US entrepreneurship hit a 40-year low in 2016. That compares to a 33-year low in 2010. Clearly, business startups are seeing a rapid decline in America.
Some blame the Great Recession but the startups didn’t start up again at historic levels after the economy recovered. Could it be the Amazon effect, where e-commerce is killing small businesses almost as fast as they can start? Are regulations to blame?
Whatever the reason, if you want to succeed as a startup you have one advantage: the landscape is less competitive. But you also have a challenge: it’s more difficult to succeed. You need a rock-solid plan.
A startup business plan has several purposes and goals, according to SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors. First, it helps you clarify your vision, mission and goals. But it can also help convince investors or lenders to put some financial power behind your business. Read more...
Well-planned and executed offsite meetings deliver tangible returns. The meetings foster ideation and collaboration, produce cohesion around short-and long-term strategies, solve big, complex problems, and align executives that simply don’t happen during day-to-day interactions between staff. But the flip side is also true. With over two-thirds of business meetings categorized as failures by executives, the amount of time and budget squandered on offsite meetings is huge.
So, what are some things that business leaders can do to ensure that their meetings are a success?
1. Consensus on Meeting Objectives
Preparation should begin 60 or 90 days beforehand. Much of what happens before an offsite meeting dictates its success—or lack thereof. Organizations that wait to the last minute almost guarantee that their offsite meetings fail to deliver the returns they desire. And we’re talking about more than setting an agenda, scheduling travel and hotels, and ordering catering. It starts by establishing meeting objectives and gaining consensus on them as well as the agenda. Read more...
Bla, bla, bla, bla. This is what it sounds like when you’re in a meeting and you have no agenda, no end time, and no idea why you’re there. A complete waste of time, right? Well, keep this in mind when you are pitching your next client. Taking complete control over every step of the sales meeting will put your prospect at ease with open ears and an open mind. Below is your Nine-Step framework for an incredibly successful sales meeting.
First: Select a meeting venue and service support that reflects the caliber of your brand.
There are thousands of meeting venues across the nation and indeed the world where you can choose the location, vibe and meeting setting that is in line with the impression you want to establish with your prospective client. You may reserve an intimate meeting room, grand boardroom or something in between by the hour or day. Read more...
Amazon.com has built a reputation for customer service. Yes, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, has built a customer service-focused machine by looking at e-tailing through customer-colored glasses. Salesforce’s Desk.com put together seven statements from Bezos, with explanation, in a blog post entitled, “7 Lessons You Can Learn from Jeff Bezos About Serving the Customer.”
“Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos has taken the philosophy of truly caring for the customer.” writes Kevin Baldacci. “Bezos has built a company from the ground up purely based off of the unbending, unyielding philosophy of serving the customer across all departments. With a 164 million Amazon customers, few would argue Bezos as the key architect of building an authentic, customer-centric company.”
As you train your staff on the customer service front, be sure to keep these proven tactics in mind. Read more...
Employee engagement is more than just a buzzword. It could mean the difference between small business success and failure. With Gallup reporting 70 percent of US workers are not engaged, it’s a problem entrepreneurs need to solve if they hope to compete in today’s cut-throat marketplace. Here are eight ways to drive stronger employee engagement with training.
1. Establish a goal-oriented workplace:
Your team need a clear understanding of what your organization is working to achieve in order to engage with the vision. A strategic training program should train workers with clear goals in mind—and reward them for success.
2. Foster a team mentality:
Employees have to work with the same people all day every day. They want a sense of belonging and camaraderie. Training in groups instead of individually helps build a team mentality by allowing employees to share, collaborate and offer feedback on goals. Read more...
You’re holding a meeting at an out of town location and you want it to be perfect. So, you booked a space at the hotel where the group is staying. There you are, sitting on uncomfortable chairs meant for weddings, rapping your knees on awkwardly placed table legs and listening to the catering staff bang pots and dishes around while breaking down the room next door. Doesn’t sound so perfect, does it? Don’t book at that fancy hotel, instead hold your gathering in a top-notch office building where they know you meetings are important.
What? Book an office in a building you don’t rent from….is that possible? Yes, it is. There are many independent office operators that rent offices, board, conference and training rooms by the hour or day (s). You can find yourself on the penthouse level of the high-rise overlooking the harbor or in ultra-modern, technology rich boardroom of the building next to the hotel. You choose you amenities, atmosphere and location. Read more...
Presentation options for businesses and solopreneurs are no longer restricted to Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Docs. And for Mac users wed to non-Microsoft tools, they also have expanded to choices beyond Apple Keynote. Alternatives like Prezi and Emaze provide users with new, innovative ways to tackle presentations.
PowerPoint—and the various alternatives—serve much broader functions than just sales and marketing presentations. As a result, there are myriad ways for which businesses can use presentation solutions. Possibilities include: Read more...
External Business Presentations. Common business scenarios such as sales, analyst briefings, webinars, seminars, briefings, and investor pitches.
Trade Show and Conference Presentations. Conference track and keynote presentations at events and conferences.
Internal Business Presentations. Training, reports on research, activity updates, and internal pitches.
Project management, status reporting, and spreadsheet reports.
Non-Presentations. There are many use cases here such as online photo and image albums, simple brochures or flyers, and even animations.
You’ve got a dream in your heart to launch a business venture that will change the world—or at least change your world. Whether you’ve tried and failed in the past or this is your first venture into entrepreneurship, it’s time to dream big and take purposeful action.
Here are three principles for success as you set out to start your dream business:
Incorporate online instead of hiring an attorney. I’ve started a number of corporations myself in a matter of minutes online. I’ve also hired accountants and attorneys to start corporations and paid upwards of $5,000. It was a waste of time and money. In most states, you can start a corporation online for less than $100 with no attorney or accountant involved.
Google the phrase “incorporate a business online” and add the name of your state and you’ll find the appropriate site to get up and running toward your dream today. Read more...
Small businesses are the engine that drives the U.S. economy. Employing 55% of all workers, 28 million small businesses account for 54% of all sales in the country today. And the future of small businesses is bright: they have created 66% of all net new jobs since the 1970’s and have increased in number by 49% since 1982. When compared to their much larger counterparts, this success stands in even greater light: mid-size and large businesses have eliminated four million jobs since 1990, while small businesses have added eight million new jobs.
Wow! These are some pretty impressive statistics. Small business owners should take a moment and congratulate themselves for all of this success. But they shouldn’t take very long; it takes a lot of organization to run a small business. Indeed, those that succeed often are the ones that are the most organized. With better organization, a small business can focus on strategic initiatives and its customers. Read more...