Acceler8Success Cafe Friday 5.14.21

The Daily Habits of 40 Highly Successful Business Leaders

Success doesn’t just happen. Instead, it’s something you plan for. And that requires finding the right balance between those big long-term goals and the short-term objectives that will keep you on the right path.

Supergenius Elon Musk wakes up with one goal in mind: putting humans on Mars. But what does he do every day to turn that dream into a reality? OnDeck decided to investigate. The small business loan provider examined the daily work routines of 40 highly successful business owners.

Like Musk, most of today’s most successful business leaders exploit the body’s natural rhythms to optimize their daily output. In other words, the early bird really does catch that worm. Musk, Richard Branson, and Slack co-founder Cal Henderson are all in the office before 7.00 am. They direct their early morning energy and brain power toward catching up on emails, meetings, and strategic planning sessions. Read more at addicted2success.com.

The Role Model Mindset: Being a Great Entrepreneur Is About Showing Others What’s Possible

When we talk about entrepreneurs, we often think of people who have followed a dream to create a business. They are a group set apart because of their bias towards action — getting their hands dirty and building a company, and because of that, many are role models to the millions of other aspiring founders across the world.

We are not talking about the basic desire to imitate a businessperson because of their wealth and success, but rather about being a role model, which entails a degree of awe and respect for a person’s methods and strategies for building successful and impactful businesses. They do things that others feel are impossible. The world’s best entrepreneurs are not looked up to because of their salaries, but because they do three key things: they solve big global problems, they survive risky situations, and they create with limited resources.

Entrepreneurs dream big, and the role models of the business world rarely start by trying to solve a small problem. They create a product that solves an unserved, acute pain point in the formal economy, and where there are existing informal, unlicensed, or unofficial alternatives, they bring legitimacy and formality to the industry. Role models offer solutions for the mass market, not just the elite, and they focus on game-changing innovations that fundamentally rethink a market and a sector. Read more at entrepreneur.com.

“Depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do.” ― Sean Covey

15 Success Tips for First-Time Entrepreneurs

Being a first-time entrepreneur can be challenging and nerve-wracking but also very exciting and rewarding. There is no end to the many financial, legal, staffing, marketing, and customer issues that will come up as you launch your business. A‎nd, unfortunately, there is a lot of conflicting advice out there for the aspiring entrepreneur.

First-time entrepreneurs should start a business they are passionate and knowledgeable about

Startups can be quite a grind, so pick something that excites and motivates you. Avoid businesses or industries that you don’t already know a good deal about, as the steep learning curve may hamper your success.

Raise as much startup funding as you can

It’s almost always harder and takes longer to raise startup financing than you think. You must ensure you have a cushion for all the product development and marketing expenses you will incur. In an ideal world, you will have sufficient capital for your operations to break even. Don’t worry about diluting your percentage ownership in the company. Developing a great product takes time and money. Learn about 13 more success tips at allbusiness.com.

Why Texas – Texas Economic Development

Texas is where liberty lives.

That’s why the Lone Star State leads the nation in job creation over the last 10 years and in population growth over the last 14.

As the 9th largest economy among the nations of the world and home to 50 Fortune 500 headquarters, Texas offers a business-friendly climate—with no corporate income tax and no personal income tax—along with a highly skilled workforce, easy access to global markets, robust infrastructure and predictable regulations.

That’s why Texas continually ranks as the best  state for business. CEOs who relocate to Texas cite the differences as “night & day” when it comes to the improved quality of life and good schools, along with the job-ready workforce.

Lower energy costs, together with lower land costs and fewer land-use restrictions, also mean lower operating costs for businesses and a lower cost-of-living for their employees. Learn more at gov.texas.gov.

4 Ways to Expand Your Business Outside of Your Core Industry

What can you learn from a humble chicken nugget about expanding your business? Maybe more than a nibble’s worth of information, so hop in the sales and marketing time machine.

Today, bite-sized chicken bits embraced by a crispy breading seem normal. Forty years ago, they were a tasty novelty offered up by McDonald’s. Thanks to their portability and unique flavor profile, they took off with hungry consumers. In fact, they became a new star on the fast food giant’s menu.

But why did McDonald’s, known primarily for burger-like sandwiches and irresistible shoestring fries take this plunge? The answer: Nuggets were a natural extension of their core industry. After all, they catered to people craving quick, salty, hot meals. The nugget seemed an attractive way to draw in more consumers, especially the younger set and beef-eschewers. Read more at smallbiztrends.com.

How to Use Thought Leadership Content to Grow Your Business

If you own your own business, you know you’re a smart cookie. No matter how long you’ve been running your business, you’ve surely gleaned knowledge about your industry that others can benefit from. This knowledge is gold in terms of helping you attract new business. It’s all a matter of knowing how to transform your knowledge into thought leadership content that you can leverage to attract new customers and clients.

It doesn’t matter if your audience is college students, CEOs, or somewhere in between. These folks consume content online. The key is discovering where they go to learn.

Start by looking at magazines, websites, blogs, and podcasts that cater to this crowd. What sources do you turn to in order to connect with others in your field? You likely can rattle off the top authors or podcast owners in your industry. Rather than looking at them as competitors, consider them potential collaborators. Read more at allbusiness.com.

“Social entrepreneurs identify resources where people only see problems. They view the villagers as the solution, not the passive beneficiary. They begin with the assumption of competence and unleash resources in the communities they’re serving..” – David Bornstein, Author, How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas

Social Entrepreneurship Has A Key Role To Play Enabling Our Business Ecosystem’s Recovery After COVID-19

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been slowly making its way up the strategic priorities in corporates over the past decades. But many companies still approach CSR as a “nice to have,” rather than “a must-have.” But as awareness grows over the impact of CSR on the bottom line of successful businesses, the evolution is becoming a necessity.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a wake-up call for all of us. It has been humbling to witness how this microscopic virus has disrupted our daily routines and businesses, but it has also shed a light on the harm modern life has put on our planet through pollution and loss of natural habitats. Now, the well-being of people, society, and our planet is at the forefront of everyday practices. The way we do business has changed, and it has accelerated the need of sustainability becoming the core of company strategy, with direct impact on employees, customers, and suppliers.

As a result, corporate sustainability teams are leading the effort to improve internal procedures and operations, as well as think about how organizations can have a positive impact on their surroundings. Read more at entrepreneur.com.

11 Tips to Transform Your Morning Routine and Make Your Entire Day More Productive

Researchers at the University of Nottingham recently published findings from their exploration of 83 separate studies on energy and self-control. What they found will change the way you start your day.

The researchers found that self-control and energy are not only intricately linked but also finite, daily resources that tire much like a muscle. Even though we don’t always realize it, as the day goes on, we have increased difficulty exerting self-control and focusing on our work. As self-control wears out, we feel tired and find tasks to be more difficult and our mood sours.

This exhaustion of self-control kills your productivity, and it makes the morning hours, when self-control is highest, the most important hours of the day.

But the trick isn’t just to spend your morning hours working; it’s to do the right things in the morning that will make your energy and self-control last as long as possible. Read more at success.com.

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’” And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” –Steve Jobs

Exercise Is One Thing Most Successful People Do Everyday

What do Cher, Warren Buffet, and OKCupid founder, Christian Rudder, all have in common? While you might have guessed that they’re professionals at the top of their game, it’s not the only similarity. The truth is that they all have an even bigger commonality among them: they all work out, and they all consider it integral to their success. They aren’t the only ones, either.

Entrepreneurs like Richard Branson (who’s started over 400 companies) have long known that regular physical activity, be it running, lifting, or yoga, can provide you with up to four extra hours of productivity every day. Even President Barack Obama — a slacker until he began running three miles a day as a young man — to this day makes time for 45 minute workouts before assuming his duties. Read more at entrepreneur.com.

Acceler8Success Cafe Thursday 5.13.21

What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur?

The road to entrepreneurship is often a treacherous one filled with unexpected detours, roadblocks and dead ends. There are lots of sleepless nights, plans that don’t work out, funding that doesn’t come through and customers that never materialize. It can be so challenging to launch a business that it may make you wonder why anyone willingly sets out on such a path.

Despite all of these hardships, every year, thousands of entrepreneurs embark on this journey determined to bring their vision to fruition and fill a need they see in society. They open brick-and-mortar businesses, launch tech startups or bring a new product or service into the marketplace.

An entrepreneur identifies a need that no existing businesses addresses and determines a solution for that need. Entrepreneurial activity includes developing and launching new businesses and marketing them, often with the end goal of selling the business to turn a profit.

An entrepreneur who regularly launches new businesses, sells them and then starts new businesses is a serial entrepreneur. Additionally, although the term “entrepreneur” is often associated with startups and small businesses, any founder of a successful household-name business began as an entrepreneur. Read more at getentrepreneurial.com.

60 Reasons Why Entrepreneurship Is Amazing

Every entrepreneur has a different story about why he or she decided to start a business. Some have known from day one that they wanted to work for themselves and others come up with ideas while working for someone else and decide to take the entrepreneurial leap. 

Most business owners will agree on one thing — being an entrepreneur is great. There are endless reasons for this, and every entrepreneur will have his or her own personal reasons as well. Here are 60 reasons, in no particular order, why I think entrepreneurship is amazing. 

You have full control over your destiny. You call the shots and make the decisions that ultimately determine the success or failure of your business. Nobody will get in the way of your vision.

Entrepreneurs are innovators. Think of all the new technology and ideas that have come to life over the past few years. Those were all once just an idea — but amazing entrepreneurs brought those ideas to life. Read 58 more reasons why entrepreneurship is amazing at entrepreneur.com.

How To Be A Successful Entrepreneur — No Matter Your Personality Type

Entrepreneurship is more about the journey than the destination. It takes a certain kind of spirit to succeed in the startup world, and while many different types of people make good founders, the best ones tend to share a few key qualities.

There’s no such thing as the “right” personality type to start and run a business, but the entrepreneurial spirit is real. Those who don’t come by those beneficial traits naturally can still cultivate them — they just have to work a little harder than the rest. Fortunately, entrepreneurs aren’t strangers to hard work.

That doesn’t mean introverts have to transform into extroverts to schmooze their way to the top. According to a recent survey by Creditloan.com on personality and working at a side hustle, extroverts are more likely to work more hours, but they don’t earn more. Read more at forbes.com.

If I Started Over as an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship has taught me more about life than I could have ever imagined. How to build relationships, frugality, dealing with stress, being able to sell, finding time to relax, and many more lessons.

Being an entrepreneur is incredibly exciting since every day is different and I constantly have to tackle problems and find solutions — while being underfunded and understaffed. On the contrary, it can be lonely but every moment and adventure entrepreneurship has taken me, has absolutely been worth it.

After college, I dove right into entrepreneurship despite $100k in student loans. Incredibly risky but the threat of time and scarcity are causing me to work much harder.

There is no job in the world I would rather have. Read more at medium.com.

Black Women Are More Likely to Start a Business than White Men

In the United States, an astounding 17% of Black women are in the process of starting or running new businesses. That’s compared to just 10% of white women, and 15% of white men.

Yet despite this early lead, only 3% of Black women are running mature businesses. To understand why this steep drop off occurs, and how to combat it, we analyzed data from interviews with more than 12,000 people, nearly 1,700 of whom identified as entrepreneurs and nearly 1,200 of whom own established businesses.

The research was part of our work with the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, an annual comprehensive survey of entrepreneurship rates and attributes, conducted in more than 120 economies since 1999. The large-scale survey is administered by academic research teams in each economy; we represent the U.S. team. Read more at hbr.org.

The Big Role Older Entrepreneurs Play in Business Innovations

Entrepreneurs over 55 are among the most active new business owners in America, starting companies at rates that exceed their younger peers. In fact, 80% of small business owners are over 45, according to the New York Federal Reserve.

Even coming out of the pandemic, older entrepreneurs are better positioned than their younger counterparts to succeed.

What’s not as obvious is the role that older entrepreneurs play in producing innovations.

For a whole host of reasons, the narrative of innovation — especially in the tech economy — centers on younger entrepreneurs. Paul Graham, an investor in entrepreneurs and a co-founder of the famous Silicon Valley business accelerator, Y Combinator, once quipped that “the cutoff in investors’ heads is 32… After 32, they start to be a little skeptical.”

This certainly maps to how the media typically portrays startup founders. But a closer look tells a different story. Read more at nextavenue.org.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Peter Drucker

Jon Tilley of ZonGuru: How To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur

Being a founder, entrepreneur, or business owner can have many exciting and thrilling moments. But it is also punctuated with periods of doubt, slump, and anxiety. So how does one successfully and healthily ride the highs and lows of Entrepreneurship? In this series, called “How To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur” we are talking to successful entrepreneurs who can share stories from their experience. I had the pleasure of interviewing Jon Tilley.

Jon Tilley is a successful entrepreneur & Amazon thought leader. After 15 years working as an account director & strategist for some of the top global digital agencies, Jon started his Amazon journey in 2014, launching multiple successful private label brands. Soon after, he launched ZonGuru, an all-in-one software toolset for Amazon Private Label Sellers. The company continues to develop tools ahead of the market and uses data-driven techniques to help its customers create and run successful Private Label businesses on Amazon. Read the interview at medium.com.

A Message from Acceler8Success Founder, Paul Segreto

We must…

The past 14-15 months have seen many scrambling to fight off challenge after challenge. Accordingly, actions have been mostly reactive. To many, it’s been a shear, exhausting act of survival.

Well, it’s time to make a complete shift back to being proactive.

If it’s a pivot to move forward in what may be a new normal, we must accept it. If it’s a drastic change that is required, we must act on it. If it’s a new direction that is inevitable, we must move toward it.

We must get back to playing to win as opposed to playing not to lose.

Even in the face of failure, we must dust off dreams that have been cast aside. We must pursue them once again. We must do so with purpose and conviction.

We must overcome negativity with a positive mindset. We must explore possibilities. We must capitalize on opportunities.

Life as we once knew it has changed. We must realize it for what it is. We must deal with it. We must adapt. We must take action.

We must act swiftly. We must act decisively. We must do so with aggressive plans to not only survive, but to thrive. We must accelerate success.

Growth and Success of an Entrepreneur

Many entrepreneurs become successful because of consistent growth. Growth is a key part to entrepreneurship and is stated by every successful entrepreneur. Bill Gates had to grow. Steve Jobs had to grow. Elon Musk had to grow. There is no entrepreneur without growth. Have you ever wanted to become an entrepreneur? Well, that’s not easy or hard. You just have to find your interest and do your best to become successful. It sounds easy, but finding your interest is the real hard part. 

But, you can also become an entrepreneur. The first step is to trust and believe in yourself. This will give you more confidence in the decisions you make. The next important trait you should have is taking risks and reducing fear because, when you make important decisions, you will have to take small or big risks and that will come with some fear, but you have to be strong, confident, and brave. If you want to partner up with some people, that is fine, but make sure you have good, trustworthy, and hardworking partners as well. The last and most important trait is that you have to be passionate about what you are doing, so make sure you find your interests. Read more at enterprist.com.

Why Every Entrepreneur Should Take an 8-Hour Shower Each Week: The Benefits of Creative Time

When do you get your most creative ideas for your business? I suspect it’s not during your normal busy workday or in the middle of a client meeting. Most likely, it’s when you are alone, relaxed, and allow your mind to wander. 

How many amazing ideas or aha moments have you had while taking a shower? Without distractions and to-do lists, creative ideas flow when mindlessly showering. Psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman, author of Wired to Create, found that 72 percent of us get our best ideas in the shower.

As an entrepreneur, I want to keep generating ideas, improvements and creative innovations. I found that my days were filled with meetings, problem-solving, and doing day-to-day tasks. In spite of my best intentions to fit in creative time, it never seemed to materialize. My best creative ideas came to me in the morning while taking a shower, but were quickly forgotten as I sat down at my desk for the first meeting. Read more at entrepreneur.com.

Acceler8Success Cafe Wednesday 5.12.21

Entrepreneurial Insomnia: Why Most Entrepreneurs Can’t Sleep at Night

Running a business is stressful. As an entrepreneur, worrisome thoughts may lurk around in your mind, even when your business is doing well. Things can change. The success you have now may not be as promising when the new competition starts showing up. These are all thoughts that entrepreneurs have to deal with. 

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs suffer in the process. You may find yourself awake after midnight – either still busy with work, or trying to shut down your brain as you try to go to sleep. Studies show that about 33% of adults are affected by chronic insomnia. Stress and depression are often rated as some of the most concerning factors contributing to insomnia – factors that a lot of entrepreneurs end up dealing with. 

It is important for entrepreneurs to realize what may be the reason behind their insomnia. The idea of finally quitting that nine-to-five day job always seems like a dream for most people. You get to stop working for a boss. Instead, you become your own boss. You start writing your own paychecks, and there are no superiors that you constantly have to report to. 

The problem is that running a business is a complicated process. It takes a lot of time, effort, and even skill to ensure your business can turn out successful. Read more at businessbusinessbusiness.com.

5 Ways to Manage Your Mental Health as an Entrepreneur

Running a business can be an emotional rollercoaster. Between long hours, built-up stress, and a never-ending workload, being an entrepreneur can take its toll on your mental health.

According to a study, 72% of entrepreneurs are directly or indirectly affected by mental health issues compared to 48% of non-entrepreneurs.

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Cultivate CEO, and Co-founder Casey Clark sat down with Emily Washcovick, Senior Field Marketing Manager & Small Business Expert at Yelp, to discuss the impact of mental health on the small business community and share five strategies to manage mental health in the workplace.

Mental health issues can present themselves in many ways, from stress and anxiety to burnout, fatigue, or insomnia. As a business owner, financial stress, feelings of isolation, and long days can create or exacerbate these symptoms, and the implications of deteriorating mental health are far-reaching. It affects not only the person suffering, but it can impact the lives of family, friends, and even those in your community.  It’s important to learn to recognize these symptoms and take action to alleviate stress, and prioritize your mental well-being. Read more at cultivateadvisors.com.

12 Quotes on Entrepreneur Burnout And Depression, From Those Who’ve Walked The Path

In the early 2010s, a clinical professor and entrepreneur by the name of Dr. Michael Freeman surveyed 242 entrepreneurs about their mental health.

Of the 242 entrepreneurs he surveyed, 49% reported having a mental-health condition.

Depression was the highest-reported reported condition, being present in 30% of all entrepreneurs. ADHD (29%) and anxiety problems (27%) followed close by.

That’s a dramatically higher percentage than the US population at large, where only about 7% identify as depressed.

What do actual entrepreneurs have to say about their experiences with burnout and depression? Read more at medium.com.

How Great Entrepreneurs Think

What distinguishes great entrepreneurs?

Discussions of entrepreneurial psychology typically focus on creativity, tolerance for risk, and the desire for achievement—enviable traits that, unfortunately, are not very teachable. So Saras Sarasvathy, a professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, set out to determine how expert entrepreneurs think, with the goal of transferring that knowledge to aspiring founders.

While still a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon, Sarasvathy—with the guidance of her thesis supervisor, the Nobel laureate Herbert Simon—embarked on an audacious project: to eavesdrop on the thinking of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs as they grappled with business problems. She required that her subjects have at least 15 years of entrepreneurial experience, have started multiple companies—both successes and failures—and have taken at least one company public. Read more at inc.com.

Simple Strategies to Overcome Self-Doubt When Impostor Syndrome Strikes

The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves are powerful. When impostor syndrome strikes, our inner monologue may sound like: “I’ve only gotten to this point because of luck,” or, “Wait until someone finds out I have no idea what I’m doing!” This self-talk affects our self-esteem, but it also impacts how we present ourselves to others and the risks we take in our lives. Simply put, if we don’t actively work on silencing our inner critic and reframing these thoughts and beliefs, our impostor syndrome can hold us back from unlocking our full potential. 

In this article, the Thrive community was asked to share their tips on dealing with negative self-talk and overcoming impostor syndrome. Which strategy will you try? Read more at thriveglobal.com.

Mental Health Awareness Month

Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. During May, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) joins the national movement to raise awareness about mental health. Each year we fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for policies that support people with mental illness and their families.

For 2021’s Mental Health Awareness Month NAMI will continue to amplify the message of “You Are Not Alone.” We will use this time to focus on the healing value of connecting in safe ways, prioritizing mental health and acknowledging that it’s okay to not be okay through NAMI’s blog, personal stories, videos, digital toolkits, social media engagements and national events.

Together, we can realize our shared vision of a nation where anyone affected by mental illness can get the appropriate support and quality of care to live healthy, fulfilling lives — a nation where no one feels alone in their struggle. Read more at nami.org.

Why Entrepreneurs Need To Talk About Their Mental Health

72% of entrepreneurs are directly or indirectly affected by mental health issues compared to just 48% of non entrepreneurs. That’s according to a study by the National Institute of Mental Health. 49% of entrepreneurs deal with mental health issues directly while only 32% of others experienced them. Similarly, 23% of entrepreneurs have family members who face these issues compared to just 16% of others with family members who face these same types of issues. Read more at forbes.com.

5 Strategies for Stopping Unhelpful Behaviors

Does any of this sound familiar? You hit “play next episode” on Netflix (for the third time in a row) even though you know you are staying up too late and have to work the next day. You check your social media and surf the web for “just a few more minutes” even though there are other things you know you should attend to. You have “just a few more sweets” even though you are quite full. You check your phone continually even though doing so takes you away from fully engaging in important things that you could be attending to.

Why is it so difficult to stop something that feels pleasurable, even when you know it isn’t what is best for you in the long run?

For the human organism, reward-based learning (seeking what is pleasurable and avoiding what is painful) was a helpful evolutionary strategy for the human species. Pursuing things that felt good (such as sex or good-tasting food) and avoiding pain (e.g., getting bitten by a snake, or getting sick from a poisonous plant) helped our ancestors survive. This is hard-wired into our biology. Read more at psychologytoday.com.

4 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Boost Their Mental Health

Starting and building a business is outrageously difficult. It demands long hours, deep research and analysis, and more blood, sweat and tears than a body should ever be capable of. One moment, you’re riding high on your latest successful breakthrough. The next, you’re plunged into the psychic underworld of failure.

The ambiguous nature of business goes hand-in-hand with uncertainty, stress, anxiety and even crushing depression. Why? There’s a myriad of reasons.

Recent research shows that entrepreneurs are 30 percent more likely to suffer from depression than those who serve in the lower levels of an organization’s hierarchy.

Entrepreneurs are in a position of leadership; in many cases, the livelihood of others depends on their success. There is an immense amount of pressure that comes with that dynamic. As a leader, they often feel compelled to act as a support system for others, even when needing support themselves.

Additionally, business owners typically have the bulk of their savings invested in the business; failure could spell financial catastrophe. Many entrepreneurs sacrifice their physical and mental well-being by skipping meals, not getting enough sleep, and burning the candle at both ends by working 100 or more hours a week. Read more at startupnation.com.

Entrepreneurial Mindset: 5 Characteristics to Cultivate

Entrepreneurs help bolster economic development, create jobs, and invent products or services that can make the world a better place. Being a successful entrepreneur requires outside-the-box thinking and larger-than-life ideas. Anyone can come up with a new idea, but building a successful business around it is the entrepreneurial challenge. The entrepreneurial mindset is unique in that one must be creative, communicative, and highly motivated to succeed, yet open to risk and failure.

It’s not a big idea alone that paves the path to ultimate entrepreneurial success. Oftentimes the success or failure of a business comes down to the characteristics of the entrepreneur themselves. It takes a unique aggregate of characteristics to meld one big idea into a fully-functional thriving business. Is there a certain amalgam of skills and traits which allows some entrepreneurs to become wildly successful?

Suffice it to say that there is no magical formula to succeed in business (if so, Harvard Business School would have patented it). However, there are certain characteristics which all aspiring entrepreneurs should cultivate to dramatically boost their own odds for success. An entrepreneurial mindset, if you will, may mark the difference between a lucrative business and one which shutters the doors before the first year is over. Read more at aofund.org.

What is an entrepreneurial mindset? 

A way of thinking that enables you to overcome challenges, be decisive, and accept responsibility for your outcomes. It is a constant need to improve your skills, learn from your mistakes, and take continuous action on your ideas.

Are You An Entrepreneur?

en·tre·pre·neur

ˌäntrəprəˈnər/

 noun: entrepreneur; plural noun: entrepreneurs

  1. A person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.

Ditch These Five Habits If You Want Entrepreneurial Success

If this is the year you go all-in on achieving your entrepreneurial dream, it’s time for a little tough love. Wanting to become a successful business owner or startup founder is an admirable goal, but wishing and dreaming will only get you so far. You’re going to need to make substantial changes to your daily life if you hope to attain even a modicum of success.

One of the first things you need to do if you want to become a successful entrepreneur is to rid yourself of the bad habits holding you back. Commit to changing your life and letting go of bad habits, and you’ll be amazed at how much quicker you can reach your goals. Read about the top five habits you need to ditch at entrepreneur.com.

Rohn: How to Stop Listening to the Negative Voice in Your Head

Why are we so frequently inclined to do the things that are least important but so reluctant to do the essential things that success and happiness demand? What is the voice that whispers to us: Just let it all slide. Why worry about all that discipline nonsense? It is the voice of negativity, a voice that has grown increasingly stronger over the years as a result of being around the wrong influences, thinking the wrong thoughts, developing the wrong philosophy and making the wrong decisions.

Part of the solution to quieting the voice of negativity is learning to listen to the still, small voice of success, which resides inside each of us. The voice of success is constantly struggling to be heard about the loud promptings of the voice of failure. Our own free agency allows us to follow whichever voice we choose. Every time we allow ourselves to succumb to the voce of the dark side of life, and are persuaded to repeat errors instead of mastering new disciplines, the voice of negativity grows stronger. Conversely, each time we listen to the urgings of the voice of success, and are persuaded to turn off the TV to pick up a book, to open our journals and record our thoughts, or to spend a quiet moment pondering where our current actions might be leading us, the voice success responds to these new disciplines and grows in strength and volume as each day passes. For each new discipline, another step forward. Read more at success.com.

6 Steps to Discover Your True Self

To truly know yourself is the most important skill you can ever possess. When you know who you are, you know what you need to do, instead of looking for permission from others to do what you already know you ought to do. It allows you to bypass tons of frustration caused by putting time into the wrong things. Yes, life is supposed to be full of trial and error, but this lets you find the best areas for you to experiment with in the first place. Once you know yourself, you will become more confident, you will understand your purpose, and you will begin making a bigger impact on the world. Read more at success.com.

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” Aristotle

Acceler8Success Cafe Special Franchise Edition Monday 5.10.21

Franchising In 2021: Optimism Abounds

As we look back over the past year and think about the impact Covid-19 had on the economy, there is a general perception that it dealt a blow that would take businesses years to recover from. While some establishments were unfortunately forced to close permanently and customer spending has not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels, the outlook for business in 2021 is strong. To use an analogy from a famous Mark Twain saying, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to attend a franchise conference and spend 20 hours meeting with a series of franchisors on Zoom calls over the course of the week. It was a valuable, productive experience, and the tone was very optimistic. Admittedly, franchisors can be overly optimistic, but the sense of optimism is consistent when I speak with franchisees and others in the business community.

While certain industries were negatively impacted by the pandemic, it is important to remember that many franchises operate in sectors that did not suffer from shutdowns or customer contractions. Those businesses are more on the service side and often work out of homes, offices and office warehouse locations. Read more at forbes.com.

The Future of Franchising

What does the future of franchising look like? Bright, according to many market reports. This industry is growing fast and furiously with more franchisees owning several units, better technology getting incorporated into stores, and a new business model taking shape.

More Multi-unit Owners: What happens once you have mastered the tried and true formula franchises have designed for their franchisees? If you’re like many franchise owners, you start opening another location. And then another. By recreating your success in multiple locations, you can quickly grow your revenues and increase your business’s sustainability.

Enhanced Technology: It’s not a secret that technology is changing quickly but the franchise industry is struggling to keep up in many ways. For some franchisees who have owned and operated a business for several years, switching away from analog technology and over to the digital technology available feels like a step backward. For example, some franchisees feel more comfortable using a cash register rather than an updated point-of-sale model. Some restaurant owners prefer the standard menu boards in lieu of digital menu boards.

Still, the franchise industry is quickly realizing the importance of making this switch and now, franchisors are working methodically to update all of their franchise locations with updated technology. Most franchisors won’t force this technology on their franchisees but it will be strongly encouraged through a deployment stage on an incremental basis depending on cash flow and franchisee needs. Read more at franchisedirect.com.

10 franchising trends to watch out for in 2021

While the world continues to respond to the current unpredictable economy, the resulting trends are opening doors of opportunity for the franchise industry over the next year.

Successful businesses tend to have the talent for spotting trends over fads. While a fad is a passing fancy, a trend points towards the future and opportunities. Exploring franchising trends that emerged in what will prove to be one of the most challenging economies we have ever seen, everyone in franchising can find opportunities like never before.

Franchising only works when franchisors get wealthy by helping their franchisees get wealthy. While this might sound obvious, the trick is creating a cohesive business that continues to succeed based on past success. When done right, franchises create a cycle, with franchisors actively promoting their franchisee’s success and franchisees wanting their franchisors to succeed. This keeps everyone focused on the same goal and avoids a dangerous “us versus them” mentality. Read more at globalfranchisemagazine.com.

“Business isn’t a science. It’s not like mixing this chemical with that chemical to get a predictable outcome. You can make a plan and set a goal and even be reasonably sure that you’ll reach that goal, but until you do, you won’t know if you will.” – Fred DeLuca, Founder and CEO, Subway

Why Franchising? Why Now?

A once in a lifetime global pandemic touched every aspect of our lives. How we live, how we eat, how we greet each other and how we work. Except for a few dozen billionaires, who watched their wealth grow despite the economic ravages of COVID-19, nearly everyone was glad to see the year 2020 fade into the rear-view mirror. Unprecedented economic fallout descended upon the intersection of business and commerce, leading to unemployment levels not seen in the past century.

Seems like the ideal time to run out and buy a franchise to kick off 2021, doesn’t it? While at first glance, the risk-averse among us would put up the sign of the cross, slam on the brakes, or even ask the questioner if they’re feeling a bit feverish. But there’s another side of the coin to consider. As the great ESPN college football commentator Lee Corso would interject—“NOT so fast, my friend!”

So, it begs the question, is there a silver lining to consider for buying into a franchise operation during the middle of an economic crisis and a pandemic that’s still a threat—despite vaccines? Why franchising? Why now? Read more at score.org.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Franchise

Franchise businesses have a history of creating jobs faster than other startup businesses. The positive economic outlook for franchises has lured many would-be small business owners toward buying a franchise.

Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of franchising can help you decide whether it is a good choice for you. The number one advantage is that you basically receive a kit with plans, a guide, and support for starting the business.

The big disadvantage for many people wanting to start up a business is the initial costs, or outlay, necessary to start a franchise.

Buying a franchise can be a worthwhile endeavor, but choosing the right franchise is important. If you’ve done your research, and picked a franchise that works the way you want it to, you’ll more than likely be successful. Read more at thebalancesmb.com.

“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.” – Ray Kroc, Founder, McDonald’s

How to Open a Franchise Business

A franchise organization builds a solid brand and then licenses the brand to independent storeowners. Franchise organizations provide franchisees with ready-made plans for operations, marketing, finance and human resources procedures, as well as best practices and training programs for all job roles. Franchise outlets gain a huge competitive advantage by piggybacking onto the national marketing efforts of the franchisor. Read more at smallbusiness.chron.com.

How Much Will You Need to Fund a Franchise Purchase?

Franchise ownership is a powerful way to become a business owner. 

Franchises come with established brand recognition, best practices, support and processes that can accelerate profitability and growth.

Starting a franchise is unlike starting any other type of business. As seen in the recent post, Women in Business: Is Franchising in Your Future?, more women are starting small businesses of all types, including franchises. They have access to networks, turnkey marketing and operational plans and many franchise-friendly locations across the country. 

Starting a franchise business also comes with a number of fees before and during your ownership that are unique to the business type. How much will you need to fund a franchise purchase? Let us take a closer look at benetrends.com.

The Top 20 Franchises of 2020 From the Entrepreneur Franchise 500

Entrepreneur has been ranking the top 500 franchises in America for 41 years. We use a five-pillar system to evaluate the hundreds of entries we receive every year. Those five pillars (in no particular order) are:

  1. Costs and fees. This includes the franchise fee, total investment and royalty fees.
  2. Size and growth. This counts open and operating units, growth rate and closures.
  3. Support. This pillar takes into consideration training times, marketing support, operational support, franchisor infrastructure, financing availability and litigation.
  4. Brand strength. This aspect is all about social media, system size, years in business and years franchising.
  5. Financial strength and stability. This considers the franchisor’s audited financial statements.

Every year, the competition grows thicker and thicker as new businesses create compelling cases and the old-school, established ones keep innovating. Even making the Franchise 500 is a huge accomplishment, but which ones managed to crack the top echelon and make our top 20? Read more at entrepreneur.com.

Is a Franchise Right for Me?

When thinking about whether a franchise is right for you, it’s essential to dig deep into your own psyche.  Make sure you are investing in a business for all the right reasons. You have to desire it! More than that, a franchise has to be a good fit.

Consider the pros and cons of franchising carefully. But most of all, understand your needs and motivations. Knowing whether a franchise is right for you depends on knowing yourself and what you want out of life. The right franchise opportunity can be rewarding, even life-changing. Read more at smallbiztrends.com.

“Life will test you, that’s a promise. It’s what you do with the challenges that determines your failure or your success. “ – William Rosenberg, Founder, Dunkin’ Donuts

Franchise vs. Start-up: Which One Works for You?

You are tired of working for someone else and you want to start your own business, but don’t know if you should do it from scratch. Below you can find the pros and cons of franchises and startups, and decide which one works for you.

Higher Success Rate: A franchise is a proven system. All franchisees operate under a common system and they are only responsible from their day to day operations. Also, they get trained about the product line, marketing, how to deal with staff and other aspects of their daily activities. Basically, they get an ongoing support for their businesses which brings them success.

Brand Recognition: Franchises bring brand awareness with their names from day one. Therefore, customers will know about your products which will increase your sales. By buying a franchise, you are actually buying a turnkey business that is ready and waiting for you to start. Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of a franchise at entrepreneur.com.

Acceler8Success Cafe Friday 5.7.21

Entrepreneurship is Evolution not Architecture

Plan, plan, plan. It is drilled into the head of every business student. Write business plans, addressable market analyses, go-to-market strategies.

The idea is that a business is a structure and you are the architect. You can write a business into reality. You can tame the chaos. Every line will be translated into a living part of a vibrant business like the meticulous drafting notes on a building elevation. Every spreadsheet cell will blossom into a revenue stream or product line. Uncertainty can be tackled with contingency plans. If only things were so simple. Read more at medium.com.

The Evolution of the Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs have shaped the face of business and enterprise since the dawn of man. From the first wheel to the advent of the internet, these clever businesspeople evolved for centuries into their most recent incarnation, the social media entrepreneur.

In this infographic, we explore the evolution of the entrepreneur. We’re no longer cave-people, but we still have some things in common with our ancestors.

Instead of using the internet as a forum for their business, today’s social media entrepreneurs are reshaping it to fit their businesses. These social media entrepreneurs thrive on connectivity. View infographic at grasshopper.com.

 “What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: know your product better than anyone, know your customer, and have a burning desire to succeed.” — Dave Thomas, Founder of Wendy’s 

5 Leadership Lessons For Entrepreneurs To Be Successful In 2021

Whether you’re a business veteran or new to the entrepreneur scene, running a business is no easy feat. Despite a challenging past year, entrepreneurial spirits are alive and well, with many Americans expanding their quarantine hobbies beyond activities like baking and exercising and starting their own ventures. Consequently, 30.7 million small businesses now currently operate nationwide, and according to the U.S. Census Bureau, applications for small business owners increased 32% in the first nine months of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a record-breaking 77% jump in Q2 – that’s 500,000 more Americans and counting navigating the complex world of entrepreneurship.

Building on a long, successful career as an entrepreneur, Kirk Simpson, CEO of FinTech software Wave, developed software specifically for small business owners to help them get off the ground and focus on doing what they love. As a three-time tech startup owner himself, Simpson’s unique connection to entrepreneurship encouraged him to develop his software with features that relieve entrepreneurs of maintaining administrative tasks like bookkeeping and banking, so they can focus on building their business. Read more at forbes.com.

4 Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn From John Paul DeJoria’s Rags-to-Riches Story

Although I’m certainly no John Paul DeJoria, I do know what it’s like to have been poor. As a kid, I lived in a run-down neighborhood, where a 1-meter-wide, open sewage gutter ran right outside our door. Today, I am a serial entrepreneur whose companies have helped tens of thousands take their first steps into the world of business.

The co-founder of the Paul Mitchell line of hair products and the Patrón Spirits Company, DeJoria was homeless twice before he became a billionaire. 

When DeJoria was homeless, he was too proud to ask his mom for a place to stay; he wanted to make it on his own. Instead, he asked her for a few hundred bucks to hold him over until he got back on his feet. 

At one point, DeJoria’s friend, a motorcyclist, offered him a spare room, where he and his 2-year-old son could stay. Some of the “biker mamas” — DeJoria’s words — even helped take care of his son, allowing him to go out and hustle. DeJoria admits it was a life-changing show of support.

If DeJoria’s friend hadn’t given him a leg up, it’s hard to say for certain if he would have become the massively successful businessman he is today. 

As an entrepreneur, sometimes you’re going to need help. No self-respecting entrepreneur wants a handout. But pride to the point of blindness can prevent you from ever reaching your goals. Read more at entrepreneur.com.

6 Business Books That Will Revolutionize Your Business and Change Your Life

Books have the power to change lives. We live in a time when books are more affordable and accessible. Yet, fewer entrepreneurs read books, using the excuse of a lack of time. If you can’t find time to read, you as an entrepreneur will not grow, which will have an effect on your business.

If you study any successful entrepreneur, you’ll see one of the keys to their success is that they educate themselves through books. You can get books these days for as little as .99 cents. Many are even free through Amazon’s KDP Select program. There’s no reason not to have a Kindle full of books that can educate you and teach you strategies to grow your business. 

Here are six books that can help you create a business and life you love. This list is a good start. It’s up to you to research books that will help you and your business where you are in your journey. These books are changing lives and helping entrepreneurs grow their business. Read more at entrepreneurship.com.

How To Turn Your Idea Into A Successful Business Like Joy Mangano

We all saw her portrayed in the 2015 hit movie, Joy, starring Jennifer Lawrence. Joy Mangano, a divorced working mother of three, created a self-wringing mop, which eventually became a successful business. Now she has more than 100 patents and trademarks to her name and has developed more than $3 billion worth of unique products.

Do you secretly dream of becoming an inventor like Joy? Maybe you’ve had a plethora of creative ideas over the years, but you come up with the same excuses:

  • Where do I start?
  • Who would buy this anyway?
  • Hasn’t someone already thought of this?
  • What do I know about starting a business?
  • How can I afford to get this idea off the ground?

Don’t let your doubts and fears get in the way of launching a product or service that could eventually become a successful business. Learn about some sage advice from some of the world’s most well-known inventors and entrepreneurs at forbes.com.

The Current Rise Of Women Entrepreneurial Leaders

As the positive movement for gender equality in the workplace gains significant momentum, the data not only shows forward motion, but many opportunities to be taken advantage of. Cultural progress is of little value unless there is a framework to channel mindset and behavioral transformation into actions and results.

My wife, Nicole Gleeson, and I are business partners in our latest venture, and we would be nowhere without her vision, leadership, tenacity and drive. This is also why we partnered in writing this article, which is intentionally published today – International Women’s Day. Several years ago she was an executive working in “corporate America” and was constantly plagued by harassment, salary inequality and by feelings of insignificance. She was young and working in a male-dominated industry always asking herself, “How did I even get this job?”

This female confidence challenge was also described as the “imposter syndrome” by Pauline Claunce and  Suzanne Imes. Women frequently express that they don’t feel they deserve their job and are “imposters” who could be found out at any moment.  Claunce and Imez found that women worry more about being disliked, appearing unattractive, outshining others, or grabbing too much attention. Often times, dreams and aspirations landing on the side-burner of life once getting married and having children. Read more at forbes.com.

A Message from Acceler8Success Founder, Paul Segreto

It’s been a tough few hours tossing and turning, staring at the ceiling, questioning the past fourteen months. Reading so much about people with once (recently) successful businesses closing their doors for good and others with extraordinary careers now left unemployed, it all has me questioning, Why?

Sure, we’ve been in midst of a pandemic but I’m been feeling like many just gave up, allowing themselves to have their hands tied, just waiting for the music to stop to determine who will be left without a chair. So much hasn’t made sense. Essential businesses… I don’t get how this had been determined, or even, Why?

Some had joked that the next stop would be the real version of the Hunger Games and crazy as it seems, at times I had started to envision how that could be true. At times, these thoughts remain. It’s like a big leveling of the playing field – break the legs of some while leaving others to survive only to have the would-be survivors face, yet another challenge. Why?

Does any of this make sense? Does anything make sense? Is there truly a light at the end of the tunnel that’s more than just an opening to a perilous drop akin to what Dr. Richard Kimble faced in The Fugitive when he had to make a split-second decision to jump off the dam and face almost certain death or just give up despite his convictions? Why?

I’m not looking to debate. I’m not trying to understand conspiracy theories. I just want to continue to move forward, fulfill my obligations as a businessman and work through a comeback (and reinvention) from a couple of less than satisfying years that right before the pandemic had started to show signs of promise. I want to fulfill my obligations as a friend and colleague and of course, as a husband, father and grandfather. I want to continue to work to help others achieve their dreams. But more than anything, I want to hug my loved ones, knowing they have a bright, safe future ahead without them having to experience white roses falling from the sky, and wondering, Why?

Why We Need to Include Time for Self-care on Our To-do Lists

Modern businesses have many advantages with the scope and reach technology provides. For instance, CEOs and HR directors can tap a much more diverse and global employee pool. This unencumbered reach has several other advantages, including massive growth and profitable sales. Yet, a global market also brings challenges such as language barriers and religious and cultural differences, to name a few. These challenges, however, can be overcome by employing a diverse team.

Leaders sometimes make the mistake of hiring employees who are just like them — in age, race and gender. This practice probably happens unconsciously. Think of friendships. Your obvious friends — the ones who come naturally — share your personality, likes and dislikes. But in the business world, leaders don’t need more of the same. There already is one of you. Wouldn’t you much rather employ people who have new ways of thinking and approaching a problem? Sure, it might be easier to hire the obvious friend, but the best leaders never choose ease over effectiveness. In fact, the best leaders will not tolerate the “yes person” who merely agrees, never contributes original ideas and never challenges others. Read more at entrepreneur.com.

Welcome to The Social Geek Radio Network.

Get in touch with your inner geek. Jack Monson and many special guests discuss social media and digital marketing trends for brands, small businesses, and franchises. 

Social Geek Radio was listed as one of 20 Best Business Podcasts according to Emerge and was named to the Best Small Business Podcasts by FitSmallBusiness.com. Recently, Social Geek Radio finally made the Top 25 podcasts in the Marketing category of Apple Podcasts / iTunes.

Listen, download, subscribe to Social Geek Radio!

Why Joining a Startup Could Be Better Than Launching Your Own

Too often, I see people go, “I want to start my own company,” and then months later, nothing happens. For those who take the leap, the majority either never scales into anything significant or eventually fails.

After all, 90% of new startups fail for various reasons, from product-market fit, team or cash flow problems.

The truth is, being an entrepreneur is tough work and isn’t as lavish as the media paints it out to be.

Now I am not saying it’s not rewarding or something you shouldn’t pursue. The least you get is experience within the industry, especially building something of your own. However, for many who want to work in the startup industry, I want to paint a different picture.

Instead of needing to take the reins and co-found one yourself, there is an equal amount to learn by joining the team of one that has already launched and possibly even raised a round or two.

So why is joining a startup better than launching your own? Learn some points to consider at medium.com.

Acceler8Success Cafe Thursday 5.6.21

Reasons Why Small Businesses are Important

Small businesses provide opportunities for entrepreneurs, jobs for neighbors and gathering places for communities. They’re rooted in the landscape where they grow, and they give back vitality and sustenance. Although running a small business involves taking greater risks than working for a large, established company, the rewards are both quantitative and qualitative, including broad-based prosperity and a web of symbiotic relationships.

Small businesses are important because they provide opportunities for entrepreneurs and create meaningful jobs with greater job satisfaction than positions with larger, traditional companies. They foster local economies, keeping money close to home and supporting neighborhoods and communities.

Although small-business ownership is a longstanding and traditional way of earning a living, it bucks an ongoing trend of large companies consolidating, building economies of scale and spreading homogeneity. A chain restaurant in the Midwest will be virtually the same as a version of the same restaurant on the East or West coast, and a pharmacy with locations across the country will reflect the same values, wherever it is located, whether it focuses on convenient delivery of pharmaceuticals or processed convenience foods. In contrast, independently owned restaurants and pharmacies reflect the culture and needs of their neighborhoods. Local restaurants feature regional specialties, and local pharmacies may supplement their stock of pharmaceuticals with anything from jigsaw puzzles to t-shirts from area Little League teams. Read more at smallbusiness.chron.com.

America’s Small Business – By the Numbers

No doubt, small businesses are the leading drivers of our nation’s economy. The U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy 2020 U.S. Small Business Profile reports on the leading indicators of American Small Businesses:

• 31.7 million small businesses (99.9% of U.S. businesses)
• 60.6 small business employees (47.1% of the U.S. workforce)
• 1.6 million net new jobs added by small businesses
• 5.2 million self-employed minorities
• 285,334 small business exporters

Visit the 2020 Small Business Profiles For The States and Territories and Small Business Facts to learn more.

Small Business Resources

Already in business or thinking about starting your own small business? Check out these various small business resources:

Remember, you can also receive free professional business advice and free or low-cost business training from your local Small Business Development Center!

This Small Business Week, Try 8 Habits Successful People Do Every Day

The set of habits doesn’t have to be complex, though. Take Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, for example. He has two key habits that he does every day without fail: gratitude and exercise. Each morning, he wakes up and asks himself what he’s thankful for. Acts of gratitude like this are shown to improve mental and physical health. Next, Nadella hits the gym. No matter where he is, he commits to going to the gym for at least 30 minutes. He says it makes a huge difference – and he’s right. People who are physically fit have improved cognitive function.

Your mindset determines how you perceive the people around you and the situations you find yourself in. For that reason, a positive mindset will also determine your success in leadership. Approach your employees and tasks with a positive, enthusiastic mindset, and the results will follow. Approach them with a negative mindset, and you will only get negativity in return. Read more at entrepreneur.com.

A Message from Acceler8Success Founder, Paul Segreto

As National Small Business Week starts to wrap up, I’d like to give a shout out to small business owners – entrepreneurs, moms & pops, franchisees, sole proprietors – for paving the way for future generations by keeping the American Dream alive. It’s through your hard work, persistence, dedication and commitment that you continue to improve business at the local level.

With your own money and time you’re actually field testing new ways of doing business – marketing, technology and other – continuing to innovate and explore across many industry segments. Taking risks, you continue to invest in growing areas while also helping to revitalize once great areas. And, whether you know it or not because you’re often in the shadow of big business and Corporate America, you are the backbone of our nation.

You, all of you, each of you are the spirit of Entrepreneurship and free enterprise that has made our country great and will continue to keep it great for decades to come. For all of that, and for all that you do, I thank you!

#SmallBusinessWeek #ILoveSmallBiz #TheAmericanDreamIsAlive

Fransmart’s Dan Rowe on the Coming Franchise Boom in Retail

Food, not very long ago — but before folks figured out how to spell “coronavirus” — was considered the answer to the incursion of e-commerce in the shopping district, along with fitness centers. Neither could be duplicated on the web, and people loved good food and meeting their friends at the next hot restaurant.

Then came the virus and the lockdowns, and the clientele just disappeared. While many restaurants tried to stay in business with “ghost kitchens” — kitchens that cooked strictly for the take-out crowd, or by hooking up with web-based delivery services like Door Dash and Seamless — even with their lenders bending over backward to keep them alive, the last year and change has been murder on eateries. More than 110,000 restaurants have been lost nationwide to the pandemic, according to March statistics from the National Restaurant Association

That was then. Now, there’s — excuse the expression — hunger for eating out again. And Dan Rowe, CEO of Alexandria, Va.-based consultancy Fransmart, calls 2021 “the year of the franchise,” meaning that real estate professionals and consumers should expect to see a fresh growth in franchise restaurants, due to all of the eateries that didn’t make it through the pandemic, or that emerged wobbly and financially unstable. Read more at commercialobserver.com.

Are Franchises Locally Owned Small Businesses?

Most people believe that all franchises are owned by a major corporation, but this is not the case. A franchise is actually a small business that has an established brand name and must pay annual royalties to a franchisor (the person who owns all of the trademarks, processes, etc…the “major corporation”). Franchising is often misunderstood by regular people and even government officials. However, there are nearly 800,000 franchise establishments in more than 120 industries employing over 9 million people in the United States. This makes it all the more important to understand franchising and what it really is!

A franchise is often a local small business. The owner is not likely to be a Steve Jobs figure, but more likely to be a local entrepreneur. A franchise is essentially the sharing of a brand between two independent companies: one company has an opportunity to offer (the franchisor) the brand name, and the other makes the investment in that opportunity by developing their own locally-owned business (the franchisee). Read more at fundingfuel.com.

The Key Stats That Will Drive 2021 For Women Business Owners

There are some staggering statistics when it comes to the number of successful businesses that are female-owned and operated. ​Bizjournals.com​ spells this out in stark detail with the following statistics: 

“The number of women-owned businesses has increased by 31 times since the first time the U.S. Census Bureau provided data on minority-owned and women-owned businesses in 1972, from 402,000 to 12.3 million. And while the number of women-owned businesses grew 58 percent from 2007 to 2018, firms owned by women of color grew at nearly three times that rate (163 percent).” 

The country is long overdue for a conversation about how women can also be business leaders. That conversation is beginning to take root more deeply, and it is having a real impact. Women-owned businesses are in great shape to continue to expand as even more women join the ranks of business owners. They bring with them a perspective that is different from traditional male-owned businesses. As more young girls see role models in the business world that look like them, we can expect that this trend will continue. Read more at blog.pailor.org.

‘If Not Now, When?’ – Women Entrepreneurs Launch Mid-Pandemic

They say necessity is the mother of invention — it is, at the very least, a parent of many startups. While the coronavirus crisis has forever altered our lives, and has had devastating economic consequences for millions of people, it has also fostered a groundswell of entrepreneurial spirit, especially among women.

The U.S. Census Bureau saw a significant uptick in new business filings over the course of the pandemic, with more than 4.4 million new firms created since March 2020 — a 24-percent increase from the previous year. Data compiled for The Washington Post by LinkedIn found that female entrepreneurship grew 5 percent during roughly the same period, more than double the pre-pandemic average.

Much of the rise in entrepreneurship is a consequence of unemployment, which continues to run rampant, with 114 million jobs lost worldwide last year. In the U.S., rates “peaked at an unprecedented level, not seen since data collection started in 1948,” says the Congressional Research Service, a public policy institute. By December 2020, the number of permanent jobs in America lost swelled to 3.3 million. Read more at thestoryexchange.org.

Student Entrepreneurship Fuels Business Growth And Learning

recent study conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers pointed to a disturbing trend. While graduates believe they are well prepared for a job, employers increasingly think otherwise.

Nick Bayer, Founder and CEO of Public Benefit Corporation and hospitality company Saxbys expressed it to me this way: “The job market demands skills like critical thinking, emotional intelligence, problem solving, cultural agility—attributes that are extremely difficult if not impossible to teach in a classroom.”  

Bayer developed the Saxbys Experiential Learning Platform (ELP), a student-centric entrepreneurship opportunity where partners with leading universities to give students the opportunity to run a business, specifically a bustling on-campus café. Read more at forbes.com.

Tips for Small Business Success: A Guide for Creatives

If you practice a creative profession, you’re likely one of the lucky people who take genuine joy in the work. According to Workforce.com, research suggests that people in creative jobs are generally happier and more fulfilled by their work than those in traditional industries. Certainly, if you want to make money with your creative pursuit, establishing it as a small business can help. This is why a few tips for your small business might come in handy.

Whether you paint or play music, there are many ways to take your artistic endeavors and leverage them to make money. Here at Musa Creativa Magazine, we help artists and creatives thrive with a dedicated community and useful resources to support their success.

This quick guide to establishing your small business as a Creative is another great resource that can help you in your path towards a successful creative business. Learn more at musacreativemagazine.com.

How Will Covid-19 Impact the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs?

Covid-19 has fostered a wave of innovation, both positive and negative, in the world of entrepreneurship. Researchers and entrepreneurs dedicate their lives to create a future for consumers and organizations. Scientific studies, along with considerable risks that entrepreneurs take, are essential for ending the Covid-19 crisis and designing new techniques to adapt to a post-pandemic world.

While entrepreneurs are optimistic and resilient, the pandemic will require them to shift their business approach for decades to come. Although some businesses may have plummeted, other elements surrounding the pandemic will build the next generation of entrepreneurs.

While Covid has drastically affected the elderly population, it has also shocked the global economy. Before Covid, there were 158 million Americans that were employed. Many people may not be actively seeking employment due to social distancing measures. Nonetheless, over 30 million Americans currently do not have a job.

Another economic issue we have seen over the past several months is the supply chain for goods and services. Most of our components come from China, where the flow of materials is significantly affected by the pandemic. A shortage of supplies has shocked our economy and may have long-term effects. Read more at entrepreneur.com.

12 Resources and Communities Entrepreneurs Should Follow for Industry Insight and Tips

Staying tuned in to the pulse of your industry is key to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Public groups, online forums and the like are among the most valuable resources for gathering and contributing industry information. But if someone is looking for in-depth insight into their business niche, locating the right groups where this discussion occurs is the first step. Learn more at smallbiztrends.com.

Acceler8Success Cafe Special Edition Wednesday 5.5.21

National Small Business Week meets Mental Health Awareness Month

Could there be a more likely combination of complexity, or concern?

A recent study says generally entrepreneurs are likely to experience mental health issues frequently. On top of the 62% who say they feel depressed at least once a week, another 46% also experience low mood or feel mentally fatigued. And these mental issues interfere with their ability to work for 46% of the respondents.

We know that people with a mental illness are more likely to become unemployed, and research has suggested that less than 40% of employers would consider employing someone with a mental health problem.

According to data supplied by the American Psychiatric Association, employees with unresolved depression experience a 35% reduction in productivity, contributing to a loss to the U.S. economy of $210.5 billion a year in absenteeism, reduced productivity, and medical costs.

Yet, mental health issues go unnoticed and unchecked. Some factors that lead to patients balking at getting help are the nature of mental illness often entails self-objectivity being in short supply, resulting in many patients not being aware that they need treatment or denying that fact altogether.

In this Special Edition of Acceler8Success Cafe our focus is on the crossroads of mental health and small business & entrepreneurship.

The Impact of Mental Health on Small Businesses

An employee who’s always calling in sick. A manager who just can’t hit productivity targets. Turnover rates that simply won’t stop rising. You may observe issues like these without realizing that they can be indicators of depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions.

These symptoms of poor mental health in the workplace aren’t innocuous. Employees with unresolved depression experience a 35 percent reduction in productivity. Neither are they infrequent: The World Health Organization estimates that more than 300 million people around the world suffer from depression, with many also suffering from symptoms of anxiety.

Small businesses may find themselves particularly at risk of taking a financial hit because of unaddressed mental health issues in the workplace. With fewer resources and employees overall, smaller organizations tend to feel dips in productivity more acutely. This means that small business owners must take a proactive approach to addressing mental health in the workplace before serious problems arise. Read more at thebenefitsguide.com.

The Importance of Entrepreneurial Mental Health

When we look at the life of an entrepreneur and hear about his struggles, we understand that he needs to be mentally balanced, stable, strong, and healthy to face vivid types of issues such as socio-economic challenges, ever-growing competition, and proper utilization of the resources.

One of the recent surveys tells us that: 

  • 29% of entrepreneurs experienced ADHD
  • 27% of entrepreneurs suffer severe Anxiety
  • 30% of entrepreneurs are struggling with Clinical Depression

As we all always believed that the life of an entrepreneur is full of unicorns and rainbows, these disturbing figures are an eye-opener to us. If you are an entrepreneur, struggling with mental issues, please give priority to your mental health, as it may be a small thing today but we all know if you take care of small things, they will take care of bigger things in later stages. 

The above-mentioned statistics explain how vulnerable entrepreneurs are in case of mental health disturbance. Their story of struggles and perseverance should be addressed with great attention so that they could get this narrow escape from the overlaying challenges of mental crisis. The vulnerability of entrepreneurs to encounter the mental blocks become high when there is:

  • Lack of self-care to manage the stress
  • Tackle the revolving uncertainty with the  business
  • Unexpected social isolation
  • A barrier to seeking professional help 

These aforementioned points might resonate with anyone among us. It is necessary to know the essence of good mental health. The looming existential void should be filled at the earliest to avoid any of the unwanted futuristic consequences. Read more at jungleworks.com.

The Perfect Storm That Led to The Lonely Entrepreneur

The Lonely Entrepreneur was born from Michael Dermer’s harrowing experience in the 2008 financial crisis. Michael watched the business he built for 10 years to over 500 employees – the first company in the US to reward for healthy behavior – nearly get destroyed in 10 days by the financial crisis of 2008. He not only survived but went on to sell his company and become an industry pioneer. Now Michael and The Lonely Entrepreneur team are committed to helping entrepreneurs learn from his experience and turn their passion into success.

Genius Instigator: Everyone has genius. And when you are an entrepreneur, you need that genius to emerge and shine. Like it or not, Michael finds the genius in everyone and brings it to life. And when he does, you can do things you never imagined.

Mission: Michael’s mission is to unlock the potential of entrepreneurs worldwide by turning the passion and pressure we all feel into success.

Unique Perspective: Michael brings a unique understanding of the entrepreneurial journey. Michael discovered unique perspectives from living through the “perfect storm” and emerging with not only business success, but with a set of perspectives that helps entrepreneurs thrive. Michael has delivered over 100 keynotes throughout the United States and the world. Learn more at thelonelyentrepreneur.com.

Mental health problems in the workplace

Mental health problems affect many employees — a fact that is usually overlooked because these disorders tend to be hidden at work. Researchers analyzing results from the U.S. National Comorbidity Survey, a nationally representative study of Americans ages 15 to 54, reported that 18% of those who were employed said they experienced symptoms of a mental health disorder in the previous month.

But the stigma attached to having a psychiatric disorder is such that employees may be reluctant to seek treatment — especially in the current economic climate — out of fear that they might jeopardize their jobs. At the same time, managers may want to help but aren’t sure how to do so. And clinicians may find themselves in unfamiliar territory, simultaneously trying to treat a patient while providing advice about dealing with the illness at work.

As a result, mental health disorders often go unrecognized and untreated — not only damaging an individual’s health and career, but also reducing productivity at work. Adequate treatment, on the other hand, can alleviate symptoms for the employee and improve job performance. But accomplishing these aims requires a shift in attitudes about the nature of mental disorders and the recognition that such a worthwhile achievement takes effort and time. Read more at health.harvard.edu.

“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.” — Fred Rogers

Workplace mental health: 5 ways to support employee wellness

Each year, one in five adults in the U.S. will experience mental illness. Yet only one in three who need help will get it. As a result, many people will either miss work or will get less done on the job. The latter is known as presenteeism, when people go to work while struggling with physical or mental health issues. This is why focusing on workplace mental health is so important for your bottom line.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that depression and anxiety cost the global economy $1 trillion per year in lost productivity. But WHO also found that for every $1 spent on treating common mental health concerns, there is a return of $4 in improved health and productivity. 

According to the Society for Human Resources Management, many employers are enhancing emotional and mental health benefits. Types of support can range from managing stress, to treating invisible disabilities such as anxiety and depression. Read more at understood.org.

Genius in Madness? 72% of Entrepreneurs Affected by Mental Health Conditions

“No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness,” said Aristotle.​

Imagine a bell curve that accurately represents the creativity of American adults. It would show a “normal distribution,” meaning it would be shaped like an upside down ‘U.’

The raised hump in the middle symbolizes those of an average level of creativity, where most of the population lie. It’s a  comfortable spot, with plenty of company and lots of good conversation, but it doesn’t inspire greatness or lethargy. Entrepreneurs would quickly become bored here.​

The lowest points on either end of the distribution represent the ‘outliers’ of our society; on the left, those who are below average in creativity and on the right, those above average.

In these polar positions, life is a little lonelier than in the well-saturated middle, but it’s also potentially more exciting. Entrepreneurs often occupy that lower right corner of the bell curve, standing out from the crowd not just with uncommon ability, but also with extraordinary weaknesses. Read more at startupgrind.com.

“I’m a suicide attempt survivor”: Entrepreneur shares her journey into business and managing mental health during lockdown

Bella Rareworld, an international business networking speaker, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 13 years ago at the start of her journey into entrepreneurship.

However, since the coronavirus pandemic, she has faced additional challenges in coping with her mental wellbeing during the national lockdown.

In March 2020, the charity Samaritans provided emotional support to callers over 1,700,000 times.

Suicidal feelings including feeling isolated, hopeless about the future and feeling trapped were expressed on more than one occasion.

Rareworld said such feelings were exacerbated by being inside all the time, and trying to balance work.

Current statistics show that one in seven people experience mental health problems in the workplace, with women in full time employment nearly twice as likely to have a common mental health problem than full-time employed men (20% vs. 11%). Evidence also suggests that 13% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions. Read more at voice-online.co.uk.

Acceler8Success Cafe Tuesday 5.4.21

Small Business Expo Releases “2021 State Of Small Business Trends Report”

Just in time for National Small Business Week, The Small Business Expo, America’s largest business networking and educational event for business owners, start-ups, and entrepreneurs, has released its 2021 State of Small Business Trends Report.

According to Zachary Lezberg, CEO and Founder, Small Business Expo, “There are 30.2 million small businesses in the US according to the Small Business Administration. This means 99.9% of all businesses are, in fact, small businesses. Yet the struggles, concerns, and issues facing small business in America are rarely talked about. With access to over a million small business owners, we wanted to take a pulse of how they are feeling post COVID, determine their outlook on the future, and other key factors which impact doing business circa 2021.”

Through our biannual survey implemented by the Small Business Expo, small business owners weighed in on everything from governmental regulation of small business to their opinions on the minimum wage increase, employee diversity, and work from home policies going forward. Read more including the report at prnewswire.com.

As small businesses slowly recover, financial help becomes more targeted. Here’s what’s available

 Almost 98,0000 businesses closed permanently during the pandemic, according to September data released by Yelp. That represents 60% of closed business that won’t be reopening.

In general, about 20% of small businesses fail within a year and about half survive five years or longer, according to the SBA.

Now, optimism among small business owners is starting to creep back up, according to a number of surveys.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of entrepreneurs now say their business can survive more than a year under current business conditions, up from 55% last quarter, according to the second quarter CNBC|SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey.WATCH NOWVIDEO01:34Music venues fight for survival amid the pandemic

In addition, Yelp found that there were more than 500,000 new businesses that opened in the past year, down only 11% year over year. New business openings in the first quarter of 2021 reached their highest levels in the last 12 months. Read more at cnbc.com.

Black Entrepreneurs – 2021 Trends: Who are Black Small Business Owners in America?

The largest subset of People of Color (POC) small business owners in America, Black entrepreneurs are an essential part of our small business economy.

With women making up 46 percent of Black entrepreneurs, this group shows one of the highest percentages of female small business owners in any segment – 53 percent higher than white small business owners. The plurality (33 percent) of surveyed Black small business owners had Bachelor’s degrees. The next most common level of education was Master’s degrees, at 26 percent.

Black small business owners skew younger than their white peers. Twenty-seven percent of Black entrepreneurs are boomers, compared to 46 percent, 49 percent are Gen X compared to 43 percent, 21 percent are Millennials compared to 11 percent, and three percent are Gen Z, compared to less than one percent of white small business owners.

The majority (36 percent) of Black small business owners decided to go into business for themselves because they were ready to become their own boss. Twenty-four percent wanted to pursue their passion, 17 percent were inspired with a new business idea, and 17 percent were dissatisfied with corporate America. The plurality (42 percent) of Black entrepreneurs are very happy as small business owners. Read more at guidantfinancial.com.

“I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.” — Madam C.J. Walker

How Female Hispanic Business Owners are Fueling the Economy

Latina-owned small businesses are the fastest-growing segment of the business community in the United States, playing a key role in fueling the nation’s economy. How do they do it? With perseverance, education, and a lot of guts.

There are over two million Latina-owned businesses in the country, a growth of more than 87% since 2007, according to the National Women’s Business Council. These businesses are helping to fuel the U.S. economy. Nonetheless, many potential Latina business owners—and even those who already have a business—aren’t sure of the options available to help them get started or to reach the next level. Read more at legalzoom.com.

Hispanic businesses hard hit by the pandemic, but key to the recovery

According to the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, there are over 4.7 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the US, which, combined, contribute over $700 billion to the American economy each year. One in four US small businesses is Hispanic-owned, and 75% of new businesses in the US are being started by Hispanics, according to Cesar Conde, Chairman of NBC Universal Telemundo Enterprises and NBCUniversal International Group. 

It has been widely reported that Hispanics and Latinos have been impacted by COVID-19 at a greater rate than the general US population. But the virus has also affected Hispanic businesses disproportionally. According to a recent report by McKinsey, the five business sectors most affected by COVID-19-related shutdowns (leisure and hospitality, retail, transportation, construction, and ‘other’) generate almost 50% of the revenues of all Hispanic and Latino-owned businesses. Sixty-five percent of Hispanics and Latinos work in these sectors. 

With Hispanic businesses making up such an integral part of the US economy, their recovery is closely linked to the economic recovery as a whole. 

According to the McKinsey report, “Hispanic and Latino population growth means the country’s long-term recovery is inextricable from the recovery of Hispanic and Latino families, communities and businesses. Indeed, the community’s unique assets—such as its relative youth and above-average rates of entrepreneurship—can contribute to more equitable post-pandemic recovery and growth.” Read more at hiscox.com.

Covid-19 Has Turned More Millennials Into Serial Entrepreneurs

As the world starts to look towards a COVID-free future with the introduction of vaccines, the nine months that have passed since the start of the pandemic saw significant disruption to industries and attitudes, particularly in relation to work.

Millennials have reflected on their career choices, adapted to remote working, and made decisions on where they want to live and how they want their lives to be. They have also been tapping into their entrepreneurial side and launching new businesses and pursuing their passions.

Pre-pandemic, it was thought that around half of millennials in the United States had some kind of side-gig, whether that be to make ends meet or because of an entrepreneurial flair that drove them to develop new things. Common examples include developing a website, selling homemade products such as jewelry or art, or working a part-time job in something unrelated to their main income stream. These side-hustles saw millennials generate additional income that outpaced other generations, earning on average an additional $10,000 per year from their extra work. Read more at forbes.com.

“To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.” – Thomas Watson Sr., chairman and CEO of International Business Machines

39 Entrepreneur Statistics You Need to Know in 2021

Small businesses and ambitious enterprises are at the heart of every industry. Not only do they immensely contribute to the overall revenue of a country, but they also have a beneficial effect on the workers themselves. 

Employees who decide to make the switch and become independent employers feel more fulfilled and motivated to work. There are a lot of inspirational entrepreneur statistics out there that show us the US is still the best place in the world to become your own boss and start something new.

Now, young entrepreneurs are mostly concerned about the risks that come with new businesses, including funding, staff, and success rate. Indeed, a large number of business owners rely on loans to keep the company operational and often have to use their personal funds to tie some loose ends. 

However, loans also help them expand their business and achieve more within their industries. Finding high-quality staff is no easy task, which is why many owners decide to go it alone, at least for a while. It is necessary to understand that the entrepreneurship failure rate has never been lower, with only 22.5% of businesses closing after a year. Read more including statistics at smallbizgenius.net.

Older Small Biz Owners Tell AARP How They Survived 2020

Many entrepreneurs age 45 and older turned to government resources to help their businesses survive the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research from AARP and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

After using data from the Federal Reserve’s Small Business Credit Survey to identify trends among older entrepreneurs, AARP conducted in-depth interviews with 25 small business owners over the age of 45 between November 2020 and January 2021.

The discussions revealed that these business owners were resourceful in finding government programs that could offer financial assistance. Eighteen of the business owners had received a federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan (which could become a grant), six had received a Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), and five had secured some other federal, state or local loan or grant.

Most of those interviewed said managing their businesses during the pandemic has been very challenging, requiring them to pivot swiftly in order to stay afloat. In addition to the increased use of teleconferencing technologies such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams to stay in contact with their employees and clients, many of these entrepreneurs also said they have had to launch or upgrade their digital marketing strategies, websites and online sales techniques. Read more at aarp.org.

99 Black Women-Owned Brands and Entrepreneurs to Support Now and Always

Over the past year, women started an average of 1,817 new businesses per day in the U.S., and Women of Color account for 89% (1,625) of those new businesses. In fact, according to the State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, Black women-owned businesses represented the highest rate of growth of any group in the number of firms between 2014 and 2019 as well as between 2018 and 2019.

When looking at specific minority groups over the last five years, growth in side-entrepreneurship is up 99% among Black women. They started an impressive 42% of net new women-owned businesses, which is three times their share of the female population (14%).

This study calls the women behind these rapidly-launching businesses “necessity entrepreneurs” because, due to higher unemployment rates, long-term unemployment, and vast gender and racial pay gaps, women of color start businesses out of the need to survive. And these Black female entrepreneurs are changing the game but they’re not the first. Read more at creatcultivate.com.

Acceler8Success Cafe Monday 5.3.21

Small Business Week May 3-7

Recognizing their outstanding service, innovation, and development, Small Business Week celebrates small business owners around the country.

Small businesses account for half of America’s workforce, and more new jobs come from small business than any other source. They are vital to keeping America running.

Visit www.sba.gov to nominate your favorite small business and to find out more. Support local small business or find out how to give your small business the boost it needs. Use #SmallBusinessWeek to share on social media.

The United States Small Business Administration has recognized the contributions of entrepreneurs and small business since 1963.

“When you support a small business, you support a dream.” – Anonymus

The Importance of Small Business to the U.S. Economy

Small business constitutes a major force in the U.S. economy. There are more than twenty-seven million small businesses in this country, and they generate about 50 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP).Office of Advocacy, U.S. Small Business Administration, The Small Business Economy: A Report to the President, Appendix A (December 2010), http://www.sba.gov/content/small-business-economy-2010 (accessed August 28, 2011). 

The millions of individuals who have started businesses in the United States have shaped the business world as we know it today. Some small business founders like Henry Ford and Thomas Edison have even gained places in history. Others, including Bill Gates (Microsoft), Sam Walton (Wal-Mart), Steve Jobs (Apple Computer), Michael Dell (Dell, Inc.), Steve Case (AOL), Pierre Omidyar (eBay), and Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google), have changed the way business is done today. Still millions of others have collectively contributed to our standard of living.

Aside from contributions to our general economic well-being, founders of small businesses also contribute to growth and vitality in specific areas of economic and socioeconomic development. In particular, small businesses do the following:

  • Create jobs
  • Spark innovation
  • Provide opportunities for many people, including women and minorities, to achieve financial success and independence

In addition, they complement the economic activity of large organizations by providing them with components, services, and distribution of their products. Read more at saylordotorg.github.io.

10 Ways Small Businesses Benefit Their Local Communities

Imagine your hometown or local community. Go to the main street or shopping district in your mind. Now imagine it without any small businesses. Instantly, the area loses everything that makes it unique and brings charm.

Small businesses provide character and individuality to a community. It is neighbors helping neighbors ― friends helping friends. However, small businesses are more than that. They benefit their local communities in many concrete, quantifiable ways.

Small businesses are the backbone of their local communities. More specifically, if you spend $100 at a local business, roughly $68 stays within your local economy. Read more at medium.com.

Small Business Trends You Need To Know About For 2021

Many small businesses closed in 2020, and 2021 looks like it’s going to be a challenging year, as well. Aside from lockdowns and restrictions due to Covid-19, rapidly changing technology is putting pressure on businesses to adapt and meet consumer demands. Let’s look at some top small business trends that can help you respond to these challenges and find success in the coming years. 

Unlike many other industries, e-commerce actually grew in 2020. Small businesses of all kinds need to expand their mindsets and seek ways to cash in on this massive trend. Even if you don’t typically sell physical products, think of what you can sell online to supplement or even replace your in-store offerings. 

Sell products related to your industry that your customers will appreciate. You can also sell helpful information in the form of e-books, white papers and reports. If you don’t want to create or stock physical products, consider affiliate marketing opportunities, where you earn a percentage of sales on other people’s products. 

Having a strong online presence helps shield you from not only lockdowns but also ups and downs in the local economy because you have access to a much larger customer base. Read more at forbes.com.

When you buy from a small business you’re not helping a CEO buy a third vacation home. You are helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy his team jersey, a mom put food on the table, a dad pay a mortgage or a student pay for college. – Anonymus

[SURVEY] 2021 Small Business Trends: A Look at the State of Small Business in 2021

Each year, Guidant Financial and the Small Business Trends Alliance (SBTA) surveys business owners to learn about small business trends and life as a small business owner. A founding member of the SBTA, Guidant Financial is proud to be part of this group of companies dedicated to supporting small business in America with data trends and insights. The SBTA reports on data to help small business owners grow their businesses as well as bring transparency to small business ownership by giving prospective business owners the information they need to be successful.

This year, Guidant and the SBTA surveyed over 2,400 current and aspiring small business owners nationwide with our annual Small Business Trends survey. We asked small business owners questions ranging from their experiences throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to their confidence in business given the current political landscape to their biggest obstacles as business owners. Read more at guidantfinancial.com.

Women and minority-owned small businesses aren’t sharing in the U.S. recovery

Minority and women-owned small businesses are struggling even as the U.S. economy shows signs of recovery, according to a report by Facebook and the Small Business Roundtable.

The report, which surveyed more than 35,000 small business owners across 27 countries and territories in February, found that in the U.S. 22% had closed their businesses, up from 14% in October. That’s just a one point improvement from May 2020, in the middle of widespread lockdown, when 23% of businesses were shuttered.

But the problem is especially bad for minority-owned businesses where 27% were closed compared to 18% of other small businesses. In the group of minority-owned businesses, Black-owned businesses were the most likely to be closed by a large margin.

A major cause of this disparity is that Black-owned businesses have access to less capital in general and even more so during the pandemic, said Vickie Gibbs, executive director of the Entrepreneurship Center at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. Many of the government-funded PPP loans were funneled through large banks that required a lot of paperwork, so small Black-owned businesses without a dedicated accountant or an account with a big bank struggled to get the funds they needed to stay afloat, Gibbs told Fortune. Read more at fortune.com.

”The glass ceiling that once limited a woman’s career path has paved a new road towards business ownership, where women can utilize their sharp business acumen while building strong family ties.” – Erica Nicole, who left Corporate America to start YFS Magazine.

Women entrepreneurs making progress, but gender gaps remain

New reports suggest the entrepreneurial landscape is becoming more gender equal, but a revenue gap between male- and female-owned businesses remains. 

A recent report from tech company UENI found women make up 45 percent of all small business owners in the U.S. Additionally, women account for 52 percent of sole proprietors. 

UENI surveyed 39,008 businesses; about 17,560 of those are owned by women. 

In the U.S., women are the owners of most businesses related to consumables, hair and beauty and domestic services. There’s lower female representation among owners of businesses related to restaurant and building maintenance. 

States like Mississippi, South Carolina and Georgia have a greater number of female business owners than California does, per the report. 

But the report also found that the bigger a company, the less likely a woman runs it. Among businesses with four or more employees, women owners comprise about 33 percent. Read more at bizjournals.com.

The Future of Small Businesses

It has been a hard year for small businesses. Social distancing restrictions have been disproportionately damaging to the travel, retail, events, and food service industries, where small businesses tend to concentrate. In July, the House Small Business Committee reported that 110,000 small businesses had closed permanently and another 7.5 million were facing the same fate. The latest survey from Tech.co found that 80% of small business owners say that COVID-19 has hurt their businesses.

However, things are taking a turn for the better as states gingerly reopen and ease restrictions. In addition, support for local businesses is surging following the hardship caused by the pandemic. At the end of July, some 64% of small business owners reported they are confident that they can survive for more than a year under current conditions, up from 34% that held this optimistic view in April, the latest CNBC survey revealed, although the level of optimism varies by industry. Read more at medium.com.

What Does Diversity Mean to Small Businesses?

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) can play an important role in a workplace regardless of size. While large companies like General Motors and even the U.S. Department of Defense have developed strategic plans to increase D&I, small businesses can also do their part. After all, these businesses employ nearly half of the private-sector workforce, so ramping up diversity efforts can have a profound impact.

In fact, recent studies have shown that employees of companies that embrace D&I are able to make better, faster business decisions and are more likely to spur revenue growth through innovation.

While “diversity” and “inclusion” might be familiar terms, it’s important to clearly define them. Diversity not only refers to race, but also age, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability, education, national origin, as well as marital and socioeconomic status. Inclusion refers to an organization’s ability to value these differences so that diverse individuals are accepted, welcomed, feel a sense of belonging, and are treated equally. Read more at thebalancesmb.com.

Today we celebrate side hustles that became main hustles, dreamers that became doers, maxed out credit cards that became thriving businesses, big fails that became big wins, and individuals with ideas that became teams with visions. – Anonymus

Op-ed: The financial outlook for the Hispanic small business community in 2021

Often hailed for higher-than-average rates of entrepreneurialism and new business formation, the Latino community has been struck particularly hard by the Covid-19 crisis.

The Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative reported in May that 86% of Latino business owners had felt immediate negative impacts from Covid, a rate higher than other ethnic groups. Help was also harder to come by for Latino business owners, who had less cash on hand when requesting Covid assistance in the form of PPP loans, and were only half as likely as their White counterparts to receive the federal loans.

Still, the pandemic tells only half the tale of where Hispanic businesses stand today, because prior to the crisis, Latino entrepreneurs were making great strides — increasing their funding, improving their credit, and their revenue growth. That means that there is underlying strength in the Latino business community that can help in their emergence from the ravages of Covid-19. Read more at cnbc.com.

Asian American Businesses Owners Are Battling the Pandemic on Two Fronts and Searching for Answers at the Same Time

In 2005, Jason Wang’s father founded Xi’an Famous Foods in Flushing, which, by then, had slowly become one of the largest satellite Chinatowns in New York City. The mission was simple: Wang’s father would promote the food that he had known in central China, especially when Chinese food in America seemed to be only a watered-down version of Cantonese cuisine. 

“He simply wanted to make a small living for himself while sharing his food with people who would enjoy it, and, at that time, he thought only Chinese immigrants like him would enjoy it,” Wang said of his father.

Over time, the shop’s success — thanks in no small part to an appearance by the late Anthony Bourdain — led to an expansion. Seven more chains opened up in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. Along the way, the restaurant received accolades, even earning a glowing review in Zagat for its “banging” hand-pulled noodles and “insanely good” cumin-lamb burgers. 

Last year, however, operations came to a screeching halt. As the pandemic began to take shape in the U.S., restaurants and bars were forced to shut down indoor dining. While many struggled to continue to stay alive, none were, perhaps, more heavily impacted by the global health crisis than Asian-owned businesses. Not only have these establishments dealt with financial losses, they’ve also become unfairly stigmatized as carriers of Covid-19.

In the weeks following news of the outbreak in Wuhan, China, Asian-owned businesses across the water — especially in the U.S. — began to feel the ripple effects of growing xenophobia and racism. Between February 2020 and April 2020, approximately 233,000 Asian-owned small businesses in the country closed, according to a UCLA study. By April of that year, half of the nation’s Chinese restaurants had shut down “as a result of consumer prejudices and misperceptions,” Read more at entrepreneur.com.

How to Take Your Small Business Growth to the Next Level

Many small businesses go through an early growth stage. But after that, you may need to change up your strategies to take the next step. Members of the online small business community have been through this stage and know how to navigate it. If you’ve hit a plateau in your small business growth, consider these next steps.

In the early stages of running a business, you’re likely to rely on organic growth. But at a certain point, you may hit a plateau. Martin Zwilling discusses what to do when you reach this point on the Startup Professionals Musings blog.

When your business starts growing, there comes a point where you can’t do everything yourself. It’s not always practical to grow an official team. But outsourcing provides a practical solution. This Borderless Mind post by Rishi Khanna includes signs it’s time to start outsourcing. You can also see commentary on the post here.

Blogging is a popular marketing strategy. And it can even be a main source of revenue for a business. But off-the-cuff blogging can only take you so far. If you want your efforts to get to the next level, you need a plan. Moss Clement of Moss Media explores that concept here. Read more at smallbiztrends.com.

Acceler8Success Cafe Friday 4.30.21

Why All Entrepreneurs Should Rethink Their “Why” in 2021

Adaptation has always been a natural consequence of problems and chaos. A change comes, and organisms are tasked with an option: fight or disappear. It’s a system that has worked within nature for billions of years.

In a big way, the Covid-19 pandemic has been this sort of change catalyst. All of the parameters by which we operate are different now. Entrepreneurs who want to survive and become stable again must evolve their goals, aspirations, and the methods through which we achieve them. Instead of seeing a challenge, you have to see an opportunity and proactively make the right game plan. At the center of this entrepreneurial evolution is an incredible opportunity to reevaluate your “why.” 

Having a reason “why” is what lights the flames of your eternal purpose. It’s what gives you the drive to succeed and motivates you to take action. A good “why” will keep you working, even when the odds seem stacked against you or whatever’s in front of you is emotionally tough. Read more at entrepreneur.com.

Entrepreneurs, you could be making this fatal mistake in your startup pitch

If you’re still trying to win startup pitches with an exuberant handshake, a big grin, and boundless positive energy—you’re doing it wrong, says a new study.

Instead, you should be glad, but also mad. Just don’t be sad.

That’s according to research published in the Journal of Business Venturing, which found that entrepreneurs whose facial expressions shifted between three varied emotions—happiness, anger, and fear—during funding pitches had investors more likely to reach for their wallets than those with constant smiles plastered on. As lead author and Washington State University assistant professor Ben Warnick explains, getting angry can demonstrate “how much you care about something, instead of just smiling, which on the extreme end can come off as insincere or overoptimistic. It’s good to balance that out.”

Warnick and his team delved into roughly 500 pitch videos from the popular crowdfunding website Kickstarter, using facial analysis software to code presenters’ expressions for five states: happiness, anger, fear, sadness, and neutrality. Then they calculated the percentages of each pitch for which presenters showed each emotion, and compared those ratios with the ultimate success of the pitch in terms of whether the entrepreneurs met their stated funding goals, how much was raised in total, and how many individuals contributed. Read more at fastcompany.com.

Inclusive Entrepreneurship: A Roadmap for a More Equitable Future

Imagine an ecosystem where entrepreneurship is open and accessible to everyone.

Then picture a space founded on the belief that entrepreneurship can level the playing field by giving all entrepreneurs an equal opportunity to start and run a business – irrespective of gender, race, and so on.

Sexism, racism, and other forms of systemic inequality have long meant that conventional entrepreneurship was ill-equipped to unlock the full potential of women and people of color, who often lack access to critical resources for business growth. That is, until now. 

Enter inclusive entrepreneurship.

“Most business ownership doesn’t really look like America – in gender or ethnicity,” says Maura O’Neill, distinguished teaching fellow at the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley. “If it did, we would have 1.9 million more businesses, 19 million more jobs and add 20% to the U.S. economy.” Read more at nasdaq.com.

The Necessary Social-Emotional Skills For Successful Entrepreneurs

While scrolling through social media, you will notice that most business leadership coaches and teachers focus on the hustle, grind and grit it takes to build a business from the ground up. Few address the social-emotional skills necessary to create a sustainable company with passion, purpose and meaning. Truly successful entrepreneurs are the ones who create a brand that resonates emotionally with consumers while investing in a triple bottom line: the needs of people, the needs of the planet and profits.

Those who are designing products and services for Generation Z — the next group of consumers — must first understand the mindset of this generation. Because Gen Z’s extensive influence ranges from social media trends to household spending across global markets, it will become increasingly important for brands to understand how to communicate effectively and establish lasting relationships with these consumers. Read more at forbes.com.

“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress: Working hard for something we love is called passion.” – Simon Sinek

Startups With This Type of Founder Make 151% More in Revenue

In 2020, the share of venture funding going to female founders shrank to a mere 2.3%. In a world where having access to capital can make or break your company, that means only two women for every 98 men get that opportunity. I am one of those two women.

This month, my company, Spekit, announced our $12 million Series A round of funding to disrupt the way that employees learn in the workplace. It’s an accomplishment we could only dream of three years ago, as we brainstormed product ideas on elevator rides and lunch breaks. The road to Series A was for us, as it is for all women, paved with obstacles. I didn’t attend an Ivy League school. I wasn’t a serial entrepreneur. And, above all else, my co-founder and I are female. 

Statistically, the cards were stacked against us and will continue to be as our company scales. You’ve heard the statistics, but allow me to share a few: When all-female teams actually get the opportunity to pitch, venture capitalists (VCs) spend 30% less time on the fundraising ask, 50% more time on the traction section and 24% more time on the product slides. Essentially, we’re scrutinized harder and longer, and in the end, we raise 30% less than male founding teams on average. Read more at entrepreneur.com.

11 Lessons for Entrepreneurs From Jeff Bezos’s Tremendous Success

Given what we know now, the trajectory of Jeff Bezos seems almost inevitable. The founder and CEO of Amazon has been relentless in his pursuit of building the most dominant, customer-focused enterprise in modern history. It’s fitting, considering he first thought to name his company Relentless.com.

“The common question that gets asked in business is, ‘why?’ That’s a good question, but an equally valid question is, ‘why not?’” – Jeff Bezos

Looking backward, however, it can be easy to forget that relentless did not mean inevitable, at least not in the early years. But as Amazon’s execution began to match Bezos’s vision, an extraordinary company emerged–one that changed our lives. Bezos leaves his CEO role as one of the most important business leaders of his generation, having taken his company from zero to nearly $1.7 trillion, the market value of Amazon today. Along the way, the man behind “The Everything Store” gave us some of the most important lessons on entrepreneurship, innovation, and customer experience. Here are 11 principles every entrepreneur can learn from Jeff Bezos. Read more at inc.com.

15 Productivity Tips to Help Small Business Entrepreneurs Succeed

Small-business owners tend to realize almost immediately how different their businesses are to run from large corporations. For success, a small business needs to adopt its own strategies that work with limited available resources.

From figuring out how to find and develop new talent to discussing how to expand the business’s reach, small-business entrepreneurs have to think creatively about solutions they can implement to improve operations and increase productivity.

That’s why we asked 15 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:

“Small businesses aren’t run like mega corporations, and so require different strategies for success. What’s your best productivity tip for helping small-business leaders succeed?” Read more at smallbiztrends.com.

3 Challenges Every Solopreneur Faces and How to Overcome Them

As a solopreneur, there’s a lot riding on your shoulders. You are a staff of one, so how many clients you have, how many hours you work, and how much revenue you generate is completely up to you. You are your own boss. You set the rules and reap the rewards.

But those rewards only come after putting in the time and effort to set your business up for success. After all, creating a full-time, long-term business involves more than just having a couple of clients from time to time. Being a successful solopreneur requires planning, follow through, and having reliable partners and services like VSP® Individual Vision Plans on your side. Read more at entrepreneur.com.

The Benefits of Working Remotely

As we emerge from a year of working remotely, a new study commissioned by Canva, the global visual communications platform in collaboration with Fingerprint for Success, reveals the numerous benefits Americans gained from working remotely this past year.

In general, American workers say they’re more productive, collaborative, and confident in their roles due to the shift to remote work and have managed to develop stronger connections with colleagues while staying physically apart.

While businesses decide if they’re going to stay remote, return to the office, or create a hybrid work environment (perhaps working in the office two or three days a week), business owners face the challenge of maintaining that productive, collaborative work environment whatever option they choose. As Rob Kawalsky, Canva’s head of product, says, “The need for both visual communication and online collaboration has never been more universal.” Read more at score.org.

Who Is Guiding The Next Generation Of Entrepreneurs?

As industries advance, so too does the knowledge base and practical instruction that is passed down to the next group of young professionals. In the medical, computer, or engineering fields for example, you can actually see this evolution as technology improves and impacts our lives.  But when we talk about something like entrepreneurship, who is actually leading and guiding the next generation of entrepreneurs? Have the academic institutions kept pace with the rapidly changing realities of running a business in today’s world?

My oldest son is graduating high school this year, and like many parents in America, our family has been hyper-focused on preparing him for college. But as we get closer to that day, and his prospects (and my investment) become real, I wonder if I should be questioning the system more.  My son has been dabbling in business on his own since grade school, and I can see the entrepreneurial fire growing within him. Yes, a business school with a communications, management or economics degree etc would build a great foundation, but if being an entrepreneur is his ultimate path, is four years or more in this conventional system the best way to equip him for the world ahead? Read more at forbes.com.

5 Important Steps Every Young Entrepreneur Must Take When Starting a Business

In September 2020, The Wall Street Journal reported that over 3.2 million applications for employer identification numbers had been filed that year. Business formations in 2021 continue to ride the filing momentum wave. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau has revealed that there were 440,165 U.S. business application filings in March 2021—up 3.4% from the previous month.

What explains this increase in business formations? The Peterson Institute for International Economics says changing customer preferences emerging from Covid-19 that create opportunity for entrepreneurs is one reason for the growth of new businesses. Another is being located geographic areas where it is easy to file formation paperwork can make it easier to start new businesses. Read more at allbusiness.com.

How Businesses are Handing the Reins to the Next Generation

According to PwC’s fall 2019 Family Business Survey, 62 percent of family business owners expect to pass the baton to the next generation. But many businesses lose their way when making the transition from startup to a more structured, complex organization.

Despite solid intentions, only one-third of family businesses are expected to last beyond the founders’ generation while even less—an estimated 12 percent—will make it through the second generation to a third.

A confluence of factors make succession planning more urgent. The enormous baby boomer generation will retire en masse by the end of this decade. But according to the PwC research, over half of family businesses are unprepared for the transition to the next generation. Read more at americanexpress.com.

Cannabis entrepreneurs, celebrity investors light up as legalization blooms

Driven by a surge in cannabis use during the COVID-19 pandemic, industry entrepreneurs and investors are gearing up for even greater growth as legalization spreads and the economy reopens.

So far, 36 states and the District of Columbia have approved medical use of marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of them,15 states and D.C. have approved recreational use of pot.

Cannabis technology startups, including those enabling home delivery of pot, got a big boost during the pandemic as more Americans partook, igniting investor interest in companies that provide everything from cultivation management tools to compliance and e-commerce software for an industry that still operates in a legal gray zone at the federal level. Read more at reuters.com.