Small Business

Pitching The Press: A Simple Strategy For Small Businesses To Grow With Media Coverage

Photo by  rawpixel  on  Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

I wrote this article for Forbes, originally published here.

As a small business, getting the press coverage you need to support your company's growth can be frustrating and challenging — especially if you've put out press releases or emailed your favorite publications and heard nothing but radio silence in return. I have found a ton of success in getting press using the following method, which entrepreneurs can utilize to bypass all the noise and get straight to the source.

First, find your angle and what you'd like to talk about. Maybe it's a current event or trend, or something you've noticed about your customers or clients, or an observation about a shift or change in your industry. It could also be common mistakes people make when choosing your service or product, things people may not know about your field or a behind-the-scenes look at the day-to-day of your kind of business. The point of press is to bring traffic to your website, establish yourself as a professional in your industry and give you credibility with your customers. Plus, it provides you with something tangible to share on social media that clients can engage with and be excited about. To be written about, or even just to be quoted in an article, is a win-win all around.

But here's something not everyone knows: Reaching out to magazines directly can be a total waste of time.

Chances are, the people reading your emails to websites or magazines don't know — or perhaps don't care — who you are or what you do. Instead, seek out the writers who have written articles about the topic you're discussing, specifically in the publications or sites that interest you. Contacting writers is the key here because they always need sources and pitches, and they already have sold this topic or concept to the magazine or site before. You can find individual writers by searching for the topic by publication, in the News section of Google. This increases your chances of identifying a writer with a connection to the site or publication.

For example, if I want to establish myself online as a professional by being quoted in a particular newspaper, I might research who's written for that paper on a topic similar to the one I'd like to comment on. You might think that is redundant, but it's actually helpful to reach out regarding something similar because the writer has experience pitching or selling that type of story to their publisher. For massage therapists like me, these search terms might look like, "back pain, anxiety, [newspaper name]." For a gym owner, it could look like a recent fitness trend to comment on in a health magazine. A chiropractor might look for "weight lifting injuries" in the Times. A psychologist might search for who's written about stress or PTSD recently for an industry journal.

After you've identified a writer who has written for the desired publication or site within the last six months, reach out to them directly. Most journalists have a website, a Twitter account or other online presence with a contact form or public email address for tips. When you email them, be sure to mention that you enjoyed a recent article of theirs and that you've noticed this trend in your clients/this industry shift/this mistake people make, etc. Reference the topic that interests you that you'd like to discuss, and be brief and to the point. Your reach-out email should not be longer than four or five sentences. Authenticity is important — try not to be "salesy," as this is a very soft pitch. You don't need to write the article for them. Your goal is to offer your idea and ask if they are interested in researching it further.

If the writer is interested, they may respond to you with lots of questions. It will be helpful to also provide your new contact with other industry leaders they could interview as well. Reach out to different writers at several publications on the same or a similar topic until one bites. Make sure your email includes your name, contact info and website in the signature line, so that the writer can link to you or get in touch for follow-ups. Don't be discouraged if you don't hear back right away; it's a numbers game.

I have successfully used this method to get quotes published — and in turn, generate interest for my business — in various mainstream magazines and newspapers. It truly pays off when you become the go-to person for insider insights about your industry.

10 Ways to Dazzle Your Customers with an In-Store Experience

Making sure your customers have the best experience when they shop at your brick-and-mortar location will turn them into loyal consumers who return frequently and buy even more from your store.

That’s why we asked 10 successful entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:

Q. Brick-and-mortar stores have advantages over their online counterparts. What is one way you can make sure customers have a positive in–store experience they’ll want to repeat?

1. Focus on customer experience

 

For brick and mortar stores to survive in the age of online shopping, they need to focus on what they do best: providing product advice and insider knowledge like online sites never can. Nothing beats this. I browse in-store because it is enjoyable, and when accompanied by knowledgeable salespeople, I’ll take home 10 times more things than I would if I am just looking for a specific item online. —Vanessa NornbergMetal Mafia

2. Offer superior service

 

When you own a brick-and-mortar store, you can provide yourcustomers with high-touch and personalized customer service that they would not be able to get in an online setting. You can show different product demonstrations, offer in–store VIP programs and events, reconnect with old customers, and consider the overall customer experience from their perspective. —Kristin MarquetCreative Development Agency, LLC

3. Take advantage of the face-to-face encounter

 

If customers trust you, they will be loyal to you. That’s why transparency is so important. Keeping information secret and not being honest about your intentions will damage your relationship with customers. With a brick-and-mortar store, you have a chance to genuinely get to know your customers and their needs. Don’t treat them like any other patron. Smile and engage them, then find out their names and what brings them into your store. —Blair ThomaseMerchantBroker

4. Observe, then suggest

 

One thing still missing (even with 24/7 customer service chats and phones) is the ability for a human being to make observations and suggest products. Websites can suggest other products that other customers frequently buy together, but that is not the same as saying, “Hey, I notice your dog is pulling you around the store. Can I offer a suggestion for a training product that might help with that?” —Alisha Navarro2 Hounds Design

5. Be sensitive to customers‘ shopping style

 

My favorite stores have this in common: The staff are attentive but not overly so. They don’t ask me if I need help every two minutes, but when I do need help, they know the stock well enough to respond intelligently. Sensitivity to the customer’s social preferences is key, and it’s something that online retail can’t replicate. —Vik PatelFuture Hosting

 

6. Make eye contact

 

One strong way to make sure customers have a glowingly positive in–store experience is training your staff to make eye contact and to smile. At my massage studio, our goal is to be “the best part of our clients’ day, every day.” —Rachel BeiderMassage Greenpoint

 

7. Be polite and offer free swag

 

We are primarily an online retailer, but we do get local pickup orders and it is essential that we wow them! We carry their items to the car for them and give them a free lanyard of their favorite sports team (Go Miami Heat!). Some customer place pick-up orders just to come see us, even though they know we offer free delivery. —Michael BarnhillSpecialist ID 

 

8. Provide in-store entertainment

 

Apple has done an incredible job with this, providing in–storeentertainment to their customers and making the environment enjoyable. Use digital displays, interactive games, and strong music that appeal to your target audience’s psychographics. As part of entertaining them, make sure you appeal to the five senses, with enticing scents, engaging visuals, and of course, fun music. —Marcela De VivoMulligan Funding

9. Let them test your products

 

Have presentations and demonstrations, or offer free samples of your product. Give people a hands-on experience that the internet can’t give them. No matter how big or small you are, you can take a tip from the big innovators like Apple. An Apple Store is more than a distribution point; it is an experience. To compete with the internet, you need to experiment with creative options. —Zev HermanSuperior Lighting

10. Design a welcoming space

 

In our mattress showrooms, we’ve trained our staff as sleep specialists to educate customers about our products and provide strategies for improving their sleep habits. We encourage customers to come in and take a nap, providing them with a space they can enjoy. For your retail store, design a welcoming space that encourages customers to come in, learn more about yourbrand and products, and simply relax. —Firas KittanehAmerisleep

 

More at: https://www.allbusiness.com/10-ways-to-dazzle-customers-in-store-experience-116438-1.html

Should businesses comment on politics? Here’s what eight entrepreneurs have to say.

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1. Don’t do it unless your business is directly involved in politics.

Unless your business is heavily and directly involved in the political industry, it’s wise to keep your thoughts to yourself. You risk alienating a percentage of your customer base. For what? To express your personal opinions via your professional platform? If you want to be outspoken about politics, do it via your own personal brand. – Ali MahvanSharebert

2. Choose your battles and avoid aligning with a party.

No company can afford to stay completely out of political issues. Many issues that are described as ‘political’ are in reality about equality, social justice and climate change. Staying on the sidelines has become the same as taking a side, and it’s one that could alienate your employees. However, companies should avoid aligning with specific political parties. – Amishi Takalkar, NAILBITER

3. Don’t cause unnecessary damage to your brand.

Companies should stay as much out of political issues as possible. There is no benefit to a business choosing a side. By going political you can only do damage, whether it’s be ostracizing customers who don’t agree, or it may be seen as opportunistic to use a political event as a chance to sell. Whatever the case, it can only do damage. – Baruch LabunskiRank Secure

4. If you do, test your messaging to avoid alienating your tribe.

There are some huge opportunities in political marketing, for those who are brave enough to seek them. Politics is expressing a desire to impact the world around us. That’s why it resonates with us. Audiences are very sensitive to phrasing and implications, so test your messaging out by sending it to a small base of friends you trust. Their feedback will help you avoid an unintentional firestorm. – Kevin TaoNeuEve

5. Take a moral stance, not a political one.

A company is not a person despite what your accountant or lawyer tells you. It’s a group of people that collectively make up an entity. Not every team member will agree politically, so don’t go out making claims that can potentially cause rifts internally. Remember, morals and politics are two different things. Take a moral stand, not a political stand. – Stanley MeytinTrue Film Production

6. Don’t comment unless the issue directly impacts your business.

My company’s server hosting customers understood that the end of net neutrality would hurt their businesses. We took a strong stand on that issue because the removal of net neutrality regulations affects our clients and the internet as a whole. Outside of unifying industry-relevant issues like net neutrality, entrepreneurs should think twice before addressing sensitive political issues. – Vik PatelFuture Hosting

7. Take social stances to be on the right side of history.

Companies can and should take a political stance in instances of bigotry, sexism, homophobia or any sort of prejudice. The best practice to follow is to be on the right side of history; have empathy and embrace what makes diversity beautiful. – Rachel BeiderMassage Greenpoint

8. Do what feels right.

Companies should never feel pressured to speak up simply because they feel like they should, but don’t feel too comfortable. These types of situations turn out badly when it’s based on an emotional whim. Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak or not speak. Reflect before choosing to make a statement (or not make one) and think through the outcome and fully understand why you’re doing it. – Cassie PetreyCrowd Surf

 

More on: https://thenextweb.com/contributors/2018/03/30/businesses-comment-politics-heres-eight-entrepreneurs-say/

Rachel Beider in Massage Magazine: 7 Effective Ways to Manage Your Stress

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Everyone faces stress; however, studies show that some people are afflicted more than others.

For instance, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), women report feeling slightly more stressed than men, with an average stress rating of 5.3 on a 10-point scale as opposed to 4.9 from their male counterparts.

Furthermore, millennial stress levels are almost double that of “matures,” with scores of 6.0 and 3.5 respectfully.

While it’s only natural to experience some sort of stress in life, the problem with this particular emotion is that it can negatively affect your health, if it’s allowed to accumulate over time.

Case in point: the APA goes on to reveal that, along with higher stress levels, U.S. adults also have poorer levels of health than ever before. In fact, almost one in four label their health as either “fair” or “poor,” a number that is up four percentage points from just three years prior.

Certainly, there’s no way to get rid of stress entirely. However, there are quite a few things you can do to help ease it before it starts to affect your quality of life. Here are seven (and one extra) that work for other massage therapy experts, so you may want to give them a try.

1. Practice Time Management

Time management is really the key to creating balance in life,” says Amanda Mittan, Massage Therapy Program Director at Carrington College. “Making sure you don’t overextend yourself as a practitioner is so important to career longevity.”

If this is an area where you typically struggle, motivational speaker and self-development author Brian Tracy offers several tips to better manage your time. Among them are to take care of small tasks immediately when they arise, prioritizing your tasks so you always handle the most important ones first, and limiting your distractions so you can focus and get things done.

2. Seek Variety

Another stress-relieving tip offered by Mittan is to change up your routine. Incorporate variety into your day and you likely won’t feel so stressed out. One way to do this is to constantly learn new things, even if those new things involve massage therapy.

“The more disciplines of massage you study, the more diverse your work day will be,” says Mittan. “I love clinic work, but I know I can’t do that all the time so I integrate spa, sports, and Eastern theory into my practice to keep my skills in check and also to give my body the times to relax while I work.”

3. Spend Time in Nature

“I am really lucky to live in San Diego [California], where I can enjoy the ocean and our beautiful canyons,” says Kathleen Lisson, C.L.T., C.M.T., owner of Solace Massage and Mindfulness and author of Swollen, Bloated and Puffy. Lisson says walking every day helps her clear her head, something she has placed more focus on after being diagnosed with skin cancer in 2016.

“I knew it was time to lower my stress levels,” says Lisson.

What do you do if you live in an area that doesn’t have Southern California’s notoriously beautiful views?

“If there is no ocean or park near you, join a garden club,” suggests Lisson. “I volunteer pulling weeds in a public garden once a week and it gets me in contact with the earth. I can watch the plants grow, flower, and die back, immersing myself in nature’s rhythm.”

4. Engage in Guided or Silent Meditation

Another stress-relief tactic that Lisson uses is meditation. “I meditate for at least 10 minutes a day, most often in the morning right after I wake up,” says Lisson. “This relaxes me and lets me bring a peaceful attitude into my day instead of becoming overwhelmed with the things I have to do to run a massage practice.”

Lisson uses the free app Insight Timer, which has over 6,700 guided meditations, music tracks, talks and courses. If you prefer to meditate in silence, you can simply use the app’s timer to set your desired session duration. You can also set different interval bells, ambient sounds and ending bells.

5. Take Relaxing Breaths

Relinda Reynozo, lead massage therapist at The Elms Hotel & Spa in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, says breathing to pre-selected counts delivers a body-relaxing response. “I inhale to a count of six, hold it for a count of three, and exhale to a count of seven,” says Reynozo. “I do this three times in a row just about every night before bed.”

Not only can relaxation breathing make you feel less stressed, but the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health shares that engaging in relaxation techniques such as this can also have positive effects by reducing your risk of or symptoms associated with several physical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and rheumatoid arthritis, just to name a few.

6. Stay Physically Active

Rachel Beider, L.M.T., owner of Massage Williamsburg and Massage Greenpoint, both in Brooklyn, New York, finds that staying physically active helps her reduce stress levels. “I find it’s important to engage in physical activities at least two to three days a week,” says Beider, who finds solace in both spin classes and weight training.

The American Council on Exercise shares that exercise reduces stress in four different ways.

First, it lowers your anxiety levels. Second, the neurotransmitters and endorphins it releases creates a relaxation response, which also leaves you in a better mood. Third, it increases your feelings of self-worth; and, fourth, it encourages you to eat healthier, which helps ease your stress as well.

7. Get Regular Massages

Although this should go without saying, the one response that was received most often when asking a number of massage therapists about how to relieve stress was to get regular massages.

Take some time and treat yourself to the same form of stress relief that you provide to your clients daily.

That’s what Joann D’Armetta, L.M.T., with Advanced Wellness in Marlboro and Parlin, New Jersey, suggests because it offers two benefits in one.

“Not only will you be effectively reducing your own stress, but at the same time you can pick up some great techniques from the therapist giving you the massage,” says D’Armetta. “It’s a win-win situation!”

One Final “Extra” Tip…

Melody Althaus, L.M.T. with Here & Now Wellness Massage in Orange County, California sums up stress relief in one simple statement: “Do whatever makes you feel happy. Whether it’s doing some form of exercise, meditation, craft or hobby, just make sure you’re taking the time for you daily.”

Some massage therapists start their day with stress-relieving activities and others place them at the end. Wherever you decide to take advantage of yours, the key is to do them and to do them often.

In other words, make it a point to get rid of your stress before your stress threatens to get rid of you.

Article by Christina DeBusk for Massage Magazine

13 Options For Baking Philanthropy Into Your Corporate Culture: Rachel Beider in HuffPo

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Research is beginning to show that charitable giving can be as good for the giver as it is for the recipient. As an enterprise, participating in philanthropic efforts not only gives you an opportunity to serve the community you work with, but also extends that possibility to the members of your team. Here are 13 ways your company can make philanthropy a part of your culture.

1. Volunteer Together

As a mission-driven company, we volunteer together on a monthly basis at events that we care about. We recently collectively decided to partner with Sanctuary for Families, which provides services for women who have experienced domestic violence or sex trafficking. Keeping my employees in the decision-making process for whom we wanted to work with makes them more invested.

- Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

2. Participate in Community Projects

Getting your company involved with community projects and fundraisers is not only great way to network, but it also gives your team an opportunity to see what some of the more challenging issues are within your community. Participating in 5K runs, bike rides or walks can bring awareness to things that your company might be able to provide a solution to.

- Patrick Barnhill, Specialist ID, Inc.

3. Donate Your Expertise or Time

A great way to make philanthropy part of company culture without a big effect on the bottom line is to donate your expertise or time. You could find a cause you believe in and look into volunteering opportunities. The best part is that it can be done remotely if necessary. You could offer to write a guest article or maybe provide some assistance to the company in an area you’re well-versed in.

- Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

4. Take the Initiative and Volunteer

Having a company volunteer day in alignment with a charity is a great way to give back and spark philanthropic efforts in the company. You can also look for charities that are a good fit to your audience. For example, if you were in the weight-loss industry, aligning with a charity that educates youth on good eating habits would be a great combination.

- Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

5. Let Your Team Lead Your Philanthropic Efforts

Many companies have philanthropic components because it’s good for branding. I recommend treating this like a strategic initiative and bringing everyone in. As the CEO, don’t dictate what organizations to support; let your team’s passion guide you. Schedule regular volunteer days and donations, for example. If it’s genuine, you’ll make a bigger impact and bring more joy to your team.

- Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

6. Task Someone to Be Responsible for Charitable Giving

If your organization is large enough to have a social committee, you could reserve a seat for someone who will be responsible for charitable giving. This person becomes the main point of contact for new inquiries from local and national charities, and they can coordinate events, explain how their financial resources will benefit those in need, and rally your team to get engaged.

- David Ciccarelli, Voices.com

7. Integrate Your Philanthropic Work Into Your Business Mission

Integrating your philanthropic work into your business’s mission will force it to become a part of your culture. An additional incentive for doing so is that so many consumers now are deciding which company to use based on the good they are doing for the world. It’s a win-win.

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- Abhilash Patel, Abhilash.co

8. Set the Example

Philanthropy has become part of our company culture through my example as leader. I regularly get involved in community projects and ask local staff to join me. I also support what my remote workers do, and often contribute financially to their fundraisers.

- John Rampton, Due

9. Give Tangible Gifts

Giving tangible philanthropic gifts allows you and your employees to see exactly where the money is going. It is motivating for everyone to see that the money being spent on a new school or orphanage and seeing all the grateful faces. You could even have employees vote on the projects and submit requests as to where the new project should be built and why.

- Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

10. Set Up a Recurring Donation

Find the area where you or your team is passionate and set up a recurring donation to the cause. This small action makes a difference and can create abundance of care outside of the day-to-day work. You can include this in your marketing efforts, as well, however, being genuine in your giving may provide the bigger payoff.

- Nathalie Lussier, AmbitionAlly

11. Establish Quarterly Volunteer Activities

Create a calendar of quarterly volunteer activities that individuals and teams can get involved with during the week on company time or on weekends as paid extra time. This encourages philanthropy and giving to those in need.

- Drew Hendricks, Buttercup

12. Team Up With Your Customers

Communities are often intertwined with businesses and visa versa. This means that many of the issues you care about are likely issues your customers care about, too. To be a part of something bigger and give back to the community, find out what your customers care about or let them know more about the issues you care about. Then join ranks in some way.

- Derek Broman, Discount Enterprises LLC deguns.net

13. Organize or Participate in Charity Events

The best way to make philanthropy part of the culture is to start working it into the day-to-day by organizing or participating in charity events. If you do enough good as an entire company, it will start to fit into your culture. We launched a monthly charity board game night as a fun event for the community, but it has shaped how we have grown and influenced our culture along the way.

- Christopher Swenor, East Coast Product

Article in HuffPo

Personal Rules to Follow for Business Success: Rachel Beider in HuffPo

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As your business starts to grow, you need to maintain a set of practices that ensure your continued success into the future. Establishing a set of rules for yourself to follow and sticking to them can make all the different when trying to avoid a potentially disastrous business mistake. We asked 15 entrepreneurs what personal rules they follow to help their businesses stay successful.

A. Give Before You Take

A general rule of thumb I abide by is to try to add value to those with whom I connect, rather than search for the ways I can extract value. I trust that it doesn’t need to come back to me from the recipient, but the karmic retribution of giving will circle back in time, from someone, somewhere. As a result, I’ve built a vibrant and diverse network who are happy to help me, too. - Darrah Brustein, Network Under 40

A. Work With People With a Good Moral Conscience

Choose to work with people who possess a good moral conscience. Not to say that immoral people can’t succeed in business, but that they will screw your customers, your culture, your coworkers and eventually you when the next opportunity comes knocking. When you run a company, you’ll be too busy to constantly watch your back. Choose people who will do the right thing when the going gets tough. - Raad Ahmed, LawTrades

A. Surround Yourself With the Best

I firmly believe that we become what we are surrounded by. If you surround yourself with the most inspiring mentors, positive teams and powerful information on a daily basis, you will succeed. Running a business is incredibly challenging, so look at every person in your life, every device you are using, and everything you are seeing and hearing, and decide if it’s helping you or hurting you. - Beth Doane, Main & Rose

A. Remember Life Is Short

Every time I take on a new project, I ask myself if, at the end of the day, I will be proud of my work. As time is our most valuable resource, I try to stay aligned with my core values and keep in mind that we have a short amount of time on this planet. It’s difficult not to get caught up in day-to-day tasks, but regularly thinking about your legacy can help you see the bigger picture. - Matt Wilson, Under30Experiences

A. Build on Your Strengths, Hire for Your Weaknesses

I’m much more successful when I can admit that I don’t know how to do something, or need help with something. Being aware of my limitations allows me to hire and work with people who can do it better than I can. Together we accomplish a lot more in a lot less time. - Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

A. Be Efficient With Your Energy

Everyone focuses on time management, but I like to focus on energy management. When I have high energy (mornings for me), I can accomplish tasks in less time and more effectively. Instead of focusing on how I put in 15 hours yesterday, I focus on what I accomplished. Forget the time. This starts by defining my high-priority tasks for the day and looking back and asking, “Did I get them done?” - Michael Averto, ChannelApe

A. Level Up

Complacency is the enemy of continued success. When I first started with entrepreneurship, it was with an SEO agency. Then came a productized service and now, a software product. By constantly challenging myself and achieving a level of mastery before moving on, I feel my learning is accelerated and it helps put me in the best possible position to be a highly skilled entrepreneur. - Ajay Paghdal, OutreachMama

A. Finish What You Start

No matter what I’m working on, I make sure I complete it in some way, shape, or form. This is a way of sticking to my promises to deliver — no matter how challenging something becomes, I’m still going to find a way to achieve it. - Angela Ruth, Calendar

A. Make Time for Everything

I like working around the clock but I stop everything to make sure my wife, daughter, family and friends get the attention they deserve. I bring them with me and incorporate personal time into every trip. There must be time for sailing and escaping, even with all that I’m working on. - Murray Newlands, Sighted

A. Always Be Transparent

Being completely transparent with everyone you are in business with is the key to establishing meaningful, long-term relationships. Having trust is important in any personal relationship and business relationships are’t any different. Being transparent with your partners, employees, and clients establishes the highest level of trust. - Duran Inci, Optimum7

A. Pay It Forward at Every Opportunity

The concept of “pay it forward” says you should help others with absolutely no intention of ever getting paid back. In business and in life, failure happens. Success depends on climbing back up each time. Paying it forward has helped me create a strong network of true lifelong friends. They have supported me in my times of greatest need, and they are the reason for my success today. - Kevin Tao, NeuEve

A. Lead From the Front

Spend time in the trenches with employees every day. Exhibit traits that you want to see in them (productivity, direct communication, client orientation, fun, etc.). They are much more likely to emulate you than simply do those things because they are being told. - Amishi Takalkar, NAILBITER

A. Do It Right or Don’t Do It

Beyond a personal rule, this underpins everything we do as a company. There’s no halfway, and the entire organization knows that everything we touch must be done right. This gives our clients confidence that we’re going to deliver for them, and allows our team to push back if something doesn’t seem like a total effort. It also helps us filter prospects and avoid customers who don’t value quality. - Jeff Jahn, DynamiX

A. Never Stop Learning

There is always more to learn, no matter what industry you are in. Always strive to be on top of the latest industry trends and obtain as much information as possible. I take time out of each day to read, whether it’s newsletters, articles or books — it’s important to be in the know. - Jared Brown, Hubstaff Talent

A. Make Sure You Love It

If I don’t love what I’m working on, my work is not going to be top notch. I have to have passion for what I am working o. If I do not, I get out and move on to the next project. - Ben Landis, Fanbase

 

Article seen in HuffPo

How can I find my niche and define what is unique about my personal brand?

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15 Ways to Define What Makes Your Brand Unique

1. Be Genuine But Be Different

People see right through fakers, so make sure your personal brand reflects who you really are. Find what the leading social influencers are doing and find something different to take a different segment of the market. I am in the fitness industry, which is full of individuals with no kids and disposable income. My personal brand is that of a family man who runs two successful companies and raises three kids. – Marc Lobliner, TigerFitness.com and MTS Nutrition

2. Find a Balance Between Passion, Knowledge, Profitability

Everyone is always talking about “niche marketing” like it’s the easiest thing in the world to figure out. Finding a niche is easy, but it’s not so easy to find one that you are interested in, knowledgeable in and also want to create a business around. Before jumping into your next niche focus, be sure it applies to those three factors and that it also shows off your expertise. – Zac Johnson, Blogger

3. Don’t Forget to Be Human

Marketers look around and see competition. Human beings look around and see other human beings. The best personal brands are the ones that make one-to-one connections from which to derive value. Thus, it’s less important to stand out and more beneficial to be human. – Logan Lenz, PartsMarket

4. Answer “What Would Happen If I Stopped Tomorrow?”

To identify what makes your brand unique, ask yourself the question: “If I stopped providing services tomorrow, what would customers miss the most about what I offer?” This is what makes you special and different from other brands. – Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

5. Do Something You Would Do for Free

The only way to become an industry leader is to do something the very best. That’s easiest when you’re fully enthralled in and passionate about what you do. You’re passionate about snowboarding? Make snowboards. It may take 20 years for you to become successful, and it may never even happen. It sure won’t feel like you wasted 20 years if you spend it doing something you love. – Ali Mahvan, Sharebert

6. Pull Back the Curtain

Publicly share who you are and what you are passionate about as an individual. Demonstrate value surrounding a potential niche by exchanging stories and knowledge with others who are already in it. Learn from those experiences and test other variables before deciding if that is what you want to focus on. Most importantly, be yourself. Authenticity increases the value of every personal brand. – Kage Spatz, Spacetwin

7. Don’t Force It

The best way to find a niche is to simply do your job and isolate your strengths. Then expand on those. Don’t chase the latest news story and build your niche around it. Instead, find what interests you and what you have a track record of success doing, and become an expert and opinion leader. – Ryan Bradley, Koester & Bradley, LLP

8. Determine Your Value-Add

As an entrepreneur, there is something specific to the value you bring to your company, relationships and areas in which you serve. Identify your unique skills and attributes and expand upon them. Identity the “why” behind your “what” and you will quickly find that which makes your personal brand unique. – Jennifer Mellon, Trustify

9. Create Buyer Personas

It’s better to laser-focus and do an excellent job for a niche group of people than do a mediocre job for everyone. This creates loyal brand ambassadors for your product. A place to start is to create buyer personas for your customers. You don’t have to start from scratch; there are many free online templates that can guide you through the market research. – Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

10. Know Who You Are and Bet on Yourself

Sometimes, we have to try different things to find our niche and what we’re really good at. Choose something you’re passionate about, already know or are skilled at, and continue to build based on that. Once you’ve found your niche you add your own sauce to it with your personality, which makes it unique. Now your personal brand is easily defined by who you are and what you do. – Daniel Griggs, ATX Web Designs, LLC

11. Talk to Friends, Family and Colleagues

In my experience, the best way to do this is to talk to your friends, colleagues or family members. Ask them what they think you’re good at. How would they describe you? What do they value in you as friends or family? Tell them to be brutally honest with you. I found that my friends and family were really able to give me insight on my personal brand and what I’m able to offer others. – Johnathan Solorzano, Solo Media Group

12. Make It Personal

If a brand is personal it is, by definition, unique: It is an expression of an individual’s interests, values, priorities and style of communication, among other things. If you do not introduce consumers and invite them to experience your world, there is nothing unique for them to witness or enjoy. Let the following rule govern your brand: Stand apart by standing out. – Alexander Westgarth, Westgarth Wines

13. Be True to Who You Are

Dr. Seuss had it right: “No one is youer than you.” Be true to who you are. Authenticity goes a long way in entrepreneurship, as customers and investors see straight through facades. Credibility establishes a strong foundation with others. No need to be a distraction to yourself while trying to be someone you’re not. – Jessica Gibson, Ariel Precision Medicine

14. Run a Competitive Analysis

Take a look at your competitors, compare topics and figure out the intersection between the topics they are talking about and the most popular questions online relating to your industry. Dive deeper into topics people aren’t diving that deeply into, and you’ll be able to find and develop a loyal niche for your personal brand. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

15. Create a Personal Brand Blueprint

Finding your niche can seem daunting but there is an exercise you can do that makes it much easier. Start by creating a three-circle Venn diagram: One lists your strongest skills/expertise, another your strongest passions, and the third lists the market’s strongest needs. Once the lists are done, pick the top choice from each and you now have the theme of your personal brand. – Dan San, Meural

https://www.business2community.com/branding/15-ways-define-makes-brand-unique-02028672

Rachel Beider in HuffPo: 14 Design Elements to Make Your Office Stand Out

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Your office or retail space may be in need of an overhaul. Redesigning these areas can provide more flow and efficiency in their design and function. Through the use of lighting, space and new amenities, you can greatly improve the work area for your employees or make it more inviting for customers to engage with you. But, where do you start to make a difference in the functionality or design of your office or storefront?

A. Open Spaces and Private Spaces

It’s helped us to offer something for everyone. Not everyone works well in the open environment because they are more sensitive to the noise element. We’ve also added private spaces that deliver quiet areas for brainstorming and even a nap when necessary. - Andrew O’Connor, American Addiction Centers

A. Large Windows and an Outdoor Area

Being able to see the natural light is known to improve people’s mood. Since we’re a remote company, our employees can work from anywhere. One change that has made all the difference in my office space has been dedicating a shaded table outside for working. I already love what I do, but being able to work outdoors on a breezy, warm day takes it one step further. - Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

A. An ‘Open’ Sign

How many times have you walked by a store and been unsure if it’s open or not? This sounds obvious, but it’s a common mistake. Display an “Open” sign. If possible, have your door propped open. Turn your lights on inside and outside when dark. Make sure it’s clean and inviting. Stand outside your storefront and ask yourself whether you look open and welcoming. Adjust accordingly. - Nicolas Gremion, Free-eBooks.net

A. Wireless Internet Connection

A few years ago we transitioned all of our employees to compact laptops. It’s made such a difference in terms of mobility in the office, opportunity to work remotely, traveling, etc. We’re a very collaborative team, so it’s made meetings and collaborations seamless. - Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

A. Conference Rooms

The least cushy room in our office is our conference room. It has poor lighting, a dilapidated conference table, few power outlets and chairs that require perfect posture or you risk falling over if tilting back too far. It also doubles as a storage room. As a result, our formal meetings move very quickly. - Stephen Hetzel, BidPrime

A. Ambient Lighting

Using IoT light bulbs to create more ambient lighting for a natural effect has reduced energy consumption and added an environment that helps with eye strain and bolsters creativity and productivity. Everyone can control their own lighting area to have what works for them. - Drew Hendricks, Buttercup

A. Scented Air

Clients can smell the amazing essential oils of our massage studios long before they enter it. The signature scent that we use combines lavender, vanilla, rosemary and black pepper, and is easily recognizable by clients. Relaxation starts before they even enter the space, and it draws clients in. - Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

A. Desks on Wheels

We’re a collaborative company, and need different teams to meet regularly. Everyone needs their own space, but they also need flexibility to sit together. At first we reserved a lot of meeting spaces (couches, white-boards, etc.). But that space would go unused for 60% of the day. Last year we put wheels on all of our desks and whiteboards. Now we can have impromptu meetings anywhere. - Aaron Schwartz, Passport

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A. Artwork Relevant for Your Brand

A game-changer for us was canvas prints in our retail stores and office spaces that clearly showed what our company stands for and what we, as people, live for. In our case, that was amazing pictures of ourselves riding mountain bikes in epic places around the globe and locally. Having your culture expressed in artwork on your walls shows everyone who sees it what your company’s “why” really is. - Jeff Cayley, Worldwide Cyclery

A. Dual Monitors

Adding dual monitors to our office space has significantly increased productivity. The more data available on screen, the more employees can accomplish. Before investing in dual monitors you need to consider each position and if it will require them. I found that anyone in development, web design, photo/video editing, accounting and customer support benefit the most from a dual monitor setup. - Bryan Kesler, CPA Exam Guide

A. Electronic Massage Pillows

Having an electronic massage pillow has been a huge win for my office. There’s nothing better than taking a 10-minute massage break to charge you up for the afternoon. The massage pillow is much more affordable than a massage chair so you can purchase one, see if your employees use it, and if they do, purchase a couple more. - Jared Atchison, WPForms

A. Ergonomic Chairs

Despite all of the things we have done over the years to make our office unique, there is no question that the biggest differentiator both visually and functionally has been having an office flush with top-of-the-line ergonomic office chairs. Every employee, intern and visitor comments on how comfortable the chairs are and how much more enjoyable the experience is as a result. - Adam Mendler, Beverly Hills Chairs

A. Sit-to-Stand Desks

The functionality element that has made a tremendous difference in our office space is our sit-to-stand desks. From a design perspective, they are set at different heights, which produces a more creative, modern look in the office. Most importantly, employees have the chance to stand up or sit down based on how they feel, which increases productivity and wellness. - Vladimir Gendelman, Company Folders, Inc

A. Raised and Sunken Floorspaces

Vertical spaces are generally underutilized in retail and office space. A common notion is that every space should be on the same level. However, by raising or lowering a space you create a dynamism that requires very little investment and achieves unique results. There is a furniture store in Zurich, Neumarkt 17, that displays its products in a maze of different levels; the effect is stunning. - Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

Originally seen on Huffpo

Rachel Beider on SmallBizTrends: Top Business Tips from Podcasters

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Podcasts provide a wealth of information on a variety of topics. When it comes to business, a growing number of entrepreneurs and executives are turning to podcasts as a useful source for new insights and tips. With so many business podcasts out there, having enough time to weed through them and identify the most beneficial isn’t always possible, which is why we asked 15 members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:

Top Business Tips from Podcasters

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Hire Passion

“The saying goes that a passionate person is better than forty that are merely interested. When hiring people or choosing a partner to work with, make sure they are really passionate about the line of work they are getting into. If they are, then they will motivate themselves. Don’t hire people that just “want a job” or partner with somebody that isn’t going to be as committed as you are.” ~ Andy KaruzaFenSens

 

 

2. Grow Ten Times

“The Grant Cardone podcast, “Cardone Zone“, I listen to almost daily. The most valuable tip he delivers over and over again is to aim to grow your business 10 times each year, delivering 10 times more than your competitors to your clients. With this goal in mind, you inevitably deliver at least 30 percent more in returns. At each level of the buyer journey, you are offering so much more than your competitors.” ~ Matthew CapalaSearch Decoder

 

3. Skip PR

“PR has been this long-standing strategy to use, but when I heard a podcast about the death of the press release and why I didn’t have to use an expensive PR agency to get noticed, it helped me refocus my marketing efforts and do so much more with less money. I realized it was a waste of time and money.” ~ John RamptonCalendar

4. Do What Works Best for Your Personality

“On Neil Patel’s podcast he talked about sticking to the mediums that you are best at and do more of that. When you are first starting out with content creation, you can easily get overwhelmed with all the different channels. For example, should you blog or vlog? He suggested picking one strategy that you naturally love and focus on developing that really well first, before expanding.” ~ Syed BalkhiOptinMonster

5. Biohack Your Life

“As a serial entrepreneur, the demands on my time and attention are great. Surprisingly, the most interesting business tip I got was from the “Bulletproof Podcast” with Dave Asprey, where he talks about biohacking and maximizing your health, energy, and mental clarity. Using biohacking, I’ve been able to improve my focus and ability to manage multiple businesses and stay focused and effective.” ~ Marcela De VivoBrilliance

6. Don’t Despair Over a Lack of MBA

“I’ve listened to countless episodes of NPR’s “How I Built This” and one common thread that I’ve noticed is that most of the entrepreneurs that they’ve interviewed are just regular people who don’t have an MBA or experience in building a massive company. They worked hard and learned along the way.” ~ Rachel BeiderMassage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

 

 

7. Invest Old Money to Get New Money

“This advice came from Grant Cardone. We are taught to save our money and conserve. His advice is to keep the flow going and invest into ways to get new money coming in, rather than horde the existing money. I have used this strategy and seen my business grow month after month because I am investing into getting new customers and reach. You sometimes do have to spend some money to make more.” ~ Richard FongBliss Drive

8. Build a Sports Team, Not a Family

“In an episode of “The Twenty Minute VC“, Ari Mir, founder of Clutter, explains how it’s important to approach hiring and culture building as if you’re building a sports team instead of a family. In sports, you’re strategically placing the best players for particular positions at that period in time. If you can do this well as a coach, your team will attract the best talent and thrive off of success.” ~ Ben LarsonGateway

9. Incorporate Many Great Ideas Into Your Work

“I was listening to a recent episode of “Pod Save America” that featured several of the architects of the 2010 healthcare overhaul. They agreed that the reason Obamacare will endure is that they actually included so many amendments from all across the political spectrum. The great lesson to me was: You have to incorporate a wide range of great ideas into your work if you want it to endure.” ~ Paul GrossingerGaingels

10. Hire Barrels, Not Bullets

“On the “Startup School” podcast, Keith Rabois talked about hiring great people who can do hard work. He calls those bullets (you can direct them at a target). But he pointed out that you also need to hire “barrels,” the folks who help direct those bullets. These are two very different skill sets, and having them both is critical to a company’s success. Talent without the proper focus is wasted.” ~ Aaron SchwartzModify Watches

11. Track Your Time

“I’d always been dubious about the benefits of time tracking, but when CGP Grey and Myke Hurley discussed it on the “Cortex” podcast, I decided to give it a go. I was amazed how little of the day I spent on productive work. The data informed how I plan my day for maximum productivity. If you haven’t tried tracking your time, I’d strongly recommend you try it for a week; you may be surprised.” ~ Vik PatelFuture Hosting

12. Do What’s Unfamiliar, Even for Fun

“There’s a great episode of Tim Ferriss’s podcast where he interviews Mike Rowe about how he got his start in television. Mike’s candor, his rebelliousness and willingness to do what was unfamiliar to him, led him to a rewarding and satisfying career in an industry he never anticipated being involved in. Sometimes doing something unusual can lead us to our normalcy.” ~ Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

13. Go Whale Hunting

“One of the best lessons I learned was, “spend two hours a week chasing whales.” Ken Courtright’s podcasttalked about this a year back and it has paid off 100 percent! By whale hunting, Ken means to spend two hours a week at minimum chasing clients that are Fortune 500 or Fortune 100 companies. I have been doing this for a year and landed two accounts I never thought would be possible. Those two clients doubled my yearly revenue.” ~ Chad KellerEyeflow

14. Plan Your Schedule in Minute Increments

“A podcast once recommended to plan your day in minutes rather than hours or half hour blocks. If possible, do 10- or 15-minute meetings, not everything needs to be a full half hour or hour. Your time is the most valuable asset and it needs to be given with the most care.” ~ Adelyn ZhouTOPBOTS

15. Know How the Political and Market Climate Impacts You

“It is easy to become absorbed in metrics, growth, and minutiae relating only to your business. With the instability of the economy and the political climate, modern founders and entrepreneurs much know what is happening the world around them at a macro level. Legislative and interest rate risk is real — follow it and know how it impacts you. Ostriches are no good at planning ahead.” ~ Ryan BradleyKoester & Bradley, LLP

Article from SmallBizTrends

Rachel Beider in Thrive Global: How Are Your New Year Goals Progressing?Tips To Stay on Track

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The new year is well underway, and if you're like most people, you're probably still staring at that list of resolutions you made for 2018. Goals don't achieve themselves, though; you have to work at them every single day if you want to reach your desired outcome – and if you fall behind or make a mistake, you need to be willing to pick yourself up and keep trying.

If you find yourself struggling to stay on top of your annual goals, take a step back. Examine your plans and processes, and see if there's an easier way to bring your dreams within reach. Fifteen members of Young Entrepreneur Council offered their best practical advice for achieving your goals this year.

1. Set Fewer Goals 

While it can be tempting to set numerous significant personal and professional goals, the more goals you are pursuing, the less focused you will be on accomplishing any one of them. By setting fewer goals, you will be able to better focus on achieving them, and in turn, will be more likely ultimately succeed. - Adam MendlerBeverly Hills Chairs


2. Set Realistic Monthly Goals for the Year 

If you're trying to go from 0 to 100, you'll probably fail. I would look at a big picture goal for 2018 and then break it down into smaller monthly goals. Each time you create a new habit and succeed at a monthly goal, you're getting closer to your long-term goal but your also compounding momentum and you're really positioning yourself for success. Don't bite off more than you can chew. - Brett Maloleyladder.fit


3. Focus on Behavioral Changes 

On a piece of paper, write down a list of things you need to keep doing, stop doing, and try doing. On another sheet, write down what you need to increase, reduce and maintain. Now every morning, look at these two lists as soon as you wake up. This will make your goals achievable by reinforcing it with concrete and measurable behavioral changes that you can start right away. - Raad AhmedLawTrades


4. Tackle the Hard Ones First

There are certain goals and tasks that we all like to avoid. One way to increase productivity and also get the year off to a good start is to tackle a handful of undesirable tasks and goals within the first month of the year. This way there is a feeling of accomplishment that can carry through the remaining 11 months. - Ryan BradleyKoester & Bradley, LLP


5. Do a Social Media Detox to Purge Negative Influences and Boost Positive Ones 

Use social media wisely to help inspire you, not annoy you. Our daily habits become who we are. So follow people that are already doing the habits you want to pick up on and let them motivate you to crush your goals. Take a look at your Facebook likes. Unlike anything that doesn't pertain to the person you want to be tomorrow and do the same on Instagram and Twitter. - Syed BalkhiOptinMonster


6. Allow Yourself to Fail (But Don't Give Up) 

If one of your goals for the new year is to stick to good habits, such as a diet or exercise regimen, you need to understand that failing to stick to your goal once is not an excuse to give up entirely. You haven't truly failed until you completely give up, so the best way you ensure that you will stick to your goals is to give yourself permission to keep trying. - Bryce WelkerCPA Exam Guy


7. Manually Track Your Goals 

Once you've made the necessary steps to achieving your goals and know which behaviors to modify, you can manually track your behaviors to ensure that you're not self-sabotaging. Whenever something no longer works, change your mind. Whatever you modify must serve the purpose of helping you achieve your goal. If it doesn't, don't push yourself to finish. - Cody McLainSupportNinja


8. 'StickK' to Your Resolutions 

I’m personally employing a great new tool called stickK. It was developed by two Yale professors and an MBA student and utilizes cutting-edge behavioral economics to help people achieve goals. Each user creates a “commitment contract.” You’re encouraged to put money on the line that you will sacrifice if you fail to meet your commitment. - Thomas SmaleFE International


9. Analyze the Benefits of Accomplishing Your Goal (and the Consequences of Not Doing It) 

When you want to accomplish a goal, don’t just “try.” Make a decision, become clear about exactly what you want, analyze the benefits of doing it and the consequences of not doing it, and take massive action to make sure you accomplish it. - Rachel BeiderMassage Greenpoint

10. Find an Accountability Partner

 

Find someone who you confide in and make them your accountability partner. Define your goals for the year and put them in writing. Keep them as specific as possible. Goals tend to fail when you keep them broad. Give that list to your accountability partner and set aside a monthly check-in with them to review steps you've taken to push towards your goals. - Brandon HoustonSwitch Video


11. Break Your Main Goal Down 

Think of your main goal like the fabric on an umbrella. After you set it, create "spokes." What are the mini-actions and goals you can accomplish in order to get your big goal accomplished? If your big goal is daunting or dependent on one thing, you're more likely to fall off, forget or give it up. By creating mini-goals and actions, the journey is also successful. - Jen Brown, The Engaging Educator


12. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals 

SMART stands for "Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, Time-Related." SMART goals help you define clear goals with a timeline. Instead of saying, "go to the gym more this year," a SMART goal would be "I will go to the gym for at least 45 minutes three times per week until 1/1/2019." SMART goals will help you stay on track this year. - Brandon StapperCrown Growth


13. Start with the End in Mind 

As you're charging hard for those 2018 goals, it's important to have a crystal clear vision of how they relate to the overall mission and the goals transcending this New Year. Doing this will also help bring others into the 2018 planning and make it easier to comprehend the "why" of those goals. - Michael SpinosaUnleashed Technologies


14. Develop a Template from Past Achievements 

It's important to set realistic goals and constantly strive to meet those. However, remember what helped you reach past goals. Was it writing down notes? Was it continually tracking your progress? Using another person to hold you accountable? Everyone is a bit different when it comes goal setting and execution, but success breeds success. - Shawn SchulzeNames.org

 

Article seen on Thrive Global