6 min read

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How can one person be consistently profitable at CFD trading while another person can’t? We are all human, so it comes down to overcoming these very human mistakes.

I really believe it’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes as much as possible. — Warren Buffett

You don’t have to be the next Buffett or George Soros to win at trading CFDs. Profitable trading strategies are not rocket science. Like a lot of pursuits, the difference between making money with CFDs or not normally comes down to attitude and process.

This list is not exhaustive but if you can overcome these seven mistakes, it puts you on a better footing than nine out of 10 new CFD traders.

1. Not having a plan

Trading can be really thrilling, especially when you first start. The ease at which your account balance can grow and fall at the click of a button is fascinating. But this should be a phase you go through before taking trading more seriously. Some time and energy must be invested into trading education, which includes everything from technical analysis to order types to trading psychology. This education gives you the basis for forming a trade plan.

The trading plan needn’t be complicated, but it should cover at a minimum the following items:

  • Which markets you will trade
  • What time of day to trade
  • How long you will hold the trades
  • How much to risk per trade
  • A list of your best trading setups

Related: Trending Tech Stocks to Buy This Week? 4 To Know.

2. Not following the plan

The old saying goes “plan the trade and trade the plan.” It’s no good having a trading plan if you ignore it. Trading CFDs, Forex, cryptocurrencies or any other market in the same way consistently helps show whether you have a recipe for long-term success. If you do something different on every trade, you will logically get different results each time and have no way to gauge if the process you have will bring long-term success.

The best way to make sure you follow the plan is to have it laid out in front of you when you trade. Print out your plan and have it on your desk or if doing your bit for the rainforest, check an excel sheet with your basic trading plan and rules before every trade.

3. Overtrading

Overtrading means trading too much. Exactly how many trades is too much comes back to your trading style and your plan. The important takeaway is this: You should only trade when the opportunity exists and when your money management allows you to take the opportunity.

For example: Let’s say you are trading a breakout strategy on stock indices like the S&P 500. Your plan involves buying index CFDs when they break above a 20-day high. But indices are rangebound and there are minimal opportunities, so you see a forex pair jump 50 pips and you jump in on a momentum trade. This is overtrading, especially when it’s done many times over.

Overtrading normally comes out of boredom. To resolve this, you need to make sure you are not seeking your trills in trading.

4. Not using a stop loss

To maximize your upside in trading, you must also minimize your downside. It’s not that you must use a stop order, but you must know when to cut your losses. Not having a plan of where to exit the trade at a loss means you must think that winning the trade is guaranteed.

This mindset must change because winning any one trade is never guaranteed. Anything can happen to blow your position off-course. Having a stop loss is about expecting the unexpected and protecting your account.

5. Overleveraging

Overleveraging is not unique to CFDs or individual traders. Huge hedge funds like Long Term Capital Management, and more recently Archegos Capital, blew up because of margin calls on trades with excessive leverage. However, the misuse of leveraged CFDs is commonplace.

Too many traders think about the leverage ratio offered by the CFD broker, but this misses the point. What matters is making sure that you use the correct position sizing. If you set the size of your trade and your stop loss so that you are risking 2% or less of your account per trade, it won’t matter if your broker offers 30:1 or 200:1 because you will not be overleveraged.

Related: 2021: Make it Your (Mid) Year of Financial Freedom

6. Revenge trading

Revenge trading happens after a losing streak. Again, we are only human, and we all feel the same kinds of human emotion. After a series of losing trades, we try to “take revenge” on the market for giving us the losing trades. This is done by placing a big trade to try and win back what was stolen from us. Of course, the market is not a conscious being and is not doing anything “to us.” Because this kind of trade is basically a gamble and normally poorly thought out, it often fails and exacerbates the losing streak.

The two most effective ways to avoid revenge trading are to take a break from trading after a set amount of losing trades before the temptation sets it — or to automatically lower your stake size in your trades after a set number of losses.

7. Complacency

This is the opposite issue to revenge trading because it happens after a winning streak. There is nothing quite like the feeling of “I am a genius” after a series of winning trades. As human beings, our brain looks at the fact we have won all these trades and concludes we cannot lose. It’s at this moment that complacency leads us to place unplanned trades or increase our position size to something we really aren’t ready for. The complacency leads us to break our trading rules.

The same techniques to avoid revenge trading can be applied to overcoming complacency. Take a break after a winning streak in the markets. Play golf, do some triathlon training or whatever it might be. Examine what you may or may not have done differently in the trades that won versus those that didn’t win. 

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It’s also nice that you can take advantage of their liquidity and buy and sell shares of REITs on a stock exchange instead of buying and selling property directly. If you are interested in these types of investments, check out our list of 3 REITs to buy and hold for the long term below.

4 min read

This story originally appeared on MarketBeat

Buy and hold investing certainly has its advantages, but you need to make sure you are choosing only the best stocks for your portfolio to ride out any volatility. If you select too many high-risk companies for your portfolio, you might find that it is difficult to sit tight over the years during declines. On the other hand, choosing stable securities such as REITs is a nice way to generate competitive total returns over the long term without having to worry as much about big drawdowns in your accounts.

Real estate investment trusts, or REITs, are attractive to buy and hold investors for several reasons. They typically compensate investors with high dividend yields that are secured thanks to stable rents from long-term leases. REITs also provide an easy way to diversify your portfolio since they offer exposure to real estate. It’s also nice that you can take advantage of their liquidity and buy and sell shares of REITs on a stock exchange instead of buying and selling property directly. If you are interested in these types of investments, check out our list of 3 REITs to buy and hold for the long term below.

Federal Realty Investment Trust (NYSE:FRT)

This is a high-quality REIT that specializes in the ownership, management, development, and redevelopment of shopping centers, street retail properties, and mixed-use developments. With properties that are concentrated in some of the biggest metropolitan markets in the country including Los Angeles, Washington D.C., New York, and Silicon Valley, Federal Realty Investment Trust is a great option for the long term because it is focused on only owning properties in highly desirable areas with strong growth. That means the company has tons of properties in affluent areas that retailers want to lease, which is a strong selling point.

While you might be thinking that retail is going to have big problems over the next few years due to the rise of e-commerce, Federal Realty Investment Trust has a lot of tenants like grocery stores, restaurants, fitness centers, and other service-based businesses to attract people to their properties. It’s also worth mentioning that the increasingly competitive retail industry is forcing retailers to only go with the best properties, which is another great reason to consider adding this REIT. Federal Realty Investment Trust currently offers investors a 3.8% dividend yield and is a fine choice for buy and hold investors.

Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE:IIPR)

If you are a big believer in the burgeoning U.S. cannabis industry for the long-term, Innovative Industrial Properties is a nice choice. It’s the only NYSE-listed REIT that specializes in medical-use cannabis growers. Medical cannabis is already a multi-billion-dollar industry that is expected to grow to roughly $34 billion by the year 2025. When you consider how much space these growers need to harvest their product, owning shares of a company with a portfolio of 66 properties and 5.4 million square feet specifically intended for that makes a lot of sense.

Investors should also consider the fact that more states are expected to legalize cannabis use in the coming years, which would be another positive for Innovative Industrial Properties. New tenants and more properties will allow the company to continue to increase the dividend, which has grown by over 60% in the past 3 years. This REIT currently offers investors a 3.16% dividend yield and is a smart way to play the cannabis industry for the long term.

STAG Industrial, Inc. (NYSE:STAG)

Finally, we have STAG Industrial, a REIT that is a great way to play the trend in e-commerce growth. STAG invest in warehouses across the country and about 40% of its portfolio is leased to e-commerce tenants. We know how important large warehouses are for e-commerce companies as they fulfill millions of orders every day, and STAG Industrial’s properties offer approximately 92.3 million rentable square feet. The company’s biggest tenant is Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), which tells investors a lot about the quality of this company’s portfolio.

It’s also worth mentioning that STAG Industrial is one of the only REITs that offer monthly dividends, which is great for buy and hold investors that want constant payouts. What’s also impressive about this REIT is that it has grown its dividend every year since going public back in 2011, a testament to its financial strength. STAG Industrial currently offers a 4.11% dividend yield and is a great addition to any long-term portfolio.

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4 min read

This story originally appeared on MarketBeat

With cybersecurity in the news lately, are stocks like Fortinet (NASDAQ: FTNT) well-positioned for gains?

The stock rebounded Thursday, along with the broader market. 

In addition to the hacking of the Colonial pipeline, the growing work-from-home movement shed light on cybersecurity risks for enterprise. This week, President Joe Biden signed an executive order designed to strengthen the nation’s cybersecurity. 

Fortinet has specialized in core firewall protection, but it’s expanding into a new networking technology called SD-WAN. 

Analysts have great expectations for the company for the next two years. Unlike many companies whose revenue and net income hit the skids in 2020, Fortinet saw annual earnings growth of 35% and revenue growth of 20%. 

This year, Wall Street expects earnings per share of $3.74, up 12%. Next year, that’s expected to be $4.35, a gain of 16%.

At the company’s virtual investor day in March, Fortinet said it expects revenue to reach $4 billion by 2023. 

SD-WAN is short for “software-defined, wide-area network” technology. It serves a need very much in demand these days: Connecting a company’s various offices, as well as at-home workers. 

Corporations Change Approach To Security

This business line ramped up fast, with events of 2020 boosting Fortinet’s SD-WAN revenue. Billings in the category nearly doubled, to $355 million. 

Enterprise customers are changing their approach to cybersecurity and connectivity. That bodes well for Fortinet, whose firewall products have built-in SD-WAN. 

In addition, the SD-WAN rollout is a good move for Fortinet, as firewall business is slowing industrywide, as more and more enterprise users switch to cloud storage. 

Fortinet’s trade has been choppy since its earnings report after the close on April 29. However, much of that chop was due to a decline in the broader market. Fortinet, as a large cap, is part of the S&P 500 index, so it’s appropriate to gauge its performance to the broader index. 

Fortinet is down 2.78% in May, trading Thursday at around $198. As a point of comparison, the S&P 500 is down just 1.54% this month. 

That’s not a big enough discrepancy to become concerned about, especially with a company that’s situated in a growing industry, and one that’s in the spotlight these days. 

What Does Chip Shortage Mean?

One potential headwind is the global semiconductor shortage. In the April earnings call, chief financial officer Keith Jensen addressed that challenge. He discussed the products themselves within Fortinet’s inventory mix.

“One thing about Fortinet, in addition to having different form factors, is the inventory balances that we carry, a two times inventory turns, you’re looking at basically six months of inventory that we’re carrying on our balance sheet,” he said.

However, he acknowledged that supply chain issues related to chips will be a constant this year and into next year. “But I think in terms of when we sit down and talk about our expectations for the year, I think we have a fairly good understanding of how to work that in,” he added. 

Although this stock has a lot going for it, this is not the right time to buy, especially with the broader market in a correction. Downside volume has been lower than upside volume lately, which is a great sign for the stock. However, more selling could be ahead. 

There’s a great deal of chatter right now about investors being spooked by inflation, but the reality is: The stock rallied 42.37% over the past year and 32.65% year-to-date. After those rallies, it’s not surprising to see institutional investors take some profits and prepare for the next run-up.

The industry outlook is good, as well. Rivals in the firewall space include Palo Alto Networks (NYSE: PANW) and Checkpoint Software (NASDAQ: CHKP). Smaller cybersecurity stocks include Identiv (NASDAQ: INVE) and Proofpoint, which is being acquired by private equity firm Thomas Bravo.
Look For Fortinet To Post Double-Digit Earnings Growth In Next Two Years

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Shares of Wolverine Worldwide are down more than 10% from their recent high and in deep correction despite better than expected earnings and positive guidance.

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This story originally appeared on MarketBeat

Wolverine Worldwide, Inc Forecasts Strong Rebound 

Wolverine Worldwide, Inc (NYSE: WWW) and the shoe industry at large didn’t have a fantastic 2020. Like other retailers of apparel, there was little impetus for demand due to social distancing and work-from-home trends. At least in the beginning. Now, more than a year into the crisis, not only is the shoe industry at large posting a nice little rebound but the trends are accelerating. Assuming the reopening continues unabated we expect to see Wolverine World Wide outpace even its own updated and very positive guidance. 

“We believe 2021 will be a breakthrough year for the Company, and our first-quarter performance was an excellent start,” said Blake W. Krueger, Wolverine Worldwide’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer “ … Our brands are well-positioned in trending, performance-oriented product categories like running, hiking, and work; and their momentum remains strong. We anticipate growth to continue to accelerate moving forward.”

Wolverine World Wide Falls On Market-Beating Results 

Wolverine World Wide had a great quarter and one in which sequential growth continued for the 4th quarter. The $510.7 million in net revenue is up 16.3% from last year and beat the consensus if only by a slim 25 basis point margin. Gains were driven by strength in the company’s two top brands as well as eCommerce. The Merrel brand saw its sales surge 25% while Saucony sales jumped 55% and eCommerce 84%. 

The revenue gains were translated into higher margins as well and despite the impact of upward price pressures. The gross margin widened by 210 basis points GAAP and 290 basis points adjusted to hit 4.3% and drive operating gains of larger proportion. The operating margins widened by 760 bps GAAP and 320 bps adjusted to drive significant improvement in earnings. At the GAAP level, the $0.45 in EPS is up 200% from last year and beat the consensus by 1000 basis points. At the adjusted level the $0.40 in reported earnings is up 55% but missed consensus by a penny, that’s the only bad news we could find. 

Guidance for the remainder of the year is equally positive if a little light in regards to earnings. The company upped its target for revenue to $2.24 to $2.3 billion versus the $2.23 consensus which is estimating 25% to 28% YOY growth. The adjusted EPS target was also increased but to a range that brackets the consensus with the consensus above the mid-point of the range. In our view, the guidance but possibly cautious in light of our expectation for the economic rebound. The Fed’s GDPNow tool is tracking Q2 GDP in the double-digit range and we think GDP could accelerate from there before it cools off. 

Wolverine Worldwide Could Increase Its Dividend 

Wolverine Worldwide is not a well-recognized dividend-grower but it does have a history of increases. Based on the Q1 results, the outlook, and the balance sheet we think the company could not only sustain its current payment but increase it as well. Not only is the payout ratio very low but free cash flow is good and on the rise too. The company paid down a substantial amount of debt over the past year that has improved liquidity, leverage, coverage, and FCF. If these trends continue the next dividend increase could be substantial as well. 

The Technical Outlook: Wolverine Worldwide Enters Correction

Shares of Wolverine Worldwide shed more than 8% and are on the verge of a deeper correction because of the Q1 earnings. The earnings weren’t bad, nor was the outlook, but what they were was not enough to spark buying in the face of a broader market sell-off. What this means is share prices for this stock are going to continue falling until finding a firmer level of support that can sustain price action until market conditions improve. In our view, this stock could fall another 10% to 12% before hitting major support but, if it does, we’d be buyers. At that price point, near $34 to $36, the stock would be trading about 17.5X to 18.5X its earnings at the low end of the range and present a much better value-to-yield.

Wolverine Worldwide, Inc Is A Buy On Post-Earnings Weakness 

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5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

CEOs are not told the truth about the most vital corporate issues. The reason is simple: No employee wants to be the messenger who’s shot. Unfortunately, there is a high price to keeping the truth from the CEO — errors spread like a virus in the corporate body. One of the most malignant viruses is the high-placed, incompetent executive who leads a charmed life.

Don’t cross an incompetent employee

A former client recently said to me, “beware of crossing an incompetent employee; every such person has survived because he fulfills a purpose for someone else.” This comment caused me to reflect on the underlying reasons for a CEO to protect an employee who’s widely known to be incompetent at best and harmful at worst.  

One reason is obvious — a dirty secret. For example, the incompetent employee might have knowledge of financial misdeeds. Explicitly or implicitly, there might be a payoff for silence. If the person is capable of holding that leverage over their CEO, what could they do to you?

Related: 4 Ways Effective Leaders Deal With Incompetent People

The incompetent employee might be the CEO’s “security blanket”

A few years ago, I was advising a distressed company. One member of the executive team was clearly not equipped for his position. I asked his colleague on the executive team if he had addressed the problem with the CEO. The colleague became agitated and responded that he had raised the issue but the CEO had responded with such hostility that he feared returning to the subject.

Confident of my relationship with the CEO, I decided to take the bull by the horns. I was polite but firm and, I thought, persuasive. The CEO listened intently and assured me he would consider taking action. As I was leaving his office, the executive in question entered and asked if he could bring the CEO lunch. When I saw the CEO’s face, I knew my mission had failed. He was suddenly more relaxed and comfortable. The CEO did not need his employee to bring him lunch, but he needed him for comfort and security. The executive had been with him for years,  was dedicated to him, was totally reliant on him, and the executive was safety.

Later I extrapolated from this incident, and others I have observed, another reason why many incompetent executives are protected by CEOs. These executives have no power base in the company — no one respects them. An executive who is totally beholden to their patron will always do their bidding, thereby providing a reliable source of support and predictability for their boss. 

Related: 3 Signs That Managers, Not Employees, Are the Problem With Performance Management

The benefit to the CEO is a cancer to the organization

The benefit the executive provides, however, is a cancer to the organization: The incompetent officer serves the CEO, not the company. The CEO will give the employee latitude and perks denied to others. This disparate treatment and these inconsistent standards undermine trust among other employees — trust that’s vital if they’re expected to perform to their highest potential.

According to a Harvard Business Review article by Ron Ashkenas, subordinates respond with fear and sycophancy “if the boss is insecure or capricious.” To keep the executive happy, the CEO might even allow them to meddle in areas that are outside their nominal skill sets. Out of self-preservation, other employees fear challenging the executive or confronting the CEO, so the virus spreads throughout the organization. 

CEOs tend to blame external factors for their failures, such as a confluence of bad luck (the “perfect storm”), unreasonable lenders, the economy and so on (I have heard them all). But CEOs should recognize that often the fault lies not in the stars but in themselves. This is a hard message for them to accept, but the success of a company depends on the CEO’s willingness to act responsibly.

A CEO can overcome the problem

It is difficult for human beings to recognize their faults and weaknesses. Identifying the “security blanket” issue and taking the necessary steps is a challenge for a CEO. But there are clear indicators of problems if the CEO is not willingly blind: The “security blanket” employee will lack the respect of their peers and those with whom they interact. 

Let’s go deeper. What about a CEO who lacks even this self-awareness and ignores the signs?  Although personal growth would be ideal, it is not a programmatic solution. I suggest that the solution might be found by addressing the root of the problem — the isolation and insecurity of the CEO. The underlying problem can be overcome by having a trusted sounding board. 

Related: What Kind of Leader Are You Based on Your Emotional Intelligence?

An active, independent board would be best, but a confident advisor could fill the role. As Bill George explains in his article “Why Leaders Lose Their Way,” “Reliable mentors are entirely honest and straight with us, defining reality and developing action plans.” Neither the board nor the advisor should be employees or “yes men.”  They need to tell the CEO what they will not tolerate their employees to say, and what they hide from themselves. 

At the end of the day, however, no method will succeed unless the CEO is committed to the ultimate good of the company and possesses at least a modicum of self-awareness. The CEO must listen to their sounding board, examine their motivations and fears frankly, and then take the steps necessary to combat the virus lurking in their moldy security blanket.

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Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) continues to charge higher on higher volume after a split result on its earnings report. The utility giant delivered earnings that beat analysts’ expectations.

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This story originally appeared on MarketBeat

Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) continues to charge higher on higher volume after a split result on its earnings report. The utility giant delivered earnings that beat analysts’ expectations. The $1.26 EPS beat estimates for $1.24 and was a 10% year-over-year (YOY) gain. This was particularly significant since the company reported a four cents per share loss in their commercial renewables business due to the severe winter storms in Texas in February.  

However in what is becoming a bit of a too-familiar story, the company missed its consensus revenue target. The $6.15 billion was just 0.9% lower than estimates. And although this makes it four straight quarters that Duke has come in below revenue expectations, the income was 3% higher YOY.  

Investing in utility stocks is practical, but it’s not always very exciting. You’re getting defensive stocks that tend to perform well even when the economy is struggling. And in this case, when the economy is growing, utility stocks rise as well.  

This is a situation that investors can see playing out with Duke Energy which continues to earn its placee as a leader among utility stocks. DUK stock is up 25% in the last 12 months; it’s up 14% in 2021; and the stock is up 49% since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Forward Guidance Remains On Track 

As the economy begins to strengthen, analysts are paying attention to a company’s forward guidance. If that’s the case with DUK stock, then investors have to like what they heard. The company reaffirmed its yearly estimate of between $5 and $5.30 adjusted EPS with a growth rate through 2025 of 5% to 7%. 

An ESG Investment You Can Bank On 

By now, you’re familiar with environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing. The phrase involves companies taking an active role in doing good things for the world around them. If you focus on the first word “environmental” then you can understand why DUK stock is so appealing. The company has plans to triple its renewable energy portfolio by 2030. And the company will be accomplishing that while delivering a 50% to 70% reduction in active coal units by 2030.  

Location, Location, Location 

One differentiating factor for Duke Energy at the moment is location. There were many skeptics that doubted the flight of Americans from select U.S. states. But the recent information from the U.S. Census has left no doubt. Population is shifting and Duke primarily operates in the Midwest and eastern states, including Florida and the Carolinas.  

These areas have gained during the pandemic. However, they have also been the target of upwardly mobile millennials prior to the pandemic. That’s a demographic that’s started to buy homes, which will be another catalyst for a utility stock.  

And Then There’s That Dividend 

Another reason to buy utility stocks is for the dividend. And Duke Energy offers one that’s among the best of the bunch. Although dividend investors know they shouldn’t assign too much importance to a dividend yield, Duke does offer an impressive 3.76% yield. However, more importantly, the company has increased its dividend for the last 14 consecutive years. Plus, over the last three years, Duke has increased its dividend by an average of 9.46%.  

Duke Energy Remains a Buy 

Over the next decade, Duke is well-positioned to be part of the country’s transition to renewable energy. And it stands to benefit from a renewed investment in the nation’s energy grid.  

Even with the company’s stock brushing up against the high end of analysts’ 12-month price target, DUK stock remains a solid performer. I expect to see improved price targets that will support a higher stock price. And investors will still have the opportunity to collect the company’s dividend.  

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6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Once upon a time, there was a young and scrappy entrepreneur who sent an email to a famous billionaire he didn’t know and ended up getting a $1 million investment.

This isn’t a fairy tale; it’s what happened when I sat at my desk one evening and decided to take a shot and email Mark Cuban. I’ve always admired his ideas and his approach to business, and I thought he’d appreciate my startup, SAVRpak, which helps keep takeout, packaged foods and produce fresher for longer. So I found his address, dropped him a note, and forgot all about it, thinking there was little-to-no chance the man who stars on ABC’s Shark Tank and owns the Dallas Mavericks would rush to answer my email.

A few hours later, while cooking dinner for some friends, I pulled out my phone to check something and, by force of habit, took a quick look at my inbox. And there it was. A reply from Mark Cuban. It was just a few words long, but I didn’t care; it was an invitation to an engagement, an engagement that, in my case, ended with Cuban becoming my investor.

I’ll be honest: If this wasn’t my story, and if I had heard the very tale I’m telling you now, I might’ve dismissed it as a one-off, some crazy fantasy that never really happens in the real world to guys like me. But having lived through this thrilling and deeply instructive experience, allow me to offer five pieces of advice on how you, too, can take the sort of initiative that might end with a very famous investor and a very large check in the bank.

Take the chance!

It might sound obvious, but it’s not. Anyone looking over my shoulder as I drafted that initial note to Cuban might have very well advised me not to waste my time. Such a critic might’ve noted that cold-emailing celebrity billionaires is hardly the most prudent and logical approach, and such a critic would’ve been right. But business, like life, isn’t always rational, and sometimes just jumping right in and making an ask defies logic and rewards the bold. So, as the old and wise slogan goes, just do it.

Related: Black-Owned Vegan Burger Brand Lands $300,000 Investment on ‘Shark Tank’; Reached Six-Figure Revenues Within 24 Hours

Treat it like a sport

How to do it, however, is an entirely different question, one that I can answer with great joy: Treat it like a sport. There’s a reason why so many business people are fond of using athletic metaphor, like saying a deal is a home run or that the negotiations are on the five-yard line. It’s because capitalism, like sport, is, at its best, a respectful and rule-bound, yet playful and muscular competition. My conversation with Cuban is a case in point: One or two emails into our conversations, the famously outspoken investor tried to rattle my confidence by dismissing the potential worth of my business. I remained polite, of course — you’d be foolish not to when talking to a man who knows a thing or two about business — but shot back with my own reply, which not only delivered facts and figures I thought Cuban should know but also showed him that I can play the game.

Related: The Shocking 4-Letter Word Mark Cuban Uttered on the Set of Shark Tank

Have a conversation

This leads me to my third point: When engaging a high-profile potential investor, you’re not really pitching; you’re having a conversation. Once Cuban was convinced that I was someone who knew his business and had the wherewithal to stand his ground and champion his own cause, he asked excellent and insightful questions and made great suggestions that I happily followed. I didn’t just try to sell him on my company; I listened, and this engagement is what took our exchange from a random back-and-forth online to a real and fruitful business relationship.

Of course, in business, like in, say, dating, you can hardly get very far unless you have a pretty good idea of what the other side likes. Before writing Cuban that first note, I spent a good bit of time reading up on him and getting a good sense of how he approached deal-making. I learned how he liked to communicate and what he considered to be an utter waste of time, which helped me hit the right notes early and make our interaction a meaningful one.

Related: 13 Million-Dollar Businesses That Turned Down ‘Shark Tank’ Deals

Have fun

Again, like dating, make sure everyone is having fun. For example, when Cuban wrote and tweaked me by suggesting that my company wasn’t worth as much as I believed, I didn’t respond with an indignant missive or a spreadsheet dense with numbers. I just sent him a sad face emoji before writing back a short and polite response stating my opinion. That silly little gesture isn’t the sort of tactic they teach you at business school, but it told Cuban a lot about me and how I approach life, showing him that I’m serious about business but also a down-to-earth guy who isn’t above a bit of banter when the occasion calls for it. This is exactly the sort of realness that moves a relationship forward fast, even — or especially — when the person you’re trying to court is one of the world’s busiest and most sought-after investors.

Follow these lessons, and you might not land a business partner of Cuban’s caliber, but I guarantee you’ll do much, much better than you would have otherwise. Trust me: If you take chances and have fun, do your work and stand your ground, engage and educate and enchant, you, too, will have your happily ever after. 

Related: The One Investing Tip From Billionaire Mark Cuban That’s Perfect For Entrepreneurs

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Putting your effort in upfront and collecting the returns forever after is the foundation of financial freedom.

12 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Passive income has long been the holy grail for entrepreneurs looking to free up their time, untethering the cord of daily duties and responsibilities from the potential to generate healthy monthly revenues. While the importance of passive income isn’t often doubted, the monumental hurdle often required to achieve a respectable amount of cash flow from automatically-recurring revenue streams is often too great for most to bear.

Clearly, it’s hard to generate passive income. It requires the upfront investment of a significant amount of our time, usually with little to no returns for extended periods. We can go months and even years without a single dollar produced from passive income activities, making even the most astute entrepreneur shake their head in sheer and utter frustration.

The truth of the matter is that time is far more valuable than money. While money can be spent and earned, time can only be spent once, then it’s gone forever. As we age and grow older, we understand the importance of time and being able to freely choose what we do with those precious moments that we do have in life.

Related: 11 Ways to Make Money While You Sleep


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A developer asked the businessman for permission to create a video game about SpaceX and finally received a response.

2 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

There is no doubt that perseverance does pay off. A video game creator set out to get Elon Musk’s attention and he succeeded! After 154 attempts to reach the CEO of SpaceX via Twitter , the enthusiastic programmer got a response.

The independent developer Lyubomir Vladimirov , promised to publish the same message for the daily businessman for a year. His intention was to ask Musk for permission to develop a game inspired by SpaceX , his space exploration company.

Dear Elon. I am a game developer and I am making a game about the colonization of Mars with you and SpaceX. If you think it’s cool, all I need is a ‘go ahead’ to use your name and logos. I will post this every day for a year or until I get a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. 154/365 ” , says the video game creator’s post.

After 22 weeks of prodding, the CEO of Tesla finally heeded him and answered Vladimirov’s request.

“You can steal our name / logos and we probably won’t sue you ,” the Space CEO replied from his Twitter account.



After receiving the long-awaited response from Elon Musk , the tweeter promised that a good part of the video game’s profits would go to SpaceX .

“I want to give 80% of the profits from the game to SpaceX. In that way, the game will not only serve the important purpose of entertaining people and arousing their interest in Mars, but will also help Elon Musk and SpaceX to achieve this, ” wrote the programmer, who promised to show more progress soon.

Vladimirov has shown that he wasted no time while waiting for Musk’s permission. In his profile you can find several videos showing the interface of the game.





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5 min read

This story originally appeared on MarketBeat

U.S. mid-cap stocks are off to a strong start in 2021. The S&P 400 mid cap index is up 17% year-to-date compared to 11% for its large cap counterpart the S&P 500.

Many investors like to buy mid-cap companies because they reside in the sweet spot of the capitalization spectrum. Not too big, and not too small. This is where we find mature companies that are well-established in their respective markets but still have a lot of room to grow.

Here we highlight three undervalued mid cap companies that have a good chance of graduating to large cap status.

Is the Badger Meter Pullback a Buy Opportunity?

Not long ago Badger Meter (NYSE:BMI) was considered a small cap stock. Today, the $2.7 billion stock is hanging out with the mid cap crowd and may be on its way to the big leagues.

The Wisconsin-based company makes a range of products that measure water flow and related technology solutions. Its offerings are used by customers around the world to optimize water flow and be a part of the world’s push towards sustainable water usage.

Badger Meter is considered the global leader in the so-called ‘smart water’ market. Its smart water metering and flow measurement technologies are seeing record demand from utilities and industrial customers. In the first quarter of this year, the company posted 9% top line growth and exited the period with a record backlog of smart water product orders. The gross margin is also moving in the right direction and led to 15% EPS growth last quarter.

Just as the pandemic has accelerated many pre-existing trends like e-commerce and telemedicine, it has also sped up the adoption of digital smart water solutions. Water safety and security is an increasingly important issue for utilities and municipalities—and sales of Badger Meter’s electronic solutions should continue to benefit from these trends.

Badger Meter has a leading position in a smart water market that is viewed as an oligopoly. Over the next few years, software and electronics will increasingly be used to monitor water quality and for automated water reading in many parts of the world. This translates to international expansion opportunities for Badger Meter. The recent $20 pullback to the low $90’s screams buy opportunity for this mid cap growth winner.

Is Herbalife Nutrition Stock Undervalued?

On February 18th Herbalife Nutrition (NYSE:HLF) stock gapped lower after the company reported fourth quarter results that fell short of the Street’s expectations. Quarterly sales grew 16% but adjusted EPS fell 7% year-over year.

The market punished the stock in a classic case of nearsightedness. The bigger picture here is that Herbalife had its best year yet in 2020. Despite COVID-19 making in-person meetings a challenge for the company’s army of independent entrepreneurs, annual sales were the highest they’ve ever been.

Herbalife is benefitting from increased consumer interest in health and nutrition in the wake of the pandemic. It’s a trend that is only likely to get stronger as people stay vigilant about healthy eating and exercise habits to build immunity in the post-COVID world.

And as global employment trends improve people will have more money to spend on Herbalife’s weight management, specialty nutrition, fitness, skin, and hair care products. The fourth quarter overreaction also glazed over management’s raised guidance for 2021 and a new $1.5 billion stock buyback program.

This week Herbalife reported strong first-quarter 2021 results that got value investors rethinking the stock. Sales jumped 19% to $1.5 billion, and EPS jumped 71% to $1.42 (albeit with easy comparison to the prior-year quarter). Still, both figures beat the consensus expectations, and management once again upgraded its full-year outlook.

Herbalife stock gapped higher in heavy volume on the Q1 news which accompanied by a timely press release about 28 NFL draft picks having been trained with Herbalife products. At just 13x forward earnings, investors will want to make this undervalued mid cap a high draft priority.

Is Integra LifeSciences Stock a Buy?

Integra LifeSciences (NASDAQ:IART) is a $6.3 billion health care company that makes medical devices for neurosurgery, orthopedic joint reconstruction, and wound repair. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know that this stock is undervalued.

The 25x forward P/E is well below that of the medical device industry average as is the 4.5x price-to-sales ratio. Integra LifeSciences is trading near an all-time high but has pulled back this week after touching $77.40. The down volume has dwindled in each of the last four days since May 3rd suggesting the selloff is losing steam.

Buying the mid-cap here would give investors inexpensive exposure to a growing medical device company with an expanding product lineup and international growth prospects. Mainly through acquisition, Integra has broadened its product line in sync with trends in hospital demand. It bought regenerative medicine company ACell to strengthen its regenerative tissue and wound care product portfolio. Regenerative medicine is an area that is expected to be a strong source of growth for the company as spine and orthopedic elective procedures resume post-COVID.

Integra’s largest overseas market is the Asia-Pacific region which is seeing strong demand for surgical equipment and products as hospital operating conditions begin to normalize. Last quarter Integra posted double digit revenue growth in both China and Japan. These two markets along with other parts of Asia will be key growth avenues.

Look for Integra to capitalize on its international growth opportunities and derive growth from more value-added acquisitions that complement its product portfolio. Given the momentum in the business, it won’t be long before this mid cap stock trades in the $80’s.

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