5 Things Every Modern Entrepreneur Needs

Amid the release of data revealing that the economic outlook among U.S. small business owners had finally stabilized, there’s cause for entrepreneurs to be optimistic. Whether or not that outlook begins to uptick not only depends upon how agile, adaptable, creative and resourceful entrepreneurs can be in planning for, or reacting to, market conditions, revenue and brand-building opportunities and other key concerns, but also how well they maintain a forward-thinking mindset.

Towards this end, tomorrow’s smart and successful entrepreneur will have their bases well-covered on these five fronts in particular:

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About the Author

Brian GreenbergBrian Greenberg is a multi-faceted entrepreneur who has founded and now spearheads multiple online businesses. He currently co-owns and operates three entrepreneurial companies with his father, Elliott Greenberg, which have each flourished for over 10 years: www.WholesaleJanitorialSupply.com, www.TouchFreeConcepts.com and www.TrueBlueLifeInsurance.com.

The Big Picture of Business – The Future Has Moved… and Left No Forwarding Address.

Futurism is one of the most misunderstood concepts. It is not about gazing into crystal balls or reading tea leaves. It is not about vendor ‘solutions’ that quickly apply band-aid surgery toward organizational symptoms. Futurism is not an academic exercise that borders on the esoteric or gets stuck in the realm of hypothesis.

Futurism is an all-encompassing concept that must look at all aspects of the organization… first at the Big Picture and then at the pieces as they relate to the whole. One plans for business success through careful strategy.

Futurism is a connected series of strategies, methodologies and actions which will poise any organization to weather the forces of change. It is an ongoing process of evaluation, planning, tactical actions and benchmarking accomplishments. Futurism is a continuum of thinking and reasoning skills, judicious activities, shared leadership and an accent upon ethics and quality.

Quotes on The Future

  • “The future ain’t what it used to be.” Yogi Berra
  • “The future is not a gift. It is an achievement.” Robert F. Kennedy
  • “I never think of the future. It comes soon enough. The distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” Albert Einstein
  • “Tomorrow is another day.” Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind
  • “The future will one day be the present and will seem as unimportant as the present does now.” W. Somerset Maugham
  • “You ain’t heard nothing yet, folks.” Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer (1927)
  • “I like the dreams of the future better that the history of the past.” Thomas Jefferson
  • “The fellow who can only see a week ahead is always the popular fellow, for he is looking with the crowd. But the one that can see years ahead, he has a telescope but he can’t make anybody believe that he has it.” Will Rogers
  • “The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Arthur C. Clarke, Technology and the Future
  • “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Alan Kay
  • “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” Abraham Lincoln
  • “There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.” Graham Greene
  • “Upper classes are a nation’s past; the middle class is its future.” Ayn Rand
  • “The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.” Winston Churchill
  • “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.” Malcolm X””
  • “All human situations have their inconveniences. We feel those of the present but neither see nor feel those of the future; and hence we often make troublesome changes without amendment, and frequently for the worse.” Benjamin Franklin
  • “It is because modern education is so seldom inspired by a great hope that it so seldom achieves great results. The wish to preserve the past rather that the hope of creating the future dominates the minds of those who control the teaching of the young.” Bertrand Russell
  • “Many people think that if they were only in some other place, or had some other job, they would be happy. Well, that is doubtful. So get as much happiness out of what you are doing as you can and don’t put off being happy until some future date.” Dale Carnegie
  • “Look not mournfully into the Past. It comes not back again. Wisely improve the Present. In is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy Future, without fear, and a manly heart.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Futurism, The Future

I offer nine of my own definitions for the process of capturing and building a shared Vision for organizations to chart their next 10+ years. Each one gets progressively more sophisticated:

  1. Futurism: what you will do and become… rather than what it is to be. What you can and are committed to accomplishing…rather than what mysteriously lies ahead.
  2. Futurism: leaders and organizations taking personal responsibility and accountability for what happens. Abdicating to someone or something else does not constitute Futurism and, in fact, sets the organization backward.
  3. Futurism: learns from and benefits from the past… a powerful teaching tool. Yesterdayism means giving new definitions to old ideas…giving new meanings to familiar premises. One must understand events, cycles, trends and subtle nuances because they will recur.
  4. Futurism: seeing clearly your perspectives and those of others. Capitalizing upon change, rather than becoming a by-product of it. Recognizing what change is and what it can do for your organization.
  5. Futurism: an ongoing quest toward wisdom. Commitments to learning, which creates knowledge, which inspire insights, which culminate in wisdom. It is more than just being taught or informed.
  6. Futurism: ideas that inspire, manage and benchmark change. The ingredients may include such sophisticated business concepts as change management, crisis management and preparedness, streamlining operations, empowerment of people, marketplace development, organizational evolution and vision.
  7. Futurism: developing thinking and reasoning skills, rather than dwelling just upon techniques and processes. The following concepts do not constitute Futurism by themselves: sales, technology, re-engineering, marketing, research, training, operations, administration. They are pieces of a much larger mosaic and should be seen as such. Futurism embodies thought processes that create and energize the mosaic.
  8. Futurism: watching other people changing and capitalizing upon it. Understanding from where we came, in order to posture where we are headed. Creating organizational vision, which sets the stage for all activities, processes, accomplishments and goals. Efforts must be realistic, and all must be held accountable.
  9. Futurism: the foresight to develop hindsight that creates insight into the future.

About the Author

Hank MoorePower Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.

Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

Power Stars to Light the Business Flame is now out in all three e-book formats: iTunes, Kindle, and Nook.

Follow the Green Lights – Small Business Success is a Mixture of Strategy and Intuition

Work is life and life is work for small business owners. The lines are blurred between work and everything else — family, friends, faith and self. It is not always easy to balance the demands of business ownership and living a powerful purpose driven life. To have the best of both we have to rely on our resources, our experience, our talents, skills, and take advantage of all our opportunities. Yes, it’s that simple. To succeed as a small business, simply engage a few basic strategies and follow the ‘green lights’.

Of the approximately 543,000 new small businesses that start each month, only 50% will survive 5 or more years. Small business ownership is a life and a lifestyle that the owner chooses. It offers everything they want in a career, and it is an opportunity to create income and security for today and tomorrow. So, why do they fail? The most common reason is the owner does not have the business knowledge and experience they need to run the business. They know what they have to offer but not how to do so fast enough, efficiently enough, or as profitably as is necessary to maintain a healthy business. As the business struggles, so does the owner. Personal satisfaction is almost always tied to business success for the brave individual that risks it all to have the work life they want most.

So, what does it take? It can be challenging, but any business owner can deploy the strategic and practical aspects of small business ownership. Simply:

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About the Author

Sherry B. JordanSmall business consultant and expert Sherry B. Jordan has spent the past 15 years working to develop ways to help small business owners move from making a choice to own a small business to living a lifestyle they love while making a living. Her new book, Plan It! Do It! Love It!: Be Outrageously Successful in the Small Business Lifestyle, captures and shares an arsenal of strategic advice on how to plan and execute a successful business strategy. The advice that may be most valuable is that which she offers on how to engage the tools you are born with to get what you expect and deserve without sacrificing joy and fulfillment of a rich personal life.

A Quick Guide To The Marketing Benefits Of A Greener Business

A Quick Guide To The Marketing Benefits Of A Greener Business
Photo courtesy of Gui Seiz

There are plenty of reasons why businesses all over the world are becoming more eco-friendly. It’s a money-saver, for a start. All those high electricity bills, waste paper – it all costs you far less when you try and limit the use. But, one of the most overlooked benefits of running a greener business is that it is great for your marketing efforts. In this brief guide, I’m going to outline some of the reasons why.

It’s an instant profile changer

You hear a lot about ‘values’ in business these days. And, let’s be honest, most of them are nonsense. But with a greener outlook, you have something to shout about. Embracing a more eco-friendly approach with your company places you in an area that is more interesting for more people. And, it works on a local and national scale. Journalists will be more likely to pick up on your story, and, in essence, it gives you a much wider field to play on.

You make up your customer’s minds for them

We’ve spoken before of one particular problem that many businesses face when trying to build their customer base. It’s all about what makes buyers choose one product over another. Some people will buy only when they are at that stage of the sales cycle. Others will prefer a color or a brand name. And, most importantly for this article, some will buy for ethical reasons. People actively look for companies that embrace a green outlook. Nobody actively seeks out a business that damages the environment. So, it’s a no-brainer: pursuing eco-friendly values will make you more appealing to a large part of the market.

It’s trackable

One of the oldest marketing techniques in the book is sending out literature or greetings cards at certain times of the year. You can track these – to an extent. But, in most cases, you never know whether those flyers and leaflets end up in the trash or whether you get a direct response. It’s also a tremendous waste of paper and printing, especially for unsuccessful campaigns. However, try those marketing methods online and it’s a different story. Whether it’s holiday ecards for business customers or special offer emails to customers, you can track it all. You can see who opens them, who responds, and you can get a better grasp of what works – and what doesn’t.

You get access to your local community

With the web being all encompassing for marketer’s minds these days, it’s easy to forget what your local community can do for your business. It’s a strong market that can give you a backbone for growth, and local firms from different industries often work with one another. If you embrace a greener strategy, it’s something you can champion at a local level. That gives you access to all the other businesses in your area that are doing similar things and puts you on a pedestal of sorts.

So, there you have it: some simple ways that show going green can give your marketing a boost. Let me know if you have any ideas on how you can change things for your company and I’ll get right back to you. See you again!

Strategizing for Success: Keys for Planning Annual Sales & Marketing Goals, part 1 of 2

Each fourth quarter as the New Year approaches, it’s prudent to prepare a profitability plan for the coming year, especially with respect to your sales and marketing endeavors. Doing so can give you a notable competitive edge, particularly given the extraordinary number of professionals that don’t bother producing this strategic tool. But, whether developed before or after the start of the New Year, the importance of creating a tactical plan for sales and marketing success cannot be overstated. Here’s how to set yourself up for annual planning success.

Successful annual planning requires one key ingredient: your mindset. Indeed, the first step towards successful financial planning is setting an intent to successfully complete your plan. What doesn’t get scheduled doesn’t get done. Make a commitment now to complete an annual financial plan by midnight of December 31. If you need some help getting this done, you can sign up for my annual Sales and Marketing Plan training and you’ll have an opportunity to submit your plan to me by December 31. If for some reason you don’t end up reading this until after December 31, make a commitment to create an annual plan over the next month so that you have it ready by the start of the next quarter.

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About the Author

Eric LofholmEric Lofholm is a Master Sales Trainer, author, business success guru, communications expert and lauded speaker who has presented his proprietary, proven sales and success systems to Titans of Industry and thousands of other professionals world-wide. He founded and serves as CEO for Eric Lofholm International, Inc. — an organization that professionally trains achievement-minded individuals and employee groups on the art and science of selling. Connect with Eric online at www.SalesChampion.com.