affiliate’s traffic volume, assuming a click-through rate, and then tying in a suitable conversion rate assumption (basing the latter on what’s realistic for this particular type of affiliate). I would advise any affiliate manager not to share the results of such arithmetic with the affiliate, though. You do not want to set their expectations at a level they will never be able to reach.

Catching Up with Supply Chain Expert and Disrupter Lisa Morales-Hellebo

The REFASHIOND founder is dedicated to fixing the fashion industry’s supply chain problems.

7 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In this article, we reconnect with the incredible Lisa Morales-Hellebo who provided us with a profile of a disrupter who is constantly pushing the limits of the status quo by learning the beauty of expecting more from your own life and acting accordingly.

Related: 3 Ways to Change the World With Your Wonder Woman Mindset

It’s been a year since Disrupters introduced you to readers of the book. We have seen each other since then, including an event at enterprise software giant, SAP, where I interviewed you about laying groundwork to disrupt the much antiquated and inefficient fashion supply chain. What have you been up to since?

Wow. So much has happened. When we last spoke I was in the process of getting REFASHIOND fleshed out, but at the time I was largely working on it alone. I am happy to report that I now have a full-time collaborator, Brian Laung Aoaeh, CFA. Brian founded KEC Ventures — an early-stage venture fund based in New York City. Raising a fund is incredibly difficult. As a VC, you are investing someone else’s money into the unknown. Brian helped KEC grow to become a firm with $98M of assets under management and 51 investments across two funds. At the same time, we’ve built a supply chain community in New York City, that is now on the verge of sprouting affiliated chapters in other cities around the world. 

So, you’ve been a little busy. And you have been practicing what every Disrupter knows: No one gets to the finish line alone. Brian is a fantastic complement to your personality and your skills. Tell us more about the new developments with REFASHIOND.

As you know, I have been studying and researching the fashion supply chain since 2014 when I founded and built The New York Fashion Tech Lab. REFASHIOND invests in early-stage startups creating innovations that make global supply chains more efficient. It’s a largely underserved segment of the startup ecosystem. Brian and I have been studying and learning about supply chains together since 2016.

Related: How to Disrupt the Way You Talk to the Person in the Mirror

You weren’t building The New York Supply Chain Meetup when our readers first encountered you. Tell us more about that. Does that tie in with REFASHIOND?

You’re gonna chuckle at this. The New York Supply Chain Meetup was originally Brian’s idea. He called me one night in August 2017 and said he had impulsively started the community on Meetup.com the previous morning because he could not find a community in NYC, or anywhere else, for that matter, that brings together supply chain professionals and technologists. He asked me if I would become his co-founder. I didn’t even have to think about it. The mission of The New York Supply Chain Meetup is to nurture and grow the world’s foremost open, global, and multidisciplinary community of people devoted to building the supply chain networks of the future. We now have well over 1250 members that’s the largest supply chain meetup in the world! Learning what worked, we are developing sister-communities in Singapore, Vancouver, Bangalore and Athens. We call the global community that is developing around this mission The Worldwide Supply Chain Federation.

Together with GS1 US we celebrated the NYC launch anniversary on November 15 with an invitation-only workshop and discussion forums. The Bangalore Supply Chain Meetup will hold its public launch on November 24. We are incredibly excited about that. This has been a bootstrapped effort, so we feel very proud of how far our community has come with the hard work of our team of volunteer organizers and some corporate support from SAP.iO, Work-bench and UPS.

You are a Disrupter, so I have to ask: How does what you are doing disrupt the supply chain status quo?

Because supply chain processes and enabling technology are mission-critical, industry professionals become increasingly uncomfortable when “disruption” and “supply chain” are used in reference to one another. The status quo is constructed with separate elements being conjoined in global supply chains in a way that does not place people at the center – a very siloed, top-down approach.

Our thesis for REFASHIOND and the New York Supply Chain Meetup is that the future of supply chains are people-centric and need more connected, collaborative, cooperative, and resilient in ways that make it easier for people to produce and consume products and information. This is a bottom-up approach to thinking about supply chain technology and innovation.

Now that’s disruptive! Why did you and Brian start with the fashion industry?

We started with fashion because retail is a $2.4 trillion global industry that is one of the last to adopt digital technologies. Second, venture capitalists generally do not understand the fashion retail supply chain. As a result, this is an opportunity that is severely underfunded. Prevailing economic, social, and technology trends are forcing the industry to adopt new innovations at an accelerating pace. REFASHIOND will invest in that change. Finally, the fashion industry is second to oil and gas as the largest polluting industry in the world. Market trends now offer the opportunity for sustainability to drive overall industry profitability. We believe one way to accelerate the process is through innovation that is driven by an ecosystem of industry participants and technology innovators. 

What’s next? What will you be doing over the next 12-18 months?

We have our work cut out for us. Raising a fund, even if you have as much demonstrated success as Brian does, is extremely difficult. We’re formalizing our global network of enterprises, academics, investors, emerging companies and service providers under the REFASHIOND Ecosystem Coalition as the fund’s network of industry advisors and mentors, partners. Lastly, we’re working with The Worldwide Supply Chain Federation meetup’s organizers in other cities to help them launch soon. In addition to Bangalore, we expect Athens to launch before the end of 2018. We may have a third chapter that launches before the end of this year as well, but those plans are not as advanced. To summarize, we’ll be busy, very busy.

Related: You Don’t Have to Be the Loudest Voice in the Room to Make an Impact

Disrupters: Success Strategies From Women Who Break The Mold has been a best seller for Entrepreneur Press since the day it launch in January 2018. In 2019, I will catch up with many of the disrupters from the book to find out what’s happened since we last caught up and how they are continuing to redefine what success looks like and how it can be achieved.

Rather than telling women that they need to lean-in more in order to achieve someone else’s definition of success, the women profiled in Disrupters: Success Strategies From Women Who Break The Mold help us see why women do not need to be fixed and why men do not need to be blamed and shamed in order to achieve gender equity in the workplace. Rather, true success for both genders requires a deep understanding of the embedded biases inherent in a system designed for one population to have all the power and all the glory. So much so that in order for someone to succeed, someone must fail. Disrupters know this is a flawed and dangerous status quo, one that stunts innovation and leaves trillions of dollars on the table every year. [In my next article, we will catch up with HR technology executive Brenda Reid.]

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Entrepreneur and business school professor Chris Haroun will teach you everything from basic business accounting to complex financial modeling.

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