Entrepreneur

The Empact100 list is out. The annual list selects 100 startups that should be on everyone’s radar. We took it even further and narrowed it down to the 30 you should know. 

Click here for the list » 

(Photos from top to bottom: Fueled, Hotels for Hope, Loverly, Soapbox Soaps)

Long-Buried Atari Cartridges Are Being Offered Up for Public Auction

After shaking up the fashion industry with Phat Farm in the 1990s, can Russell Simmons do it again?

The 'Internet Slowdown' Is Coming: Tech Giants to Protest FCC's Net Neutrality Proposal

Why are you seeing all those “spirals of death” on your Tumblr dashboard? Read on for more. 

Talent’s Never Enough: Emerging Fashion Designers on Honing Business Savvy

With New York Fashion Week underway, freshmen designers discuss how they’ve honed their business-savvy and their eye for design.

10 Lessons Every Entrepreneur Must Learn

As entrepreneurs, we all follow our own path. For some, the rise to financial success is a long, slow, painful process. For others, things just seem to magically fall into place. I believe that the latter isn’t a result of magic, however, but is the sure sign of an entrepreneur who understands the importance of learning from, adapting to and growing with their business.

The following are 10 lessons every entrepreneur must learn in order to build a long-term, healthy and sustainable business.

1. The customer is not always right. From day one, we’re told that “the customer is always right.” We’re expected to bend over backwards to please every single customer, even when they’re clearly and painfully wrong. This maxim, however, can do a serious disservice to ourselves, our employees and our customers. Give your customers the benefit of the doubt, but not at the expense of your (or your employees’) dignity.

2. Time is money. Money, customers, ideas: all resources you can potentially gain more of. Time, however, is the one commodity you’ll always have a finite amount of. One way to ensure you make the most of your time is to assign an hourly dollar amount to your tasks.

Ask yourself: What would be a fair wage for the tasks I perform? If someone else can competently accomplish these tasks for less money, let them do it so you can focus on higher level, revenue-generating tasks. As a business owner, you should only do the tasks that only you can do.

3. Not all money is good money. This is a lesson many entrepreneurs struggle with early in their career. When you’re getting your business off the ground, it’s easy to fall into the trap of taking money from anyone who offers it. The problem is, not all customers or clients are worth it.

Avoid clients who take up too much of your time, who consistently have unrealistic expectations or who you just generally dread working with. It’s just not worth it!

Real more » 

The 8 Secret Places to Find the Best Stock Images

Your Office Isn't Big Enough for Clutter and Productivity

8 Ways to Effectively Lead Entrepreneurial Employees

A person doesn’t have to own a business to be an entrepreneur. Many people with an entrepreneurial mind-set wait years to start their own companies. Othersnever start their own companies.

In the meantime, they work for you. Yet they’re still entrepreneurs at heart.

Remember people with an entrepreneurial mind-set are different from those with a more corporate outlook. So if you want to create an environment where entrepreneurs can operate at their very best, try to manage and lead them appropriately.

Here’s how to manage the entrepreneurs who work for (and with) you:

1. Keep rules and guidelines to a bare minimum.

When entrepreneurs find new ways to think, they discover new ways to act. And that means they will instinctively evaluate every rule and look for ways to improve it since rules are just problems to solve or challenges to overcome.

So keep the rules to a minimum. Not only will that help your resident entrepreneurs operate better. It will also allow them to do what they do best: innovate.

2. Allow them to challenge things.

People with an entrepreneurial mind-set never say, “Well, that’s just the way it is.”

Entrepreneurs never assume tomorrow should be like today. Perspectives can be shifted. Conventional wisdom isn’t wisdom; it’s old wisdom.

Believe it or not, even the moon can be moved.

When something huge stands in their way, entrepreneurs know there’s a way around it. They just need to figure it out. That “something huge” might be you. So allow your employees to challenge you. When they do, they aren’t challenging your authority: They’re just seeking ways to do things even better.

3. Give them plenty of problems to solve.

Entrepreneurs constantly look for problems to solve whether they’re little, big or technical — or business or team related. Drop entrepreneurs into a static situation and they’ll come up with problems to solve.

Just don’t try to take over. Say, “I’m wondering if…” and turn them loose.

I promise they’ll surprise you.

Read more » 

Malaysia Airlines Scraps Ill-Conceived ‘Bucket List’ Promotion

After tragedy struck two of its flights within a matter of months, Malaysia Airlines is now struggling to lure back timorous consumers. But its latest marketing initiative, an ill-conceived promotional contest entitled “My Ultimate Bucket List,” should serve as a cautionary tale for companies looking to steer through a PR catastrophe.

Read more » 

7 Tips for Wooing Your Employees Into Loving Their Jobs, Again
Although many employers like to think their employees come to work every day with a smile, the reality is, 70 percent of employees are actively disengaged at work, according to Gallup. Employee engagement is a challenge confronting many bosses and managers.
The problem is, many employers forget their employees are people who want to feel a sense of belonging and know that their work makes a positive impact on the organization. Here are seven simple steps to boost engagement in the workplace.
1. Focus on your employees’ strengths. Your employees are your organization’s most important asset. Focus on what makes your employees awesome. Give them opportunities to shine in the workplace. According to Gallup, managers who focus on their employees’ strengths greatly boost employee engagement.
For example, if you have an employee who excels in leading teams, give them the opportunity to take charge of new projects. Empowering your employees through their strengths will make them feel like they’re contributing to the workplace.
2. Create realistic goals for your employees. Let’s face it; your company has really big goals. However, you can’t expect your employees to accomplish every single one of them over night. Instead, you need to create SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) goals to motivate your employees.
If you have a large project or huge deadline for your organization, break it down into smaller SMART goals to make it easier for your employees to stay focused and engaged.
Read more » 

7 Tips for Wooing Your Employees Into Loving Their Jobs, Again

Although many employers like to think their employees come to work every day with a smile, the reality is, 70 percent of employees are actively disengaged at work, according to Gallup. Employee engagement is a challenge confronting many bosses and managers.

The problem is, many employers forget their employees are people who want to feel a sense of belonging and know that their work makes a positive impact on the organization. Here are seven simple steps to boost engagement in the workplace.

1. Focus on your employees’ strengths. Your employees are your organization’s most important asset. Focus on what makes your employees awesome. Give them opportunities to shine in the workplace. According to Gallup, managers who focus on their employees’ strengths greatly boost employee engagement.

For example, if you have an employee who excels in leading teams, give them the opportunity to take charge of new projects. Empowering your employees through their strengths will make them feel like they’re contributing to the workplace.

2. Create realistic goals for your employees. Let’s face it; your company has really big goals. However, you can’t expect your employees to accomplish every single one of them over night. Instead, you need to create SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) goals to motivate your employees.

If you have a large project or huge deadline for your organization, break it down into smaller SMART goals to make it easier for your employees to stay focused and engaged.

Read more » 

The 3 Elements of an Irresistible Blog, Regardless of Your Budget

Even all the money in the world can’t buy your blog a personality. 

How Improv Comedy Can Seriously Grow Your Business
An increasing number of entrepreneurs are recognizing how improv comedy can bring serious benefits to their business, including new ideas and fresh approaches.
Improv can improve teamwork, collaboration and innovation in a workplace. Use of the "Yes, and” technique means team players build on the thoughts of others, rather than shutting down the ideas of their peers by presenting problems and roadblocks.
As an improviser performing in the Twin Cities, I’ve found that the skills used onstage often pay off in the boardroom, especially for those who are fresh arrivals to a team, new to a career or trying to launch business initiatives. These seven improv lessons can help you overcome doubts and add value when and where it’s needed most:
1. Follow the fear.
The late Del Close, a wild force of an actor, writer and teacher of improv — who trained folks like Bill Murray, Tina Fey, the Belushi brothers, Amy Poehler and Stephen Colbert, to name a few — coached actors to live and breathe this mantra: Follow the fear.
If that leap you’re getting ready to make leaves your palms sweaty and your breath short, then do it. If a new idea refuses to be silenced, then go for it. This advice applies especially well to those pursuing a new creative or strategic endeavor.
Often your fear is what’s guiding you. Perhaps the direction is a challenging one, but it’s probably the right one. Trust your instincts and throw your committed effort behind it.
2. Get comfortable existing in chaos.
You’ll never know what’s going to happen next, so don’t try to figure it out. Most projects and initiatives involve a variety of moving parts that come at you from various directions, often with missing details or information. Del Close is said to have described  the Harold, a long-form improv structure, as “like building a 747 in mid-flight.”
If you let uncertainty or chaos derail you, that means lost time and opportunities. Cozy up to chaos and let unknowns (and surprises) fuel your performance rather than hinder it.
Read the rest »

How Improv Comedy Can Seriously Grow Your Business

An increasing number of entrepreneurs are recognizing how improv comedy can bring serious benefits to their business, including new ideas and fresh approaches.

Improv can improve teamwork, collaboration and innovation in a workplace. Use of the "Yes, and” technique means team players build on the thoughts of others, rather than shutting down the ideas of their peers by presenting problems and roadblocks.

As an improviser performing in the Twin Cities, I’ve found that the skills used onstage often pay off in the boardroom, especially for those who are fresh arrivals to a team, new to a career or trying to launch business initiatives. These seven improv lessons can help you overcome doubts and add value when and where it’s needed most:

1. Follow the fear.

The late Del Close, a wild force of an actor, writer and teacher of improv — who trained folks like Bill Murray, Tina Fey, the Belushi brothers, Amy Poehler and Stephen Colbert, to name a few — coached actors to live and breathe this mantra: Follow the fear.

If that leap you’re getting ready to make leaves your palms sweaty and your breath short, then do it. If a new idea refuses to be silenced, then go for it. This advice applies especially well to those pursuing a new creative or strategic endeavor.

Often your fear is what’s guiding you. Perhaps the direction is a challenging one, but it’s probably the right one. Trust your instincts and throw your committed effort behind it.

2. Get comfortable existing in chaos.

You’ll never know what’s going to happen next, so don’t try to figure it out. Most projects and initiatives involve a variety of moving parts that come at you from various directions, often with missing details or information. Del Close is said to have described  the Harold, a long-form improv structure, as “like building a 747 in mid-flight.”

If you let uncertainty or chaos derail you, that means lost time and opportunities. Cozy up to chaos and let unknowns (and surprises) fuel your performance rather than hinder it.

Read the rest »

There’s nothing normal about burning people out.

Basecamp’s Rebel Recipe for Success: 5 Ways the Software Maverick Made Millions by Being Different

“It was madness. We couldn’t even create email addresses for people fast enough.”

Brian Bordainick remembers what it was like to go from a small basement operation to a rapidly growing, venture-backed business — and it wasn’t always easy.

— How to Manage the Unsexy Side of Rapid Expansion