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3 Ways to Empower Your Business Model to Succeed

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Women have come a long way in establishing their rights. They’ve struggled to break the barriers society has pushed on them and to break out of the old ways in which they have been personified.

In fact, women play a major role in all facets of business, politics and religion in our country today — and they have done so on the backs of perseverance and never giving up. It’s the tenacity of a few that changed the game for the masses, and if you are acquainted with one of these women, you should thank them.

Related: Why Women Entrepreneurs Are Game Changers

For this article, I talked with empowering businesswomen Amanda Boleyn, Jules Schroeder, Virginia Salas Kastilio and Laurence Bradford. These women will share the responsibility you have as a woman — and the encouragement you can receive as a man — building a business with what you have.

1. Overcoming failure in business.

Unconventional Life founder Jules Schroeder leads a movement to empower millennials to create a life by their own design through her international business accelerators. You learn from successful leaders who have left behind the 9-to-5 for a life they love.

While speaking with Schroeder, it was evident that failure doesn’t care what sex you are. For business owners who don’t understand the bigger picture of their company goals, failure can be more prominent. Especially when it comes to managing team members. But you can combat the issue. “If one of my team members consistently fails to follow through on their work commitments, I’ll meet with them 1 on 1,” Schroeder said. “I like to approach the conversation from a place of care and curiosity, where I seek to understand what’s going on in the broader picture of their life.”

Failure within your team can lead to lack of being personal or not sharing your vision with your members. Failure can happen in different areas of your business, and it is an idea in which you cannot fight. Schroeder says admitting that failure is simply part of the process to greatness.

When it comes to overcoming failure, Virginia Salas Kastilio understands it takes perspective. Kastilio is the founder of Gini TV which helps businesses build influence and online awareness. Kastilio has been named the top female Snapchat influencer in the world and has been showing her perspective to large organizations like the BBC and NASDAQ.

Every business and opportunity you are faced with comes with the experience you need to succeed for your next plan. Even if it didn’t work last time, Kastilio teaches in order to overcome failure, you need to gain perspective from the circumstance. In other words, failure should make you stronger. Failure is imminent in any business, but it’s always the people who learn about themselves whomake the most of overcoming the situation.

Brands that embrace failure and realize the process is a stepping stone and not a stumbling block are going to empower their future and solidify their business with their team and their audience.

If failure is included as part of the context — for any game that you’re playing or business you’re creating — then it becomes welcome, which allows it to not be so significant. Don’t fight failure, but welcome it through the new thoughts and ideas which can come from it.

2. Overcoming hurdles in business.

If you’re currently involved in building a business to create your perfect dream job, you have probably already faced some high hurdles. They can seem impossible to get over.

Laurence Bradford, creator of the Learn to Code With Me blog and podcast, is empowering men and women alike across social media — one of which is a special Facebook group of 12,000+ members. When I spoke with Bradford, she said one of the hardest hurdles to overcome in building your business is finding more time. You already know that time is the only thing you can’t control in your business or life. You can however, manage your time wisely. For some business owners, this idea eludes them completely, which is why a lot of founders lose faith and give up. Bradford suggests prioritizing what really matters for your business and taking control of tasks and responsibilities in this aspect.

Related: Learn Some Smart Time-Management Tricks From These Successful Women Entrepreneurs

Another hurdle in business can be the dreaded “self-doubt” thoughts which can come and go as your business advances and diminishes with the trends and economy. To empower yourself and create opportunities to jump over this obstacle, you always need to have a positive mindset within yourself.

This comes with having faith in your business, the product it offers and how you approach your clients. No one wants to be included with another person who is always down on themselves. Take some free time and read. Listen to encouraging podcasts from people who have been where you’ve been. Learn what others have done to succeed, and find how you can replicate this process by putting your own spin on the solution. Self-doubt can lead to a high hurdle, and you don’t want to jump that every day.

Lastly, Bradford suggests having a consistent feeling of being worth what you’re asking your customers and/or clients for. If you already know you’re work is essential to a specific niche and understand the price points in the market, don’t be afraid to ask for the money. This exhumes confidence in your brand and leans toward the self-doubt attribute. If you think you’re worth it, your customers will too.

3. Overcoming lack of action in business.

When it comes to building your successful business model there is an innate responsibility to want to be accepted in everything you try to do.

I spoke with Amanda Boleyn, founder of She Did It Her Way podcast. Boleyn’s sales training and empowerment influence has shifted mindsets and changed the behavior of more than 10,000 people in business. Boleyn has worked with top companies like AT&T, JPMorgan, Weight Watchers and Intel to help change strategy and influence employees.

“Women in business are more tapped into the possibilities of what could be and emotions that feel like fear and doubt,” she said. “While women may have this beautiful gift of insight, I believe we could allow it to talk ourselves out of taking action.”

The lack of action in your business can mean the difference between creating something which can help others and doing nothing. Emotional insight, while a great attribute to own, can either work for you or against you as you try to run your business.

Whether you’re a man or a woman, you have probably faced the dilemma of deciding on a risky step for your business. Humans are hardwired to take the path of least resistance, no matter what decision they’re faced with making. No one can understand the effects of taking action on a strategy which didn’t look like it was going to pan out, but after they completed it, they realized it revolutionized their business.

In a sense, you are working against your nature when it comes to taking risks. Risky decisions hold hands with failure and when one cannot measure success from the experience of another, it really comes down to their innate gut feeling and their power to make the hard choice anyway.

To empower your business model to succeed, you need to be taking action. These women aren’t advocating something foolish which would flush your business down the drain either. They are trying to share the facts of overcoming your own mind in order to execute what is already meant to be a successful business plan for your company.

Related: How to Succeed as a Female Leader Anywhere In the World

Think about all of the great companies — Microsoft, Apple, Virgin. All of these individuals stepped out on that thin ice and performed something out of their comfort zone. However, it wasn’t that they didn’t fail. As I said already, failure rides on the back of risk. You will never know until you try it, and that’s the idea.

Let’s not look at this article in terms of sex. If you’re a business owner, you’ve got to empower yourself before you can empower your business to succeed. In order to do this you must face the trials ahead with gusto and fervor, and learn to apply these three self-help tips to your business model.

A daily source of inspiration and information, Entrepreneur.com fuels the spectrum of game-changers that define what it means to be an entrepreneur today. That includes business leaders who launched something from nothing, content creators in the social influencer space, athletes pushing the boundaries of performance, and internal thought leaders innovating inside major corporations. Entrepreneur.com offers strategic insights and how-to guidance for the people that make things happen.

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One Visualization Trick You Can Use to Stay Confident Even When You're Broke

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In this video, Entrepreneur Network partner Ben Angel explains a common phenomenon with entrepreneurs and all working people: how our confidence levels tend to rise when we have more money in our bank accounts. Angel breaks down how our money situation isn’t just connected to the way we see ourselves — it’s an essential part of our self-image. When we have more money, we tend to be more confident, and when we have less, our confidence drops.

However, through visualization and practice, you can lessen the gap between those two identities so that you remain confident even when you have a little less, thus giving you a better chance to bounce back.

Click play to learn more.

Related: Feeling Lost? Here’s One Way to Get Back on Track.

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3 Relationships That Will Build the Tribe Every Entrepreneur Deserves

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Entrepreneurial success isn’t easy to achieve, and it’s even harder when you’re going it alone. Every entrepreneur needs to build a network of sustaining individuals who fill key relationship roles — — and LinkedIn is stepping in to help.

The business-centric social network is preparing to roll out Career Advice, a new service to connect its members with potential mentors. Users set preferences about the advice they’d like to give or receive, and LinkedIn suggests possible partnerships within their networks, schools or regions. Once connected, mentor and mentee can talk using LinkedIn’s messaging service.

How valuable are these connections? In a MicroMentor survey of more than 700 participants, entrepreneurs with mentors increased their business revenue by 83 percent; mentorless small businesses gained only 16 percent in the same period.

Life is a team sport, and we cannot succeed alone. Building healthy, supportive relationships is more than a cornerstone of life and dream fulfillment; nourishing ourselves with the words, advice, and caring of others is embedded in humanity’s very fabric.

A biological drive to connect

If I asked you to list humanity’s basic needs, you likely would include food, water and shelter. But that list would be incomplete without mention of social connections.

Matthew Lieberman, author of Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect, has explored the psychological association between trusting social relationships and personal and professional success. Fewer than 5 percent of the 60,000 leaders he examined for his book described themselves as adept at both forming strong relationships and turning in important business results. The takeaway? Many individuals cannot easily bring ideas to market, and so leave innovations to “wither.”

I echo Lieberman’s sentiments: Building networks and leveraging the talent of a team of gifted persons results in major benefits. When you recognize and celebrate the strengths of others, you uplift people and reduce stress-producing interactions. Instead of seeds of doubt, you plant seeds of energy — and watch your true potential and greatness evolve.

Related: Relationships Are What Leverages Hard Work Into Success

Who do you need to be in your corner?

Although you might be great at connecting with your team at work, you need to branch out beyond your company or field to find new friends. Think about everyone in your life who plays a pivotal part in helping you get from today to tomorrow. Ideally, you should have each of the following personalities in your corner:

1. The cheerleader. Doesn’t everyone deserve to look to the sidelines and see someone rooting just for them? When the chips are down, this person says “Everything’s going to be OK” and makes the tough stuff easier. He or she is excited for your achievements and urges you to work hard — and this verbal encouragement will help you achieve your goals, just as it can help athletes perform better. No better tireless advocate exists than the cheerleader.

One way to attract cheerleader types into your sphere is to show appreciation for others. Comment on your colleagues’ positive behaviors and contributions, especially if you’ve neglected to say anything thus far. Send a handwritten note to a colleague or friend to thank him or her. The more you emit cheerleader vibes, the more likely you’ll magnetize these much-needed friends to your own corner.

2. The mentor. When you’re dealing with a startup’s ups and downs, you need someone you can call who has navigated similar hurdles. Find a person who exhibits the traits you covet, and ask him or her to be your mentor. If you can engage at least once a month to share ideas and get advice, you’ll start to see your confidence and business acumen soar. Just ask Bill Gates: He credits his mentor, Warren Buffett, with teaching him to change the way he thinks and with igniting his interest in philanthropy.

Related: 5 Famous Business Leaders on the Power of Mentorship

Finding and securing a mentor takes both audacity and patience. First, write down the specific expectations you have for a mentoring relationship. Then, seek out mentors from all your in-person and online business and social networks. Ask for an exploratory meeting to discuss forming a formal mentorship relationship. If you can get a commitment, make sure each meeting covers what you both need.

3. The foxhole buddy. The foxhole buddy is someone you can count on to be with you day in and day out. You need a partner who will have your back every day and whose skills complement your own. Consider the partnership between Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, co-founders of Apple: Wozniak was the mastermind behind the tech giant’s first offerings, while Jobs focused on building the future of the company. Wozniak has said that a combination of technological expertise and business acumen like theirs is key to overall success.

You and your foxhole buddy should be the “yin” to each other’s “yang,” able to combine forces and make an unstoppable team. Make sure you’re both headed toward the same goal and focused on the same future so you can get there together.

Related: Finding the Right First Partner Can Benefit You Over a Lifetime in Business

Bring the smartest, most optimistic people with real-world experience into your inner circle. The more intentional you are in your relationships, the more your investment in social connections will pay business and spiritual dividends.

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3 Tips for Turning Your Buyer's Journey Into a Reliable Conversion

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The 2017 B2B Buyers Survey Report from Demand Gen combines the insights of 283 executives and directors to show how the buyer’s journey has changed over recent years. One big finding? Buyers, from both the B2B and B2C categories, no longer wait for companies to introduce themselves: 75 percent of respondents said that they now use more sources to research and evaluate their purchases — themselves.

Related: Preparing Your Sales Team to Go Global

With so many research avenues at their disposal, in fact, customers are free to form opinions about a brand before their first engagement with the company. Brands therefore have less control over the message customers receive, which more and more is determined by market feedback, word of mouth and social media.

The message, then, is that to engage customers in this evolving market, companies must go to them — but, fewer than you’d expect actually do that. According to research from Corporate Visions, only 58 percent of companies surveyed said they have strategies in place to match engagement techniques to different parts of the purchase journey.

Without a tailored approach that accounts for buyers in all stages of the purchase — from content consumption to sales interactions — brands cannot reliably engage their prospects.

Content’s value in the modern sales funnel

Modern buyers no longer want salespeople to do their thinking for them and instead prefer a cache of relevant content, with a salesperson operating more as an optional guide.

In fact, customers, who typically seem wary of brand content on principle, value educational content over sales-oriented content because they often assume that sellers will put their own interests ahead of objective information. Thus, those brands that provide customers with high-quality research materials before a purchase are those that earn buyers’ trust, so long as those materials don’t attempt to hide the company’s desire to make a sale.

Related: The Sales Secrets to Using Content Effectively at Each Stage of the Funnel

In terms of the content’s substance, customers ultimately have two fundamental questions when approaching buying: How did the product solve other clients’ problems and help them run more efficient, profitable operations, and what does this mean for me? Companies that provide content replete with data points and case studies that answer these questions maximize their content’s value.

Still, content doesn’t replace salespeople, because salespeople often produce some of the most valuable content: sales presentations. Buyers prefer sales presentations over blog posts, ebooks and case studies. While those other types of content are important, sales presentations provide direct, no-frills summaries of how the product will add value to customers’ lives, helping them more clearly understand what a specific solution can do for them.

How to blend content with human conversations

Given what content provides customers in today’s marketplace, when prospects finally turn away from content and turn to live salespeople, they expect more than regurgitated statistics and information. Forcing salespeople to offer a specific product in customer interactions actually lowers sales for that product and decreases post-sale customer satisfaction, primarily because customers find this approach both redundant and unhelpful.

Instead, the best salesepeople are not number pushers, but solution providers who listen to and use a customer’s own research to provide recommendations that directly address problems that that customer might not recognize on his or her own. Despite the tons of data and market intelligence available, sellers are still in the problem-solving, people business. And when customers have access to both great content and salespeople who can guide them — not carry them — companies can turn drawn-out buyer journeys into reliable conversions.

Ultimately, customers respect companies that share information. So it’s smart to empower them with knowledge via strong content, and then offer advice as the seller positions a company as an authority and directs customers where to turn at each point on the buying journey.

Companies that want to follow this process and provide the content and sales experience modern customers want should follow these three steps:

1. Give up on message control. Thanks to viral content and social media, companies no longer have tight control over their own images and messages. Don’t resent this fact, though. Embrace it by sharing more information about your company’s strengths, flaws and products. The more transparent your company and the more you utilize the insights that your salespeople provide — both in terms of what they bring to your content and the value they offer your customers — the more customers will believe your message.

In fact, a survey by Cohn & Wolfe revealed that 91 percent of global respondents polled said they believed that honest communication about products and services is an important quality for companies to display — in person and in messaging. Companies that break down barriers and encourage internal departments to share information freely, then, will find that they can more easily distribute a consistent and authentic image that engenders customer trust.

2. Select brand attributes to champion. Tell customers what your company stands for, and ensure those qualities shine through every transaction, exchange and customer service interaction. If customers don’t see the company as unique or personable, they’ll turn to a competitor with more clearly defined values. For example, the ecommerce clothing company Stitch Fix leans heavily on the intimacy and personalization it provides for its customers through its very visible founder and CEO, Katrina Lake, and understands that such custom attention is what differentiates it in the marketplace.

Even less “cool” companies, like B2B businesses and banks, can still appeal to customers’ human sides without straying off-brand, by letting charismatic people within the organization speak through blogs, video presentations and other content, in order to provide a voice and face customers can trust.

3. Put solutions above sales. In this age of transparency, companies with authentic missions to help customers enjoy more loyalty and financial success than competitors that put sales above solutions. Salespeople in particular who understand customer needs and recommend only content and products that directly address those concerns are essential. Not only will this increase the likelihood of a sale, but also create a believable brand story that fits with your disseminated content — one that customers will also share with others.

Patagonia, famous for its on-point branding, regularly seeks to identify potential issues with suppliers and distributors to ensure that it doesn’t work with anyone who fails to uphold its high standards for environmental friendliness. This proactive approach resonates with customers, showing Patagonia lovers that the company believes in its mission and puts its message above profits.

Related: Working Remotely or in the Field, Salespeople Still Need to be Part of Company Culture

Don’t let online noise tell your company story and leave customers wondering, while your salespeople linger in the shadows. By controlling your message, advocating your company’s particulars and value solutions above sales through a blend of content and salespeople, you can curate a brand image, marketing strategy and sales philosophy that builds customer trust and leads to long-term financial success.

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