July 20, 2015
10 Things Entrepreneurs Need to Know
By Rieva Lesonsky, CEO and Founder of GrowBiz Media

1—Work-Life Imbalance

Workfront took a look at the “work-life balance” issue examining the habits of Millennials vs. Baby Boomer in it’s Work-Life Imbalance report.

Workfront

2—Financial Wellness in Latin America

Fintonic, the leading next generation financial services provider in Spain and Latin America, just announced findings from its recent survey about financial wellness in Latin America and the United States.

There appear to be different financial priorities in Latin America and the U.S. For instance, the survey found on average, between 25-33 percent of Latin Americans in Mexico, Columbia and Chile include education as one of their top three monthly expenditures, compared to only 6 percent of Americans. (Since public education is scarce in Latin American countries, these results are likely due to their primary option of having to resort to private school programs, says Fintonic.) And more than 10 percent of Colombians and Chileans are saving to buy a house compared to 3 percent of Americans.

Fintonic commissioned research firm, YouGov, to poll the attitudes American and Latin American consumers to determine their attitudes toward financial matters.

Some key findings include:

  • Emerging market consumers are looking for easier ways to obtain loans. In emerging markets, where debt is less of an issue compared to the U.S., research shows this might be due to the lack of financial Colombia (57 percent), Mexico (44 percent) and Chile (40 percent) are looking for easier way to obtain loans in the next five years, compared to only 25 percent of Americans.

  • Banks are a thing of the past for U.S. Millennials. The overwhelming majority of US Millennials (87 percent) have bank accounts, but only 6 percent actually trust banks the most when it comes to financial advice. In contrast, Latin American markets still put their trust in banks, though younger generations in Chile and Mexico trust them less. Of those who trust someone/something when it comes to financial advice, 34 percent of Chileans aged 55+ trust banks the most, but only 23 percent of their Millennials trusts them.

  • Parents are the number one trustees. Across the globe, (U.S., Mexico, Colombia and Chile) Millennials overwhelmingly trust their parents above all, including banks, for their financial advice. In fact, of Millennials who trust someone/something when it comes to financial advice, 51 percent of Americans, 42 percent of Mexicans and 41 percent of Colombians rely on their parents/family the most for financial advice over anything else.

3—Business Travel Expenses

Certify, which offers business expense reporting software just released its 2nd quarter report for 2015. Here’s what business travelers are spending on:

Restaurants

1) Starbucks

2) McDonald’s

3) Subway

The most heavily expensed is breakfast, which may account for Starbucks’ position at the top of the ranking.

Hotels

1) Marriott

2) Hampton Inn

3) Courtyard by Marriott

Rental Cars

1) National

2) Enterprise

3) Hertz

Airlines

1) Delta

2) United

3) American

Ground Transportation

1) Uber

2) Taxis

3) Lyft

Most popular cities for Airbnb

1) San Francisco

2) Chicago

3) Seattle

4—Wi-Fi Attitudes

With more devices on the planet than people, it goes without saying that wireless is no longer a bonus—it’s a necessity. By the end of 2015, Gartner expects 4.9 billion connected “things” to saturate the market (up 30 percent from 2014). By 2020, that number jumps to 25 billion.

Xirrus released a whitepaper, Where the Wires End, tracking our Wi-Fi dependence. It says, “Today, users expect to connect wirelessly—and they expect this ability everywhere. Millions of new wireless devices are activated daily, and it is Wi-Fi that enables the mass adoption, use and innovation of the connected devices that reign in all aspects of our lives. We have become a mobile, wireless-reliant society.”

Xirrus, a Wi-Fi network provider, set out to identify specific Wi-Fi usage trends. The findings reveal the far-reaching impact of Wi-Fi in our daily lives, and how vital Wi-Fi is to the future of how we communicate.

The findings reveal:

  • 66 percent of travelers would change hotels for a better Wi-Fi experience; 49 percent would change preferred airline providers
  • The vast majority of respondents say bad Wi-Fi has kept them from doing their jobs
  • 33 percent of people own a wearable device
  • 79 percent of survey respondents don’t think public Wi-Fi is secure; however, 62 percent still use it.
  • [Over half are shopping on pubic Wi-Fi, which is not really a good idea.]

5—Build Your Brand Through Guest Posting

Guest posting is an effective way to generate leads for your business, as long as it is on a website that’s relevant to your industry and is a reputable or legitimate publication. According to Austin Paley, the Corporate Marketing Communications Manager for Blue Fountain Media, says, “In the past, you could write any post for any outlet, and there were no negative repercussions. Today, due to Google’s search engine rankings, this is no longer the case and the guest post process requires more research and a more practical approach in order to benefit your business.

Paley shares more tips:

Pre-writing research

  • Before you start writing your guest post, review the website you’re considering. To make your efforts worthwhile, you want to ensure the site will help you build positive brand recognition.
  • Make sure that the domain authority of the website is authoritative. At our digital agency, our general rule of thumb is to avoid websites that have a domain authority below 40 as defined by Moz’s Open Site Explorer tool. This is a simple way to tell if Google considers the site to be reputable. If your post is going to be linking to your company’s website, you want the source of those links to be respected and not considered spam.
  • Use a tool like SEM Rush to look at keywords and see what the site’s relevancy is according to Google. Even without a tool you can still do your own research to determine relevancy on a site, and see the type of content they typically produce by doing a manual click through of their site. For example, if you’re writing a blog post covering financial topics and see that the website also frequently covers sports, the links you get aren’t going to facilitate leads.
  • Examine the site from a logical perspective to see what the general usability is like. Aesthetically the site should look good and the other content should be of high quality so that you can build respect for your company and enhance the trust users have in your brand.
  • When you’ve selected the publication you’re going to guest post for, keep in mind a few things before you send the post their way. Look for social signals on posts from the past to make sure that they not only have them on their site, but to see the numbers of shares. If posts are only garnering a few shares here and there it might not be worth it to post on that site. You want to know that with the time you have invested in writing a piece that will receive a lot of views.
  • From an SEO perspective, take a look at the links that are in other guest posts. Make sure that they allow a link to your website, and look to see if they are follow or no follow links. While no follow links look like any other link, they don’t count towards your page rankings.

Measurement

After taking the time to write a post, you want to see the results that this investment is providing for your business, and a large portion of those findings should be data-driven. [in certain industries, for instance] you should think about how you can get as much referral traffic as possible, so that you can drive more clicks, phone calls, and request-a-quote submissions. By tracking the analytics on your website, you can see which pieces of published content have directly influenced leads. Since this can be complicated, you should also look for increases in both organic and direct traffic when your article goes live. If it’s a larger placement, you may see some overall jumps in traffic and leads.

6—Startup Strategies

Want to start a business, but don’t quite know what type business you should launch. Chad Bronstein, the CEO of Time to Hire, a business that helps companies find and recruit commission-based sales reps within 48 hours with proprietary technology that cherry picks the best candidates from popular job boards, offers his insights and tips on getting started.

As Bronstein explains, “Entrepreneurs looking to create service-based businesses must realize they’re not selling a widget customers can touch, smell and feel. Instead they’re selling something that ultimately will do something, like save a business money or make a process go faster. This is not something you can take pictures of, do some videos, write some copy, then slap together a website and start selling.” Bronstein’s #1 piece of advice: “be realistic, not everyone can think up the next Uber.”

Bronstein shares his nine-point plan to get started:

1) Intuitive Analysis: Begin by asking yourself, “What am I good at?”, “What do I love doing?” Interview other company owners to understand what their top three business problems are. Use your referral network to help solve their problems and think of ways these issues can be turned into some type of business. If possible, get a sales job in your target industry to learn everything there is to know about this business.

2) Analysis paralysis: Many “wantrepreneurs” get caught up in analyzing every aspect of their new businesses. The secret is simply to start. Essentially, ‘Fake it till you make it’—as there is no way to think of all contingencies!”

3) Low overhead: Many businesses can be started with almost no money at all. Can you operate your business from your home? Can you outsource parts of your business instead of hiring employees?

4) Build trust: Setting proper customer expectations is vital. Find a way to provide your service faster and with more quality than the customer is expecting. Ask happy customers for online reviews, provide a money-back guarantee, have a professional looking website, make payments easy and get paid upfront.

5) Keep it simple: Consider how you can operate your business with fewer or even zero employees.

6) State of improvement: Always examine what procedures and processes can be improved. Find new software to improve productivity and research new vendors to lower costs and expand your offerings. You won’t always get it right, but this is how you stay ahead of your competition

7) Work ON your business and not IN your business: As told by E-Myth author Michael Gerber, one of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make is to spend most of their time working in their business and not ON them. In order to grow, small business owners must be able to replicate themselves.

8) Market and sell like there’s no tomorrow: Make sure you can be found online and learn about SEO. Create specialized landing pages that appeal to different types of customers, create a blog and optimize the content on your site

9) Network: Local groups such as BNI or the Chamber of Commerce are great places to meet local business people. The key to successful networking is the give-to-get philosophy: Build a successful referral network by helping others, referring business and being someone worthy of trust

7—Top Trends Driving the Future of Sales

Salesforce, the world’s #1 CRM company, recently issued its first-ever State of Sales report, which examines the priorities, behaviors and technology use of today’s sales teams. The report found that higher performing sales teams are far more likely to maximize technology, particularly analytics and mobile, and leverage the entire organization in the sales cycle.

As the report shows, sales has changed dramatically over the last few years. The rise of mobile and social technologies has made customers more empowered and knowledgeable than ever before. According to the corporate advisory firm CEB, customers are already 57 percent through the buying cycle before even engaging with a salesperson. When customers do engage seriously with a brand, the selling cycle is competitive and compressed, and sales people need to move quickly to close the sale.

Other insights include:

Sales analytics use soars. The best sales teams are using data to make more informed, behavior-based decisions to fuel sales. Analytics help teams explore data such as revenue by quarter, year-over-year sales rep productivity and opportunity conversion rates to surface undiscovered trends and pinpoint areas to focus on to maximize future growth.

Mobile is becoming a key accelerator for sales. Inspired by consumer adoption, mobile devices and apps are now becoming mainstream for business users. Today’s highest-performing sales reps use mobile apps for everything from lead management to sales forecasting.

  • 60 percent of high-performing sales teams currently use or are planning to use a mobile sales app, while only 9 percent of under-performing sales teams report using mobile apps in their sales processes. Among all sales leaders surveyed, mobile sales app use will more than double in the next two years, growing by 125 percent.
  • Customers and prospects increasingly expect to be able to buy products directly via mobile apps.
  • According to an April 2015 Salesforce research report “Putting Wearables to Work,” 83 percent of all sales teams are currently using or planning to use wearables in some form in the next two years.

Sales success now begins with a collaborative culture. Creating a culture where sales is the collective responsibility of the entire organization is critical to success. In many cases, that means breaking down silos and unifying sales and marketing processes to get a complete view of the customer.

High-performers supercharge their sales with technology. Technology is increasingly a divide between high- and low-performing sales teams. Winning teams are forward-thinking and quick to embrace new technologies to uncover insights, drive efficiencies and meet the demands of today’s customers.

Be sure to download a full copy of the free report, 2015 State of Sales.

8—Teaming Up to Help Entrepreneurs

Kabbage Inc., a leading technology and data platform that powers automated small business lending, is teaming up with Experian, the leading global information services company. As part of the collaboration, Experian will offer Kabbage’s automated lending and servicing platform to its institutional clients that serve small businesses and consumers.

“In today’s competitive lending environment, there is inherent value in automated technology to underwrite, monitor and manage current and prospective customers,” says Laura DeSoto, senior vice president of Experian Business Information Services. “By teaming with Kabbage, we are able to offer our clients additional resources that enable them to minimize risk and improve profitability, while providing small businesses and consumers with access to much-needed capital.”

Pete Steger, head of business development at Kabbage says, “Aligning ourselves with Experian, one of the industry’s top innovators touching millions of customers, is a key step in achieving our goal of broadening access to capital directly through Kabbage and our partners.”

Cool Tools

9—Manage Cash Flow On-the-Go

Fundbox, the leading cash flow optimization platform for small businesses (and a client of ours) just launch of a newly redesigned, mobile-optimized dashboard, which offers additional functionality, an improved user interface, and the convenience of one-click invoice financing whether in the office or on-the-go.

Small business owners are time-pressed and on the move, and are increasingly relying on mobile technology to simplify operations. According to a 2014 AT&T Small Business Technology Poll, 94 percent of small businesses use smartphones to conduct business, and mobile technologies are saving U.S. small business owners more than $65 billion a year. The new mobile-ready dashboard will help small business owners more effectively manage cash flow and finances in the palm of their hands.

New features of the dashboard include:

  • A fully optimized mobile experience
  • Enhanced search functionality for better invoice management within Fundbox
  • Better visibility into available invoices and funds allowing you to make smarter use of your Fundbox credit
  • Embedded tool-tips and notifications throughout the Fundbox user experience
  • Further transparency within the dashboard to clearly highlight all of the relevant details prior to a small business owner initiating a transaction

Fundbox, which uses advanced data analytics, predictive modeling and machine learning, is directly embedded into existing accounting software to ensure that workflow is never interrupted. Funds are typically transferred in less than 24 hours, and there are no set-up fees, hidden fees or penalties for early repayment.

10—New Social Video Platform

GlassView, a social video platform, just launched a “new approach to programmatic video ad buying on a billion-plus scale,” says Renaud Dutreil, former Chairman of LVMH North America and GlassView founding Board member. As GlassView founder & CEO, James G. Brooks, Jr explains, “In today’s constantly evolving media landscape, social videos are quickly becoming the most effective way to achieve the highest levels of brand awareness. What distinguishes GlassView from our competition is our emphasis on providing the most cost-effective and efficient way for brands to distribute their videos on top-tier sites.”

GlassView offers its clients a human-powered approach to programmatic—its strategists take into account audience demographics, behavior, location, lifestyle and attitudes. This allows the account team to identify unexpected, powerful moments on sites that may or may not be contextually relevant to the campaign.

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