How to Survive Accelerate Business Growth

How to Survive Accelerate Business Growth

  • Building a network of like-minded professionals helps with startup navigation.
  • Establishing strategic recruitment practices ensures high-quality hires.
  • Actively engaging your customer base safeguards service quality.
  • Hiring for values protects your company culture and mission.

When you run a small business, every decision you make has its consequences. Even the most benign decision can impact your reputation for years to come, so it only stands to reason that many small business owners feel a lot of pressure when hiring their very first employee, then their second, their third, and so on.

I can certainly attest to the pressure of hiring each new employee for Luxury Presence. In the beginning of my business, it was just me, my partner and a freelance developer. After six months, we brought on our first part-time salesperson. That pretty much set the pace for our internal growth for the next two years, as we racked up a total of nine employees. Then, the business took off, and we grew to 37 team members over the course of 12 months.

Growing the right way

That’s a lot of growth and a lot of decisions. It’s also a lot of room to make mistakes. Not that I wasn’t happy with the expansion, but growing at an accelerated rate exhausts your resources, placing even greater importance on your hiring practices. Every new hire has the potential of upsetting the applecart.

Recently, I had to figure out how to scale a sales team. We were shifting focus from product to sales, so I explored commission structures and staffing. With that came the need to hire a VP of sales, something we didn’t have. I taught myself how to build a sales team to be successful.

In the past, I’d be more on the defensive, reacting to whatever the marketplace threw

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Smart Ways Female Entrepreneurs Can Protect Their SMB

Smart Ways Female Entrepreneurs Can Protect Their SMB

October is National Women’s Small Business Month, a celebration of the more than 11 million woman-owned businesses in the United States and their fearless leaders. According to research conducted by SCORE in a recent infographic, 1,071 woman-owned firms are started every day. Since 2007, women have started businesses five times faster than the national average.

As more women pursue entrepreneurship, it’s important that they conduct their due diligence. They must understand which legal steps to take so they can protect their small businesses and intellectual property. There are several items all entrepreneurs must be able to cross off their legal to-do list, including covering these key areas:

  • Incorporate or form a limited liability company (LLC) to protect the business.
  • Register for trademarks to ensure exclusive rights to the marks.
  • File for necessary business licenses.
  • Obtain an employer identification number (EIN) to hire employees.
  • Determine who will act as your registered agent.
  • Keep up with annual maintenance to stay in compliance with the state.

You’ve drafted a business plan, reviewed the viability of your business idea and accessed how much capital you’ll need to start your business. Now, it’s time to protect your startup.

1. Incorporate the business.

This is one of the basic, first steps many entrepreneurs take to protect their small businesses. An unincorporated business struggles to establish credibility, and it does not receive liability protection like an incorporated formation. An incorporated business receives liability protection. This allows personal and professional assets to remain separate from each other. It also ensures that personal assets, like houses and cars, are protected in the event of an unforeseen circumstance that may negatively impact the company.

Entrepreneurs may choose to incorporate as one of several different types of business structures. Here’s a look at some of the most common, and popular, options

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The Analytics You Should be Paying Attention to

The Analytics You Should be Paying Attention to

There is a mind-bending amount of metrics and data involved in even a young startup. You cannot afford to ignore the analytics or facts. Even if you are willing to gamble going forward blindfolded, you can’t expect others to invest or come along for the ride without you knowing.

At best you won’t be nearly as competitive and profitable as you could be. You certainly won’t be taken seriously by angels and venture capitalists.

So, which metrics do you really need to know? Which are the musts that will ensure you stay in business and can sit down at an investor meeting without being dismissed in seconds? The metrics below are some of the ones I cover on my fundraising training. You will need to nail those if you want to land investors. 

1. Customer acquisition cost

How much does it cost you to get a new customer?

It’s one of the top questions potential investors will want to know. It’s also a vital number for entrepreneurs to know to understand their own finances, profits, marketing options and what they can afford to offer in return for loans.

This number is probably a lot higher than you think. Be sure you are doing all the math.

2. Churn rate

What’s the difference between the number of new customers or users you are adding versus the number you are losing? That’s important.

Adding new customers or users or visitors is great. Though if you are quickly losing them there is a problem. The content, service or product isn’t living up to expectations. Or the customer service or delivery is letting them down. Or it could be that you are being undercut by a competitor or your pricing is simply too high to be sustainable. Whatever it is, you need to

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Tips on Creating and Maintaining a Business Plan

Tips on Creating and Maintaining a Business Plan

One of the most important tasks any new entrepreneur has on their plates is drafting a business plan. This essential document lays out all the basics of a company, including financial projections, short- and long-term goals, and more.

And while writing a business plan can seem like a daunting task, there are plenty of tech tools, templates and approaches available that can help you streamline the process. To learn more, we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) about their favorite ways to easily build or maintain a business plan. Here is what they said.

1. Evernote

“I really like the flexibility that Evernote offers when it comes to jotting down ideas and just plain old throwing paint up on the wall. You can quickly compile assets like spreadsheets, images and even video to help make your plan incredibly detailed.” – Nick PonteOffline Sharks

2. Business Model Canvas

“The Business Model Canvas is a straightforward and visual way of mapping out a business plan, without the need to write long paragraphs in a long-form traditional word document. It ensures you think of the core limitations, customers and value propositions of what you’re looking to accomplish, which is the core benefit of business planning.” – Keith ShieldsDesignli

3. An online business plan template

“Instead of starting from scratch, I prefer using a business plan template. Using a template helps you ensure your business plan has everything it needs, and it helps speed up the business plan creation process. You can find a ton of quality business plan templates online. Or, if you’ve created a business plan before, turn it into a template to save time.” – Stephanie WellsFormidable Forms

4. SCORE

“The website SCORE has a plethora of business plan templates you can take advantage

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How Experiences Can Shape Your Business

How Experiences Can Shape Your Business

  • Brands have to leverage the power of experience to connect with customers, grow their competitive advantages, and, perhaps most importantly, create a happy, productive workforce.
  • The smartest companies know the importance of cultivating employee experiences, right down to the people new hires will meet and the way they’re greeted.
  • To create a more engaging employee experience, start talking about it more often, find a partner and get your leadership team behind it.

As the world has become increasingly digital, intentional face-to-face interactions hold more power than ever. People crave these in-person exchanges – they’re rarer, more memorable and more powerful. Brands have to leverage the power of experience to connect with customers and grow their competitive advantages.

Just ask the team at Disney. In a recent Game Developer’s Conference talk, leaders from Walt Disney Imagineering discussed how the same experience-based strategies that have made Disney’s theme parks so successful have bled into other areas of the company, including video games. “The qualities of making games so impactful and evocative are also the things that make our guests’ experience possible,” said Creative Director Sara Thacher.

Experiences – intentionally designed moments of human interaction – are catalysts for desired change. Companies are getting on board with this movement, with a 2018 Bizzabo survey finding that 87% of C-suite executives plan to invest more in live events.

The Power of experiential thinking

In the world of marketing, brands collectively spend billions of dollars every year to tell consumers who they are: “We’re trustworthy,” brands say. “We’re loyal, exciting and cool.” Think, though, about a few of your closest friends. You might think of them as trustworthy, loyal, exciting, or cool. But why? Is it because they told you they were? Doubtful.

Our most deeply held beliefs are the ones we develop ourselves.

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