Turning Your Startup into a Powerhouse

A business isn’t started with stagnation in mind. A business is started with expected growth and rising success. Whether your business is running smoothly or struggling to survive, have no fear. You can turn your startup into a powerhouse by following these steps.

Evaluate your Consumer Demographics

Who are your target customers and who are your actual customers? You may not actually be connecting with the audience that can spring your business on the fast track to success. Pinpoint the demographics your business strives to reach. This will help you create a plan of action to gain their attention.

Demographics require some research. Depending on the service or products your business provides, you’ll want to evaluate how your target audience decides to purchase what you have to offer. Adjust your company to be more visible to your target audience through demographics.

Expand your Audience

Don’t set unnecessary limits for your startup. There are only so many consumers that need your services or product so find opportunities to expand your target audience. Marketing to consumers will show them why they need your services or product. The same consumers may not purchase from you over and over again. In order to gain growth, you need to reach more people.

Keep in mind the best way to do this. Social media and SEO are great ways to reach people that may not know you by association or by your location. Keep your website user-friendly and always make your consumers feel appreciated by sending them a thank you email when they do business with you.

Identify your Setbacks/Opportunities

Always admit to your faults. Businesses have successes and failures during their startup process. If you’re looking to expand for success, you need to realize what areas of your startup could be improved. Improvement could be found through both setbacks or opportunities.

If you see an opportunity within your company, improve it even more for success. Any setbacks in your company are clear signs of what you can either cut out or improve as well.

Compare to Competitors

Don’t be afraid to look around. You need to know what you’re up against and how you can beat it. Competition is nothing to fear, it only shows you how far your business has to go. Research what your customers are also being offered. To see what your competitors are doing and plan to be one step ahead of them; you need to understand your competition. Do you think Pepsi and Coca-Cola ignore each other?

Seek Partnerships

An aggressive powerhouse strategy is finding the best partnerships for your business. Partnerships will benefit your business is many ways. Thriving businesses are all about implementing the best ways to provide a great experience for their consumers. Partnerships combined great deals with means of the same mission. Find a mutually beneficial partnership for your startup.
You want your business to develop and promote growth. Rapid business growth doesn’t happen overnight. With the right plan and implementation, you can turn your startup into a powerhouse.

How to Start a Startup

Embrace your inner entrepreneur. A startup business requires hard work and strategic planning to be successful. If you’re considering starting your own business, here’s what you need to begin.

Find a Purpose

Why were lemonade stands created? To provide lemonade to thirsty customers and make a profit. In the same way, you have to decide why you’re starting this business. What will your business provide? Why do consumers need what your business has to offer? Utilize inspiration in your life so you can come to a decision on your business. This is the first step you should take for your startup.

Determine a Plan

You can’t successfully launch a startup without a plan. This will require research on your part. You’ll need to discover how you can provide quality services or products and what consumers/demographics will be your targeted audience to support your business. Check out companies that are in the same industry as your startup.

Create a Name and Mission

What inspires you? A business name is more than a name. If you’re using your name, determine what title should follow. For example, if you’re a photographer your business name might be “Jane Doe Photography”. However, if you don’t want to use a name, find a unique business name that will stick out to consumers.

Seek Investors

Although you might consider yourself the expert behind your business, you may need to seek advice and knowledge from a professional. If you lack the funding, pitch your business to an investor, who may even have ideas and contacts to give you to help your process.

Set your Finances

It doesn’t take a math genius to start a business, but an accountant might help. Your business might need a loan to provide sufficient funding to start. Don’t set yourself up for disaster. Keep a plan of action for the money involved in your business.

Find a Location

Set your business in a prime location for consumers to reach you if you’re in retail. If your business is rather corporate, make sure your location is based somewhere employees don’t have to commute too far. You also have to account for the size of the location. How much parking is there? What’s the maximum capacity? The location has to fit the needs of your business.

Gain Permits & Licenses

Legal action is almost always required to start a business. Business licenses and permits may vary from state to state, so check with the specific state your business is in. They can also change depending upon the business type. You’ll need all necessary requirements before officially opening.

Promote Your Business
Before you launch your business, you can tease the public with promotions. For a great opening, you’ll want to make sure you have the public’s eye. Utilize social media, hang flyers, send emails, and manage your website to gain awareness and start your business.

How to Use Philanthropy to Increase Your Health

Philanthropy is all about helping other people. This goal should be your main focus when participating in philanthropy, but there are ways charity helps the giver as well. We know that helping others makes up feel good, but only recently did we learn how good; those who participate in philanthropy are often healthier because of it. People are constantly searching for ways to give a deeper meaning to their lives; for many, they find this fulfillment through helping others and practicing philanthropy. Besides that sense of fulfillment, philanthropists receive physical and mental health benefits as well.

Longer life

People who participate in philanthropy usually also live longer. According to a study done at the University of California, Berkeley, people over 55 who volunteered were nearly 50 percent less likely to die in the next five years than those who didn’t volunteer at all. Other studies have noted the same occurrence, especially with those who are significantly older; one of the most common characteristics these people have in common is that they regularly spent time volunteering.

Lower blood pressure

High blood pressure is a major issue with many adults, so anything that can lower it is certainly something you should try out. Being able to naturally lower your blood pressure through participating in philanthropy is an incredible option. You’ll feel calmer helping other people and giving your time toward a good cause. The positive emotions you experience help reduce your blood pressure and lead to an overall more calm feeling.

Less stress

People frequently talk about how they experience less stress after they begin regularly doing philanthropy. Even though many doubt they have time to volunteer and it seems like one more thing to juggle in their schedule, the surprising result is that philanthropy makes you feel less stressed. It could be because you see other people struggling and you’re working with them, so your problems seem further away and less important.

Sense of purpose

Many of us are searching for a sense of purpose and achieve that from our professional or personal pursuits. However, many also find a deep sense of purpose through philanthropy. As you help others, you know you’re doing something that’s bigger than you and actually making a difference in someone else’s life. Having a sense of purpose impacts your mental well-being in a big way and helps raise your self-esteem.

Less depression

Among those who regularly participate in philanthropy, fewer people report feeling depressed. You get a different perspective on life and work with people who are struggling through their own issues, but are finding ways to survive. People who volunteer often report feeling happier and more positive. Simply helping others makes you feel good and impacts your life in great ways, just like it does theirs! Depression makes your life incredibly difficult and can make success in other areas feel impossible; just volunteering a few hours a week can help lessen this feeling and improve your view of the world around you.

Philanthropy Without Giving Away Revenue

Is it possible to give charitably with little or no money involved? Of course volunteering for charity is giving away time and services, however that’s not always the most efficient option for corporate companies and society. Can companies give without giving away their revenue? Let’s explore.

In the business of philanthropy, charitable deeds require many assets. Time, service, people and funding are just a few. On a social scale, donations among a community provoke a positive change for those in need. Today, companies are coming to the conclusion that they can effectively give through utilizing their skills without compromising financial revenue.

This isn’t to say that companies shouldn’t give money, however it is to explore the creative outlets of giving beyond financial resources. The top Fortune 500 companies that generously give a portion of their earnings appear cash-friendly, donating millions, which is only about between 1-10% of revenue. A thriving company that gives generously has ample opportunity to make a difference in the world.

Take Bank of America, for example. Although they give financially, they also strongly believe in giving personal time. Volunteering is essential to creating a better community. Bank of America employees receive 2 hours of PTO every week to volunteer in the community. If you add it up without including 2 weeks of PTO for leisure, that’s about 100 hours of volunteering per year each employee has the opportunity to take. Volunteer grants are a great way for companies to give without giving just cash or a check.

Another company allowing employees volunteer time is GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a global healthcare corporation. GSK shows creative means of corporate philanthropy in the healthcare business, and believes that medicine is a great need among humankind. Two ways GSK gives back to the community is through “Orange Day” and the “PULSE Volunteer Partnership”. Orange Day occurs one day a year where employees are encouraged to go out into their community and volunteer where they see a need. The PULSE Volunteer Partnership matches employees with non-profits for 3-6 months of full-time work utilizing their skills and knowledge of healthcare among societies in need.
Companies have the opportunity to give on a base beyond finances. This can be collaborating with another company, hosting a community event, marketing through social media for a cause, or simply allowing employees volunteer time. No matter what provokes a company to give, or how a company decides what charitable organizations they give to, monetary deeds are just one of the many ways a company can positively impact society.

Why Small-Scale Philanthropy is Worth It

Whether you are empathetic by nature or interested in lending a hand for the first time, charitable giving is an honorable habit to adopt. As put by the United Way, “the idea of helping is fulfilling to those who have the desire and drive to give of themselves for the betterment of humanity.”

Philanthropic efforts serve as an equalizing opportunity to the benevolent. Just about anyone can be a philanthropist–selflessness takes many forms. Sometimes, small-scale donations like holiday meals can brighten a family’s spirits at a time when they would otherwise feel exempt.

Regardless of how or why you plan to give back, here are some reasons why small-scale philanthropy is a wise decision.

Small scale efforts can reflect broad issues

Small-scale philanthropic scenarios are typically microcosms of larger issues plaguing society. A family in need of Christmas gifts can potentially reflect the horrors of mass poverty. A volunteer opportunity at a children’s cancer hospital can reflect the need for medical funding. By aiding others on a smaller scale, your actions could, in turn, strengthen awareness of broader topics and progress the conversation surrounding them. Your generosity could essentially serve as a much-needed catalyst.

Giving back is becoming easier

Thanks to social media and crowdfunding domains, aspiring philanthropists of all financial levels now have a larger variety of ways to help others. For instance, websites such as Razoo and Kickstarter make it easy to construct a fundraising initiative and expose it to a large audience of subsequent donors. Furthermore, Facebook and Twitter make it possible to quickly spread awareness about charitable events taking place on a specific date. The amount of required effort is usually an overlooked variable in the eyes of the benevolent, but it is nice to know that the modern digital landscape has made these efforts easier to approach.

Philanthropy is becoming the norm in the US

Millennials are projected to make up about 50 percent of the United States workforce by 2020, and they total around 80 million in the US alone (NPT). Almost 85 percent of them donated to charity in 2014 and 70 percent volunteered. Therefore, as millennials continue to occupy a large portion of the country’s population, it is safe to assume–by means of a rhetorical syllogism–that philanthropy itself is on the rise. However, it does not matter when you were born–philanthropy in general now serves as a chance to be part of a progressive way of living and thinking.

The neurological and emotional benefits
Philanthropy can obviously have a profound emotional impact on those receiving donations, but it can similarly influence donors as well. According to the Vancouver Sun, “the act of giving can release dopamine–a powerful neurotransmitter–into the body of the donor.” Dopamine influences the reward and pleasure centres of the brain. Put simply–giving feels good.

The Entrepreneurial Secret to Attracting More Business

Being an entrepreneur can be difficult. You put endless amounts of hard work into developing your new business and working toward success. So much depends on how well you can market your new business and increase people’s interest, whether it’s in finding sources for funding or convincing people to purchase your product or service. On top of every other role you’re playing as an entrepreneur, you need to learn how to be a top-rate marketer too. If you can sell your business idea, you are well on your way to success.

Marketing plays a pivotal role in any business, but you’ll realize just how important it is to you as an entrepreneur. With good marketing, it ultimately gives your business more exposure and drives more revenue to the company. While most marketers can achieve these goals, you want your marketing to go above and beyond. To be truly great at marketing your business, you need to do it well enough that your startup business takes off and you don’t struggle for years to secure finances and make ends meet. If you correctly market your business from the beginning, you can seriously help yourself out in the long run.

Share your story

People love a personal touch when it comes to businesses. It’s much easier to connect with a growing business when there’s a human touch to it and people can associate a name and a face with the company. Do not be shy about sharing your story or having others you work with share theirs; getting personal and talking about your struggles and experiences makes people feel like they have a connection, which makes them like your business more. Marketers know the value of creating a human connection with consumers. With a human connection, it’s not just a company asking them to buy something, you’re a person who is trying to succeed in life, just like everyone else.

Create genuine interaction

When you talk to people, whether they’re customers, employees, or potential investors, create a genuine interaction. Make the effort to ask them questions and actually get to know them as people instead of a way to further your business. Marketers know how to make people feel as though a business will make their lives better; instill that feeling in the people you interact with throughout your day.

Utilize SEO techniques

Take advantage of digital opportunities when you’re attempting to market your business. So many people use social media and it isn’t difficult to create these accounts. Have a logo and color palette for your business, then create a few popular social media accounts where you can post pictures and news for your company. Learn some basic SEO techniques on how to drive traffic to your sites and make the most of hashtags and keywords.

Offer trials of services

If you’re trying to establish a company, you need to prove that you’re worth people’s investment. A good way to generate interest is giving out samples or trials of your products or services. Have a free version of what you’re providing with the option to upgrade to the full package. Or, give small samples of a product so people can see if it’s worth buying the full item. Most stores give out samples or trials from time to time; determine what’s in your means and then do it! You could even have a special event for the opening of your company and have samples and information available to anyone who stops by.

Why Corporate Philanthropy Is Sweeping Across Every Industry

In the last several years, corporate philanthropy has massively increased. Companies are becoming more conscious of what they contribute to the world and local communities and are beginning to look beyond simply making a profit. While many businesses have always helped out philanthropies and other organizations, these activities are in the public eye much more and it’s usually expected that a large corporation gives back in some way. Corporate philanthropy has significantly increased, but it’s not always clear why it has. A few different factors could be responsible for this trend, which leads to great benefits for various causes around the world.

Consumer interest

Since a company’s main goal is staying in business, a lot of attention is paid to what the consumer wants and what other companies do that are viewed in a positive light. Lately, people are becoming more concerned with whether or not a company has ethical practices and if they make an effort to use their profit to better the world. If a company does something unethical or refuses to participate in philanthropy, a large amount of consumers will stop giving that company their business. While corporate philanthropy isn’t solely a way to keep business, it certainly helps companies retain or attract consumers who also care about philanthropy.

Social awareness

People in general are more concerned about philanthropy and social awareness, not just consumers. The owners, managers, and employees of companies also care about the state of the world around them, so they start initiatives at their jobs to encourage the business and their co-workers to participate in philanthropy. Working in a large company provides endless opportunities to help out a cause that would be difficult for a single person to do on his own. Companies are often motivated by a personal conviction to participate in philanthropy more than what their consumers want them to do. Corporate philanthropy provides a wealth of new ways for people to get involved in charity and makes it easier to find time to volunteer or contribute in some other way.

Easier connections

Though some companies did participate in corporate philanthropy in the past, it wasn’t as obvious or publicized. With the rise of technology, videos, pictures, and messages can be shared in a few seconds, featuring the great work a business is doing to help a specific cause. A local business may have always been incredibly helpful to the community around it, but before the advent of technology, not many people outside of that immediate neighborhood would know about the company’s actions.
In the same way, more corporations may be getting involved in philanthropy because it’s easier to learn how they can help out and then do so. A company can make significant efforts with a cause that’s located on the other side of the world, which would have been impossible several decades ago. Money can be donated or people can even be sent to help out in that specific area that the company is focusing on. One such example is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which searches for cures to many common diseases that affect people in other countries, even though the Gateses live in the United States.

How to Utilize Marketing for Philanthropy

Corporate philanthropy is becoming quite popular with large companies; they choose a cause, set up an organization or find one they like, and then make concentrated efforts to help this specific philanthropy. Besides the general greatness of making the world a better place and creating a more positive work environment, a business can greatly benefit from the image of corporate philanthropy. Consumers care more than ever what kind of companies they’re buying from, so it can be a huge benefit to businesses if they’re known as socially conscious. But how do you properly market your company’s good deeds without coming across as bragging or only doing the work for publicity? Marketing corporate philanthropy can be incredibly beneficial, but it’s important to do so in the correct way.

Choose a good philanthropy

Before you attempt to market your corporate philanthropy, you need to carefully choose what organization you’ll be working with. Find a cause that’s connected with what your company does. You’ll better understand the cause and likely have skills and resources that can help that specific organization more than one that’s completely unrelated to your business. It’s also important to make sure you’re working with a legitimate organization; avoid partnering with a brand new or unknown philanthropy unless you’re involved with the building process and can make sure it’s being managed correctly.

Enlist the help of the organization

While doing your own marketing is definitely something you should try, the philanthropy you’re working with may do their own kind of marketing that highlights your involvement. If the organization has a “Partners” page or something similar, see if your company’s name or picture can be included on it. Encourage photos and information about your company’s involvement being shared on the philanthropy’s social media pages as well.

Be present

Your company could simply donate a large sum of money to a specific nonprofit, but you should also attempt to be physically present with the cause. If there are personal volunteer opportunities, take advantage of these. Meet the people you’re working with and gain a better understanding of the cause. In addition to the greater impact it’ll have for the cause, it helps your corporate philanthropy from falling flat, because you’re making an effort to be personally involved with the cause.

Create a partnership

Instead of doing a philanthropy project once a year with different organizations and causes, create a long-term partnership with one specific philanthropy. Continuously work with them by volunteering, making donations, and hosting events. The more solidified a partnership is, the more well-known it will become and your company can make a lasting difference in one area.

Learn from others

Take a look at comparable companies and see how they’re handling their corporate philanthropy. What kind of organizations are they partnering with and what kind of marketing are they doing? Learn what works and what feels forced through research and then try it on your own. Avoid making serious mistakes that could negatively impact your business and the philanthropy you’re partnering with.

How to Fake It Until You Make It and Transform Your Weaknesses into Strengths

Many people find it hard to admit, even privately, when they just aren’t good at something. Sure, you agree that everyone has strengths and weaknesses, but how comfortable are you naming your own shortcomings? It’s not masochism — recognizing your own weaknesses is the first step to turning them into strengths. Next time you face a challenge, identify your own weakness, and then make a commitment to act as if it were a strength. Fake it ‘till you make it can go a long way, and you can improve your performance simply by forcing your outward actions to align with your ideals and act as if it comes naturally.
While you’re acting, take these steps to turn “fake it” into “make it.”

Talk to (or find) a mentor
A mentor is a vital aspect of your career. If you do not already have a mentor, I recommend finding one as soon as possible. Find someone who has more experience than you do and a career that you respect and admire. Talk to your mentor and ask her to help you identify and work through your weaknesses. Seek out any advice she may have for improving in the areas where you aren’t very strong.

Make sure you’re always prepared
If you know what your weaknesses are, you know when they’re likely to be an issue. If you are petrified at the thought of public speaking, overly prepare for any presentation or meeting you may have in the upcoming days and weeks. Practice speaking in front of the mirror, write out what you’re planning on saying, and work on breathing techniques to stay calm. Bring note cards to your presentation and you’ll feel so prepared that it will be difficult to get nervous.

Practice using these skills
Deliberately put yourself in situations where you need to practice and cultivate your weaknesses. The saying goes “practice makes perfect” after all. The more you try to improve your weaknesses in real situations, the closer you’ll get to making those weaknesses strengths.

Find people who have the skills you don’t
For some skills, you won’t be able to develop them without years of study or practice. Instead, hire people who have the skills you don’t. If you know nothing about computers, find someone who went to school for computer science and ask for his help. You can hire him for your business, or just ask if he could give you some overview of the most important tricks to know or if there’s a good book or website you should check out. There will always be people who succeed in areas you struggle with and most people are willing to help someone else.

Play up your strengths
As you work on your weaknesses, don’t forget to continue playing up your strengths. Master the skills you know you’re good at and improve your weaknesses enough that it isn’t an issue when you aren’t good at everything. If you’re known for doing a phenomenal job in a certain area, it’s okay that you are weak in some others.
You aren’t a master of every trick, and that’s okay. No one is. But you can fake it, and if you fake it right, you’ll end up forgetting why your weaknesses were such a big hurdle to start with.

Don’t Make These 5 Entrepreneurial Blunders

Becoming an entrepreneur is challenging. You have to create your own company and make sure you’re aware of all the necessities that go into doing so. You also need to make hiring decisions and find funds to support your venture. Starting a business takes an incredible amount of hard work and lots of entrepreneurs do not have much experience. Being an entrepreneur is a great way to jumpstart and manage your personal success, but you need to know what common mistakes to avoid.

Neglecting your personal life
First off, before you embark on your entrepreneurial path, prep your personal life for the changes ahead. Make a plan for self care, so you don’t burnout before you really get started. Learn how much rest you need each night and when you are the most productive. Do not forget to keep a balanced diet and get exercise. Also, talk to the people in your life that you’re close to and make sure they understand that the business you’re starting will take up a lot of time. Plan how to remain close to your family and friends, but also make them aware of your limited availability.

Starting the business without making a plan
Avoid jumping into starting a business without carefully planning out what you need to do. There is a multitude of aspects to being an entrepreneur, so be familiar with what’s required of you. Understand how taxes work and what laws you need to follow, as well as the best ways to succeed in your new industry. Take time to make a detailed plan and think it through before starting your business.

Overestimating what you can afford
If you spend too much money trying to make yourself an entrepreneur, you’ll never get to the point where you’re actually an entrepreneur. Evaluate your personal finances and seek other funds from investors if you need to. When you first start out, be savvy about expenses and avoid spending money on items you cannot afford and don’t need, like expensive clothes and high-end technology.

Making rash hiring decisions
When you first become an entrepreneur, you may be grateful to anyone who is willing to take the risk to help you. Instead of hiring your best friend and some random person who handed you a resume, make sure your potential employees are actually qualified for their jobs. The last thing you want is someone who is inept or not really interested in the job when you’re trying your hardest to achieve success.

Avoiding risks
In order to achieve greatness, you must take risks. These risks should be calculated and thought through, so you know the pros and cons of them. It’ll be difficult to succeed as an entrepreneur if you avoid any possible risks. Be smart about your risk taking, but definitely go for it.

Ignoring marketing strategies
When you become an entrepreneur, you need to be forward. Do not assume people will find out about your business if you aren’t advertising. Learn about marketing strategies and how best to utilize them in your industry. Use social media to your advantage and create a strong online presence, for yourself and your company.