Member Since 2015
Los Angeles Area
Blair Thomas has been around the world and back. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Blair studied Political Science at Oregon State University. He's passionate about the outdoors and loves spending as much time with his dog Cooper as possible. His drive for entrepreneurship has given him keys to the world and he's at full force driving his company eMerchantBroker which made the Inc 500 list as one of the fastest growing companies in 2016.
Communication is extremely important in the business world, especially when it comes to customers and clients. Without transparent communication, customers might feel disconnected from your brand and like they lack any support from your business.
A public relations crisis is a common incident many companies face at some point. The lasting impact of the incident is not so much about the crisis itself, but the way it’s handled.
Time management can be a challenge when you’re faced with work that’s piled up over a period of time. It can be overwhelming to look at a list of tasks and determine which are priorities and which can be temporarily moved to the side, causing some employees to stress or panic about where to even begin.
In a world filled with uncertainties, businesses want to be able to rely on customer loyalty. Many businesses know they wouldn’t be successful without their customers, but they may not be sure how to best thank them for their loyalty.
Searching for a new job can be a huge challenge. Modern recruiters have an influx of applications to sift through and judge, and it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd.
As social media becomes a go-to communication platform for consumers across all demographics, it’s important for companies to increase their brand awareness on the platforms their audiences use. Leveraging these social media platforms effectively can help create strong connections with customers, draw them to your business, and build brand loyalty.
With social media, businesses have a unique tool to get firsthand insights from customers in an environment which allows them to interact with their audience, ask questions, highlight new products and share information.
Scaling a business usually means employees will be taking on new tasks and responsibilities and new rules or processes may be put in place. Depending on how fast the company grows, the employees may become frustrated with all the changes, leading to disengagement and low team morale. If not addressed, this lack of connection with the business and its goals can be the first step to losing those employees.
In any type of face-to-face or video meeting, your body language can set the tone for the direction of the conversation. Depending on how you present yourself, the other person may be able to tell if you’re tense, worried or even closed off.
You have a great business idea that you're passionate about, and you're excited to get started, but before you do, you need to choose a business partner. This person can help you make complex decisions and guide your team through projects. They can be your best ally.
Taking on the leadership role of a manager can be daunting the first time. You're in charge of an entire team, and their successes and failures fall largely on your shoulders. Even though it can be intimidating, it's important to start on the right foot.
A normal part of running a business is having ideas fail. However, sometimes these circumstances lead to crises within the business. When this happens, employees look to business leaders for guidance on how to respond.
Digital receipts, online bank statements and cloud-based document storage are the norm in today's business world. Some business owners may wonder whether they truly need physical copies of any documents at all these days. However, some important documents should always exist in both physical and digital form.
One common piece of marketing advice is to meet your audience where they are. For the many companies looking to reach millennials, that means social media — and especially through the use of Instagram and TikTok. These social platforms provide great opportunities to engage with millennials and influence their purchasing behaviors. But how can you ensure your social media marketing efforts will be successful and won’t actually turn millennials away from your brand?
It’s important for leaders to know that, when it comes to teams, just because the weekly team meetings are quiet or the suggestion box hasn’t seen a valid recommendation or criticism in a while, doesn’t mean no one has anything to say. In fact, more often than not, employees have thoughts, suggestions and criticisms to offer, but they don’t share because they’re not sure how their leaders will respond if they do.
Just because a piece of advice is common doesn't mean it applies to every entrepreneur.
With the rich educational value podcasts often provide their listeners, it’s no surprise that the business community turns to this popular form of content to improve their skills and strategies. Some entrepreneurs even make major business decisions based on the information they’ve learned and the stories they’ve listened to on podcasts.
As a new small business, engaging your community is crucial to getting your business off the ground. The goal is to nurture lasting relationships that will drive your revenue and increase brand awareness; however, forming genuine connections with members of your community requires strategy and patience.
Sometimes an employee just doesn’t work out within an organization and needs to be let go. Firing an employee is a task that needs to be handled with delicacy and care, and the process can be intimidating for someone who has never been responsible for terminating an employee before.
Content marketing is one of the most effective methods of gaining exposure for a brand and bringing potential customers into the sales funnel. By integrating strategic distribution, search engine optimization and inbound tactics as part of this approach, most businesses see excellent returns on their investments in content marketing.
Newcomers to the world of business ownership may have a hard time navigating all the requirements and challenges of setting up their first company. If you’re just starting out, finding another founder who has been through it and can provide sound advice may be worthwhile. With industries evolving so quickly these days, though, it could be difficult to find someone who understands your target market very well.
Small businesses have several benefits over larger companies, but resources aren’t usually one of them. This limitation can significantly impact the way a small business deals with new hires. While a larger company can dedicate weeks or months to training a new employee under an experienced team, smaller businesses don't always have that luxury. The result is that these smaller enterprises have to be more creative with their onboarding. Below, 13 professionals from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) delve into this topic by answering the following question:
The pandemic has made remote and hybrid work arrangements mainstream. But it has also given managers a unique opportunity to bring different talent to their teams from all over the country and the globe. That being said, it's also important to think about how those new hires will work and be managed in a remote setting.
Conversion is an essential part of crafting a retail website. After all, it's one thing to get people on your website, but it's another to get them to purchase something. Approaches for this process can vary from business to business, but all successful enterprises have a few methods in common.
Search engine optimization is a prominent concern for marketers across all industries and for any business with an online presence. Having good SEO habits is likely to get your website ranked on search engines above your competitors. However, poor SEO habits likely won’t produce the results you’re looking for and can potentially lead to your site getting heavily penalized.
Entrepreneurs can come from any background, any place and with any experience level. Yet because entrepreneurs task themselves with starting companies to develop solutions and generate value, it’s vital that they have a specific set of skills that help them get the job done. These skills are a necessary part of the entrepreneur’s tool belt.
Public relations can be a delicate balancing act. If your business does PR right, it could skyrocket in popularity overnight. If, however, you run afoul of public opinion, you may find your company falls as fast as it grew.
When your business starts seeing success, it's natural to want to ride the momentum and build upon it. However, it's possible to grow too fast, too soon.
Because they often have very limited resources, small businesses have to be intentional about the tools they use. They don’t have the luxury of testing out and paying for expensive software and systems they ultimately may not keep, so it’s important that their chosen solutions are budget-friendly and effective from the start.
Finding a core audience to market to is a crucial part of making a business profitable. Many marketing departments spend thousands of dollars building a picture of their ideal customer to inform how and where they should market. Once they do that, it's just a matter of unifying their content and media planning to target their product's most viable buyers.
As machine learning becomes more prevalent in business, it has the potential to affect a company’s day-to-day interactions with its customers, whether positively or negatively. Many businesses have already invested heavily in machine learning and have found great success. However, new tech can always be intimidating, scary or potentially difficult to implement.
Email marketing is a great way for small businesses to stay connected with their customers and encourage more sales. The problem is that because of their size they often have limited resources for growing their subscriber lists. So to help small business owners expand their email audience (even on a budget), the members of Young Entrepreneur Council weighed in on the following question:
2020 brought a plethora of changes to consumer behavior. Many of these changes will serve as inspiration for new product ideas and functions that will help businesses better serve their customers in the year ahead.
Managers have the difficult responsibility of achieving their own goals to meet the business objectives of their company while simultaneously overseeing the performance of its employees.
Email lists are fantastic tools for keeping in contact with consumers, sharing information and generating leads. But putting together an email list and figuring out how to attract customers to your list can take a lot of time and effort if not done thoughtfully.
When it comes to small and large businesses, not every encounter has to be about competition. Sometimes, interactions could result in a mutually beneficial partnership. The path to getting there, however, isn’t always so clear.
When a client signs on with your business, they have certain expectations about what your performance will be. The best way to end up with a happy client, however, is to manage these expectations early on. If you don't, and a client feels as though they should have gotten more from your business but didn't, their testimony could severely damage your future business and your reputation. To ensure you don’t end up in this situation, 12 experts from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) share their insights on the following question:
As a new business owner, it isn't easy to sort out which business strategies work and which ones don’t. There's no standardized roadmap that guarantees success. Instead, success in business is a series of trial-and-error tests that result in a positive outcome, with plenty of mistakes along the way.
In business, it's only natural that you'll be called on to present to an audience. However, the stakes of some of these presentations can be relatively high, which can lead to anxiety and heightened nerves for the person giving them. Not everyone is naturally cool under pressure, yet so many business professionals manage to give these pitches effortlessly, or so it seems.
Being an entrepreneur and owning your own business is an end goal for most people. It's a thrilling end result -- the fact that you're your own boss, you set your own hours, and remain accountable only to yourself can be a heady mix. Yet, the benefits of the position usually overshadow the more pertinent considerations that would-be entrepreneurs overlook. Although there are significant benefits to being a business owner, there's also a considerable amount of background work that rarely gets highlighted but needs to be done.
The modern world has made it really easy for anyone to get started on a side hustle. In fact, most entrepreneurs get started with some sort of side gig. Transitioning those side hustles into standalone businesses that can financially support them usually begins with understanding how to make a significant amount of profit, but not all side hustle ideas are lucrative enough to evolve into something financially stable.
Communication is one of the most essential skills that a business leader needs to master to be successful. Great leaders may develop their communication skills early on in their careers, but they also have created and maintained habits that help them communicate more effectively.
Hiring for a senior position at a company usually requires a lot more time and effort than hiring for other positions. In many cases, business owners may have a hard time finding the most effective way to source senior talent for their organization. You don't want to lose out on great talent, but you also need to spot the best talent out of the field of applicants, because making a wrong hire at this level can spell disaster for the organization.
Small businesses, like any business, have finances that need to be kept in order. Owners can deal with these duties to a point; however, small businesses tend to grow, and hiring an employee dedicated to keeping the company's finances in check is often a necessary next step. Luckily, many small business owners can hire someone on a part-time basis. This route carries a lot less overhead in terms of time and money compared to hiring a full-time employee, but it also comes with its own challenges. That’s why we asked 11 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:
Programming is highly in demand in today's digital-first world. Try these tools, courses and platforms recommended by business leaders.
Businesses are in an unenviable position of having to find the most talented individuals in their field and entice them to work at their organization. In many cases, finding qualified candidates has come down to creating the right ads and vetting candidates properly.
16 entrepreneurs from YEC share their favorite sales automation tools and strategies and explain why they work.
Public speaking is a great way to gain exposure for your brand and a reputation for expertise in your field. Events with an audience allow for transparency and vulnerability—two key pieces to success when you're working to build a brand that consumers are eager to engage with. Speaking events also help you show off the core solutions your business has to offer.
There's no question that retail is a challenging industry to master. However, for investors or manufacturers, the challenges it presents are more than worth the rewards. Retail distribution allows a business to serve its offerings up to a much broader population than direct distribution, thus increasing an enterprise’s visibility and revenue.
The holiday season is usually a goldmine of opportunities for product-based businesses that deploy specific marketing strategies to make their offering stand out and be relevant for that time of the year. While service-based businesses typically find it more difficult to capitalize on this season’s business opportunities, there are still several creative strategies they can deploy to make holiday marketing work in their favor. To help, we asked 12 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:
Innovation is the key to a successful and progressive business, and your staff should constantly be looking for ways to grow your brand. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to keep your workers engaged and motivated.
These 20 entrepreneurs discuss the best features for remote management of a displaced workforce.
Every successful business leader needs to know how to communicate effectively. Both written and verbal communication skills are crucial if you want to build and maintain strong relationships with your employees, customers and partners.
Growing a business seems like a simple prospect, and it can be deceptively simple on paper. However, once you start to delve into the heart of the matter, you realize that a service-based business requires some deep thought before you can scale it.
An effective internal communications strategy is essential when trying to build a cohesive team working together toward the same goal. Especially when it comes to announcing important news to your team, using the right internal communications approach is of utmost importance. The right communications strategy ensures the communicated message is clear and easily understood, leaving no room for error. That’s why we asked 15 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:
With each passing year, demographics change. Where a company's core demographic might have been millennials a few years ago, today it's shifted to Generation Z. Unfortunately, there's a marked difference in values between generations, and businesses need to revamp their marketing strategy to reach out to their newest client base without alienating their other followers.
After a user likes or shares one of your posts on social media, you've got them interested in your brand or product. But how do you leverage this engagement and keep it going?
For online businesses, a high-performing website that encourages engagement and conversions is the key to successful growth. It often takes time to build up a steady stream of website visitors and consistent buyers. However, there are some things you can do to help accelerate the process.
Having the right clients can make all the difference in your business’s success. Of course, finding those ideal clients isn’t always easy. You don’t want to be too selective and turn down a good business opportunity, but you also don’t want to overextend yourself for a client who won’t stick around in the long run.
Despite the numerous digital communications channels available today, email is still one of the best ways to get and stay in touch with your customers. Email marketing is notorious for its high return on investment, and with nearly 4 billion active email users, there’s a huge potential audience waiting to receive your messages.
Once seemingly confined to the spheres of gaming and technology, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are becoming increasingly common in both personal and professional ventures. In fact, VR and AR can be used to great effect in one’s personal branding strategy, especially if it's giving your audience a deeper connection or more intimate look at your business.
Businesses thrive on interaction with large clients. They form the most significant inflow of money to the enterprise and help you meet your obligations from month to month. With so many companies closing down, it's not far-fetched to think that one of your massive clients might face bankruptcy. When that happens, you will need to have a clear plan in place to recover any overdue payments and soften the blow until you find new customers. That’s why we asked 12 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:
Brand loyalty forms a core concept of marketing in the 21st century. In a paradigm shift, thanks to better interactivity with consumers, brand loyalty is now easier to achieve than ever before. With a medium where the brand can interact directly with clients in the form of social media, all a company has to do is use their social media presence cleverly. Once they leverage their following and provide value to the audience, brand loyalty is sure to follow. To help, we asked 14 successful entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:
Entrepreneurs have some bad habits, one of which is not knowing when they need a break. With many young entrepreneurs, it's almost impossible to take a step back and relax. Yet studies have shown that entrepreneurs that don't take time out to smell the roses risk serious health problems later on in life.
When you're negotiating a deal, misinterpreted tone or poorly-chosen words could ruin an otherwise-successful conversation. Sometimes you may not know even which phrases might turn a deal sour. That's why we asked 16 members of Young Entrepreneur Council the following question:
These tools and strategies can make email marketing more efficient and less time-consuming.
Within an organization, some skills are far more valuable than others. If your business is looking at hiring new employees, then these skills should be a primary focus for your interviews. Knowing what skills are crucial for an enterprise to grow and thrive helps you figure out if an employee may be worth hiring, even if they don't fit the ideal. Sometimes the company needs more than just the right qualifications for their employees.
As a budding young entrepreneur, you're likely to meet a lot of people telling you, "no." While some of these people are well-meaning, the constant negativity will eventually impact your self-confidence.
Having a side hustle is a great way to develop a creative outlet outside of your regular career. However, these projects can consume a lot of your time, energy and money. That's why it's important to consider the required commitment and effort – and the potential return – before going all-in on your idea.
Getting any business off the ground requires sufficient capital. However, all the financial stress doesn't have to fall on you as the entrepreneur – there are other ways to secure funding for your startup without assuming 100% of the risk yourself. That's why we asked the members of Young Entrepreneur Council the following question:
The internet of things (IoT) is growing at a rapid pace, but sadly, security protocols for those devices are still in their infancy. Customer data security should be a significant concern for IoT companies. At present, there are several glaring holes in security that can be addressed with some dedicated effort. A few IoT companies have even patched out security vulnerabilities.
As a leader, you know your workplace dynamic directly impacts employee morale and, in turn, your bottom line. No matter how great your company culture might be, there is always room for improvement. But to make impactful changes, you’ll have to first understand which areas warrant the most attention.
Internal meetings can be a fantastic strategic tool to help a business get all stakeholders of a project on the same page, but they can easily turn into massive time sinks if they are not properly scheduled and managed. Unfortunately, many companies don't strategize their meetings. The result is a once-weekly report that doesn't have any noticeable impact on the business.
In the age of remote work and social distancing, try these video conferencing tools for your company's online meetings.
Winning a business or industry award can be a great honor for your business, as well as a highly effective PR opportunity. However, to be considered, you'll first need to submit an application to be reviewed by the award committee. To help you with this process, we asked the members of Young Entrepreneur Council the following question:
Working remotely has become the new standard in the COVID-19 era. Companies that followed a traditional in-office model have had to adjust to how they presently work, and soon have to learn how to hire remotely.
18 leaders from YEC discuss what elements business leaders should keep in mind before selling their company.
As a busy professional or entrepreneur, you’ve probably wished there were more than 24 hours in a day. While you might not be able to find huge chunks of free time, you can always find a few extra minutes a day, which adds up to a few extra hours in a week.
As an entrepreneur, it’s useful to have strong business acumen -- an almost intuitive skill that can and must be honed. However, good business sense alone isn’t enough; there are several other traits an entrepreneur needs in order to succeed.
As some of the top leaders in their respective industries, the members of Young Entrepreneur Council know what skills are required to succeed in the business world. Below, they share 10 underrated skills that all entrepreneurs should possess, but often don't.
Making a major spending decision in your business, whether that be a new hire or a new marketing campaign, is often intimidating. You want to make sure you’re investing your money wisely, in a way that will yield a worthwhile return. To help you, we asked a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members how to make financial decisions with confidence.
Accessing capital is one of the biggest challenges many new entrepreneurs face. From loans to investments, securing the proper financing is a long and taxing process, but it can be overcome. Members of Young Entrepreneur Council explained how they worked through their funding challenges.
Office culture doesn't stagnate, and there will always be a constant change around how a business operates. Instituting new office procedures and policies as the company culture changes may mean taking some chances. Not all new plans are guaranteed to succeed, and some of them require considerable risk on behalf of the company.
Entrepreneurs usually don't have enough hours in a day to get everything done. That's the primary reason why prioritizing tasks is a common trait of the most successful business owners. However, many entrepreneurs overlook the importance of hiring great talent to their team and place the priority of hiring new employees way down their list.
long form emailed to Kelsey
EMB is the Nations #1 High Risk Merchant Account Provider. Located in Los Angeles, CA we provide quick and easy payment solutions for merchants of all sizes. We work with traditional business types as well as high risk merchants that have more difficulty getting approved.