Why So Many LLC Operating Agreements Fail

December 6, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Every limited liability company (LLC) needs an operating agreement to serve as its backbone and ensure that partners are treated fairly. However, it can easily be inaccurately written or leave out important sections that have a massive impact on the future of the company. In minor cases, an LLC operating agreement mistake or failure can merely result in an inconvenience. In more extreme cases, it can result in a contentious legal disagreement or even result in the collapse of the company. So why is it that so many LLC operating agreements fail, and what can you do to prevent this from happening in your business? The Components of an LLC Operating Agreement Let’s start by reviewing the key components of an LLC operating agreement. The operating agreement is meant to outline each partner’s ownership stake, as […]

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Should Startups Consider Doing Business in Canada?

Our neighbor to the north presents unique, often untapped growth opportunities for entrepreneurs. December 2, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. If you’re thinking about starting a new business or expanding your current enterprise, you might consider operating in Canada. The requirements to enter Canada have always been somewhat lax, and they’re changing to become even easier, thanks to electronic travel authorizations (eTA). However, there are multiple challenges associated with operating internationally, even in a familiar, close country like Canada. Are the benefits worth these additional potential issues? The Benefits  Let’s start by reviewing some of the most important business benefits of operating in Canada: Decreasing corporate tax rates. If you’re starting a corporation, one of your biggest concerns is going to be tax planning. In the United States, the corporate tax rate is currently 21 percent, though local rates vary and there are […]

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Why Your Elevator Pitch Isn’t Working

Here’s how to keep it short, sweet and successful. September 25, 2019 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. An elevator pitch is one of the most important tools in the earliest stages of any startup’s development. Designed to be a short, catchy way to describe your business concept when you don’t have time to explain the details (as in during an elevator ride), there are a few hallmarks for effectiveness, but just as many ways it can go wrong. Here are some of the likeliest culprits, as well as how they can be resolved. You Sound Like Everyone Else It’s tempting to describe your business in terms that are familiar to other entrepreneurs, but the danger here is that you might fall into cliché. For example, how many times have you heard a new tech startup describe itsef as “the Uber” of its industry? While it’s natural to want to ride on the […]

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How Startups Develop and Deploy Matching Algorithms

There’s plenty to learn from the ways in which their methods both improve and hinder us. September 6, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. These days, much of our lives seem dictated by algorithms. Our streaming services decide which movies and TV shows would be a good fit for us based on our previous viewing history and apparent tastes. Our dating apps set us up with matches likely to kindle a romance. Even our ridesharing apps try to connect us with the best possible driver on the road. So how exactly do startups handle the development of these matching algorithms and what can the average entrepreneur learn from these examples? Ridesharing First, ridesharing services like Uber use a specific dispatch algorithm to make sure the closest and most appropriate vehicle for a ride is always the one that goes for it. Despite such a simple […]

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Why Employees Are an Entrepreneur’s Best Investment

Creating a culture of longevity and autonomy can be difficult and costly, but history shows it’s worth every penny. August 27, 2019 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Entrepreneurs often see managing their businesses as transactional, and rightfully so. Every cent and every minute you invest should matter. Learning which of your investments have the highest rate of return can help you manage your time and money even more effectively, whether it’s prioritizing more valuable clients or committing to advertising strategies that yield the highest number of new leads per month. But the most important and most rewarding investment an entrepreneur can make isn’t a client or a marketing strategy. It’s your team of employees. Spending more time and money on your workforce will help your organization thrive in ways impossible to anyone neglecting their team. Here are some essential steps toward making that a reality. Scouting […]

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Why the Best Entrepreneurs Have Employees Who Disagree With Them

You may have the highest respect for the late Steve Jobs. But would you have ever dared to disagree with him? March 15, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. It’s an intuitive fact: To be successful, entrepreneurs must be powerful leaders whose employees immediately fall in line with their every command. When they make a decision, their employees follow almost automatically, and with respect, obedience and trust that their leader is experienced or knowledgeable than they. Related: How Billionaire Philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates Settle Disagreements This does not mean that that leader is necessarily a nice person, however. Consider the number of now-famous entrepreneurs who made a reputation for themselves despite being somewhere on the spectrum between “difficult” and “abrasive.” It’s not hard to imagine why these leaders would prefer — even require — that they be surrounded with loyal, borderline sycophants.  In reality, however, […]

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The 5 Entrepreneurial Factors That Distinguish ‘Billionaires’ From ‘Millionaires’

‘The rich are different from you and me,’ F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said. Apparently they’re different from one another, as well. March 1, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. To the average person, “millionaire” and “billionaire” sound similar; they’re both people with money, right? And, indeed, both have access to far more wealth than the average citizen, and neither may have to worry about money ever again. Related: 6 Money Tips From Self-Made Billionaires Furthermore, because entrepreneurship is often the route to wealth accumulation, both may have earned their way to riches the same way. Yet while their monikers “millionaire” and “billionaire” sound the same, there are in fact significant differences between the two.  For starters, the difference between a million versus a billion dollars is immense. To put it in context, consider that one million seconds amount to 11.5 days, while one billion total 31.5 years!. A billionaire could […]

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11 Best Websites for Freelancers to Find Jobs and Make Money

February 1, 2019 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Whether you’re looking for another way to pay the bills, seeking more professional development opportunities or just love the freedom that freelancing offers, there’s no question that millions of people have discovered the benefits of professional freelancing. As trends like the digital nomad lifestyle grow in popularity, the number of freelance resources out there has increased as well. Related: Everything You Need to Know About Hiring a Freelancer There are plenty of guides for striking out on your own, but as a freelancer, getting higher-paying gigs isn’t just a matter of signing up on popular platforms. You’ll have to branch out, establish a great portfolio of past work and maybe even prove yourself through tests that showcase your skills. Here’s a list of 11 great sites to find work as a freelancer. Read_more Related posts: 5 New Ways to […]

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The 5 Most Laughable Mistakes of Otherwise Successful Entrepreneurs — Like Branson, Lucas and Cook, for Starters

Even successful entrepreneurs make unbelievable mistakes. Then they use them as springboards for greater success. January 17, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. As a new entrepreneur, or even a veteran, you’ll find making mistakes disheartening. Whether you simply fudged a number or sent your company in a tragic direction, any mistake can derail your motivation and make you feel that you aren’t worthy to lead your organization. Related: 10 Mistakes Millionaires Never Make Twice Still, there are two positive things to remember about mistakes. First, they’re learning opportunities; as long as your mistake didn’t kill anyone (including you), you’ll have a chance to learn key lessons and walk away as a more experienced, more informed individual. Second, everybody makes makes — even some of the most successful entrepreneurs in history. And if you don’t believe me, just look at these examples: 1. Reed Hastings almost killed […]

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How to Get Better at Handling Failure: Key Lessons From Entrepreneurs

Our culture equates failure with guilt, shame and depression, so you’ll need to learn some serious coping strategies. January 15, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. As an entrepreneur, you can count, with real certainty, on the likelihood that you’ll experience failure at some point in your career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Business Employment Dynamics, about 20 percent of new businesses fail in their first year, and half fail by their fifth year. Even if your business manages to be successful for a decade or longer, you’ll probably fail by losing a major client, succumbing to a price war with a competitor or shutting down a plan for expansion. Related: Why Embracing Failure Is Good for Business You’ve heard it before, but what makes a successful entrepreneur isn’t avoiding failure at all costs; it’s being able to accept and learn from the […]

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What Does Your Office Dress Code Say About Your Brand?

Is your dress code ‘casual clothing’ or ‘smart casual’ and what’s the difference? Your code might say more about your brand than you realize. November 16, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. As an entrepreneur and founder of your company, you know that it’s within your power to shape your office dress code as you see fit. If you want to uphold the traditional standards of formal business attire, you can do so. If you’re okay with your coworkers wearing pajama bottoms and flip-flops (as long as the work gets done), you can do that too. Related: What’s the Difference Between Business Casual and Smart Casual? A Handy Guide on How to Dress. (Infographic) But your choice in dress code might be saying more about your brand than you realize. Though it seems small in the grand scheme of things, it’s worth your consideration if you […]

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7 Ways Your Office Affects Productivity (Without Your Realizing It)

Good lighting, attention to ambient noise levels and the installation of plants are all very well. Of course, they can’t compete with pay policies. November 14, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Human behavior is hard to predict, but we know it can be significantly influenced in subtle ways. You may not just be able to drastically improve your (or your team’s) productivity by introducing a new tool that helps them stay better organized, but you may be able to boost morale and efficiency simply by changing your team’s office environment. Related: Facebook’s Utopia, Our Nightmare: Open Offices Are Destroying Productivity Subtle factors that influence productivity Your environment can shape not only how you work and stay organized, but also your mood and disposition. Take a look at these seven empirically backed factors, which could change how your team works and feels over the course of […]

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Does Risk-Taking Really Lead to Success? That Depends.

Open risk-taking is a bad idea. But calculated risk-taking is something else again. October 23, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. It’s not uncommon to hear the advice that entrepreneurs should take more calculated risks if they want to be successful. In fact, some billionaires have built their personal brands on a foundation of risk; as an example, Richard Branson often speaks of the risks he took when he was young, and he encourages up-and-comers to do the same. Related: Risk or Uncertainty: Which Is Better to Face? Taking risks, in fact, can be a beneficial way to separate yourself from the pack. If the fear of failure is holding back your peers, your willingness to take a risk could give you an open, uncontested opportunity. In addition, risky decisions offer valuable lessons, regardless of whether you succeed or fail. But does risk-taking, in general, lead […]

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How to Recover From Your First Failed Business

Be sure to conduct a post-mortem on your failed business. Then pick yourself up and try again. October 1, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. It’s unrealistic to think that your first business will be a smashing success. You may have heard the oft-cited statistic that 90 percent of small businesses fail. But this isn’t quite right: According to the Small Business Administration, for businesses that opened in March 2012 and were surveyed again in March 2017, about 50 percent failed within those first five years. Related: Re­inventing Yourself: Life After a Business Failure This isn’t as bad as that 90 percent figure but it’s still hardly promising, especially for new entrepreneurs. If you’re a startup leader, your first business will, naturally, commit far more mistakes than your second or third. No matter how good your idea is, your lack of experience will make you more […]

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5 Successful Entrepreneurs Who Started With No Experience But Made Sure They Got It

Early experience, not trial and error, was the path to success for Andrew Carnegie, Joyce Hall, Jan Koum and other big names. September 13, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Some entrepreneurs become successful only after doing well in another career: Maybe they mastered work as a consultant or an executive officer and used the skills they acquired to build their own enterprise. Related: 8 Great Entrepreneurial Success Stories Perhaps, alternately, they started a business with almost no experience — and little money to fund their efforts. For example, instead of raising money through crowdfunding or investor funding, some of history’s most successful entrepreneurs — especially those who predated crowdfunding and the internet — raised money by selling their possessions, or utilizing resources they already had. Perhaps, instead of relying on a wealth of experience to influence their choices, they learned on the fly through trial and error. It’s […]

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6 Companies With Amazing Office Layouts to Inspire Your Office Redesign

Wide open spaces, a petting zoo, a napping space? What will it take to make your employees stay forever? July 27, 2018 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Creating the perfect office environment is a major challenge for new and experienced entrepreneurs alike. Your workplace environment affects the morale of every member of your team, including you, and is responsible for forming that important first impression of every prospective client who walks in the door. Related: The Surprising Reason Why an Open Office Space May Not Be Great for Your Company But rather than sit and speculate about how to make your office better, why not look to some great examples of companies that have already mastered it? Key principles Throughout the following examples, you’ll see the following principles in action: Adherence to brand values and personality. First, every office seems to “fit” with the overall culture and […]

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Would a Promotional Product Be Effective at Helping You Market Your Startup?

T-shirts. Flash drives. Pens. Chocolates. What giveaway items will help customers remember your product more than SEO will? June 27, 2018 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Promotional products are a traditional form of marketing: Find a useful product, print your logo on it and distribute it to the people you want to remember your brand. If your prospects see your brand name on a pen, a t-shirt or a flash drive, they may be more inclined to purchase from you in the future. Related: 9 Promotional Items to Consider Using in Your Next Direct Mail Campaign But in today’s digital marketing era, are promotional products still a useful tactic for startups? After all, a tweet costs far less than physical bulk items do. And the impact of a well-executed search engine optimization strategy far outweighs any short-term boost from a logo-imprinted flash drive. The possibilities Promotional products can be used […]

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5 Health Habits These Successful Entrepreneurs Swear By

If Seth Godin drinks a healthy smoothie and Mark Cuban exercises an hour every day, you can, too. June 15, 2018 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. In your desire to find monetary or entrepreneurial success, it’s easy to lose focus on your personal health. You’ll have less time and different priorities than you did in your life before business, so scheduling a space for healthy habits can be intimidating. Related: Do Wellness Programs Make Employees More Productive? The Obvious Answer Is Yes. However, if you want a better chance at long-term success, it’s in your best interest to make your personal health a top commitment. Staying healthy can help you stay disciplined, improve your productivity and of course, keep you alive longer — facts most successful entrepreneurs realize. Take a look at the health habits of these five successful entrepreneurs as examples — and […]

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Is That Memo Worth Sending? These 5 Leaked Memos Will Make You Reconsider.

Before hitting ‘send,’ consider the ramifications if that memo is seen by outside eyes. May 3, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Are you about to send an important internal memo to your employees? Maybe one that you would prefer your customers, clients and the general public not see? Before you hit “Send,” perhaps you should consider the ramifications of what could happen if that memo were leaked to outside eyes. Related: The 7 Biggest Social Media Fails of 2017 Unfortunately, hundreds of founders and CEOs have neglected this important step of the process — as in “stop and think.” And, as a result, they’ve paid dearly for it. These are just some of their stories: 1. United Airlines Last year, United Airlines caught the ire of the general public after a video of a man being forcibly removed from one of its planes […]

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The Best Ways to Deal with a Financial Emergency As an Entrepreneur

Take heart, knowing that Tesla, Apple and FedEx have also been there — and survived. April 19, 2018 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Financial emergencies have the potential to ruin your business if you aren’t careful. Though the failure rate for startups is often exaggerated, it’s still relatively high: 20 percent of businesses fail within the first year, and about half of U.S. businesses fail within five years, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Related: Re­inventing Yourself: Life After a Business Failure Most of these failures are the result of a complex sequence of factors, as startup entrepreneurs explained in their business post-mortems. Those factors include a lack of market need, an inappropriate team or heavy competition. Then there’s running out of cash, the second-most-cited factor in these post-mortems — with 29 percent of companies having claimed to experience it before failing. An unexpected expense […]

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