Your business budget puts you in control of your company. It helps you avoid overspending and track financial goals. But with the coronavirus in full swing, you may have had to throw your business budget out the window to stay afloat. To get your business budget back on track post-coronavirus, you might need to make some modifications.
5 Ways To Adapt Your Budget Post-Coronavirus
Business owners across the country halted operations and saw a decrease in cash flow thanks to the coronavirus. As states lift stay-at-home orders and day-to-day operations return to normal, businesses will need to adapt their budget to account for the new normal.
Use the five tips below to get your business budget back on track after the coronavirus.
1. Pay Attention To New Numbers
Chances are, your business has been impacted by the coronavirus in some shape or form. Maybe you had no choice but to temporarily close your business due to new regulations. Or, maybe you made the best out of a bad situation and came up with a creative way to keep your cash flow comin’.
Recommended For YouWhatever the case may be, your income has probably experienced some changes over the past few months. Because your cash flow may be different than what it was pre-coronavirus, now’s the best time to rework your business budget and do some much-needed tweaking.
If you experienced a drop in income over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, you’ll need to account for that in your budget. And to help bounce back from the negative cash flow, you may need to make some sacrifices, such as cutting unnecessary expenses and reducing spending.
2. Utilize Financial Forecasting
Wouldn’t it be great if we could predict the future of our businesses? Sure it would be. But unfortunately, we can’t. What we can do as business owners is forecasting when it comes to our budgets and cash flow.
If you’ve never heard of financial forecasting before, here’s a brief rundown. Financial forecasting can help you estimate your business’s future financial health by looking at past financial data and reports. Forecasts can help you estimate your business’s income, expenses, and more. Not to mention, they can develop projections for profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and cash flow.
Forecasting can get your business back on track financially and assist you with budgeting. And, it can help you alter your budget plan after coronavirus and better prepare for potential future emergencies.
3. Reevaluate Your Emergency Fund
Does your business have an emergency fund or cash reserve? According to one study, only 60% of individuals have at least $400 in the bank for emergency expenses.
Although business emergency funds can be tempting to dip into during non-emergencies, they are necessary for your business. The truth is, you never know what kind of emergency might strike your business. None of us entrepreneurs could have predicted this whole coronavirus pandemic. Heck, nobody could have.
If you have an emergency fund, great! There’s no better time to reevaluate your funds to ensure you’re all set if disaster strikes again. On the other hand, if you don’t have a fund in place, it’s time to giddy up and set some of your budget aside for the unexpected.
Take some time to create or rebuild your business emergency fund. If you didn’t have an emergency fund prior to COVID-19, build one as soon as possible so your business is prepared for the worst. The general rule of thumb is having a cash reserve that covers three to six months of expenses … so get saving!
4. Prioritize Paying Back Debts
A number of coronavirus loan options were established to help out struggling small businesses during the coronavirus. While some loans are forgivable, others are only partially forgivable, and some are not forgivable at all. Even if you weren’t able to receive a coronavirus loan, maybe you were forced to borrow funds due to the pandemic.
If you had to take out some type of loan or borrow money during the crisis, you’re not alone. And unless you got a fully forgivable loan (and are using the loan for eligible expenses), you may have racked up some debt.
To avoid being stuck in debt for many years to come, prioritize paying off your debt as soon as possible. Make room in your budget for extra loan and debt payments (trust me, you can make room if you need to). Of course, you should still make necessary business expenses and your emergency fund first priority in your budget. So, don’t push those aside just to pay off your debt sooner.
To help pay your debt off and get your finances back in order, focus on paying off one debt at a time and set an end goal.
5. Look At Your Financial Goals
If you’re like many others, the coronavirus has forced you to rethink your budget and what financial goals you should be working towards.
Take a look at your current financial goals and budget and ask yourself if they line up with each other. If you had to make some drastic changes to your budget due to the coronavirus, you may need to adjust your future financial goals to reflect that.
Your budget should reflect your priorities and financial goals. If it doesn’t, you may need to reconsider your goals and dig deep to think about how you can accomplish them after surviving the coronavirus crisis.
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Before he became a guru on company culture, Eric Farber’s life was very different. As a lawyer and advisor to athletes and entertainers, Farber represented high-profile clients including the Tupac Shakur estate for the better part of two decades, traveling some 200 days a year. Farber made the decision to leave this world behind after rupturing a disc in his back while in Buffalo in the dead of winter. “I was in a rehab facility after surgery and my cell phone didn’t work well. I was there for two weeks and a client fired me because they couldn’t reach me on my cell. Not exactly a great culture I had built for myself.”
Micah Solomon Senior Contributor
Small Business Strategy
I'm a customer experience consultant, keynote speaker, and author.
Eric Farber, Founder and CEO, Pacific Workers', The Lawyers for Injured Workers, and author, The Case for Culture: As with anything else, some are and some aren’t. Many lawyers to play the tough litigator role and unwittingly allow this to extend to how they operate their businesses. However, I think these attitudes are changing, and I hope my book has a part in facilitating that change.
Solomon: In fact, personal change is an important theme in The Case for Culture.
Farber: Absolutely, with myself as an exemplar of the need. For many years I felt like I was a good boss when I was actually far from it. When I started discovering what it took to be a great boss, I had to completely shift my thinking–which is a very difficult thing to pull off. There is, inevitably, much resistance to your old patterns and your old way of thinking, but you need to push through.
Solomon: You already had a busy life without adding “author” to your duties. What prompted you to carve out the time to create The Case for Culture?
Farber: Once we transformed our business culture at Pacific Workers’, I was stunned at how many people I ran into from other firms wanted to hear more about it. Happily, at the time, things at the company were taking shape to the extent that I could step away for a bit, so I used the time to write the book.
Solomon: I like the distinction your book makes between stakeholders and shareholders.
Farber: More than anything, this is the distinction that built our company. In just under six years, we have gone from four people to close to 50, serving thousands of clients over that time. We could only have gotten there through the focus on customer service and employee wellbeing that our stakeholders provide.
Today, many CEOs focus solely on quarterly earnings to (in the case of a public company) bolster share prices. But companies need to shift from short-term thinking about such targets to the value a company can provide to the customer and the wellbeing they provide to the employees. This creates a long-term sustainable model.
Solomon: And you’re opposed to the idea that employees should leave their personal lives at the office door.
Farber: If you ask for 100% effort from people, this also means that you must accept them as multi-dimensional humans and understand that reality, through whatever they are going through. We’re not hiring robots; we’re hiring people. People have emotions, as well as events in their lives, some good and some bad. I’m not saying a company needs to put up with “reality show drama” from employees, but I am saying that life will sometimes be challenging and a company needs to be understanding of this. Consider how most companies have a 3-day bereavement leave policy–sometimes paid, sometimes unpaid. This is patently inadequate in most circumstances, as you can imagine. We [at Pacific Workers’] generally say, "how much time do you need?"
Solomon: Hiring for culture is also an important theme in your book.
Farber: A company’s mission, principles, and values are the core of the organization. To keep them intact, you have to bring in people who believe in all of those things. Our mission at Pacific Workers’ is to fight for justice for injured people. This often requires drawn-out wrangling with defense attorneys and insurance adjusters. We need employees who believe in the cause and are empathetic and care about people; otherwise, the fight will burn them out.
Solomon: I love the idea of your Failure Log.
Farber: A key role of management is to create a safe environment where people don't feel they will lose their job if they make a mistake–or get someone else “in trouble” if they call out a co-worker’s mistake. In this spirit, the Failure Log is a log everyone keeps at their desk and when they see a mistake they write it down, so it can be discussed and addressed, systematically and without blame.
Solomon: Discipline is an important theme in your book.
Farber: Too many people think of culture as something soft and fuzzy, but that could not be further from what it is. Culture is a way to create an environment of people focused on a mission, with shared values, doing things the same way, with a human side. It is the discipline of habits, process, and thought.
Solomon: To what extent do you consider your ideas on culture applicable to all types of business? To what extent are they specific to law firms?
Farber: Any company in any industry can benefit from a better focus on culture. I believe in “writing what you know,” so I focused my book on my niche knowledge, but I offer it as inspiration and a playbook for anyone in any industry who wants to consider following a similar path. I promise them: It will make all the difference.
Read more from Forbes
Back in March and April, the folks at the Pollinate Group were in a state of emergency, like most small businesses around the world. For the past seven years, the Melbourne, Australia-based enterprise had trained and developed women in poor areas in India and Nepal, teaching them the skills needed to sell solar lights, clean cookstoves and other products likely to improve community members’ quality of life. But when Covid-19 hit, the impact was devastating to those local economies, as well as residents’ health. Plus, the company had to pull staff from the field, stopping sales dead in their tracks.
Realizing that the communities they served had an urgent need for essentials, Pollinate started working with NGOs in the area to distribute food to almost 15,000 people. But with no sales coming in and the company now entirely dependent on grants, what was the right next step? “We were at a bit of a loss,” says Biheng Zhang, director of philanthropy. “Distributing food is not our core business.”
Then in late April, the company heard from Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Entrepreneurship, which runs a long-standing accelerator program Pollinate staff members had attended four years before. The upshot: Zhang and others took part in an emergency Covid program developed for alumni, spending an intensive three weeks working virtually with two mentors who helped them develop a plan. During that time, the company also received a $100,000 loan from the Truss Fund, a new emergency loan fund created by Miller Center and impact lender Beneficial Returns.
Emergency Fund and Programs
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Pollinate is one of a handful of enterprises that have received funding from the fund so far. Launched in May, it aims to administer $1 million to alumni of Miller Center’s Global Social Benefit Institute, a network of more than 1,000 social enterprises around the world. Along with the fund, Miller Center also developed a series of other programs at lightening speed to help entrepreneurs cope.
Miller Center decided to start the fund after surveying alumni to pinpoint the problems they were facing in the wake of Covid-19, according to Pamela Roussos, Miller Center’s chief community officer. Number one on the list was funding. Since Miller Center lacked expertise in that area, it reached out to Beneficial Returns to help put together and manage the fund. Time from idea to getting loans out the door: about six weeks.
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Miller Center also quickly put together seven webinars to address other urgent topics, such as cash flow management and managing employees. While more than 70 alumni attended, the sessions were also recorded and made available to anyone on the web site. Plus Miller Center created one-pagers—what Roussos calls “CliffsNotes versions”—to provide a quick summary.
Zhang and her colleagues benefited from another initiative, called the Crisis Business Plan Program, which connected alumni with mentors. Over a three-week period, they met two to three times a week to think through the issues facing them, how to manage through the crisis and communicate all that to their boards and others. “This was a crisis, so the process had to be very intense,” says Roussos. A total of 17 enterprises went through the program’s pilot.
For Zhang, the most valuable result was the game plan they created. “We had so much to deal with in the crisis,” she says. “We were able to think 30 days ahead, 60 days ahead, 90 days.” And they developed several initiatives—for example, a plan to accelerate a move to cashless transactions. Instead of the usual daily trips by staff members to collect cash from entrepreneurs, the women will be able to deposit the money at a local bank, using an app not only to log those transactions, but also to analyze metrics like margins and sales increases or decreases. As for the $100,000 loan, according to Zhang, part of that will help the company avoid layoffs.
Read more from Forbes
6 Steps to Start a Sole Proprietorship Dreaming of working for yourself one day? Here's what it takes to set up shop as a sole proprietor.
Dreaming of breaking out of the nine-to-five routine? Thinking it would be nice to be your own boss for a change? You're not alone. But how do you make the leap into self-employment? What does starting a sole proprietorship require? Find out what it takes to become a solopreneur.
Overview: What is a sole proprietorship?
A sole proprietorship is a business owned and operated by one person. Some states allow for joint ownership by a spouse, but for the most part, "sole" means one owner.
Unlike an LLC or corporation, a sole proprietorship does not have to be registered with the state.
If you begin doing business on your own, whether you're working on the side as a freelancer, building a consulting firm, or opening a food truck, you're a sole proprietor by default until you bring in a partner or file business formation paperwork with the state.
As a sole proprietorship, your business is inseparable from you for tax and legal purposes. This simplifies business document management immensely.
Profits from your business "pass through" to your personal income and are reported on Schedule C of your personal income tax return. This makes a sole proprietorship a simple business to start and run.
On the downside, because there's no separate legal entity, if the business is sued or owes money, you're personally accountable. Creditors can come for your home, cars, savings, and other personal assets to satisfy debts.
Sole proprietorship vs. LLC: What's the difference?
A limited liability company (LLC) is a legal business entity formed through your state. It consists of one or more owners called members. Because of its flexible ownership structure, a sole proprietor can form an LLC and continue to work as a solopreneur.
Or you can split ownership and management of the company with one or more members in any proportions you see fit. For example, two members could split ownership evenly, or one member could retain 60% of the business and bring in two others at 20% each.
Unlike a sole proprietorship, an LLC is a separate legal entity with its own assets and liabilities. This shields the members' personal assets from responsibility for the business's debts.
How to start a sole proprietorship
While you don't have to form a business entity to begin working as a sole proprietor, there are other steps you'll need to take to start your business. Ideally, you should complete all of these steps before you begin providing goods or services.
Step 1: Assess your risks To launch a sole proprietorship is to open up your personal finances to a world of liability.
That's not bad on its own, but it can go very badly for you if you haven't given any thought to the risks. Before you get too far down the road, consider these questions:
If you're a wedding planner, and you book a wedding on the wrong date, your clients could lose money. Not to be a pessimist, but when it comes to risk, you need to think of worst-case scenarios.
If your business could cause harm that you couldn't repair easily and quickly, consider buying insurance to transfer the risk or filing LLC documents to form an entity that shields you from those liabilities.
Step 2: Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN)Another critical step for your business is obtaining an EIN. You can get one for free in minutes through the IRS online application.
Despite its name, an EIN is not just for employers. It is a universal identifier, much like a Social Security number, for your business. If you don't have one, you'll have to use your Social Security number on tax forms and other official documents, exposing your personal information unnecessarily.
Step 3: Name your adventureAs a sole proprietor, you can generally use your personal name and a literal description of the service you provide as your business name without filing any paperwork.
For example, if your name is Alex Baxter and you provide car detailing, you can call your business Alex Baxter Car Detailing without registering a business name.
If you want to name your business something else, you must apply for a "doing business as" or fictitious name. To do this, you'll need to:
Step 4: Pay estimated taxesAs a sole proprietor, if you expect to owe more than $1,000 in income tax from your business this year, you must make quarterly estimated tax payments to the IRS. Consult Form 1040-ES for full instructions.
If you're just scaling up your business, you won't have a history of sole proprietorship taxes and income to go on. Just do your best to project your gross income for the year minus business expenses to arrive at an estimate of net annual income. Divide it by four, and pay income tax and self-employment taxes quarterly based on that figure.
As the year progresses, you can adjust each quarterly payment up or down based on your actual income and expenses. You want to get close, but it doesn't have to be perfect. The IRS will fine you if you underpay substantially, but otherwise, it'll all be reconciled with your final tax return.
Step 5: Register for taxesIn addition to federal income taxes, you will need to register your business for applicable state, county, and local taxes. If you hire employees, you'll have to register for payroll taxes.
If you sell taxable goods or services, you must also register with your state revenue department to collect and remit sales and use taxes. If you have an online store with significant sales in multiple states, you may need to register for sales tax in each of those states.
If you buy goods for resale, you should also apply for a reseller's certificate. You can present this when buying goods for resale so you don't have to pay sales tax on them. Consider a simple document management system to keep your records straight, especially if you need to apply for any of the licenses and permits below.
Step 6: Obtain licenses and permitsYou may also need to apply for licenses and permits at the state, county, and municipal levels to operate your business. This involves filling out an application, paying a fee, and submitting it to the appropriate authorities.
Types of permits to look for include:
Benefits and disadvantages of forming a sole proprietorship
Which business structure is best for your business depends on many factors, including the kind of work you do, your vision for the business, your assets, and your risk tolerance. Here are the main sole proprietor advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of a sole proprietorship
Disadvantages of a sole proprietorship
ReaResources for solopreneurs
Being a sole proprietor doesn't mean you have to go it alone.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides a wealth of resources to help you on your entrepreneurial journey, including a 10-step startup guide that covers everything from market research to financing your business.
The SBA also provides free one-on-one counseling through district offices throughout the country.
The fact is, states and the federal government want your business to succeed. Take advantage of their help and put their resources to work for your business.
From small things, big things can grow
The great thing about sole proprietorship is that you don't have to go all in all at once. You can start a side gig, test your theories, pivot, and even start over if need be — all with very little hassle or commitment. That makes it an ideal structure for growing the seed of an idea into the business of your dreams.
Read more from Fool.com
Set up your business to survive this pandemic and future crises.
CPA, Author and Founder and CEO of WealthAbility
The coronavirus pandemic has affected nearly every industry, and while business may be beginning to pick up, we have a long road to being fully recovered. Within this recovery period there will likely be ups and downs until the virus is under control, so now is the time to prepare for the uncertain. Do you have enough cash on hand to survive until the end of the year? If the answer is no, here are three loan programs you should be maximizing to make it through the pandemic.
Paycheck Protection Program
At this point, most of us are familiar with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a loan program for small businesses created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). While the initial funds went quickly, there are still billions of dollars up for grabs for businesses affected by the pandemic and it’s 100% forgivable as long at least 60% is spent on payroll and no more than 40% is spent on mortgage interest, rent and utilities. In addition, the new law on PPP guidance extended the eight-week period to spend the loan to 24-weeks. This change provides welcome relief for business owners who were being threatened with jail time or fines if they didn’t use the funds appropriately and had a requirement to use them within 8 weeks even if they couldn’t open due to government restrictions.
Related: SBA Releases New EZ PPP Loan-Forgiveness Application
Economic Injury Disaster Loans
Another program to utilize is the recently reopened Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). This low-interest federal disaster loan can be used by small businesses and non-profits to pay debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid and aren’t covered by a PPP loan. The first payment of the loan is deferred for one year and can be paid over 30 years with an interest rate of 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profits. Within the loan application, you can also request an advance on the loan of $10,000 that doesn’t have to be repaid. In fact, if your small business isn’t approved for the EIDL, you may still receive the $10,000 advance.
Related: Which Public Companies Have Returned Their SBA PPP Loans and Which Kept Them
Main Street Lending Program
The newest opportunity that targets businesses of all sizes is the Main Street Lending Program. Created by the Federal Reserve, the program offers 5-year loans from $250,000 to $300 million to businesses with fewer than 15,000 employees or 2019 revenues of $5 billion or less. While the interest and principal can be deferred for one and two years respectively, the loan can’t be forgiven like the PPP loans.
Crisis-proof your business
I strongly recommend that all businesses consider the current coronavirus relief, even you think you don’t need the funds. We have all seen how fast the economy can change, so we must do everything in our power to prepare accordingly. By having access to funds in a time of crisis, you’re setting up your business to survive in unpredictable times.
Read more from Entrepreneur
For the past decade, I’ve dedicated myself to helping small business owners all across America achieve their dreams of running successful, profitable businesses that serve the communities in which they live. From a pie shop in Key West, Fla., to a toy store in Santa Claus, Ind., and dozens more in between, they all share the same desire to succeed and the same drive to overcome obstacles. I’ve seen it all after more than seven years as host of CNBC’s “The Profit.”
These last few months since the onset of COVID-19, small business owners have faced new and more serious challenges than ever before, and many of their lives have been turned inside out. There is simply no playbook for this pandemic, and what we now refer to as ‘the new normal’ feels anything but normal.
In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, so much of who we are and what we stand for – as a country and as individuals – has been tested over these last few weeks. I believe that a diverse America is a stronger and better America; I believe in the power of different viewpoints and the responsibility to listen to those voices that have been ignored for too long; and I am committed to that in my public and private life.
My business is based on three core principles: People, Process and Product. They matter just as much as ever, but the ways in which I work on them with small businesses has changed. I can’t give the same daily doses of tough love; I can’t stop in for morning check-ins; I can’t conduct renovations or new product tests; and I can’t go for long walks with business owners to talk through their issues. So many of the ways I do my work have changed, and it has not been an easy or comfortable adjustment.
I woke up recently with a realization that in addition to all the small businesses I work with, there are more small businesses behind the scenes of my CNBC television show, through which I share these stories. I thought about the people working for the production companies who make their living helping me celebrate the successes and teach lessons through the failures by turning these small stories into larger narratives. Without these stories to tell, how do they survive?
What happens to the independent contractors who shoot the shows? The ones who write, edit or produce? Who do hair and makeup for the talent, manage the logistics or design the graphics? What about the people who represent the talent, negotiate the contracts, green light or promote the shows?
What appears to people outside the entertainment industry as glitz and glam we know is incredibly hard work. And that work – your work – is at risk. Your jobs, ideas and dreams are on hold, and no one can tell you when – or if – that will change. Ad sales are under tremendous pressure, the cost of adapting production to ensure proper distancing will be high, and the greenlight you have been working towards has turned yellow or red.
Americans have spent the past few months devouring content… content you created. Millions of people have turned to your work. Your news, films, serials, sitcoms, and reality shows have kept them informed and entertained. Your work has made a difference. Your work matters now more than ever, and I believe that the purpose and importance of your work will become even greater.
So how will you get through this period of instability and uncertainty? How will you continue to create and entertain and inspire? I think you’ll do it by remembering how you did it back when you were an intern or a production assistant, when you were so hungry for anyone to see your work that you figured out how to make it happen. I think you’ll do it by making the same sacrifices you made when you had the dream but not yet the clients or the network or the reputation. It isn’t so much if the industry will get back on its feet as it is when it will stand up again.
So when that time does come, will you be ready?
How will you answer the questions I pose to every small business owner I meet? Will you have done the work to change your personal habits and put others ahead of yourself? Will you have adapted the processes that you operate by? Will you have evolved the product or service you offer the world?
There’s never been a better time to look inside yourself and think about what you want, who you need around you and what your priorities are. And I believe that all of you in this industry are beautifully equipped to be ready. You are more creative than most, more resourceful than most, more willing to make sacrifices than most, and – best of all – you know how to shape the narrative and tell the story. The only difference is that now, it’s your story.
So let’s get to work. It’s time to stand up, dust off and move forward. The world needs what you have to give.
Marcus Lemonis is a serial entrepreneur and host of CNBC’s “The Profit,” which features Lemonis helping business owners turn around struggling operations. Since 2013 he has invested $50 million of his own money in companies featured on the show.
Read more from Variety
Introducing a new challenge that will hopefully help us all get through this tough time together.
Author - Entrepreneur Magazine's Franchise Bible - CEO Franchise Hub
Most business owners feel as if we have collectively driven off a cliff. The economy was great, people were optimistic, and the overall outlook was very good. I am sure that most of you can remember how hard it was to hire good staff members just a few months ago because the job market was so strong. Now, we just had the largest number of single-week unemployment filings in history.
I serve as an executive coach to many franchisors and franchise owners around the world. Usually, tragedies are localized. I have had many conversations over the years where the person on the other end reported a regional disaster like a hurricane or earthquake, and we've offered support and encouragement. But while on a Zoom call with a client in Australia a few days ago, they were suffering the same exact crisis that we are here in Colorado. That is when I realized that we are truly all in this together.
When we get down to real-world fears, the biggest question I'm hearing is, “How do we survive this?” And that's when it's time to deploy hard-hitting coaching strategies that have an immediate impact on operations, people and revenue.
As I'm coaching my clients, they're sharing their entrepreneurial solutions to the current crisis with me, and their stories of perseverance and innovation inspired me to do my part to give back to the franchise industry that I love.
Related: How to Prepare for Major Supply Chain Distribution
So, we are going to work together to get through this temporary crisis and help save as many businesses and jobs as humanly possible. What I have learned in my practice is that the leadership of any franchise organization is the most important factor in its success or failure. Many times, coaching can help them see things more clearly so they can make better decisions and keep fighting against diversity.
Introducing: the Fight For Your Franchise Challenge, a 90-day program to keep people focused on positive strategies to get them through the stress and negative circumstances that are currently hitting small businesses. I will be providing a free, weekly executive coaching-session video, article and podcast access for the entire 90 days. The goal of this program is to save businesses and jobs by keeping owners focused and moving forward.
You can also gain access to our podcast, Franchise Bible Coach Radio With Rick and Rob. Me and my co-host, Rob Gandley, will feature the franchise industry's everyday heroes, who will share their franchise industry's best practices, proprietary strategies, tips and stories to help our listeners not only survive but thrive. You will hear from franchisors and franchise operators that are innovating new ways of doing business in this ever-changing business environment.
Franchisors and franchise vendors can also sign up to join our "Wall of Fame" to show support for the initiative, and they can also request to be a guest on one of our sessions or podcasts. We can get through this together, and the more we support each other, the more businesses will be spared.
The first week we will focus on getting in the right mindset for navigating the crisis waters. The first step in the process is to make sure that we don’t allow negative thoughts, beliefs and fears to drive our behavior in the wrong direction. The 12-week program will help everyone stay in the right mindset to strive toward success. Nobody has to be alone during this crisis. We will be there each and every week to encourage and guide participants through the uncertainty. We will focus on using fundamental tools, such as goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to stay on track and measure our efforts.
This is a free, no-strings-attached initiative, and you can join the fight for your franchise business, employees and customers by clicking the "Join The Fight" button on the website (see details below) and simply entering your email address to receive our free, weekly coaching video sessions. The program kicks off Monday April 6 and runs through our "Independence Day From the Pandemic" celebration on the 4th of July.
Related: 6 Conversations Entrepreneurs Must Have ASAP
Here are some tips for getting the most out of this program for your business:
Join the Fight For Your Franchise challenge now at www.franchisebiblecoach.com.
Read more from Entrepreneur
Wolfgang Puck, the celebrity chef, has been facing many of the same challenges that restaurateurs all over the world are dealing with: How do you preserve and even grow your business during a lockdown? And how do you begin to reopen safely?
In a conversation on May 11 with Boris Groysberg, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, Puck shared how he is steering his businesses — Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, Wolfgang Puck Catering, and Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc. — through the Covid-19 crisis. (Note: The conversation has been edited.)
In what ways have you chosen to pivot to new opportunities? What role does experimentation play in that process?
When we shut down the restaurants, we decided to do takeout. At the beginning, we didn’t really know how to do it that well. After three weeks I said, “We are not growing our business.” My question is always: How are we going to grow the business we are in?
My idea was to think about takeout more broadly. I said, “Let’s give people an experience.” For example, at my restaurant Chinois on Main in Santa Monica, I said let’s not focus on selling customers one lobster for $65.00. Instead, let’s bring them the adventure of having a meal with us. For $39, they get a Chinese chicken soup with wontons in it, pot stickers with spicy sauce, vegetable spring rolls with dipping sauce, the Chinois chicken salad, the choice of half a lobster or a portion of short ribs with candied ginger sweet potato puree, and finally cookies. Obviously, we didn’t make real money with that. But we started to attract a lot of customers. That, for me, is the most important thing. I love to see a business grow, and we have to figure out how we’re going to grow in every restaurant.
We also tried something new at Spago in Beverly Hills. We started with discounts to move the food we already had and then increased the prices to where they’d been. That’s also when we started to sell wine and cocktails. People really seemed to like that. You can get a Negroni all made up; all you have to do is pour it over ice and put an orange peel in it. Then we noticed that on Wednesday and Thursday our pickup business was a little slower. So, we started to make fried chicken. Who would have known that that would become the best seller by far?
Some ideas didn’t work out so well. We tried burgers on Thursdays, but there wasn’t as much demand for them. So, we tried, and if you don’t try, you don’t know. Now I’m going to do barbecue. And if barbecue isn’t successful, we’ll make fried fish or something else. We’ll see.
We try to adapt and do things in order to get another customer to buy our product. We are trying to use the Covid-19 crisis as an opportunity. Maybe one day we’ll build a ghost kitchen where we’ll just do takeout. We could actually develop a whole new business with that.
How have you managed your team through this crisis? What role does your management team play in keeping your businesses successful?
The crisis really forced me to decentralize my business more than I ever had. I love working with people who I don’t have to push, who are self-sufficient. I don’t want to have bureaucratic structures in place. Every chef and every manager at my restaurants is responsible for their business. They don’t have to call up a manager if they go to the market and find a fresh ingredient or they find the best meat and ask, “Okay, can we make a change and put that on the menu?” I say, “You just do it. I trust you.” That really gives them a lot of confidence, and they feel liberated and happy because of it.
Have you pivoted in other ways beyond your restaurants to find additional sources of revenue?
I’m giving home shopping a try and it’s going well. We’ve sold over 11,000 of our air fryers and $360,000 worth of steaks. I do that once every two months. I could do it more often, but we don’t have the inventory. It takes some time to set it up because we basically transform our catering kitchen into a studio. I have my catering chefs and everybody working with me. That’s what made it possible to recently do $2.5 million worth of business on a weekend.
We had another amazing opportunity a couple weeks ago — a virtual cooking class. It cost $175.00, and we had 150 people sign up. Again, it sounds expensive, but you get two cocktails, a bottle of Chianti, as well as three courses, and a dessert packed up in a bag. Some components were already assembled by us, and other components were up to the people at home. I showed them on video what to do. People gave feedback like, “Oh, my God. I didn’t know I could make a risotto!” It was an experience for them.
As a vocal advocate for the restaurant industry, what steps do you think should be taken to help restaurants survive through this crisis?
Because of the pandemic, we had to shut down our restaurants. It was very difficult to know what to do. Two months ago, a couple colleagues and I talked to President Trump on the phone. I told him about the insurance companies who don’t want to pay for business interruption insurance. We are trying to get the government to help.
I also told the President that we need a stimulus for the restaurant industry. Let people deduct their business meals just like they used to do. I reiterated that this idea wasn’t just about me. For example, I have 150 employees at Spago. Where do they get their food from? From the farmers. Where do they get their fish from? From the fisherman. How do we get all this food? Somebody has to deliver it. It’s a trickle-down effect. It’s really important because the restaurant business directly and indirectly employees so many people. This kind of stimulus would be an important way to help the restaurant and catering industries get back on their feet.
How do you envision the re-opening process at your restaurants? What will be the challenges?
In the short run, there will be big changes for customers. Obviously, we’re going to have waiters wearing facemasks. We’re going to have a doorman, so customers don’t have to touch a handle. I think we’re still going to have somebody park cars, but customers may want to park their own cars. We’ll find out. Hopefully, by the wintertime we’ll have a vaccine, and then people will feel more comfortable. Our primary concern is how we’re going to make our employees and customers safe.
Another concern as we reopen is how we determine how many people and which people are going to get their jobs back right away. It’s really a tough decision to make. It comes back to how are we going to make our employees and the customers feel safe, so that we actually have a viable business. I cannot hire 100 percent of the employees and do 50 percent of the business, because then the company will go bankrupt in no time. We will have a lot of people still unemployed, or on furlough. For me, the most difficult part is deciding who is going to be working and who is not going to be working. A lot of our people are going to have to wait until business comes all the way back, if it comes all the way back. How many months are they going to be on unemployment? It’s really a very difficult thing.
Once we get a vaccine and people feel comfortable, I think we’re finally going to get back to the new normal. Now, are we going to get physically close to one another again? We’ll adapt to the changing attitudes and behaviors of our customers because we have to make them feel comfortable. We have to make them feel safe so that they trust us and come back to the restaurant. In the short term, we’ll do the best we can to keep employees and customers safe. Our challenge in the long term is: how can we make our business as close as possible to what it used to be?
Small business owners are always mindful of their bottom line and looking for ways to save money. From overhead costs and insurance expenses, to payroll and real estate, small businesses expenses are a major factor in cash flow and profits. The key to survival for any small business is to stay profitable, and one of the best ways to help ensure success is to plan for your overhead expenditures in advance.
By DOMINIC KARABA Dominic Karaba is executive vice president of specialty lending at UMB Bank.
For many small businesses, some of the biggest costs are payroll and benefits, including expenses like insurance, 401k matches and vacation time. If you own a business with seasonal fluctuations and your staffing needs change throughout the year, you may want to consider outsourcing talent. Avoid over-hiring employees, which can result in you being forced to implement layoffs or incur losses if you become overstaffed.
As an alternative to hiring full-time employees, consider outsourcing some work to freelancers or temporary contract workers. In many cases, with shorter-term or project-based workers you can avoid paying benefits, paid time off or sick days, which can save you major dollars in the long-term.
If you notice your business and clientele become more reliable throughout the year, you can take on more full-time employees and only outsource talent during hectic times when you might need additional help. Instead of hiring another full-time employee to help with the holiday rush, consider keeping one or two contract workers who can help temporarily.
Consider non-traditional office spaces
To save on real estate costs, think outside the box when it comes to your office space. Co-working spaces are rising in popularity across the country—especially among entrepreneurial millennials. A recent Forbes article stated there are currently 11,100 co-working spaces in the U.S., and the country is projected to see more than 26,000 spaces hosting 3.8 million people by 2020.
Shared office spaces are much cheaper than buying or leasing a property, with some monthly membership fees totaling around $100 a month. Or, if your business model allows it, consider allowing employees to work from home to eliminate the cost of an office space altogether. Telecommuting can be a benefit for both you as an employer and for current or potential employees.
Automate where possible
Small businesses have a great opportunity to use new technology platforms to reduce billing and invoicing overhead. Cloud-based billing platforms can help small business owners save an average of two days per month by reducing the time it takes the preform administrative tasks linked to billing, maintenance and invoicing. Evaluate if an automated solution is right for your business and if it can help you spend more time growing your operations rather than focusing time on administrative tasks.
No business can totally avoid overhead costs, but with the right planning and implementation, costs can be streamlined and efficiently managed. Determine which costs are business-critical and eliminate additional expenses that can eat away at your long-term profitability.
Dominic Karaba is executive vice president of specialty lending at UMB Bank.
Read more from AZ Big Media
In many industries, companies will need to adapt or be replaced.
BY JOHN WHITE, FOUNDER AND CMO, SOCIAL MARKETING SOLUTIONS @JUANBLANCO76
Let's face it. Many people are resistant to technological changes in both their personal lives and at the office. However, what they often lack is the vision to see how the new technology they are resisting will improve their lives in the future.
Emerging technologies are exciting and bring innovation and new opportunities across the globe. They change our life by altering the way we think and operate on a daily basis.
Technological innovation can impact a lot more than our daily lives. In fact, it can disrupt entire industries and change the way we do business.
As new technologies are developed, affected industries are forced to adapt or be replaced.
The newest technology that is quickly becoming the next major disruption is blockchain technology.
Blockchain is a digital ledger system used to securely record transactions. It is poised to impact the way business is done across the globe.
Here are nine prominent industries that are slated to be overhauled by blockchain technology in the near future.
1. The Banking Industry
Blockchain technology has the potential to solve several significant problems faced by the banking industry today. Right now banks store money for their customers, and they also handle the transfer of that money.
Blockchain inherently has a secure system that would provide permanent records of the millions of transactions that take place in the banking industry each day. This ledger system could significantly lower the risk by providing secure records. Furthermore, money could be transferred cheaper and faster by the decentralization provided by blockchain.
2. The Real Estate Industry
Anyone who has ever purchased or sold a home knows just how much paperwork is involved in a real estate transaction. Blockchain technology can completely change the current headache that all of these documents cause.
By using blockchain, all of the documents and transaction records can be stored securely with measurably less work and less cost.
According to Piper Moretti, CEO of the Crypto Realty Group and licensed realtor, the use of blockchain can also potentially eliminate the escrow process.
The technology can create smart contracts that release funding only when the conditions are met.
Additionally, many people in the process of working with a real estate agent know how frustrating the commission rates can be, with many charging up to 6 percent.
Deedcoin is looking to change that with its cryptocurrency-powered platform. Through using Deedcoin's platform and proprietary tokens, those rates decrease to just 1%.
Deedcoin's distributed architecture gives power back to homeowners and buyers by tokenizing the process and eliminating any middlemen, barring direct interactions between agents and customers.
3. The Healthcare Industry
The healthcare industry has been in need of a significant disruption when it comes to sharing and storing medical data and records.
The potential for error, fraud, and lost records has created distrust between consumers and healthcare providers.
Blockchain technology can revamp the trust by securely storing medical records that can be accurately and safely transferred to and accessed by the doctors and people who are authorized.
Blockchain will aid in the authorization and identification of people. In fact, one startup called Ontology is already working to make positive, multi-source identification a reality across all industries using the blockchain technology.
4. The Legal Industry
Blockchain technology is poised to disrupt some areas of the legal industry by being able to store and verify documents and data. For example, litigation dealing with resolving concerns over wills of the deceased or any other documentation can be eliminated.
Records (including wills) stored on the blockchain will be quickly and securely verified. Any changes to the documents will be authenticated and stored.
Blockchain technology can also eliminate legal issues dealing with inheritance, even including cryptocurrency assets.
Safe Haven, for example, gives users the opportunity to secure digital assets so that the investor's legacy can be passed down to his children or designee safely and securely.
This technology eliminates lengthy court battles arguing over digital inheritance.
5. The Cryptocurrency Exchange Industry
Digital money is the way of the future, and it is thanks to blockchain that it can be securely transferred and recorded.
However, the "mining" required to verify and authenticate every transaction of digital money requires an enormous amount of computing power.
In recent years, this has created a lot of issues on several platforms when certain transactions "ran out of gas" or fizzled out due to the sheer amount of computation required.
This issue was costing users valuable time and money.
New developments in blockchain technology are changing the way the cryptocurrency exchange industry operates. Zen Protocol has developed an alternative to other platforms, which has solved the most significant issues in the cryptocurrency space.
Unlike other platforms, Zen Protocol utilizes smart contracts that know in advance how much computation each contract requires. That means that unless there is enough "gas" to support that contract, it won't run.
In the recent past, government parties here in the U.S. and around the world have been accused of rigging election results.
But that won't be possible if blockchain is used because it would take care of voter registration and verification of identity, and it would count the votes to ensure only legitimate votes were counted.
Gone are the days of recounting votes and voting day drama.
7. The Startup Industry
With thousands of startups looking for investors, there is no current way for them to get in front of the right investors without jeopardizing the security of their ideas. Likewise, there is no right way for investors to find the companies they are interested in backing.
Blockchain technology can change all of that. In fact, it has already started.
Companies such as Pitch Ventures are creating a way for startups to pitch investors live in a secure manner.
Entrepreneurs create summaries of their product or service and investors can quickly sort and find potential opportunities. Ethereum's Smart Contract address allows a secure medium for the pitches, so privacy is maintained.
8. The Video Industry
Video is predicted to form 82% of all Internet traffic by 2021, and blockchain may play a significant role by decentralizing the video infrastructure.
Decentralizing video encoding, storage, and content distribution will dramatically reduce the cost of video traffic by tapping into $30 billion in wasted Internet computing services.
Startups like VideoCoin are already making good on the promise of freeing up this capital, which will allow entirely new and innovative ecosystems of video apps to emerge on the market.
9. The Education Industry
The education industry is poised to see some significant breakthroughs utilizing an emerging version of the Internet that combines blockchain, cryptocurrency, and virtual reality.
This new Internet will be known as "3DInternet," and it has the power to create a global classroom like never before. SocratesCoin is making big moves to make this a reality.
The company will create a global community of faculty, students, campuses, and curriculum. The students will encompass all ages, cultures, and locations.
SocratesCoin has secured Nauka University, which will utilize 3DInternet to unite science, thought leadership and science through education.
Blockchain-distributed ledger technology provides a safe and auditable way to record and transfer data. It can transform the way we live our everyday lives and disrupt any industry that uses data or transactions at all.
And all of this disruption is a good thing.
Whether or not you like to introduce new tech into your life, I think we can all agree that added security to our financial data would give everyone more peace of mind.
Read more from INC
Your thoughts and the things you say to yourself and others are more powerful than you know. These phrases define how you think, how you act and how others perceive you. What you might think is a flippant, non-committal remark could frame your entire day and career without you even realizing.
Jodie Cook Contributor
I explore concepts in entrepreneurship, happiness and lifestyle design
Here are six phrases that will undermine your success, that you won’t catch successful people using.
1. “It’s just one of those days”
Believing that everything is going wrong and that the world is somehow conspiring against you is not conducive to success. In fact, believing that bad things are currently happening and will keep happening will only train you to see the negatives. Using that phrase is manifesting misfortune that will only compound.
Instead, try thinking of individual adversities as small tests. Create some distance between yourself and the test. See it objectively and act accordingly. It’s not personal, it’s not malicious, it’s just something in front of you that you can choose how to deal with. Choose to be grateful that the test exists because now you have the chance to become proficient at dealing with it. As Monica from Friends said, “I don’t get older, I just get better!”
2. “It’s not my fault”
Everything is your fault, and that’s a good thing. Successful people know that everything that happens in their business is connected to an action they have made or should have made, however indirectly. It could be a bad hire, research you didn’t do, or a problem you didn’t foresee. Either way, owning the problem means you own the solution.
Shirking responsibility and making excuses is a passive, pathetic response to something not going well and is not what winners are made of. Forget the 10% of things you genuinely cannot control (the weather, global market forces, etc.) and focus on the things you can. Everything is in your hands, which means success and being exceptional is in your hands, too.
3. “I’ll try”
Successful people decide what they are going to do and then they do it. As Yoda says, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” If they commit to making something happen they will follow through on that promise. Answering “I’ll try” really means: “This isn’t that important to me. It’s not a priority.” If that’s the case, just say no.
Tom O’Ryan, graphic designer and member of my team, has a mantra: Decide, plan, act. It’s a sound framework. Far better than “I’ll try” is “I’ll find a way”. Or even, “I’m not going to do it, but I propose…” where what you propose is something that removes a barrier for someone else. Promising to try to do things that you know, deep down, you probably won’t do, isn’t productive or useful to anyone.
4. “Let’s wait and see”
Waiting to see is rarely the right strategy. Successful people don’t leave succeeding to market forces or external occurrences, they make succeeding inevitable. Imagine a book launch. If your book is written, your content is scheduled, your email announcements are ready, your marketing funnel is set up, your reviewers are primed, your publisher is prepared, then sure–you can wait and see. Even when waiting, however, you’ll be monitoring, assessing and responding as soon as possible. Waiting and seeing instead of taking action will not lead to a positive outcome. Timing is everything, and passively observing can become a habit difficult to break.
Instead of waiting and seeing, predict the future. Create a map of “if this then that” scenarios, and have a plan for every eventuality. Work out how you can succeed no matter what happens. Deploy plan B. Whatever you choose, be intentional, in control, and an active part of the success you seek.
5. “That’s never going to work”
Successful people who are confident in their own ability don’t feel the need to shut down the ideas of others. They are aware that whenever significant progress is made in any field, it involves breakthroughs and realizations that were previously deemed impossible. They don’t close their minds to the possibility that something, however unlikely it seems, could be a resounding success. Rather than taking pitches at face value, they will ask questions. They will dig deep on the beliefs and values a new idea is grounded in and they will keep an open mind. If it turns out to be a bad idea, they won’t look to say “I told you so”.
If you find yourself dismissing the ideas of those around you, ask why. Perhaps it’s based on insecurity; that they’ve thought of something you missed, that you wish you’d thought of first. Perhaps you subconsciously want to knock someone down a few pegs. Sharing in the enthusiasm and thought processes of others is a valuable exercise for all involved, not to be overlooked.
6. “It’s not fair”
Successful people are the heroes of their own lives, not the victims. They are not naïve to think that “unfair” circumstances don’t exist, but they find ways around them rather than dwelling on the perceived unfairness of it all. They know that claiming unfairness doesn’t get them anywhere near as far as just being exceptional.
Biased referees? Let’s stick even closer to the rules. Hidden allegiances? Let’s offer something different. Unfair prejudices? Let’s be the best option there is. Successful people know that for every time the cards have fallen unfairly, there’s another time where they were dealt a great hand. They don’t take either for granted and they plough on with their path regardless of random coin tosses.
Your words become your actions and your actions define your past, present and future. Watch your phrases carefully and don’t slip into unhelpful lexical habits that send you off course.
Read more from Forbes
While business might seem bleak right now, franchise development officials are always focused on the future.
Author and Franchise Coach
Since the middle of March, every individual and business across the country has drastically changed their daily habits and practices. People have self-isolated and been forced to work from home. Businesses have run the spectrum from temporarily closing to limiting service to remaining fully operational while increasing their health and safety protocols. Very little is the same now as it was just a few months ago.
Unfortunately, that also includes the unemployment rate, which skyrocketed in the weeks following the coronavirus outbreak. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 30 million Americans filed unemployment claims from mid-March through the end of April. That figure represents approximately 18.6 percent of the nation’s labor force.
Under these current dire circumstances, many people may believe the outlook for business ownership is bleak. Fortunately for many franchises, small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, I do not believe that is the case. Regardless of the current situation, franchise development officials are always focused on the future. Expansion takes months or years of planning, relationship building and precise execution to find the best candidates. In that respect, the business of franchise development continues as usual.
The future of franchising
As a franchise coach, I am aware of only one franchisor in the United States that has temporarily discontinued new business development. All the others are continuing with plan for franchise development almost the exact same way they did previously. The only major difference is they are not doing in-person discovery days. They have moved to virtual discovery days, virtual site selections, etc. In some cases, these new experiences can provide a more impressive presentation or insight into the company with a highly produced video and multimedia package.
As franchisors continue to pursue new franchise candidates, they have made some concessions to help others as they start their business. A lot of franchisors have offered some very attractive discounts and incentives for new franchisees. These offers may last only a short period of time until later this year. Some companies are also being more flexible about the period of time in which a new business must open by giving an additional grace period due to the uncertainty of this current situation.
With so many people being furloughed or laid off and businesses losing revenue over the past two months, I think there is a general perception that this is a bad time to invest in a business. Overall, I would actually say this is a good time to open a business. Warren Buffett very famously said, "When people are greedy, be fearful and when people are fearful, be greedy." It is very similar psychology to the stock market when people buy when it is high and sell when it is low. There is a lot of truth to that.
Related: 24 Top-Ranked, Affordable Franchises You Can Buy for $25,000 or Less
People can become paralyzed by fear during uncertain times and they can miss a great opportunity. As a result of the fear people currently have, there are a lot of opportunities today that weren’t there previously. Companies now have a larger pool of potential employees, while real estate is more available now than it was several months ago. There are a lot of opportunities in this kind of economy. By taking advantage of this now, it can position people well once the economy strengthens.
People who are uncertain if this is the right time to invest in a franchise should consider some of its advantages. By nature, owning a franchise comes with less operating risk than an independent business, and that should be reassuring during this current climate. The fundamental value proposition of franchising is that it provides more security, predictability and a greater chance at success.
Related: Chick-fil-A Makes More Per Restaurant Than McDonald's, Starbucks and Subway Combined … and It's Closed on Sundays
In an odd way, the impact of the coronavirus situation may actually push people to explore business ownership. Whether people are furloughed from their job, fear for the long-term security of their current position or don’t want to start anew with another company, this is the time when they want to exercise greater control over their careers. People also have more available time to research these opportunities and plan for their future while isolated at home and are spending more time online than ever before.
Some early data from aspiring franchise owners support that theory. A buyer sentiment survey from Franchise Insights shows that the majority of aspiring franchisees believe the next three months will be a good time to start a franchise business, and that general business conditions will improve. Only 19.2 percent of the respondents indicated they would be putting plans for their small business startup search on hold as a result of COVID-19.
I imagine many of the people that took part in this survey began exploring their opportunities for business ownership months ago in a far different climate and continue to have the same optimistic outlook for their professional future.
Related: Want A Side Hustle? These 10 Franchises Can Be Run Part-Time
From the franchise prospects’ perspective, very little has changed as they explore business ownership. Our banking system is still very solid and the same financial assistance remains in place. Nothing has changed with the due diligence process, either. It is still vitally important to research which franchise is the best fit and provides the best opportunity for success. This includes carefully reviewing FDD’s, speaking with franchisors and franchisees within the system and building a detailed Profit & Loss (P&L) statement.
The last several months have been a difficult time for everyone. We know this period will come to an end and bring a return to normalcy, but we just don’t know when that will occur. The opportunity for business ownership is a silver lining to a very dark cloud that hovers over the year of 2020.
Read more from Forbes
As per Facebook:
"We’re bringing free, digital marketing education to businesses all over the country. So join us for six weeks of digital training classes, insightful interviews with business experts, and presentations from renowned entrepreneurs - all to help businesses get back to business."
The course elements are split into weekly focus areas:
June 24 — 28 - "The Changing World"
The world is in a state of accelerated change. It’s not just about the health crisis; innovation itself has put us in a permanent state of flux. For your business to succeed, it's important to understand how to respond to this new reality.
June 29 — July 5 - "Resilience"
Sometimes opportunity can look like a setback. The businesses that succeed are the ones that can turn a setback into a new way forward. Find out how to stay resilient in moments of change and how to turn downturns into opportunity.
July 6 — 12 - "Reinvention"
That one transformative opportunity might be just out of reach - and you might have to embrace reinvention to fully harness it. We’ll show you how remaking your business can help you unlock these new opportunities.
July 13 — 19 - "Re-Emergence"
Once a crisis ends, how do you enter into the new landscape? Successful re-emergence into the market means understanding which parts of your business to keep and what needs to evolve.
July 20 — 26 - "Customers & Commerce"
If you’re an asset to your customers in times of uncertainty, you stand to gain in when the economy picks up again. Learn how to make your business essential, through customer-focused processes and smarter commerce.
July 27 — 31 - "Community"
Essential businesses help their communities stay strong and flourish. Learn how to keep your business a vibrant economic and social force within your community — however you define "community."
All of the sessions will be run online, at the new 'Summer of Support' mini-site, with videos from each posted to the site, and further information shared on the Facebook for Business Page.
The initiative is being run in conjunction with a range of partners, including Dell, PayPal, American Express and Small Business Roundtable.
It's free, it will provide new insights and advice from Facebook's own, internal experts, and it could help you maximize your digital efforts. Likely worth a look.
You can get more details about the sessions, and sign-up for reminders, here.
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The parents of Bill Gates encouraged their son to be a voracious reader. And yes, Bill has said that this was a key to his success. Being an entrepreneur is about constantly learning.
In fact, when Bill ran Microsoft, he would have a “Think Week” twice a year, in which he would stay in a secluded cabin and read papers, memos and books. It was through this process that he came up with ideas like the Internet Explorer.
OK then, if you want to have your own sort of Think Week, what are some good books to read? Well, I asked entrepreneurs, executives and academics their selections:
American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company
Frederic Kerrest, co-founder and COO at Okta: “If you want to read about a company that made a remarkable comeback, look no further than American Icon. In this book, Bryce Hoffman details how Ford Motor Company was saved from near bankruptcy and went on to become one of the most profitable car companies in the world. Although most entrepreneurs hope to never face the herculean task of saving their companies from bankruptcy, most new businesses will undergo financial difficulties at some point, and American Icon offers guidance on how to steer the
The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt
Matt Calkins, co-founder and CEO of Appian: "A detailed life of Cornelius Vanderbilt. I like reading about businesses other than software when they were in their early stages, and when in their uncertainty and mutability they resembled the way our industry is today. I think much can be learned this way about the current state of the technology business. This is a story of adventure, self-authorship, and grasping the essence of emerging business models (transportation, finance) before others. As such, it is full of rich parallels to the technology leaders of today."
Confessions of an Advertising Man
John Furneaux, the co-founder and CEO of Hive: "I'd highly recommend Confessions of An Advertising Man for entrepreneurs at all stages of growth. The tactics and techniques outlined by Ogilvy in this book have been absolutely essential to my growth as a CEO and marketer, and have totally shifted the way I think about advertising. Marketing and advertising are often something that entrepreneurs think of too late in the game, and this book changed my perspective on brand and messaging distillation. I've already started implementing some of Ogilvy's tactics across the organization and have seen great initial results."
Leadership: In Turbulent Times
Vanessa Colella, the Head of Citi Ventures: “What makes a successful leader during times of crisis? In 2020, we are certainly all being tested on our ability to maintain our productivity, our creativity, and even our sanity. While many of us are focused on the future and how our world is changing, there is much to be learned from leaders of our past. In Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Leadership in Turbulent Times, she explores the leadership qualities of four U.S. presidents—Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson—and how they masterfully navigated the financial, social, and political issues of their generations. For any entrepreneur or aspiring leader, this book is an insightful read that will inspire."
Saher Shodhan, the co-founder and CEO of Traktion: “COVID-19 has brought about so much disruption, but it is also a time of abundant opportunity. New businesses today adapting to the new normal have a wide range of marketing channels to choose from to start their enterprise, through both organic and paid channels. As a business owner it can be really intimidating on deciding where to channel your limited energy on. This book simplifies this by introducing a simple yet effective process that breaks marketing and sales down in to a series of experiments that use data to help you find the right channel(s) for your business without having to spend a lot of money.”
The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, Fifth Edition
Bruce Hogan, the co-founder and CEO of Software Pundit: “The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America by Lawrence A. Cunningham is a top economics book that is a must-read for anyone who starts, manages or invests in businesses. The author has organized excerpts from Buffet's annual letters into chapters covering topics such as: corporate governance, investing and valuation, executive compensation, mergers & acquisitions, and taxes. This educational guide distills Buffet's philosophies on complex business topics into valuable gems of wisdom that will change the way readers think about business, economics and investing. It's fantastic foundational grounding for entrepreneurs as they embark on their journeys.”
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
Sri Gaddam, founder of Bansuri Media: “Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance. Everyone sees the glitzy press releases and news events, but very few people have understood the almost insurmountable hurdles Musk has gone through to achieve success. This book serves as a reminder of the type of grit it takes to aim high and keep moving forward.”
Ben & Jerry's: The Inside Scoop: How Two Real Guys Built a Business with a Social Conscience and a Sense of Humor
Debika Sihi, the associate professor of business at Southwestern University: “This is a great summer read for entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs. It provides an insider's perspective on building a business and a brand while highlighting all the missteps and successes in an engaging and humorous way. It also takes a deep dive into designing a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program that is deeply integrated into company strategy. It's set primarily in the 1980s, but the lessons ring true over time. Students in our business program read this book (I can't take credit for its inclusion because it predates me), but it really helps ground them in an entrepreneurial mindset while reading like a novel.”
The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table
Katie Kern, a partner at Media Frenzy Global: “With the current state of the world, The Memo is the much-needed career advice guide for women of color specifically, finally ending the one-size-fits-all approach of business books that lump together women across races and overlook the unique barriers to success for women of color. In a charismatic and relatable voice, Minda Harts brings her entrepreneurial experience as CEO of The Memo to the page, as well as her past career life as a fundraising consultant to top colleges across the country.”
High Growth Handbook
Scott Stephenson, CEO and co-founder of Deepgram: "High Growth Handbook is a great way to start thinking about your startup as an organism that isn't merely fighting for survival anymore, it's fighting to thrive. This thrive mode now has a very different structure than the ‘just surviving’ mode of early seed. You need other people to join the organization that have outside skills that don't help in the early ‘just hack something that people want’ time. HGH helps you understand what that is (board structure, who to get funding from, war stories that give you signposts) and when to do it (varies over time).”
Read more from Forbes
Looking back on my 20-year career, here's what I wish I knew from the beginning.
BY YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR COUNCIL @YEC
By Kristopher B. Jones, a serial entrepreneur and investor who recently launched Special Guest App with comedian/actor Damon Wayans, Jr.
I have recently been mulling over the various missteps I have taken in my career thus far. You know the philosophy on mistakes: that you learn more from them than you do from your successes. Every word of that is true.
I am not talking about mistakes of the mind or heart so much as I am about literal miscalculations I have made in my business management. Here are three of those.
The Single-Person LLC
I know now how important corporate structure is, especially if you intend to raise capital or sell your business one day. I ran my first company as a single-person LLC and had all the assets rolled into that LLC. The problem with that, among other things, was that when I had an opportunity to sell, it was easier for the buyer to "devalue" the assets they did not really want.
What is the solution, then? Had those entities been set up under different corporations, it would have provided me with more power to unlock value or keep the assets in my portfolio instead of them becoming part of a larger acquisition. For instance, I had a portfolio of more than 500 domains, including one for which I had paid more than $10,000. Because those domains were far less valuable than our core technology, I received pennies on the dollar for them.
Instead of mingling funds from my various entities, I should have split up separate assets from the start, treating each as an individual business with unique resources, including IP, revenue and expenses.
Cash Flow Management
A second business mistake worth noting is my past mishandling of my business's cash flow. It initially sounds like a good problem to have: There came a point when my first company was growing so fast that we had to hire more people than we could pay. However, once you get past the excitement of all that growth, you still have employees to compensate.
This quickly became an even bigger problem for us because so many clients were violating the net 30 model of accounts receivable, which stipulates that you pay your bills to a vendor within 30 days of receipt. The result? Pepperjam was larger than ever but could not operate at times.
I learned several valuable lessons from this. First, that the likelihood of getting paid decreases every day that bills are not paid on time. Therefore, every business owner should have a working capital line of credit ready to go as a cushion to cover operating expenses when things go awry.
A second lesson here is to rely on collections for payment, because those agencies will impose penalties for defaulting. We later set up an automated clearing house to make paying more efficient.
Too Many Brands
I don't have to tell this audience that your brand is everything in business. It represents all your company is and all you want it to be.
While I was running Pepperjam, we created many brands for the company, each covering a different aspect of the business. For instance, we had Pepperjam Media and Pepperjam Search, among others. The problem with that, I now know, is that having so many in-house brands requires more operating expenses for all the standard management differentials and the other, smaller issues, such as the creation of different logos.
Having multiple brands can also confuse the public. What's the message of this company as a whole? Which identity is the true one?
These days, I understand that one brand is better than many. Entrepreneurs should create a single strong brand and run with it. You work out its core values, messaging and logo, and that is what you communicate to the world.
That simplicity should ideally do wonders for your business, at least compared to how things might be if you bloated your company with disparate brands and philosophies. Ultimately, one focused brand should instantly allow your customers to get a clear picture of who they are doing business with, and that counts for everything.
As I recalled the last 20-plus years of my business career to write this article, I got to thinking about what my mistakes have meant to me personally. It was interesting to chart the arc from my earliest days to where I am now.
As with most areas of life, my hindsight on those mistakes is 20/20. But those errors I once made were simply examples of the hard lessons that all entrepreneurs must learn at some point as they gain experience and develop.
It is important not to view past missteps as stories to hide or about which to feel ashamed. Mistakes have taught me much of what I know today, and I am forever grateful for their instruction.
Read more from Inc
Get your business the exposure it deserves over social media.
This article was written by Alex Sixt, an Entrepreneur NEXT powered by Assemble expert. If you are looking to take the NEXT step in your business then we encourage you to check out Entrepreneur NEXT powered by Assemble.
Social. Media. These two words have made you either jump for joy or curl up in a fetal position in your pajamas at the overwhelming nature of these platforms. Either of these reactions are probably the reason you’re here: either you love everything about social media or the mere thought sends you into a panic-induced sweat.
Like it or not, it’s here to stay, and in these social distancing times, social media is more important than before to the success of your business. Taking on the responsibility of managing your social media accounts can be both an exciting venture and a terrifying process, especially if you’re working from home like many throughout the world. Have no fear, I’m here to tell you that you’ve got this and to give you a few pro-tips.
The good news is that you don’t have to be a celebrity or a household name—even if you’re not a Kardashian, you can build a great following and get more attention for your posts. There are plenty of little-known hacks that can upgrade your social media game and boost your business’ following especially during a time when it is vital to stay connected to your virtual community. Many platforms have acknowledged the hardships that small businesses are facing during the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis, and have developed features to aid these users to expand their reach across social media.
These features can be a fantastic addition to your toolkit, but there are plenty of other ways to reach new audiences that don’t have to involve an expert understanding of the algorithms or hours of your precious time. I’ve pulled together some of my favorite, essential hacks that can help you build your business’ social media presence from home.
1. Get on a schedule.
You may have heard the old adage that “content is king.” If that is true then scheduling software can be considered the court jester that makes living in the kingdom fun and also slightly easier. If you’re like me, you’d prefer to not be glued to your phone or posting content manually hour after hour, during lunch, and in the middle of the night.
The perfect solution: social media management tools. There are a variety of apps that give their users the ability to schedule content ahead of time and free up your schedule while saving you from the hours that manual posting can take. Depending on your specific needs, there’s likely an app or tool that will be the perfect fit for your management style, and most provide more tools—such as analytics—that will give you the opportunity to monitor your social media from one dashboard.
Related: 10 Tools for Social Media Managers in 2020
2. Don’t underestimate the power of a hashtag.
Hate ‘em or love ‘em, hashtags can be an excellent way to reach new audiences on social media. It’s easy to get carried away with them and tack on the maximum amount to every post, but don’t get lost by thinking too broadly. Using popular hashtags such as #love or #summer may put you into the mix of other related posts, but there is another type of hashtag to consider when targeting audiences who are already interested in your industry: niche hashtags.
For example, a wedding business in San Diego, Calif., should consider using #sandiegowedding in addition to widely used hashtags such as #wedding, to reach a more local audience.
But hashtags don’t have to be restricted to just your posts; add them to your profile’s bio, as well. Instagram recently added the ability to add clickable hashtags to your bio, making your page more searchable and leading followers towards branded content on social media.
Related: How to Make the Power of the Hashtag Work for You
3. Boost blog traffic by promoting them on social media.
Blogs and online articles are an excellent way to build your business’ online community and keep followers engaged. So, if you haven’t considered starting one, go do that now! Whether you’ve just started one thanks to my advice or already had one up and running, that’s great, but don’t stop at simply posting your content to your own site.
To increase traffic to your website, publish the post on your social media accounts. Try to schedule a few posts about your blog and include a clickable link to it, if possible (Facebook and Twitter have this feature, Instagram requires a bit of extra finesse to give links to users). This will help your users find your posts easily, and boost your blog views – a win-win!
Related: How to Promote Your Business Blog With Social Media
4. Partner with micro-influencers.
Influencer marketing is a hot trend. It's a type of social media marketing that involves product placement and advertising from social media users with a large following in a specific industry (influencers).
While that may sound intimidating, don’t worry; you won't need a Kylie Jenner-level influencer (with her $1.2M per post price tag) promoting your product to do this. Think smaller, a-la the micro-influencer. These are influencers who have anywhere from 2,000 to 50,000 followers on social media and focus on a specific topic or niche market.
Partnering with micro-influencers gives small businesses the opportunity to tap into influencer marketing without the costly and often arduous task of promoting your products through top influencers. Try searching hashtags related to your brand (remember Hack #2?) and look for popular social media users that share a passion for your industry.
Once you’ve identified a few potential candidates, reach out to gauge their interest in working with your brand—some will work for cash, some will barter, some might accept product in exchange for posts. Find even one person who is passionate about your product or brand and you’ll be on your way to reaping the benefits of influencer marketing in no time.
Related: Perks of Using Instagram Micro-Influencers for Your Business
5. Understand the ideal times to post.
To post or not to post, that is the question we’ve all faced when deciding whether or not to hit “publish” on our genius social media creation at 12 a.m. Unless you’re a celebrity with millions of global followers, it’s best to wait to figure out the best posting times for your specific audience. Each platform has a general time they suggest when most users are scrolling through—but beware of adhering to these guidelines—they’re very broad and no audience has the same habits.
To determine the best posting times for your audience, begin with making informed guesses as to time slots that could garner traffic, such as the morning and afternoon commute or lunch break. Pay attention to which times earn the most traffic, and tailor your strategy from there. Build it into your plan as you set up the scheduling strategy you learned about in Hack #1. However, this is not a one-time fix; holidays and major events such as the COVID-19 crisis can change your followers’ daily schedules. Pay attention to these changes as they fluctuate and adjust your social media scheduling strategy accordingly.
Related: There Is a Best Time to Publish on Social Media and You Can Determine When It Is
6. Focus less on vanity metrics, more on engagement.
Vanity metrics, by definition, are considered the number of likes and followers you receive on social media. It’s extremely easy to buy into the idea that these are a true measure of your content’s success but, in reality, engagement should be the number one focus. Hundreds of likes on a social media post can show that your posts are performing well, but engagement such as comments and conversation will demonstrate that audiences are truly interested in your business’ services or goods and the information you share.
Many social media platforms offer free analytics tools that can provide insight into what types of content earn the most engagement on your page. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all offer a free analytics tool that can help you to figure out what your audiences are really responding to. Similar to when determining posting times, experiment with content and constantly adjust to posting what your followers engage with the most.
Related: The Ugly Truth About 'Vanity Metrics': 3 Keys to Gaining an Accurate Picture
7. Harness the power of Instagram Stories.
It's time to add the Instagram and Facebook Stories feature to your toolkit. Instead of a standard post, Stories allow users to post photos or videos that appear at the top of your feed and disappear within 24 hours. They're a goldmine for interacting with followers, gathering feedback, and promoting your business on social media in a fresh, fun way. Best of all, it’s free.
Try posting to your Story a few times a week and add things that viewers can interact with such as questions, polls, or other stickers. But beware of over posting—users will rarely click through dozens of Story posts from a single brand or account. Instead, try to keep it around 10 Story posts to share your content while keeping viewers engaged.
Need some inspiration? A great social media account to watch that nails the Instagram Story game is Colourpop Cosmetics. They are a perfect example of posting beautiful Stories that earn them feedback on products and content that their audiences want to see.
Related: A Small-Business Guide to Instagram Stories (Infographic)
8. Check out new small-business Instagram stickers.
In response to the hardship that the COVID-19 crisis has brought to many small businesses, Instagram has developed stickers to add to your Story. These stickers are designed specifically to bring your business more traffic.
When posting an Instagram Story, small-business users now have the option to add stickers that include buttons for purchasing gift cards, donating to a fundraiser, or ordering food. Each button allows users to link to a partner site, where they will be able to complete the action such as ordering food or donating money—helping to support your business with the click of a button. In a time where convenience and contactless purchasing is the new normal, these stickers can help to keep your social media community connected to your business (insert sigh of relief).
Related: Instagram Will Support Fundraisers Using Story Stickers
If you’re worried about how to manage your social media during these strange times, you’re not alone. While it can seem like an overwhelming task to stay connected to your community despite being socially distanced, adding some of these hacks to your social media strategy can help you stay engaged—even from six feet away. Your followers are bound to respond and engage and, in turn, support your business. Happy posting!
Read more from Entrepreneur
Small businesses don’t often have a ton of extra cash lying around. If you’re looking to get a new business off the ground or market an existing venture, you may need to find creative ways to do so on a budget. Here, find tips from members of the online small business community for starting and growing a business without spending a ton of money.
by Annie Pilon
Try the New Small Business Trends Business Loan Calculator
Getting a business started often requires the need for a small business loan. You may need it for a company vehicle or a new computer or a building repair or upgrade. But how big of a loan will you need and how long will you need to pay it off? Small Business Trends just introduced a new Business Loan Calculator which helps you figure out how much a loan could cost your business over time. This will definitely help you manage your money better as you’re getting started in business.
Enhance Visibility for Your Business Without Breaking the Bank
Search engines are especially important for local businesses looking to get found. But sometimes promoting your search listings and upgrading your SEO efforts can seem a bit expensive. In this Search Engine Watch post, Toby Nwazor examines how small businesses can maximize SEO without breaking the bank.
Consider a Small Business Line of Credit
A small business line of credit can help you grow or start a business, even if you don’t have access to a ton of your own funds. In this post on The Franchise King blog, Stephen Halasnik dives into the idea of using a small business line of credit for a franchise.
Create Organic Reach on Facebook
Facebook is an incredibly effective tool for small businesses to reach and communicate with customers. However, constantly promoting posts and purchasing ads can add up. If you want to reach more consumers without paying for ads, read the tips in this Social Media Examiner post by Michael Stelzner.
Find High Paying Work from Home Opportunities
If you’re looking for a new venture or just want to add new income streams to your business, you may be interested in some of the work from home opportunities included in this post by Philip Verghese Ariel on Philips.com. You can also see what BizSugar members are saying about the post here.
Get Your Business Going Without Investors
Sometimes, starting a business without investors can give you more freedom to run and grow your operations in your own way. If you want to enjoy this type of freedom without struggling financially, check out this Startup Professionals Musings post by Martin Zwilling.
Learn About PPP Loan Forgiveness
The PPP loan program has been providing relief for small businesses, and now there are forgiveness options available to help even further. If you’ve utilized this program for funding during this time, this Acuity post by Matthew May includes the forgiveness details you need to know.
Get Inspired to Earn More Thanks to These Podcast Episodes
The resources you surround yourself with as you run a business can inspire you to reach your goals. If you’re looking for new podcast episodes to listen to, Janice Wald of Mostly Blogging shares reviews in this post. You can also see commentary from the BizSugar community here.
Help Your Small Business Survive a Recession
The current economic situation has a lot of small businesses worried about their finances. But you don’t necessarily need to spend a ton to make some sensible changes that prepare your business for a recession. Katie Lundin explores some strategies in this Crowdspring post.
Build Revenue Quickly with Customer Incentives
If you’re ready to make some immediate sales for your small business, you may need to incentivize customer activity. In this SMB CEO post, Ivan Widjaya explains some methods for delivering incentives to potential buyers so you can boost revenue right away.
If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more from Small Biz Trends
Walmart is making a move to counter Amazon's fastest-growing retail business by partnering with Shopify
Walmart is partnering with Shopify, a fast-growing Amazon competitor, in its quest to expand its online business.
Shopify provides e-commerce tools to more than one million small and large businesses, such as Lively, Allbirds, PepsiCo, and Heinz. The company helps businesses quickly and cheaply set up online shops that include tools like payment and inventory management. Monthly fees start at $29.
The new partnership will enable Shopify sellers to list their items on Walmart.com. This could help fuel sales for these sellers by giving them access to a new set of customers.
The deal will also expand the assortment of goods available on Walmart.com, giving a boost to the company's third-party Marketplace business.
Both Amazon and Walmart have been rapidly growing their third-party businesses in recent years. These businesses can be easier to scale and more profitable than first-party operations, because sellers often handle the costs of delivery.
Walmart said third-party sales outpaced first-party sales in the first quarter of the year.
"The US e-commerce business grew 74% in total last quarter, and growth in marketplace outpaced the overall business even as first-party sales were strong," Jeff Clementz, vice president of Walmart Marketplace, said in a blog post announcing the Shopify partnership.
He said the deal with Shopify would focus primarily on bringing small and medium-sized businesses to Walmart.com "that have a track record of exceeding customers' expectations."
"Growing our Marketplace is a strategic priority, and we are going to be smart as we grow. We will start integrating new sellers now and expect to add 1,200 Shopify sellers this year," Clementz said.
(He said sellers interested in joining Walmart Marketplace can learn more at this website).
Amazon remains the leader in third-party sales
Amazon has also said that its third-party sales have outpaced first-party sales. The compound annual growth rate for Amazon's third-party sales was 52% between 1999 and 2018. That same metric for first-party sales was 25% over the same period.
"Third-party sellers are kicking our first party butt," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wrote in his 2018 letter to shareholders. "Badly."
Moody's vice president Charlie O'Shea said Monday that Amazon is the "unquestioned leader" in third-party sales, but competition in this segment of retail is "heating up."
"The ability of Walmart to offer space in stores, as well as placement on its website for select retailers... is a key competitive advantage that certainly has the potential to attract additional relationships," O'Shea said. "The affiliation with Shopify is a further indication that Walmart will continue to focus heavily on expanding its third-party relationships."
Now is the time to be agile.
Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Strategic Sales & Marketing
The business world is upside down. Things are chaotic right now, and rightfully so, but there are still signs of hope. Entrepreneurs and business leaders need to think outside the box to help their companies navigate these unprecedented times and hopefully to come out stronger on the other side.
Now is the time to be agile, to be willing to re-evaluate your strategies and change your business models, and to adapt your marketing on the fly. I’m seeing a lot of examples right now of how B2B companies are using this moment of crisis as an opportunity to grow by re-positioning their products and services based on current needs.
Related: Best Practices for Marketing During and After the Crisis
Here are a few ideas for how your company can adapt your marketing strategies to rise to today's challenges:
1. Help companies adapt to working from home
Millions of American workers have suddenly been mandated to work from home. While some businesses already had good remote work policies and systems in place, many other companies are suddenly scrambling to offer the right tools, platforms, and digital solutions to help their people stay productive while working from home. This is a big moment of opportunity to adjust your marketing and sales pitches. For example, if you sell document management solutions, now is the time to emphasize all of the ways that your solution can enable employees to access critical documents from home.
If you sell cyber-security tools or information security solutions, make sure you are adapting your sales pitch to speak directly to your prospective clients’ concerns about how to keep a new remote workforce secure.
If you own an HR consulting firm, make an aggressive marketing push with special offers around helping companies set up HR procedures and processes for managing a remote workforce. Your potential clients might still need your services, but with a different focus of your expertise.
Related: The Post Crisis World: A Marketer's Guide
2. Offer free trials and test runs
Another creative idea is offering a “free trial” of your product for six months or so. During times of uncertainly, some organizations may be less likely to buy expensive new software or services. But if you can give away access to your solution, once they see the value and things are calmer, these test-run users could very well become paying customers.
3. Find the areas of B2B spending growth
Even though many restaurants and small businesses have temporarily closed and some companies are cutting back on spending and investment, that doesn’t mean that the entire economy has ground to halt. There's still business going on and lots of work to be done, but much of that economic activity is shifting to other areas and verticals. This is especially true in the major account B2B space, where a lot of business spending is driven by longer-term priorities and yearly budget allocations. Businesses are still spending, but they are spending differently.
Related: How Organizations Are Reinventing Themselves
For example, think about what your prospects need to spend money on right now. They’re probably more focused on making “defensive” moves to protect their systems, people, and infrastructure from disaster: things like information security, business continuity, backing up systems or insuring assets. Some industries and businesses are counter-cyclical even in times of crisis.
Your prospects might be making some aggressive moves right now to invest in new technology, hire new talent, or pursue customer acquisition. Don’t assume that “no one is buying” right now. They might just be taking a few weeks to see if this situation calms down. It’s true that some companies are scaling back on non-essential spending but other companies are just biding their time to capitalize on what will hopefully be a fast recovery once the rest of the economy re-opens for business.
Now is the time to be agile. This crisis might be presenting a whole new set of challenges that your prospects are facing for the first time, or dealing with on a larger scale for the first time. Think critically and strategically about what the new pain points are, and make sure your marketing strategy and sales pitch can keep up.
Read more from Entrepreneur
Ah, summer. The days are longer, the sun is warmer, and people seem … happier? In short, summertime is good. But is it good for your business’s productivity? In the summertime, work might be the last thing on your employees’ minds, especially with the coronavirus pandemic. But with the right balance and preparation, it doesn’t have to be.
6 Tips For A Productive Summer
Summer is a breeding ground for work disengagement and all eyes on fun in the sun. One study found that workplace productivity drops 20% in the summer. And depending on the seasonality of your business, the summer months might be your busiest time of the year.
What’s a business owner to do?
1. Get Vacation Requests Ahead Of Time Last year,
62% of Americans planned a summer vacation, according to AAA.
Now, picture that statistic in your workplace. What if 62% of your staff planned a summer vacation at the same time?
OK, that number will likely be lower this year because of coronavirus limitations. But even if a good chunk of your employees took a vacation (or “staycation”) at the same time, you’d probably lose a heck of a lot of productivity in your business. Which is why it’s important to get vacation requests well in advance, especially if employees are all planning on the same time period.
For smooth sailing, you need to have a vacation request procedure in place. Create a plan that details how far in advance employees need to request vacation time.
You should also plan for the event that two or more employees are eyeing the same time frame for their vacations. Will you grant vacation requests on a first-come, first-served basis or a seniority basis?
By getting vacation requests ahead of time, you can plan accordingly.
2. Stretch A Little Bit
No, I’m not suggesting you do lunges with your co-workers each day. What I am suggesting is that you consider being a little more flexible in the summertime.
In addition to employees wanting to enjoy the warm summer months as much as they can (especially after months of quarantine and isolation), there’s also a practical reason for flexibility: responsibilities.
If any of your employees are parents, they may struggle to find someone to watch their children who are on summer vacation from school. Or, they may want to spend a little extra quality time with them.
So, how can you be flexible without costing your business productivity?
Here are a few ways you can stretch yourself:
If you opt to do one or more items on the above list, you may notice a surge in productivity rather than a hit.
3. Give Employees The Option To Work Outside
I love seeing my co-workers work outside when the weather’s nice. There’s a designated area of tables where some employees can bring their laptops and get their work done without a hitch.
This is a minor benefit to give employees. But the return is huge. My co-workers appreciate the ability to soak up some rays while getting their work done. And because of that appreciation and flexibility, they don’t take advantage of it.
Of course, it’s not feasible with all businesses and positions. But if it works with your business, consider letting your employees work outside.
4. Let Some Fresh Air In You’d be surprised at what a little fresh air can do for your business.
Throwing open some windows does more than usher in bird tweeting and car honking—it brings in productivity, too.
I read a Harvard Business Review study that found that breathing better air improved decision-making performance, a measure of productivity, in the workplace.
Now, you don’t want to throw open the windows if it’s a 99 degrees Fahrenheit kind of day. That would probably bring your productivity to a screeching halt.
But if there’s a great breeze, throwing open your windows or propping open the door could be a nice change of pace—and help you achieve a productive workplace in the summertime.
5. Limit Distractions … By Embracing Distractions No, I’m not contradicting myself.
Distractions in the summer are rampant, which is why 45% of workers are more distracted during the summer than the rest of the year. Rather than trying to fight something that’s inevitable, you can embrace it instead. And in so doing, you can limit distractions.
At my accounting and payroll software company, Patriot Software, we host an annual summer event in either July or August. It’s during the day, which gives employees a chance to step away from their desks and into the sun.
There’s cornhole, Frisbee tossing, camaraderie, and—oh yeah—tons of food. We’ve BBQ’d and brought in catering. Yes, they’re “distracted” from their work—that’s the point of an employee event.
But do you know what I’ve noticed? My co-workers are more productive when they get back to work after they’ve had some fun in the sun. That means they can focus—distraction-free—for the rest of the day.
6. Hold Employees Accountable Giving some of the freedoms and summer perks I’ve mentioned above can do wonders for your business’s productivity levels. But, it’s important that you continue holding your co-workers accountable in the summertime.
Continue measuring employee performance based on the work they are getting accomplished. Look at what they’re working on. Is it taking them longer to accomplish their tasks? Are they missing deadlines? If either of these happens, talk with your co-worker to get to the bottom of their unproductive summer and nip it in the bud.
Read more from Forbes
David Rae Contributor
CFP who writes about having a Wealthier Healthier and Happier Life.
Paying fewer taxes is imperative for small business owners and the employed. The year 2020 will be challenging for many business owners, but if your business is still bringing in a nice income, you could benefit greatly from setting up the right retirement plan. For the top-performing business, this may be a combination of a 401(k) plan with a Defined Benefit Pension Plan, which could save you potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes.
Business owners who feel like they are behind when it comes to retirement planning can reduce their tax liability, and play catch up on their retirement savings, by adding a Defined Benefit Pension Plan on top of a Profit Sharing 401(k) plan. With potential tax savings north of $100,000 per year, it amazes me that more financial advisors are not discussing this valuable retirement planning technique with their clients. I am going to go out on a limb and guess neither your CPA nor Financial Planner has never mentioned setting up a Defined Benefit plan to you.
Somewhat proving my previous point, a prospective client left me a voicemail saying, “I just read your post about pension plans for small business owners; why didn’t my CPA tell me about this?” She also missed the essential opportunities to save more for retirement with a 401(k) Profit Sharing plan. Instead, her tax pro told her she made too much money to contribute to a ROTH IRA. Even if she was eligible with her high income, putting away just $6,000, per year, into a ROTH IRA was not going to give her a secure retirement.
Additionally, this individual had saved more than $200,000 last year. Most of that money was just sitting in her checking account, which meant she was unable to receive a tax deduction and only able to earn minuscule interest from the bank. These issues will be corrected for 2020 and beyond.
Retirement Planning for Business Owners
Running a business is stressful, and cash flow can be an issue much of the time. You keep reinvesting in the business to help it continue to grow. The goal is to eventually cash out, sell the business, and have enough money to finally enjoy life. Or perhaps, you love what you do and can’t imagine ever retiring. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but it is rare for owners to be able to sell their business for enough money that will allow them to fund what could easily be a 30+ year retirement.
For those who decide they want to retire someday, getting serious about saving and, in a lot of cases, playing catch-up is often the case. Minimizing taxes can make that process run more smoothly. If nothing else, funding a retirement account will help you lower your current tax bills or, perhaps, reduce your risk of a pandemic (think the next Coronavirus) putting you out of business.
Retirement Plans for Small Businesses When you own your own business, you have a variety of retirement plans to choose between. As a financial planner who works with many business owners, I help people choose the best retirement plan for their specific retirement needs and business structure. In some cases, we may use Roth IRAs or Traditional IRAs, while others use SEP IRAs. For those who need to save even more (or are looking to minimize more substantial tax bills), Solo 401(k) plans are quickly growing in popularity.
They have recently become easier to set up and cheaper to maintain. 401(k) Profit Sharing Plans may be the best bet when looking to save around $57,000, or less, per year. Business owners who are trying to save the absolute maximum amount, or get the most substantial tax savings, may be best served with a 401(k) Profit Sharing Plan combined with a Defined Benefit Pension Plan.
What is a 401(k) Defined Benefit Pension Plan Combo?
Pension law will allow a company to essentially combine a cash balance pension plan with a Profit Sharing 401(k) plan. When these business retirement plans are structured properly, business owners may have the ability to put tens of thousands of additional dollars into retirement accounts each year. Did I mention you get a tax deduction for every dollar you contribute?
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What are the downsides of a Defined Benefit Pension Plan?
For business owners with employees, you will be required to make profit-sharing contributions, and offer a matching contribution for them, if you genuinely want to make the maximum contributions for yourself. For 2020, a 401(k) would allow you to put away up to $57,000, plus an additional $6,500 if you were over 50. Additionally, you may be able to put up to $100,000, or more, into a Defined Benefit Plan. The exact contribution limits will vary on the Pension Plan depending on your age, income, employee payroll, and how much you already have invested in the plan.
Defined Benefit Pensions and 401(k) plans often have setup costs and may require ongoing record-keeping fees. With a Defined Benefit Pension plan, you will also likely be required to have an actuary review the plan each year to keep it compliant. While not cheap, the cost of these types of plans pales in comparison to the value of the potential tax savings.
The biggest drawback for pension plans is that you will likely need to commit to minimum funding levels for about five years. The minimum contribution levels are tied to your business profits. If business declines, your commitment will also be lowered.
Keep in mind, the contributions for your employees are also tax-deductible. With proper planning, much of the funding can go towards the owner. The plan I funded this week had 90% of the company’s money going to the owners of the business. These percentages will vary depending on the size of the business, payroll, the number of employees, etc.
Who Benefits Most from a Defined Benefit Pension / 401(k) Combo Stack Plan?
Self-employed or small business owners with high incomes are drawn to these types of plans. Higher incomes result in more tax liabilities that these individuals want to minimize. Similarly, the more you make, the more you will need to save for a comfortable retirement. With a combo, you could potentially stash away $200,000 per year, pre-tax, perhaps even more. These plans work out well for family-owned businesses or spouses who work together.
If you are looking to save less than $57,000 per year, a typical 401(k) plan may be the better option. Keep the 401(k) / Defined Benefit Pension combo on your radar if you are looking to save more now or in the future. Your CPA or financial advisor likely will not recommend it.
Assuming the top 37% tax bracket, maxing out this plan could save you more than $55,500 in federal taxes. Also, your state tax bill will be reduced if you live in a state with income taxes. For those trying to stay below the new 20% tax break for pass-through income limits, this can help in that respect as well. It’s not what you make but what you keep. With that in mind, don’t make strategic tax planning something you do just once a year. The cost of bad tax planning is too dang expensive.
Using Pension 401(k) Stack to Get More of the Pass-Through 20% Tax Break
You may have heard about the new 20% tax break for pass-through entities, which started in 2018. Some of the more common examples include sole proprietors, S Corps, LLCs, and partnerships. If you are running a pass-through entity that would be considered a “service,” the 20% deduction will phase out as your income increases. For single filers, this phaseout begins at $163,300 in 2020. The numbers are a little higher for married couples with the phaseout starting at $326,600.
Look at it this way; your retirement plan contributions will give you a deduction for contributing. Those contributions may also help lower your income threshold, listed above. If so, you will be able to maintain the 20% pass-through tax break. You can either earn less money or, in some cases, write a check to yourself in the form of 401(k) and pension contributions. Which would you prefer?
If a Defined Benefit Plan is appealing to you, ask your current financial advisor and CPA if they are able to help you set up this valuable tax-saving plan. If they aren’t able to help or don’t know how to do it, consider finding a Certified Financial Planner who is an expert with Defined Benefit Pension Plans and up to the task of helping you invest for the retirement you deserve.
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Adapting during a crisis could lead you to transformative opportunities.
By Alex Konanykhin
A crisis is a time of opportunities. The deeper the crisis, the bigger the opportunities.
This crisis may be the largest we’ve seen during our lifetimes. Some experts expect it to be worse than the Great Depression as many industries are knocked-down by the pandemic which may last two years or longer.
Indeed, even if the governments lift the “stay at home” restrictions, the self-preservation instinct would continue to keep people away from cruise ships, airports, restaurants, theaters and stadiums until the virus goes away.
Viruses do go away, but it takes a rather long time. The Spanish Flu was killing millions of people for three years, from January of 1918 to December of 1920. We all hope that the vaccine or effective treatment of COVID-19 will be developed soon, but medical experts say it may take two years or longer. Then it’d have to be produced and distributed worldwide, and we’ve all seen that even such basic items as face masks or hand sanitizer remain in shortage long after the pandemic started.
Related: 5 Ways to Pivot Your Business During a Crisis
So, with a crisis so scary, how can we talk about taking advantage of it?
The answer is very simple: because history has shown us time and again that during recessions and other calamities, some businesses grow explosively fast and prosper. This means that every one of us has to decide whether to search for such opportunities or not.
If you decide that instead of resigning yourself to suffering you are willing to do your best to find ways to prosper during the crisis, you may find useful some of the observations I’m basing on my personal experience of turning crises into success.
For me, it started in a different era and in a different county. By the age of 25, I’ve built, from scratch, the largest commercial bank in Russia – a feat unimaginable in stable economies. But the crisis which brought down the Soviet Union was so profound that young entrepreneurs like me adjusted to the new reality much faster than the shell-shocked adults unwilling to extricate themselves from choices which had become roads-to-nowhere.
Later, in 1992, the KGB returned to reclaim the country and I had to start anew in the United States as a defector. That crisis allowed me to learn new languages, get familiar with international business and to live a life much more satisfying than I could possibly have in Putin’s Russia.
I later took advantage of the Dot-Com Implosion of 2001 to branch out from IT outsourcing to a more scalable software and multimedia production business and it was then that this magazine first reported about me (2005 and 2008).
The Great Recession of 2008 resulted in me and my partner creating TransparentBusiness, the tool we needed to make our IT outsourcing and online visibility company more efficient, agile and competitive. By now, TransparentBusiness is valued at $140 million.
Related: How to Make Every Marketing Dollar Count During a Crisis
Many others have taken advantage of crises too and on a much larger scale. During a war, for example, the inventor of dynamite became so rich that U.S. Presidents and other top politicians have been competing for winning his Peace Prize.
Fortunately, we can benefit from crises without having to produce explosives. Below you will find five thoughts I can share with my fellow entrepreneurs.
1. Re-evaluate everything
Are you in the right industry? With the right partners? In the right place? With the right spouse?
If you were to start a new business now, would you start a business exactly like your current one? Or would it be better for you to move to Iceland and start a bitcoin farm? Or to move to Costa Rica and start a cloud-sourcing agency?
We rarely dare to ask ourselves such radical questions. When things go well, we stay the course under the “don’t fix what isn’t not broken” maxim, often missing much larger opportunities and ending up in a dead-end rut. Profound crises are rare opportunities for us to reevaluate everything. And by that, I mean EVERYTHING.
I’ve done it many times myself. Moving from construction business to commodity arbitrage, then banking, then IT. From Russia to Austria, United States, Antigua, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Canada and the back to the United States. Those changes have always proved to be for the better.
You don’t have to make changes equally radical, but now it’s the time to recall that sunk costs have no value. It matters not how much you’ve invested in your business, house, relationships. If they are no longer the best available options for you, move on.
2. A crisis is the best time to reform
So often we see ways to optimize our businesses and yet don’t act on them, as we know that changes would be met with resistance. Firing, reassigning or retraining people, for example. And every time we pass on an opportunity to optimize, our business moves from “cutting-edge” to “obsolete.”
Related: 3 Core Values to Lead Your Crisis Communications Plan
A crisis is the opportunity to change everything as everybody on your staff knows: changes during a crisis is unavoidable. Dismantle that division which stopped being productive. Change your product line. Promote that young bright lady instead of the old friend who expects that promotion based on seniority.
3. Switch to contingency workforce and telecommuters
One of the most profitable changes is to replace under-utilized full-timers with contingent workers.
In Hollywood, they don’t keep actors on payroll all the time. Actors get hired for the duration of their roles, and the same approach applies to other professionals involved in shooting the movie. Large crews are getting assembled and dismissed frequently.
Many companies are already relying heavily on the contingency workforce model, but most businesses have been hesitant to transition their W-2 workers to the role of as-needed contractors. A crisis is a rare opportunity to re-structure your business with minimal push-back.
You may also discover that many of your workers don’t have to commute to the office on a daily basis. Platforms like our Transparent Business make it easy to oversee and coordinate their work-from-home, saving you a lot of money previously wasted on paying for excessive office space and on indirectly paying for the workers’ commute time.
4. Hire globally
You can also slash your labor costs by selecting the best options for computer-based workers from the global pool of talent instead of having to hire locally. The savings on many professions often exceed 50%, especially for businesses located in NYC, SFBA and other expensive megalopolises. Hiring globally would also give much higher scalability.
Related: Six Healthy Ways to Lead in a Crisis
This restructuring would have normally caused a lot of resistance but would be seen as necessary during the recession.
5. Restructure your portfolio
Move your money from the crisis-endangered industries to safety, FAST. Even better, move it to the projects which are likely to grow explosively fast in this crisis. The stock value of Zoom has more than doubled since the pandemic started and there are other technologies posed for fast growth.
Don’t feel bad about moving money from the industries which are hurt: you do good to humanity by moving your funds into what people need the most during these challenging times. Today they need Zoom and other work-from-home solutions more than sea cruises, air travel, sports events, restaurants and so many other businesses badly affected by the coronavirus.
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Retail businesses have been impacted by this year's economic disruptions, but opportunities still exist for businesses to optimize, survive and thrive. Here are five strategies you can adopt today.
Founder/CEO of TravelerPlus
It has never been easier to start a retail business. Whatever your interests are or whatever the market you want to serve is, a wide range of developments have made it possible to launch a retail business much more efficiently than say, 10 years ago.
First, white label manufacturing has grown exponentially. You can get products of any type made and shipped to you without any branding so you can put your materials on them and sell as your own unique product. If you want to build a completely custom product, you can do that by outsourcing the manufacturing. You can also utilize drop shipping if you’d prefer to focus on marketing alone, which is something that social media and online e-commerce platforms have made very efficient.
But starting a retail business is completely different from growing and scaling one, and the truth is that most businesses will fail after only a short period. As the world economy enters a period of turbulence, that number will likely increase, but retail businesses that implement effective strategies will survive and even grow. Here are 5 tips to help you do just that:
Optimize your supply chain
Supply chain disruption has been a major issue for companies of all sizes since the beginning of this year, as a result of restrictions to transport locally and internationally. Despite that, businesses with more resilient supply chains have been able to remain operational and in stock. There are many aspects you can work to optimize, such as the location where you manufacture or purchase from, the amount of stock you keep on hand, and transportation methods. Review how the current situation has impacted you and figure out where you can make changes to improve your system.
Related: IoT Can Give Your Retail Business a Competitive Edge. Here's What ...
This applies primarily to your website, but it can also be extended to your physical space if you have a store. What is the user experience like when people get in touch with your brand for the first time? Is it easy to navigate your website, check through the products and place an order? Several studies have shown that the fewer steps needed to take an action, the higher the conversion rate will be. If you have to redesign your website or store (online or offline) to make it easy for people to find what they need and place an order quickly, get a professional to help you out. The results will be worth the expense.
Most businesses have terrible customer service, and most customers take the quality of service into consideration before purchasing from or recommending a store. That’s a clear opportunity to distinguish yourself from your competitors by offering the best customer service possible. The process begins from your hiring practices: Ill-mannered people cannot deliver consistently great customer service. Be sure you give your staff extensive training as well, and ask your customers for feedback so you can identify areas where improvement is needed quickly.
Related: How to Remain Competitive in a Saturated Online Retail Market
Every brand is on social media nowadays, and it remains a strong way to get the word out about your business and get traffic to your website. When it comes to actually converting people from visitors to customers though, the best options are e-mail and calls. Both of them have a personal element that is difficult to replicate on social media, especially if you utilize effective marketing techniques. For email, be sure to segment your email list and write highly targeted emails. Targeting is key with phone calls too.
Outdoing your competitors should be one of your goals, but you must not close your eyes to the opportunities that exist for collaboration with other brands. Brands that sell complementary products may find success in working together to cross-promote each other to their respective audiences. A tie brand and a sock brand, for instance, might send traffic to each other's sites because people looking for one item may be interested in the other. Be sure to do this with caution, however, to ensure that you don’t unwittingly promote a potential competitor.
Related: Examples of Retail Business Ideas
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Redefining the experience and profiting by it can turn rejection into the fuel for success.
Leadership & Performance Consultant
Evolutionarily we were not meant to exist in isolation. Inside, each of us has an innate fear of not being accepted or having our contribution shunned by the community we feel the strongest resonance to serving.
As business owners and entrepreneurs, the sting of rejection can pierce like a dagger to the heart. It can be extremely hard not to take rejection personally. It’s our ideas, our blood and our sweat and tears that are being shown the exit.
The success of any business comes not with necessarily being the biggest, the best or the fastest. It comes from being the most innovative and adaptive. We often forget the underlying truth that rejection experiences have given birth to cutting-edge enterprises. In many cases, rejections have been the genesis of brilliant solutions that would otherwise have been unfathomable were it not for our mental anguish.
When you learn to embrace and practice certain strategies, you’ll no longer fear or try to avoid rejection. You may actually look forward to it.
1.) Acknowledge and prepare for rejection.
Most of us become angry when, despite putting in eighty-percent of the groundwork, our customer then decides to work with our nemesis. Overcoming rejection actually occurs from accepting the emotions that come with it. It is OK to feel angry and frustrated. The emotional and mental weight you feel is just as valid as any physical pain. In the long run, it’s more appropriate and healthy -- emotionally, mentally and physically -- that you allow yourself to feel that.
Always have a rejection-processing protocol in place. Debrief with personal and professional support people who can empathize and appreciate your experiences without passing judgment, criticizing or looking to give you immediate advice. Primary acknowledgment of its emotional and mental impact upon on you is essential.
Related: Stories of Rejection From 8 of the World's Most Successful Entrepreneurs and Leaders
Over time, examine the suite of likely reactions you have when rejection opportunities bare their unattractive heads. Know this about yourself. Being able to predict your own responses as well as build in the foresight that rejection is possible can also greatly lessen the blow. You will feel a greater sense of control knowing what may lie ahead and knowing you’ve got processes in place to handle it.
2.) Find the blessings in every rejection experience.
There will always be customers that do not like us, our service or our product. Whilst this prods us to do comparison reviews of systems, processes, products and service quality, put that aside for a moment. We often can’t see it at the time, but in many cases, rejections are blessings in disguise.
Do you want customers who wish to discuss minute details forever and a day, only to decide they want to start from the beginning again just as you were about to sign-off on the contract? Do you want to be treated like a commodity on-call 24/7, expected to make ‘urgent’ changes to a blueprint during Sunday evening quality time with your family?
You don’t want these customers. Nobody does. Refer and direct those customers to your competitors who are open to being treated this way -- you are not.
In this respect, understand your competitors’ businesses actually complement your own. Even if you provide almost the exact same service as your neighbor, remember that you are the brand and that no other individual can copy you or your reasons for being in business. Customers are smart. You might also unforeseeably impress and surprise those very customers who are treating you unprofessionally.
Related: When to Fire That, Er, Abusive or Disruptive Customer
You can put on your match-making hat and referred those clients to a business which better fit their needs? Don’t become their case manager, but what if you then followed up to find out if such a customer was happy? They certainly would not forget the lengths you went to. Such service is rare. Riding the positive wave of your satisfaction from doing this will be far better than sulking and bidding them good riddance under your breath.
3.) After licking your wounds, feed your growth mindset.
Steve Jobs was rejected and sacked from his own company, Apple, in 1985. After purchasing Pixar Animation Studios from Lucasfilm in 1986, he went on to generate his first billion dollars. Today, Pixar is the most successful animation studio of its kind. Not a bad comeback, some might say.
The whirlpool of unsavory emotions we experience in rejection is often a great catalyst for stretching our minds laterally to dimensions never visited before. You might initially doubt yourself, question your competency and your self-worth but after you have weathered the storm, activate your growth mindset and start asking questions.
What can I do differently? What have I discovered about myself? What changes can I make in my business? Could I have handled the closing conversation better? What will I do differently next time? What else is possible?
Never stop at licking your wounds only to return to the status quo. Never.
Related: 14 Steve Jobs Quotes That Offered Great Advice For Entrepreneurs
Post-rejection always builds in a strategic review not just as an individual but with a relevant business coach or consultant. Just like Steve Jobs, you could be at the cusp of a discovery that will change your business and your life forever.
4.) Transform your definition of rejection.
We often ascribe rejection to something wrong with us. Start-ups and solopreneurs are particularly vulnerable to thinking rejection means they are not good enough. Even though this might resonate with you, it doesn’t mean your thinking is accurate.
Invite yourself to consider, Are my deductions about myself actually true or is it the pain speaking? Does it hurt so much because I wanted so badly to be accepted and validated? Is my service or product simply not substandard but simply not the best fit for that customer?
Consciously practice thinking more about the positive consequences of your being rejected. What opportunities can you now see that have been hiding behind the clouds of the status quo? Rejection can, in fact, be a glorious unveiling of new possibilities.
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