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Entrepreneurship

How to Identify Third-Party Vendors to Help You Scale

May 24, 2019


After five years, only 56% remain in business.

As they put together the pieces necessary for growth, startups quickly discover that the first step is also one of the hardest – finding the right people. Without a capable and committed team, even the best ideas struggle to get off the ground.

Founders cannot simply find and onboard talent, though. They must also find people who can help build a sustainable, empowering culture and then learn how to keep as many of those people around as possible. As if that weren’t enough, founders also have to be able to recognize when someone isn’t a good fit. Those hard decisions can make or break startups with limited time and resources.

Product decisions, too, affect the odds of survival. What problem does the product solve? How much is that solution worth, and what are people willing to pay for it? Founders can’t rush into implementing their ideas before they truly understand the needs of the audience and the likelihood that the product will fulfill those needs.

Not every organization fits into the same mold. Startups pride themselves on their disruptive and agile natures, yet many founders are afraid to step out and try something truly different – especially when board members and other influential figures advise caution. However, standing out from the crowd might be the most important factor in startup success.

Where partners come into play

With so many challenges to overcome, few startups make it to the fifth year and beyond without a little help. Third-party vendors in a variety of functions can act as valuable extensions of the company’s core team. Startup executives should not see these outside parties as a threat, nor should they try to adopt every outside partner that proves useful. By letting the experts do …

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Rethink Corporate Social Responsibility and Turn Social Good Into a Business KPI

May 15, 2019


They have generally shown earnest efforts to reduce their carbon footprints, improve equality in the workplace, and extend the sustainability of their resources.

That’s no longer enough though. In a world of ever-widening social, economic, and environmental gaps, corporations must step up and take on much bigger roles to make a more meaningful impact on society. Whether it’s tackling poverty, hunger, discrimination, education, healthcare, climate change, or sustainability, corporations can and should do exponentially more to improve these global conditions while still maintaining their competitiveness. Our future depends on it.

A perfect storm for more dramatic change is brewing. In a recent Edelman Trust Barometer survey, 73% of respondents stated that they expected a company they worked for to “take specific actions that both increase profits and improve the economic and social conditions in the communities where it operates.” 

From research and personal experience, I know that employees, customers, and partners all want to work for and with organizations that share altruistic values to do more social good. And millennials, in particular, an increasingly larger percentage of the workforce, want to work for organizations that make a positive difference in their communities.

Unfortunately, while employees, activist investors and increasingly customers are driving large corporations in this direction, it is still hard to find Fortune 1000 companies (Dannon is a notable exception) among the 2,500 B-Corporations that balance purpose and profit. Moreover, we still see very few CEOs even mention social issues in their regular communications, and even fewer are integrating societal goals into their primary corporate strategies.

It’s clear the time for a dramatic change is now. But how? I think the answer is to begin incorporating quantitative business metrics into CSR programs, whether it’s key performance indicators (KPIs), executive incentives, or positive outcomes from technology and innovation programs. …

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5 Books That Helped Me Build a Multimillion Dollar Business

May 9, 2019


I know first hand what it’s like to start businesses and have them fail. As someone who has built a multimillion dollar business without ever taking any outside capital or having mentors, I’m able to confidently attibute a large part of my success to the books I’ve read over the years. 

I believe not having mentors is a big hurdle to success. Fortunately, thousands of people who are experts in different areas share knowledge that can directly help you as an entrepreneur. People who would normally charge hundreds or thousands of dollars for their time, happily share valuable knowledge in books for $20. 

As a new entrepreneur, the best thing you can do is begin discovering and learning about psychology, business, and human behavior, which all help contribute to a successful business. 

Below are five important books that entrepreneurs need to read.

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

Entrepenreurs fall into the trap of doing everything themself instead. Author Michael Gerber tackles the idea of building systems in your business rather than relying on a person. If your business is only surviving because of your skills, you’re not running a business – you’re working in one. 

You should have a system in place from day one that will allow for anyone to step in and do your job. Like Gerber states, you should begin think of yourself as a franchiseIf and systemize all parts of your business. If you have this mindset, you can organize things correctly.

Having important systems in place will allow you to step out of the role of a technician (someone who does things themselves) and into the role of a manager/operator. 

Contagious – Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger

As an entrepreneur, marketing is an important part of your business. To be good at …

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How to Identify, Address and Dissolve a Bad Partnership

May 9, 2019


Risking it all to start a new business is a daunting, sometimes lonely prospect. Entrepreneurs both new and experienced might seek out a business partner to provide security and assistance. However, when you get more than one person working on a new idea, it can be difficult to balance differences in personality, vision and leadership style. Like any other type of relationship, a business partnership is not always built to last.

Whether you’re eager to begin a new partnership or looking to end one, read on for helpful tips to navigate all the stages of these complex relationships.

Before you begin a partnership

The desire to have a go-to partner to revel in your business’s triumphs and grievances is natural. This honeymoon stage can fade quickly, however, especially if you do not sit down with your partner(s) to hammer out a partnership agreement. David Gage, a psychologist by training who founded business mediation firm BMC Associates, notes that the questions involved in partnership agreements do not tend to bother people until they start making money, which is when matters get complicated.

Determining who gets what cut of the profits and how many hours each person is expected to work might feel awkward, but these conversations will save you and your partner time and money down the road. Gage recommends diving into a partnership’s “DNA: discussions, negotiations and agreements.”

This process should go into the details, both business-related and interpersonal, that will affect your business. “You know that Godfather quote, ‘It isn’t personal, it’s just business’?” Gage said. “I don’t buy it. Different personalities, values, expectations – all of these are components that can break your business.”

Gage provides a metaphor of two cars heading to the same unfamiliar location. One car has one person, the other has …

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How to Identify, Address and Dissolve a Bad Partnership

May 9, 2019


Risking it all to start a new business is a daunting, sometimes lonely prospect. Entrepreneurs both new and experienced might seek out a business partner to provide security and assistance. However, when you get more than one person working on a new idea, it can be difficult to balance differences in personality, vision and leadership style. Like any other type of relationship, a business partnership is not always built to last.

Whether you’re eager to begin a new partnership or looking to end one, read on for helpful tips to navigate all the stages of these complex relationships.

Before you begin a partnership

The desire to have a go-to partner to revel in your business’s triumphs and grievances is natural. This honeymoon stage can fade quickly, however, especially if you do not sit down with your partner(s) to hammer out a partnership agreement. David Gage, a psychologist by training who founded business mediation firm BMC Associates, notes that the questions involved in partnership agreements do not tend to bother people until they start making money, which is when matters get complicated.

Determining who gets what cut of the profits and how many hours each person is expected to work might feel awkward, but these conversations will save you and your partner time and money down the road. Gage recommends diving into a partnership’s “DNA: discussions, negotiations and agreements.”

This process should go into the details, both business-related and interpersonal, that will affect your business. “You know that Godfather quote, ‘It isn’t personal, it’s just business’?” Gage said. “I don’t buy it. Different personalities, values, expectations – all of these are components that can break your business.”

Gage provides a metaphor of two cars heading to the same unfamiliar location. One car has one person, the other has …

Read More
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