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#entrepreneurfail Entrepreneurs Palm Reading

What would you do if you knew, right now, how successful your startup would be in the future?

If  you knew it wouldn’t be successful, would you still pursue the entrepreneurial journey? 

And if you knew it would be successful, would you work as hard at it, or just leave it to fate?

We all know there isn’t a sure shot way to determine the success. Many times, success comes from the toughest challenges and the deepest trenches and at other times, when you least expect it.

One way to get more insight into your future potential to succeed – look at your entrepreneurial characteristics.  You may find a dichotomy of traits: most successful entrepreneurs seem to have a mix of seemingly opposing traits:

  • A loner yet collaborative
  • Loves and hates to leverage money
  • Simultaneously the smartest and most foolish person in a room
  • Silent yet determined
  • Cautious yet risk-taking
  • Eager yet calculated
  • Analytical yet creative
  • Optimistic yet realistic
  • Filled with humility and confidence
  • Lives in the present, yet relishes the future

So what does your palmist say about your future? Will you have many failed startups, or are you working on the golden egg?

What are the traits that will propel you to the next level of your venture? Let us know in the comments below.

This was originally created by Kriti Vichare for #entrepreneurfail: Startup Success.



 
  


Are Your Forms Killing Your Lead Generation Efforts

Above the fold; in a lightbox; at the end of your blog post; on your landing page. The list of “must-have” opt-in form locations seems to get longer every passing year. In an effort to build your prospect list, you diligently comply.

But are all those forms doing their job? Or is poor form design hampering your efforts?

Reduce the Friction

It’s probably beneficial to know your prospect’s zip code, or the number of employees he has, or his annual revenue. For every piece of information you request, though, your reader stops to think, “Do I really want this company to have those details?” Remember, he doesn’t know you yet, and you’re asking him to trust you with personal data. For many people, that’s enough to make them click away, or – perhaps worse – provide false data that then becomes meaningless to you.

Instead, ask for only the information you genuinely need at that point in the relationship. In most cases, an email address is the absolute minimum.

Once you’ve received permission to contact the lead and you earn a bit of trust, you can ask for added information in the following steps. Once your prospect is on your mailing list and has had the opportunity to interact with you for a while, he will be much more likely to share those personal details. Public information about his company can easily be found and added to his record, as well.

These simple changes helped HP improve their conversion rates by 186% as reported in a case study by Marketing Sherpa in 2012. In another study, a shorter form (fewer fields) reduced the cost per lead by more than $10, so it pays to carefully consider just how much information you need at the start of your relationship.

Benefit-Driven Call to Action

Take a hard look at the button on your form. Chances are, it says something like “sign up now.” Here’s the problem: No one wants to “sign up” or “subscribe” or “register.” We want to get something, not do something. Sign up sounds like work. Your call to action – the words on your form button – needs to convey the benefits of clicking that button:

• Get Instant Access
• Download Now
• Get Your Free Gift

Those are calls to action that sound fun and fast and helpful. Those are the buttons that get clicked.

Avoid One-Size-Fits-All Forms

Does your market span multiple industries? If you’re segmenting your list so you can provide relevant information to each prospect, good for you! If you’re asking your prospect to self-select his list preference with a checkbox on your form, well, that’s going a little far.

Instead, create a different form for each list, and use that form where pre-qualified readers will see it – at the bottom of a blog post, for example, or on an industry-specific landing page. Since only those in a particular industry or market are likely to visit the page, there’s no need to make your reader choose. Even better, he won’t feel as if you’re trying to be everything to everyone.

Making it difficult for your prospects to get on your mailing list means they’re more likely to find their way to your competitor instead. Keep it simple, ask for only the information you need at that point in the process, and be sure your prospect knows “what’s in it for him,” and then your lead generation efforts will pay off.

Karon Thackston

About Our GE Network Expert - Karon Thackston

Karon Thackston is President of Marketing Words (http://marketingwords.com), a full-service copywriting agency specializing in web and search engine copywriting. She has over 25 years combined experience in marketing, advertising, copywriting and SEO copywriting. Karon has a strong understanding of the processes involved with creating successful advertising strategies.


entrepreneur-handbook

The thriving American cottage industry includes the smallest businesses of all, ones that can fit into a spare room, basement or garage. But even a business small enough to fit on a kitchen table has to keep impeccable records, function efficiently within its allotted space, and keep its overhead as low as possible. If you are a work-at-home entrepreneur, you get to make the rules, but if you want your business to expand, there are a few resources you will need in order to run a legitimate business.

Licenses, Certificates and Tax I. D. numbers

If you plan to cash checks or other remissions made out to your business, you will need a D.B.A. (Doing Business As) certificate. For tax withholdings purposes, a Federal I.D. number is required for all businesses with payroll. Entrepreneurs may also need state and city business licenses or I.D. numbers, in order to comply with tax requirements. If your business is selling a product that involves another product in its manufacture or shipping, you will need a Resale number to avoid paying sales tax on the auxiliary product. You can find out how to obtain all of these certificates on line or by phoning the entities involved in their issue. If you have a personal accountant, they can also give you information about what you’ll need in this area.

Computers and Internet Access

You will need a fast running computer (the newer the better, for speed and efficiency) and a high speed internet provider in order to communicate with your vendors and customers, manage your inventory, and keep accurate records of your sales. A good computer will be a lifesaver when it comes to organization and documentation. Whether you have a desktop or laptop, this will be where you keep all your records and important papers—the days of having a messy desk or bursting file cabinet are over. A scanner, printer and label writer are also indispensable to the at home entrepreneur, and can often be included as business expenses.

Organizing your Books

As mentioned above, everything is done digitally now. Luckily, there are plenty of software programs available to help you stay digitally organized and accurate. Your electronic records now take up a lot less space in your tiny home office and are instantly accessible to you. You will need a bookkeeping program like Excel to keep track of your sales and taxes collected. You will need a database such as Filemaker Pro, to store customer information, such as street and email addresses, credit card numbers, buying history and notes. You will want to have files devoted to vendors you deal with, places you advertise with, records of your correspondence, in short, everything relevant to your business, at your fingertips at all times. Do not attempt to do your bookkeeping in reverse—do it as you go, and you will save yourself a headache later down the road.

Equipment

If you are an entrepreneur creating your own product from home, you likely have machinery, equipment, and supplies that you rely on. If you are relying on a specific machine to reproduce the product you are selling, you may also want to keep a backup machine on hand, in case the first one fails. This could mean the difference between next day shipping and two week later service. If you require large machinery to produce, store, or move your inventory around, the professionals of Arpac who specialize in warehouse equipment in Calgary suggest that you rent this equipment for the time being until you have more money or your own warehouse.

Office and Warehousing Space

You will have to set aside space for creating your product as well as desk space to manage the related paperwork. Storing data should be a no brainer, whatever can be electronically stored should be carefully entered in your computers and backed up in several places. Storing inventory is the biggest challenge when space is at a premium. Inexpensive, hard plastic shelving can turn garages and extra rooms into neat, well-organized mini warehouses. Some warehouses will allow you to rent a portion of their space for a lower price which is a great option as your business expands—you might not need an entire warehouse to store your inventory, but eventually your product is going to overrun your home.

Materials and Supplies

If you plan to ship a product directly to your customers, a Costco or Sam’s Club Small Business account will offer the best prices on all the packing supplies, shipping envelopes and heavy duty storage shelving you will need for your stock. If you are acting as your own supply chain, other helpful shipping equipment may include a shrink wrap machine and postage meter. Remember the Resale number, so you don’t have to pay sales tax on these supplies.

Once you have jumped through all the hoops and received the proper licensing, you are well on your way to creating a successful home business. Some entrepreneurs are content with running their business out of their garage forever, but if you want to expand your business and one day run a legitimate operation, you need to be professional and legitimate from the start. Sure, it can be tough to act professional when your office is your basement or the guest bedroom, but everyone has to start somewhere, right?


New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera poses for photographers with his trophy after being named MVP of the 2013 All-Star Game following Major League Baseball's All-Star Game in New York

Article Contributed by Dr. Joey Faucette 

The All Stars align for the National and American League All-Star Major League baseball teams this week. So how are they chosen? And what can you learn about how you can positively be an All-Star in your business?

Here are 3 Ways you can grow your business so you will positively be an All-Star:

Be Engaging

Major League Baseball selects its starting lineups for both teams by fan voting. Fans go online, have 25 votes per person to cast, and select their favorites.

Your customers/clients vote for you, sometimes in ways of which you’re unaware. Sure you see their votes as they walk in the door, call, purchase online, and sign a contract—all of which show up on your P&L.

What about when they refer a friend over lunch? Or, tell a coworker in the break room?

Engaging your customers/clients seeds loyalty. Loyalty’s fruit is referrals. Your harvest grows.

How do you engage your customers/clients so that they vote for you?

Engage them and be their All-Star. Solve their problems. Make their lives easier. Create an experience.

Be Exclusive

All-Star voting is by position.

What exclusive position do you play in your customers’/clients’ minds?

When they think of you or your business, do they search all over the field? Or, do they go immediately to your position?

There’s a direct connection between how they think of you exclusively and your level of engagement with them.

Perhaps they think of you around your unique selling proposition (USP). Is it based on value? Or, exceptional customer engagement? Or, ease of use?

Or, are you more exclusive than that? Have you clearly identified your niche? Sure, everybody should do business with you, but more often everybody’s business is nobody’s business. For example, do you engage customers who are dog owners, and prefer Morkies?

The more exclusively you identify your customers/clients, the more they know what you do, how you do it, and refer you to their friends; thus positively growing your All-Star business.

Be Excellent

The selected players are great at their positions and hitting a baseball. They hold records and help their teams succeed.

Such excellence often takes years to develop. They arrive early and stay late, hustle and work hard. They learn and grow through repetitive practice.

What do you do daily to improve your business skills?

The pace of change increases weekly, affecting your business in all kinds of ways. Evaluation and skill development produce excellence over a lifetime.

Lots of business people intend to be excellent. Fewer act in strategic, measureable ways that over time lead to excellence.

As Jim Rohn was fond of saying, “There’s very little traffic on the extra mile.”

Be excellent by doing excellence daily in your business. As you do, you positively become an All-Star business.

About the Author

Dr. Joey Faucette is the #1 Amazon best-selling author of Work Positive in a Negative World (Entrepreneur Press), coach, and speaker who helps business professionals increase sales with greater productivity so they get out of the office earlier. Discover more at www.ListentoLife.org.


5 Success Tips for Entrepreneurs – Green Smoothies, M&Ms and the Challenge of Being Real!

I’ve been pondering the secrets of successful business and why some entrepreneurs are wildly successful while others are just plodding away and ‘getting by’.

As my day unfolded and I observed some of my very own crazy behavior, I realized that it was a very cool mirror for this very question. The answer has to do with being ‘real’, being authentic; successful people and successful businesses tell real stories well.  It’s as simple as that.  And the day showed proved it to me.

This is pretty much how my day went.

I took a cup of fresh spinach, a banana and a pear, a full glass of water and made my first ever green smoothie. It looked gorgeous; deep color, smooth texture and a gorgeous flow into the glass.

It tasted like grass and earth. Ugh!  I poured half of it away and added more fruit.  Then, I have to admit, it tasted pretty good.

I went back to work feeling healthy and extraordinarily self-satisfied!

A few hours later, while icing a cake, I dug into the chocolate icing and a handful or three of M&Ms.

A yummy, healthy salad for lunch was followed a few hours later by a huge chunk of break with a very generous helping of butter…oh and some honey too.

In the midst of all this, I posted to an amazing group of like-minded and like-souled entrepreneurs (in Facebook) – HELP – any cool tips to get back on track, I’m out of control! And the response? Well, wait a minute, I’ll tell you about that soon!!!

So what do you think?

Is this the record of a crazed, addicted and guilt-ridden sugar fiend?

Or a maddening, unbelievable weakness of a health freak?

Or perhaps it’s just that strange and rarely found animal called ‘real’.

Yes, it’s real for me to love healthy food, but also have days of craving sugar and salt and all things unhealthy.

The response I got from my Facebook posting was to be inundated with comments and suggestions, tips and ideas; brilliant, supportive and seriously helpful.

Here’s what I learned from all this that I believe is critical to your business success!

  1. ‘Real’ is okay to admit; actually it’s more than okay, it’s super important
  2. People connect to ‘real’ and usually respond with compassion and support.  This is how community and tribes are created.
  3. It’s important to take people up on their offers of support (asking and receiving help are advanced business skills, seriously!)
  4. Life and business are full of paradox and imperfection – accept it, no celebrate it!
  5. Being ‘real’ (a.k.a. authenticity) is the new language of successful business; practice your realness by telling your stories.
Lisa Bloom

About Our GE Network Expert - Lisa Bloom

Lisa Bloom is a highly professional and accomplished Storyteller, Professional Certified Coach (ICF) and Training & Development Expert with more than 20 years experience working in public and private sectors, high-tech and financial services environments. Lisa helps entrepreneurs de-stress the marketing, build their business with confidence by finding their success story at http://story-coach.com.



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About GetEntrepreneurial.com

GetEntrepreneurial.com is a small business blog dedicated to providing business advice and resources to our community of aspiring entrepreneurs. Our specially hand-picked panel of GetEntrepreneurial.com Network experts regularly contribute entrepreneurial content and professional tips for small business owners worldwide.