13 Things Entrepreneurs Need to Know

By Rieva Lesonsky


1—Small Business Sentiment

Small business owners are optimistic about their businesses this year. Are you? Compare your perspective with that of other entrepreneurs, according to this Megaphone of Small Business Survey from our friends at SCORE.



2—Telling Your Instagram Story

Instagram is growing so quickly—you should at least consider adding it to your social media mix. One of the best ways to do that is through Instagram Stories, which are quick, simple and inexpensive to create.

Check out the infographic below from Headway Capital to find out how Instagram stories can work for you



3—A Community Just for Small Business Owners

If you’re an entrepreneur (existing or aspiring), small business owner, founder, marketer, content creator, investor or motivator, and are looking for a place to network, ask questions, and hear from experts (and each other!) about day-to-day challenges of running a business, check out the just launched Town Hall by Fundera, a Facebook group dedicated to small business and entrepreneurship.

Town Hall by Fundera is an online community where people like us can connect, share, and get inspired.


4—Business Blunders

Are you guilty of any of these business etiquette and body language blunders noted below in the fun infographic below? I am (hanging my head in shame). Thanks to Swiss Canadian Capital for reminding me of a few things I need to work on in 2018.



5—Getting Online Reviews

It’s kind of a catch-22—online shoppers rely on customer reviews to make purchasing decisions, but 81% of shoppers don’t write the reviews themselves.

In a recent report, Clutch surveyed online shoppers and discovered:

  • 81% of online shoppers do not write reviews
  • 37% of online shoppers who write reviews do so out of habit
  • 33% of online shoppers are more likely to leave a review when they are “especially satisfied” with a product
  • 2% of reviewers are motivated by a negative experience
  • 23% of reviews are prompted by email marketing
  • 20% of online shoppers say lack of time is the leading reason they don’t write reviews
  • 10% of online say incentives would persuade them to write reviews
  • 5% of those who write reviews say incentives are the reason they do so

Check out the full report here to find out how to persuade your customers to write more reviews.


6—The State of U.S. Small Businesses

Though U.S. small businesses on the whole saw steady growth last year, the retail sector continues to experience challenges. Small business retailers, on average, saw less than half the sales growth and profitability of the average U.S. small business in the same period, according to recent data from Sageworks, a financial information company.

Across sectors, businesses with less than $5 million in annual revenue experienced, on average, 6.1 percent annual sales growth in the 12 months ended October 31, 2017, nearly the same as the rate they saw in the same period in 2016, according to Sageworks. Net profit margin, representing how many cents of profit were generated for each dollar of sales, improved almost a full percentage point to 8.4 percent in 2017 among the privately-held small businesses in Sageworks’ database. The data show the fifth consecutive annual improvement in net profit margin for all U.S. small businesses.

Small businesses overall remained mostly static but solid in the key financial metrics of sales and profitability, based on our data,” notes Sageworks co-founder Brian Hamilton. “Though they saw a very slight slowing in sales growth, profitability improved in comparison to recent years,” Hamilton explains.


7—How Millennials View Business

According to the new Redefining the C-Suite: Business the Millennial Way from American Express, 81% of U.S. millennials say a successful business is one that has a genuine purpose that resonates with people. And 37% define success as doing work that has a positive impact on society.

And it’s not all talk: 35% of millennials say they would lower their career advancement expectations to achieve their vision of success, while 30% say they would be happy to lower their salary expectations. Even though seven-in-ten say a C-Suite role is attractive to them, 35% believe in less than 10 years the CEO role will no longer be relevant in its current format.

Millennials also have an increased focus on employee well-being—74% say a successful business of the future will need to support employees outside of work. Already, 54% say they feel pressure to always be available to work.


8—Financial Resolutions for 2018

Have you made any? Yeah, me neither. But, according to the folks at LendEDU plenty of people have. Here are some highlights from their Financial Resolutions Survey:

  • 5% of respondents believe they will be better off financially in 2018, compared to 78.3% who thought the same last year
  • 5% said they were in less debt in 2017 than in 2016. And in 2016, 64% said they were in less debt than in 2015.
  • 7% said they did not learn enough about personal finance in high school/college and wish they knew more! (Don’t we all?)


9—Hiring Sales Staff

Impartner, the world’s largest pure-play Partner Relationship Management (PRM) solution provider, recently released a new report showing it’s becoming even more challenging to recruit and hire enterprise sales professionals.

According to the report, 90% of hiring managers find it difficult to recruit and hire direct sales professionals, and 57% say the problem has intensified over the past year and a half. About 75% of those surveyed say these hiring challenges directly prevent companies from reaching their revenue goals.

The biggest single driver behind this hiring difficulty is a lack of candidates with relevant experience, say 46% of those surveyed. Other reasons include a shortage of candidates who understand the company’s solutions (22%), high compensation requirements for qualified candidates (16%) and increased hiring competition from peer organizations (16%).

Despite a number of actions to boost hiring with better recruiting tools and increased compensation, hiring challenges are still holding back the bottom line. That’s where indirect sales comes into play.

“The golden age of the channel has arrived,” says Dave R. Taylor, CMO of Impartner. “In a business climate where qualified enterprise sales candidates are costly and in short supply, companies can’t put all their revenue eggs in the direct sales basket. Why struggle to hire direct sales people in an extremely competitive market that’s stifling your ability to increase revenue, when the indirect sales channel provides an immediate avenue to growth?”

In the past, Taylor notes, many companies have resisted indirect sales because of a perceived lack of oversight and visibility. However, he says, solutions like Impartner PRM erase that concern, making it possible to manage indirect channels with the same level of visibility and control as they have over direct sales.

You can check out a free demo of Impartner PRM.


10—Women in Leadership

IMPACT Group is launching a one-time special Women in Leadership cross-industry coaching program to help you develop a rising star while providing her the opportunity to grow through a cohort of women from other leading organizations. This program allows organizations to provide support to one vs investing in a program for many.

The 7-month Women in Leadership program launches January 25th, and provides one-on-one coaching and IMPACT Group’s Career Accelerator Model, where the female leader will:

  • Maximize her personal effectiveness, business acumen, and corporate visibility.
  • Develop core competencies for leadership success.
  • Transform her skillset to drive future success.

The ideal participant is:

  • Female high-potential professionals, managers, and leaders (yet to achieve executive level) or rising women who aspire to leadership roles.
  • Female talent with favorable performance, desire to grow and develop in their role, and long-term leadership goals.
  • Participants do not have to lead a formal team currently.
  • Program is open to domestic and global audience; coaching and program materials will be in English.

To register and get more information, go here.


Quick Takes


11—Digital Marketing 101 & Beyond

Need to know more about digital marketing? (What small business owner doesn’t?) Take a look at these tutorials from Guru99. I learned a few things I didn’t know before.


12—How to Sell on Etsy

If you’ve been thinking about selling on Etsy, but don’t know how to drive traffic to your Etsy store and boost your sales, check out this post on the Shoplo blog.


13—Books for Entrepreneurs

Looking for book recommendations? Check out this list of 44 books to read from the CEO of AlltheRooms.