• Finding the Perfect Business Partner for Your Small Business February 21, 2019 3:34 pm
    If you’ve ever considered starting your own business, then you’ve probably thought of the many obstacles lying ahead: From securing funding for startup costs to structuring a sound business model and pitch that catches the attention of investors, there’s a lot to get done. Since starting your own business can be incredibly risky, many entrepreneurs choose to enter into a small business partnership. Going into business with a partner has many advantages for both parties. For one, you’ll have more financial resources and connections; you can also collaborate together on everything from your logo to pricing your product or service. It’s reassuring to know that many the largest companies around started as partnerships, and even now, many of those founders still work together in some capacity. Take Paul Allen for example: As the co-founder of Microsoft with Bill Gates, Allen claims that Gates kept the company on track conceptually over the years, while Allen eventually took on a role as a strategy consultant. Jerry Greenfield and Ben Cohen, co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s, both share the same vision for their company: According to Greenfield, the two both believe that business should use its power to address social and environmental issues, and not merely turn a profit. As you can see, partnerships can take on many forms. It really boils down to what you’re looking for as a business owner. So, how exactly do you find the perfect business partner? Fundera shows you how in eight easy steps: The post Finding the Perfect Business Partner for Your Small Business appeared first on Successful Startup 101.
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  • 6 Female Entrepreneurs We Can All Learn Something From February 18, 2019 3:28 pm
    Social activist Betty Friedan once said, “The problem that has no name — which is simply the fact that American women are kept from growing to their full human capacities — is taking a far greater toll on the physical and mental health of our country than any known disease.” Of course, she is absolutely and unequivocally right. The good news, however, is that we’ve come a long way as a society, particularly in regards to affording women the appropriate power and responsibility they deserve. We’re not quite where we should be — that’s still going to take a long time — but we are moving forward. Queue the long list of strong female entrepreneurs and executives that make and break the modern world of business. They are out there, they are thriving and they are changing the face of startups as we know them. More importantly, they exhibit precisely the qualities, traits and talents we should all aspire to — both man and woman alike. If you’re looking to learn a few things, pull up a chair and listen attentively. 1. Sue Bryce Professional Photographer, Founder of Sue Bryce Education It may not seem so now, but the very talented Sue Bryce comes from humble beginnings. “My path to self-employment seemed, to me, a natural evolution. But, it wasn’t based on a great desire to build a business. Rather, it was borne out of necessity. After 13 years mastering my craft, I was still an employee and I simply had reached a ceiling of how much money I could earn in my career.” Unsatisfied with her proposed cap, Bryce broke off on her own and launched her now famous photography career. She pushes the boundaries regularly, challenging herself to “create on a larger and larger scale every year.” “My desire to build, create and learn surpasses my fear. Every challenge I’m faced with now becomes a greater experience of learning my true power.” Bryce now teaches others to build a profit out of their own photography business. 2. Cara Campbell Vice President of Data Sync Technologies The technology field is one that has not been historically diverse, but that is changing rapidly. Women are at the forefront of that change, lobbying technology as a whole to new heights. Campbell signed on to the Data Sync Technologies team in 2004 and has helped it achieve meaningful partnerships, including U.S. intelligence and defense contracts. “Thanks to my time with Applied Technology Solutions — a woman-owned small business — I was able to construct a foundation for success that helped me later in my career. Above all, I learned that the state of women in technology was being propelled forward, and I wanted to be a big part of that momentum.” 3. BeateChelette Founder and CEO of Chelette Enterprises Inc. From an early age, BeateChelette had an entrepreneurial spirit. She started a poster distribution business out of her bedroom, simply because she loved posters. Today she is a professional entrepreneur, having created Read more The post 6 Female Entrepreneurs We Can All Learn Something From appeared first on Successful Startup 101.
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  • What to Learn From the Best Places to Work February 13, 2019 4:36 pm
    Google, Costco, Starbucks — these companies have dominated lists of “best places to work” for years. That’s because these companies place an emphasis on cultivating a positive corporate culture that benefits all workers, not just those at the top. If you want your employees to wake up excited to get to work, it might be time to start paying attention to workplace trends that affect how they feel and how they perform their duties. The following lessons from successful corporate cultures can guide your efforts to create a valuable workplace environment of your own — and may be even catapult your business to the top of the “best places to work” charts. Invest in Your Leaders Your leaders are the role models for the rest of your workforce, so it is most critical that they represent your workplace culture appropriately. The easiest way to do this is to promote from within, like Costcois well known to do. The wholesale chain rarely fills openings with outside hires; it prefers to find dedicated and talented workers from lower levels to leverage their familiarity with the company and its culture to influence growth. By recognizing high performers within your business and using them to fill management vacancies, you can gain similar benefits. Another solution is developing corporate culture through your leaders. You can invest in greater trainings and team-building for management, instilling in your current leaders the values you hope will guide your business. You can also choose to hire leaders with personal brands that match your desired workplace culture. As long as you are giving sufficient attention to your leaders in some form or another, you should end up with the corporate environment you envision. Use Diverse Communication Strategies When your startup is small, you get accustomed to communicating with your scant workforce in a certain way. If you only have one or two workers to deal with, you might just tell everyone face-to-face; if you have a few more employees on staff, you might send out a group email and call it good. However, simple ways to communicate start to fail when your business grows bigger. To maintain a stable corporate culture — one that employees understand and want to be part of — you need to diversify how you communicate. Google works to unite its vast and diverse workforce with a bevy of communication strategies that promise openness. There are frequent all-hands meetings, where workers at all levels are encouraged to ask questions and push boundaries. The company also boasts more than 87,000 Groups, which are email lists organized around different topics. What’s important to note is that Google meets employees where they are, appealing to all communication and learning styles. Thus, no one is left out of the loop or in the dust. Make Employee Wellness Your Top Priority When an employee gets sick, they can’t work.This should seem straightforward, but within many organizations, leadership focuses so intently on performance that it forgets that health and wellness matter. Unfortunately, Read more The post What to Learn From the Best Places to Work appeared first on Successful Startup 101.
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  • Startups and Out-of-Home Advertising: Why You Shouldn’t Dismiss the Idea of Using Billboards February 1, 2019 4:25 pm
    Billboards and other out-of-home (OOH) advertising formats are used frequently by huge technology companies and exciting new startups. Despite their old school reputation, billboard ads are more popular than ever. In fact, the industry is expected to see double-digit growth this year. Why are companies on the cutting-edge of technology still using billboards? OOH Actually Drives Online Action Billboards influence actions in the physical world as well as in the digital one. OOH is 382% more effective than TV, 200% more effective than print, and 63% more effective than radio in driving consumers online. That means consumers are searching for a company or product online after seeing a billboard for it. If the billboard design is interesting or interactive enough, expect it to be posted and shared to social channels. People Like OOH While all kinds of ad formats can be effective, people have gotten good at skipping or ignoring most of them. Unsurprisingly, many people find digital ads frustrating. Billboards are big and loud, but they are also considered to be one of the least annoying ad formats today. 85% of all consumers believe OOH is useful, with 83% believing it is informative. That’s why more startups are using billboards over pop-ups. Why use an ad format that you know will infuriate your audience? Perceived Authenticity Since billboards are often used by some of the biggest brands in the world, it shouldn’t be surprising that a company with a billboard campaign is perceived to be more legitimate than one that only purchases digital ads. Any scammer with a computer can buy digital ads, but only a legitimate company would purchase a billboard, right? That’s the impression, at least. Adding a billboard to your marketing mix can help strengthen and legitimize your digital and mobile campaigns, as well as overall brand perception. Old School Meets High-Tech Some have the notion that billboards and other OOH are low-tech. In truth, many are now equipped with new technology to make them even more effective. Geofences and location data can ensure that billboards are working in tandem with your mobile campaigns. Demographic data and facial recognition technology let you serve your ad to the right person at just the right time. Interactive digital billboards create experiences that form favorable emotional bonds with customers. These aren’t your parents’ billboards! About the Author Cody J. Riebe is a Public Relations and Content Specialist for BillboardsIn.com, the largest online marketplace for outdoor ads. With over a million assets nationwide, they make it possible for anyone and everyone to easily buy billboards online. The post Startups and Out-of-Home Advertising: Why You Shouldn’t Dismiss the Idea of Using Billboards appeared first on Successful Startup 101.
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  • SEO in 2019: What You REALLY Need to Know January 28, 2019 8:01 am
    Mark Bruneman is the Principal Digital Marketing Strategist at a firm specialising in Data Center Migrations and Transformations. They service very large companies who have very large data centers that are overflowing, moving, and/or changing to accommodate new technologies or business practices. Mark is responsible for digital marketing strategy, their website, designs all communications, and owns SEO. This article is based on an interview of Mark conducted on December 28, 2018. Mark makes a number of insightful statements about how they ensure their Content Marketing doesn’t lose its SEO, which IS a thing. Effective SEO Requires a Team Approach First and foremost, SEO is a team approach. His team consists of four people: A content specialist/writer, a multichannel person (technical SEO, email, marketing automation, etc), a content marketer and writer, and him, the digital strategist who does a bit of everything. The content specialist is an interesting position. They are an experienced marketer and a writer. They scan the industry for relevant topics and write to them while also selecting the format and place to publish and promote. While they do a minimal amount of outsourcing, the core team members are all employees. One of Mark’s core beliefs is that good SEO requires a thorough understanding of the company’s marketing goals, the target audience, and the competitive environment, which doesn’t work well with contractors unless it’s a long term arrangement where educating them is worth the effort. Every team member is required to have basic knowledge of technical SEO (for example, how the hierarchy of H1, H2, H3 headers informs the search engines about what the web page is about, basics of Google Analytics). This is key to ensuring content does not implement poor SEO. The Team Approach Before they create a web page OR a blog post, they have a team meeting in which every perspective is represented. Mark attributes THIS as to how they avoid conflict between the creative people and the technical SEO people. He flatly stated they don’t have this conflict (which I’ve heard of from others) BECAUSE of this practice. Depending on the content being produced, these meetings can last around two hours as they hash out ideas. Everyone understands the importance of H1, H2, H3, headers, and alt tags and the discussion isn’t about how they look (this is predetermined by style sheets), but rather the discussion is about fulfilling user intent and how the page is structured to make it easy for Google, Bing and Yahoo to interpret the page. To manage expectations, tasks, and deadlines, they use Wrike, a tool Mark raved about. He states Wrike is the most comprehensive tool for planning. It allows them to layout their projects and view resource loading. It also provides multiple views so people can view their tasks in a way that makes sense to them. Understanding User Intent, Personas Mark stressed the importance of a web page or blog post satisfying User Intent based on search queries, and acknowledged the challenge of identifying User Read more The post SEO in 2019: What You REALLY Need to Know appeared first on Successful Startup 101.
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  • How to Create a Business Continuity Plan January 24, 2019 11:52 am
    If you’ve ever thought about how to protect your house in the event of an emergency, be it natural or otherwise, you’re probably familiar with a continuity plan to some degree. In the case of a house fire, you might have planned your route to the nearest fire extinguisher. Maybe a family member is in charge of calling 911 while another is tasked with grabbing the family pet, provided it’s safe to do so. It’s also likely that someone is in charge of rounding up the unscathed valuables before escaping to safety. If you haven’t devised emergency plans with your family or housemates, it’s wise to do so. What is described above is essentially a continuity plan. It ensures that you take the least damage possible, allowing your family to continue living relatively the same after the disaster. A business continuity plan, or BCP, has the same function but it’s for an organization, and it’s a little more involved. An effective BCP incorporates objectives, risk-assessments, cross-department cooperation, and maintenance. A significant amount of planning goes into a well-designed BCP in order to make sure all the bases are covered. Business continuity plans are especially important for small businesses, because they have fewer resources available to stop a catastrophe. Specifically, startups don’t have the manpower of a larger organization and should plan accordingly! In the house fire example, each family member may have a different, specialized task to carry-out. Similarly, a small business may have task-oriented individuals or small teams that are responsible for working on separate but equally important functions, such as PR and damage assessment. In order to create the best possible business continuity plan for your small business, there are six steps you should follow. This infographic from Nextiva is sure to get you started on preparing for the worst-case scenario. The post How to Create a Business Continuity Plan appeared first on Successful Startup 101.
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  • Do Highly Intelligent People Make Bad Leaders? January 18, 2019 11:36 am
    There are various qualities that define a good leader. They include: Decision-making skills Critical thinking The ability to negotiate and understand issues Drive An expectation of success The question of whether a leader should be a super-brilliant intellect have spurred a heated debate in online and offline platforms, however, with some studies asserting that intelligence could be a hindrance to good leadership. That said, can being highly intelligent make you a bad leader? Do the brightest individuals make less effective leaders than their less intelligent counterparts? Let’s dive into the issue at hand… There’s No I in Team Great leaders practice teamwork in decision-making, and in the overall achievement of goals set. Most people have found that highly intelligent leaders have a hard time working in this type of framework, however. Often times, these types of individuals feel like they outsmart every other person in the group, which means they end up dictating terms instead of listening to differing opinions and ideas for consideration. While a smart leader may be the wisest idea in the group, group members may have a more practical solution for the issue at hand, and one that can attain more productivity. Intelligence Can Benefit Leadership to a Certain Degree Presumably, a leader should possess more intelligence than the rest of the team he/she is to guide them on what to do and how to do it. Even so, philosophers and researchers agree to this notion partially, arguing that it does not always apply to all level of intelligence. Problem-Solving Skills One of the primary roles of a leadership position involves coming up with workable solutions as problems arise. This requires analyzing the problem and developing solutions to address it. The challenge for highly intelligent leaders is that they often devise very sophisticated ways of doing things. Although they have an in-depth knowledge base of how best a system should run, they may not be the best at getting group buy-in, which can alienate people. Characteristics of Great Leaders There are many requirements and skill sets that would presumably make for an excellent leader, including intelligence. And while some may argue that highly intelligent people might not make for the best leaders, it’s important to note that you cannot rule out the capability of adaptive abilities. Being smart has an advantage of high analytical and critical abilities, which means that if so inclined, someone can easily find a way to adapt to different behaviors to become a great leader. Ultimately, anyone can become a leader.  After all, leaders aren’t born, they’re made. It’s essential that anyone seeking a leadership position understand that the people you intend to lead expect you to be smart, but not to the point where your intelligence overpowers your rationale, especially as pertains to decision making, negotiating and working with the entire team. The post Do Highly Intelligent People Make Bad Leaders? appeared first on Successful Startup 101.
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  • 12 Social Media Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in 2019 January 17, 2019 2:59 pm
    Social media marketing can be difficult to master because the Internet constantly changes and shifts — not just year-to-year, but also sometimes day-to-day. And let’s face it, the last thing you want is to waste your marketing efforts. The number of people on social media grows every year. Facebook has around 2.27 billion active users now, and Instagram is the next largest social media network and is snowballing. There are dozens of social media sites, but for this article, we’ll look at the most commonly used platforms. Although effective techniques vary, there are some big marketing mistakes you should avoid in 2019 and some you should avoid forevermore. 1. Targeting the Wrong People If you spend $20 on an ad campaign and have no idea who the message is for, then you might as well light $20 on fire and toss it in a metal trash can. No matter which social media platform you market on, your first step is understanding your target audience. For example, if you place content on your Facebook page, what is the purpose of that content, and exactly which people will you reach? Facebook allows for highly targeted advertising to specific audience segments, so figuring out who that audience is makes your marketing much more effective. 2. Spamming Your Followers You’ve worked hard to gain followers on your social media pages. However, if all you do is post spammy sales pitches non-stop, you’re wasting your potential. People see ads all day long — from the time they wake up and turn on the TV or check their phones to the time they go to sleep when the day is done. Understandably, people are sick of promotional material. Instead, think about the pain points your customers deal with and address those with content meant to solve their problems. Agriculture Pest Control Services manages to address an issue — how to know whether or not you have a pest problem in your yard and information for those worried about this issue. Instead of merely trying to sell their services, they work on educating the public about the issue. If the user needs pest control for their agriculture, they’ll likely turn to Agriculture Pest Control Services for advice. This company doesn’t make the mistake of only pushing their services — they also add value for their followers. 3. Forgetting the Hashtag Events are the perfect opportunity for connecting with consumers and driving interest on social media. Those who can’t attend the live event get updates by searching for a specific hashtag. A big mistake some event planners make is failing to create a hashtag for the event. Ideally, the hashtag is in place long before the occasion, and followers are informed about it ahead of time. Imagine a tradeshow booth where visitors stop by and take a photo with your brand logo and colors and then upload it with a hashtag. You could even offer a prize and draw a winner based on Twitter posts using the hashtag. Read more The post 12 Social Media Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in 2019 appeared first on Successful Startup 101.
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  • The Growth of Women Owned Businesses January 4, 2019 11:32 am
    A few decades ago, if you went searching for a woman-owned business you might have a harder time of it. That’s because for centuries, women have been relegated to the back burner of building wealth and controlling revenue. They were either legally prevented from ownership or not allowed in to certain positions or professions. But today, in comparison to 30 years ago, the number of women-owned businesses has nearly tripled. There are millions of people who are employed by women owners and trillions of dollars in revenue that are created. And growth for women-owned businesses is stronger than for other types of businesses. Of course, there’s still ground to make up, but there are some industries that are stronger for women than for others. Those include health care and professional services, amongst others. So what does the state of women-owned businesses as a whole look like? The post The Growth of Women Owned Businesses appeared first on Successful Startup 101.
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  • Passionate Entrepreneur, Before Your Marriage Goes Downhill, Read This December 27, 2018 11:39 am
    We all know that one super busy, successful guy, let us name him Bill, that has just recently gotten divorced from his wife (or is about to). Or that very boring neighbor, Alice, that doesn’t stop complaining about her marital issues with her entrepreneurial-spirited husband that is never home. Considering that you are reading this, either you are Bill, or you have Alice for a wife. In both cases, unless you start changing some things today, you are screwed. Being an entrepreneur is not just a job, it is a calling, it is passion. It impacts each and every aspect of your life, including your marriage (big time!). Some would say that once it affects your marriage in a bad way, then your marital problems start affecting your business. In other words – a happy marriage, happy company! Here is some food for thought that will help you cultivate your passion for business alongside with happy and healthy marriage. 1. Your Passion Is Attractive Until It Is Not – Strike A Balance! Your spouse was once probably very attracted to your passion (to some point they still are). Seeing someone so driven about something never leaves us indifferent. The contradictive part is that that same passion that has drawn them to you is the same one that is now threatening your marriage. Your dedication to your business is charming only up to the point until your spouse starts feeling consequences of it. A time that you devote to business will soon cut into the time that you are supposed to spend together. Your spouse should not have to compete with your company for attention, but here they are. Feeling insecure and frustrated, and most of all they do not feel understood. You should not underestimate the time spend with your family. No money or career is worth it. A successful marriage is a huge accomplishment itself, but remember that it will also help you build a more successful business. Most of all, it will fulfill you in the ways your career cannot. 2. Be Completely Transparent And Honest, Always `Honesty and trust are foundations of a healthy partnership. Of any kind, especially marital. Make sure to respect your spouses’ trust and always be transparent about everything that happens in your business. Mistrust usually comes from fear, and fear always comes from the unknown. Entrepreneurship involves great risks, and those risks directly involve your family’s financial status. One wrong decision, and from a casual and comfortable living you can easily end up on a street without anything. That is why transparency is a big must. If your spouse still does not feel secure, maybe you should think about hiring a trustful family lawyer. There are a lot of good lawyer companies that specialize just in this area, such as Doolan Wagner Family lawyers. It will give your family a more sense of security. 3. Let Them Guide You When you are out of your mind with all the stress that your Read more The post Passionate Entrepreneur, Before Your Marriage Goes Downhill, Read This appeared first on Successful Startup 101.
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