17 Things Entrepreneurs Need to Know

By Rieva Lesonsky


1—Are You Confident?

Confidence is a key ingredient in entrepreneurial success. And although Julie Andrews said “I Have Confidence” is her least favorite song from The Sound of Music, it’s important you show the world how confident you are.

If you need some pointers, check out the infographic below from PoundPlace.



2—The Sacrifices Small Business Owners Make

To succeed as small business owners we know we have to work harder—and often longer hours—than those who work for others. TSheets by QuickBookssurveyed small business owners and found:

  • 50+ hour workweeks are the norm for 50% of small business owners
    • 50% wake up at 6 am or earlier
  • 43% have put their own money into the business
  • 42% work either every or every other weekend
  • 33% say their family has made sacrifices for the business
  • 62% say work keeps them up at night at least once a month
  • Taking sick days and vacations is rare for many small business owners

What are the are biggest challenges they face:

  • 53% Uncertainty about the future
  • 42% Cash flow
  • 40% Finding/retaining good workers
  • 36% Finding/retaining clients
  • 23% Finding good technology/software
  • 12% Compliance

You can check out the actual results here.


3—State of Women-Owned U.S. Small Businesses

At the start of the year, the number of small businesses owned by women was up 18% over the previous year, according to a survey from Guidant Financial, a leader in small business financing.
“We saw tremendous growth in women-owned businesses in 2017,” says David Nilssen, CEO of Guidant Financial. “A cautious view of the business climate by hopeful women entrepreneurs has not slowed this rate of growth…[and] we expect business ownership by women to continue to grow.”
Check out all the details in the infographic below.

4—What are Business Travelers Spending On?

Certify, a leading automated travel and entertainment expense management software provider, has released its Q1 2018 SpendSmart™ report, showing the most popular airlines, hotels, restaurants and ground transportation services among business travelers in the U.S. The report, which Certify has published for the past four and a half years, analyzed over 10 million receipts and expenses in Q1.

One of the highlights in the new Certify report is the rise of Lyft, which continues to gain ground on Uber within the business traveler community. The report shows Lyft took 19% of all ride-hailing receipts and expenses in Q1 compared to 10% in the Q1 2017.

Combined, Uber and Lyft are dominating traditional business traveler ground transportation services. In Q1 2018, ride-hailing companies took 70.5% of all ground transportation receipts and expenses, while rental cars took 23.5% and taxis took 6%. That’s a big jump from one year ago, when ride-hailing accounted for 59% of the market, rental cars had 31% and taxis had 10%.

Despite recent reports from Lyft and Uber showing that tipping on these services is growing, Certify’s report indicates that a relatively small percentage of business travelers who use ride-hailing services are participating. In Q1 2018, only 6% of business travelers using Uber tipped their drivers, while 2% of Lyft users tipped. On average, business travelers are tipping about $.15 less per ride with Lyft than Uber, according to Certify’s data, and spending nearly $5 less on Lyft trips versus Uber trips.

“Lyft’s jump is the biggest surprise of Q1,” says Robert Neveu, President and CEO of Certify. “As Uber experienced change in its senior leadership team and challenges in various markets, Lyft stayed the course and gained market. It will be very interesting to see if Lyft is able to maintain this level of usage in the business travel space.”

Certify’s report also covered the most popular airlines, hotels and restaurants among business travelers in Q1. Here are the top three in each category:

The most popular airlines

  • Delta
  • American Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines

The most popular hotels

  • Hampton Inn
  • Marriott
  • Courtyard By Marriott

The most popular restaurants

  • Starbucks
  • McDonald’s
  • Panera Bread


5—Networking Tips

We all know networking is important, but for many of us it’s easier said than done. Angela Kubisky, the EVP of membership and marketing for the Morris County Chamber of Commerce, shares some of her best networking tips to help reduce awkward encounters:

  • Doing research prior to entering any networking scenario is a game changer. I recommend formally budgeting time on your calendar to prepare. Review attendees on the registration list (often shared if asked) and practice your 30-second and/or 2-minute introduction.
  • Don’t be scared to use adjectives in your introduction such as frustrated, disappointed, or concerned. The right story and examples will make you memorable and relatable.
  • Networking is about giving, serving, and supporting. A savvy networker understands this universal rule and seeks opportunities to add value to others. They are great listeners, doers, and have zero expectation of getting anything in return. And because of that they receive tenfold.
  • Networking starts with building rapport. Rapport happens when small talk is effortless and fun. Being exceptional at small talk takes skill. How we respond to questions like “How is business?” or “How are you doing?” is critical. Responses with short answers such as “slow” or “busy” are uninteresting. Try something like: “Business is doing well!  This week I started 3 new projects that are looking extremely profitable”. Or…” I am doing extremely well. After one of the busiest quarters in our industry, I am taking a vacation in the Caribbean to recharge!” These types of responses provoke interest, questions, and help people engage more easily.
  • Networking is about having the right mindset. Understanding that networking is not selling. Too many people have anxiety over networking events or even networking one on one. Networking is simply the catalyst to building relationships. Great relationships reap rewards. One of my favorite quotes is by Alfred North Whitehead. “No one who achieves success does so without the help of others.” Habit 2 in Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is “Begin with the End in Mind.”


6—Fiverr Expands

Fiverr has just launched a new platform—Fiverr Elevate—its “initial approach to expand the ecosystem around the Fiverr community to include more of the services freelancers and small businesses need to be happy, secure and successful long-term.”

Elevate provides educational content and strategic partners to help navigate financing, corporation formation, taxes, retirement savings, and healthcare. Sections provide actionable, practical information on how businesses can address the pain points of independence, as well as easily-leveraged offers through handpicked partners including Fundbox, Visor, eHealth and more.

Check out some of their educational and informational videos:

Check out the blog post for additional context.


Photo courtesy: Tuition Funding Sources

7—Scholarships Available for Finance and Accounting Students

Tuition Funding Sources (TFS), a comprehensive online resource for higher education funding, connects undergraduate and graduate students to more than 7 million scholarships in diverse fields such as business, finance and accounting representing more than $41 billion in aid.

The Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance Scholarship, TD Ameritrade Institutional NextGen Scholarship Grant Program and The Association of Latino Professionals for America Scholarship Program are accepting scholarship applications from qualified accounting and finance students across the country.

The Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance (AFWA) Scholarship Programprovides undergraduate, graduate (Masters & PhD) and diversity scholarships to women that are majoring in finance and accounting.

TD Ameritrade Institutional NextGen Scholarship and Grant Scholarship Program provides 12 $5,000 scholarships to students pursuing careers as financial planners. In addition it provides a grant of $50,000 to a university with an established program that currently educates financial professionals and a $25,000 grant to a school with an emerging program.

For multicultural students, The Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA) Scholarship Program offers scholarships to students of Hispanic heritage who are pursuing a degree in accounting, finance or business administration.

Each month, TFS Scholarships website adds more than 5,000 new scholarships to its database in an effort to stay current with national scholarship growth rates – maximizing the number of opportunities students have to earn funding for their education.

Since its debut in 1987, TFS has remained a free, online service that effectively connects students with college funding resources to fuel their academic future. The TFS website also provides financial aid information, resources about federal and private student loan programs, and a Career Aptitude Quiz that helps students identify the degrees and professions that best fit their skills.

There are also scholarships offered by the New York Financial Writers’ Association for students living in the tri-state New York area that are majoring in business and financial journalism.


8—Empowering Small Businesses

PayPal recently launched its first PayPal Small Business Month. Taking place throughout May, PayPal is working with nonprofits, trade associations and other companies that share the mission of empowering small businesses and helping them grow. They are working with organizations across the country to bring a new level of engagement to small and underserved businesses and their communities. PayPal wants to share what they’re learned from their 19 million merchants—most of which are small businesses—and help them learn from each other in order to succeed.

As part of PayPal Small Business Month, they will be hosting and sponsoring several events in partnership with organizations that prioritize unique small business communities – including the Association for Enterprise OpportunityBunker LabsKivaSharpHeels, and Walker’s Legacy. PayPal will be hosting and sponsoring events across communities including Atlanta, Chicago, HoustonMinneapolisOmahaOaklandPortland (OR), Washington D.C. and more.

Each event will include workshops that will educate small businesses on a range of issues, like getting access to finance, leveraging digital tools that can enable growth, and sharing strategies for competing globally.


9—Vote for America’s Main Streets Winners

With more than 117,000 total votes cast for 303 entrants during the nomination phase of the 2018 America’s Main Streets contest, Independent We Stand is pleased to announce the quarterfinalists and the next phase of the contest. The goal of the contest is to draw attention to Main Streets throughout the country and their small businesses that not only provide a sense of place in our cities and towns but also play a large role in the lasting success of local economies. The theme of the contest this year is Local Memories. Lasting Impact.

Now the public can vote to send one of the quarterfinalists get another step closer to winning a $25,000 grand prize. Semifinalist voting runs through May 27. The top 10 semifinalists will be announced May 28 and the winner of the “America’s Main Streets” contest will be announced June 4.

The 2018 quarterfinalists in alphabetical order are:

To vote for quarterfinalists in “America’s Main Streets” contest please visit MainStreetContest.com.


Quick Takes

10—Are You ready for GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European law that goes into effect on May 25, 2018. It impacts any professional commercial activities regarding natural persons residing in the EU, so that includes process personal information about natural person who lives in the EU, or sending commercial emails to any natural person who lives in the EU. Commercial emails include the offer of goods or services, even if you’re not doing it in exchange for money.

You need to make sure you’re in compliance. Check out this blog to learn more.


11—Encrypted Messages

There’s been a lot of talk lately about encrypted messages. But do you really understand how encrypted messages work? Check out this post from Pixel Privacy to learn more.


12—Measuring Marketing

While it seems obvious you need to know which of your marketing efforts are actually working, attribution is much easier said than done—which is why it’s so important to measure the effectiveness of advertising teams.

Retail and advertising solutions provider Bazaarvoice released a new survey, in partnership with Digiday, exploring how today’s advertisers view attribution, their expectations around these performance metrics and which KPIs are most effective when measuring campaign success.

Key findings include:

  • 52% of respondents say sales metricswere most effective in evaluating campaign performance, while 36% pointed to traffic metrics
  • Despite the widespreaduse of last touch attribution methods (41%), the largest portion of respondents (44%) find first touch most useful
  • There’s a disconnect between brands andagencies when it comes to KPIs—38% of marketers aren’t aligned with their partners on delivering accurate metrics

You can find the full report here.


13—Hispanic Market Guide

The 2018 Hispanic Market Guide from the Culture Marketing Council: The Voice of Hispanic Marketing (CMC) is now available to download. With culture marketing specialists in top demand, this digital guide identifies companies with trusted culture specialists along with their capabilities, client roster and key contacts.

In addition, the CMC provides the topline results of its groundbreaking research, Digital Lives 2018: A World of Digital ‘Everything’ through a Cultural Lens, which revealed that culture drives digital behavior regarding how information is shared, how on-demand content is consumed and which platforms are chosen, permeating outside of in-culture spaces and across non-Hispanic white, Hispanic and non-Hispanic African-American segments.

The Hispanic Market Guide is available to download here. For more information, visit culturemarketingcouncil.org.


Cool Tools

14—Safeguard Your Small Business 

Are you worried about your ability to protect your business from cyberattacks and you’re your data safe? Many SMBs are—yet they still lack basic protection against the most common threats. Recently, Microsoft conducted a survey of SMBs and found 71% feel they’re vulnerable to a cyberattack, jumping to 87% for businesses that have already experienced a breach.

Learn how to protect yourself here.


15—The New Gmail

Google is launching a new web interface for Gmail. Shift, a desktop app that simplifies your workflow as you switch between Gmail, Slack, Asana, Trello, Evernote, WhatsApp, Calendar, Drive, etc., explains the update—and gives a sneak peek of what the new Gmail will look like.


16—How Engaged is Your Web Audience?

Take a look at Fixel, a fully automated segmentation tool that ranks your website audience based on their level of engagement: Basic, Medium or High. Instead of businesses having to set up metrics manually such as Scroll depth, Time on a page, etc., Fixel uses AI to measure engagement over 60+ different engagement signals. And it’s GDPR-ready (see # 10).


17—Powering B2B Commerce

Salesforce recently agreed to acquire CloudCraze, a leading B2B commerce platform built natively on Salesforce and a Visionary in the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce. CloudCraze powers B2B commerce experiences for some of the leading global companies.

Salesforce is a global leader in digital commerce and during the 2017 holiday shopping season, Salesforce Commerce Cloud powered the experiences of more than 540 million consumers across some of the world’s top brands.

Commerce Cloud enables companies to deliver personalized, intelligent consumer shopper journeys across all channels—digital, social, mobile and in store. With the addition of CloudCraze, Salesforce customers will be able to create the same richly branded commerce experiences for business buyers that they do for consumers, all from a single platform.

Forrester predicts U.S. B2B commerce will grow from $889 billion today to $1.2 trillion by 2021. 

Learn more about this here.