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

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

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

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

“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

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

“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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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