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Whether an entrepreneur is grappling with the inception of an idea or its execution, the significance of having a mentor for sound advice and proper guidance cannot be denied. A good mentor helps an entrepreneur think through the business idea, suggests various ways to generate capital for the business, offers the benefit of his experience, and makes up for the know-how that the entrepreneur may lack in the field.

A helpful mentor will be sincerely invested in your entrepreneurial success. Having a mentor who believes in your business idea is a great confidence booster. Finding a mentor who genuinely cares for your success is rare, and there’s nothing quite like actually having one by your side.

Here are five great ways in which mentors invaluably help inexperienced entrepreneurs.

  1. They Impart Practical Knowledge Not Found in Books

There’s no doubt that motivational books help momentously in boosting the confidence of young entrepreneurs. Various autobiographies of business stalwarts also offer great insights into their experiences of running a successful business. But it is an unstated truth that most authors are not comfortable with revealing everything in their books. A mentor, on the other hand, is your guaranteed help in dealing with challenges during your entrepreneurial journey. He/she has practically dealt with the obstacles of running a business and fought through them, which is why he/she can offer you hands-on advice when you face dire situations.

The combination of motivational books and the comradeship of a mentor can prove to be great for your fascinating entrepreneurial journey and keep your entrepreneurial spirit high.

  1. They Help Develop Connections within Industry

Starting from the bottom of the line and finally breaking into an important industry circle can be intimidating, especially if you do not have prior contacts. A successful mentor comes with an unlimited network of connections that can help a newbie enter the industry circle. Since a mentor already believes in your idea and is working with you for the success of your venture, he will introduce you to his connections in the industry and also recommend you.

It is also a well-known fact that investors trust a start-up that is recommended by a successful connection or friend. So, having a mentor helps both ways – building network connections and establishing credibility in the industry circle.

  1. They Assist in Better Financial Management

One of the hardest parts of maintaining the start-up course is to monitor its cash flow and stick to the business plan. More often than not, business execution does not go exactly as planned on paper. Numerous practical situations are responsible for the drift from the initial plans for your business. Only a mentor who has faced such situations and dealt with them can help a budding entrepreneur with the practical know-how of dealing with complex financial and maintaining a sustained cash flow.

From hiring employees to investing in business development, a mentor helps in better utilization of financial resources and provides a good understanding of business management.

  1. They Can Develop Better EQ and Reassurance

Implementing decisions with an emotional mind-set can prove fatal for a business. There’s no doubt that emotional maturity is crucial for the success of a business, but passion for your dream can often bring emotions into the picture. Having a mentor will help you keep emotions aside and think practically when taking critical decisions.

During the initial stages of the business, inexperienced entrepreneurs may need mental reassurance that their chosen path will lead them to success. A mentor helps the entrepreneur in dealing with inhibitions, worries, uncertainties, and promotes self-confidence that reassures a bright future.

  1. They Aid Longer Business Sustenance

As per statistics, more than 30% of new ventures do not survive for more than twenty four months, and 50% don’t make it past five years. An entrepreneur with a mentor should consider himself lucky. It is a proven fact that more than 70% of businesses guided by a knowledgeable mentor survive for more than five years. One of the biggest reasons for this success is that a mentor is invested in your business right from the start. He helps you design a good business model, and improves your skills through constructive criticism and positive mentor-ship.

With the help of a mentor, entrepreneurs can build businesses that are more organized, and grow their professional and personal skills through the mentor’s experience.

As a young entrepreneur, there may be several occasions when doubts about achieving success come to your mind. Having a mentor gives the encouragement to run the business with refined intellect. Mentors are essential to the success of a business and if you don’t have one yet, it’s time to be proactive and find a mentor who believes in you and your dream.

About the Author

Nicola Reynor is a passionate blogger who loves to blog about business, entrepreneurship, finance, health and lifestyle trends. When in leisure time, she prefers to spend time in traveling with friends and family.


The men and women of the armed forces who put their lives on the line to keep our country safe — and who spend extended periods of time away from their families and loved ones in living conditions that are somewhere between difficult and dreadful — are certainly deserving of our gratitude, regardless of where we are on the political spectrum. Remember: we’re talking about military personnel here, not politicians!

What’s more, there is another way that these men and women, upon transitioning back into their civilian lives, are making a valued and vital contribution: they’re launching businesses with a well above-average success rate. Here are the five key reasons why Veterans make great entrepreneurs:

  1. Discipline

While the media loves covering attention-grabbing, “lightning-in-a-bottle” entrepreneurial stories (almost as much as it enjoys covering when some of these businesses crash and burn!), the truth is that succeeding as an entrepreneur is a lot less about glamour, and a lot more about grind. Veterans have the discipline required to stay the course — and remain focused — as opportunities and challenges emerge.

  1. Teamwork

The most successful entrepreneurs aren’t virtuosos. They’re conductors who know how to build strong relationships and delegate accordingly. Veterans have well-honed teamwork skills and know, without a doubt, that success can’t and won’t happen if leaders are working in silos or on an island.

  1. Sacrifice

Virtually all entrepreneurs know (or will discover) that for at least the first few years – and sometimes longer – it’s not about cashing in and surging up a few income brackets. It’s about putting your head down, rolling up your sleeves, and building equity. This typically means working 60+ hours a week, and taking care of tasks and activities when the rest of the employed world is enjoying a holiday, taking a vacation, or sleeping late on the weekends. Veterans could write a book (and some have) on the importance of sacrifice, and how to “get going when the going gets tough.”

  1. Pressure

Many Veterans have faced extreme pressure situations, and are therefore well-equipped to deal with the fact that being an entrepreneur is a high-stress job that involves wearing many different hats.

  1. Reliability

Veterans have proven – often under dire and dangerous conditions – that they’re reliable, dedicated and follow-through on their commitments. All of these qualities are essential for success as an entrepreneur. Indeed, their well-earned reputation for integrity is a big reason why many lending firms offer small business loans for Veterans that have favorable terms, interest rates, and other benefits.

The Bottom Line

These are just some of the key strengths, abilities and talents that many Veterans bring to the entrepreneurial world, and help support their success on the journey from dynamic startup, to established enterprise.

Article Contributed by Hannah Whittenly

The website that you create for your business is the first impression that viewers will have of the products and services that you offer. Many websites are simple in design while still offering beauty, insight to the company and images that are strategically placed and stunning in design. However, if you want your site to stand out from others that are online, consider adding a video or two that will capture the attention of those who are watching.

Story Telling

Don’t ramble in the video. Write out a few ideas that you want to use, but overall, the video should tell a brief story about who you are and about how the company was founded. You can talk about the people who work for the business, the hours of operation and any goals for the future. A call to action should be included at the end of the video to get more customers in the door.

Professional Help

When you look on social media, you probably see videos that people post about their daily lives. While this is sufficient if you want to connect on a fun and personable level with the customer, you want to upgrade a bit to a professional approach. Use the best cameras possible along with color grading techniques, such as those you can do with Color Grading Central, when applicable. There are companies that can help with tutoring you about how to hold the camera and colors that work well in videos so that you offer the best presentation possible.

Multiple Channels

Many people who make videos post them to YouTube. It’s an easy way to get your name in the public eye. If you want to grow your business, you need to make sure the videos that you make are posted on multiple channels instead of just one or two. There are codes that you might need to include, which is where professional help can come into play, along with ways to track the number of people who view your videos to determine where you need to put more effort in placing them.

In the Effects

Sound and visual effects are good to use, but you don’t want to go overboard with what’s included. Background music that blends with the story that you tell and a few props that are placed in the background that are from the company or that give an idea about what the company offers can be used in the video. Consider effects like swiping from one screen to another to keep the attention of the viewer.

A video on your website is an effective way to gain more customers if it’s done in the right way. Create a plan before filming. Go through a rough draft before putting the video on the site so that you can see what it will look like and what needs to be adjusted.

About the Author

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake. For your video editing needs, Hannah recommends Color Grading Central.

To environmentalists (and many others), the goal of net zero is as close to clean energy nirvana as you can get – and Salesforce just hit a significant new milestone in its pursuit.

Net zero is all about reducing energy consumption so that the total amount of energy used annually by a building about equals the amount of renewable energy the site creates. Achieving it is a major aspect of the clean energy drive that’s a focus of major corporations and that’s also influencing both the residential and commercial building industries.

In 2015, Salesforce underscored its commitment to sustainable design by vowing to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 across its global footprint. That it did so only two years later and 33 years ahead of schedule sets a high bar for others to follow with its variety of innovative programs in support of the goal.

For example, Salesforce sees its role as an influencer – and not just with its peers in the corporate community, but also with its suppliers. Those are primarily building owners, as the company leases the majority of its offices and data centers and doesn’t directly pay the utility bills. That posed a potential obstacle to achieving net zero emissions. It was solved through power purchase agreements for wind power in Texas and West Virginia. The PPAs allow the company to bring new renewable energy online without having to take possession of the electricity.

Salesforce’s way of approaching clean energy goals as a tenant is worth noting, since the landlord-tenant divide has typically been a major barrier keeping developments from reaching net zero goals.

For example, there are challenges to developers recouping investments to solar PV systems when tenants pay a monthly bill to an electric utility. It’s also problematic for tenants to prioritize energy efficiency when they have little control over energy infrastructure and equipment.

But a new net zero development in Boulder, Co. has overcome that divide with the first net zero lease for any multi-tenant development of its size. The lease agreement at Boulder Commons, two commercial buildings with 100,000 square feet of office space and restaurants is with the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), which has its own net zero energy innovation center in Basalt, Co. Its space in Boulder Commons would allow it to continue to walk the talk.

The net zero lease gives legal teeth to shared net zero goals. Among other aspects, it incentivizes RMI to stay within a set plug load or, if it doesn’t, to offset the overage with renewable energy certificates. Transportation related emissions are similarly treated. Parking costs are separated from space rent to incentivize RMI to encourage alternative commuting and see the benefit in lower rent over time.

The next frontier on the net zero front is for residential development, according to Denis Vranich, a longtime Ontario redeveloper of multi-residential and commercial properties. His UrbanLife Residential construction arm focuses on green building techniques and aims to reduce the carbon footprint of his buildings to as small as possible.

Most sustainable homes are currently net zero ready; builders have been reluctant to offer full net zero homes given the $35,000-plus extra they can add to the price. However, Denis Vranich mentions that he has seen more of these projects underway in Ontario, showing that the price is not necessarily a deterrent to the growing numbers of people who want to reduce their personal carbon footprints.

Even so, for many, homes that are merely green, through such technologies as solar and wind power and other features like spray foam insulation, will also serve their purposes. Savings can be tenfold over the life of these buildings, as Vranich adds, and owners can feel satisfied they’re doing something positive for the environment.


How Modern Restaurants Are Born

Posted by Pamela Swift in Business Ideas

When most people think about selling their signature dishes, they often envision the daunting process of getting a business loan, renting or purchasing property to make into their restaurant or café, and then worrying to death over if they can pay their bills and employees. Not to mention worrying about if they will have customers! However, there is a growing movement to change how a restaurant is born.

It Starts in the Kitchen

Because of the growing number of financial issues that result in difficulties in trying to get those much-needed loans to open an eatery. Most cannot save the money needed for a startup or struggle to find investors. Many people just want to find a way to make extra cash for home repairs or holiday celebrations. So, they turn to their own kitchens and begin shelling out catered meals or baked goods to fulfill their dreams and goals.

How Do They Do It?

So how do they manage to make their dishes and build a business? Quite a few folks use blogging and various forms of social media to advertise beyond just friends and family about their services. While it does begin with a bit of word of mouth, posting to your local connections on a Facebook group will put yourself out there as a serious contender in the food business.

Isn’t the Home Kitchen Too Small?

It can be. Many start out using their home equipment and ingredients from the grocery store. As orders start racking up, they can then save up and get some equipment from a restaurant supply store. Grabbing a mixer from a restaurant supplier will translate into bigger batches and bigger batches means more money made in a smaller amount of time.

When to Transition

Ultimately, when you transition from home based business to commercial is up to you. Some gradually grow into renting commercial kitchens before plunging into an actual restaurant or café space. Some choose to bottle or package their product and sell to local restaurants and grocery stores. Many famous people (Jimmy Dean and Paul Newman come to mind!) start out of their kitchens and move to a production line!

Ideally if you notice that your kitchen can’t keep up with your orders and if you are unable to work your regular job and this side job, it’s time to move. Using healthy money habits as you go will allow for you to take your business to the next level.

Is it Legal?

For a long time, many states did not allow for the sale of homemade foods. Fortunately, many states have now changed their minds and have passed laws and ordinances around what is called the cottage food industry. You should first check with your state to make sure it’s legal and that you are following health and safety inspections. There may also be ordinances about which ingredients can be used in your items for health purposes.

Starting a food business from home is really one of the easiest ways to make extra cash on the side. Building a reputation by word of mouth, social networking sites, maintaining a food blog, and ethical practices are sure ways to increase business. Eventually those businesses can grow into catering companies, food trucks, bakeries, cafes, and traditional restaurants!

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