Why Leaders Should Maintain Work-Life Balance During the Most Stressful Times

June 26, 2020 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. We’ve all known work martyrs. They’re the ones who flaunt their ability to toil tirelessly. You can spot them by their catchphrases: “I’m working ’round the clock.” “Burned the midnight oil last night.” “I’ve been at my desk since 4:00 this morning and didn’t stop to eat breakfast or lunch.” Work martyrs may get ahead sometimes; it’s true. But in an age when everyone has good cause to be stressed out, they can also bring people down with their nonstop action and competitiveness. As a leader, you probably see the downfall of work martyrdom in your staffers, but what if the biggest work martyr at your company is the one in the mirror? Related: Can We Finally Say Goodbye to the Work Martyr? If you’ve spent the past several months eschewing work-life balance because of economic fears, […]

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3 Critical Sales Touch Points to Grow Your Business

Finding qualified prospects is key to growing your business. April 4, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Too much prospect communication comes across as nagging, desperate and unprofessional. Too little prevents salespeople from laying the foundation for good relationships. Is there a middle ground? According to a new study from Accenture, 80 percent of frequent B2B buyers changed providers in a 24-month period. To avoid falling victim to heavy churn, entrepreneurs and their sales teams can’t afford to play a guessing game with prospect touchpoints. Mastering the art of communication frequency requires a careful balance, though. Not only must salespeople make prospects feel appreciated and valued, but they must also spend as much time as possible bringing in new business. Relationships are great, but when prospects with a limited budget and finicky demands ask for too much time, salespeople need to know when to let […]

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3 Marketing Lies Small-Business Owners Tell Themselves

Too many startup leaders deny the difference quality marketing makes and what they can afford. March 22, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Whip-smart brand positioning drives revenues for enterprises from Apple to Zappos. But for growing organizations, cutting-edge marketing can feel like a luxury. The Small Business Association suggests companies budget 7 to 8 percent of revenues for promotion, yet the average small business allocates just 1 percent.  That’s a shame, given that marketing brings in more money than it costs. A Nielsen study revealed an average return on investment of $1.09 for every dollar spent getting offerings in front of clients. Remember, that’s an average. With a little planning, marketing can deliver serious returns for even the smallest of startups. Getting entrepreneurs to invest in marketing begins by knocking down common misconceptions around it. Here are the top three. Lie No. 1: I don’t really need marketing […]

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It’s Time to Bring These 5 White-Collar Perks to the Wider Workforce

Blue-collar employees are the backbone of business, and should be treated as such. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Employees today get some pretty sweet perks. Flexible schedules, remote options, free beer in the break room, etc. Smart companies understand that happy employees deliver the best results. And with the spread of the coronavirus, employers are testing the viability of work-from-home benefits on a massive scale. After the scare passes, some companies may discover their teams are more productive when they don’t have to worry about a commute. Though no major companies have committed to a permanent shift, this health crisis presents an interesting opportunity for businesses to learn more about what makes modern workers tick. Nearly all the companies making headlines for sending employees home employ white-collar workers, but what about all those blue-collar and shift workers who face the same situation? Don’t they deserve to be […]

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How to Create Community Among Your Customers

If you want to inspire brand love that lasts, commit to fostering something bigger. January 31, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Today’s brands do more than just deliver products and services. They also foster connections among like-minded enthusiasts. That could turn out to be their most vital purpose, considering a 2018 Cigna study found that nearly half of Americans report feelings of loneliness. When it comes to creating connections, brands are in a unique position to step up. “Consumers want to feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves,” explains Kim Lawton, founder and CEO of Enthuse Marketing Group, to Luxury Daily. “While it’s essential to create an experience that connects them to the brand, connecting them to a bigger community of like-minded people makes a larger impact and builds long-term brand love.” With competition on the rise and imitators everywhere, brand love […]

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How to Cut Recruiting Costs Without Compromising Quality

Hire the wrong person for a position, and the costs skyrocket. January 9, 2020 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Hiring is expensive. It’s estimated that the average cost per hire is $6,110 when personnel costs are taken into consideration. Hire the wrong person for a position, and the costs skyrocket. Internal disruptions, lost customers and risk for the brand multiply costs by tenfold or more. Some HR experts peg the costs of a bad hire at nearly a quarter of a million dollars. If you’re considering expanding your operation, keeping hiring costs low is key. To reduce your recruiting expenses without hurting the quality of your candidates, heed the following four pieces of advice. 1. Clarify your job ads. Leading questions like, “Do you want a job with unlimited income potential?” can make a job advertisement exciting. They practically guarantee that you’ll receive a slew of […]

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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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