Member Since 2020
Smash Balloon LLC
Minneapolis-St. Paul Area
John is the founder and lead developer at Smash Balloon. He's been working with WordPress since 2009, initially developing custom solutions for clients before venturing into plugin development and starting Smash Balloon in early 2013. Originally from England, John now lives in Minnesota with his wife and two young children.
If you're a new entrepreneur, an important task is ensuring that your business is compliant with all local, state and federal regulations.
Though it began in early 2021, the Great Resignation and the resulting attitude shift toward the workplace was still widely prevalent throughout 2022. Easily categorized as a job seeker’s market, 2022 was a year when employers either rose to meet the demands of their candidates or they failed to attract the talent they needed to keep operations running smoothly.
While it’s often the horrible customer service experiences that go viral on social media or become the topic of discussion over dinner, when asked, most people could likely think of a time when they experienced really excellent customer service. From a friendly attitude to a personalized solution, there are plenty of reasons why these experiences might stick in our minds.
The workforce of 2023 will continue to change and evolve, from more hybrid work policies to a greater focus on global candidates.
Especially given the growing remote workforce, companies may be looking to tighten up their cybersecurity efforts come the new year. Hackers and cybersecurity threats unfortunately aren’t going anywhere, so finding new ways to secure your company’s technology and protect your customers’ data is a good practice to begin to ensure your business’s safety all year long.
Businesses are only as successful as their ability to manage money, so it's important for leaders to be informed of any financial changes with the help of an experienced bookkeeper.
When you decide to become an entrepreneur, there are certain obstacles you know you’re going to have to face—obtaining funding, advertising your business or making that first sale. However, there are often many more obstacles you won’t be prepared for or didn’t even realize would happen.
Many aspiring entrepreneurs seek to get into business because they're passionate about their idea. However, strong passion for an idea may not always be enough to ensure profitability, and in order to succeed long term in the business world, making enough money to both survive and thrive is vital.
On a basic level, a successful business is one that generates enough sales to turn a profit every year. However, if business owners want to maintain that success over a long period of time, one strategy that’s often helpful is creating a positive community around your product, service or business. Doing so offers your customers a place to interact with each other as well as with you and your team, and fosters loyalty and passion within your fan base.
Cyber Monday and Black Friday are great opportunities to attract customers to your small business, but there is often a lot of competition from major retailers during the holiday season. While your small business may not be able to compete on the same level as a major retailer, there are a lot of strategies you can use to sell more products or services through the end of the year.
Cybersecurity becomes more important with each passing day, as advancements in both technology and the methods used to hack into it continuously evolve. But while the tech world continues to move ahead at a fast pace, not all business leaders are able to keep up. Though they may have a basic understanding of how to keep their technology and data safe, they may not be aware of all the various strategies they could employ to improve their cybersecurity efforts.
No matter what industry you're in, it's important to ensure that you have enough capital to maintain your business year-round. However, this is especially important if demand for your products or services ebbs and flows based on seasonality, such as with pool accessories or holiday decorations.
Naturally, the goal of any business leader is to achieve financial success. This can mean many things depending on the entrepreneur and their objectives, but it often starts with money left over at the end of every month. However, after achieving this goal, the issue then becomes what to do with the extra money.
While waiting until an employee leaves the company may not be the ideal way to receive feedback about your business, exit interviews can provide a wealth of vital knowledge that can help business leaders make changes to their company processes and policies for the better. Employees are often more honest and open when leaving their positions, and their feedback can shed light on issues leaders may not have even known existed.
The recruiting and hiring process is one of the most important aspects of business, as a single hiring decision can have a major impact on the way the rest of the business functions. To make the right decisions during this process, business leaders can collect and analyze data to assist them in their efforts.
When it comes to defining success, there’s no one right answer. It can mean owning your own business, making over a million dollars, driving a particular car or even just having more freedom with your time. But when broken down into a single workday, success can sometimes be a little more difficult to measure. Its definition can even change throughout your career as you develop both professionally and personally.
Despite the more relaxed environment and constant distractions, there are plenty of ways to display your professionalism from your home office.
Sharing bad news with your company's employees or stakeholders is never easy, especially when the bad news may directly affect them. Because of this, it's important to strike the right balance between remaining calm and professional while delivering the news in an empathetic manner.
Here are five quick strategies you can use to reduce shopping cart abandonment and maximize conversions on your checkout page.
Running a small business can be time-consuming, so certain tasks may be pushed back in favor of more pressing ones. One task that should be prioritized, however, is professional development. By making the time to learn, you'll be better poised to grow as a leader and scale your business for the long term.
When it comes to social media marketing, much of it can be done on a limited budget—or sometimes even for free. It costs nothing to create an account and start posting, but there are other aspects of social media that will likely require an investment. And whether you’re working with limited funds or you have a much broader budget at your disposal, choosing the right areas of social media marketing to dedicate the bulk of your budget to can help ensure you’re set on a path toward success.
One key way of ensuring your team members have the tools and knowledge to do their jobs to the best of their abilities is to provide them with plenty of feedback. But between busy schedules and stressful projects, leaders may think it too difficult to find the time. So while many employees may be eager to receive more feedback from their leadership, companies aren't necessarily providing it.
In marketing, attracting new customers is only one half of the equation; businesses must also focus on how to keep those customers once they earn them. Sending customer retention emails is one way to help accomplish this. But simply asking customers to make another purchase likely won’t be effective—and could come off as pushy, which may turn off otherwise interested customers.
As with many aspects of business, implementing a new digital marketing strategy can sometimes feel like a risky endeavor. When you’re new or have limited experience in business ownership, testing out new tactics and investing money in projects and initiatives that may or may not fail can feel like a waste of money and resources.
Your website’s landing page gives customers their first impression of your business. Customers will notice if your page has a slow load time, too many calls to action, broken links, or if it’s just too confusing to use—and they will likely click out of your page before viewing your products or services.
Onboarding a new manager can be an overwhelming experience for both the new manager and the employee doing the training. Not only does the new hire have to learn the organizational culture and procedures, but they’ll also need to meet and establish a rapport with their team.
Sometimes, leaders aren't able to grant an employee's request for a raise, whether it's because there's no budget for it or because the person's performance or skill set doesn’t currently warrant one. In either case, leaders need to focus on tact and kindness when declining the employee's request — a task that may feel awkward or uncomfortable for leaders who have never done it.
The most important thing to remember is you have to be consistent and offer value to your readers.
To encourage sales, your product—and the platform you're selling on—needs to be appealing to prospective customers. Hard-to-use platforms or unattractive site designs that make a consumer pause should be avoided at all costs. But what seems intuitive to you and your team may not be so to the average user.
A healthy employee is a happy employee, and many companies that understand this go out of their way to support the health and well-being of their employees by offering employee wellness programs. However, even if a company offers an employee wellness program, its benefits can often go unused by employees. In fact, some studies suggest usage of employee assistance programs is as little as 10%.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council share their insights on what makes effective ad copy.
Choosing an investor for your business is like choosing a business partner: Their resources and input are going to have a major impact on the way your business functions and the potential it has for success. Determining the right investor for you, then, is not an endeavor to take lightly.
No matter the industry, there are many different hard and soft skills a leader should develop to be an effective and inspiring presence on their team. While some required skills will be field-specific, skills like managing your time, speaking publicly, motivating and listening apply to all leadership positions.
Becoming your own boss, setting your own schedule and finally getting to run the business of your dreams are all welcome benefits of becoming an entrepreneur. However, entrepreneurship is a goal that takes lots of determination and plenty of self-discipline to achieve, and not everyone is suited to be a business owner.
Getting new customers is a great feeling, but plenty of advantages come with retaining people who’ve already made a purchase on your website.
For many entrepreneurs, a growing business is a successful one. But there’s a lot more to consider than simple growth as a measurement for success. A quality company culture, happy and fulfilled employees as well as seamless processes are all factors that contribute to a healthy company—and they all have the potential to be negatively impacted by your company’s growth.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council share advice for creating a solid internal communications strategy for remote businesses.
Hybrid and remote work models have quickly become the new normal for many companies. While working remotely offers many benefits to employees, many of the perks that used to keep staff productive and happy in an office setting are no longer relevant when employees are working from home.
As a new leader, there's an exciting sense of accomplishment when you deem your company "open for business." However, there are multiple decisions left to be made on the operations side that can make a new organization sink or swim. This is especially true if you have employees who are counting on your leadership to grow a successful business.
The day-to-day life of a business owner is often fast-paced, with a multitude of problems to solve and employees to answer to. This means that, when faced with a decision, entrepreneurs may not have time on their side and they may be forced to make quick decisions on the fly or with very little time to weigh out every possibility.
Amid millions of employees quitting their jobs at record rates, companies are desperately searching for top talent to join their teams. As businesses look to strengthen their workforce, they must also figure out the best ways to attract ideal candidates.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council discuss where to draw the line with artificial intelligence in business.
After the Covid-19 pandemic hit and lockdown was in full swing, many businesses were forced to figure out how to run their operations remotely in order to stay afloat. Although business is regaining a sense of normalcy now, many job applicants continue to look for hybrid work environments when seeking potential job opportunities.
Even the most confident professionals have days where they might be feeling a little low or down on their game. Whether you wake up feeling on top of the world or a little less than confident, it's helpful to have a daily affirmation to remind yourself how special and important you really are.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council discuss how to build a company culture that can successfully handle any issue, mistake or challenge that arises.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council share marketing methods you can use to get potential customers interested in your new mobile app.
There are many crises that a company can face during its lifetime, and they happen for many different reasons. Whether it's a financial crisis, an economic crisis, an environmental crisis or any other type of crisis, it's important for business leaders to have a plan in place to manage the situation quickly.
Innovation drives a business forward, so it’s important to know how to tap into it as well as harness the creativity of your team. To help you create an environment that’s conducive to brainstorming and new ideas, 10 members of Young Entrepreneur Council share their best tips below.
Whether you're applying for a position at a large corporation or a job at a growing startup, the potential employer is likely going to have a lot of applicants to comb through and some tough decisions to make before they settle on one particular candidate. When you’re interviewing, your first impression is often a lasting one, so it’s vital to leave a positive impression during the hiring process.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council recommend ways of defeating imposter syndrome and gaining confidence at work.
Whether it's cold calls, sales calls or building a relationship with a vendor, phone conversations are prevalent in many professionals' daily working lives. However, it can be tricky to sound confident and at ease over the phone without a face-to-face connection.
Good customer service teams can help maintain healthy customer relationships and build back any trust that may have been lost due to a poor experience. Conversely, a bad support team can have the opposite effect, leaving customers feeling like their money could have been better spent elsewhere.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council discuss what business leaders should do in the event of a cyberattack.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council discuss website elements that could help boost customer engagement and overall sales.
One of your most basic responsibilities as a leader is to provide your team with constructive feedback. Without feedback, employees don’t have a solid direction for moving forward, which can result in repeat mistakes and even low morale.
Local shoppers can become a business's most loyal customers by helping spread the word about the business to other community members. It's important, then, for businesses to establish these local connections early on to see the best results from local marketing.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council share their insights on what it takes to stay happy as a business owner.
Video marketing will continue to positively impact businesses across all industries for the foreseeable future.
Whether your schedule allows for flexible working hours or you hold a 9-to-5 job, you may find that your energy wanes throughout your workday. Whether it's from decision fatigue, stress or just a natural productivity slump, sometimes you just need a boost of energy to keep you going for the rest of the day.
When you invest in ongoing education and professional development for your employees, it shows them that you value their contributions to the company and, in doing so, it may also bolster morale and loyalty. To support this development, many companies will host speakers or workshops, but it's important to ensure your employees are feeling engaged — especially if it's a virtual meeting.
One of the main purposes of a business website is to convert website traffic into revenue. This means creating calls to action (CTAs), building sales funnels and curating interesting, valuable content for those browsing your website.
When you're working to complete a project that will span a long period of time, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Without proper preparation and oversight, a long-term project runs the risk of getting derailed along the way as more immediate and pressing concerns pop up.
Having more than one social media account for your brand may mean reaching more people, but it doesn't mean businesses can simply post the same content to each platform. If you want to grow your audience, it's important to differentiate your content across accounts while still ensuring everything feels cohesive and consistent.
Continuous innovation is important for the growth of any business. All innovation ultimately begins as a simple idea, but bringing that idea to life requires thoughtful and effective experimentation to reach a larger goal.
If you can’t convince readers that your product or service is worth their time, they likely won’t take future action on your website.
Sales challenges are unavoidable in any business, regardless of industry. From curating an effective sales process to pinpointing your ideal customer, solving these sales challenges is crucial during the early stages of your company.
Your personal brand is the version of yourself you showcase to the world. It encompasses your values, mission and brand personality that you showcase to customers, your network and potential employers.
Businesses need systems and processes to maintain quality and efficiency in their operations. Systemization helps to communicate to your team how you'd like your business to be effectively run and provides a clear model for them to follow. However, busy entrepreneurs don't always take the time (or have the time) to put those systems in place.
When you're looking to impress potential employers and business peers, it can be difficult to show off your personality on the limited pages of a resume or job application. Thankfully, LinkedIn provides a great opportunity to get more personal with your network.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council discuss why you might not be seeing a good ROI on your business's mobile app.
There's a story behind the start of every business, and many entrepreneurs write books to share their own. Whether it's a motivating story of overcoming challenges, an inspiring story of passion or a story full of practical lessons and advice, an entrepreneur's first book can be used to help them grow their business.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council offer steps to take if you want to keep your home-based business safe from cyberattacks.
Email marketing campaigns can be a cost-effective way to reach a lot of people in a very short period of time. However, many companies rely on ineffective practices, like clichéd subject lines and recycled “limited-time offers.” These practices can be annoying to readers and cause your email to end up in the trash.
Partnering with another business in your industry on a campaign or promotion is an effective and mutually beneficial way to market your product or service. Not only does it bring brand awareness for your company, but you'll also expand your reach by tapping into your partner company's existing audience.
Believing in yourself can sometimes be the hardest part of any job.
Guest posts are an excellent way to gain publicity for your business. Through this form of content marketing, you'll establish yourself as a credible expert in your industry and gain valuable brand exposure to the publication's audience.
Success in any business largely depends on the success of its marketing efforts. But with so many ways to market and so many areas to focus on, it can be challenging to narrow a campaign down to a single focal point. However, if you fail to create a focused strategy, your marketing efforts will likely be less than successful.
In all the excitement of opening a business and launching that first product or service, it can be easy for aspiring entrepreneurs to forgo a thorough audit of their finances in favor of speed to market. However, it's absolutely crucial for business owners to keep a close eye on their income and expenses—especially if they want to ensure their survival past year one.
Choosing the right software-as-a-service (SaaS) product is like choosing a new car or buying a new house — you want to make sure that it's high quality and meets all your wants and needs. However, if you're not used to shopping for software, it can be hard to know how to choose the best option for you.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council recommend upgrading your business software or hardware when you notice these signs.
Case studies can help you grow your email list, build trust with new visitors, secure sales and so much more.
When you're starting a new business, there are a lot of priorities to juggle and a lot of learning curves to overcome. Maybe you're great at marketing, but need to work on your finance skills. Maybe you have enough capital but aren't sure where to begin with production.
As an entrepreneur, you may come to realize that certain aspects of your personal and social life have to be put on the back burner to get your business off the ground. Neglecting your personal life can come at a cost, though.
The "Great Resignation" has forced many businesses to contend with understaffed teams, demanding customers and discouraged employees. This environment of overwork and reduced morale can naturally have a negative effect on a team’s productivity.
While some entrepreneurs are content with one business under their belts, there are many others who run two, three or even several businesses all at once. Some business owners are simply brimming with ideas and, at some point, they may find themselves itching to launch their next venture. Others see success in their first business and want to replicate it.
Many studies show that demonstrating employee appreciation boosts morale and promotes loyalty. However, with so much "busyness" in a typical day-to-day work environment, it can be difficult to remember to slow down and show that appreciation.
Every business has employees who aren't on the same page from time to time. Whether it's clashing personalities or differences of opinion, conflicts can arise at any point, and it's up to the manager to help mediate them.
Hint: organization and time management go a long way.
When the Covid-19 pandemic struck in 2020, it put many professionals out of work. Others faced cutbacks on hours or began working remotely, which allowed more time for pursuing multiple income streams. These factors led to a major uptick in startup and small business launches, many of which are still thriving as we enter 2022.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council discuss the steps you should take when seeking an investor for your business.
The beginning of January is ripe with new possibilities. "New Year's resolution" season is the perfect time for companies to reassess their business vision and set concrete goals for the upcoming year.
The future of your business relies on finding the best candidates to hold senior positions. Making the right choice can spell the difference between success and failure for your company, but it isn’t always easy finding the best fit to lead your company to the next stage.
As a new entrepreneur, getting your product out into the market is hard enough, but when there is a lot of competition in your market, it can make things even tougher. When trying to differentiate their products in a situation like this, entrepreneurs are bound to make mistakes along the way.
Even if you're not feeling on top of your game, you can still use these "fake it 'til you make it" tips.
With 2021 now at a close, it's the perfect time of year to start looking forward to the year ahead and setting goals for success. As you set your personal resolutions, don't forget to focus on your career aspirations for the coming year too.
Over the past year, there have been many changes in the world of marketing. As technology continues to advance and businesses find new ways to be creative with the way they promote their products and services, other companies are faced with the choice to keep up or fall behind.
The end of each year is an important time to reflect on what you accomplished throughout the year as well as any challenges you faced so that you can make a game plan to improve in the future. Sometimes it's difficult to remember everything that happened, but you don't want to overlook significant events when reflecting on them can help you accomplish more in the months ahead.
During the holidays, business owners are pulled in all different directions. Both customers’ and employees’ needs change during this time, and leaders are often left to figure out how to balance them out. With the increased demand and added chaos from the holiday shopping season, this can be a tough task; however, there are steps business leaders can take to ensure they’re keeping everyone happy.
Sometimes, all you need is a little boost to get yourself and your goals on the right track.
We live in a world of constant distractions and interruptions. While it's easy to blame these external factors for our lack of focus, it's often our own reactions to and bad habits around those distractions that are truly sabotaging us.
Anyone can create a website, and every business needs one. However, creating a website that actually turns a profit can be a challenge.
With so many work stressors, it can often feel difficult to feel grateful for your professional life. Long days and difficult co-workers can be hard to handle, and these factors may sometimes overshadow your job’s positive benefits in your mind. However, intentionally looking for the good can help you feel more gratitude for the opportunity you’ve been given and improve your overall mental state.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council share the top tools that will help any company improve their remote work process.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council recommend using these e-commerce tricks for lowering shopping cart abandonment rates.
When your business starts to grow, it's an exciting indicator of success. However, it can also be an indicator that organizational changes need to take place. If your business has outgrown its current location, it's time to start considering moving into a new office space. There's a lot to think about before making such a significant change, though.
The idea behind a coming soon page is simple; build hype around your value proposition.
Working hard and being a creative problem-solver can go a long way.
When your team is feeling uninspired, try these activities and initiatives designed to boost morale.
Sifting through piles of job applications and resumes can be tedious work. However, you can take advantage of certain recruiting “hacks” to find the best job candidates, people who are likely to be a great fit right from the start.
Due to their dispersed nature, remote companies are tasked with finding innovative ways to remain transparent and keep communication flowing throughout the business. When teammates and whole departments aren’t able to interact together in person, the way they communicate must adapt. But when communication breaks down, information silos can develop, leading to confusion and low morale.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council recommend taking these steps before using content made by your audience.
Clear communication and empathy go a long way.
Accurately gauging the fit of a job candidate can be difficult, and sometimes new hires who seemed great during the interview process don't pan out as expected. In situations like this, a leader must take action to course-correct and figure out the problem before the whole team suffers.
Confidence is an important feeling to have if you want to succeed at work, in relationships and in everyday life. It's also a trait that seems much easier to possess than it actually is—Sometimes it takes a step outside your head and comfort zone to achieve it.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council discuss the methods they wish companies would stop using to advertise on mobile.
In an era when cybercrime and data breaches are more prevalent than ever, businesses can't afford to ignore data security. From phishing and ransomware attacks to careless password practices, there are countless ways for thieves to penetrate your company's digital walls and access sensitive information.
As a new business owner, it's wise to work with someone who has been in your shoes and possesses the experience to help you navigate any uncertainty you might face. Launching and running a successful business requires time, energy and seasoned insight. However, many budding entrepreneurs tend to shy away from spending money on a consultant.
Pinpointing a target audience is one of the most crucial steps in launching any successful business effort, including creating marketing campaigns and increasing sales. However, determining your audience is often much easier said than done. Before you can narrow down your ideal customer, you need to know how to do it correctly.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council share some important qualities companies should look for in their CTO candidates.
Social media can do wonders for a business — as long as you have followers paying attention. It can be a common misconception, especially among new entrepreneurs, that you just need to create a few social media profiles and your followers will find you.
When a new business owner sets up their first company social media accounts, they may not be aware of how intentional they actually need to be with their social media strategy. While on the surface social media marketing may seem simple, it actually involves a lot of careful consideration and complex methods that businesses will want to follow in order to be successful.
Like any other skill, better communication comes with practice.
In order for any business to thrive, it needs to have a productive leader and team. However, productivity means a lot more than simply keeping busy. Sometimes, you can keep yourself busy working on tasks that essentially amount to nothing and lead you down a dead-end path of wasted time and energy.
Regular pay raises can show employees how much you appreciate their hard work and can also prevent them from feeling dissatisfied in their current environment. However, it's important to know when a raise will be the most effective and well-earned.
One of the most effective marketing strategies you can use to turn more visitors into holiday shoppers is fear of missing out.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council offer their advice on how to stop chasing an imaginary perfection and move forward with your business.
A few simple tricks can help you regain that lost motivation.
One of the most significant milestones for any business is the day it reaches a point of expansion. While every business owner looks forward to the day they can grow their business, it's important not to be hasty in doing so. A successful business expansion depends on a number of factors and needs to be carried out at the right time. To help you understand when the time is right for you to expand your business operations, 13 experts from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) answer the following question:
One of the most intimidating things about starting a business is having to pitch your idea to a room full of investors. Sometimes a pitch will go great—and then sometimes it won’t. When you start breaking a sweat and feeling like you’re about to mess up, it may seem like your presentation is on its way to becoming a train wreck. However, with some expert advice and a little bit of confidence, you can salvage an investor pitch meeting that’s going downhill.
Every decision you make in business will have its consequences. While you always want to make decisions that will result in positive outcomes, things don't always go as well as you hoped they would. In this way, it's important for a leader to take the time to think through a potential decision before committing to it.
Garnering tons of social media engagement sometimes requires an out-of-the-box approach.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council share strategies for making your sales pitch over Zoom more effective.
Business leaders have a lot of responsibilities to juggle, which often lead to non-stop workdays and sleepless nights. The overwork culture naturally drives entrepreneurs to burn out, whether in the short or long term.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council discuss some major issues with the e-commerce experience.
Whether it’s about a job offer or a potential business partnership, every professional will find themselves negotiating at some point in their career. The secret to achieving a positive outcome for both parties doesn’t have to be a mystery, however, and the key is often in thorough preparation and knowing some effective negotiation strategies.
As companies look ahead to the post-pandemic world, many are struggling with whether or not to bring employees back into the office. Some have opted to stay remote full time, some will bring employees back to the office and others have considered embracing a hybrid workforce with a mix of in-office and remote work.
Weekly standups and regular reports are great ways for leaders to check in with their teams. These are times to briefly share updates and ask about any concerns or questions the team may have before the day or week begins.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council explore some possible negatives of shifting your entire business model to the cloud.
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.
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.
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.
Fear is a paralyzing emotion and can stop even the most experienced business owners in their tracks. For entrepreneurs — who count on moving forward as a way to keep their businesses thriving — letting fear get out of hand can be debilitating.
Allowing comments on your blog gives visitors a chance to voice their opinion and talk to other readers. However, it’s not always easy to get user engagement on your posts, especially if you’re starting with zero responses.
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?
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council discuss characteristics all top tech companies share and why.
One of the most common complaints in the business world is about being forced to attend unnecessary meetings. Nobody wants to sit through an in-person meeting or video conference to hear things that could have instead been summed up in an email message. To help business leaders run more purposeful meetings, we asked 15 members of Young Entrepreneur Council to share their best tips for how to make meetings more efficient and useful.
Making thorough, educated decisions doesn't have to take tons of time.
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.
Many employees are familiar with receiving feedback from their managers. However, few are as familiar or comfortable with giving feedback to their managers. Whether it’s because, as an employee, you don’t feel like it’s your place to offer criticism or because you just aren’t sure how to go about doing it, approaching a superior with a critique can be a frightening prospect.
Thanks to search engines leveling the marketing playing field, even the smallest business can today benefit from the reach that search engine marketing (SEM) offers. But when you’re short on money, time, and resources, learning all about SEO and SEM—and how to leverage them effectively in your digital marketing strategy—can be a challenge. Here, 13 leaders from Young Entrepreneur Council share SEO and SEM tips that work for them, and that won’t break the bank.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council predict which industries AI is likely to have a major impact on in the near future.
You may have to experiment with some of these strategies to find what works for you, but this is one marketing effort worth pursuing.
One of the best ways to learn how to manage your employees is to ask them questions. If you pose the right questions, you'll get to know what motivates your employees and what their goals are. You can then use this information to manage them more effectively and help them succeed in their jobs.
The key to success for most startups is having adequate funds for growth. In many cases, this means finding investors and raising capital to get your business off the ground.
Some work environments are healthy and result in an open sharing of ideas and techniques. Unfortunately, others can be decidedly more toxic, but it’s not always easy to notice when it’s your everyday reality. Because a daily work environment can be fluid and dynamic, it's sometimes hard to spot the red flags that denote a toxic environment. Most entrepreneurs may not even realize one is forming around them.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council share the most important lessons they've learned about leading from afar.
Tracking the progress of your company goals is the best way to ensure they get accomplished.
It's an inevitability in any business; you can't please every customer and, eventually, someone will get upset. But what matters is how you deal with their expectations and come to a common solution.
A journal can be a valuable tool to an entrepreneur. Being able to sit down and reflect on your thoughts throughout the day can provide a much-needed dose of perspective and can help you to improve your focus.
Running a business from your home brings with it a whole host of benefits, including being an extremely cost-effective option, but it also has its cons. When your business takes place at home, it's very easy for household demands to overshadow business needs.
One of the biggest influences on a business and its employees is a positive attitude. Leaders who have a positive mindset and are pleasant to be around get the most out of their peers and employees. A happy attitude is infectious, and when workers are in a good mood, they yield good results.
We often start out thinking that we can grow our brand without partnering with other companies. For many people, this is how they run their business for the first several years. It’s not easy to find a brand partner when you barely have 100 sales under your belt.
Not every method is going to work the same for every person.
When a business posts a job online, it aims to garner the interest of the most qualified professionals in the field. Just like advertising, getting the job in front of the right eyes is crucial to its success. But with thousands upon thousands of job postings out there, what can a business do to ensure that their online job listing doesn't get buried under the clutter? To share their insights, nine experts from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) answered the following question:
From ramping up online offerings to implementing new health and safety protocols, the Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the way people do business—especially for physical retail stores navigating the future of post-pandemic shopping. While it can be challenging for companies to pivot their operations based on customers’ changing needs and expectations, it can also serve as a unique opportunity for growth.
As it has with many other parts of running a business, technology has granted business leaders the tools that can make recruiting a much simpler process. Today’s tech can help gather and sort applications, offer communication tools to ensure recruiters have a safe and secure location to speak with their potential hires and many of them even provide contract services that can help speed up onboarding.
As entrepreneurs start getting more involved with their businesses, it’s not uncommon that they find there's less time to spend on themselves. Unfortunately, being a successful business owner can often mean spending many hours engrossed in work without taking personal breaks. The result is almost always burnout, which can have negative effects on your health and well-being.
The face of social media has changed significantly in a short time, and today short video content is dominating user news feeds. While some social media platforms use video as a feature, like Instagram Stories, others, such as TikTok, use short videos as their main form of communication. Businesses can then leverage this content on their own social media pages to help improve their customer engagement and boost sales. To share insights on how to do just that, 12 experts from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) answer the following question:
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council share their predictions for upcoming advances in encryption tech.
Members of the Young Entrepreneur Council weigh in on whether a long-term or campaign-by-campaign content strategy works best for brands.
Getting quality guest posts on your website is one of the most effective ways to ensure that your brand gains added visibility. The more high-quality sites post to yours, the better search engines will rank you and the more positive relationships you’ll build.
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.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council explain the first steps a business should take upon discovering a negative review.
In addition to the position itself, company benefits are one of the most important elements that candidates carefully consider when gauging whether they want to join a company. Once an employee is on board, these perks can also play a role in whether or not an employee chooses to stay and whether they get the sense that the company values their contributions. To help leaders determine which benefits to offer, 10 members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) explore the following question:
Building positive relationships with your customers is essential to running a successful and sustainable business. That’s why many business owners rely on customer relationship management (CRM) tools to connect with clients and nurture ongoing interactions.
Whether you’re a business leader or just someone trying to improve their life, surrounding yourself with positive people can be an important part of personal development. Aside from offering support when you most need it, positive people can also challenge you to grow and evolve as an individual, all while giving you the confidence you need to take action.
There are plenty of factors you have to keep in mind when you’re writing and distributing this type of content.
For many companies, it’s not always clear whether or not they should be responsible for educating their customers about the dangers of cyber attacks and malware. But as cybersecurity becomes a greater threat, even non-tech companies are considering the best ways to communicate these dangers to their customers.
If you want to lead, you may want to nurture these traits first.
When you run a business and hire employees, it’s essential your new staff members feel like they are valued members of the team. Your efforts should begin on day one with an onboarding process that will help new employees feel welcome, and that will set them up for success as they start their work.
Bookkeeping is a tedious but necessary process for all businesses. But for small businesses with limited resources, streamlining the process becomes of even greater importance. One way to do this is to invest in a reputable accounting software or tool that keeps you organized and on track.
As with other marketing efforts, social media can sometimes be a challenge because it has to balance customer appeal with staying true to its brand promise. But with so many social media platforms, trends and opportunities for innovation, it can be easy to let the brand message get lost along the way. So how does a company keep all of its different social media profiles and content on brand with each and every post? Below, 11 experts from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) examine the following question:
When an entrepreneur starts a business, the immediate concern is how much it will cost to set up. Cost can sometimes seem like a barrier to entry for those hopeful business owners looking to get started on a budget. Luckily, evolving tech has provided many free alternatives to the paid tools other professionals use.
When you’re trying to get a business off the ground, you don’t always have a lot of resources at your disposal. In order to gain some momentum, it may then be necessary to “cut a few corners.” However, this doesn’t mean you have to betray your ethics, as there are a few elements of business you can reasonably (and legally) cut or save money on to help give your business the kick-start it needs to get going.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council share their best tips for combating the discouraging thoughts that plague many entrepreneurs.
In business, time is money, and it can be easy for entrepreneurs to overload themselves with work. But with so many demands on their schedules, every task can begin to seem important and too much information can get out of hand. In these cases, it’s vital that entrepreneurs pause and take a moment to figure out how to best manage their time.
Entrepreneurship is an exciting and fulfilling career path, but there might be times when you’ll feel discouraged and riddled with self-doubt. Combating these emotions isn’t always easy and takes patience and continued practice.
Many businesses rely on software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies to help them run their everyday operations. However, with so many specialized vendors, it's easy to lose track of the number — and price tag — of the SaaS providers you're working with. To help, members of Young Entrepreneur Council weighed in on the following question:
In today’s digital landscape, your reputation is everything. Consumers often look for trusted brands with a track record of providing excellent customer service and delivering stellar products.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council offer their firsthand insights on leveraging social media effectively this year.
At a time when in-person meetups are typically off the table, virtual networking platforms like LinkedIn can be valuable resources for business owners. The opportunity to connect regardless of location can open doors that just aren’t possible without these online tools. But while LinkedIn has some of the same features as traditional social media sites, its purpose, and therefore its use, should differ.
As an entrepreneur, it’s important to keep an eye on your competition and find ways to set yourself apart from others in your industry. Especially in a saturated market, it's vital to stand out with a strong personal brand.
Whether through branded content on social media or print ads for specific products, consumers often first encounter a company through its marketing efforts, and reaching target customers both online and offline is integral to a brand’s success today.
If you’re trying to attract highly qualified professionals to your company, it’s likely that they’re mulling over multiple offer letters in addition to yours. To incentivize a top job candidate to accept your offer, you have to find a way to make it stand out. To help, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) members answered the following question:
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:
Without the support of employees, a company’s branding efforts can only be so successful. It’s when the whole team comes together to promote the business, and your employees have all become effective brand ambassadors, that your business’s brand is able to truly shine. But forcing employees to take part in branding efforts can seem demanding and may not have the same result as when they contribute voluntarily.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council share some basic how-to tips for small businesses that want to use cloud computing.
The goal of any recruitment effort is to find a candidate who would be a good fit for the company. This would mean that the hire would not only be proficient in their role, but would also do well within the specific company culture. But beyond an interview, how can leaders ensure new hires will be the right choice?
There are a few reasons a marketing strategy can fail. In most cases, it boils down to audience engagement.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council share how to prepare your company for greater integration of artificial intelligence and automation.
Everyone feels down from time to time, even entrepreneurs. Constantly surrounded by others who are seemingly experiencing success, business leaders can sometimes have a hard time reminding themselves of their own potential.
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.
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.
Young Entrepreneur Council members look ahead at consumer IoT device trends they expect we’ll see more of this year.
17 members of YEC share effective tactics for gathering together leaders in a way that will lead to actual productivity and strategizing.
The dark and dreary months of winter often take a toll on people’s mental health. Thankfully, there are ways to keep your spirits bright through this season so you can stay motivated and inspired in your business and life.
Finding funding is typically one of the most challenging parts of starting a new business. The risks versus rewards of investing in new companies can usually have investors worried about jumping in. The responsibility is then on the entrepreneur to make their business idea exciting and attractive enough to warrant investors' attention.
Are you thinking about starting a blog for your business? If so, you’re making an excellent choice for the future of your brand. Consumers are more likely to connect with brands that produce high-quality blog content.
18 entrepreneurs from YEC look at the main reasons why an organization should get insurance.
Programming is highly in demand in today's digital-first world. Try these tools, courses and platforms recommended by business leaders.
It’s a myth that successful leaders never make mistakes – even the best leaders have slip-ups from time to time. It’s crucial to learn from those mistakes so they aren’t repeated and equally important to be transparent with your employees when remedying the situation.
Are you looking for a way to connect with customers, improve brand engagement and get more sales? If so, it may be time to think about creating actionable customer personas. Customer personas are essentially profiles that define the segments within your target audience.
16 entrepreneurs from YEC share their favorite sales automation tools and strategies and explain why they work.
New entrepreneurs sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that they can make their hobbies profitable through their business. When you're putting together a company, the first thing you may want to consider is whether you're doing this as a passion or for profit.
Entrepreneurs can be easily distracted. Whether it's new ideas popping into their heads or the demands of their businesses, distractions abound and can easily steal away your focus.
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:
Every business is a little different, so customer experiences can vary across industries. Making small tweaks and changes to your website and marketing design can drastically improve customer experience (CX) for visitors.
It's often said you only get one chance to make a first impression, and that holds true for your company website. The visual appearance and written copy on your sign-up and landing pages must be compelling enough to grab a visitor's attention and convince them to take the next step in their relationship with your brand.
Influencers are the newest way of reaching out to social media audiences. Unlike traditional advertising, these influencers have their own goals and ambitions. Influencers thrive on building relationships between themselves and their audiences. Microinfluencers tend to have fewer followers but an even more close-knit community. In many cases, this closer relationship makes it easier for them to convince users of their perspective. When dealing with micro-influencers, businesses should understand what makes this particular relationship work so well. To help, we asked 13 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:
As entrepreneurs, we understand how powerful the classification of personality types can be in recruitment. From Myers-Briggs to Enneagram, the number of ways to gauge a person's innate traits can be measured in a hundred different ways. Several companies use one or more of those personality tests to develop their employees' potentials.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council share the upcoming technology trends they're most excited about and how they plan to jump on board.
You may measure your effectiveness with several metrics. However, not everyone has the time to dedicate to figuring out their level of daily effectiveness and productivity. As professionals, most of us have to learn how to spot the red flags indicating that we are being ineffective.
When a business hires an executive, it expects to get someone who can perform in managerial positions. Because leaders are such a vital part of a company's operations, choosing the right candidate for an executive-level position is even more crucial than in other departments.
Being able to close a deal is a crucial part of an entrepreneur’s skill set, but sometimes, vendor agreements and partnerships can fall through due to unavoidable circumstances. Knowing that a deal is about to fall through before that actually happens can be quite beneficial for a company, as it gives the opportunity to choose its next steps in advance: pursue the agreement more aggressively, back off and let it fail, or do nothing and see if it corrects itself. However, before the business can take any action, it must be able to identify the telltale signs of a deal collapsing. To help, we asked 11 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:
These 20 entrepreneurs from YEC discuss their favorite market research tools and why you should be using them.
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:
Your brand identity is determined by how you digitally represent your business, engage with your audience and market your products.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council discuss some of the past year's most pressing technology concerns and how we should address them.
With the sheer amount of productivity hacks and life hacks on the market today, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Even with all of these, it can be hard to figure out which ones work and which ones are just myths.
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.
If your company has a blog and social media presence, you know how challenging it can be to keep up with the constant demand for new content. Recycling and updating existing content is a great way to put a fresh spin on what you’ve previously published without the hassle of coming up with a brand-new idea.
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.
Today's world is more stressful than ever. The fast-paced, always-on environment many of us operate in is enough to cause anxiety among even the most organized leaders. Throw in the current global pandemic and an economic recession, and it's no surprise that many people are experiencing doubts and fears in their personal and professional lives.
The entire marketing world knows how powerful a well-funded social media campaign can be when growing a brand image. It can be challenging for smaller entrepreneurs to determine how much money should go into this part of your marketing, as there are several dozen social media channels that you can invest in. How do you determine how much money to dedicate to one or more of those social media accounts?
When you start a business, one of the first questions you ask yourself if you should be doing this alone, or if you need help. This decision determines whether your company is a solopreneurship or a partnership. Some entrepreneurs work better by themselves, but others realize the benefit of having a partner.
When you look at how people feel when they visit your business, you can identify your strengths and weaknesses. Use your strengths to keep customer satisfaction soaring, and find ways to build on your weaknesses to aid in retention.
Motivation works cyclically. There are moments when you feel as though you can take on the world, punctuated by moments when you feel like it makes no sense to do anything. If you've been feeling unmotivated at work recently, you're not alone. Workers worldwide go through the same moments of "boom and bust" when it comes to their motivation.
“Thought leadership” is a big buzzword in the business world right now, and it’s easy to see why it’s become such an important focus for leaders. When others look to you for your expertise and insight, you can become a leading, recognized voice in your industry.
Each company gauges the contribution of its employees differently. Some focus on deliverables, while others rely on employee loyalty and worked hours to determine a worker's contribution to the business.
Disagreements and conflicts are inevitable in the workplace. As a leader, it’s your job to mediate any issues between workers so your company culture remains positive and productive. However, this is often easier said than done: It takes a truly empathetic and effective leader to listen to each side and help both parties come to a mutually-beneficial solution.
Plans are crucial to success in any endeavor. It doesn't matter if that project is building a business or writing a book. Without planning, even the most well-intentioned projects can hit a roadblock and stop. Developing a success plan takes time and effort. It also requires a certain level of experience, and newcomers are unfortunately hit with this realization after they start their projects.
The result of a structured meeting where you're gathering feedback, promoting positivity and touching base with your employees is a business with a recipe for success.
Switching a “bad” habit for a good one is not always the best option.
Implement these tips as a regular part of your company culture to keep employees happy and confident, even during trying times.
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