5 Powerful Ways to Give Thanks to Your People

There’s no better time of year than the approaching holiday season for company owners to roll up their sleeves and spread gratitude to the people who have contributed to the business all year long: the amazing employees who embody the culture, vision and soul of an organization.

Showing appreciation should be a regular year-long practice at any business. But the end of year is a great time to step up the expressions of gratitude and go above and beyond in saying, “I love you!” Here are five simple ways to say thank you to your people: Continue reading “5 Powerful Ways to Give Thanks to Your People”

A Success Mindset – The Difference Between Thinking and Knowing

You have a business idea. You have looked into getting it turned into a full scale business operation. You’re determined to find out what it takes to become a successful business owner, whether you decide to take your business online or offline. You think that you have everything you need, and you’re pretty sure you’ll be successful in your efforts. Stop right there. A success mindset, which is fundamental to a new business,

Continue reading “A Success Mindset – The Difference Between Thinking and Knowing”

5 Tips for Reimagining Yourself in an Era of Digital Darwinism

Learning to do things differently will have a positive impact on your business.

When Brian Solis looks to the horizon, he sees an unprecedented digital disruption that will change how brands interact with their customers. Solis is a principal analyst at Altimeter Group, a company that looks at future trends, as well as an award-winning author and keynote speaker.

As a digital analyst, anthropologist and futurist, he helps top-level executives — as well as the rest of us — better understand how technology is evolving and what impact it will have on business and society. Continue reading “5 Tips for Reimagining Yourself in an Era of Digital Darwinism”

Do You Know What Your Customers Want? Are You Sure?

Your world revolves around your customers, not the other way around. Treat them like it.

You are not your customer.

Some entrepreneurs struggle to understand and work within this concept. It’s not too surprising, really. Successful entrepreneurs are passionate, motivated people who focus on what they want to happen. They then strive to transform their vision into reality.

Entrepreneurs often make decisions based on what they think the customer wants, rather than on market data and customer feedback. It’s an easy mistake to make. Fortunately for business owners, it’s also correctable. Continue reading “Do You Know What Your Customers Want? Are You Sure?”

Build Customer Loyalty by Focusing on Customer Outcomes

A common question I’m asked is: How can you compete with Amazon, which provides excellent customer service and offers the same products at the same prices you do?

This is a tough question, and it’s one that more and more businesses are going to have to answer if it is going to survive in the digital age, as Amazon starts to expand into more markets.

Just recently Amazon moved into the Office Stationary Department, and it grossed $1 billion in its first year. Continue reading “Build Customer Loyalty by Focusing on Customer Outcomes”

5 Insights Into Venture Capital Entrepreneurs Need to Know Now

These shifts define the state of VC today — and the direction it will go in 2017.

Venture capital-backed investment activity peaked in 2015, but analysts don’t expect that 2016 will live up to last year’s record in terms of deals or dollars. In fact, the past three months saw the lowest activity of any quarter over the past two years.

In the U.S., seed funding has become especially hard to pin down, according to Venture Pulse, a report released this week by KPMG International and CB Insights. A smaller proportion of deals are early-stage, though the median size of these deals is rather high. Meanwhile, large-sum late-stage deals are less common than they were a couple of years ago. Continue reading “5 Insights Into Venture Capital Entrepreneurs Need to Know Now”

3 Alternatives Better Than Raising Startup Capital From the 3 F’s

Of all the burdens a startup founder bears, none is heavier than knowing family, friends and fools who believed them have their savings on the line.

Just like a first date, I remember every detail of my first start-up. It was a busy time in my life, but there are many things that stand out. Thankfully, seen now in life’s rearview mirror, those memories are lessons that allowed me to be significantly more effective in my current enterprises.

Our first investor was fond of asking about what he called “the three F’s,” as in “Who are the friends, family and fools willing to help fund the expansion of XYZ?” Continue reading “3 Alternatives Better Than Raising Startup Capital From the 3 F’s”

The Beauty of Bartering: A Smart Way to Start and Grow Your Business

When money’s tight, how can you grow your business? Trade for the items you need, say trading professionals and the hosts of A&E’s 2012-2014 original trading show Barter Kings. Traders Steve McHugh and Antonio Palazzola have their own approach to trading up to get what they want — on the premiere episode, the pair worked their way up in a series of six trades from a framed gold Elvis record to a powerboat.

While we might not all have the skills to trade up for more valuable items, barter is definitely a useful tool for business owners looking to stretch their budget. In this tough economy, barter has boomed, and online barter exchanges that help you find items to barter for are mushrooming. Continue reading “The Beauty of Bartering: A Smart Way to Start and Grow Your Business”

11 Common Mistakes You Must Avoid When Building Your Online Brand

Your digital footprint could be the difference between success and failure.

These days, a business’ online presence is as important — if not more — than its presence on the street. So why would you compromise your company’s integrity by making avoidable mistakes? Here are a few examples of things that can prevent you from making your business successful.

1. You fail to have a vision for your brand.
Feeling confident about your entrepreneurial skills? Think you have the product of the year? Think again. You need to have the product of the century; at least that is the attitude that you should adopt. Don’t enter the market half-heartedly. Instead, be confident and bold about where you want to take your business in the years to come. Continue reading “11 Common Mistakes You Must Avoid When Building Your Online Brand”

5 Money-Making Mainstays of the Restaurant Industry

Most restaurateurs have a concept in mind when they open their business. It may be based on their ethnicity, what they enjoyed learning about in culinary school or it could simply be their favorite foods. In some cases, the choice of food may stem from a particular region of the country or world. For instance, a restaurant owner who grew up in New Orleans may want nothing more than to bring the flavors of the Big Easy to another part of the country. Whatever the reason, there are several very common restaurant concepts that are mainstays in the industry and very often money makers. Let’s look at them now. Continue reading “5 Money-Making Mainstays of the Restaurant Industry”