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Why You Should Try a Subscription Model for Your Business (and Some Tips on How to Do It)

Every entrepreneur wants consistent monthly income to fuel their cash flow and business goals. However, between economic cycles and changing customer interests, that regular revenue may be hard to achieve.

I’ve talked with more and more small business owners lately who use a subscription business model. It involves offering monthly subscriptions for various products and services. Options for these subscriptions cover all kinds of items. Maybe you know someone who receives a subscription box filled with clothing or makeup. Perhaps you’ve tried making meals prepared by Blue Apron or you receive shaving supplies from Dollar Shave Club. Millions of people enjoy Netflix and Spotify for streaming. Other companies offer toys for kids and treat boxes for pets.

The subscription e-commerce industry generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue each year. A 2018 McKinsey survey noted that nearly 60 percent of American consumers surveyed had multiple subscriptions. The monthly subscription economy doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. People love the time and money they save, as well as the excitement of personalization and convenience.

Besides attracting and retaining customers who want these benefits, there’s a significant advantage for subscription companies: recurring revenue. Instead of a one-time payment, monthly subscription businesses collect a monthly fee (or sometimes a year of fees in exchange for a lower monthly rate) before sending out the product or service.

This revenue model provides an upfront spike in cash flow along with a longer-term outlook for stable income. Moreover, you’ll get a better sense of product volume for inventory planning and management.

There is no time like the present to start a monthly subscription business to ride the lucrative wave. Here’s how to launch:

Decide on a subscription model type.

There are three main sub-models that can frame your monthly business within the subscription model. The curation model involves creating a personalized box for customers based on interests they share when they sign up. This might include sample-size versions of products related to a hobby or lifestyle.

The replenishment model is the one I use most often. It offers a regular stream of products the customer uses. For example, Amazon offers this under the name, “Subscribe and Save,” for many food items, cleaning supplies, vitamins, and more.

The access model provides a feeling of exclusivity for customers who get products and experiences not available to anyone without a subscription. Again, let’s reference Amazon. Its Prime program gives members special discounts, offers, and products not accessible to non-Prime members.

Consider a service-oriented subscription model.

You may be wondering how to find your niche. Consider a service-oriented skill set you have that could fit this approach. For example, if you specialize in graphic design, web development, or writing, consider this model for your monthly business.

In contrast to a monthly retainer model, a service-based subscription model provides upfront revenue while giving clients the opportunity to select a pricing tier with accompanying services that fit their needs.

Proceed like any business startup.

I’ve met many a startup founder that didn’t do the basics. Make sure you conduct research, determine a market need or interest, think about what the new product looks like, scope out any competition, and establish pricing.

Create a business plan that outlines your monthly business model, marketing plans, launch timeline, budget, and profitability forecast. Explore technology that helps automate the ordering, processing, and payment aspects of your subscription. I know entrepreneurs who use SaaS companies like Zuora or Zoho here. Also, study how other subscription brands have used marketing tools and platforms to launch and grow their business.

When you are ready to share your subscription business with your audience, consider a no-obligation trial. This entices people to try it on their terms and get excited to sign up for a longer period. In addition, make sure your website or social media promotion has a transparent subscription pricing guide that describes what customers receive at each pricing tier.

Taking all these steps prior to launch can set your monthly subscription business up for success. You want to know that you can attract customers and then deliver an exceptional experience so they maintain their subscriptions and spread the word.

Offer a recurring automatic payment method.

As part of establishing a successful subscription business, it’s ideal to offer old and new customers a way to select recurring automatic payments for their monthly subscription service. They can choose where to deduct the money from — a bank account or credit card.

This model works because it saves them from having to remember to make a payment each month. Instead, they can set up a payment method and comfortably receive the service on a regular basis.

By: John Boitnott

Source: Why You Should Try a Subscription Model for Your Business (and Some Tips on How to Do It)

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It’s August, and All of Europe Is on Vacation. How Do You Run Your Global Business?

Paid vacation time is mandatory in the European Union–four weeks is a minimum. That number can seem crazy to people in the United States, where it takes 20 years of service to reach an average of 20 vacation days a year–and even when we have it, we don’t use it all.

But, in my experience, Europe embraces vacation–sometimes in ways that make no sense. I’ve frequently found restaurants that close for two weeks during peak tourist season–because the owners want to take their own vacation time. I’d think they would close in the offseason and make money while they could, but the vacation culture is strong.

This summer, my family is basically staying put, for a variety of reasons. We’re making a couple of short trips, but otherwise staying in our home in Switzerland (which, admittedly, is a prime vacation spot in and of itself). And it’s impossible to get anything done.

My lawyer has been on vacation for the past three weeks and will be back next week. I have some things I need her to look at, and they have to wait.

Getting a doctor’s appointment? Good luck! At least the walk-in clinic runs year-round.

While this affects my day-to-day life because I’m physically here, it can also affect your business, even if you’re based in the United States. When someone says, “The Geneva office is closed for three weeks,” they aren’t joking, and no one around here even bats an eyelash. So, how do you do the international part of your business when everyone else is at the beach? Here are some ideas:

Plan ahead

This is going to happen every year. Some countries are worse than others, with everyone going at the same time. One of the problems is that European schoolchildren tend to have shorter summer vacations–six weeks is common–compared with the 10 to 12 weeks American schoolchildren get. Don’t cry for the poor, suffering schoolchildren here–they get an additional eight weeks throughout the school year.

But those six weeks are going to vary from country to country. German and British schools tend to get out at the end of July, while Swiss schools close the last week in June. So, you’ll have better luck with your London office in July than you will with your Swiss office. Go ahead and ask when peak vacation season is and plan accordingly.

Partner with larger companies

While small businesses can be excellent partners, if you will need people year-round, without fail, a large company will be a better bet than a small one. The multinational corporation isn’t going to shut down its Paris office for the summer, but the small business might close its doors for the entire month of August. Ask when you are building relationships. They won’t think to bring it up, because it’s often a normal part of doing business here.

Embrace vacation yourself

Go. Take a vacation. Step away from the office and your phone and your laptop. Europeans have proved that the world doesn’t end if you go on a vacation. If you’re good at what you do, people will be waiting for you when you get back. It’s OK to take some downtime.

Just make sure that if you do come to Europe for your vacation that the restaurants will be open in the small village you thought looked charming. Otherwise, you may be miserable during your vacation.

By: Suzanne Lucas, Freelance writer @RealEvilHRLady

Source: It’s August, and All of Europe Is on Vacation. How Do You Run Your Global Business? | Inc.com

How to Start a Business in 10 Steps

A little less than two-thirds of Americans want to start their own business. Perhaps surprisingly, this is true among both younger and older workers. Like the drive to write a book ( 81% of Americans) or work as a full time freelancer (soon to be half of all workers), starting your own business is a widely shared dream.

For good reason. People who work for themselves tend to love it. Although it comes with the complexity of having to manage every piece of an operation, as well as the stress of knowing that success rides completely on your own shoulders, there’s nothing quite like being your own boss.

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It’s also very possible. Here’s how.

1. Research Your Market

This guide will assume that you already know what your business will do. If not, we have an excellent guide to coming up with your small business idea here.

Once you have your idea set, you need to do your research.

Starting your business will inevitably be a learning experience, but you want to get as much information as you can beforehand. So take some time to study your planned market. Ask questions like:

• What kind of competition will you face?

• Who is your target consumer?

• Where will you locate your business?

• What are the logistical and practical concerns about that location?

• What do consumers like and dislike about the existing market for your product?

• What do consumers say they want right now?

• What kind of spending power does your target consumer have?

Your market will be different depending on the nature of your business venture. A corner store has entirely different demographics and challenges than a web-based service vendor. In both cases, though, it pays to know your audience. Literally.

2. Write a Business Plan

The business plan is the blueprint for your company. It’s where you’ll apply your research and planning into one document that describes in detail the who, what, when, where, how and why of your new business. In it you will address issues such as:

• Who you will market to;

• What you plan to sell;

• When you anticipate hitting certain benchmarks, your timeline for development;

• Where you will locate this business, whether online or brick and mortar;

• How you will operate this business day-to-day;

• Why this business, what opportunity did you see in the market.

Your business plan should also address critical issues such as:

• Monetization and cash flow. How do you anticipate making your money and turning a profit?

• How much will it cost to run this business? Don’t miss the details.

• When do you expect to become profitable?

• Specific challenges you anticipate and how you will overcome them.

• What will it take, step by step, to operate this business and create this product?

The business plan article linked above goes into more detail, and the Small Business Association has a template here. Both are worth reading in further detail, because starting a business without a business plan is like setting off on a road trip without a map or GPS.

And, of course, don’t forget to pick a terrific name.

3. Get Feedback

Now stop.

Writing your business plan should be exhausting. This should be a detail-oriented document that takes a hard look at your planned venture and how, precisely, it will work. If you’ve done it right, by now you should be ready to tear into the building phase of your new business.

Instead, take a step back and solicit feedback. Call friends, family and colleagues who might have some knowledge of the industry you’d like to enter. Seek out mentors or professional guidance if possible. Get their opinion of your business plan. They might have questions you didn’t think of or notice something that slipped by you.

Hopefully this business will be around for years to come. You can afford a small delay while you get a few more eyes on your proposal.

4. Find the Money

Cards on the table, this is the hardest part for most entrepreneurs.

Not every business needs a lot of startup capital, but you will almost certainly need some. How much will depend a lot on what you want to do. A web-based services firm might require very little in the way of funding, while a retail store can require a substantial amount of cash to pay for rent, inventory and staff.

Regardless of how much, now is when you need to find this money.

This is something every entrepreneur faces, and small business owners turn to a variety of sources for startup capital. No matter where you get funding, expect to invest at least some of your own money. Lenders and investors will want to see that you have “skin in the game,” to use industry speak. Beyond your personal accounts, called self-funding, small business owners also rely on:

Bank Loans

Many businesses start with a small business loan from local banks.

You will need to have all of your paperwork in order to pursue a loan. Expect the institution to ask for details from your business plan, including monetization strategy and financial projections. If you have trouble securing a loan, you can turn to the Small Business Association which runs a loan guarantee program to help make this type of financing more accessible.

Personal Loans

While not an option for every entrepreneur, many people do rely on loans from family and friends.

If possible this is typically better than securing a loan through the bank. You’ll likely pay little interest and will have more generous terms in case of default. However, it also depends on knowing people who have that kind of cash lying around.

Grants

While not lavishly funded, programs such as Grants.gov operate small business grants for entrepreneurs.

Investment

Professional investors typically look for potentially large-growth business opportunities. Depending on the nature of your intended company, this could be a good fit for you.

A venture capital firm is unlikely to sink money into a small legal practice or restaurant. These tend to be low-growth relative to the returns that they seek. However, someone looking to launch a new product or web-enabled service, something with high potential scalability, might be a good fit for the private investment model.

Local angel investors, such as those found through AngelList, are more likely to invest in a regionally focused business. While beyond the scope of this article, you can learn more about finding private investors here.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding has become an increasingly common source of startup capital for small businesses. This model tends to reward retail style projects (someone looking to create a specific thing that catches the public’s eye). It can also be an excellent way to hone your sales pitch to a general audience.

For more information on financing, the SBA has a comprehensive information sheet on common sources of funding here.

5. Choose a Location

Where you locate may determine some of your legal obligations and paperwork, so it’s best to get that done at this step.

As much as possible you should try and do this with specificity. While you’re not ready to sign a lease just yet, the closer you can come to a specific address the better. Meanwhile, if you’ll be starting this company online, now’s the time to pick up your domain if you haven’t already.

Pay attention to local laws! We cannot overemphasize this. The best location can be killed off by a zoning ordinance that makes your business illegal on that particular street corner. Municipal laws can be petty and confusing, so make absolutely sure your business is street legal.

6. Establish Legal and Tax Structures

If at all possible, at this step you should retain the services of a lawyer and/or accountant. You will absolutely want professional advice. Otherwise, you run the risk of missing details that come back to bite you down the road. We also must note that nothing here constitutes legal advice. This is just a general primer on what you need to know.

Now is when you’ll actually begin forming your business and filling out the necessary paperwork with federal, state and local governments. This can involve (but is not limited to):

Choosing Your Corporate Structure

There are many types of businesses you can form, including LLCs, S-Corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships and more. Those listed here are the most common corporate forms for a small business. The right one for you will depend on issues like cash flow, number of participants and how you want to structure potential liability. You can read more about this issue here and here.

Register Your Business

How you have to register, and with who, will depend on your specific corporate form. However, if you have formed a corporation of some sort you will have to file articles of incorporation to create this legal structure. For more information on registering your business, see this resource.

Register With State and Federal Tax Agencies

You will need a tax number and may need an employer ID number. The SBA has a guide to finding and filling out your appropriate tax forms here.

Determine Any Licenses and Permits That You Need

Depending on the nature of your business, you may need a license to operate. The SBA has a database of federal and state licensing requirements here.

Be certain to also look up zoning and location-based regulations. You may need additional permits based on where you’ve chosen to operate your business. These are typically a city-level concern.

7. Open Bank Accounts and Sign Leases

Once your business has been properly formed you can begin to act in its name. Now is when you can start actually executing on many of the opportunities you’ve already lined up.

Open bank accounts in your new business’ name. Take out a corporate credit card and, if your bank offers it, work to pre-establish a line of credit. You will find this easier to do now that your company exists and has established funding, although it may not become an option until you have operated for some time.

Go out and actually get the funding you secured earlier, because now you have someplace to put it. You should have already gotten the “yes” by now from someone, but you don’t want to deposit corporate seed money into your personal checking account. This may technically constitute a felony that rhymes with “schmembezzlement,” and is poor form either way.

With the money in hand and a functional checkbook, now is when you sign the necessary leases on real estate.

8. Take Care of Little Details

Once again step back and take stock, because the best ideas can be broken by the smallest details.

Make sure your business has comprehensive insurance for issues ranging from fire to property damage and legal liability. Many business owners overlook that last issue, and it can be a career killer if someone slips and falls or even just decides they don’t like you.

If you will hire employees put a documented process in place for hiring and firing. Have your workers compensation and unemployment insurance paperwork filed and in order.

If you haven’t already, talk to both a lawyer and an accountant. This is especially critical if you will employ people. Even if you don’t formally retain an attorney, buy a few hours of an employment lawyer’s time to make sure you have your bases covered. Figure out how your business will do its accounting and have that system set up and operational, whether you’ll do it yourself or have hired a professional.

9. Start Making Things

Now, at long, exhaustive last, we get to the fun part. It’s time to start actually making things.

You have the money, you have the location. You have all of your paperwork filed and are legally bulletproof. Now begin making your product.

How you do this will, obviously, depend entirely on what you specifically do. A manufacturing company will need to source suppliers for raw materials and the necessary machinery. (Because you took our advice and checked out all the local laws you won’t need to worry about any noise complaints from the neighbors.) A retailer will source vendors and set up an inviting, fun storefront. A consultant will finish making her office look tasteful and professional.

A restaurateur should stock the kitchen, buy appliances and write out a menu.

The details of getting to work depend entirely on your industry and profession. Fortunately, you’ve got a well written business plan for figuring out what those details are. Whatever you do, though, now’s the time to start actually doing it.

10. Scale and Hire

Your business is operational. Now’s the time to think about how to keep the lights on.

Some businesses will require employees from the very beginning. A cafe, for example, is almost impossible to run alone. Those employees are part of your startup costs and will be with you from the very beginning. As your business grows you may have the luxury of hiring more people to take some of the work off your plate.

Now is also the time to begin marketing.

To be fair, this is something you should be considering all along. You should always think about how to get your business’ name out into the community. Don’t let up once the doors open. Look to social media, advertising, foot traffic and local networking to get people in. Talk with other businesses in the area about collaboration efforts.

This is where you get to be creative. This is the fun part of being an entrepreneur. If you’re at step 10 you’ve earned it. So enjoy, because this is your business.

Source: How to Start a Business in 10 Steps – TheStreet

Cisco, Tilray, Aurora Cannabis, Alibaba, Trade Talks – 5 Things You Must Know

Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, May 15:

1. — Stock Futures Lower Amid Subsiding Trade War Worries

U.S. stock futures were lower Wednesday though sentiment was lifted by a softening of the rhetoric from Donald Trump in the U.S.-China trade war and suggestions that talks could resume in the coming weeks.

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Markets also were soothed by weaker-than-expected economic data from China that pointed to not only slowing growth in the world’s second-largest economy but also a weakening bargaining position in Beijing’s trade standoff with Washington.

With Trumps describing the dispute with China as “a little squabble” on Tuesday, as well as confirmation from the U.S. Treasury that Secretary Steven Mnuchin will soon travel to Beijing to resume trade talks, markets were happy to add risk following Tuesday’s gains on Wall Street.

Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 85 points, futures for the S&P 500 declined 8.70 points, and Nasdaq futures were down 23 points.

The economic calendar in the U.S. Wednesday includes Retail Sales for April at 8:30 a.m. ET, the Empire State Manufacturing Survey for May at 8:30 a.m., Industrial Production for April at 9:15 a.m., and Oil Inventories for the week ended May 10 at 10:30 a.m.

2. — Cisco, Alibaba and Macy’s Report Earnings Wednesday

Alibaba Group Holding (BABAGet Report)  posted stronger-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter earnings as consumer growth on its online marketplace surged and its tie-up with Starbucks (SBUXGet Report) , the world’s biggest coffee chain, helped boost revenue and its cloud computing sales surged.

Macy’s (MGet Report)  earned 44 cents a share on an adjusted basis in the first quarter, higher than estimates of 33 cents. Same-store sales rose 0.7% in the quarter vs. estimates that called for a decline of 0.6%.

Earnings reports are also expected Wednesday from Cisco Systems (CSCOGet Report) and Jack in the Box (JACKGet Report) .

Cisco is a holding in Jim Cramer’s Action Alerts PLUS member club. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells CSCO? Learn more now.

3. — Tilray Rises After Revenue Beat, Aurora Cannabis Slumps

Tilray  (TLRY) shares were rising 4% to $50.71 in premarket trading Wednesday after the Canadian cannabis company posted stronger-than-expected first-quarter sales, while its domestic rival Aurora Cannabis (ACBGet Report) slumped after revenue missed analysts’ forecasts amid caps on retail store growth in the Canadian market.

Tilray said first-quarter revenue rose 195% from a year earlier to $23 million, as sales in Canada surged following the country’s decision to legalize cannabis for recreational use. The adjusted loss in the quarter was 27 cents a share, wider than analysts’ estimates, after a 5.7% drop in the average price per kilogram sold.

CEO Brendan Kennedy also said Tilray was looking to further its partnerships with U.S. and international companies as the potential $150 billion global market for cannabis undergoes a generational change in both regulation and consumer acceptance.

“We’ve been inundated with contacts from Fortune 500 companies who are interested in exploring partnerships with Tilray,” Kennedy told investors on a conference call late Tuesday. “And it’s a range of companies from a broad variety of industries.”

“We’re also starting to have conversations with U.S. retailers who are interested in carrying CBD product in the second half of this year,” he added.

Aurora Cannabis, meanwhile, was tumbling 4.7% to $7.99 in premarket trading after its fiscal third-quarter revenue of C$75.2 million missed Wall Street forecasts of C$77.2 million and consumer cannabis sales were just under C$30 million as provincial regulators limited the number of retail outlets.

The company reported a loss attributable to shareholders in the quarter of $C158 million said Aurora Cannabis said it was “well positioned to achieve positive EBITDA beginning in fiscal Q4.”

Aurora Cannabis is in TheStreet’s Stocks Under $10 portfolio. To find out more about how you can profit from this investing approach, please click here.

4. — Walmart Considering IPO for U.K. Unit Asda

Walmart (WMTGet Report) is considering an initial public offering for its U.K. grocery subsidiary Asda, a listing that that could value the company at as much as an estimated 8.5 billion pounds ($11 billion), Bloomberg reported.

The news comes just weeks after U.K. antitrust regulators blocked a planned merger between Asda, Britain’s fourth-largest supermarket, and rival J Sainsbury.

“While we are not rushing into anything, I want you to know that we are seriously considering a path to an IPO,” Judith McKenna, the company’s international chief, told employees at an event in Leeds, according to a summary of the event provided by Asda. Any preparations for going public would “take years,” she said, Bloomberg reported.

5. — Nelson Peltz’s Trian May Wage Activist Campaign at Legg Mason – Report

Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund Management may wage an activist campaign at Legg Mason (LMGet Report) and push the mutual fund company to improve its flagging results, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

It would be the second time in 10 years that Trian has targeted the mutual fund company, according to Reuters.

Trian recently has held discussions with Legg Mason about the need to cut costs and improve profit margins, the people told the Journal. The two sides may still negotiate a settlement that sidesteps a proxy fight, the sources added.

On a conference call with analysts Monday, Legg Mason CEO Joseph Sullivan said the company was moving to slash expenses.

“While there is much work to be done, we now have increased visibility into and have gained even greater confidence in our ability to deliver $100 million or more of annual savings now within two years,” he said.

By:

 

Source: Cisco, Tilray, Aurora Cannabis, Alibaba, Trade Talks – 5 Things You Must Know

18 Things You Need To Give Up To Become A High-Achieving Person – Brianna Wiest Brianna Wiest

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A secret about success is that it is just as much about what you give up as what you gain.Are you willing to give up late nights out for late nights in working? Are you willing to turn a deaf ear to blind criticisms? Are you willing to listen to helpful ones? Are you going to be able to give up the doubt, the resistance, the uncertainty, the avoidance mechanisms? As Mastin Kipp says: Are you willing to live as other people won’t, so maybe you can live as other people can’t…………….

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/briannawiest/2018/03/20/18-things-you-need-to-give-up-to-become-a-high-achieving-person/#24fca2bf11fa

 

 

 

Your kindly Donations would be so effective in order to fulfill our future research and endeavors – Thank you

What Your Business Should And Shouldn’t Publish Online

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Gone are the days when social media was used solely for connecting friends and family. Social media has now become the norm for all types of businesses to market and sell their brand. Yet even in the current social media climate, businesses still struggle to fully use online mediums successfully.

As a founder and CEO of two successful online businesses, I have first-hand experience of what works (and what doesn’t) in the social media business world. My experiences and mistakes can help both young entrepreneurs and well-established brands alike create and cultivate their successful online businesses.

Understand Your Audience

As I planned my social media strategy, one of the first lessons I learned was how important it is to understand your audience. The more I knew about my audience’s age, occupation, motivations and worldviews, the more I was able to create and time posts that resonated with them. And the questions I find useful to ask myself as I engage with my social accounts are: “In what ways am I helping my audiences? How does my product improve the lives of my audience?”

Remember that social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, aren’t simply broadcast media. They are engagement media, which means they are also listening networks. I use several methods to listen to my audiences, including Google analytics and staying on top of trending hashtags and social mentions. I also regularly conduct YouTube and Twitter searches. I have found that these tools help me understand what my readers are interested in and predict what content may spark their imagination.

Understand Your Social Media Platforms

I have also learned that I need to tailor my social media strategies according to the social channel I am using. Because each social media platform has its own unique traits, your content and strategy may work for one platform and not another. For example, I experimented using image-heavy content on all of my social media channels. While images were successful on Instagram and YouTube, they were less successful on Twitter.

By way of illustration, on one of my sites, we posted this following fact on all of our media accounts: “On average, cats spend two-thirds of every day sleeping. That means a nine-year-old cat has been awake for only three years of its life.” Although we posted the fact on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the same image, it received more likes and shares on Facebook and Instagram than it did on Twitter. This isn’t to say that you should never use an image on Twitter. Once again, listen to your audience. If you think an image will help connect you with your audience on Twitter, then use an image.

Understand Post Timing And Frequency

Along with knowing your audience and the dynamics of social media platforms, a successful business will know when to post. I have found that even high-quality messages posted at the wrong times will go nowhere. In contrast, a high quality-quality message posted at the right time can lead to more shares and likes. For example, I created very high-quality Pinterest posts, but I haphazardly posted them. The result was a mediocre Pinterest account.

Gone are the days when social media was used solely for connecting friends and family. Social media has now become the norm for all types of businesses to market and sell their brand. Yet even in the current social media climate, businesses still struggle to fully use online mediums successfully. As a founder and CEO of two successful online businesses, I have first-hand experience of what works (and what doesn’t) in the social media business world. My experiences and mistakes can help both young entrepreneurs and well-established brands alike create and cultivate their successful online businesses.

Frequency: 1-10 times per month

Do: Incorporate value-added benefits and paid advertising; demonstrate value through a mix of coupons, special offers and new product announcements; always post interesting, timely and relevant content; treat social media profiles as an alternative storefront

Don’t: Post mediocre content that will drive away customers

Social media allows business owners an opportunity to get in front of both current and potential customers. By tailoring your social media strategies across different platforms and timeframes, you can curate an engaging narrative that users will find useful and memorable.

The trick to finding success may actually be consciously deciding where not to be and why. Striking a balance between content, content platform and content frequency can be a bit daunting at first. But taking a look at your overall objective and developing a game plan can easily help you take your business to the next level online.

Hard Work Isn’t Enough–4 Business Lessons Billionaires Use to Get Started

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Everyone has to start somewhere and most entrepreneurs start with little more than a great idea before turning it into a thriving reality.

Are you starting off in business still looking for your big break?

You might have a great idea, but getting off “GO” can be tough. Maybe you’ve tried a few things, but keep hitting roadblocks.

If you can’t get traction, you’ll fail to attract the top talent to your team and that will leave you running ragged.

It could keep you from landing the right investor so you never get the funding you need to turn your dream into reality.

Not getting momentum could keep you from pursuing a big opportunity that might pay off in the long run.

Bottom line: you can’t get to billionaire until you get started. Remember: Every billionaire was once a beginner.

Learn these 4 lessons every billionaire knows — and used — to get started.

Maximize the Power of Calculated Risks (or settle for normal)

The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks. — Mark Zuckerberg

You are in charge of your growth, so it’s time to really start thinking like an entrepreneur.

Don’t be afraid to try things out. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Wins and losses are all part of the game. The truth is that you just don’t know your market until you try!

If you don’t take risks, then how are you supposed to stand out from the crowd?

Your competition has likely taken many risks. If your competition is doing one thing, then do the other. Companies that gamble on new ideas may be more likely to fail, but they are also the ones more likely to hit it big financially.

It’s the big ideas that are going to be the big successes. The crazy ones. The ones you think are a long shot — those are what will take you from beginner to billionaire.

Be fearless — because that is what being an entrepreneur is all about. Just accept it now: To get anywhere worthwhile, you’re going to have to take some risks.

Once you get the hang of this one, you’ll need the next lesson:

Failure Doesn’t Have to Be Fatal or Final (whatever doesn’t kill you…)

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. — Thomas A. Edison

Along the path to success, you’re going to fail. Trust me, I once invested a lot of money in an exercise product by Chubby Checker. Turns out that having “Chubby” in the name of your product isn’t a recipe for success in the exercise industry.

But failure is not always a bad thing. And it doesn’t have to be final, if you don’t let it.

The only true failure comes when you don’t learn from your mistakes. That’s failure.

You know what I tell people whose product isn’t a great success? Test it again. Make changes.

Pivot.

I love that word: pivot. It’s a great way to talk about failure. When something goes wrong, you need to shift your perspective. Take away the word fail and make it about change.

Is the direction your product is going in not working for you or potential customers? Shift gears. What’s missing? That’s what you need to figure out. And that might take more than one round of failure.

It’s not a failure if you can see it as a test that didn’t work. You’ve eliminated a problem. Keep troubleshooting and eventually, you’ll solve it.

I’ve had business ventures that I thought were a sure thing, only to lose money on them. Did I drop out of the entrepreneurial world just because of that?

Absolutely not.

Those experiences led me down new paths, into the world of infomercials, Shark Tank, and even bigger successes.

Failure is feedback.

It’s information to help you do better next time. It helps you improve your process. Ultimately, success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

So embrace failure. When an idea falls flat, a deal doesn’t work out, or a new strategy tanks, take it as the next stepping stone along your way to your ultimate success.

Develop a Sixth Sense for Recognizing Trends (follow the cool kids)

To go from beginner to billionaire, you’ll need to learn how to read the market.

Not only must you recognize a good idea from a mediocre one, but you need to get a wider lens on your market as a whole. Find where the trends are going — and join them.

Facebook’s first investor is an excellent study in recognizing potential and getting in early. While Facebook was still being run out of Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room, Peter Thiel agreed to invest $500,000 and received a 10% share of the company. When he sold his shares in 2012, he made more than $1 billion.

From just one investment.

He saw the potential and rode the wave to a huge payout.

It’s a waiting game. As Thiel said, “Most of a tech company’s value will come at least 10 to 15 years in the future.” You have to recognize the direction things are going and go with them.

If you’re looking for new investment opportunities, the startup world is an exciting place. That’s where I would be looking if I were a beginner again. There are so many amazing ideas and solutions out there that anyone can invest in.

The world of digital and tech investments can be more volatile than the stock market, but the payoff is huge if you’re willing to take the risk.

You have to be willing to take a leap of faith. I do my research and follow my gut, and it has led me to the success I have today.

Be Nimble and Adapt in the Digital Marketplace (On fire? Rewire.)

Being an entrepreneur today is a whole new world compared to what it was when I started out. Digital marketing has completely changed the landscape of business.

To be successful in the long haul, you need to know how to adapt. Because the rapidly changing business scene isn’t going away — it’s only accelerating.

Whether you’ve been in business a month or a decade, you can always make changes and rebrand yourself. In fact, it’s necessary to meet the demands of the current market. You have to adapt to survive and to thrive.

Being flexible to change sets you up on the path to success.

Much of what I now do is rooted in digital marketing. I shifted my business model from being TV dependant to a digital foundation. You must be willing to change.

When you’re on fire, you have to rewire!

Remember: Every billionaire was once a beginner. Learn these 4 lessons and you’ll be off “Go” and on your way to greatness.

 

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