3 Essential Ingredients for a Millennial-Friendly Office Culture

From financial woes to mental-health problems, they expect freedom to air grievances and opportunities to solve them. December 11, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. You’ve seen it in every workplace commercial: Millennials, smiling and wearing nice clothes, hang out in a modern-looking office they clearly love to work in. Maybe they have an office dog or a pinball machine in the background. No matter the specifics, the message is clear: The culture here is perfect for young, hungry professionals. Surface-level perks only go so far, though, and no set of perks can make up for a bad culture. Millennials want different things from the workplace than prior generations did. New research, broken down by Harvard Business Review, discovered that 50 percent of millennials have left a position for mental-health reasons, voluntarily or otherwise. Members of Gen-Z reported a rate of 75 percent. While workers of the past […]

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How to Direct Your Next Martech Investment

As marketing grows ever more tech-oriented, here’s how to adopt the right solutions for your business. December 9, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. You may not want to hear this, but marketing today is verging on science. It’s undebatable that technology is in the driver’s seat. The world of the consumer becomes more digital every day, meaning brands must use marketing technology to help enhance engagement. The developments that have led to martech’s emergence as a business requirement are here to stay. Cloud-computing infrastructure is only becoming more capability-packed, and Amazon AWS and other providers are making the cloud more accessible to companies looking to scale quickly. Furthermore, open-source code gives developers the canvas they need to build on top of existing martech tools and platforms, helping ecosystems grow. Plus., developers have used various tech stacks to their advantage, boosting the efficiency and effectiveness of […]

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5 Leadership Conferences You Can’t Afford to Miss in 2020

To become the sort of person you’d want to follow, you need to listen to others who’ve already made it there. December 5, 2019 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. As 2020 nears, so do new opportunities to become a better entrepreneur. Although sales, marketing and HR are important, there’s one domain that unites the rest: leadership. Leadership is one of those things that can’t be learned in a book. To become the sort of person you’d want to follow, you need to listen to other leaders. Reflecting on their lessons and implementing those ideas in your own operations increases the chances of success — for both you and your teammates. The question: Where can you look to find leaders who inspire you? Leadership Conferences to Check Out While talented entrepreneurs can be found everywhere, leadership conferences let you gather ideas from dozens of them […]

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How to Win Holiday Season Marketing with Relevance and Timing

Retailers stand to benefit substantially from the holiday shopping season, so act on your holiday marketing strategy early. November 28, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. There’s nothing like a classic holiday scene. Snow dusts the ground, smoke climbs from the chimney and Hershey’s Kisses “Christmas Bells” ads ring out from the TV. Consumers endure nonstop advertising, so most marketing messages amount to mere background noise. Per Kantar’s research, 89% of U.S. consumers feel indifferent at best about advertising, and even that number seems like an understatement. Regardless, the holiday season brings in big business for retailers. According to Deloitte’s forecast, holiday sales will increase by up to 5% this year, racking up more than $1.1 trillion. If you’re a retail marketer, you may plan on upping your media buys to ensure 2019’s last quarter is a good one. If so, you’ll be fighting […]

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3 Ways to Succeed in a Startup Accelerator

Getting into an accelerator is an incredible opportunity for your startup. Here’s how to make the most of it. November 13, 2019 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The startup craze is far from over. Just take a look at Y Combinator’s Summer 2019 class, which welcomed 197 startups into its ranks. Participants gained access to $150,000 in capital in exchange for around 7 percent of equity, as well as the opportunity to pitch prominent venture capital firms and investors on Demo Day. While Y Combinator is perhaps the world’s most storied accelerator — with household names such as Airbnb, Dropbox and Instacart among its list of graduates — smaller accelerator programs have emerged in cities around the world. Research from the Brookings Institution indicates that there were 172 U.S.-based accelerator programs in 2016, and the International Business Innovation Association has reported that there may […]

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4 Ways to Spice Up B2B Marketing

October 21, 2019 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. When marketing to larger companies, entrepreneurs know they need to stand out. While many of them execute engaging, belly-busting B2C campaigns, however, they rarely break the mold with their B2B marketing. Why not? Often, it’s because they take “professional” to mean “boring.” But the fact is that B2B buyers are people, too. The same tactics that resonate with everyday consumers — humor, color and playfulness — catch the eye of procurement professionals. Serious, trustworthy, compelling and fun can co-exist in B2B campaigns. Here’s how to do it. 1. Let your corny side shine. Paper isn’t a product that requires a lot of explaining. Yet until recently, Case Paper’s marketing strategy focused on its product rather than what made the company special. Beyond its strong customer service, which many companies can claim, what distinguishes the family owned paper company is its quirky […]

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How to Take a Personal Stake in Your Employees’s Development

If you invest in the growth your company’s people, the whole truly will be greater than the sum of its parts. October 11, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Soon, 2019 will be history, and it will be time to start pursuing your goals for 2020. Your team’s success over the next several quarters will more than likely depend on your ability to help individual team members achieve their own successes. Talk with your highest performers about their long-term career goals, and identify ways that you can help these individuals move closer to them. Pinpoint the skills they need to make progress, and work together to find educational opportunities — whether that means conferences, seminars, classes or additional responsibilities at work — that they can take advantage of in the months ahead. Related: This Is How to Boost Employee Retention With Lifelong Learning Perhaps not everyone […]

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4 Tips for Creating Brand Fanatics

Strong customer relationships are the single best thing that can happen to your bottom line. September 27, 2019 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Entrepreneurs have heard millennials love experiences. The truth is that it’s not just millennials; it’s all of America. Research from last year’s Expedia-backed travel-industry report Generations on the Move found that 74 percent of Americans now prioritize experiences over material goods. Whether people genuinely want to try new things or just want to make their friends jealous via social media, today’s consumers would rather purchase fleeting moments (documented in pictures, of course) than forever objects.  What does that mean for how companies build fan bases? It calls for four tactics that engender loyalty. 1. Plan exclusive events. To show fans that you value their business, go beyond the traditional (e.g. rewards-points offers and discounts) and treat them to truly special experiences. Provide early access to highly anticipated […]

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6 Assumptions That Can Kill Your Relationship With Your Employees

You may think you know your tight-knit team like the back of your hand, but they’re not cut from the same cloth. September 9, 2019 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. We’ve all heard that entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. Launching a business is full of stress, from rustling up customers to meeting payroll, and that doesn’t even guarantee success. According to the Small Business Administration, only 50 percent of multi-person businesses make it to their fifth year. We also know that great entrepreneurs doesn’t necessarily make great managers. Noah Wasserman, author of The Founder’s Dilemma, found in his analysis of 212 businesses that only half of the founders were still CEO by their company’s third year. By the time they went public, fewer than a quarter were in charge. In other words, having a great idea doesn’t necessarily translate to great leadership. So it should […]

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3 Ways to Ensure a Team Follows Your Lead

Real stewardship requires ego-free collaboration. August 14, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Let’s start with the good news: Recent Gallup survey results suggest the highest levels of employee engagement since 2000, at 34 percent. Unfortunately, that’s a far cry from a world where even the majority of employees are engaged in their jobs, so there’s still a massive amount of work to be done. Much has been said about the importance of engagement, but most of the current literature focuses on increases in productivity and retention rate that go along with an engaged workforce. I would add that there’s another vital benefit hiding in plain sight: getting your employees to buy into your strategy and involve themselves in executing your business plan. Related: Five Mistakes that Hinder Employee Engagement When work gets repetitive, a disconnect inevitably forms between what you’re doing on a daily basis and […]

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3 Trader Joe’s Business Strategies Your Company Desperately Needs to Emulate

While you can’t start offering your customers Candy Cane Joe-Joes, there’s nothing to keep you from copying these three winning TJ’s strategies. July 8, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Does Trader Joe’s hire marketers or magicians? After all, these folks made violet-tinted food hip again, which seemed unlikely after Heinz’s early 2000s purple ketchup fiasco. Still, the grocery store chain somehow led consumers to rave about a frozen purple-root vegetable puree. When this yam-flavored ice cream hit the chain’s freezer cases this year, it caused an uproar (in a good way). Maybe an accomlishment like this is part and parcel of the company’s unconventional operations. One might think, “It’s Trader Joe’s; of course it could turn an ube dessert into an über treat.” Trader Joe’s is the most beloved grocery retailer in the United States, after all. So, what’s the brand’s secret? Surprisingly, it […]

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Want Employees to Stick Like Glue? Attract Them With Meaning

Today’s talent has such an aversion to simply putting in time that workers will sacrifice money for meaning. July 5, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Do your workers feel as if they’re living the lines of a 1979 rock opera? If they connect with Pink Floyd’s lament of being “just another brick in the wall,” you have a problem on your hands. Employees have never wanted to be treated like drones. But today’s talent has such an aversion to simply putting in time that workers will sacrifice money for meaning. As a recent Wrike study found, 58 percent of workers would undergo a sizable income cut to chase happiness at a different company. BetterUp Labs research identified the meaning-over-money pay reduction as 23 percent of future earnings, or around $21,000 yearly in the U.S. — all for the opportunity to hold a job […]

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Your Company Might Offer High Salaries, But Does It Have Soul?

Humanize your approach to talent acquisition or risk becoming every candidate’s last choice. July 1, 2019 7 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. It’s a well-established stereotype that large-scale companies are about as approachable as a concrete wall. The clichés say it all: Those who “sell out” to work for the “man” become corporate cogs, dedicating their working lives to the daily grind. The language we’ve assigned to corporate work brings to mind gray cubicles, professional drudgery and drab cultures. Larger enterprises have a reputation for offering excellent salaries and poor experiences — and for some, the tradeoff might not be worth it. For all their perks and benefits, corporations’ lack of approachability may prevent company recruiters from accessing the top-tier talent that should, by all rights, be within their reach. Companies of any size that believe salary to be their main selling point are missing […]

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Keep Your Brand Weird: How Austin Inspires Advocates

Don’t be afraid to let your freak flag fly. June 24, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Austin might be the Steve Urkel of cities. Once assumed to be a bit player, the town’s bigger-than-life personality has turned it into the star of the show — not to mention Texas. At the core of Austin’s winning quirkiness is a phenomenal brand presence that companies everywhere can only hope to emulate. But it takes more than flashy suspenders and nerd-worthy glasses to get attention. Organizations striving to hit Urkel-level pay dirt should study Austin’s awesomely weird rise to the top if they hope to re-create it. Leveraging “decidedly different” as a competitive edge. Austin’s bold city branding creates loyal advocates. Rather than downplay its unusual blue-in-a-red-state status, Austin flashes individuality like a neon sign at a BBQ joint. Every corner of the city oozes creativity, diversity […]

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Tired of Administering Benefits? 4 Perks Workers Can Manage With an App.

When benefits providers offer self-service systems, take advantage of them. June 17, 2019 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Let’s be honest: HR is a pain. Especially at growing companies, there’s an almost endless number of forms to fill out, regulations to parse and roles to fill. That mess of administrative work is why HR management outsourcing is on the rise. When there are sales to make and products to build, leaders simply don’t have time to deal with arcane laws and health insurance issues. With that said, many young companies can’t afford to hire HR partners. Founders in those circumstances may be stuck processing payroll themselves, but they can lean on technology for one of the most tedious areas of HR: benefits administration. If your team wants new-age benefits like office pool tables — or hairy, traditional ones like health insurance — you’ll have to handle those […]

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3 Lessons in Branding From a Black Hole

We recently got our first look at a black hole. Who knew it had so much to tell us about branding? April 22, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The first-ever photograph of a black hole and its bright halo was recently released, visually confirming a hundred years of scientific speculation. Though the photo itself slightly resembled a glazed donut, it represented unmistakable power and scale. If you think about it, there are some striking similarities between black holes and brands themselves. The reason isn’t that brands are fathomless voids that obliterate existence (despite what some customers may say). It’s because both entities command our attention and change the universe just a little bit. One of the many mysterious properties of black holes is their infinite density, which allows them to increase in volume endlessly without ever changing in size. A brand should similarly […]

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Could Better Communication Unlock Your Company’s Growth?

Communication is as old as humankind. That doesn’t mean it can’t benefit from the occasional update. April 19, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The wheel gave humans greater mobility, and from it sprang the bicycle, the automobile and, eventually, airplanes. Communication is an even more basic necessity than mobility, and since humans first uttered a word, methods of communication have evolved continuously, as well. Whether managing employees, catering to clients and generally growing your business, the ability to communicate effectively is one of your most valuable skills. Interacting with employees keeps them motivated and focused on company goals. Communicating consistently and clearly with clients can help you set realistic, achievable expectations for your work together. Related: An Introvert’s Guide to Communicating With Results In fact, you can’t do much of anything without communication, and that means more than just the basics. It means using technology […]

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Do Your Experiential Marketing Moves Produce Enough ROI?

Was your branded, Instagrammable pop-up worth it? Your CMO wants to know. April 3, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Why watch a show about the Texas Rangers who caught Bonnie and Clyde when you could track down the infamous couple yourself? Netflix hopes you’ll do both. At SXSW in March, festival attendees were able to join the hunt at Netflix’s experiential feature for its upcoming show “The Highwaymen.” After HBO’s incredible success with its Westworld experience last year, companies like Netflix are pulling out all the stops to capture that marketing magic for themselves. Beyond just show-stoppers at SXSW, the overall experiential marketing space is growing. According to the second annual State of Experiential Study from AgencyEA, 67 percent of B2B brand marketers expect to invest more in experiential campaigns over the next 18 months. In 2018, only 50 percent of marketers expected the same. […]

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3 Ways to Retool Your Hiring Process to Attract High-Quality Job Seekers

In a job seeker’s market, businesses are finding it hard to hire and retain new employees. Here’s how to revamp your hiring process to attract the best talent. March 15, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. At the end of 2018, the number of open jobs in the U.S. reached 7.3 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s the highest number of job openings on record since the Department of Labor started measuring them in 2000. Available jobs have outpaced hiring for more than a year, indicating that companies are having a difficult time filling their vacant positions. In other words, it’s a job seeker’s market. Candidates are feeling so secure, in fact, that USA Today reports some of them are now “ghosting” employers — that is, simply not showing up for scheduled interviews (or even their first day on the job) […]

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Nacho Fries With That? How Taco Bell and Others Make Branded Content We Devour

Branded content can engage your biggest fans, but you’ll have to rethink what storytelling means now. March 1, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Taco Bell recently relaunched its nacho fries with a cosmic bang. In its third faux movie trailer, the fast food chain parodies a sci-fi epic — think “Interstellar” or “Arrival” — to show the world that its menu is expanding rather than contracting. This one, called “Retrieval,” features actor James Marsden, whose road to stardom began in a “Saved by the Bell” spinoff (which seems fitting), and it has fans on social media demanding the release of a feature film. CMO Marisa Thalberg says that the expectations around the campaign have perhaps been just as great as those around the product, which is any marketer’s dream. So, where are these great expectations coming from? How did Taco Bell build such a […]

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