The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion During Uncertain Times

And what leaders should do about it. March 27, 2020 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. As inclusion strategist Vernã Myers says, “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.” But what if it’s a virtual dance party, where you’re unsure who to invite, how to send the invitations, who can DJ or what online platform would work the best? That is the situation many of us are finding ourselves in these days. We are in uncharted waters trying to float without knowing how to use the life vests. Having diversity among races, genders, generations, ethnicities and thought within an organization is one thing. But including employees with these experiences in the conversation can help leaders and organizations find the answers to these questions during trying times. If you’re still not convinced, check out these statistics:  Racial and ethnically diverse companies are 35 percent more […]

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Are You Building a Culture of Co-Signers or Authorized Users?

Three lessons for leading a team that’s truly committed to your shared goal. March 27, 2020 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Everyone on your team is either a co-signer or an authorized user. You might be familiar with the difference between the two — especially if you are a parent to a young adult, or if you’ve ever needed help building your credit. A co-signer on an account takes a shared responsibility for payment, but an authorized user simply has access to the credit line. While this is typically a financial conversation between parents and children, within this concept lies a powerful leadership lesson for anyone leading a team. Every employee is one of the two. Which would you rather have? In other words, are you building a culture of co-signers or authorized users? It’s quite simple to tell the difference. You know you have a […]

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10 Successful People Share Their Strategies for Leading a Service-Based Business

1. Find your vision. It doesn’t mean you have to know what the end of the vision looks like. You just have to get the vision, then have the ability to cast the vision with such fervor that others around you want to be a cog in your wheel. Once you do that, the wheel begins to turn, progress is made, and you’re going somewhere. I can remember telling our team, “Look, we’re going to have 50,000 viewers on the blog per month.” They thought it sounded impossible, but here we are today, and it happened. So you have to start with that vision. 2. Hire your opposite. No matter where you are in the business cycle, starting out, or a veteran of self-employment, you are continually trying to build a paradigm of personalities to balance out your entire organization. Use a behavioral profile test, such as a DISC profile, […]

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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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3 Ways to Build a Customer-Centric Company Culture

Traditional training will only get you so far when you want to build a culture of customer service. March 24, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Company culture is one of the hot-button issues in C-suites today, and for good reason. Providing an exceptional customer experience is directly dependent on culture. Success relies on employees to make judgment calls and creatively apply their understanding of customer needs far beyond what any rulebook could cover. Traditional customer service training and best practices will get you started, but, beyond those, you need to build and model a top-down culture of customer service. The essence of building a strong customer service culture is simple and straightforward, as long as you don’t distract yourself with superficialities — the mountain bikes and ping-pong tables, the beer taps in the breakroom, the endless jargon about “de-siloing” and the like. It is, in […]

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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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7 Workplace Injuries That Can Put You Out of Business

Workers’ comp is designed to protect employees, so what is there for employers to learn? March 22, 2020 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The majority of states in the U.S. have a workers’ compensation system that’s a great safety net for both employees and employers. Workers get compensated for the loss of income and medical expenses, while employers are protected against expensive and often lengthy personal-injury lawsuits. Workers’ compensation cases, with limited exceptions, do not require you to prove who is at fault, and usually, the employee loses the right to sue the employer for damages due to pain and suffering. Rather, it typically covers random cases of ordinary negligence in the workplace. However, this employer immunity against being sued is not absolute. As with all rules, there are exceptions, and this is where employers and business owners must be cautious. A successful personal-injury lawsuit due […]

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Taking Coronavirus Uncertainty Head-On: A Small-Business Owner’s Guide

Adaptation and compassion will be essential to getting through this pandemic. March 20, 2020 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The spread of COVID-19 has not only raised serious health concerns, but also created economic uncertainty worldwide. There’s potential for employees to take an increased number of sick days and customers to spend far less time in stores, while ecommerce businesses are already facing increased supply chain and shipping challenges — all of which could take a serious toll on businesses worldwide. At BlueVine, we are already seeing some early impacts of the outbreak on our customers. For example, a Northern California-based art dealer informed us that business is drying up because the majority of their revenue is generated from Italy. Business at a ramen restaurant located in a predominantly Chinese neighborhood in Southern California has also significantly slowed. Related: This Air Mask Company Struggled to Take Off. […]

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The Antidote to a Toxic Culture Is a Culture of Trust — Here’s How to Build One

Here’s how to build enough trust in order to ward off toxicity at your company. March 18, 2020 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Is your company culture killing your bottom line? A recent study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 20 percent of Americans have left a job in the past five years due to a “toxic workplace culture.” These losses have cost those companies more than $223 billion. If a toxic culture can be that costly, then it should be a priority for your management team. It’s up to leadership to make the change, as 76 percent of workers in the same survey said their managers are primarily responsible for culture. If your workplace is taking on toxic qualities, it’s probably because people feel that the leaders don’t keep their word, no one is authentic or there is a major value misalignment between management and workers. […]

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How Stay Interviews Became the Hottest Workforce-Retention Tool

Want to hold on to top talent? Check in before they check out. March 13, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Every organization’s secret weapon is its employees. The 2019 Work Institute’s Retention Report highlighted that more than one in three workers would voluntarily quit their jobs each year by 2023. That’s why the stay interview, which seeks improvements in the employer-employee relationship through a kind of real-time fact-finding mission, is today’s optimal workforce-retention tool. Although without a culture of trust that nurtures honest and transparent feedback, stay interviews won’t be nearly as constructive. Accenture managers, as one example, have been renowned for probing their staff’s professional goals and checking in with them about their quality of work-life balance. To make a powerful impact on retention rate, organizations must integrate stay interviews alongside more traditional tools like surveys that measure engagement.  Take Whirlpool Corporation, which identified that it was losing talent at a faster rate than it […]

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Why Someone Else’s Poor Planning Isn’t Your Emergency

March 11, 2020 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. I recently had someone send me a document that they needed to have completed right now for an important deadline they had. Mind you, they could have sent the document they needed months earlier, but they waited until the last minute. Normally, I wouldn’t sweat it — I’d fill it out pretty quickly and get it back to them. However, on this occasion I was in Panama on business. I was headed home to Austin for less than 24 hours, then I was off to Charlotte for business meetings at BNI Global, and then I was off to Necker Island for some downtime. They could not have caught me at a worse time — and they were completely aware that I was in the midst of my travels. Nevertheless, they emailed me, emailed my assistant, emailed my wife and emailed all of us multiple […]

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What is Grit, and Why Does It Matter When Hiring for Your Startup?

Look for the people whose will to succeed is one of their defining characteristics. March 11, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Many things go into making a startup successful, including finding the right people. When hiring it’s important to make sure your employees not only have the knowledge and skills to get the job done, but also that they have the grit to help take the company to the next level.  One of the best qualities a potential employee can have is grit. What does grit mean exactly? Someone with grit has the mental toughness to keep trying in the face of challenges and failures while keeping passion for the work they do. That’s the type of employee fast-moving startups need. Related: How to Poach Talent Politely Having a small business involves people doing multiple things and comes with varying trials and obstacles. Each person will […]

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How This Former Submarine Officer Learned to Lead Under Pressure

As a young Navy officer, Rick Stollmeyer made some mistakes. Now, as CEO of Mindbody, he’s learned to make more considered decisions. March 10, 2020 3 min read This story appears in the March 2020 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » I spent a big portion of my 20s underwater — but not in the emotional sense. Back in the early ’90s, I was a submarine officer, serving at the end of the Cold War. I was 24 when I reported for duty on the USS Chicago, a fast-attack nuclear submarine. I was put in charge of 13 men, and despite my extensive training, nothing could have fully prepared me for the intensity of my role.  A month into a mission, the ship’s turbine generators started giving us trouble, and it was my responsibility to get them fixed. The ship’s engineer — who was my boss — proposed a solution, but the chief […]

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Leaders Need Time to Be Great. How to Support Rising Stars in Your Organization.

Great leaders need to time to develop and grow into their role. March 9, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Becoming a great leader takes time. It’s an evolution that demands commitment, relentless focus on the end goal, and intentional effort every day to get better. As the old saying goes, “Experience is the best teacher” and nothing could be truer when it comes to becoming a great leader. Regardless of how many leadership books one consumes, how many successful business leaders they follow on LinkedIn, or how many courses they enroll in, the most pivotal learning for leaders will happen on the job. They will happen in the middle of an average day when a historically high performing employee falls short on a key project; or when a team that generally collaborates well, experiences a conflict that threatens to irreparably tear them apart. These are […]

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3 Questions To Ask If You Want Female Entrepreneurs to Accelerate

Progress will come when everyone asks themselves what they can do to help. March 6, 2020 7 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. As many of you know March 8 is International Women’s Day. This month also tends to be the month where we’re all focused on luck, so I’ve been thinking on the status of women leaders today, and whether the “luck factor” has any involvement in those who achieve success. The idea of how luck plays a role in success has been a topic covered many times over the years. But in looking at my own start as an entrepreneur, when I up and decided to scale my business to absorb my husband’s income, I realize that luck only got me so far. It’s what I did with the luck — the opportunities I seized and the relationships I made — that really grew my businesses. Despite […]

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5 Signs You Need to Step Back as Founder of Your Startup

Sometimes the best thing your business is to take on a different role. March 6, 2020 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. A month ago, I announced on LinkedIn that I was resigning as CEO of my company, Nav, and taking on a new role as Executive Chairman of our Board of Directors. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, but also one of the most rewarding. My motivations for stepping down were personal to me, and I hope to write about them in more detail as my new role gives me more time to look back and reflect. In the meantime, I thought it might be helpful to discuss five of the more general reasons a CEO would be wise to call it quits. 1. You’re consumed by what’s urgent instead of what’s important One symptom that you’ve lost the reins […]

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5 Ways to Hire the Best People for the Long Term

The team determines the kind of company that you build. March 6, 2020 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Whether your company is well established or a new startup, you should approach hiring as a way to build the company, not just fill a position. Hiring is a huge responsibility that will determine your company’s culture and its future. My first two companies were built on the model of “move fast and break things” and heavily funded by VCs. The lessons I learned from those dot-com era ventures — and the pain of having to lay off good people — led me to completely rethink how to hire people at my current company. It hasn’t been easy, but now 31 percent of my company’s North American employees have been with the company more than 6 years, and 12 percent more than 15 years. Here are five things I’ve learned in […]

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What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From These 6 Movies With Horrible Bosses

Learn how to be a leader by watching what not to do. March 6, 2020 7 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Most people can relate to having had a bad boss. They are, unfortunately, pervasive in the workplace. But getting to watch a bad boss as part of a movie — that can be kind of fun! Especially because big-screen bad bosses usually get what’s coming to them. Maybe people enjoy watching bad bosses on the big screen because they can relate to the disgruntled, underdog employee who has to grapple with the heavy-handed tyranny of a toxic leader. Or maybe they’re secretly rooting for the jerk of a boss, because, for all their faults and blunders, they do have some redeeming factors. In the end, maybe it’s just that obnoxious and mean-spirited bosses make for great movies. Here are six of the worst big-screen bosses […]

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6 Signs to Look for If You’re Worried Your Workplace Environment is Toxic

A new study found six commonalities among unhealthy workplaces. March 4, 2020 2 min read If you’ve ever worked for a company with a toxic office culture, you know how much it can impact your day-to-day life. Instead of finishing your work and leaving it at the office each night, you spend the evening responding to more emails, overthinking every interaction you had that day and complaining to your friends or family about how difficult your job is. It’s frustrating, bad for stress levels and can even make you a less productive employee.  Related: Why Hustle Culture Might Be Toxic to Your Business There’s a difference between the normal little annoyances that happen at every job and the kind of workplace toxicity that permeates every area of your life. Emtrain, an online HR and harassment training company, surveyed more than 40,000 employees to find out what the  common factors in […]

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5 Ways to Improve Your Startup’s Project Management

Don’t be afraid to get picky about nailing down great processes. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Put together a team of brilliant designers, programmers, engineers, marketers and salespeople, and what do you get? Unless you add project management to the picture, you end up stressed out with missed deadlines, frustrating communication and mountains of duplicated effort. When mismanaged projects turn into real products, the results can be disastrous. The recent caucus catastrophe at the Democratic primary in Iowa, for instance, traced back to a faulty app. A simple piece of technology that should have accelerated accurate reporting ended up creating 10 problems where only one existed before.  Better project management may not have saved Shadow’s app, but the story remains the same for every launch of a bad product. Something goes wrong behind the scenes, no one knows exactly what’s happening and the end results speak for […]

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