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Friday, July 11, 2014

5 Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn From the World Cup

Larger than the Olympics, The World Series and even The Super Bowl, once every four years the FIFA World Cup takes place putting 32 nations on stage to battle for title of “Very Best.” The entire world is put on notice for such a big event, as it captivates fans, spectators and even naysayers
Much like the teams, the games and the fans, there are lessons learned that can be applied to the life of an entrepreneur. So if you are going to watch the World Cup, especially during the workday, here are five takeaways that will make the time spent not only entertaining but good for business.
1. Talent doesn’t always win. Four years ago Spain captured their first world cup title. Folks were expecting them to do it again this World Cup. With some of the best players in the world and a large part of the rosters of highly acclaimed Real Madrid and Barcelona, people predicted Spain would make another deep run. However, they didn’t. They exited after an embarrassing loss to the Netherlands and two lackluster efforts to follow. England and Italy, two other nations with lengthy resumes made similar exits while making way for smaller less talented teams to advance.
These early exits serve as an important reminder for businesses:  Talent alone doesn’t guarantee success. It takes more with things such as effort, innovation and strategy immediately coming to mind.

2. Community is a brand's best friend. The World Cup has been good for global brands. Nike, Coca-Cola and many more have set the world on fire with innovative and compelling campaigns capitalizing on the world’s passion for the World Cup. (Snickers, anyone?) Having said that, most of the brands focused on tying their products and services to the global football (or soccer) community and not to products and services themselves.
For entrepreneurs, this is a great reminder of the importance of building community for your customers and prospects. Focusing on education, information and service rather than pure self-promotion as a way to propel brand awareness without feeling like Spam 2.0. After all, any brand that keeps me watching commercials is on to something good.

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3. The underdog has a role on the big stage. While the remaining teams are all highly acclaimed soccer powerhouses, many of the 16 teams that emerged into the knock-out rounds were not the world's best.  Countries like Greece, Costa Rica and the U.S.  all came out of very difficult groups to emerge ahead of teams like England, Italy, Spain and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal.
In every big sporting event this happens and for business owners it shows the biggest players aren’t always the most fit to deliver the products and services that clients require. This should serve entrepreneurs as a reminder that they can provide unique value and differentiation even if they are smaller or less experienced.
4. The relevance of scarcity. We live in a world of instant connectivity. Between social media and mobile devices we can be reached around the clock. With 91 percent of people sleeping within arm's reach of their phone, we are more connected than ever. You would think that FIFA may want to glom onto a trend like this and expand the World Cup to something like every two years. But much like the Olympics, the World Cup is kept to every four years as the build up creates greater and greater interest as the event nears.
Businesses could learn from this as well. While we never want to make our customers wait, there is something to be said about having your truly unique differentiator. Football is played year around on many great stages but only the World Cup brings the passion and commitment that we are seeing right now. For FIFA its differentator is scarcity, entrepreneurs need to think what makes them unique and memorable. Eighty percent of business owners think their products and services are truly differentiated, yet only 8 percent of customers felt the same, according to a study conducted by consulting firm Bain & Company. The World Cup has its differentiator, what is yours?
5. Strategy is the ultimate leveler of the business-playing field. If I were to suggest that Costa Rica would take the star-studded Dutch team to penalty kicks in the quarterfinals most would have never believed it. It happened, and it wasn’t by accident. Costa Rica knew they were outmanned (it wasn’t even close) but unlike those that couldn’t get the job done against the Netherlands before, Costa Rica was going to trap the eager flying Dutchman with a simple football strategy: “The Offsides Trap.” More than a dozen times, the Costa Rican defense halted the Dutch progress as the stepped up in line and won an offsides penalty.
For entrepreneurs, this small but successful plan executed by Costa Rica is a reminder of the importance of strategy. Companies with talent can go so far but businesses s with talent and a plan are the ones that go deep into competitive battles and often come out on top.
The 2014 World Cup has for just a moment brought together fans to watch the world's largest sport compete on its largest stage.  If you peek through the noise, you will see there is much to be learned from the teams, the sponsors and the events governing body that can be applied to every business, every day. 

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Friday, May 2, 2014

5 Ways to Teach Your Children to be Kidpreneurs

As an entrepreneur, it can be hard to describe exactly what you do to other adults, much less to your kids. We learned that the best way to explain what we do is by teaching the young ones how they can be entrepreneurs themselves.
We set out to author our own book to teach children between the ages of 6 and 12 years old the same principles we had been teaching adults for years -- the book we wished we had as kids. Kidpreneurs was born -- a book that stokes a child’s desire to get involved in business early by fueling their curiosity in simple, engaging, creative and safe ways. Our goal with Kidpreneurs was to outline some basic tools and strategies kids can use to gain some valuable experience in starting, managing and growing a successful business venture. 
Check out the infographic below for five simple steps you can take to help teach your kids, however young, about the building blocks of discipline, structure and planning that build a foundation of entrepreneurship. With these steps you can show your kids what it takes to be entrepreneurs, or as we like to call them, kidpreneurs. Some say it’s never too late. We say it’s never too early!
5 Ways to Teach Your Children to be Kidpreneurs (Infographic)

Source: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/232607

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

How to Make Sure There's a Market for Your Business Idea

You've got a killer new product or a service that will have the world beating a path to your door. But is it really something people want? Or is it just something you think they want?
Having solid information about what your customers want to buy -- rather than what you want to sell them -- can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars, as well as peace of mind and sanity.
Here are four ways to think more critically about your business idea before you find yourself stuck with products or services no one wants or needs:
1. Accept the market as a harsh, but fair judge. If you're in business, you simply need to embrace the reality that the market will ultimately dictate your success. That means you have to make sure the numbers support your idea. Get information about the basics:
  • Revenues for your category in your local market, regionally and nationally.
  • Know how many competitors are out there.
  • Determine if the market is new and growing or static and mature.
Say you want to open a clothing store in your area in which customers buy $1 million worth of stuff a year. You're up against 10 competitors. Since the top three companies in most categories usually get 80 percent or so of those revenues, you'll fight the next seven companies for the remaining $200,000. Is that really worth it? Can you ever make a profit?

Or is there a way you can create a new niche where you can be a number-one provider? Once you have a handle on the reality of the market, you can make better decisions about how to jump into it, or find a more creative way of serving it (even if you come in as a supplier or vendor serving those companies).

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2. Pick proven categories, then find your niche. Broad proven categories typically offer greater opportunities than hot new markets. As I have mentioned before, given the option of going into a sizzling new tech category or buying into the shoe market, I'd go with shoes every time. Why?
People all over the world need and have purchased shoes for a very long time. It's a proven commodity with built-in opportunities for repeat business and added-value options in terms of accessories ("Would you like socks with that?") And there are ample opportunities to be creative and innovative within that proven market.
The tech opportunity? Tech markets tend to move quickly and customer tastes and preferences change rapidly so that the typical product life-cycle is as brief as that of a fruit fly.
Start broad, general and proven -- then think about a specific niche. At this stage, you can't go too narrow. In fact, I'd advise you go as narrow as you can and see what the opportunities are in the smallest niches possible, then expand from there.
You'd be surprised by the problems that need to be solved and the services that buyers seek. With a narrow niche, you can rapidly grow and easily be the sole provider. You'll also be in the position of a "price maker" with profitable margins rather than a "price taker" with lower prices and thinner margins. Plus, you'll be a leader in a less competitive landscape.
3. Focus on wallet share, not market share. Going after new customers or buying marketing share is the most expensive way to build your business. Going after repeat business and customer loyalty, on the other hand, allows you to change your objective from, "How can I get a new customer" to "How much can I sell to each of my customers, and how long can I keep them?"
A relentless focus on repeat business is like an insurance policy for your marketing program as it is far less expensive to sell to a current customer than purchase a new one. Think about how you can retain your customers for repeat business so you can get an exponential return on your initial advertising or marketing investment.
Once you build a loyal customer base, you'll greatly reduce your outside marketing costs by using good old-fashioned word-of-mouth advertising.

4. Put your ideas to the test. There are a lot of ways to test your ideas inexpensively -- from creating a simple web page to putting your retail products into existing stores on consignment.
Better to pay the price in terms of time and effort now in order to learn what you don't know about your market and buyer. The response you get will tell you what buyers in your market want, need and desire. You can then use that information to enhance your offering or to discover a more profitable market and business than you initially conceived.
Growing a fiercely loyal and satisfied customer base along with a fair amount of personal wealth in a commercial, profitable enterprise is far more rewarding than being "right" about an idea whose time might never come. Don't fall in love with your idea hoping the world will catch up with it. Instead, fall in love with the best idea that will work for you and your business.


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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How Do I Build a Business Plan? (Infographic)

You have a powerful idea for the next big thing, but before you sell it to anyone, you have to get it all down on paper.  It’s time to make a business plan.
How do you know if you’re headed in the right direction? Washington State University created an infographic that provides 10 guidelines to help prospective entrepreneurs organize their thoughts and wow potential investors.   

The infographic details some major questions that aspiring CEOS need to ask themselves like, what problem is my business going to solve, what’s my company’s mission, and what do we do better than anyone else in the market?
But you aren’t quite done yet. A thorough business plan includes who your target demographic is, the conditions of the market you’re entering into and accounts for worst-case scenarios. And of course, there’s the money: how much you need to get going, and where it’s going to come from once your business is up and running.
For more information, like how much funding you’ll need before applying for a small business loan (that’s 30 percent), check out the infographic below. 
How Do I Build a Business Plan? (Infographic)


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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

7 Essential Habits of a Healthy Entrepreneur

So there I was, exhausted at the end of a long work day, frustrated by a particularly stressful drive home and contemplating pouring a stiff bourbon and withering away on the couch for a couple hours.
Then something happened.
My habits took over.
You see, I had “programmed” the habit of exercising every day at 6 p.m. into my brain.
And once the clock struck six, it was as if a magical pumpkin whisked me into my closet to grab my workout gear and head downstairs to burn off some steam.
Turns out entrepreneurship and taking care of your health are quite synonymous.   
A big part of that is because both require habitual actions. And according to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, these habits comprise 40 percent or more of the daily decisions we make.
Here are seven things entrepreneurs can do to stay on top of their business AND their health.
1. Learn something new every day. Healthy entrepreneurs are lifelong dreamers. They work hard, play hard and think harder. They love to read, listen to audio books and absorb as much knowledge as they possibly can. Not only do they educate themselves about topics relevant to growing their business, they also seek knowledge about what it takes to be healthy. They know healthy behaviors have a direct impact on their business.
2. Set goals and create systems to achieve your goals. Healthy entrepreneurs These folks also understand that knowledge without application is the quickest path to failure. They go beyond learning -- they apply. Because they realize the day-to-day journey and seemingly tiny steps are the only ways to achieve their end goal.
3. Spend your “downtime” wisely. The average person spends around 3 hours a day watching TV. Don't be that person. To stay healthy, focus on staying busy building your business, taking care of yourself and your family and trying to change the world. One recommendation is to meditate or take time to write down your goals.
4. Make exercise a priority. A healthy body will help cultivate a healthy mind. Yet the CDC says 80 percent of adults don’t get the recommended amount of exercise. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans say that adults should get 2.5 hours a week or more of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and two strength training sessions per week. Even if you’re crazy busy, find 10 minutes here and there. It will help with alleviate stress and get those endorphins pumped up to take on startup challenges.
5. Eat less junk food. Think of food as fuel: The higher quality fuel you put in your tank, the better you’ll perform. You don’t need to diet or cut foods out to eat healthy either. Just eat more real food -- stuff that comes from nature -- instead of processed junk and fast food. By doing so, you could help improve your energy endurance (no sugar crashes) and mood, among other benefits.
6. Sleep more. All entrepreneurs experience the grind of late nights, early morning meetings and last-minute deadlines. But healthy entrepreneurs know that sleep is vital to their success. Whether you rise early and tackle your important projects first thing in the morning or you’re a night owl, find a consistent sleep routine and stick to it. And never underestimate the power of a good power nap to recharge your brain.
7. Create balance in your life. Healthy entrepreneurs treat health as a lifestyle. You can't put a Band-Aid on a bad business plan, just like you can't eat healthy for a week and expect to lose weight. Successful entrepreneurs wholeheartedly embrace healthy living: They work smarter, not harder.
Entrepreneurship and health go hand-in-hand. Each will teach you valuable lessons about the other.
Aside from family, friends, and relationships, there are few things more important in your life than your health and your career. When you passionately pursue both of these things you can experience a longer, more fulfilling life. 

Source: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/231607#ixzz2uJHLpgMF

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Monday, December 30, 2013

10 Signs You're Not Cut Out to Be an Entrepreneur

About half of Americans dream of opening their own businesses, according to a recent survey by the UPS Store, but with 50% of small businesses failing within the first five years, how do you know if you're an entrepreneur ... or a "wanna-preneur"?
"When we go through recessions and people lose their jobs or are offered buyouts, many decide it's their impetus to launch their own company," says entrepreneur and business coach Daniel C. Steenerson. "But just because you can start a business doesn't mean you should."
Before you take the leap, Steenerson suggests taking an honest inventory of your skill set. He offers these ten clues that you're not cut out to launch a business:
1. You can't stand the heat.
Before you jump into self-employment, Steenerson says you need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
"Every day you'll need to try something new for the first time," he says. "Growth happens at edge of comfort zone. If you're unwilling to go there, you may not be cut out for being an entrepreneur."
2. You're on the quest for quick cash.
While profit is the result of successful business, it shouldn't be why you are in business, says Steenerson, who in 1997 launched Disability Insurance Services, a provider of disability insurance products, to fill a gap in the marketplace.
"You start a business to solve problems and serve others," he says. "If you do that the cash will follow, but it can take time."
3. You have professional ADD.
Starting a business isn't about chasing the latest shiny thing; it's about picking a dream and staying with it even when times get tough.
"Being an entrepreneur requires unwavering laser focus," says Steenerson. "If you don't have patience and are unwilling to push through the tough times, launching a business might not be for you."
4. You get stage fright.
As an entrepreneur you wear many hats, and spokesperson is one. If you shy away from public speaking, overcome this issue by joining a group like Toastmasters or by hiring a spokesperson for your company.
"Opportunities don't always come to us in a scheduled manner, however. And entrepreneurs will need to be the front man from time to time," says Steenerson. "If you're uncomfortable with self promotion, it can be problematic."
5. You hate roller coasters.
When you're an entrepreneur, there are no flat surfaces. "One day you're tackling a steep hill and the next you're on a gut-wrenching free fall," says Steenerson. "You need to be prepared to hang on and enjoy the ride."
In other words, entrepreneurship isn't for those with a weak stomach.
6. You think complexity is cool.
Winston Churchill said, "Complexity is not a virtue." Steenerson agrees and says simple, straightforward businesses are often more successful.
"If your product or service is complicated, it will be hard to communicate that to your customers and your employees," he says. "A confused mind always says no."
7. You don't believe in marketing.
No matter what the economy looks like, you've got to keep marketing; it makes the business world go 'round, says Steenerson.
"When the economy declines, it's time to double your efforts because your competitors are pulling back, too," he says. "You must be willing to continue to throw revenue at marketing - no matter what."
8. You're easily winded.
Launching a business is like running a marathon. At the start, adrenalin keeps you going, but 15 miles in, you can hit the wall. Entrepreneurs are willing to push through the portion of the journey called the "middle mile" - the place where challenge and drudgery happen.
"Your feet will hurt and your breathing will be labored," says Steenerson. "Despite these inconveniences, you must place one foot in front of the other and press on. A lack of stamina is a recipe for burnout and overload."
9. You can't explain the steps of shoe tying.
Tying a shoe is complicated - and so is running a business, says Steenerson. Entrepreneurs need to be able to delegate tasks and to direct others. This means you need the ability to take a task and break it down into easy, actionable steps for implementation.
"Big ideas are a dime a dozen," he says. "Knowing how to implement them is the game changer."
10. You're a problem passer.
As an entrepreneur, the buck stops with you. You must be willing to upset the apple cart and make decisions
"Sometimes your customers will be unhappy with your decisions and you've got to be comfortable with that if it's in the best interest of your company," says Steenerson.
You must also be able to resolve problems. "Understand that if you're unwilling to handle something immediately, it will not go away," he says. "It will grow bigger."

Source: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/230471

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Saturday, November 23, 2013

How to Increase Motivation for Blogging

Blogging sounds like one of the easiest way to earn money but honestly it’s not. In long run, we need lots if motivation for Blogging and with time, we lose the energy and enthusiasm. This is not same as writer’s block and we need to work on things, which can keep ius motivated to blog more and better.

Many bloggers start with blogging with lots of enthusiasm and dreams to achieve. They even plan lots of things and follow the rules but there are chances that they might fail to achieve goals or face failures like not getting approval from advertisers, getting negative feedback, lack of traffic. All these might reduce the passion to work and lack of motivation.

Blogging is a career where you need to keep yourself motivated. It is different from other jobs where your employers keep you motivated while working. Staying motivated is not easy, in fact many bloggers thinks that they can’t make money or achieve success as other professional bloggers. Even if you are facing same kind of problem  and find it difficult to motivate yourself then follow few tips which will help you to keep yourself motivated while blogging.

5 tips to increase your motivation for Blogging

1- Track the progress

When you put lots of efforts and smart work than for sure you might be getting good results. There might be chances that your results are fewer and not up to your expectation but then also, you are achieving something. Going slow is not bad, with time and hard work you will start achieving your goals fast. Keep a track of what progress you have done, this will help you to analysis your work and where you are getting better results.

2- Reward yourself

Keeping track of your progress is not enough. You need to reward yourself for each milestone you cross, no matter how small it is. You have achieved something thus reward yourself and share with others. Even if you have completed your 100th post, share this news on Facebook, Twitter. You will feel positive when  your friends will appreciate your work. You will work with more positive energy and ready to give your best.

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3- Contact with professional bloggers

Whenever you feel demotivated, contact with successful bloggers and share your problem with them. They will surely help you to find right path to move ahead. Getting experience tips from professional bloggers are always useful because even they have faced hurdles while blogging and know how to keep themselves motivated for achieving success.

4- Avoid people with negative thoughts

You will find lots of bloggers in blogosphere, who don’t have healthy competition and thus keeps on passing negative comments to demotivate you. You need to accept that few people will appreciate your work and few won’t like your work. Nothing matters until you are satisfied with your work. Thus, avoid to be in contact with the people who pass negative vibes to you while blogging.

5- Why you want to blog

This is most important factor which will help you keep yourself motivated forever. No matter why you started with blogging, it might be because you love to share your views, as a hobby, learn new things or just to make money online. Keep reminding yourself the reason and the dreams which you saw while you started with your blog. This will help you to focus on your work and keep you motivated.

Do let us know what trick do you use to increase your motivation for Blogging? Do share with us.

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