How to Boost Sales When Consumers are Spending Less

July 2, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Know me before selling me; that’s what Americans expect from sales reps.  In a recession, it’s critical to align with customer preferences to avoid losing sales to rivals. Competition is stiff, as people have less disposable incomes. A 2018 study by the Federal Reserve found that 40 percent of Americans can’t come up with $400 to pay for an emergency. And that’s before 40 million people were out of work virtually overnight. Here are tips to increase sales, even when the economy is in flux. A business must do whatever it takes to serve customers well Buyers are weary. They’ve been locked down, and many have to fight for jobs before unemployment benefits run out. Not to mention 27 million have recently lost employer-based health insurance, according to Kaiser Family Foundation. Post-pandemic consumers, therefore, are thrifty and budget-conscious.  Salesy […]

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How Retail Companies Are Adapting to Improve Profitability ⁠⁠

June 29, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. From grocers to clothing stores and big-box retailers, there have been dramatic changes to the retail experience over the past several months. Retail sales plunged an astounding 16.4 percent in April — the worst-ever month-over-month drop since recording began. Some categories, including furniture, electronics and clothing, saw sales drop by as much as 58 to 78 percent. Many companies have begun filing for bankruptcy as a result. But the news hasn’t all been bad. Plenty of retailers have accelerated adaptations that were already underway to meet the needs of an increasingly digital society. Regardless of your product category, taking these steps to adapt will prove essential for increasing profitability both now and in the future. Increasing investments in ecommerce Ecommerce has become increasingly crucial for many retailers over the last few years, and sales results during the economic shutdown illustrate just how […]

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Painful Lessons for Getting an Investment Deal on ‘Shark Tank’

June 22, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. There’s a Chinese proverb of one being honored by a single glance. It comes from an old story of a horse expert whose mere glance caused a horse’s value to rise significantly.   Shark Tank‘s titular innovation-hunters have that power: A mere inquiry into a product persuades thousands of TV spectators to buy it. Overnight, an unknown venture’s chance of success and valuation rises significantly. The ABC series is in its 12th season, and its formula for televising brutal business truths still resonates with a national audience, continuing to accrue nearly five million viewers per episode.  Above all, the show demonstrates the following crucial, if not painful, lessons for entrepreneurs who need financing, as well as for novices on how venture capital works.  Related: What You Can Learn from ‘Shark Tank’ Contestants’ Successes (and Failures) Know Thy Numbers The Golden […]

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4 Tips for Simplifying Due Diligence (and Why It’s Even Needed)

June 18, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. During a merger or acquisition, few things are more important than performing due diligence. However, this is far from the only time when due diligence documentation matters. Tax compliance audits, onboarding new clients or entering a joint venture with another company are all situations in which your own due diligence can streamline operations and improve decision-making. For startup founders, due diligence plays a key role in their ability to gain venture capital funding. As Business Insider reports, this documentation is especially important for earning the trust of potential investors, particularly when in-person, face-to-face meetings aren’t possible. While due diligence documentation may not always seem as urgent as marketing or other growth tasks, giving this the attention it deserves now will make things easier for your business in the future, and these tasks should be top of mind. […]

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How to Build a Brand Story That Buyers Emotionally Connect With

June 8, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. While having a great product or quality service is undeniably important, these aren’t necessarily the things that will win you loyal customers. More often than not, buyers are influenced by a brand’s ability to form emotional connections with them. In fact, Harvard Business School professor emeritus Gerald Zaltman says that 95 percent of our buying decisions occur in the subconscious, where they’re fueled by emotions, rather than “logical processes.” The best way to foster an emotional connection that influences buyers is through your brand story, but if you want your that story to have any kind of power, you have to build it up right. Focus on personal benefits Brand stories should always focus on the person making the purchase. Even though B2B products and services are meant for an entire organization, it is important to remember […]

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Alexis Ohanian’s Resignation from Reddit is the Type of Leadership the World Needs

Here’s what the rest of us could learn from his decision. Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now! June 8, 2020 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. When Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian resigned from the company’s board last week, he generared immediate headlines. But in doing so, he also created a legacy for himself as a leader. In Ohanian’s actual words:  “I believe resignation can actually be an act of leadership from people in power right now. I have resigned as a member of the Reddit board, I have urged them to fill my seat with a black candidate, and I will use future gains on my Reddit stock to serve the black community, chiefly to curb racial hate, and I’m starting with a pledge of $1M to Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp.” Hundreds of thousands of people across […]

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How Brick-and-Mortar Stores Can Move Online in a Hurry

Shifting to digital has become instantly mandatory to adapt and survive. Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now! May 29, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Retail had been forced to make some major changes. As all non-essential businesses were urged to shut down, foot traffic into brick-and-mortar retail stores all but vanished. Even with staggered reopenings, the importance of having ecommerce functionality is clearer than ever. Making the shift online can feel like a significant feat, especially with limited resources. Handling online orders —especially transnational, figuring out the supply chain mechanisms, digital marketing and handling customer concerns and questions — is a significant adjustment and learning curve. But if anything, the pandemic proved the need for businesses of all types to be flexible and ready for anything, and specifically, to take the digital leap. Ecommerce will be front and center for the […]

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5 Ways to Discover Your Blog Readership’s Most Pressing Questions

May 27, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Whether you’re using it to drive traffic to your ecommerce site or earning revenue through affiliate links, blogging can be quite lucrative — especially in 2020, when digital content and transactions have proven to be more important than ever before. But if you want to deliver meaningful results to your bottom line, you need to create content that your audience actually wants to read. By making an effort to discover your readers’ most pressing questions, you will be better able to write quality content that drives traffic to your blog. Here’s a five-step plan for getting started. 1. Survey your customers If you want to know what your readers want, the easiest way is to ask. In a blog post for SmartBlogger, Linda Formichelli advises using multiple-choice and essay questions to get greater insights from your […]

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5 Tips for Recognizing a Meaningful Business Opportunity When You See One

May 11, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. According to the Small Business Association, roughly 50 percent of businesses survive to reach their fifth year. What is interesting, however, is that the SBA’s analysis found that these survival rates generally remain consistent regardless of the overall state of the economy. In other words, lasting success is largely dependent on choosing the right business opportunity. While understanding the basics of running a business is certainly important, your ability to recognize meaningful opportunities will play a major role in whether you author a lasting success story. Idenitfying these opportunities isn’t an exact science, but there are still telltale signs to look out for, beginning with the following five. 1. You’ve found a noteworthy market inefficiency Not surprisingly, the best ideas come when you find a meaningful problem to solve. As I’ve written previously, some of the easiest […]

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4 Reliable Tips for Quickly Moving Inventory Online

Fortunately, there are a number of ways for brick-and-mortar stores to simplify this difficult process. May 8, 2020 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Our current public-health crisis has resulted in a drastic shift in consumer spending habits, with stay-in-place orders drastically increasing demand for sanitary products and other household supplies, as well as entertainment options like board games and video games. And it should come as no surprise that the vast majority of these purchases are happening online. For brick-and-mortar stores, the loss of foot traffic can be devastating. After an initial spike in foot traffic when people were stocking up on supplies, even major retailers like Costco and Walmart are seeing a notable drop. That’s why a robust online presence is a must for any small retail businesses hoping to sustain revenue. The sooner you can move your inventory online, the better your chances of reducing […]

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Makers of Tomorrow: CareerBuilder CEO Irina Novoselsky

The employment expert and chief executive shares how her company is supporting those in need and preparing for the industry’s future. April 29, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. As unemployment surges, millions are scrambling to adapt and figure out who is is hiring, while also trying to navigate what it means to work in predominately remote environments — uncharted territory for many Americans.  One of the organizations on the front lines of this battle is CareerBuilder, the quarter-century-old talent-acquisition giant. We recently caught up with CEO Irina Novoselsky about what her team is doing to help the sudden rush of job seekers in need, how her industry is evolving and the importance of maintaining an eye on inclusivity.  Related: Makers of Tomorrow: Vizio CEO William Wang How has CareerBuilder championed businesses and job seekers during this period of historic unemployment?  We sit at the epicenter of the labor […]

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4 Ways AI Is Making the World a Safer Place

April 10, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. In only a few weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic has completely disrupted our normal way of life. With many businesses shutting their doors or transitioning to a work-from-home system, adaptability to a constantly changing situation will prove key for the survival of organizations large and small. Despite everything that is going on, however, the pandemic is also spurring new innovations, particularly in the world of artificial intelligence. Here are several important ways AI is already making a difference in improving public health and safety as the world adapts to a new normal. 1. AI predicts the spread of disease One of the biggest challenges with this coronavirus (and the COVID-19 disease it subsequenly causes) has been how quickly it can spread. While social-distancing measures and the closure of high-risk facilities are viewed as the best way to control […]

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4 Statistical Reasons Data Security Should Be a Top Priority for Small Businesses

Data security shouldn’t only be a concern for Fortune 500 companies. In fact, if you run a small business of your own, now’s the time to start taking it seriously. April 8, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. In the age of the Internet, data security is one of the biggest issues to deal with in business. Many of the largest corporations in the world spend a significant portion of their resources addressing this issue. But it’s not only an issue for only major companies. You might think your small business doesn’t have the resources to worry about data security, but you’re wrong. In fact, the price tag will be much bigger if you choose to ignore data security. Every small business must make data security a top priority. Related: Data Security in the Age of Online Payments and Social Media Validation: Where Does the […]

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Revealing the Secrets to Peak Professional and Personal Performance

Social entrepreneur Lian Pham biohacked her way back to health. Now, she’s passing her insights on to others. April 5, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Peak performance — it’s something just about everyone strives for. There are countless diets, books, blogs, TV shows and more dedicated to becoming your best self and operating at your highest capacity, both in business and in life. The question is, can it actually be done? While most focus on just one facet of self-care  (weight, productivity, nutrition, motivation, etc.), social entrepreneur and biohacker Lian Pham’s approach is all-inclusive and comprehensive. With her Peak Performance Pyramid, Pham — who, full disclosure, is a client of mine, but whose perspective I felt was valuable to share during these challenging times — has worked out a system of steps that include biohacking the mind, body and spirit to reach peak performance across the boards. Here’s how […]

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How Becoming a Software Minimalist Can Dramatically Improve Your Efficiency

When it comes to your business’s approach, as the old adage goes, less is more. March 30, 2020 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. There are tens of thousands of available software products that can improve the way your business runs, so it’s no surprise that companies frequently managing too many applications at once. The very innovation that was supposed to improve workflow might suddenly become a major roadblock to efficiency. So while it’s tempting to adopt each exciting new application as it’s introduced, taking a minimalistic approach toward software services will ensure you and your team are more productive in the long run. Here’s why.  Avoiding Shadow IT Companies that are growing rapidly often experience shadow IT, or any software purchased or used without being properly approved by the IT department. When a given tech solution goes unnoticed by most of the company, it can even be forgotten entirely. Subscription renewals and payments go through without […]

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Makers of Tomorrow: William Wang

A Q&A with the Vizio CEO about how his company is reimagining smart TVs amid the streaming revolution. March 25, 2020 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Makers of Tomorrow is a new series of Entrepreneur-exclusive interviews that extracts expertise and insights from the innovators of today who are shaping our future. The world of TV is changing fast, and it takes a nimble CEO to keep up. The rise of streaming, corresponding upticks in cord-cutting and the adoption of all-purpose smartphones have forever altered the way people watch their favorite shows. While many television executives and manufacturers have been caught flat-footed, Vizio has been at the forefront of developing new technology to stay one step ahead. From the mainstreaming of smart TVs to the built-in integration of Netflix and other streaming services, William Wang’s company has been an undisputed leader. We recently spoke with the Taiwain-born, California-via-Hawaii-raised […]

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Turn Browsers Into Buyers With These 4 E-Commerce Marketing Strategies

Using these marketing tricks, there’s light at the end of the funnel. February 24, 2020 3 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Whether you’re a novice e-commerce entrepreneur or a veteran in the space, it’s a good idea to continuously set new, higher sales goals. Greater sales translate to greater benefits for your company. But the rules for how to increase sales aren’t necessarily one-size-fits-all. There are numerous variables to consider, such as product offering, existing customer base and customer demographics. It’s natural, too, for businesses to go through ups and downs, which requires entrepreneurs to keep an eye on e-commerce and purchasing trends and adjust ccordingly. After all, tried-and-true methods may have worked in the past, but eventually, the same old strategies can lose their touch.  Consumer habits tend to change quickly, especially as far as e-commerce. Here are four marketing tricks that could help you bring in a new wave […]

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4 Ways Do-It-Yourself Entrepreneurs Can (and Should) Keep Things Simple

If you’re new to the DIY business model, make sure to do things the right way to protect your sanity. January 30, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The world of entrepreneurship can seem extremely complex. After all, entrepreneurs have a lot of different responsibilities on their plates. From developing products and services to managing contractors and marketing campaigns, the to-do list can seem never-ending. Despite this, the oft-quoted cliche, “Keep it simple, stupid,” still has great meaning for entrepreneurs — especially those who bring a do-it-yourself attitude to their work. By streamlining your focus and keeping things simple, you will avoid getting stressed out and burned out. Here’s a guide for tapping into your inner DIY entrepreneur.  1. Focus on the one thing your business does best One of the most common mistakes new entrepreneurs make is trying to be all things to all […]

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The Difference Between Inspiration and Motivation

Managers will want to take note and make adjustments accordingly. December 13, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. When it comes to getting employees to do their best work, good managers often adopt the role of a coach. They know that achieving the best results from their team members requires having someone who leads by example and provides the resources to help them do their best. As a result, many managers focus on inspiring and motivating their employees. There’s just one problem with this: Far too many assume that inspiration and motivation are essentially the same thing. Well, they aren’t. And knowing which how to leverage what makes them distinct can lead to a better chance of achieving long-term successful outcomes for your team. Should You Master Motivation? Motivation is consistently cited as one of the most important tools managers have for improving employee productivity. Providing […]

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How to Become a Leadership Influencer

Executive brands are evolving through the power of expertise, authority and trust. November 29, 2019 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. You’re probably sick of hearing about influencers these days and how all it takes to become one is amassing a relevant social following, whether that’s at a micro-level of a few thousand social followers or fans in the millions. However, marketing yourself to simply gather a large number of followers actually isn’t (or, at least, doesn’t have to be) the misguided quest for superficial Internet stardom it may seem like. Frankly, it’s those questionable connotations that make business executives and leaders more attracted to another, seemingly more professional status; rather than “social influencers,” executives now strive to be “thought leaders.” On the one hand, there can be a massive chasm between the two. The agenda for most “influencers” might just be to tempt you into shopping at a particular […]

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