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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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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4 Secrets to Becoming an (Even Higher) Achiever

Updating some habits we take for granted can get us to our goals that much quicker. March 28, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. We all strive to be prolific, sharp and creative high achievers. And each of us has that capacity, so long as we’re maintaining habits that ensure we reach peak potential.  So if you’ve been feeling a bit “blah” lately or realize something needs to shift to help you power through a busy Q2, try making these minor adjustments to your daily routine, and note the positive changes that occur. The sooner you can get started on these habits, the better.  1. Eliminate your phone and other distractions during work With so much outer stimuli, we have been programmed to believe that we can multitask. We think that checking our phone to reply to a text then returning to the email we were writing is helping us get […]

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How Optimists and Pessimists Can Get Along

Opposites may not necessarily attract in business, but they can make your team a more productive whole. March 26, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. How often do conflicts occur in your enterprise because someone proposed ill-considered or insufficiently thought-out ideas? What about because someone opposed innovative, out-of-the-box ideas? If you have either problem, you might be plagued by two very common cognitive biases: the optimism bias or the pessimism bias. The optimism bias describes the many people who tend to make overly positive assessments of future risks and rewards, while the pessimism bias refers to those who make excessively negative assessments. These mental blindspots are two out of myriad dangerous judgment errors that result from how our brains are wired. It’s what scholars in cognitive neuroscience and behavioral economics like myself call cognitive biases. These problems plagued a quickly growing healthcare startup in the Northeast, […]

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5 Ways Leaders Can Shift Their Perspective, Grow Their Career and Change Their Life for the Better

Executive coach Michael O’Brien shares his winning advice for corporate warriors. March 24, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Everyone has bad days. Michael O’Brien had his last one in 2001, when he was hit head-on by a Ford Explorer traveling 40 miles per hour. Then a marketing director for a pharmaceutical company, O’Brien was cycling in the New Mexican desert during a company trip, trying to hit his bucket-list goal of riding in all 50 states. The crash happened in slow motion as he rounded a bend and saw the Explorer veering over the center lane; a few seconds later, he was midair. During the following moments — as he was lifted from the scene in an emergency helicopter — O’Brien had a major realization: It was time to stop chasing happiness — he needed to live his life with greater intention, purpose and […]

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How to Create More Time and Money to Grow Your Small Business

There are three clear and focused choices every entrepreneur must make. March 20, 2020 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. To grow a small business, you have to figure out how to protect the time and money you have and make sure that you only spend it on the activities and resources that will get you closer to your goal. We are sure you have found yourself asking questions like: Should I do this marketing campaign? Should I buy this advertising spot? Should I go to that networking event? It often feels like a stab in the dark when you are choosing which opportunities are worth it and which are actually going to be a waste of your resources. To make informed decisions, you need to make three clear and focused choices, and then use them as a filter every single time you are considering […]

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5 Ways to Leverage Your Time (Like Great Entrepreneurs Do)

From proper focus to productive partnerships, make the most of your working hours. March 20, 2020 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Have you ever said, “I wish I had more time” or, “I just don’t have time to do all the things I want to do”? I’m sure we have all felt that way when the pressure’s on, but here’s the thing: Time is not linear when you’re in business. Complaining about time is about as pointless as complaining about gravity; it’s a universal constant. The one thing you have in common with Elon Musk and Richard Branson is that you get 24 hours in a day. With that said, the world’s most successful entrepreneurs seem super-human in their ability to achieve a lot in a small window of time. They are masters of leveraging time to its full capacity. Here are five ways you can better leverage yours.  […]

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5 Surefire Growth Strategies for E-Commerce Entrepreneurs

From Facebook updates to email marketing, supercharge your business with these proven tactics. March 18, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. I dropped out of college to pursue entrepreneurship full-time. My first breakthrough came two years after with an e-commerce business that sold grillz. Through grueling trial and error, I learned everything from product sourcing and customer service to marketing, web design, financial accounting and more.  It’s how I made lifelong friends and met ultra-successful people I never dreamed I’d meet. But, like I mention all the time here, trial and error is a costly and inefficient way to learn. Better to learn from others instead. One great way to do that is by attending conferences. Anthony Mastellone’s Digital Growth Summit was the latest one I attended, and what follows are five of my favorite takeaways from that trip on how to supercharge your e-commerce business. 1. […]

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3 Things to Consider When Creating a Spinoff Company

From Ferrari to Trello, some of the business’s most recognizable names were offshoots of established companies. March 13, 2020 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. When your company has grown significantly and a new product or service has scaled within the larger operation, it’s tempting to turn that unit into a spinoff company. Many successful companies are spinoffs. Take software giant Trello, which originated as a subsidiary of Atlassian, or Ferrari, which spun off from Fiat. The decision to break out a sector of your business on its own depends on a number of factors, including available talent and resources. But despite any challenges, there are three compelling reasons to say yes to spinning off. 1. Customers connect better with focused brands Matt Mickiewicz, the founder of SitePoint, created a spinoff because, in his words, “People can only associate one thing with a name.” And it’s true; if you originally purchased from a company because they […]

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4 Tips for Successfully Breaking Into a Saturated Industry

You don’t have to revolutionize the world to revolutionize an industry. March 12, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. When you take the first steps toward starting a business, it’s easy to get discouraged. Every market already has major players making tons of money. Unicorns like Uber can make their own markets, sure, but not every company gets to revolutionize the world. Fortunately, you don’t have to revolutionize the world to revolutionize an industry, and you might have a better opportunity than you think. Take the smartphone industry, for example. Apple and Samsung dominate markets, and Huawei owns the third-largest chunk. Other popular vendors, like LG, take their own cuts. You might think the market has no room for new players, but don’t forget that consumers are always looking for something better. Stephen Dalby, CEO of Gabb, couldn’t find a kid-friendly smartphone, so he built […]

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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 Ways to Make People Trust You

Your business relationships will flourish when you commit to the following guidance. March 2, 2020 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. In business, much like life, your relationships are everything, and the foundation of any good relationship is trust. I’ve learned that while establishing a foundation of trust takes time, it can be demolished in just a couple of minutes. Looking back on my career as an entrepreneur, it’s obvious that the success I’ve experienced was with people I trusted. You can only get so far by yourself. To truly reach the heights you dream of, you will need a team of other people supporting you.  So, how do you build that trust? It’s simple: By telling the truth. That’s going to be uncomfortable sometimes, but I know from experience that when you lead with honesty, things tend to work out in the end. Uncomfortable […]

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How to Tap Into Your Inner Sales Hustle

You may be more of a gifted pitch person than you realize. February 28, 2020 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Building a business is largely about sales. Sure, you have to have a passion for what you do, a great product or service and effective operational systems. But unless you have customers and sales, you’re out of business. Still, lots of business owners say they hate sales. They love product development or introducing something new, but they may not enjoy selling or feel hey’re not very good at it. However, a founder/business owner is typically the best evangelist for the company, because her passion for the solution that she offers is what inspired her to start the business in the first place. So, what are the keys to success with sales, even if you don’t think you have a natural “gift of gab”?   A Little Reflection Goes a Long […]

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How to Give a Presentation Like a Pro

When mapping out your entrepreneurial dreams, don’t forget to hone your public-speaking skills. February 21, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Public speaking is something many people fear — even visionary CEOs. Worse, they fail (and fail hard) at it. Tesla’s Elon Musk, for example, has publicly chastised himself for his lackluster performances, most notably a 2011 SpaceX press conference during which he blunders and stutters his way through. It’s painful to watch. Even if you’re not Musk-level famous, public speaking is an essential skill. Whether you give a talk at a conference, lead an all-hands meeting or, yes, even talk with an employee or client one-on-one, each encounter is an opportunity to develop your business. It could be argued that every time you speak, you’re doing so to influence opinion, inspire action or stir up a certain feeling. You’d better know how to present like a pro. The Power […]

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Is Focusing On a Specific Niche Really That Important?

To specialize or not to specialize, that is the question. (The answer is yes.) February 21, 2020 3 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. One of the most common mistakes I see businesses make is lacking specialization. For years, I personally fought this, with the mindset that specialization would limit the amount of potential clients I could work with, so I ran my marketing agency as a jack-of-all-trades offering services to any business that knocked on the door. Fast forward to today, qnd I have seen the power of specialization through both my own business and dozens of clients. Why Do I Need to Be Niche-Specific? Practice makes perfect, and that applies in the business world as much as anything else in life. By being niche-specific in whatever your business does, you are constantly getting in repetitions and practice at the same things over and over. It allows you as a business […]

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How to Make Your Product Truly Irresistible to Buyers

Three ways to overcome sales objections. February 14, 2020 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. We all dream of marketing a product with no resistance or objections whatsoever on sales calls. Imagine a potential client being thrilled by the chance to work with you or purchase your product, rather than meeting you with objections. Imagine having a truly irresistible product or service that closes the deal at higher rates than you’ve seen before. There’s a common misconception that irresistible is a term only reserved for cutting edge inventions or brand new innovations, but an irresistible product simply means that a customer or client can’t resist it.  I recently discussed this with Sabri Suby, who is the head of growth for marketing agency King Kong. His company specializes in helping companies get new customers, so we sat down to talk about the best ways to make your product irresistible […]

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Why Everyone Needs a Life Coach

Successful people have to grab progress by the horns. February 12, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Whether ascending the corporate ladder or paving a path all your own as an entrepreneur, one fact remains true across the board: We all need a little support. Living your best personal and professional life requires intentional self-reflection and continual personal development. Even at our best, however, we all have blind spots that prevent us from seeing the whole picture of our lives and the thoughts, habits and behaviors that hinder our growth. The same is true of our friends and family. While loved ones may have the best intentions, they often lack the discernment to appropriately analyze and deliver actionable advice. So, who do we turn to for unbiased evaluation and expertise? Enter the life coach. Successful people don’t leave their progress up to chance — they grab […]

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Increase Employee Retention by Upping Your Leadership EQ

Emotional intelligence has become a buzzing topic for good reason. February 7, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. In recent years, emotional intelligence, or EQ, has become a common and popular topic among managers and leaders. As a consultant who trains companies of all sizes on leadership and soft skills, I can tell you that it is by far one of the most needed areas of development in today’s workplace, and especially among leadership. But what is EQ really, and why is it so important?  According to TalentSmart founder and Emotional Intelligence 2.0 author Travis Bradberry, “Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage ourselves and our relationships effectively” and it “is also an important indicator when it comes to performance prediction.” Current studies indicate that it affects “performance and success in areas including customer retention, increased sales, leadership, management and so many other facets.” With such noted impacts, managers […]

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My Employees Helped Me Build a Billion-Dollar Tech Company

Here’s an inside glimpse at our workplace culture. February 6, 2020 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. As far as backstory, the title really says it all. I’m extremely proud of the success I’ve had as an entrepreneur and CEO of KnowBe4, but I certainly never could have achieved that success on my own; it’s been a team effort from day one.  So how do you get the right people to stick around in the challenging environment of a startup and see the process through? The first thing to understand is that it’s not necessarily about money. A competitive salary and benefits package is useful in attracting good candidates, but less so in terms of retaining them. Who employees work with — and who they work for — rank much higher on the list of contributors to job satisfaction.  The interactions these people have, their mutual […]

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How to Fall in Love With Strategic Planning

Relevancy testing and a close eye on the competition can stimulate this essential process. February 6, 2020 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Strategic planning is a polarizing term. For some people, it’s cringeworthy, conjuring up images of long meetings that are driven more by outdated process than by purpose. I’ve been there myself; I remember one particularly painful strategic-planning session that consisted of two days of irrelevant data analysis and concluded in a few documents that were never referenced again. With experiences like this, it’s easy to see why strategic planning gets a bad name — and why business leaders avoid it like a tax audit. But now is the worst time it to dodge it. How people travel, work, live, shop and communicate changes more frequently and significantly now than at any other point in modern history, and that means you don’t have five […]

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