The Hard Lesson This BBQ Entrepreneur Learned When He Sold Out to a Corporate Backer

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que founder John Stage discovered that an abundance of capital means nothing if you lose control of your business. July 16, 2019 6 min read Ever since he started Dinosaur Bar-B-Que as mobile concession at a biker gathering in upstate New York in the early ’80s, John Stage has been perfecting the art of doling out mouth-watering meats to hungry customers. “When you start with no capital,” he tells Entrepreneur, “you figure things out quickly. You learn how to be resourceful.” After five years of touring motorcycle shows and other events throughout the Northeast, he and his two partners opened their first location in Syracuse, NY, in 1988. Ten years later, in an effort to expand the brand, Stage partnered with investment behemoth Soros Strategic Partners. This led to new locations in Chicago and Baltimore, but less than two years later, both of them shuttered. No longer able to […]

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This Entrepreneur Doubled Her Revenue in 2018. She Swears by This Strategy.

Do a deep dive to figure out where your business and new clients really come from. June 17, 2019 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. If I asked you the origins of every client you currently have, would you be able to tell me? I’m not talking about referral or online search or social media categorizations. Most businesses track that data. Rarely, though, will these responses tell you what you really need to know about where your business comes from. I’m talking about what initial effort you did, or what connection you made, that, perhaps even years later, has paid off. Knowing where your business comes from needs to go beyond a surface-level analysis. Many businesses categorize their clients by a simple scheme. I’m not saying asking this is bad. But this single layer of data isn’t going to give you the full spectrum of […]

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7 Things Sharran Srivatsaa Learned on His Journey to Success

He arrived in America with limited resources and then grew a business 10X. Here are his tips for accomplishing any massive goal. June 7, 2019 7 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. In 2011, Sharran Srivatsaa walked away from his banking job on Wall Street to become the president of Beverly Hills-based Teles Properties. At the time, the luxury real estate brokerage was making over $300 million annually, but it was far from its original growth projections. In just five years, Srivatsaa and his partners transformed the company into a business worth more than $3 billion — increasing its value 10 times over. Srivatsaa is now a venture capitalist, sought-after business coach, and the CEO of real estate software company Kingston Lane. He has earned a comfortable lifestyle, but things weren’t always that way. After immigrating to the United States from India as a teenager, Srivatsaa […]

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Profits Can Be Deceiving. Here’s Why I Killed Off My Money-Making Product.

I had a great product. An immediate financial winner. But you know that gut feeling? Here’s what I found out. (Trust me, it was painful.) June 6, 2019 4 min read This story appears in the June 2019 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » Sleepless, worry-filled nights are normal for any founder. But they shouldn’t continue for weeks. My subconscious mind was telling me something. But what? I run a company called Personal Trainer Development Center, which, like the name suggests, produces resources to help personal trainers grow their businesses. We do this in many ways — articles, books, an online certification program, and more. And around the time the insomnia hit, we had just created a new resource: It was a print newsletter called Fitness Marketing Monthly. But that can’t be the problem, I thought. The newsletter was a hit! Consider our numbers. We launched in July 2018 with 1,615 subscribers, […]

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The 3 Reasons Why Most Startups Never Reach 7 Figures Per Year

A/B testing, company agility and a focus on the little wins with compounding results are the secrets to realizing your dream. May 31, 2019 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Seven figures a year: That’s like winning the Olympics, running a triple marathon or finishing first in a race you weren’t sure you’d even complete back when you launched from the starting block. Related: Most CEOs Miss These 3 Things When Scaling Their Businesses For your business, seven figures is a massive milestone, one you dream about achieving, but also fear (let’s be honest) is out of reach for you and your business. After all, only about half of small businesses make it to the five-year mark and only a third make it to 10 years, according to U.S. Small Business Administration data. Evidently, keeping your business afloat for half a decade is a feat all its […]

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This Entrepreneur Wants to Cure the Sick with High-Quality Cannabis

Richard Zwicky, founder of Plena Global, seeks to standardize production of medicinal cannabis and is investing in Colombia and Peru to achieve it. April 8, 2019 7 min read Lucia, a Colombian girl, suffered severe epileptic seizures since adolescence. Although she visited many doctors and specialists, at 35 years of age she had not found anything that would help her treat the debilitating symptoms of her illness. One day she was able to travel to Canada where a specialist recommended a brand of medicinal cannabis oil that, as soon as she tried, significantly mitigated her ailments. Her spasms were less violent and her triggers less frequent. Upon returning to her home country, however, Lucia could not locate the medicine that had benefited her so much. Although she tried many cannabidiol presentations available on her local market, none gave her the same result she had experienced in Canada. This case is […]

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3 Tips to Turn Tough Conversations Into Profitable Ones

April 2, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. As an entrepreneur, your life immediately becomes easier the moment you realize it’s happening one conversation at a time. As soon as this concept fully takes root in your DNA, you instantly get that the quality of your life — and your business, your relationships, etc. — is a direct reflection of the quality of your conversations. The majority of these conversations come and go, but on average, every single entrepreneur engages in six to nine significantly meaningful conversations per day that will influence their future. Sales, marketing, hiring, customer service, innovation and mindset are topics filled with tough conversations. When these tough conversations are navigated successfully, they become highly profitable conversations and yield the results you desire. Related: Why Mastering the Art of Conversation Will Make You More Money If you want to triple your profitability this year, start […]

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3 Ways the ‘Crystal,’ Not Just the ‘Glass,’ Ceiling Blocks Your Growth

The qualities that made you successful in the first place are now holding you back March 28, 2019 8 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. In your own entrepreneurial life, have you achieved a certain level of success, then hit a plateau?  Do you spend most of your time putting out fires or sitting in meetings? Does your head hurt?  Related: It’s Almost 2019. Is the Glass Ceiling Finally Beginning to Crack? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ve likely hit what I call the “crystal ceiling.”  What is the crystal ceiling? We’re all familiar with the “glass ceiling” — the metaphorical barrier that limits promotions, based on gender, race, creed, color, or sexual identity.  It’s called a glass ceiling because you can see the next level but something is stopping you from reaching it.  The “crystal ceiling,” on the other hand, represents those less obvious psychological […]

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Watch Out For These 4 Warning Signs on The Road to Success

Don’t let overconfidence cloud your judgment. March 21, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. You have to be confident to start a business. Depending on the study, between 75 and 90 percent of startups fail. To be an entrepreneur, you have to believe that your business, that you can beat those odds. If you are confident enough to start a business, then you are smart enough to know you mustn’t be overconfident. Confidence gives you gumption, but overconfidence can make you blind. Every day you chant “Don’t be overconfident!” with your morning coffee. You grow confident you’ve vaccinated yourself against overconfidence. Then your new business joins the sad 75 to 90 percent of vanished ventures. You wish you’d had even one tiny, trivial doubt. No entrepreneur sets out to be overconfident, but overconfidence happens. So what causes it? How do we become overconfident, if […]

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4 Ways to Grow Your Business Fast (Without Rushing)

For growth that lasts, you need to be willing to slow down — even when your finances are telling you to hurry up! March 6, 2019 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Go for speed. Build out fast. Scale like lightning. It’s the playbook for hypergrowth. But for growth that lasts, you also need to take time to do the important things right. When it counts the most — don’t rush. The startups I’ve worked with often faced severe financial pressures. Their principals went without salaries. They maxed out their credit cards. Despite these enormous strains, the most successful still focused on building for both the present and the future. They took time to balance science with art — the science of finding enough money for the short term, and the art of creating a great company for the long term. Related: How to Create a Growth Mindset […]

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Why These Founders Gave Their Suppliers and Manufacturers a Piece of the Company

Finding (and affording) a great partner as a young startup can be challenging, so these entrepreneurs proposed a more permanent relationship — and their businesses are thriving. March 5, 2019 4 min read This story appears in the March 2019 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » Not everyone can afford a great manufacturer, distributor, or other big partner when they’re first starting out. So what then? Consider the unconventional route these three entrepreneurs took when they chose to supercharge their businesses by actually bringing their partners into the company.  Shira Berk Image credit: Courtesy of Goodie Girl Advantage: Grow faster Founder and CEO: Goodie Girl Shira Berk had spent most of her career as a publicist, but in 2010 she started making gluten-free cookies and selling them at her children’s preschool. The side hustle took off. Five years later she was operating her brand, Goodie Girl Cookies, out of a commercial kitchen, selling […]

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10 Questions You Must Ask Before Buying a Business

Doing your due diligence before buying a company will earn you bargaining powerand help you avoid unforeseen problems. Here’s what you need to know. March 1, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Andrew Cagnetta bought his first business — a pasta shop in Wethersfield, Conn. — at age 25 and quickly realized he hadn’t done his homework thoroughly enough. Although he stuck to the shop’s original recipes and products, customers began complaining that the recipes had changed. Sales declined, and in less than two years, Cagnetta and his cousin, the co-owner, ended up selling the store. They had bought the shop from two elderly women who had run it for years, not realizing how integral the previous owners had been to its success. “One question I should have asked [the previous owners] was what do they think drove people to the store?” Cagnetta says. […]

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Don’t Let Short-Term Thinking Undermine Long-Term Success

Your desire to save a few bucks today, may end up costing you a lot more down the road. February 2, 2019 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. I recently met a business owner who made 100 percent of her decisions based on how it impacts the immediate cash flow of the business. And I mean every decision — from which accountant or lawyer to advise the business, what marketing could drive revenue this minute, all the way down to minute things like figuring out which credit card would yield immediate cash back rewards on expenses. Some of this is admirable but mostly it is completely short-sighted and hurting her business long term.  I get it. Most entrepreneurs are cash starved and looking to save every penny they can. But, in this case study post, you are going to learn that cutting pennies today, could be costing you millions of dollars tomorrow. Allow […]

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Why You’ll Have a Better Shot at Joining the C-Suite in 2019

Having a college degree isn’t a must anymore. December 24, 2018 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Studying hard to get a college degree is the route to a good job, or so we were told. The number of U.S. adults with a college degree has been growing every year for decades. In the face of rising tuition fees, parents are being advised to start saving for college before their kids are even eating solid food. But is college education really the Holy Grail of well-paid employment with a reputable company? In 2018, the evidence is stacking up to show that employers are placing a decreasing emphasis on job candidates holding a college degree. Google consistently ranks as one of the top companies to work for in the U.S. As far back as 2014, Laszlo Bock, Google’s Senior VP of People Operations, stated that holding a […]

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8 Surefire Ways to Grow Your Business in 2019

Hard-won wisdom from Jennifer Garner, Alex Rodriguez, and other leading entrepreneurs. December 13, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. This is a guest post by Steve Costello, head of membership and co-founder of The Oracles, a mastermind group composed of the world’s leading entrepreneurs. Have a purpose, lay a solid foundation, think about the future, and prioritize customers –  these were among the valuable insights shared by top business leaders at the 2018 EY Strategic Growth Forum, an annual invitation-only conference that brings together more than 2,000 of America’s leading executives, entrepreneurs, advisors, and investors. EY is the professional services and accounting firm also known as Ernst and Young. The advice came from high-profile participants like actress Jennifer Garner, a co-founder of the organic baby food brand Once Upon a Farm; baseball great Alex Rodriguez, a partner and investor in Las Vegas-based TruFusion fitness […]

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Give Your Audience What They Want on Social Media Before Pushing Your Agenda

Blake Lawrence, CEO and co-founder of opendorse, talks about the advice he gives the athletes he works with for building on their fan base. December 8, 2018 1 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Emotions tend to run high for sports fans, which is why tapping into fanhood is so important for the marketing efforts of today’s top brands. Blake Lawrence, CEO and co-founder of opendorse, talks about how his football career at Nebraska prepared him to understand athlete marketing and the role that social media has in extending an athlete’s influence. Watch as Entrepreneur Network partner David Meltzer and Lawrence discuss the emotional appeal that athletes and their social media content have for fans, as well as how this emotion is being leveraged by companies to improve their marketing efforts and better showcase their products. Related: How Magic Johnson and Hulk Hogan’s Agent Fell So Far […]

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How Large Enterprises Are Becoming More Agile and Saving Millions

Big corporations are starting to think like disruptors, adopting ‘codeless integration’ processes. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. It’s a common refrain: Corporations are bulky and bureaucratic while startups are agile. The conventional wisdom has been reality, for the most part. It explains how startups like Tesla grew up to disrupt industries dominated by a few, leading firms. Enterprise businesses simply don’t have the flexibility to pivot like startups do. The landscape seems to be changing — albeit slowly, in typical enterprise fashion. Kimberly-Clark, for example, routinely organizes “expert acceleration sessions” in which thought leaders chellenge business teams to think like startups. Similarly, Whirlpool hosts i-mentors who work with business teams to cultivate an innovation mindset and challenge market “orthodoxies.” The objective here is obvious: to prevent large and successful organizations from having their own Kodak moments. Too big to pivot? The opportunity cost often proves too high for corporate leaders. Why pursue the […]

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Clarity on Your Goals Is Key to Growing a Business That Attracts High-End Clients

A good way to grow into a bigger company is for your well-heeled potential customers to think you’re that big already. November 12, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. It’s probably not likely that you started your entrepreneurship journey by taking over or inheriting an established business. Businesses often get built from the ground up by someone with a vision and big goals. As you start to build your business, you do the best you can with what you have. You’re probably not starting out with a team and it may be years until you can build the business to that level. While you’re building, you’re focused on all the strategy and structures pieces that you need to do daily. You’re the jack of all trades doing everything from admin tasks to marketing to billing to support. It can be easy to get lost […]

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3 Simple Ways to Mobilize The Power of The Network Effect

We crushed our annual goals in only seven months. And you can, too. October 19, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Green Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The early days of any online platform are a time for growth. From acquiring the very first user to the millionth, a multitude of factors determine how your company’s message will spread and how your customer’s behaviors will be adopted into your strategy. When we launched Leaflink in 2016, we had goals to bring on a certain number of cannabis retailers and brands onto our platform by the end of the year. By the end of summer, we had already brought on three times that number. Fast forward to today. Our 2018 goal was to break $500M in annualized Gross Merchandise Volume by the end of the year. Again, by July we were projecting over $600M. We surpassed our big goals five months […]

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One Thing You Can Do to Be a Great Supporter of Women at Work

To provide great support to women at work is to step closer. Ask what is working, what isn’t and how things could be better. September 24, 2018 2 min read This story originally appeared on Ellevate I do photography as a hobby — I have for many years. People are my favorite subject, and I’ve been lucky enough to study and take photographs all over the world. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got from a photography teacher was: When you think you see everything in the frame, take a big step closer. When photographing people, it can feel invasive to get too close. But this was sage advice, because I began to see and connect with my subjects so much more when I stepped closer. So, I started getting a lot closer. Related: 9 Tips for Succeeding as a Woman in a Male-Dominated World I began talking with the people I was photographing, […]

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