Hiring Remote Workers? Here’s What to Consider First.

The most important personality traits to look for in remote employees are self-motivation and discipline. November 6, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Remote working is on the rise. A Global Workplace Analytics Report found that over the last 10 years, the number of U.S. telecommuters grew 91 percent. For entrepreneurs, hiring remote workers can be an excellent way to add necessary skills to a company without concern for geographical boundaries. The challenge of remote workers can be managing them to maximize productivity, and traditional processes may not apply. Leadership practices must change for an organization to get full value from their telecommuting staff.  Hire the right people. Before you can lead a team, you need to bring one together. Before you hire a remote worker or transition an in-house worker to a telecommuter, determine if they exhibit characteristics that will lead to success in a […]

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Winning Small Business Awards Can Boost Your Company’s Credibility. Here’s How to Get Started.

It can pay to win ⁠- and in most cases, you can’t win if you don’t apply. October 10, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Distinguishing yourself from the competition is challenging, and if you’re a small business or startup, this hurdle is even harder to overcome. As the new business on the block, it can also be difficult to gain credibility and market share when you don’t yet have a strong track record of delivering what you’ve promised. Winning an entrepreneurial or small business award can help a company gain recognition and credibility, and the benefits don’t necessarily stop there. According to a study on U.S. businesses by British Quality Foundation, small award-winning companies experienced a 63 percent increase in operating income and a 39 percent growth in sales compared to non-winners. In other words, it can pay to win ⁠— and you can’t win if […]

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Choose the Best Small Business Loan for your Needs

Specific loans can help you start or improve your small business. August 19, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Starting a business is expensive. Upgrading equipment, expanding to new locations and adding employees is also pricey. No matter where you are in the business life cycle, from startup to growth, a business loan can help get you started or address specific needs along the way. A 2019 Small Business Credit Survey by Federal Reserve Banks found that 43% of small business seek external funds and 70% of small employers firms carry outstanding debt. According to this survey, 56% of respondents applied for loans to expand their businesses, pursue new opportunities, or acquire business assets and 44% needed the funding to meet operating expenses. Most small businesses apply to online banks or large lending institutions for these funds, though some use credit unions and other […]

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6 AI Tools Entrepreneurs Can Use on a Budget

Countless businesses are already taking advantage of AI tools. August 17, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Artificial intelligence resources are touted as necessary tools to compete in today’s market, and many businesses are jumping on this bandwagon. According to a 2019 survey by Gartner, AI usage grew 270% over the last 4 years tripled in the last year alone. Why? Because current data demonstrates the real value and benefits of these tools. Among early AI adopters, 83% achieved substantial or moderate economic benefits according to a study by Deloitte. While this is exciting data, how can entrepreneurs leverage AI and machine learning (ML) to benefit startups and smaller companies? Lead Generation and Sales AI-driven lead intelligence software systems can deliver significant value for any size business. As reported in the Harvard Business Review, companies using AI for sales increased their leads by more […]

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Here Are Some of the Best Continuing Education Options for Entrepreneurs

Looking to learn more before launching your business? From online courses to certification programs to schooling abroad, here’s a rundown of your options. July 22, 2019 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Entrepreneurs generally love to learn. Whether it’s attending conferences, working with mentors or evaluating their own successes and failures, learning is a core function of any entrepreneurial venture. Some aim to learn on the go, while others prefer to gain specific skills in a more traditional educational setting. If you count yourself among the latter, here’s a rundown of continuing education options that could benefit you as an entrepreneur.  Before You Jump In We all have our preferred method of learning, whether it’s hands-on, reading, lectures, projects or something else entirely. So once you’ve decided to start a formal education process, begin by asking yourself how you learn best — and use that to […]

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How to Integrate AI Into Your Business

Make it a top-down effort, and establish an interdisciplinary and diverse AI team. May 6, 2019 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a computerized learning process that more businesses are utilizing to streamline processes, improve customer service or create deliverable products. Many entrepreneurs want to include AI in their operations, and that doesn’t have to be difficult. While there are many ways to integrate AI into your business, the three most common applications are: Chatbots: These AI programs are most often used in customer service applications because of their ability to deliver information and support 24/7. By 2020, 85 percent of customer interactions are expected to be managed without a human, according to Chatbots Magazine. In addition, 80 percent of businesses plan to deploy some type of chatbot by that same year, and by 2022, the shift could reduce business costs by as much as […]

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How to ‘Hire Smarter’ Using Talent-Acquisition Technology

Big data, intelligence platforms and AI are a great solution to the cost issue in hiring. They’re also a great entrepreneurial opportunity. April 5, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Mark Twain once observed that, “The difference between the ‘almost right’ word and the ‘right’ word is really a large matter — ‘tis the difference between a lightning bug and lightning.” And, turns out this statement can also be applied to talent recruitment. How is that? Well, a good hire will fill a slot and deliver quality work. But, a great hire will be a perfect fit, meshing seamlessly with your leadership and existing staff, embracing your company’s culture and goals and applying his or her talents beyond the scope of the job description. Related: How Big Data Can Help You Find and Hire the Most Elusive Talent This kind of synergistic relationship is the ultimate recruitment goal. It’s […]

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Check Out These Tools If You’re Looking for Truly Actionable Ecommerce Data

Information overload is a real thing, so choose your analytics tools carefully. January 25, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Knowledge is power — until that knowledge becomes noise: From big data to Google Analytics, entrepreneurs have access to more information than ever before but often struggle to separate out the data that is important from the stuff that doesn’t matter. And this isn’t necessarily easy: Many people struggle and simply give up. Related: To Better Understand Your Users, Learn About These 4 Categories of Marketing Analytics Tools Information overload is real, which is why some entrepreneurs don’t bother with tracking or analyzing key data points. In fact, Econsultancy found that only 50 percent of ecommerce businesses surveyed said they tracked main conversion points; and over 70 percent didn’t track key website analytics at all. To make matters worse, the study found that 80 percent of online retailers […]

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Restaurant Technology Needs Are Serving up Great Entrepreneur Opportunities

The restaurant industry used to be ranked at the bottom of the pack in terms of its application and broad use of technology. That’s changing. January 15, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. In 2015, the McKinsey Global Institute evaluated U.S. industries based on their commitment to technology and digitalization. The hospitality industry, including restaurants, was ranked in the bottom of the pack in terms of its application and broad usage of technology. This is changing: In the years since the McKinsey study, restaurants have integrated technological resources into their operations and customer satisfaction activities, but there are still plenty of opportunities in this sector ripe for development. Related: This Startup is Leveraging Technology to Improve Customers’ Dining Experience Connecting to customers In the 2016 Restaurant Technology survey conducted by Toast, 79 percent of respondents stated that their dining experience was improved by technology. Specific resources […]

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‘Sharing Economy’ Opportunities Are Out There for Savvy Entrepreneurs Willing to Dare

Opportunities abound for entrepreneurs to create the next Uber or Airbnb. Are you up for the challenge? December 11, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. From a young age, we were all taught that sharing is good. But who knew that “sharing” would become the basis of an entire economic system? From eBay to Uber to Airbnb, the sharing of resources has quickly evolved from a fad to a vibrant marketplace; and this business and cultural shift is only just beginning.  Related: 3 Ways the Sharing Economy Changes Entrepreneurial Opportunity There are still many niches entrepreneurs can find in already established sharing-economy industries; and there are ways they can forge new business paths in untapped industry markets. The whole world economy is changing, offering exciting opportunities for those who are willing to dare. Are you one of them? A fast-growing trend The sharing economy is one of the fastest-growing business […]

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5 Opportunities for Entrepreneurs to Capitalize on America’s New Relationship with Cannabis

Take a look at the many potential, profitable and egal products to consider from what used to be seen as an evil weed. November 20, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Green Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The acceptance of marijuana, both as a safe recreational drug and as a substance with medicinal value, has grown across the United States. Currently, 31 states and the District of Columbia have legalized this substance at some level. In addition, nearly every state has decriminalized the possession of small amounts of pot, and the federal government is considering removing hemp from the controlled substances list. Related: 9 Business Ideas for People Looking to Cash in on the Marijuana Boom This is great news for entrepreneurs considering a cannabis-based startup, and there are many profitable options beyond the highly regulated growing and dispensing businesses. Here are five great opportunities that offer lower risks along […]

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Here Are the Practical Applications of This Exciting Blockchain Technology.

Ever wanted to leave the lawyers out of your client transactions? Now you can. September 24, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Blockchain technology has led to the development of cryptocurrencies and smart contracts, and supports the global economy by streamlining transactions. Indeed, the experts at Market Research Future predict that the smart-contracts market will have a compound annual growth rate of 23 percent and reach $300 million by 2023. Related: How Will Blockchain Redefine Digital Marketing While this is exciting news for international corporations, small business owners are struggling to identify practical applications for this system. Yet despite these reservations, opportunities for small and mid-sized companies to leverage smart contracts for success are out there. Here’s what you need to know: Smart contracts in a nutshell Even the most basic business contract requires a lawyer or a broker to oversee its completion; and meeting the terms […]

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4 Ways to Leverage the Fast Growth of Cryptocurrencies for Success

Had you bought a single Bitcoin in 2011 for $100, it would be worth $6,166 today. Sorry you didn’t jump in? September 5, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Bitcoin was launched in 2009 as the world’s first cryptocurrency. Today, there are over 2,000 unique cryptocurrencies, as identified and tracked by the experts at Investing.com; and that number is up from 1,658 that the company identified as recently as this past spring. Related: Should You Invest in Bitcoin (or Any Other Cryptocurrency)? Of course, such incredible growth is ripe for scams, and only time will tell if all of these “currencies” are legitimate. Yet their explosion has still resulted in four specific opportunities for entrepreneurs who want to ride the cryptocurrency wave to success. Traditional investment Investing in cryptocurrencies is like holding a share in a new business that can either make you wealthy beyond your wildest […]

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4 Small Businesses (and 1 NFL Player) That Made a Huge Impact After Hurricane Harvey

August 31, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Donations to reputable relief organizations, such as the American Red Cross, are an excellent way to support the victims of natural disasters. But what can businesses do when these disasters happen literally in their own backyard? Related: These 2 Franchisees in Puerto Rico Survived Hurricane Maria and Lived to Tell What They Learned Four small business owners and NFL star J.J. Watt deserve credit for the answers they provided during Texas’s devastating Hurricane Harvey in 2017. They’re great role models for the hurricane we’re now in. Billions in damage Hurricane Harvey was a Category 4 storm that caused over $125 billion dollars in damage when it hit Texas on August 25, 2017, according to the National Hurricane Center.  Eighty-eight people were killed and over 30,000 water rescues were conducted. The National Hurricane Center report also said 300,000 structures were […]

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Virtual Assistant Options for Any Company — From Startups to High-Flyers

VAs can cover your bookkeeping, social media, writing, customer service and programming needs, as much or as little as you want them to. August 24, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. While the Beatles may have gotten by by with a little help from their friends, you may not be so lucky: In fact, as an entrepreneur and business owner, you probably need professional support. Related: 10 Things to Outsource to a Virtual Assistant Although you could hire another employee to perform those tasks you want done, you might, instead, join the increasing number of businesses choosing the option of a virtual assistant. That way, you can access the exact skills needed. Entrepreneurs outsource a variety of tasks to virtual assistants, including SEO and social media management, blog-writing, vlog and podcast production and administrative responsibilities. A virtual assistant will clear the routine tasks from your schedule, giving […]

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4 Logo-Design Options to Boost Your Startup’s or Small Business’s Marketing Campaign

You may not have an artistic bone in your body, but rest easy: There are experts, freelancers and low-cost online tools to help. August 3, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. We live in a logo-driven world. Think about those familiar logos for Coca-Cola, Nike, Starbucks, Google, Target (and more) … Related: What Is a Logo? Just the Beating Heart of Your Brand, That’s All. According to the experts at Red Crow Marketing, the average adult is exposed to over 4,000 advertisements every day, and often the only image in the ad is the sponsoring company’s logo. That’s why, for a small business or startup, a logo is critical. It’s the anchor of your brand, drawing attention to your company and representing its core values. So, if you’re considering designing this important aspect of your company’s marketing presentation, here are four basic options you can choose […]

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How These 3 Businesses Are Changing Their Industries Through the Transparency That Leads to Trust

Whole Foods and Patagonia are big brands that have done it. How about yours? June 25, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Trust is the cornerstone of a company’s brand, but it must be earned. Today’s consumers are smarter, more demanding and able to access more information about a product or service. In fact, Search Engine Land found that 88 percent of consumers surveyed said they trusted online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Related: Let’s Be Real: Why Transparency in Business Should Be the Norm That’s why, to meet buyer expectations, more and more businesses are working to establish a foundation of trust by increasing transparency. Transparency as a means to trust Transparency requires entrepreneurs to be open about key aspects of their business, including their operations, supply chains and performance. According to a 2016 study by Label Insight, 94 percent of respondents agreed that it was important to […]

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Why All Businesses Can Benefit from a Guiding Social or Environmental Purpose

Corporate sustainability efforts are about more than just doing good. They’re good business. May 11, 2018 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. According to Nielsen’s 2015 Global Corporate Sustainability report, 66 percent of global consumers surveyed said they were willing to pay more for sustainable brands. When the consumers surveyed were limited to just millennials, the number jumped to 73 percent.  Related: What Big Companies Can Teach Small Business Owners About Sustainability Sustainability, then, is more than just a buzzword. It’s a much-lauded, frequently cited goal in the world of business. A company like Freightera, a Vancouver-based freight marketplace, knows this well. Freightera takes sustainability seriously and as a result is reaping benefits, in both the ethical and commercial sense. That’s significant because the freight industry is a major cause of air pollution and one of the fastest-growing contributors to climate change. Freightera, which connects businesses that need to ship freight with freight-transportation companies […]

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How to Run a Thriving Business as a Digital Nomad

With digitization decreasing the number of office-based jobs, you may find it’s a good time to start your global travels. April 16, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The combination of work and travel is a dream life for many people. But, living life as what’s come to be known as a “digital nomad” is not always possible: Financial considerations figure in, and job mobility may chain would-be nomads to a single geographic location. Related: 8 Ways to Make Money As a Digital Nomad Still, given the increased internet access possible in more and more parts of the world, working from anywhere has never been more possible. Pursuing a career as a digital nomad can be exciting and offer an excellent chance to learn and explore the planet. According to self-styled “global business executive” Glen Wakeman, location independence can be a fulfilling experience if you plan correctly. What […]

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Why Entrepreneur-Investors Should Jump on the Smart Revolution — Like, Now

How can you get a piece of the IoT pie? First, make sure any device you invent can be integrated into a whole-home solution. April 1, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Smart homes are quickly becoming the new normal. For most of us, adoption of this technology is piecemeal: We build our in-home networks by gradually replacing old appliances with new models that offer connectivity.  Related: 25 Innovative IoT Companies and Products You Need to Know The big picture? Interconnected smart homes built from the ground up are still a high-end novelty. Yet, even at this moderate rate of adoption, it won’t be long before fully networked homes are the standard. So, the question is, how will that change our lives — and businesses? The astonishing growth of smart devices In 2014, there were one million smart devices sold around the world. IHS Technology […]

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