5 Ways the Cloud Can Benefit Your Business During the Pandemic

June 29, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Cloud computing has long been poised to change the business landscape. Cisco predicts that 94 percent of all workloads will be handled in the cloud by next year — and the COVID-19 crisis is speeding up the process.  As the coronavirus whips the business world into a tailspin, your company can’t afford to go unprepared. Old, server-based computing options can be sluggish in the face of today’s high-paced tech world. By adopting cloud computing, you’re ensuring your organization has the digital tools it needs to face down whatever challenges may come next.  More and more companies are being forced to take their business online, but not all of them have the necessary digital infrastructure in place. If you’re hoping to get your business through this pandemic unscathed, you’ll need cloud computing to help. Here are five ways it can. Related: […]

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6 Cyber Threats You Can’t Afford to Ignore

June 10, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. As if your business didn’t have enough to worry about right now, the spectre of cyberattacks looms larger than ever. While it may seem like big names bear the brunt of digital disruption, the reality is far scarier: More than 40 percent of all cyberattacks are directed at small businesses, according to data published by Verizon. Now more than ever, small players can’t afford to have their core operations disrupted. Investing in cybersecurity infrastructure now can mean big savings down the line, but you have to know what you’re up against first. Understanding the kinds of cyber threats out there is the first step to protecting yourself — and your company — against them. These are six of the most common. Ransomware, or software that publishes private data or otherwise harms your business unless a cash reward is given, has quickly become […]

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5 Personal-Finance Mistakes That Kill Promising Companies

May 12, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. For most people, personal-finance mistakes affect only themselves. For entrepreneurs, a personal-finance slip-up can have far-reaching consequences. People who get into tight financial spots while running their businesses must make difficult choices about which bills to pay, which opportunities to let go and which partners to leave. Founders of startups are no strangers to running lean, but that’s no reason to add to the pile. Good personal-finance habits set entrepreneurs up for success by empowering them to focus their energies on the growth of their companies. Bad habits take their attention away from their businesses and hinder their ability to expand.  Don’t let your focus on your company lead you to neglect your own affairs. Watch out for these common personal-finance mistakes, and take proactive measures to keep your life (and your startup’s growth) on track. […]

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The 3 Most Valuable Things Entrepreneurs Can Be Doing for Their Team Right Now

No matter how your business has been impacted, your team needs its leader more than ever. May 4, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. You may be worried about your business, but you aren’t the only one stressed out. Right now, your team members are worried about their careers, their families and their futures. No matter how much the current public health- and econimic-crisis has impacted you, your team needs its leader now more than ever. Even if you’ve avoided eliminating positions in your business thus far, people are worried. Unemployment numbers have already hit record highs, and Gallup reports that a quarter of American employees fear they’ll lose their jobs. Workers and companies fortunate enough to stay open during quarantine orders still face unique challenges. Employees who have never worked from home now spend every hour indoors. People who loved to flaunt their extroverted selves […]

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5 Factors for Planning Your Entrepreneurial Legacy

April 16, 2020 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. In business today, disruption is the name of the game. Entrepreneurs are constantly looking for ways to shake things up, find new perspectives and change the rules.  While carving out a place for yourself in the market is crucial, focusing only on your numbers sheet is a bit shortsighted. For entrepreneurs, the sign of true success isn’t short-term profits — it’s a lasting legacy. Now more than ever, entrepreneurs need to look forward to what their long-term impact on the world will be. Knowing what you’ll be known and remembered for down the line, however, isn’t always easy. If you’re hoping to turn your present success into a future legacy, it’s important to start thinking ahead today. Here are some key factors to keep in mind when planning your entrepreneurial legacy. Relationships Building positive relationships is already a key component of […]

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Don’t Buy Workflow Software Without These 5 Features

Technology should take care of busywork so we can get back to what we do best. March 11, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The world is getting smarter, but are workers benefiting from their advanced tools in the right ways? People don’t need technology to take over their jobs. They need technology to fill in the gaps and take care of busywork so they can get back to doing what they do best. According to research from Monday.com, 38 percent of workers believe they could save five hours a week with tools that automate repetitive tasks, and 28 percent want to increase their time for creativity and focus. Using the right workflow software with automation elements empowers humans to focus on tasks only they can perform and the ones where they stand to really make an impact. Whether you work for yourself or oversee a team of […]

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3 Steps to a Successful International Expansion

Follow these strategies if you are trying to scale outside of the U.S. March 5, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Business is booming. You’re hiring like crazy, beating quarterly projections and winning the public relations game at every opportunity. But what happens when it’s time to expand beyond the confines of your home country and start dipping a toe into the international market? What works on your home shores may fail across the world, sometimes with disastrous results. Apple learned this firsthand in 2016 when its iPhone 7 release slogan had an unfortunate association when translated to Cantonese. Then there’s Walmart, which closed down operations in Germany in 2006 with $1 billion in losses after the front-door greeters and friendly staff clashed with the social etiquette of the locals. According to research published by the Harvard Business Review, many international expansions can take […]

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3 Strategies to Better Motivate Your Team

When you bring out the best in your people, they’ll do their best work for your company. February 2, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Regardless of your industry or team size, being a leader is no easy task. You have to be a counselor, a disciplinarian and a source of encouragement all at once. Finding a balance between those roles — some of which at first seem to conflict — requires a crystal-clear strategic vision, passion for your people and a commitment to developing your own emotional intelligence. It’s possible to replace employees, but you can never precisely replicate an individual’s specific skill set. In today’s knowledge economy, the old adage that employees are your biggest asset rings true. One of the most important things you can do as a leader is show your employees you understand this, as well as the value they […]

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3 Ways to Utilize Gig Economy Freelancers to Transform Your Business

Gig economy workers can help you grow and scale your business with the proper strategy in place. January 2, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. American companies already rely on freelancers for plenty of heavy lifting. As the gig economy continues to boom, nearly every company will have an opportunity to expand its talent pool by working with the alternative workforce. In Upwork’s 2018 Freelancing in America survey, more than one-third of American workers said they’d freelanced recently, pointing to a trend that doesn’t appear to be slowing anytime soon. Though working with outsourced contractors may seem simple on the surface, getting the relationship right requires forethought. Otherwise, gig workers and employers can run into issues, including misaligned expectations and managerial snags. It takes proper planning for organizations to realize the full potential that can come from working with expert freelancers. Related: The Gig […]

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5 Ways to Win a Slice of the Wearables Market

It only seems like a crowded space until you use your imagination. November 18, 2019 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The wearables market just won’t quit. Nearly five years after the first Apple Watch debuted, sales of wearable technology continue to grow. In 2018, 172 million devices shipped — nearly 30 percent more than the year prior. Although many of those sales were made by major players, there’s still space in the wearables sector for startups. As the tech behind them becomes more capable, more use cases are emerging. More use cases means more target markets, and more target markets spells more opportunity for new entrants. What’s the best way to get a slice of the wearables boom? Take these five tips from the pros. 1. Skip smartwatches. Every one in three wearables sold is a smartwatch. The reason the smartwatch segment is so large […]

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How to Deliver More Authentic Customer Experiences

You may not be able to control what your customers say about you, but you can certainly influence it. October 18, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Every time someone from your company speaks with a customer, that customer receives an experience that falls somewhere between “exceptional” and “exceptionally awful.” Get it right, and customers will talk to their friends about you. Get it wrong, and they’ll talk even louder. Findings from Temkin Group discovered that consumers talk about both great and horrible customer experiences — but in every situation, they spread the bad more than the good. Even when customers stay silent, they’re more likely to keep a “very good” (34 percent) customer experience to themselves than a “very bad” one (27 percent). You may not be able to control what your customers say about you, but you can certainly influence it. The […]

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How Entrepreneurs Can Avoid Waste.

Startups need to keep up with the competition, but not all new innovations are a good fit. September 6, 2019 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Startups are the perfect customers for technology companies. They’re eager to grow, they need to keep up with their competitors and they’re open to new ways of doing things. Entrepreneurs themselves are often attracted to anything shiny and new; there’s not much convincing to be done. But therein lies the rub: They’re startups. Fledgling businesses often have a limited number of employees and an even more limited budget. That means that enterprise systems or big-budget packages are out of reach or impractical, no matter how appealing they may be. That sometimes doesn’t stop entrepreneurs from pulling the trigger. Research-and-advisory company Gartner predicts that IT spending will hit $3.8 trillion this year. If all of that technology was necessary, it would be […]

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4 Trends in Sales Tech That Will Determine Success in 2020

Don’t bother learning about what the tech can do until you have a firm grasp on what you really need done. July 18, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Everyone wants to sell more, but not everyone does succeeds. With so many new sales tools flooding the market, growing companies struggle to distinguish the genuinely helpful from the borderline useless. No company has unlimited time and money to test every tool to determine which ones work best. Instead of following the process of elimination, businesses should work to improve specific areas within their sales processes. Focusing on function helps sales leaders organize their priorities to determine which tools they need and which they can live without. Consider the following trends in sales technology and how your business could benefit from smarter tools: 1. Relevance beats variety. Why do sales technology companies insist on packing […]

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3 Ways Machine Learning Can Help Entrepreneurs

July 11, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Until a decade or so ago, artificial intelligence was — for most Americans — something that existed only in the movies. Now, Alexa and Google Home have moved into numerous households and live only to please. According to many reports, 2019 will be the year of AI. A recent McKinsey Global survey found that 47 percent of companies have implemented at least one AI capability into their business processes, more than doubling the 20 percent that reported using AI the previous year. Artificial intelligence can be the difference maker in an entrepreneur’s business, providing everything from customer support to automated supervision of assembly lines. AI never takes a break, never clocks out, never takes a day off. Still, the common belief that artificial intelligence will cheat people out of jobs or make some positions obsolete may be […]

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4 Things Leaders Misunderstand About Performance Reviews

Workers crave feedback, but feedback loops often go wrong. June 18, 2019 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Once a workplace staple, the performance review is on trial. From startups to large firms like Accenture, leaders are wondering whether formal performance reviews are worth it. The data doesn’t paint a rosy picture. When management research firm CEB studied the subject, it found just one in 20 managers was satisfied with how his company conducted performance reviews; only one in 10 HR executives believed performance reviews produced accurate information. The problem, though, isn’t with performance appraisals themselves. Almost universally, the people I’ve worked with want to know where they stand at work. For their part, companies want to help workers see their strengths and shore up their weaknesses. No, the problem is that company leaders often forget four important facts about them: 1. Role-specific skills are only part […]

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No One Knows It But These 3 Industries Now Depend on AI

AI is revolutionizing industries across the board, including ones nobody expected. But it’s a sign of the times — and the times to come. June 15, 2019 3 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Not every AI-loving company operates in logistics, marketing or healthcare. Artificial intelligence isn’t picky about which industries it revolutionizes, and many niches have already embraced automation. Given the global value of AI, it’s no surprise the tech is spreading. Statista estimates that worldwide AI revenue will hit $90 billion by 2025. With so much wealth to go around, no industry is safe from disruption. Sooner or later, artificial intelligence will be table stakes in every industry. A few sectors you might not expect are leading the way: Related: What Every Entrepreneur Must Know About Artificial Intelligence 1. Beauty and skincare. Consumers can’t seem to get enough of sustainability and personalization. In the beauty […]

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4 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Building an MVP

Every entrepreneur gets personally attached to his or her product. Only some of them, though, see how dangerous that is. June 10, 2019 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Every entrepreneur gets personally attached to his or her product. Only some of them, though, see how dangerous that is. Although minimum viable products do get concepts to market faster, that’s only part of their purpose. MVPs also serve as gut checks for entrepreneurs, preventing them from pouring money into their grand idea before giving the market so much as a peek. By minimizing entrepreneurs’ upfront investment and generating feedback, MVPs prevent costly, emotion-driven mistakes. But while “minimum viable product” might sound self-explanatory, too many entrepreneurs misunderstand or outright skip the MVP. And unless their investors are exceptionally forgiving, startups only get one shot. If they build a start-to-shelf product that flops, it’s too late to […]

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How to Identify and Nurture the Leadership Potential of Your Employees

Your company’s future leaders are probably right under your nose. Here’s how to sniff them out — and help them grow into the role. May 24, 2019 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Think about the best leader you’ve ever had at any point in your life. It might be your current boss; it could be a volunteer coordinator from college. It might even be your high school football coach. He or she embraced the characteristics of a capable and inspiring leader, no matter his or her profession. The task of identifying leaders challenges every company. That’s why it’s important to encourage every member of your team to think like a leader, no matter what job title he carries. If you wait to coach someone on leadership until he eventually occupies a managerial position, you’ll be too late. You should be teaching your employees to be leaders from day one. […]

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How to Push Your Company to Digital Maturity

Starting a digital transformation is easy. Seeing it through to completion is a lot harder. Here’s how to navigate the circuitous voyage to digital maturity. April 25, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. What happens after digital transformation? If you play your cards right, you achieve digital maturity. And that’s an achievement worth pushing for: According to research from Deloitte, half of digitally mature organizations report higher net profit margins and increased revenue compared to the industry average. Clearly, there are advantages to nailing a tech-first approach. Digital transformation involves a series of steps that build on one another, as tech is adopted and implemented with the end goal of creating a digitally mature organization. The first step is to analyze whatever incidental assets might already be supporting digital transformation — using shared data or integrated communication platforms, for example. After that comes an […]

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3 Ways to Build the Rewards Program Customers Want

To earn your customers’ devotion, remember that loyalty is a two-way street. To get it, you’ve got to give it. April 18, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Every business aims for its customers’ loyalty, but how much loyalty do you show them back? It can take years of hard work to do that, but it’s well worth it. According to a recent report by Bain & Company, customer loyalty has a major impact on a company’s bottom line. The report states that in the financial services industry, for example, firms that retain just 5 percent of their customers increase their profits by 25 percent or more.        Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to lose that loyalty. Last year, InMoment’s annual “CX Trends Report” found that nearly a quarter of consumers get angry after a bad experience, and they’re four times more likely […]

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