How to Build a Business that Will Survive Long After You’re Gone

May 21, 2020 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Earlier this year, I announced that I was stepping down as CEO of Nav, a company I co-founded in 2012. I love Nav passionately, and it wasn’t an easy decision, but I knew it was the best thing for both me and the company.  Under the leadership of its new CEO, Greg Ott, Nav moved forward without missing a beat. Watching it happen, I felt a peculiar feeling.  On the one hand, I was proud to have built a business strong enough to weather any change. On the other, I wondered how I would feel as the days passed and it became more and more obvious that Nav was flourishing without me.  Related: How to Step Back and Still Keep Your Team Accountable I’m proud to report that my pride only grew. Unlike a toxic parent whose […]

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Why Entrepreneurship Should Be Taught Before College

April 15, 2020 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. I wish I’d been taught entrepreneurship when I was young for lots of reasons.  As a farm boy in Idaho, all I knew about my potential career was that I didn’t want to be poor when I grew up. My grandpa, who was a successful doctor, suggested I become an anesthesiologist, and I latched onto his advice as if it were gospel.  But if I had found out I was wired to be an entrepreneur early on, I would have entered my college years with a stronger sense of who I was, and had a more deliberate plan.   What we stand to lose by not teaching kids business  I believe there are innumerable people wired to be entrepreneurs who, for lack of opportunity, get stuck on a track that keeps them from capitalizing on their gifts. This is […]

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5 Signs You Need to Step Back as Founder of Your Startup

Sometimes the best thing your business is to take on a different role. March 6, 2020 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. A month ago, I announced on LinkedIn that I was resigning as CEO of my company, Nav, and taking on a new role as Executive Chairman of our Board of Directors. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, but also one of the most rewarding. My motivations for stepping down were personal to me, and I hope to write about them in more detail as my new role gives me more time to look back and reflect. In the meantime, I thought it might be helpful to discuss five of the more general reasons a CEO would be wise to call it quits. 1. You’re consumed by what’s urgent instead of what’s important One symptom that you’ve lost the reins […]

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A Beginner’s Guide to Qualifying for an SBA Loan

Know what you’re getting into before you start the process. February 6, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. If you’re looking for financing for your business, loans backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) can be a good place to start. However, it can be daunting with so many different types of SBA loans. It’s worth it to dive into the details of each program in order to understand what program and lender are right for you. In this article, we’ll cover the basics you can take action on now to improve your chances of qualifying for funding through an SBA-approved lender. 1. Improve your personal credit scores According to the SBA website, even individuals with bad credit may qualify for funding. Having great credit scores, however, will significantly increase your chances of approval. Remember that SBA-approved lenders can add certain qualification requirements to […]

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The Best Way to Borrow From Friends and Family to Grow Your Business? Here’s How to Do It Right

Getting a loan from loved ones can pay off — with some parameters. January 10, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The first time I borrowed money from family to start a business, I made a complete fool of myself. I asked my dad for $2,000 to secure a position in a multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme that was sure to earn me millions. I was young and naive, but he trusted me and agreed to help me out. Sorry, Dad. How was I to know that hawking magnets with magical healing properties wouldn’t make me rich?  A few years later, I founded a legitimate business repairing commercial signs. I had some success, but my complete lack of credit history meant I couldn’t secure the financing needed to take it to the next level. Once again I went to my dad, and once again he came […]

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How to Keep Your Top Talent From Heading Out the Door

Keep the good in by following three easy steps. December 4, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Talented employees are like wine — their value increases with age. Repeatedly losing them to other companies is a bad sign with all sorts of unpleasant implications. It may be that they’re simply ready to move on, but if you wait till they leave to discover the particulars, you’ve robbed yourself of two things. The first, obviously, is that you’ve lost a valuable team member. The second is that identifying the source of their unhappiness often means improving your company as a whole. It isn’t always easy to hear why a beloved employee has fallen out of love with their job, but burying your head in the sand will only ensure that their replacement eventually experiences the same disillusionment. That’s why I’ve identified three key steps to retaining […]

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What ‘The Sopranos’ Taught Me About Managing Stress, Anxiety and Panic Attacks

How to recharge and keep your sanity when you’re in charge. September 30, 2019 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. I accepted anxiety as a basic fact of life in my early twenties when I founded my first business. I was in charge, the buck stopped with me — stress was just part of the job. As a CEO in my early forties, I experienced something I should have seen coming but that caught me by surprise: the consequences of two decades of pushing my mind to the limit. I didn’t even realize what was happening until I binge-watched The Sopranos, which begins with a New Jersey mob boss passing out by his swimming pool. He seeks advice from a therapist, who explains that he’s suffered a panic attack. As I listened to her rattle off a list of symptoms, I thought, “Holy crap, I recognize some of […]

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4 Proven Sales Techniques for Introverts

Hate making the hard sell to strangers? Learn these techniques to make sales without going too far outside your comfort zone. September 18, 2019 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Raise your hand if you’re not a natural salesperson. You’re introverted. You’re deferential. Chatting with strangers is definitely not your favorite cup of tea; the idea of your livelihood hanging in the balance turns tea to mud in your mouth.   I was once in your shoes. I grew my first business by cold calling prospective clients from my kitchen and leaving messages on their answering machines. When they called back, I’d answer in a different voice, as if they’d reached the receptionist of a busy office. As soon as I got my “real” self on the line, the fun began. By fun, I mean degrading terror and awkwardness. I sucked. It didn’t matter how great a deal […]

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6 Traits of Indispensable Employees

The steady contribution of an excellent staffer exceeds an occasional flash of a dysfunctional genius. April 29, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. There are few things more frustrating than a brilliant employee who is totally incapable of putting together a string of uninterrupted wins. Their successes are like lightning — spectacular but infrequent. The brighter the flash, the darker the lulls between. I’ll take steady excellence over occasional genius any day. But steady excellence isn’t something you achieve quickly; it comes as a result of deliberate effort, a diverse skill set patiently acquired. I’ve hired a lot of people in my time, and the ones who stand out as consistent achievers usually have six qualities in common. 1.) Overall discipline. Your habits at home will show up in the workplace. I’ve read of people who could drink like a fish every night and […]

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How I Built $500 in Credit to $500,000

Start small, pay on time, be proactive. March 24, 2019 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. I was raised to believe that debt was bad. If you needed a car, you paid cash. Same went for groceries and clothing and most other things. You paid with paper money or you went without. A credit card was a one-way ticket to insolvency and despair. It was a mindset of freedom versus serfdom. A healthy mindset, overall — if maxed-out credit cards and crushing student loans aren’t a form of bondage, I don’t know what is. When I decided to drop out of school and start my own business, I quickly discovered that there was much more to the story. Debt, while a burden, didn’t have to be ruinous. In fact, it was an outright necessity for any entrepreneur with ambitions loftier than a lemonade stand. Related: […]

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The 3 Smartest Money Moves You Can Make While You’re Making Money

A surprisingly large number of people making good money really don’t have much money. October 25, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. A friend once came to me for financial advice. He made pretty good money, had no real debt, no kids, no health problems, no mortgage. On paper, he should have been doing just fine. It was a different story in real life. He was constantly stressed, living from paycheck to paycheck. He had no savings, yet had nothing to show for all his spending. The expression on his face could be spelled out in four capital letters: HELP. All I could do was offer some basic tips — tips I would give to anyone, regardless of their circumstances. These tips have saved me plenty of cash and heartache over the years. They can do the same for you: Related: 18 Ways I’ve Earned […]

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How to Fire Your Best Friend

Be direct. Be quick. And if they are still talking to you, help them find a new job. October 4, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Ever been fired from your job? I have, and it sucks. There’s nothing quite like the feelings of despair, humiliation, discouragement and setback that results from losing gainful employment — expected or otherwise. Ever fired someone from their job? I have, and it’s every bit as sucky. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being directly responsible for all the negative emotions listed above. There are exceptions to the rule, of course. Sometimes the employee in question is rude, arrogant and downright bad at their job. They poison your company culture and continually underperform. Both of you see a parting of ways long before the day actually arrives. Related: Should You Hire Your Friends? But then there are those […]

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4 Ways to Develop the People Skills You Need to Grow Your Business

Small, everyday gestures of goodwill have miraculous power. June 4, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The term “business development” has a cold ring to it. It suggests an activity that is purely opportunistic, calculating and strategic. It isn’t personal; it’s commercial. In my experience, it’s both. Mastery of the personal aspect takes just as much commitment as wheeling and dealing; but to hear someone say, “Pleasure doing business with you,” and know they’re sincere, makes it all worthwhile. Here are four simple suggestions for personalizing business development: Related: The Science of the First Impression: 5 Elements of a Great First Impression 1. Make a good first impression. First impressions are important. “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” are words to live by. Whether you’re at a conference, trade show or just an average meeting, what you wear shows your level […]

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