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How I Built Nike: Phil Knight’s 4 Business Lessons for Young Entrepreneurs

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Phil Knight

Everybody knows what Nike is, but not so many know how it was built or who built it. Phil Knight, the once-young entrepreneur who left his lucrative accounting job to pursue his dream of having his own shoe company is the man behind Nike. I was lucky enough to read Knight`s autobiography “Shoe Dog,” and today I`m going to share the top business lessons that I believe every entrepreneur should follow to succeed.

Here are 4 business lessons I learned from Phil Knight:

1. Mix what you like with what the market needs

I recently watched an interview between multimillionaire Tom Bilyeu and the internet celebrity, and former monk, Jay Shetty and I caught this quote, “the entrepreneurial success is to ask: What are you good at, what do you like, what the market needs and how to make money off it.” All the big guys in the business world – Jobs, Buffet, Gates…etc, have used the same principle time and time again, and when I read Shoe Dog, I saw that he did the same thing.

Knight was good at running,  wanted to be an entrepreneur, and saw a gap in the market. America needed better running shoes so he went to Japan, made a deal with one of their top shoe companies and became their West-coast distributor. Problems later emerged but he had already known his calling and his Oregon-based company “Blue Ribbon” became the one we now call “Nike.”

“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” – Phil Knight

2. Team up with better people

One of the smartest moves Knight made in his life was teaming up with his coach, Bill Bowerman. Who better to approach about selling running shoes than your well-known track coach who has ties to every shoe store in Portland?

Also, Bowerman wasn`t just a good track instructor, he was also a great businessman with a great personality. He was an alpha leader, a great networker and above all, Bowerman had a thing for running shoes. He used to sneak into his players` lockers, steal their footwear and hand them back with some minor modifications that made them run better and faster.

Bowerman`s skills had bigger demand later on when both Blue Ribbon and Onitsuka Tiger drifted apart. Now that he and Knight had to manufacture their shoes, it was Bowerman`s technique of molding rubber soles with a waffle iron that they used for making the first generation of Nike shoes, and America loved it.

3. Have a 100% conviction you’ll win

Passion and conviction are the salt and pepper of every successful business. Without a firm belief in your ideas, you won’t be able to sell them to both customers and investors.

The first question Knight received when pitching the CEO of the Japanese shoe manufacturer Onitsuka Tiger was, “Mr. Knight, what company are you with?” A difficult question to answer especially when you don’t have a company and still live with your parents. But Knight had a conviction that America needed better running shoes.

Knight had seen it before when the Japanese cameras invaded the markets back home, and he knew people would do the same with imported running shoes. Due to this, his entire pitch was all about passion and possibility which was enough to sign the partnership papers with them.

“Dream audaciously, have the courage to fail forward, act with urgency.” – Phil Knight

4. Don’t sell…show

When he was young, Knight tried selling encyclopedias door-to-door and failed miserably. He saw no need for selling them, they were heavy to carry, and because it felt like a burden to Knight, nobody bought from him.

Years later, he had to repeat the same cycle but this time with shoes. Blue Ribbon was still not conspicuous, and he had to meet with every store owner in the Pacific Northwest to get them to try his new shoes. Again, everyone Knight met said the same thing: “The world doesn`t need another track shoe.”

He had to find another way. Phil Knight came up with a new idea, instead of pitching his shoes, he attended as many track meets and races as possible and asked the runners, coaches, and fans to wear them and see if his shoes were better than their Adidas shoes; the market`s number 1 brand at the time. And guess what? They loved it and all of a sudden, Knight was all booked.

Successful people understand that you must love what you sell – or at least believe it has value. The more passion you have the better your sales numbers will be. Now that you’ve read Phil Knight`s top lessons, I want you to leave a comment with the number-1 lesson you’ve learned in business either from books or, preferably, from your experience. It`ll be more than interesting hearing from you.

Which one of these business lessons will you begin incorporating? Let us know which one and why in the comments below!

Marwan Jamal is a fitness and health blogger at healthline.com. He’s a great fan of the gym and a healthy diet. He follows the trends in fitness, gym, and healthy life and loves to share his knowledge through useful and informative articles.

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Entrepreneurs

7 Rules About Small Business That Are Meant to Be Broken

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Famously said by Marilyn Monroe, “If I’d observed all the rules, I’d never have got anywhere.” If you are aiming high and planning to materialize your dream by defying all barriers and killing the stereotype, then the quote mentioned above is something that will get you going. Talking of small businesses, if we look back at the history of SMEs-turned-world-changing-MNCs, some remarkable brands like Apple, HP, Google, Walt Disney, Mattel and Amazon certainly get a special mention.

Now you must be thinking what rule did Steve Jobs break or what exactly were Larry Page and Sergey Brin up to? Well, breaking the rules doesn’t necessarily mean to try out random illegal stuff that may put you behind bars. Breaking rules indicates ignoring certain stereotypes to rise above what is regular and conventional in order to turn your small business into a successful and universally recognized company someday.  

Published on Forbes, the list of small companies in America that are making it big in the industry has a count of 25 firms with revenues ranging from $3 Million to a huge $532 Million. Astonished much? Nothing really is impossible you see!

Here are the 7 conventional small business rules which are better to be broken than to follow blindly:

1. Do not rope your family and friends in the business

This perhaps is the most common and an unspoken law followed by many people in the domain of start-up businesses. It’s a misconception among us that involvement of family and friends ruins the business prosperity. Do you know your favorite café Starbucks was founded back in the year 1971 by three San Francisco University students, and the original McDonald’s restaurant in California was founded by the McDonald brothers Maurice and Richard McDonald? So it is a myth after all!

2. If you are good at something, never do it for free

You may oppose this notion of working for free but have you ever thought of it the other way around? Suppose you have a start-up business that offers online academic writing service. Declare free essay help for all as a part of your promotional campaign. Provide all interested students with free services once and pitch the premium ones eventually. At least you can have people notice your business. That’s something which is crucial to every small trade.

3. No graduation means no business prosperity

Michael Dell (Dell), Larry Ellison (Oracle), Jan Koum (WhatsApp CEO), and Evan Williams (co-founder of Twitter), are examples of successful college dropouts turned billionaire business tycoons, apart from the iconic Steve Jobs and Zuckerberg.

Nonetheless, this is no way an indication to drop your graduation plan and start a trade right away. But in case you cannot continue with the graduation program or have to leave midway, then it won’t bring any harm to your business, as long as you have the zeal to innovate and stand out. Your motivation for the day – If they can do it, so can you!

“If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney

4. You are too young to start a business or get an internship

Sound familiar? Well, this is yet another man-made small business rule that keeps coming in between one’s aspirations and dreams. Being young has nothing to do with businesses if you have the motivation to start something on your own with a focused mindset.

Rather, a young entrepreneur has greater advantages as compared to that of the mid-aged one. As you get older, taking risks and being flexible and dynamic might be a problem, but such is not the case with the youngsters. They are agile, more liberal, open to changes and risk takers. As you know, taking risks in business is the first step towards attaining success.

5. Not all social media campaigns work well for the business

Social media is a terrific platform for all small business owners aiming to invest less and generate more revenue. On the contrary, you can’t actually be too confident about it. You never know who’s available on which platform. The internet is a big thing, and you can’t get enough of it.

Because of this, choose to make a difference, sell your ideas, promote your products in as many social media sites possible, and leave no possibilities unexplored. Remember, digital marketing costs less than the traditional methodologies.

6. You have to have a plan drafted for seamless operations

Planning is always crucial to every business, but bringing compulsion to it and not being flexible enough to think anything beyond a drafted plan can at times bring limitations. There are moments when you need to plan things up quickly and make smart decisions early in the process.

Every time you would call your team for a meeting or sit with pen and paper and spend hours brainstorming, you might lose out on opportunities that your competitors might already have grabbed with agility, confidence and smartness. At times, you need to think beyond drafted agendas. That’s all you need for a quick transmutation!

“Management is all about managing in the short term, while developing the plans for the long term.” – Jack Welch

7. Follow what your successful competitors are doing

To draw inspiration and ideas is one thing, but following them blindly is another. If you want your business products and services to be remembered with great brand recall values, then it’s time to make a move, and think beyond tried and tested strategies. Trying out the good old approaches and sticking to the conventional ideas of marketing is good, but that won’t help your target audience experience or explore something new and catchy, will it?

So, here’s your chance to try out the untried, break the unbreakable, jump beyond your boundaries, think beyond all limitations and achieve what you wish for. Your business is in your hands, make it a big one.

Do you want to start a business? If so, what would you like it to be? Let us know in the comments below!

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3 Signs You Are Operating With Negative Energy as an Entrepreneur

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When you first think about becoming an entrepreneur you hear about how it won’t be easy and it’s going to take some time to make a profit, and you might even hear about how many ideas will fail before you actually get that one idea that will blow up and bring you the success that you are looking for.

After hearing all of that, you decided to start your entrepreneurial journey anyway. You climbed, you worked hard, you worked weekends, and holidays. You invested time, money, and sweat into your business. You also put systems in place that cost you a pretty penny and after all of that, nothing seemed to work.

So you did even more market research and you got a business coach and after all of that you still are not seeing the results you desire and now you are ready to throw in the towel. STOP! Don’t throw in the towel just yet! It might not be the systems, your message, or even your website, it just might be your energy.

Your energy will help to attract or repel people

There are five ways that will make your energy a repellent instead of a paying customer attraction. Your energy makes up a huge factor of what you bring to the table and it is not just about your attitude. Yes, your attitude plays a huge role but, there are also other factors that you need to know about as well. Your energy is the vibrational vibe that you are sending out to the world. We all have it but are you being intentional?

The only way you can be intentional is for you to understand how your energy works. Have you ever walked by someone or something and got the chills? You just knew something was not right. You may not have been able to tell exactly what it was but you knew it didn’t feel right to you so you just avoided that person or area.

“Reality is created by the mind, we can change our reality by changing our mind.”  Plato

What about when you think of someone and get butterflies in your stomach? We all could use some butterflies every now and then. That energy feels good right? It feels exciting and it gives you a sense of knowing that is pleasant that we wouldn’t mind experiencing again.

That is exactly what you can make people feel like before they even physically meet you or buy from you. Either you’re going to give them the chills or you’re going to give them butterflies. If you desire to give the people who you are supposed to be serving butterflies instead of chills, you’ve got to start focusing on your energy every single day. Getting your energy to the level that you want it to be to give you the results that you desire is a process that takes time that will eventually pay off.

Here are three of the five things that you can stop doing immediately to start seeing your energy give off the signals that you desire:

1. You not confronting the person in the mirror

In one place in your entrepreneurial journey or another, you dropped the ball, you neglected yourself, you gave into your fears, or worst, you quit. Have you apologized to yourself? Have you had that honest conversation with yourself telling yourself how what you did or didn’t do made you feel? If you haven’t yet had that conversation, have it, forgive yourself, and let it go! Holding on to the past only overloads your energy with negative energy so that there is no room for the positive energy that you desire to come through. The more often you do this the better. At the least, you should do this once a month.

2. You haven’t embraced your authentic self

The reason why you first started your entrepreneurial journey was because you were passionate about something. You were passionate about being your own boss, being a positive contributor to the world, and making lots of money while doing it and somehow during your journey, you lost who you were and what you were truly passionate about. You have to go on a journey back to self and embrace your authentic self. That is what your people that you haven’t found yet are attracted to and waiting for desire from you.

“Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” – Sun Tzu

3. You are not learning what life is teaching

There are different seasons for life just like there are different seasons in a calendar year. Are you aware what season of life you are in right now? If so, are you learning the lesson that you need to learn so that you won’t be in the negative energy of repeating the same cycles? If you are not being consciously aware of the seasons of when you are supposed to reflect, tear down, purge, and build then you are bound to repeat the cycle again.

There is a lot of work that goes into becoming a successful entrepreneur and at times it can really get discouraging. It may feel like you have tried everything and nothing seems to be giving you the break through that you desire. Before you throw in the towel or feel like a complete failure, try to shift your energy by doing the three things stated above.

How do you shift out of negativity? Comment below!

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7 Tips for Learning Key Skills on the Fly as an Entrepreneur

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Starting your own company is undoubtedly one of the most exciting things you can do, but it is also one of the most challenging. From destructive personal habits to a lack of knowledge about how to properly run a business, there are many roadblocks that can keep you from achieving the success you so greatly desire.

The problem is, many people don’t have the time to enroll in additional business classes at school to learn these new skills. This is especially true of those who have already launched their startup and are now discovering that their skill set is somewhat lacking.

So how do you keep your lack of knowledge from bringing about a premature end to your entrepreneurial dreams? To achieve lasting success, you’ll have to develop the ability to learn these important skills “on the fly” as you simultaneously manage your company.

Here are 7 ways you can make this happen:

1. Leverage Failure

Failure is an unavoidable aspect of the business world. Even when you seem to have a great product and great team, failure is always a possibility. In fact, industries with the highest startup success rates still see 42 percent of new companies fail within their first four years of operation.

Though failure is hard, it is essential that you take a step back and assess why you failed. This allows you to gain key insights that will help you perform better in the future. As serial entrepreneur and investor Steve Tan recalls, “I’ve been involved in e-commerce since 2005. During that time, I’ve had four startups that went under. It was very hard — depressing, even, but I didn’t give up. By evaluating the reasons why my past efforts had failed, I was able to use these lessons to launch a company with my brother that now has an eight-figure annual revenue.”

2. Become a Self-Starter

Successful learners need to be self-motivated. As Jack Canfield explains, “World-class achievers don’t wait until external influences – such as a teacher, manager or boss, or new developments within an industry – force them to gain new skills or knowledge. They are self-motivated learners who are constantly looking for new ways to improve their performance and deepen their understanding of the world around them.”

To learn on the fly as an entrepreneur, you need to develop a desire to make active learning a key part of everything you do. This requires humility and self-awareness. An inner drive for improvement will help you be a more successful learner than if you were forced into change by external forces.

“Talent you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft.” – Will Smith

3. Set Goals

Even if you’re self-motivated, it can be hard to maintain focus on learning activities when you have so many other entrepreneurial duties on your plate. Smart goal-setting is essential for keeping on track. If you want to learn more about social media marketing, creating a specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound goal will be far more effective than having a vague desire to learn.

Goal-setting gives you the tools to track your progress toward learning milestones. As you use smart goals to remain focused and committed to on the fly learning, you’ll be better positioned to achieve actual results.

4. Find the ‘Why’

If you don’t feel as motivated to learn, it can help to focus on the why. Why do you need to understand Facebook and other social media platforms? Why should you learn about supply chain management?

As you more closely examine how such issues impact your company’s bottom line, you can find the motivation you need to make learning a priority. When this happens, you’ll be more likely to constantly search for new learning opportunities, making it far easier to learn in a hectic environment.

5. Set Aside Time Every Day

When you have a busy schedule, it can be easy for certain activities to fall by the wayside. More often than not, if you don’t carve out some “learning time” in your calendar, there’s a good chance you’ll end the day without taking any time to learn at all.

While it’s true that many of the best entrepreneurial learning opportunities are entirely unstructured, setting aside a period of structured “study time” demonstrates a level of commitment that will help you keep on track with your learning goals. Even using as little as 15 minutes to read a how-to article or work on a learning project will pay big dividends over time.

6. Look for Structured Opportunities

You don’t have to sign up for a class at your local community college to gain access to expert knowledge. It’s easier than ever to find knowledgable, authoritative resources that will help you develop the skills necessary to keep your business on track. From articles published by other entrepreneurs to online courses, there are countless resources you can use — and many of them are completely free.

Professional conferences can be especially valuable. Industry-specific conferences often focus on the trends and skills that will have a direct impact on your startup’s success. Better yet, conferences also create valuable networking opportunities that can help you foster new growth opportunities.

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

7. Get Hands-On

To become a successful learner, you need to put aside any fears about “not knowing enough” and start practicing. Studies have found that students who learn by doing perform better than their peers. The same is true in the business world.

At the end of the day, nothing beats hands-on learning. If you’re trying to learn a new language so you can better communicate with your customers, you’ll learn much quicker as you practice speaking, rather than simply reading from a textbook. Personal engagement in the activity you are trying to master is the best bet for mastery.

As Jim Rohn famously said, “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” To achieve lasting success, you have to become a learner. This requires that you examine what factors could keep you from reaching your ultimate goals and then take action to gain the skills and knowledge that will allow you to address these issues. As you strive to become a continual learner, you’ll cultivate the tools you need to become successful.

What new skill are you currently working on? Share with me in the comment section below!

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How to Know When to Move on From a Business Idea

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We all have “lightbulb” moments from time to time. As an entrepreneur, you’ve made your living off of turning these moments into business practices. Whatever the case, every idea has a lifespan. At some point, it’ll either work for you or it won’t. If it’s not working, then you need to know the right time to move on. Otherwise, you’ll pour your time and resources into a bottomless pit.

Sure, there’s something to be said for persistence, but sometimes persistence can just lead you further down the wrong path and cause you to bang your head against the wall. We’d like to help you prevent that!

Here are 4 signs that you should move on from a business idea:

1. You’ve Completely Lost Your Passion for It

You no longer have the fire you used to have for the idea. What started out as a passion has quickly dwindled to the point where everything about it feels like a chore. You can’t see yourself working in the industry or on the idea for much longer – and certainly not for the amount of time it’ll take for it to become a lasting success.

You can keep plowing forward and ignore this lost passion, but it’ll chip away at your happiness and start to sap your energy, even if it has the potential to become profitable.

“Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.” – Henry David Thoreau

2. The Profit Margin is Too Low

Low profit margins create low margins for error. This becomes even more problematic when you’re dealing with tough competition in a potential “race to the bottom” of pricing. If the profit margin will be too low and you can’t figure out a way to increase it, perhaps through negotiation with potential vendors or cutting out some other part of the cost, then the idea may no longer be worth pursuing.

When calculating profit margin, make sure to calculate the net profit margin. This takes total sales and subtracts it by business expenses. Keep in mind that profit margins will vary from industry to industry.

3. You Can’t Validate It

If you struggle to validate your idea, it’s a sign that people probably don’t want or need it. For example, if you run Facebook ads to a landing page with an email opt-in to learn more about your idea, and it generates hardly any clicks, then people may not be interested.

You can try other mediums for testing and validating your idea. You can even try to “pre-sell” it, so that you get sales before you even move forward with creating it. But if all of your attempts see lackluster results, then listen to what the market is telling you. They don’t want your idea in its current state. You can either pivot and tweak your idea, or move on to something else. Because if you start pouring your resources into an idea like this, you’re bound to lose on that investment.

4. It’s Confusing

Can you easily explain your idea to potential customers and others in few sentences? If not, then it’s probably a little too confusing. Confusing ideas struggle to achieve large customer bases, because they struggle to invoke desire in customers. How can somebody want a product or service if they don’t understand what problem it solves, or what it actually does?

If your idea is confusing, you should work to simplify it and create an “elevator pitch”, then test it out by explaining it to people. If that still doesn’t work, then it may be time to move on to something else.

“Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.” – David Ogilvy

You shouldn’t take every idea and use it. Instead, you should realize when it’s time to move on from one idea so you can devote more resources to your next endeavor.  It’s hard to move on, especially if you’ve invested a lot into your idea. But if you see any of the signs we’ve listed here, then it’s time to move forward.

Have you ever had an idea you thought would be successful but you had to move on from it? Let us know in the comments below so we can all help each other push forward and succeed.

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7 Powerful and Inspiring Words of Encouragement to Help Lift You Up

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When you’re going through tough times, all you need is sympathy. You just need someone to tell you how strong you are and how you can cope with the situation. Essentially, you’re waiting for a soothing voice that can calm your inner storm and genuinely help with your troubles. (more…)

I am Eliana Jags, Co-Founder & Author at beinginsightful.com. I'm passionate about writing motivational and inspirational articles. Before I became a full-time blogger, I was a Software Engineer but left the job to fulfill my dream of becoming a writer and thus I've committed myself completely to my passion of writing. You can connect with me on my Facebook page here.

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7 Rules About Small Business That Are Meant to Be Broken

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Famously said by Marilyn Monroe, “If I’d observed all the rules, I’d never have got anywhere.” If you are aiming high and planning to materialize your dream by defying all barriers and killing the stereotype, then the quote mentioned above is something that will get you going. Talking of small businesses, if we look back at the history of SMEs-turned-world-changing-MNCs, some remarkable brands like Apple, HP, Google, Walt Disney, Mattel and Amazon certainly get a special mention.

Now you must be thinking what rule did Steve Jobs break or what exactly were Larry Page and Sergey Brin up to? Well, breaking the rules doesn’t necessarily mean to try out random illegal stuff that may put you behind bars. Breaking rules indicates ignoring certain stereotypes to rise above what is regular and conventional in order to turn your small business into a successful and universally recognized company someday.  

Published on Forbes, the list of small companies in America that are making it big in the industry has a count of 25 firms with revenues ranging from $3 Million to a huge $532 Million. Astonished much? Nothing really is impossible you see!

Here are the 7 conventional small business rules which are better to be broken than to follow blindly:

1. Do not rope your family and friends in the business

This perhaps is the most common and an unspoken law followed by many people in the domain of start-up businesses. It’s a misconception among us that involvement of family and friends ruins the business prosperity. Do you know your favorite café Starbucks was founded back in the year 1971 by three San Francisco University students, and the original McDonald’s restaurant in California was founded by the McDonald brothers Maurice and Richard McDonald? So it is a myth after all!

2. If you are good at something, never do it for free

You may oppose this notion of working for free but have you ever thought of it the other way around? Suppose you have a start-up business that offers online academic writing service. Declare free essay help for all as a part of your promotional campaign. Provide all interested students with free services once and pitch the premium ones eventually. At least you can have people notice your business. That’s something which is crucial to every small trade.

3. No graduation means no business prosperity

Michael Dell (Dell), Larry Ellison (Oracle), Jan Koum (WhatsApp CEO), and Evan Williams (co-founder of Twitter), are examples of successful college dropouts turned billionaire business tycoons, apart from the iconic Steve Jobs and Zuckerberg.

Nonetheless, this is no way an indication to drop your graduation plan and start a trade right away. But in case you cannot continue with the graduation program or have to leave midway, then it won’t bring any harm to your business, as long as you have the zeal to innovate and stand out. Your motivation for the day – If they can do it, so can you!

“If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney

4. You are too young to start a business or get an internship

Sound familiar? Well, this is yet another man-made small business rule that keeps coming in between one’s aspirations and dreams. Being young has nothing to do with businesses if you have the motivation to start something on your own with a focused mindset.

Rather, a young entrepreneur has greater advantages as compared to that of the mid-aged one. As you get older, taking risks and being flexible and dynamic might be a problem, but such is not the case with the youngsters. They are agile, more liberal, open to changes and risk takers. As you know, taking risks in business is the first step towards attaining success.

5. Not all social media campaigns work well for the business

Social media is a terrific platform for all small business owners aiming to invest less and generate more revenue. On the contrary, you can’t actually be too confident about it. You never know who’s available on which platform. The internet is a big thing, and you can’t get enough of it.

Because of this, choose to make a difference, sell your ideas, promote your products in as many social media sites possible, and leave no possibilities unexplored. Remember, digital marketing costs less than the traditional methodologies.

6. You have to have a plan drafted for seamless operations

Planning is always crucial to every business, but bringing compulsion to it and not being flexible enough to think anything beyond a drafted plan can at times bring limitations. There are moments when you need to plan things up quickly and make smart decisions early in the process.

Every time you would call your team for a meeting or sit with pen and paper and spend hours brainstorming, you might lose out on opportunities that your competitors might already have grabbed with agility, confidence and smartness. At times, you need to think beyond drafted agendas. That’s all you need for a quick transmutation!

“Management is all about managing in the short term, while developing the plans for the long term.” – Jack Welch

7. Follow what your successful competitors are doing

To draw inspiration and ideas is one thing, but following them blindly is another. If you want your business products and services to be remembered with great brand recall values, then it’s time to make a move, and think beyond tried and tested strategies. Trying out the good old approaches and sticking to the conventional ideas of marketing is good, but that won’t help your target audience experience or explore something new and catchy, will it?

So, here’s your chance to try out the untried, break the unbreakable, jump beyond your boundaries, think beyond all limitations and achieve what you wish for. Your business is in your hands, make it a big one.

Do you want to start a business? If so, what would you like it to be? Let us know in the comments below!

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3 Signs You Are Operating With Negative Energy as an Entrepreneur

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When you first think about becoming an entrepreneur you hear about how it won’t be easy and it’s going to take some time to make a profit, and you might even hear about how many ideas will fail before you actually get that one idea that will blow up and bring you the success that you are looking for.

After hearing all of that, you decided to start your entrepreneurial journey anyway. You climbed, you worked hard, you worked weekends, and holidays. You invested time, money, and sweat into your business. You also put systems in place that cost you a pretty penny and after all of that, nothing seemed to work.

So you did even more market research and you got a business coach and after all of that you still are not seeing the results you desire and now you are ready to throw in the towel. STOP! Don’t throw in the towel just yet! It might not be the systems, your message, or even your website, it just might be your energy.

Your energy will help to attract or repel people

There are five ways that will make your energy a repellent instead of a paying customer attraction. Your energy makes up a huge factor of what you bring to the table and it is not just about your attitude. Yes, your attitude plays a huge role but, there are also other factors that you need to know about as well. Your energy is the vibrational vibe that you are sending out to the world. We all have it but are you being intentional?

The only way you can be intentional is for you to understand how your energy works. Have you ever walked by someone or something and got the chills? You just knew something was not right. You may not have been able to tell exactly what it was but you knew it didn’t feel right to you so you just avoided that person or area.

“Reality is created by the mind, we can change our reality by changing our mind.”  Plato

What about when you think of someone and get butterflies in your stomach? We all could use some butterflies every now and then. That energy feels good right? It feels exciting and it gives you a sense of knowing that is pleasant that we wouldn’t mind experiencing again.

That is exactly what you can make people feel like before they even physically meet you or buy from you. Either you’re going to give them the chills or you’re going to give them butterflies. If you desire to give the people who you are supposed to be serving butterflies instead of chills, you’ve got to start focusing on your energy every single day. Getting your energy to the level that you want it to be to give you the results that you desire is a process that takes time that will eventually pay off.

Here are three of the five things that you can stop doing immediately to start seeing your energy give off the signals that you desire:

1. You not confronting the person in the mirror

In one place in your entrepreneurial journey or another, you dropped the ball, you neglected yourself, you gave into your fears, or worst, you quit. Have you apologized to yourself? Have you had that honest conversation with yourself telling yourself how what you did or didn’t do made you feel? If you haven’t yet had that conversation, have it, forgive yourself, and let it go! Holding on to the past only overloads your energy with negative energy so that there is no room for the positive energy that you desire to come through. The more often you do this the better. At the least, you should do this once a month.

2. You haven’t embraced your authentic self

The reason why you first started your entrepreneurial journey was because you were passionate about something. You were passionate about being your own boss, being a positive contributor to the world, and making lots of money while doing it and somehow during your journey, you lost who you were and what you were truly passionate about. You have to go on a journey back to self and embrace your authentic self. That is what your people that you haven’t found yet are attracted to and waiting for desire from you.

“Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” – Sun Tzu

3. You are not learning what life is teaching

There are different seasons for life just like there are different seasons in a calendar year. Are you aware what season of life you are in right now? If so, are you learning the lesson that you need to learn so that you won’t be in the negative energy of repeating the same cycles? If you are not being consciously aware of the seasons of when you are supposed to reflect, tear down, purge, and build then you are bound to repeat the cycle again.

There is a lot of work that goes into becoming a successful entrepreneur and at times it can really get discouraging. It may feel like you have tried everything and nothing seems to be giving you the break through that you desire. Before you throw in the towel or feel like a complete failure, try to shift your energy by doing the three things stated above.

How do you shift out of negativity? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Entrepreneurs

7 Tips for Learning Key Skills on the Fly as an Entrepreneur

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Starting your own company is undoubtedly one of the most exciting things you can do, but it is also one of the most challenging. From destructive personal habits to a lack of knowledge about how to properly run a business, there are many roadblocks that can keep you from achieving the success you so greatly desire.

The problem is, many people don’t have the time to enroll in additional business classes at school to learn these new skills. This is especially true of those who have already launched their startup and are now discovering that their skill set is somewhat lacking.

So how do you keep your lack of knowledge from bringing about a premature end to your entrepreneurial dreams? To achieve lasting success, you’ll have to develop the ability to learn these important skills “on the fly” as you simultaneously manage your company.

Here are 7 ways you can make this happen:

1. Leverage Failure

Failure is an unavoidable aspect of the business world. Even when you seem to have a great product and great team, failure is always a possibility. In fact, industries with the highest startup success rates still see 42 percent of new companies fail within their first four years of operation.

Though failure is hard, it is essential that you take a step back and assess why you failed. This allows you to gain key insights that will help you perform better in the future. As serial entrepreneur and investor Steve Tan recalls, “I’ve been involved in e-commerce since 2005. During that time, I’ve had four startups that went under. It was very hard — depressing, even, but I didn’t give up. By evaluating the reasons why my past efforts had failed, I was able to use these lessons to launch a company with my brother that now has an eight-figure annual revenue.”

2. Become a Self-Starter

Successful learners need to be self-motivated. As Jack Canfield explains, “World-class achievers don’t wait until external influences – such as a teacher, manager or boss, or new developments within an industry – force them to gain new skills or knowledge. They are self-motivated learners who are constantly looking for new ways to improve their performance and deepen their understanding of the world around them.”

To learn on the fly as an entrepreneur, you need to develop a desire to make active learning a key part of everything you do. This requires humility and self-awareness. An inner drive for improvement will help you be a more successful learner than if you were forced into change by external forces.

“Talent you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft.” – Will Smith

3. Set Goals

Even if you’re self-motivated, it can be hard to maintain focus on learning activities when you have so many other entrepreneurial duties on your plate. Smart goal-setting is essential for keeping on track. If you want to learn more about social media marketing, creating a specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound goal will be far more effective than having a vague desire to learn.

Goal-setting gives you the tools to track your progress toward learning milestones. As you use smart goals to remain focused and committed to on the fly learning, you’ll be better positioned to achieve actual results.

4. Find the ‘Why’

If you don’t feel as motivated to learn, it can help to focus on the why. Why do you need to understand Facebook and other social media platforms? Why should you learn about supply chain management?

As you more closely examine how such issues impact your company’s bottom line, you can find the motivation you need to make learning a priority. When this happens, you’ll be more likely to constantly search for new learning opportunities, making it far easier to learn in a hectic environment.

5. Set Aside Time Every Day

When you have a busy schedule, it can be easy for certain activities to fall by the wayside. More often than not, if you don’t carve out some “learning time” in your calendar, there’s a good chance you’ll end the day without taking any time to learn at all.

While it’s true that many of the best entrepreneurial learning opportunities are entirely unstructured, setting aside a period of structured “study time” demonstrates a level of commitment that will help you keep on track with your learning goals. Even using as little as 15 minutes to read a how-to article or work on a learning project will pay big dividends over time.

6. Look for Structured Opportunities

You don’t have to sign up for a class at your local community college to gain access to expert knowledge. It’s easier than ever to find knowledgable, authoritative resources that will help you develop the skills necessary to keep your business on track. From articles published by other entrepreneurs to online courses, there are countless resources you can use — and many of them are completely free.

Professional conferences can be especially valuable. Industry-specific conferences often focus on the trends and skills that will have a direct impact on your startup’s success. Better yet, conferences also create valuable networking opportunities that can help you foster new growth opportunities.

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

7. Get Hands-On

To become a successful learner, you need to put aside any fears about “not knowing enough” and start practicing. Studies have found that students who learn by doing perform better than their peers. The same is true in the business world.

At the end of the day, nothing beats hands-on learning. If you’re trying to learn a new language so you can better communicate with your customers, you’ll learn much quicker as you practice speaking, rather than simply reading from a textbook. Personal engagement in the activity you are trying to master is the best bet for mastery.

As Jim Rohn famously said, “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” To achieve lasting success, you have to become a learner. This requires that you examine what factors could keep you from reaching your ultimate goals and then take action to gain the skills and knowledge that will allow you to address these issues. As you strive to become a continual learner, you’ll cultivate the tools you need to become successful.

What new skill are you currently working on? Share with me in the comment section below!

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Entrepreneurs

How to Know When to Move on From a Business Idea

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We all have “lightbulb” moments from time to time. As an entrepreneur, you’ve made your living off of turning these moments into business practices. Whatever the case, every idea has a lifespan. At some point, it’ll either work for you or it won’t. If it’s not working, then you need to know the right time to move on. Otherwise, you’ll pour your time and resources into a bottomless pit.

Sure, there’s something to be said for persistence, but sometimes persistence can just lead you further down the wrong path and cause you to bang your head against the wall. We’d like to help you prevent that!

Here are 4 signs that you should move on from a business idea:

1. You’ve Completely Lost Your Passion for It

You no longer have the fire you used to have for the idea. What started out as a passion has quickly dwindled to the point where everything about it feels like a chore. You can’t see yourself working in the industry or on the idea for much longer – and certainly not for the amount of time it’ll take for it to become a lasting success.

You can keep plowing forward and ignore this lost passion, but it’ll chip away at your happiness and start to sap your energy, even if it has the potential to become profitable.

“Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.” – Henry David Thoreau

2. The Profit Margin is Too Low

Low profit margins create low margins for error. This becomes even more problematic when you’re dealing with tough competition in a potential “race to the bottom” of pricing. If the profit margin will be too low and you can’t figure out a way to increase it, perhaps through negotiation with potential vendors or cutting out some other part of the cost, then the idea may no longer be worth pursuing.

When calculating profit margin, make sure to calculate the net profit margin. This takes total sales and subtracts it by business expenses. Keep in mind that profit margins will vary from industry to industry.

3. You Can’t Validate It

If you struggle to validate your idea, it’s a sign that people probably don’t want or need it. For example, if you run Facebook ads to a landing page with an email opt-in to learn more about your idea, and it generates hardly any clicks, then people may not be interested.

You can try other mediums for testing and validating your idea. You can even try to “pre-sell” it, so that you get sales before you even move forward with creating it. But if all of your attempts see lackluster results, then listen to what the market is telling you. They don’t want your idea in its current state. You can either pivot and tweak your idea, or move on to something else. Because if you start pouring your resources into an idea like this, you’re bound to lose on that investment.

4. It’s Confusing

Can you easily explain your idea to potential customers and others in few sentences? If not, then it’s probably a little too confusing. Confusing ideas struggle to achieve large customer bases, because they struggle to invoke desire in customers. How can somebody want a product or service if they don’t understand what problem it solves, or what it actually does?

If your idea is confusing, you should work to simplify it and create an “elevator pitch”, then test it out by explaining it to people. If that still doesn’t work, then it may be time to move on to something else.

“Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.” – David Ogilvy

You shouldn’t take every idea and use it. Instead, you should realize when it’s time to move on from one idea so you can devote more resources to your next endeavor.  It’s hard to move on, especially if you’ve invested a lot into your idea. But if you see any of the signs we’ve listed here, then it’s time to move forward.

Have you ever had an idea you thought would be successful but you had to move on from it? Let us know in the comments below so we can all help each other push forward and succeed.

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