3 Key Steps to Make Your Business More Efficient and More Profitable

The Covid-19 pandemic has arguably imposed more challenges to the way companies have done business than any other single event in living memory, if not longer. Whilst the external pressures on a business have increased, many enterprises are still handicapping themselves by not building-in even the most basic system efficiencies. By effectively managing and prioritizing your business’ inputs, most particularly the labor-hours of you and your senior team, you can release greater outputs and ultimately revenue.

Related: Manage Your Company More Efficiently with This 22-Course Project Management Training

Here are three key principles for optimising efficiency, to release your business from self-imposed constraints, in 2021.

1. You are not a manager, you are a leader

Leadership and Management are both the same, right? Wrong, couldn’t be more wrong – stop it! Warren Bennis, Professor of Business Administration and an Organisational Consultant is quoted as an opening: “The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it

Even this simple change of mindset will release you from one of the most pervasive inefficiencies in business. If you see yourself as a manager you are strategically no better than a caretaker, taking what you have and merely preserving it. Entrepreneurship rests on the foundation of leadership: identifying a business’s strengths and weaknesses, implementing positive change whilst taking others on the journey with you. Use the ‘Plan’ ‘Do’ ‘See’ ‘Act’ system. Develop an efficientcy idea, trial it, review and then roll it out for system-wide effectiveness

True leadership has a compounding effect on efficiency. If you identify yourself as a leader you will improve your business through efficiencies. If you teach your team that they are leaders too, then they will identify efficiencies upon efficiencies at every level in your business.

Related: 10 Awesome Tips for Being a Better Leader

2. Get lean

Taiichi Ohno, founder of the Toyota Production System which gave rise to ‘Lean’ working said when asked about Lean thinking: “All we are doing is looking at the timeline, from the moment the customer gives us an order to the point when we collect the cash. And we are reducing the timeline by reducing the non-value adding wastes”

The key question here is ‘What are the things you are doing that people won’t pay for, and why are you still doing them?’. (1) Identify what your client wants, (2) identify what workflows are required to bring about the client’s goals and (3) automate the ‘system pull’ so that (1) naturally flows, without bottlenecks, from (2). Waste can arise from a range of sources including over-processing, unnecessary motion of goods and staff, and simple erroneous thinking within system design. Cut it out, because no one is paying you for it, but be careful not to inadvertently devalue your brand by dehumanizing your process

Related: How to Apply Lean Principles to Your Startup’s Productivity and Time Management

3. Invest in real business efficiency review

Kevin Zhang, the eCommerce entrepreneur behind HEMPX clothing brand and the Branded Niche eCommerce (‘BNE’) approach, has a unique way to ensure business efficiency is at the heart of his business. Every month, Kevin spends one-week logging everything that he did that week, hour by hour, and then closely examines any inefficiencies. Kevin looks at his schedule and determines which activities are high value-add and which can be automated through hiring new talent.

The difference between a successful start-up and a scaled-up business is the development of systems to build growth on the foundation of a verified concept. The University of Oxford identifies scalable infrastructure as one of the three key requirements for a business to move to the next level, alongside strong leadership and appropriate marketing. This includes IT systems and production or manufacturing systems, as well as office space and workforce arrangements. If a business owner is spending all of their time in the weeds of their business rather than constantly thinking about growth, then, of course, their business is not going to grow.

Related: 7 Key Steps to a Growth Strategy That Works Immediately

A focus and commitment to removing inefficiency is like removing shackles from a business’s potential. It requires courageous leadership, and ability to identify what your client needs and supply that in the most streamlined fashion, and a willingness to stop and take stock to ensure you are using your time effectively to guide your business in the right direction.

By: Samuel leach / Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor Director of Samuel & Co Trading

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TakingTheBiz

In this revision tutorial for A level Business students we examine how to improve the efficiency of a business by improving its labour productivity. Efficiency and labour productivity are topics on the new A level Business specifications for Edexcel, AQA and OCR. TakingTheBiz is a channel dedicated to A level Business revision. See more of our videos: http://www.youtube.com/c/TakingTheBiz…​ Stay in touch with TakingTheBiz via social media: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TakingTheBiz/​ Twitter: https://twitter.com/TakingTheBiz​ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/takingthebiz/

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How to Ensure Love Doesn’t End Your Business

Surely you have ever heard that mixing love and business is not a very good option, which is not necessarily true, since the success of a business will always depend on how its owners manage it and not on their kinship.

The simple fact of starting a business is a great challenge that generates fear, and if your idea is to start with your partner, this can become an even greater challenge, which few dare to try. According to figures from the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Annual Report, approximately 34% of entrepreneurs are afraid of failure.
So that this does not happen to you, it is necessary that you take into account the following tips, which will be very useful when starting a business together with your partner:

1. Define objectives: before starting your business, it is important that you define the objectives you want to achieve in the short, medium and long term, as this will help you to have a guide for decision making.

2. Make a budget: it is essential that from the beginning they consider what expenses they will have month after month and that they keep an updated record of their income and expenses. To do this, I recommend you download the Monthly Budget format for free, with which you can significantly improve your business finances.

3. Establish their functions: discuss and agree on what functions they will have, the position they will carry out and the specific and general objectives. This will help them to have a better organization and avoid conflicts.

4. Separate personal finances: when they have defined what functions they will perform, it is necessary that each one has a salary assigned, since one of the worst financial mistakes they can make is to take the money that is destined for the business to pay your personal expenses.

5. Emergency fund: they must take into account that if they decide to work in the same business, all income will depend on a single source of work, so if the business stops operating, the income of both can be seriously threatened. For this reason, they must have a cash emergency fund that allows them to cover at least three months of their monthly expenses and which they only use for a true emergency.

Remember that love should not be an impediment for a business to grow and be maintained, undertaking as a couple can also bring you great benefits that improve your relationship. The only thing that must be maintained is communication and organization.

By: Alejandro Saracho

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TEDx Talks

Community growth expert and business mentor Best-selling author and business strategist Jadah Sellner believes that all business is personal, and that love has a very important role in the workplace. Why You Should Listen: At no other time in our history have humans been so connected — and so lonely. And companies that can tap into our innate need to be part of a tribe will stand head and shoulders above the crowd.

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How To Keep Sustainability At The Forefront Of Decision-Making

In times of great upheaval, it can be difficult for businesses to see the big picture. Sure, making quick, data-driven decisions to reach the right customer at the right moment is important, especially when business is uncertain. But bigger aspirational goals are still essential—maybe more so.

This dynamic can be especially true when it concerns corporate sustainability—sometimes referred to as environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals that measure the societal impact of a company or business. ESG goals are designed to allow businesses to meet their present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. And ignoring those longer-term goals in the service of the here and now can undermine the future health of both the company and their customers.

In many ways, deprioritizing ESG goals in times of crisis is understandable. When economic strains are great and the business future looks cloudy, leaders often hunker down with a laser focus on the bottom line. But they must also continue to focus on the soul of their corporation, and what differentiates their products and their people.  

Today, sustainability should be front and center for companies. Business leaders increasingly see sustainability as a key facet of their mission and build it into their principles and strategy to ensure business resilience. Further, they need to acknowledge the business risk of ignoring sustainability, whether through supply chain disruptions, public perception, or lack of investment in upcoming technologies. 

A plan for progress

First, let’s define our terms—what do we mean by “sustainability”? A good place to start is with the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a collection of 17 interlinked goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.”

The SDGs include decreasing hunger and poverty, combating climate change, creating clean water, reducing income inequality, and forging better educational opportunities. They were set in 2015 by the U.N. General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by 2030.

Today, we hear quite a bit about climate change and the need to reduce carbon emissions, but sustainability is much broader—including environmental and societal impact. Not all management teams and boards are up to speed on what their company can and should do to improve their footprint, even if employees have good data and solid proposals. Here are six things business leaders can do to stay on track to meet ambitious ESG goals.

1. Make the business case 

Sustainability makes business sense. A focus on ESG can help management reduce capital costs and improve the firm’s valuation. That’s because as more investors look to put money into companies with stronger ESG performance, larger pools of capital will be available to those companies. According to a study by the United Nations Global Compact and Accenture, “between 2013-2019, companies with consistently high environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance enjoyed 4.7x higher operating margins and lower volatility than low ESG performers over the same period.”

“Over the past several months, when global markets have faced tremendous pressures and volatility, companies with high ESG scores have continued to outperform, experiencing a cumulative relative return 6.3% higher than bottom performers and facing lower volatility.”

– Accenture report, “The green behind the cloud,” September 2020

Additionally, according to a 2018 global survey by Accenture of nearly 30,000 consumers in 35 countries, 62% of respondents wanted companies to take a stand on current and broadly relevant issues, including sustainability. And 42% of consumers walk away from the brand in frustration if the company doesn’t align with customer beliefs.

2. Keep an eye on the data 

Everything around us is affected by big data today and your work on sustainability should be no exception. Keep a close eye on measuring your goals, performance, and operational changes with data. Be especially mindful of the sourcing and reliability of the data collected.

One big tire company, for instance, uses data generated by sensors in their tires globally to reduce waste, increase profits, and reduce the number of defective tires going to landfills, thus doing their bit for the environment. Small improvements in efficiency due to resource optimization can result in big savings.

Related: Unlock the transformational power of information you’re already collecting. Get the “CIO’s Guide to Data Analytics and Machine Learning.”

3. Make sustainability a key part of your executive structure 

Organizations should have a chief sustainability officer and team working closely with line-of-business and tech leadership. The chief sustainability officer needs to be in board meetings and other gatherings where the long-term health of the company is considered. They must be a bridge between technologists and business strategists, pushing them to look at sustainability through a new lens—a technology lens—and asking how technology can help a company build a more sustainable world.

4. Expand your ecosystem 

Reaching your sustainability goals doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It requires an ecosystem of both government and nongovernment organizations, researchers, scientists, technologists, and businesses, for example, who share the same views. Establishing this ecosystem enables collaboration through the sharing of knowledge, data, analytics, and technologies. Seek to collaborate with others who support and foster similar goals.

Throw out your regular playbook. Sustainability is not just about technology—it is about enabling change to the business processes. It requires us all to think much more collaboratively. We are in this together.

Google Cloud and Unilever, for instance, are working together to fight deforestation through sustainable commodity sourcing. By combining the power of cloud computing with satellite imagery and AI through Google Cloud and Google Earth Engine, Unilever is building a more holistic view of the forests, water cycles, and biodiversity that intersects their supply chain—raising sustainable sourcing standards for suppliers and bringing them closer to their goal of ending deforestation and regenerating natural resources.

This will allow Unilever to provide a better picture of the ecosystems connected to their supply chain, and create a better mechanism for detecting deforestation. Ultimately, it will lead to greater accountability while simultaneously prioritizing critical areas of forest and habitats in need of protection. 

5. Be an internal evangelist for change

As a business leader committed to helping the organization meet ambitious ESG goals, being an internal evangelist and continuously championing the importance of sustainable practices is key. Make it your mission to reinforce the mindset that sustainability is not optional—it’s imperative not only for the success of the organization but for much broader, purpose-driven motives beyond that. Work on collaborating with other managers to propose and execute on initiatives to “green” operations within each department. Commit to following through on these initiatives, measuring the impact, and improving the effectiveness as you go.

6. Make bold commitments—even if the path there isn’t clear

As Accenture underscores in this September 2020 report on how a thoughtful cloud-first approach can help boost your profits and benefit the planet, “the greater the ambition, the greater the reduction in carbon emissions.” Broaden the scope of possibility by setting ambitious sustainability goals and timelines for your organization. You might not know how to get there, but making bold, transparent commitments opens the door for increased collaboration and sets the direction for others who might be able to help find a way.

For example, in September Google announced a new goal to operate on 24/7 carbon-free energy in all our data centers and campuses worldwide by 2030. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet was candid, saying, “this is far more challenging than the traditional approach of matching energy usage with renewable energy, but we’re working to get this done by 2030.” Establishing executive buy-in, setting shared goals, enforcing accountability, and consistently measuring and evaluating your progress will make all the difference when it comes to moving the needle.

It may be hard to do, but I believe that now, even during a global crisis, sustainability should be at the center of a business’s decision-making. Sustainability is not only good for your bottom line, but it’s also good for your top line and good for the planet—the perfect trifecta.

Keep the momentum going: Reduce your environmental impact with Google Cloud. Explore tools and technology for sustainability at scale.

Jen Bennett

Jen Bennett

Jen is a Technical Director in Google’s Office of the CTO where she collaborates and co-innovates with Google’s strategic customers. She has spent her career leading engineering and product organizations leveraging data and analytics to transform a number of industries from sports and media to manufacturing. In her free time, Jen reached the pinnacle of soccer (football) as a FIFA referee refereeing several Women’s World Cups between 2002-2010. Jen holds a MS BioEngineering from University of Pittsburgh and a BSEE from Cornell University.

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Churchill College, University of Cambridge

Businesses are under pressure to become socially and environmentally sustainable, but this creates difficulties in decision-making, as executives need to reconcile competing social, environmental and economic demands. Most of the solutions proposed to this problem have focused either on improving information and analysis (Zapico, 2014), on cognitive approaches (Hahn, Preuss, Pinkse, & Figge, 2014) or on organisational issues, such as shared values (Epstein, Buhovac, & Yuthas, 2015). However, there has been very little work looking at the integrated set of capabilities that organisations might need to be able to address multiple tensions. We therefore set out to understand how executives experience the conflicting demands of sustainable business, and how they resolve these tensions in decision-making.

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3 Ways To Dominate Your Market

My area of expertise is in leadership development using the philosophy of Lean Six Sigma, in other words “process improvement strategies”. 

Now join me on the journey I call A Tale of Two Companies: One business allowed its workers to be engaged by making improvements that allowed the customer to be first in mind. The second created an environment of “it’s not my job” eliminating employees from using client-first thinking. Now you might ask, “How can the customer not be first?”

Many believe Lean Six Sigma is solely for engineering and manufacturing companies. That’s the first misconception. This managerial approach is built on the premise of eliminating wasteful elements and focusing solely on the customer. Having taken that quick glimpse of Lean, as an entrepreneur, you can now see that this philosophy applies to all businesses. Every business operates in what Lean practitioners call SIPOC, (Suppliers, Input, Processes, Output and Customers). Understanding that small segment of lean thinking will open the door for you to look at the three ways to dominate your market. 

Related: Define Your Brand Identity in 3 Steps

How can I hinder?

Meet Office XYZ, a Dental Facility that has a small staff of 5-7 individuals each having their unique jobs when dealing with patients. I called this facility to make an appointment for my mother and was told they needed to verify her insurance and would call back once they received the approvals. Two weeks went by before I realized I had not heard from anyone regarding the insurance verification.

I called the office and asked to speak with the individual that was to call back, whom we’ll call Kelly. I was informed that Kelly was out of the office and had been ill for the past two weeks. My next question was: “is she the only person that verifies insurance?” The response was affirmative and I then asked to speak with a manager. I was told Kelly was the manager. Let’s stop here because now we enter that well-known rabbit hole of “it’s not my job.”

Related: Trends That Can Move Your Business Forward in 2021

How can I help?

Meet Office ABC, A Pizza Company with a similar-sized staff. One night I called for a pizza. Upon placing the order I was told my meal would be about 30 minutes. Half an hour on a Friday evening? This company operated far differently than the first. When I placed my order something incredible happened, I received a text with the following message:  “We’re making your order. It’s all coming together now. The kitchen staff is busy with your order making sure everything is just right.”

A few minutes later I received this missive: “It’s on the way. The driver has left the store and will be at your location shortly”, followed with, “Delivered! Time to eat. It’s been our pleasure serving you”.And it was within the time promised by the associate. 

The “go and see” mentality

These two very different experiences gave me moment to pause. Did Company XYZ know about the importance of “lean thinking” and did Company ABC know they were using the lean six sigma philosophy in their operations? Did the leader of Company XYZ actually walk the process to see if there were any wasteful elements that allowed their service to lack the three main components of customer first thinking: quality, speed and delivery? And what about Company ABC, did that leader utilize the concept of Gemba, meaning “go and see” to improve their value stream and get to the point where they asked what their customers appreciate?

When exploring Lean Six Sigma’s methodology the first step is to find the root cause for the identified waste. Then you move into seeking what the customer defines as quality, you determine the speed of getting your customer the item or rendering the service and you seek an appropriate method of delivery.

Focusing on the three lean strategies

One can’t assume to know what the clientele defines as quality unless they have actually been asked. In Company XYZ it is evident that no one took the initiative to seek input through surveys, focus groups or used any feedback techniques. There is a concept in the Lean lexicon called (VOC) Voice of the Customer. It simply means find out what your customers want and are willing to pay for. This is where you will find that notion of quality.

In the tale of Company ABC, you can attest to the fact that quality for their customers, myself included, is hot pizza, and being notified as to what’s going on with their order. How did they come to know and implement this into their operations? After receiving such great service I had to call and speak with one of their leaders. I was informed this is how they compete as a reckoning force within the market. 

The need for speed

Being the fastest in your field has a huge impact on your market.  As you can tell from the visit with Company XYZ speed played no major role in what they deemed as important to customers. Two weeks to verify insurance is beyond an acceptable practice. And, by the way, I failed to mention that I did speak with another person, upon request, who did call back within 24 hours to inform me that they did not accept the insurance.  Yet I waited 2 weeks for something that could have saved me both frustration and aggravation. Speed and convenience are major players in our buying experience.

Company ABC, epitomizes the importance of speed. On each text message I received that time stamp of delivery was also listed. Today there are ample services to ensure your customers get items and services in a speedy manner. This company has a system in place that allows employees to know time schedules for various sizes, as well as any increase in time based on selected toppings. Have you looked at your level of quickness, while keeping the high standard of quality appreciated by your customers?

Why is the method of delivery so important to your customers? Is it easy to obtain your product or service? Delivery in its simplest form equates to how a customer receives your product or service. Simple right? Company XYZ’s delivery was neither exceptional nor satisfactory. The level of professionalism of their staff created an angst for the customer and therefore any method of delivery they deemed appropriate was subpar. There was no option as to whether they could email, text me or call me. Based on their performance I don’t think any of those options would have changed the outcome.

Related: Entrepreneurial Takeaways From 2020 to Guide Your Next Big Move

Company ABC created a delivery method that allowed me to select how I wanted to receive the product. They of course deliver in their vehicles, but I had an option to have it delivered to my door and left in an appropriate place, to have them ring the doorbell and I receive it face-to-face or contactless, it’s in the trunk and I come out and retrieve it. This allows the customer to select an option.

We have just visited two companies:  One eliminated waste and the other added to it. Which business are you? 

By: Sheryl Mays Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

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★★★ Jay wants to mentor YOU with his exclusive Mastermind Mentoring Program! Start your journey with Jay here: https://bit.ly/2FbtM2X ★★★ For the first time ever in public, marketing icon Jay Abraham shares his business strategy that he has previously only shared with his high paying clients. He’s going go teach you the concept of Preemptive Marketing so you can instantly stand out in the eyes of your customers and dominate your market. Enjoy the session

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To Recognize Risks Earlier, Invest in Analytics

You’ve probably heard business leaders justify their flat-footedness in a crisis by claiming that every organization is flying blind in times of deep uncertainty. But in fact some leaders know precisely where they’re going. They understand what’s required to chart a course through market turbulence, and they’ve built organizations with keen situational awareness.

When it comes to developing the ability to figure out where things are heading and respond nimbly to a changing environment, nothing is more important than analytics. Unfortunately, in recent years analytics (also known as data mining or business intelligence) has become the unloved stepchild of data sciences, overshadowed by machine learning and statistics. Those two disciplines layer mathematical sophistication on top of a foundation of human intuition, creating an appealing illusion of objectivity and deft steering. Ironically, of the three, analytics is the most essential competency for navigating crises.

Solutions based on AI and machine learning hum along well during stable times but fall apart when disaster strikes. These technologies automate tasks by extracting patterns from data and turning them into instructions. Such models can quickly become obsolete when the inputs to the system change. Analytics, in contrast, alerts you when the rules of the game are changing. Without that kind of a warning, automation solutions can quickly go off the rails, leaving you exposed to exogenous shocks.

Statistics has a similar shortcoming during a crisis. Statisticians help decision-makers get rigorous answers. But what if they’re asking the wrong questions? While statistical skills are required to test hypotheses, analysts have the acumen to come up with the right hypotheses in the first place. To attempt statistics without analytics, you’d need great confidence in your assumptions—the kind of confidence that’s foolhardy when a crisis pulls the rug out from under you.

Analysts thrive in ambiguity. Their talent is exploration, which makes them particularly good at foreseeing and responding to crises. By searching internal and external data sources for critical information, analysts keep a finger on the pulse of what’s going on. They scan the horizon for trends and formulate questions about what’s behind them. Their job is to inspire executives with thought-provoking yet qualified possibilities. Once the highest-priority hypotheses have been short-listed by leaders, then it’s time to call in a statistician to pressure-test them and separate true insights from red herrings.

During good times, leading organizations build analytics capabilities to strengthen their ability to innovate. Analysts’ ability to find clues to such things as shifting consumer tastes can help firms take advantage of opportunities before less-savvy competitors do. When the going gets tough, however, what looked like a nice-to-have innovation booster turns into a must-have safety net. To be sure, some events are impossible to see in advance—the true black swans—but addressing their fallout is a game best played with open eyes.

Unfortunately, it’s very hard to cobble together a mature analytics department on short notice. The technical skills that allow analysts to guzzle data with lightning speed merely increase the mass of information they encounter. Spotting a gem in it takes something more. Without domain knowledge, business acumen, and strong intuition about the practical value of discoveries—as well as the communication skills to convey them to decision-makers effectively—analysts will struggle to be useful. It takes time for them to learn to judge what’s important in addition to what’s interesting. You can’t expect them to be an instant solution to charting a course through your latest crisis. Instead, see them as an investment in your future nimbleness.

It also takes time to secure access to the promising data sources analysts need. Ideally, business leaders won’t wait for a big disruption to begin building relationships with data vendors, industry partners, and data collection specialists. Bear in mind that in the face of an extreme shock, your historical data sources may become obsolete. If your understanding of the past fails to give you a useful window on tomorrow’s world—perhaps because a pandemic has changed everything—it doesn’t matter how good your information was yesterday. You need new information. After the 2008 financial crash, for example, banks around the world recognized that there might be an advantage to analyzing nontraditional signals of creditworthiness, such as data from supermarket loyalty cards, but not all players were equally positioned to get access to them.

Additionally, your internal data stores may require special processing before analysts can mine them, so it’s worth thinking about hiring supporting data engineers. If analytics is the discipline of making data useful, then data engineering is the discipline of making data usable; it provides behind-the-scenes infrastructure that makes machine logs and colossal data stores compatible with analytics tool kits.

When I began speaking at conferences about the importance of analytics, I found that convincing an audience of its value was the easy part. The mood changed when I explained the catch: Analytics is a time investment. You can’t count on getting something useful out of every foray into a data set. To succeed at exploration, your organization needs a culture of no-strings-attached analytics. As the leader, you are responsible for setting the scope (which data sources should be looked at) and the time frame (“You have two weeks to explore this database”). Then you must ensure that analysts aren’t punished for coming back empty-handed.

During an extreme shock, your historical data sources may become obsolete. Then it doesn’t matter how good your information was yesterday. You need new information.

Once business leaders accept that analytics represents an investment that may not immediately pay off, I hit the next stumbling block: the perception that only a large and technologically sophisticated company such as Alphabet can afford it. This is nonsense. In my experience you’re more likely to find analytics thriving in start-ups than at well-established behemoths.

Start-ups naturally invest in analytics as they try to navigate a new market, with several generalists taking on a share of the exploratory work. Then as the venture grows, the culture changes. Workers are trusted less and made more accountable for return on their efforts, and overzealous management stifles opportunities for analytics to thrive. Analysts hired into this culture rarely get to enjoy the most interesting part of their work—exploration—and instead serve as human search engines and dashboard janitors. Many quit out of frustration as their potential is squandered.

Creating a culture where analytics flourishes takes thoughtful leadership. As organizations grow toward incumbency, only the most visionary will have the courage to nurture a true analytics department and make sure that business leaders have access to it and are influenced by it. Industries that have been burned by a previous crisis — banking is a good example — are especially likely to invest in analytics and apply it to risk management.

Becoming a leader in analytics takes a commitment to trust your analysts and give them space to do their work. Their job, after all, will be to reveal threats that you never even imagined should be on your radar. That sort of work can’t be managed with a stopwatch and a checklist.

Crises such as a pandemic—when no one has the answers, and uncertainty is high—remind us of the importance of asking the right questions. Analytics gives firms an edge in learning and adapting. When the world is suddenly upended, those who can learn the fastest are best positioned to succeed. Smart companies will invest in analytics today to get ahead of whatever is coming tomorrow.

By: Cassie Kozyrkov

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RedRisks

👀 OVERVIEW: On the 3rd June 2020, I presented a live event on Risk Management Fundamentals. This video is an extract of the “Risk Identification” presentation. Due to demand, a future live event rerun is planned and if this appeals to you, please subscribe to the weekly newsletter on the website and I can keep you posted. 🖥 WEBSITE / POST: https://www.redrisks.com/risk-managem… 📧 SUBSCRIBE to my free WEEKLY newsletter: https://www.redrisks.com 🙏 ABOUT THIS YOUTUBE CHANNEL (“RedRisks”): https://youtu.be/AsXUaIACQrA 🔔 PLEASE SUBSCRIBE AND SUPPORT THIS YOUTUBE CHANNEL: If you liked this video, please give me a thumbs up (or a thumbs down – they’re all important). 👪 CONNECT WITH ME: Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sonnigopal/

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Forbes Cryptocurrency Awards 2020: The $3 Trillion Bitcoin Marketing Campaign

For the first time ever, we are publishing the Forbes Crypto Awards. Not everyone will be happy they’re on the list. Fed chairman Jerome Powell takes the honors as our person of the year: In a pandemic year when the Fed printed so much stimulus money that the central bank saw its balance sheet nearly double in size, our Forbes Awards judge Anthony Pompliano of Morgan Creek Digital credits Powell with running a “$3 trillion marketing campaign for bitcoin.”

Here are our picks for the best products, the most intriguing people and the most interesting trends in crypto this year.

Our inaugural Forbes Crypto Awards were selected in consultation with Anthony Pompliano, who helps manage two crypto funds at New York City-based Morgan Creek, which has $1.5 billion in assets under management, as well as his own recently launched endeavor, Pomp Investments.


The Forbes Person Of The Year In Crypto: Jerome Powell

In an attempt to prevent the U.S. economy from collapsing under pandemic pressure, Powell had the U.S. Federal Reserve buy up a record amount of treasuries, effectively printing more than $3 trillion in new money and nearly doubling the central bank’s balance sheet. Venture firm Pantera Capital called the infusion “two centuries of debt in one month,” creating an environment in which previously skeptical investors including Wall Street whales like Paul Tudor Jones and Stanley Druckenmiller started taking cryptocurrency seriously. “I think Jerome Powell did the things that he and his colleagues believed were the best things to do in the short term to mitigate pain from the pandemic and economic crisis,” says Pompliano. “But in the pursuit of mitigating short-term pain, they were highlighting for everyone, from retail investors to the largest institutions in the world, what was going to happen over the next decade or two.”


Best Product: Square’s Cash App

In August 2018, Jack Dorsey’s payments giant Square, now valued at $96 billion, was among the first mainstream enterprises to allow bitcoin purchases in all 50 states. Bitcoin has proved a real boon to the company, which generated $1.6 billion in revenue from the asset in the third quarter, an 11-fold increase year over year. “I tend to think that new users give a good signal for something that is usable,” says Pompliano. “Not just by the crypto enthusiasts but by the everyday person, the mainstream.”


Most Intriguing Newcomer: Michael Saylor

Among a slew of names that bought bitcoin for the first time this year, perhaps none were more surprising, or made a bigger impact, than the CEO of struggling MicroStrategy, a Tysons Corner, Virginia-based business software firm. Over the course of five months starting in August, Saylor revealed that his smallish outfit, which competes against giants like Oracle and SAP in data analytics, had bought $475 million worth of bitcoin. That made bitcoin the publicly traded company’s biggest treasury asset. While Citi recently downgraded MicroStrategy as a result of the extremely aggressive play, Pompliano thinks it’s exactly that audacity that makes Saylor so intriguing. “He came out of nowhere,” says Pompliano. “And he has not only lit the bitcoin and crypto world on fire, but he has very quickly ascended to be one of the top bulls in the way he talks about what he’s doing. There’s no hedging in the way he talks about it; there’s no surrender.”


Disruptive Innovator: Caitlin Long

This former head of Morgan Stanley’s pension advisory group was once a rising star in traditional finance. Then, after helping write cryptocurrency-friendly laws in her home state of Wyoming, she was unanimously approved for one of the state’s new bitcoin banking charters in October. “She is disrupting the traditional regulatory framework,” says Pompliano. “And obviously, she was very instrumental there. But then to go build a company, to leverage those rules? I look at that as disruptive in a unique way.”


Outstanding Firm: Ark Invest

After experimenting with many different crypto strategies over the years, Ark’s CEO and chief investment officer Catherine Wood has shuffled most of her ETF firm’s direct bitcoin exposure into a single fund dedicated to “innovative” assets. But a number of other Ark ETFs have indirect exposure in the form of stakes in Silvergate Bank, which banks cryptocurrency businesses; Square and PayPal, which let their customers use bitcoin; and Nvidia, the Santa Clara, California-based computer chip manufacturer whose hardware has long been favored by many bitcoin miners. It’s working: Wood’s flagship fund is up 150% this year, and Ark’s assets under management have skyrocketed to $15 billion. “Cathie is one of those people who she’s not known just for bitcoin, so we kind of dilute her impact,” says Pompliano. “But she believed early; she was the first institution to really kind of go after the GBTC trade. She’s been right. She’s been right about a lot of stuff.”

Catherine Wood
Catherine Wood Eli Warren for Forbes

Annus Horribilis: Libra

Libra exploded onto the cryptocurrency scene in June 2019 when Facebook announced the project would use the blockchain to create a single asset backed by a number of global currencies, including the dollar, the euro and the yen. The original idea was that the Libra would be managed by payments giants like Visa, PayPal, Mastercard and Stripe. But U.S. lawmakers pretty much immediately freaked out, calling Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to Capitol Hill to explain his work. Most of Facebook’s best-known payment partners quickly backed out.

After many compromises to the original vision, a watered-down—although possibly still successful—version of the currency, now called Diem and backed one-to-one by the U.S. dollar, is scheduled to launch next year. “They, me and everyone else underestimated how swiftly and how powerful regulators and governments can be when they decide to attack,” says Pompliano, who worked at Facebook 15 years ago. “In terms of the absolute height of promise, possibility, etc. to the current state, that delta, I don’t think that we’ve seen anything fall as hard as Libra.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

Forbes Forecast: Bitcoin corporate treasuries

MicroStrategy purchased $475 million worth of bitcoin this year and now has plans to raise another $650 million to purchase more; Square invested about $50 million into the cryptocurrency; and New York City-based asset manager Stone Ridge revealed it owned $115 million worth of the asset. Now that financial giants like Northern Trust, managing $1 trillion worth of assets, have revealed plans to help institutional investors safely custody crypto, it’s a trend that is likely only going to continue. “I think that we will see very, very, very large companies—Fortune 100-, Fortune 500-type companies—putting bitcoin on their balance sheet in 2021,” says Pompliano.


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Michael del Castillo

Michael del Castillo

I report on how blockchain and cryptocurrencies are being adopted by enterprises and the broader business community. My coverage includes the use of cryptocurrencies and extends to non-cryptocurrency applications of blockchain in finance, supply chain management, digital identity and a number of other use cases. Previously, I was a staff reporter at blockchain news site, CoinDesk, where I covered the increasing willingness of enterprises to explore how blockchain could make their work more efficient and in some cases, unnecessary. I have been covering blockchain since 2011, been published in the New Yorker, and been nationally syndicated by American City Business Journals. My work has been published in Blockchain in Financial Markets and Beyond by Risk Books and I am regularly cited in industry research reports. Since 2009 I’ve run Literary Manhattan, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to showing Manhattan’s rich literary heritage.

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Ethereum ETH Price Performance (+7%) | TrustSwap VISA Integration with Connect Financial | Crypto.com Weekly DeFi Update | Litecoin LTC SegWit Adoption and Lightning Network Updates | Binance, SushiSwap and Cover Protocol (-97%) Hack Updates | GreenPro +101% After $100 million Bitcoin Investment Fund | MicroStrategy Stock NASDAQ: MSTR Is Up +12% | Marathon Patent Group to purchase 70,000 Antminer S-19 ASIC miners for $170 million from Bitmain | Forbes 2020 Crypto Awards | Polkastarter tweeted about the listing date of $XED on Polkastarter | REN Protocol $sUSD and $sBTC Updates #bitcoin, #ethereum, #crypto, #greenpro, #microstrategy, #litecoin, #REN, #BTC, #ETH, #LTC, #NASDAQ 🔷 ALTCOIN TRADING SIGNALS – https://t.me/AltcoinBuzzChat 🔥 TOP CRYPTO NEWS – https://www.altcoinbuzz.io 🚀 FREE NEWSLETTER – http://eepurl.com/dnIEz1 🔶 TWITTER – https://twitter.com/altcoinbuzzio 💡 FACEBOOK – https://www.facebook.com/altcoinbuzzio Cryptocurrency And Bitcoin Visa Card – GET $25 FREE ON ► CRYPTO.COM https://platinum.crypto.com/r/ab *Code is AB Trade On Binance! ► https://www.binance.com/en/register?r… *Code is UAMKZ47P Trade On AAX ► AAX EXCHANGE https://www.aax.com/invite?inviteCode… CRYPTOCURRENCY MARKET PRICES AND DATA ► COINGECKO https://gcko.io/altcoin-buzz 🔺 NOTE If you use the above referral links, we receive a commission at no additional cost to you. ⏰ Timestamps 0:00 Introduction 2:10 Ethereum ETH Price Performance (+7%) 3:35 TrustSwap VISA Integration with Connect Financial 4:45 Crypto.com Weekly DeFi Update 5:36 Litecoin LTC SegWit Adoption and Lightning Network Updates 6:32 Binance, SushiSwap and Cover Protocol (-97%) Hack Updates 9:33 GreenPro +101% After $100 million Bitcoin Investment Fund 13:46 MicroStrategy Stock NASDAQ: MSTR Is Up +12% 16:54 Marathon Patent Group to purchase 70,000 Antminer S-19 ASIC miners for $170 million from Bitmain 17:32 Forbes 2020 Crypto Awards 20:43 Polkastarter tweeted about the listing date of $XED on Polkastarter 21:10 REN Protocol $sUSD and $sBTC Updates References: ETH video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZzNm… TESLA video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKjE1… Jeff Kirdeikis interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DqXd…https://twitter.com/TrustSwap/status/…https://trustswap.medium.com/trustswa…https://www.altcoinbuzz.io/cryptocurr…https://twitter.com/cryptocom/status/…https://twitter.com/litecoin/status/1…https://twitter.com/cz_binance/status…https://twitter.com/binance/status/13…https://twitter.com/binance/status/13…https://twitter.com/JulSwap/status/13…https://twitter.com/AlexSaundersAU/st…https://cointelegraph.com/news/cover-…https://twitter.com/binance/status/13…https://twitter.com/blockfolio/status…https://twitter.com/zerohedge/status/…https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/grnqhttps://seekingalpha.com/news/3647521…https://twitter.com/zerohedge/status/…https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/MSTR?…https://twitter.com/mokamoto/status/1…https://www.globenewswire.com/news-re…https://twitter.com/ForbesCrypto/stat…https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeld…https://twitter.com/Exeedme/status/13…https://twitter.com/renprotocol/statu…

These Decision Making Tactics Can Help You Formalize Your Process and Make Better Choices

Entrepreneurship is, in large part, reliant on decision making for success. After creating your business plan, you’ll have a blueprint for what you want your business to be and how you’re going to develop it; but moving forward, you’ll be faced with countless tough decisions. On a small level, how do you want to prioritize your day? How are you going to negotiate this deal? On a larger level, who are you going to hire for this position? How will you challenge this new competitor? How are you going to pivot the business to escape bankruptcy?

It’s no surprise that some of the best entrepreneurs also happen to be the best decision makers. They’re able to take any decision, big or small, and address it in a way that’s both objective and appropriate. That doesn’t mean they make the right call every time; we all make mistakes, and successful entrepreneurs are no different. But over time, their decisions tend to lead them in better directions.

Related: How to Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills and Make Better Business Decisions

So what actionable steps can you take to make smarter decisions in your business?

What is a smart decision?

First, we have to define what a “smart” decision is. Smarter decisions tend to have a few things in common:

  • Objectivity. Good decisions are objective, based on facts and logic.
  • Stoicism. Decisions shouldn’t be influenced by raw emotions (in most cases).
  • Full information. The more information you have, the better.
  • Alignment with goals and values. Good decisions should be aligned fully with your company’s goals and values.

How can you achieve these qualities in your decision making?

Reduce decision fatigue

Decision fatigue is a simple psychological concept that many of us underestimate, but the more decisions we make in a given period, the weaker our decision-making abilities become. Over time, we become bogged down with stress and distractions, and ultimately make worse decisions for ourselves and our businesses. This even occurs with tiny, seemingly inconsequential decisions.

Many famous entrepreneurs and leaders, including Barack Obama, Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg, have strategies in place to reduce decision fatigue by stripping away unimportant decisions. For example, you might wear the same thing every day or have the same thing for breakfast. It may not seem like much, but over time, making fewer decisions each day can make you a better decision maker.

Get all the facts

As a leader, it’s important to be decisive, but it’s also important to have all the facts before you move forward with any decision. Are you sure that all the information you have is accurate? Are there any details you might be missing? What are the alternatives?

Related: Best Ways to Use Data in Making Decisions

Get to a neutral emotion

When it’s time to make a final decision, you have to remove emotion from the equation as much as possible. If you’re making an impulsive call about an emergency situation, this can be extremely difficult. However, there are a number of techniques that can help you, such as:

  • Walking away. Sometimes, moving to a different physical location is all it takes to shift your mindset. If you’ve ever experienced road rage, you know that as soon as you’re parked, away from the road and out of your car, the situation doesn’t seem so bad. Try walking away and thinking through your decision in another, less intense location.
  • Meditating. Many people swear by the power of meditation. Simply taking a few minutes to reflect on your own state of mind can be enough to dissolve the emotions that might otherwise influence your decision.
  • Considering the decision from an outside perspective. You can also get a better sense for the objective reality of the situation by considering it from an outsider’s perspective. A common trick is to make your decision as if you’re advising a friend: If one of your closest friends were in this position, what would you tell them to do? You’ll suddenly consider more variables, and you’ll feel more detached from the situation (in a good way).

Talk to other experts

While the final decision is yours, it can be helpful to learn about the perspectives of other experts in this area. Do you have employees or partners who can share their ideas and gut feelings? Do you know of mentors or experienced professionals you can call for some quick advice? If you don’t have anyone to personally contact, you can substitute reading or podcast listening; what do other experts have to say about this situation?

“Good” decisions and “bad” decisions aren’t defined by the outcomes to which they lead; instead, they’re defined by the process used by the person making them. You can make better decisions by reducing decision fatigue, getting more information, clearing yourself of emotion and talking to other experts. This doesn’t guarantee all your decisions will work out, but it will increase each decision’s likelihood of success.

By: Timothy Carter Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

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14 Tips To Meet Your Financial Goals In 2021

Who among us isn’t ready to bid good riddance to the year 2020? The pandemic has upended life across the globe and that includes creating financial chaos and stress for people of all walks of life. The good news is that 2021 is just around the corner. The bad news is that there will be pandemic fallout to deal with in the year ahead, and that could mean a continued rocky ride for your personal finances.

That doesn’t mean postponing or eliminating financial plans and goals altogether. And it doesn’t mean 2021 will be a bust. Instead, you’ll need to be more focused, savvy, and strategic about money goals in the coming year, which is why we asked financial experts across the country to weigh in and provide tips and insights about how to prosper financially in 2021 despite all the uncertainties that lie ahead.

Related: 19 Smart Ways to Get Through a Recession

Create a Rolling Budget

In times of uncertainty, it’s a good idea to create what’s known as a rolling budget, which is a budget that’s dynamic and changes throughout the year. This type of budget typically focuses on the near term, rather than the long term.

“You can’t always foresee every stumbling block in your financial future, so make sure to keep your budget bendable, not only judging the numbers you see at the moment but also make room for the surprises,” says Roy Ferman, founder and CEO of Seek Capital. “Keep a rolling budget and forecast that accounts for potential fluctuations — positive or negative.”

In other words, budget in a way that accounts for multiple real-world scenarios, says Ferman, creating a plan A, B, C, and possibly even D. “You want each plan fully mapped out as if it was plan A to keep you on top of any discrepancies. Allow yourself to come up with different variations, and allocate for those variations.”

Establish More Than One Stream of Income

Depending on how you define the data, anywhere from 20 million to 30 million people were unemployed or had their income affected by the pandemic, says Marco Sison, financial coach for Nomadic FIRE. To help protect yourself against the impacts of unemployment or reduced income, it’s a good idea to establish multiple streams of income.

“If one job or income stream is cut off, you still have other sources coming in to live off of,” says Sison. “Ideally, these income streams are passive: dividends, rental property, digital side businesses. If your hours get cut, or you lose your job, you can reduce your expenses and live off your side hustles without tapping your emergency fund.”

Budget for Saving

Warren Buffett has been quoted as saying “If you want to make saving a priority, take a look at how you budget. Do not save what is left after spending; instead spend what is left after saving.”

If you truly want to make saving a priority, particularly amid challenging economic times, you cannot plan to simply set aside what is left over, says Robert Johnson, a professor of finance, at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business. “You don’t successfully build wealth by simply taking what you have left after all your expenses,” says Johnson. “We accomplish what we prioritize. Prioritize savings and invest those savings. Saving should be a line item on your budget.”

Develop an Investment Policy Statement

Anyone who makes investments should create what’s called an investment policy statement (IPS) and follow it, says Johnson at Creighton University. “An IPS is a written document that clearly sets out an investor’s return objectives and risk tolerance over that investor’s relevant time horizon, along with applicable constraints such as liquidity needs and tax circumstances,” explains Johnson. “The whole point of an IPS is to guide you through changing market conditions. It should not be changed as a result of market fluctuations.”

Avoid Credit-Card Debt

Credit-card debt is a slippery slope in the best of times. And when the economy is uncertain, it’s best to avoid using credit cards as much as possible. “It’s never advised to spend money you don’t have via revolving lines of credit. And psychologically making purchases via most credit cards makes us a lot less frugal and undisciplined,” says Adem Selita, CEO and co-founder of The Debt Relief Company. “Considering that interest rates are near all-time lows, paying 20% or more on credit-card debt is a terrible financial decision to make.”

Clear Outstanding Debts

One more note about credit-card debt, if you’re able: Wipe out all existing debt. That will be the biggest favor you can do yourself in terms of meeting financial goals in 2021 and laying the groundwork for success (and beyond), says David Meltzer of East Insurance Group. “Chip off your debt bit by bit by paying off a small portion each month,” says Meltzer. “And do some belt-tightening on your spending for the time being. Take a look at your expenses and see which ones you can let go, and which ones you need to minimize, in order to help clear debt.”

AdChoices

Streamline Your Budget

Study your cash flow, both your income and expenses and outline a realistic household budget, says Meltzer at East Insurance Group. “Your expenses should be exclusively necessities like house bills, groceries, food, mortgage, insurance, and savings,” says Meltzer. “There’s no room for gym memberships and Netflix subscriptions on a tight budget. Most importantly, keep track of your spending. At this point, each cent counts.”

Consider Living Below Your Means

While you’re busy outlining your month-to-month budget goals for 2021 and paring back your spending, you might consider establishing a plan to live well below your means.

“By spending less than you earn, you open up funds to put into a savings account for emergency situations, such as a pandemic, or the loss of a job,” says Mason Miranda, credit industry specialist for Credit Card Insider. “The more you save now, the more financially stable you’ll be later when a crisis hits. Depending on your goals and how much you can save, you could even avoid going into debt and pay for large purchases in cash.”

Prioritize Your Goals and Be Realistic

Prioritizing all of your financial goals allows you to put them into specific categories based on which goals you want to meet first, says George Birrell, CPA and founder of TaxHub. You’ll also want to set a realistic time frame for meeting those goals amid the uncertain economic landscape.

“Setting a realistic timeframe is very important,” says Birrell. “If you set a timeline for one year, but your expenses don’t allow for meeting that timeline or you don’t have the capacity to put in extra work to earn more, you’re not going to reach that goal. Look at it objectively and realistically.”

Set Milestones Toward Larger Goals

Think of a milestone as a smaller goal that helps you get to your larger goal, says entrepreneur Thierry Tremblay, CEO founder of the online database software company Kohezion.

“They are like guideposts on the trail — smaller tasks that you can do to help you stay in line with your overall goal,” says Tremblay. If you fail at various points along the way when pursuing financial goals, think of it as an opportunity to gain valuable insights about things that work and don’t work, says Tremblay. “When you move on to the next goal you’re trying to accomplish, you have an advantage because of the things you’ve learned from your failure,” adds Tremblay.

Start With What You Have

Financial advisers often recommended setting aside three to six months’ worth of income in an emergency fund, which can seem overwhelming if you’re living paycheck to paycheck as many are right now, says Emma Healey, family finance and budgeting expert and founder at Mum’s Money. Rather than giving up on establishing an emergency savings altogether in 2021, simply start smaller.

“Start with what you have. Even if you can only spare $5 a week, stashing it aside to help pad out your budget when times are tough,” says Healey. “It is a decision you’ll never regret. Add more as you can, but the most important thing is to start.”

Automate Your Savings, Debt, and Bill Payments

It’s hard to spend money if you’ve already sent it somewhere else, says Chelsie Moore, CFA and director, wealth management and financial planning for Country Financial. Create automatic debt payments, bill payments and automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account.

“A little bit adds up over time,” says Moore. “Automatic payments may help you avoid late payment penalties, which are a waste of money, and automatic savings can add up without effort or feelings of sacrifice.”

Meeting your financial goals in the best of times can often be challenging. But when the world is topsy-turvy it can be even more perplexing trying to figure out how to accomplish your goals once you’ve defined them. A personal finance professional can help you navigate the uncertainty and plot a path to success.

“Seek the advice and guidance of a financial professional who has the expertise to assist you,” says Tracey Bissett, CFA and president of Bissett Financial Fitness. “The best way to find one is to seek recommendations from someone you trust and then interview potential advisors to find the best fit. You should feel comfortable talking to the professional and asking them questions.”

Be Kind to Yourself

It’s important to remember as you embark upon 2021, and any year for that matter, that financial fitness is a lifelong journey. “Take small, imperfect actions daily to increase your financial knowledge and movement towards your goals. If you make a misstep, be kind to yourself and get back on track,” says Bissett.

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How Sales Enablement Can Drive Revenue Growth in 2021

How did your leadership priorities change in 2020? If you started paying more attention to the sales enablement needs of your organization, you’re not alone.

According to recent HubSpot research, 65% of sales leaders who outperformed revenue targets in 2020 reported having a dedicated person or team working on sales enablement efforts instead of making it an initiative someone works on off the side of their desk.

[New Data] The 2021 Sales Enablement Report

For sales organizations that have been waiting to implement dedicated sales enablement measures — the time is now. With 2021 right around the corner, intentional sales enablement is a must-have for organizations that want to remain competitive in the future.

HubSpot recently sat down with Chris Pope, Director of Sales at Crayon, to discuss how companies can implement sales enablement strategies that can move the needle and drive revenue growth.

“Crayon defines sales enablement as providing our account executives with the resources and content they need to win more deals. Closing deals is more important than ever, especially in today’s competitive market where there are fewer deals to close,” he says.

In 2020, Crayon placed even greater emphasis on sales enablement to support their sales force. “We’ve put even more effort into making sure that our sales teams have the resources they need, simply because every deal matters more than ever,” says Pope.

How to Improve Sales Enablement for Your Team

1. Use data to inform your sales enablement content.

Crayon uses data to inform sales enablement decisions. According to Pope, his team relies on “velocity reports” to determine what areas of the sales process reps need the most support with.

“Velocity reports tell us what our reps conversion rates are at every stage of the sales funnel. How many opportunities are turning into discovery calls? How many discovery calls are turning into demos? How many demos are turning into proposals? And how many proposals do we send out that turn into closed business?” says Pope.

“We leverage that data to inform us where each individual rep needs to spend the most time, and where managers need to spend time training individual contributors.”

From an organizational level, this approach helps sales leaders know how to support sales managers and reps, and provides valuable insight into the type of training and content would be most effective.

Two examples of enablement content Crayon leadership has provided to their sales team include:

Call Recordings

“We love call recordings. We not only have call recordings of what the perfect call sounds like, we also have recordings of ideal discovery calls, effective demos, and successful closing calls. We share these recordings with reps who may need help in those areas, and we share them broadly across the organization so everyone is on the same page,” Pope says.

Battle Cards

Battle cards are a valuable tool for preparing reps to speak to features and objections related to your product. Crayon relies heavily on battle cards to ensure sales reps understand what they’re selling inside and out.

“We use our own product to make sure that our individual contributors have the most up to date messaging on how we position against our competition. This knowledge has been crucial not only for our organization, but for our customers as well,” says Pope.

2. Focus on sales team culture.

Chances are, you’re familiar with the term “company culture” — the idea that a company should have a shared set of beliefs, values, and practices. But when was the last time you assessed the culture of your sales team?

Sales teams are often dynamic organizations with motivated team members whose ability to sell is critical to the health of a company. Building strong rapport among members of the sales team and having a culture of open communication, especially in a remote environment, is an effective way to support sales enablement.

Feeling supported and included while selling remotely can be challenging for reps. For Crayon, sales team cohesion is a high priority.

“We’ve done our best to create a team atmosphere. We have daily calls where the entire sales team is on together, we have a peer program where our more experienced reps are paired with less experienced reps to offer coaching and mentorship, and we’re creating cross-functional opportunities for our pipeline generation team to work closer with our closing team,” says Pope.

These activities build trust across the team, and strengthen communication among sales managers and reps, creating a better environment to tackle sales enablement issues as they arise.

3. Prioritize sales enablement at each level of the organization.

At Crayon, sales enablement is an all-hands-on-deck initiative from the top down.

“Sales enablement is a team effort at Crayon. It starts at the top with our Senior Vice President of Sales, who delivers insight on broad topics and training related to overarching sales themes such as a demo workflow, or how to run a closing call,” says Pope.

“The managers and directors are responsible for individual training tailored to the needs of their reps. This can include listening in on at least a few calls for each individual contributor weekly, and providing regular feedback.”

In addition to the sales enablement work of leadership, Crayon focuses heavily on team selling to get everyone involved.

“If one of our reps is great at positioning our product against a competitor’s or they’re strong at demoing a certain aspect of our platform, we’ll invite their team members to tune into their sales calls so they can learn from them.”

Everybody within the organization plays a role in our sales enablement.

In 2020, sales managers at Crayon took a hands-on approach to coaching reps who had opportunities for improvement.

“We’ve really made it a focus to make sure managers are involved in more calls. Managers are putting time aside to give individual contributors and feedback that they need after calls, and benchmarking performance after every stage of the sales cycle,” says Pope.

According to Pope, if a rep is struggling with a specific part of the sales process, Crayon’s team will “focus our training on the specific aspect of the process they’re struggling with to help them improve and get their overall win rate up.”

4. Don’t wait to give feedback.

When sales managers and seasoned team members are coaching reps, the Crayon team makes it a point to provide feedback quickly.

For example, if Pope were to listen in to a rep’s sales call with a prospect, he would schedule 15 minutes with the rep right after the call to deliver feedback on how it went.

“When you let time pass, the call is not as fresh in the rep’s mind, and your feedback is not going to be as direct as it would be if you delivered it right away.”

5. Make sure sales managers feel supported.

Sales managers often have a lot on their plate. They are responsible for coaching and leading their reps to success, and are accountable for their team’s performance to leadership. For growing companies, relieving pressure from sales managers is crucial for a healthy organization.

“As you continue to scale your teams you don’t want your managers to feel overwhelmed. You want to make sure they have enough time in the day to give every individual contributor the attention that they need to to perform their best.” says Pope.

Pope says Crayon focuses on conscious staffing and resourcing to avoid sales manager burnout:

“If we know we’re going to hire a new group of sales reps, we make sure we already have enough managers in place who have the bandwidth to lead.

So when those people start we don’t have a new manager meeting new reps, we have experienced managers working with new reps, and we make sure that team members have the data they need to understand what their path to success will be as an individual contributor.”

Improving Team Morale in 2021

Per HubSpot’s 2021 Sales Enablement Report, 40% of sales leaders expected to miss their revenue targets this year. That means sales enablement efforts are not only necessary for growth — they are critical for survival.

In a competitive landscape where sales teams are working with volatile markets and buyer uncertainty, keeping morale high is more challenging than ever. Pope shares why communication is Crayon’s greatest tool for keeping employees engaged.

“Morale has been all over the map for different members of the team. At Crayon, we never go a day without checking in on our reps,” he says. “I try to at least have two times a day where I’m asking them how their days are going, what they’ve been working on, what calls have gone well, what calls haven’t gone well, and asking how can I continue to support them.”

This approach to communication happens at the organizational level as well.

“Crayon has done a really great job of communicating, being honest about when we might go back into the office, and making sure we’re meeting with folks who are concerned about not having an office atmosphere to make sure that they’re comfortable with their remote work setup,” says Pope.

If you’re looking for more advice on boosting sales rep productivity and morale, check out this post for advice from an Aircall sales leader on navigating employee fatigue.

By: Lestraundra Alfred @writerlest

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HubSpot

Learn more about Sales Enablement: Why You Need Sales Enablement: https://clickhubspot.com/Sales-Enable… The Sales Enablement Certification will teach you how to develop a marketing-driven sales enablement strategy. This course was designed with marketing managers in mind, but other marketers, as well as sales leaders, can benefit from learning the principles involved in this approach to sales enablement.

This course is made up of 12 classes and a 60-question exam. Completing this course will help you: 1. Align your marketing and sales teams around business-level goals 2. Define your target customer using buyer personas and Jobs to Be Done 3. Implement marketing processes that will provide your sales team with a steady flow of qualified leads 📔 Grow Your Career and Business with HubSpot Academy: https://clickhubspot.com/Popular-Courses 📔 Favorite Free Certification Courses: • Social Media Marketing Course: https://clickhubspot.com/Social-Media… • SEO Training Course: https://clickhubspot.com/SEO-Training… • Inbound Course: https://clickhubspot.com/Inbound-Cert… • Inbound Marketing Course: https://clickhubspot.com/Inbound-Mark… • Email Marketing Course: https://clickhubspot.com/Email-Market… • Inbound Sales Course: https://clickhubspot.com/Inbound-Sale… • Taking your Business Online Course: https://clickhubspot.com/Business-Online

3 Tips For Deciding If An Investment In Your Business Is The Right One

Most of us have heard the phrase, “It takes money to make money.” It’s often necessary to invest in order to make more. This isn’t always an easy decision, but the question that many entrepreneurs ultimately have to ask themselves is, can you really expect customers to invest with you if you’re not willing to invest in yourself? 

When you consider investing in professional development such as a coach, consultant, mentor or online course, making sure this is worth both the time and financial commitment is strategic. But if the statistics are anything to go by, this strategy can quickly turn into fear for many women in particular.

Research shows that 71% of all assets held by women are in cash, but that 68% of women lose sleep because of money worries. It’s time to stop letting the fear of not having enough stop you from investing to build your wealth. 

These are my top three tips for making smart investments and minimizing money worries.  

Related: Want to Become a Billionaire? Invest in Your Own Business, Not Your 401(k).

Home in on your goals 

The first step is to write down your biggest goal for your business. What is it you really want to achieve? Is it to make six figures in fewer hours, or perhaps to build a big company that you will lead with lots of employees? Getting clear on this will protect you when you come across “shiny objects” — complex websites, funnels or branding that the sales world will try to convince you is absolutely necessary.

We usually succumb to these entreaties when we’re not focused on our end goal; when we procrastinate and look for quick fixes. Deciding what is just a shiny object or a really good investment starts with the question, “Will this investment help me achieve my goal faster?” 

Only when it’s a yes should you consider the investment seriously. 

Work out your boundaries 

Next, you need to decide if the investment is in alignment with what you want to achieve and how you want to get there. Write down what you are and are not willing to do to hit your big goal in your business. For example, will the commitment of the investment mean you’ll have to work 50 hour weeks when you only want to work 10? If so, then it’s probably not a good fit. 

It’s also a good idea to write down your values. Don’t let your feelings or mental blocks get in your way. Take your time so your fear doesn’t interfere. You might think that you don’t want to do sales calls. However, sales are a big part of a successful business. So, is it actually true that you don’t want to sell and thereby help other people, or could it be that you simply don’t want to feel like an old-fashioned salesman cold-selling by knocking on doors? If you were to feel good about selling, would selling be aligned? Most likely it’s a yes. 

Essentially, if your boundaries and values are in line with the investment, you should move forward to the last step. 

Assess the level of support

Investments are a vehicle for getting you from A to B, and it’s up to you to decide how you want to travel. Think of it like an airplane: You can go from London to Paris flying economy, Business or FirstClass. 

If you know that your money is tight and you are willing to have less support on your journey, an online course could be the way. If you know that you are willing to find the funds to get fully supported and get to your goal easier and faster, bespoke one-on-one coaching could be an option. If you want to be around other high-achieving entrepreneurs to push yourself and achieve more, a mastermind could be a great investment. 

This is when you need to ask yourself the question, “Is this investment providing the right level of support that I want?” If that’s a yes, you’re on the right track.

Related: 10 Ways You Should Invest Your Company’s First Profits

The lowdown of Investing 

Overthinking is often a massive pitfall, making you say no to things you really want and ending in you missing out on great opportunities. Investing in something is supposed to make you feel nervous and excited at the same time, and will most likely be a true game-changer in your business. 

When I started out, I had no savings at all, only debt. But I wanted to move fast, and my family couldn’t afford for me to not make money, so I found a way to make it happen. 

I started with “smaller” investments — $500 or $2,000 — which felt just as scary as the six-figure investments I make now. Since then, I have learned from experience that if the investment is not a stretch, I’m not really taking a risk, so the likelihood of me building success momentum is small.

Today, women invest with me at all levels — from $ 1,000 to $ 100,000 — and I celebrate them all for making the commitment financially, mentally and emotionally. Investment is always a risk, and having the tools to help you decide if it’s one worth taking is essential. 

By: Rikke Hundal Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

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Phil Town’s Rule #1 Investing

Everything I teach about investing in companies applies to every investment that you could possibly make, and that’s all based on the advice I’ve received over the years. Today, I’m going to give you my 5 best pieces of advice so that you can be a successful investor too. http://bit.ly/2kFiMBa Knowing you will make money comes from buying a wonderful business at an attractive price. Click the link above to learn the Four Ms for Successful Investing! Looking to master investing? Attend one of my 3-Day Transformational Investing Workshops, virtually! Reserve your seat here: https://bit.ly/r1-virtual-workshop _ Learn more: Subscribe to my channel for free stuff, tips and more! YouTube: http://budurl.com/kacp Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rule1investing Instagram: https://instagram.com/ruleoneinvesting Twitter: https://twitter.com/Rule1_Investing Google+: + PhilTownRule1Investing Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/rule1investing LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/rule… Blog: http://bit.ly/1YdqVXI Podcast: http://bit.ly/1KYuWb4 Buy my bestselling book Rule #1: https://amzn.to/2R9Gofj

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