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Avoid common mistakes and make iron-clad models for your business.


2 min read

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.


Businesses need money. Crazy idea, right? Well, when you’re planning for the future of your business, it helps to use financial models to understand exactly where your money is coming and going — especially if you’re hoping to attract investors. But it’s easy to make mistakes on financial models, or just feel way over your head. Financial Modeling for Beginners in Excel aims to help you overcome the challenges and start making perfect financial models in Excel, no matter what your skill level.

Bryan Hong (4.3/5-star instructor rating) leads this quick-hitting, four-hour course. Hong is the author of the 101 Excel Series paperback books and has been an IT Software Developer for more than ten years. He holds several Microsoft certifications, including Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD): Web Developer, Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS): Windows Applications, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), and Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA).

Regardless of your skill level, Hong will use this course to give you all the must-know information about how to build a financial model in Excel. You’ll increase your knowledge and become an advanced financial modeler in just a matter of hours. You’ll see exactly how a financial model is used with real-life examples, become more productive using Excel’s tools, and create your own financial model from scratch that you can use as a foundation to build from. By the end of the course, you’ll know how to avoid the most common mistakes and make the best financial models possible for your business. Potential investors, partners, and other team members will thank you.

Start making better financial models in Excel without overhauling your process. Normally $200, you can get Financial Modeling for Beginners in Excel for 90 percent off at just $19.99 for a limited time.

Prices subject to change.

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Go off the grid without really going off the grid.


2 min read

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.


Summer is just about here and you’ve earned yourself a vacation. The business will be fine if you head away for a few days so go find the rest and relaxation you need. However, if you are going off the grid, it’s still important to stay safe. That means having a way to stay in contact with the civilized world, especially if you’re going off on your own. Whether you’re traveling to a distant beach or heading to the mountains for a few days, make sure you have a Radacat C2 Messenger: Off-Grid GPS Tracker with you.

The Radacat C2 Messenger is an off-grid messenger that might just save your life one day. It’s a mini GPS tracking device that doubles as a messenger and a tracker by connecting to your mobile phone. Even if you’re way off-grid with no cell service, Radacat allows you to use offline GPS, send text and voice messages, and provides real-time locations to other Radacat C2 users. (They come in a two-pack so you’ll always have someone you know on the other end.)

The Radacat C2 requires no cell signal, monthly fees, or WiFi. It’s compact and easy to carry with you anywhere and offers more than 36 hours of continuous working time on a single charge. (More if you only turn it on when you’re fully off the grid.) It has up to a six-mile range, depending on obstructions and interference. Perfect for hiking, skiing, cycling, international travel, and more, the Radacat C2 is a smart way to stay safe this summer.

Don’t go fully off the grid. Normally $289, you can get a Radacat C2 Messenger: Off-Grid GPS Tracker two-pack for 20 percent off at just $230 today.

Prices subject to change.

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5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


If you’re like most modern companies, you’ve at least flirted with the idea of starting a search engine optimization (SEO) campaign. Maybe SEO has allowed you to capture a massive stream of inbound traffic and currently represents the most successful element of your marketing strategy. Or maybe you’re somewhere in between. 

The appeal of SEO is pretty obvious. Rank higher in search engines, and you’ll get more inbound traffic. More inbound traffic leads to more revenue. And because SEO is relatively inexpensive, the return on investment (ROI) is often favorable even in merely decent campaigns.  

That said, there are some important downsides to SEO that you must consider. Notably, SEO takes a long time to develop and show its true results.  

So what are you supposed to do if you’re not seeing results? Should you keep investing, waiting and hoping for the best? Or do you withdraw and cut your losses? And if you must withdraw, when’s the best time to do it? 

The SEO dilemma 

This leads us to the central SEO dilemma. For SEO to work long-term, you have to keep investing in it for months — and sometimes years — despite seeing little to no results early on. In other words, you have to have faith in the strategy and keep pushing for further development. Considering the near-universal value of SEO, this is worth pushing for.  

At the same time, it makes no sense to remain complacent with a strategy that isn’t bringing value to your organization. If you invested in SEO for 10 years with no results, most people would consider it a bad financial move.  

So where do you draw the line? At what point do you consider calling it quits?  

Reasonable timeframes for SEO 

Before we can answer that question, we need to establish expectations for the timeline of SEO. How long should it take for a “normal” SEO campaign to develop?  

This question is hard to answer, since it depends on so many variables. Campaigns may take longer or shorter depending on their budget, the industry, the quality of the SEO campaign and other factors. For our purposes, we’ll consider an experienced SEO campaign manager with a mid-sized business in a competitive (but not ridiculously so) industry). Additionally, the budget is neither restrictive nor indulgent. 

Related: Why You’re Hurting Your Bottom Line If You Only Care About the Bottom Line

Realistically, you should start to see some momentum within a few weeks of starting your campaign, and definitely within the first two months. You’ll notice your domain authority ticking upward (especially if you haven’t done any work on this yet), you’ll see measurable traffic increases and you should start climbing the search engine results pages (SERPs) for your target phrases. If you don’t see any measurable progress after two months, that’s a bad sign.  

After three to six months, you should see much more progress. Even in a competitive industry, you should see yourself become a formidable player. If you’re still seeing minimal progress after six months of work, something is seriously wrong.  

Alternatives to quitting 

Here’s something else to consider: Abandoning the SEO campaign isn’t the only option available to you. If you’ve spent several months optimizing for search engines with not much to show for it, you could instead make adjustments to your strategy. If you’re targeting the wrong keyword phrases or if you’re competing on a national, instead of local level, you can make some strategic changes to see faster momentum.  

Related: 7 Tips for Cold-Calling Success

If you’re doing the work all in-house or if you’re doing the work yourself, consider hiring an expert to take over the campaign. They can help you figure out what you’re doing wrong, correct the issues and ultimately prime you for better results.  

Variables to consider  

If you’re questioning whether your SEO strategy is working, or whether you should quit, be careful not to make any impulsive decisions. Instead, consider the variables that could be influencing this position, such as:  

  • Standing penalties. Violations of Google’s terms of service can lead to penalties, which are very hard to recover from in some cases.  

  • Content quality. Bad content or adherence to questionable practices can stymie your momentum.  

  • Pace of work. Your budget and drive will dictate how much progress you make; if you’re only investing the bare minimum, you shouldn’t expect fast results.  

SEO is a long-term strategy, and for the most part, you shouldn’t let your impatience get the better of you. Momentum builds slowly and is often imperceptible at first, gradually building to incredible heights. However, there are many ways a campaign can go wrong, and it’s not a good idea to continue pursuing a campaign that simply isn’t working. Keep a critical, analyzing eye on your campaign, and if it’s not generating results after a few months, be ready to change it or cut it loose.  

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Find out how these types of people nurture, motivate and inspire all employees, even if they have different personalities.

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

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Every once in a while, even though the room is full of experienced and successful people , you meet a leader who stands out. You can know in an instant that they act, think and guide differently than any other leader.

But those individuals did not become great leaders overnight. Although some were born with certain aptitudes to be it, the reality is that they are formed through training, experience and a healthy dose of introspection to make quick and correct decisions. They learn to work with different personalities. They discover how to nurture, motivate and inspire.

Do you want to become a great leader? Work hard to achieve it in a natural, automatic and instinctive way. Start by cultivating these eight habits:

1. They turn to praise. It’s easy to see when an acknowledgment is simply a pretext for assigning a long list of tasks. We have all been around people who occasionally shake hands. No matter how much they want to fake it, their dishonesty is evident (tell me if you haven’t had at least one boss like that).

Praise is almost like breathing for an effective leader: natural, aromatic, frequent, and most of all, genuine and sincere.

2. They decide. Ideas are great, but implementation is everything. Great leaders measure, evaluate and decide almost immediately, this because decision and action gives them confidence and momentum. So bad decisions are better than no decisions at all. Errors can almost always be corrected.

3. They accept responsibility. We all make bad decisions. What matters is what we do after we make those mistakes. Great leaders are the first to say “I was wrong” or “I made the wrong decision; we need to change course ”. They hold themselves accountable and desperately want to build a culture where mistakes are challenges to overcome, not opportunities to point fingers and blame someone.

4. They communicate. Business is full of “what”: what to implement, what to execute, what to say, and sometimes what to feel. What is missing is a “why”. This is why many projects, processes and tasks fail.

Managers stipulate. Great leaders explain and then listen, because the most effective communication happens when we listen, not when we speak.

5. They set the example. Imagine that you are walking through the factory with the plant manager and there is a piece of garbage on the floor. There are two types of people in this situation:

  • One who sees it, stops, takes it, walks 20 steps to the garbage can and throws it away. He picked up the trash but also gave a message.
  • The other sees it, picks it up and keeps the garbage until he sees that a garbage can is nearby. He is not thinking of giving a message. He only saw some trash and picked it up without thinking.

Why is this important to employees? When you’re in charge, everyone sees what you do. The difference is how you do it and what that says about you. Great leaders do that because it is important to them.

6. Give feedback. We all want to improve: to be more skilled and successful. This is why we need constructive feedback. Because they care about their employees, not just as workers, but as people. Great leaders go to the one with problems and say “I know you can do that and I will help you.” Great leaders naturally try to change their lives because they care.

7. They seek help. At some point, many people in a leadership position avoid showing vulnerability . After all, you are in charge, so you are supposed to know everything. Of course that’s impossible. Great leaders don’t claim to know everything (in fact they must hire people who know more than they do) so they instinctively ask questions and automatically ask for help. In that process they show vulnerability, respect for the knowledge and skills of others and the willingness to listen, all great qualities of a leader.

8. Challenge. Most leaders implement their ideas by reinforcing processes and procedures that support their ideas. For employees, commitment and satisfaction are based on autonomy and independence. They care much more when it is their idea, process or responsibility.

Great leaders create standards and guidelines and then challenge their employees to give them the autonomy and independence to work their best. They allow employees to change “theirs” into “ours,” transforming work into an external expression of each person’s unique skills, talents, and experiences.

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7 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


In today’s ever-evolving digital landscape, there are dozens — if not hundreds — of digital tools and platforms at your disposal to start growing your business and gain traction from the comfort of your own home. 

One common misconception many budding entrepreneurs have is that scaling their business to seven figures requires encompassing a multitude of fancy tricks or expensive methods. However, this is far from the truth. The following seven strategies can help budding entrepreneurs understand the keys to their own future success.

1. Start with a service 

The best way to reach seven figures from your new home business is to offer a service, rather than a product. Products require more upfront overhead due to the costs of manufacturing, distributing and shipping inventory. While services require human capital, the work can usually be done with a laptop and wifi connection from anywhere in the world. In order to narrow in on which service you want your business to sell, start by researching which services are consistently in high demand and have the potential to provide higher long-term profits and ROIs.

Related: These Young Entrepreneurs Saw Covid Coming and Changed the Way They Serve Their Customers

2. Automate your outbound marketing 

After you’ve settled on which service you want to sell, the next step is to begin automating your outbound marketing and customer engagements. This can include automating any aspect of your business’s outbound marketing such as paid advertisements, emails, cold calls and more. But whatever you choose to automate, it must be scalable.

Begin by scaling your email, LinkedIn, and Instagram marketing and outreach in order to connect with potential clients and customers. This method is similar to “flyering,” but without the bulk of hands-on work that would be required of human employees. Then, group all inbound messages you receive from this automated outbound reach into a designated email inbox that allows you to respond to those messages. You will soon see hundreds of messages coming in each day based on the service you offer.

Related: 8 Lessons in Using Linkedin for Marketing

3. Be able to sell your service 

In order to sell the service your business provides, you need to make sure that you become an all-around master in the service itself. This will require you to understand every aspect of what the service entails and price your service competitively for how you market it to the customers or clients you want to primarily serve. 

For example, your service can scale from $500/month to $5,000/month after you’ve established yourself as a master in the service you provide to customers. If you aren’t sure how to best price out your business’s service, remember that you always need to start pricing to coincide with your own level of expertise. This will let you offer virtually any kind of service you want, so long as you match your price with your expertise. Once you start making sales at that initial price, then you need to start on the next step in the process.

4.  Outsource 

This step in the process is when you need to begin scouting for contractors to perform the hands-on work for your business. After you do the hands-on work yourself a handful of times, you should have enough knowledge and expertise in both the subject matter and the process to train others to do it for you. 

Once you have outsourced a working contractor, you should have a solid method of your sales process, including what it fully entails as far as daily, weekly and monthly tasks and OKRs. The trick here then becomes scaling that one contractor to several in order to handle more work as your business begins growing.

5. Use the contractor model to scale your company’s growth 

After you have tested out your entire sales process with a handful of contractors, the next step is scaling that process up to match your business’s growth. This can include contracting someone to manage your cold email outreach for you or hiring someone to eventually take over the entire sales process for your business. 

If you aren’t sure where or how to start scaling your contractors, you can easily find a multitude of suitable experts on freelancer sites or other platforms where you can find contractors, or even potential clients, depending on the specific service and niche market your business serves.

Once this is complete, the next step towards scaling your business into one that generates seven figures annually is to create a sustainable infrastructure for your company’s internal operations.

6. Build structure into your business 

By the time you reach this step, your business should be employing a larger team. But as your business grows both through its human capital and its customer database, so too does your responsibility in ensuring your employees follow your business’s proven process. This will require you to create a foundation of structure within your business for your employees to follow. 

Begin by building in training courses, modules and documentation for your team to lean on. Utilizing project management software and a CRM software to handle client engagements will help you scale your business and grow a more robust service offering to your customers. Eventually, you will become so familiar with your business’s processes that you will become an expert of your own people, allowing you to identify who on your team is adhering to the process by following certain checkpoints in the process.

From there, you can take the best material your team has generated and use them as case studies to further build out and refine your service pitch. By this point, you may have 10 or more contractors who — like you — are experts in the process. Use their abilities and knowledge to help train others who may be underperforming and bring them up to your level, before heading on to the final step.

7. Hire full-time employees 

This is the last step in scaling your business into one that generates seven figures (or more) in annual revenue. Once your contractors are just as knowledgeable as you in your company’s internal processes and your business has created several examples of best-in-class material documents and case studies, lean on their experience within your company in order to help get your new full-time hires trained.

When scaling your business, some other important factors to consider include:

  • Constant communication: Don’t be afraid to schedule weekly or bi-weekly Zoom meetings with your team and key clients. Be transparent, honest and upfront with them as much as possible to continue building trust internally and externally for your business.

  • Continued training exercises and modules: Even the most renowned subject matter experts falter from time to time. In being consistent with training, employees can not only become better at their job, but they also become more attached to your company and its brand.

  • Networking and events: Never underestimate the power of a positive referral. Networking and attending events for your industry — virtual or otherwise — is vital in creating brand awareness and identity from other experts in your field who may not be familiar with your business.

Scaling any business from zero to seven figures is complicated, but it’s more than possible. While every business and brand is different, there are always going to be other important factors to consider in regards to how you want your business to perform and succeed. Use the strategies listed here, and you will be able to better navigate a complicated process. Best of all, you will build a strong brand from the ground up. 

Related: When to Take Your Freelance Business Full-Time

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5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Scrappiness has come to define startup culture. Startups adopt a relentless and dogged approach to growth that takes setbacks and churns them into successes. As I’ve seen from my own humble small business beginnings, this kind of culture has come to mean more than that for companies looking to scale.

With 56 percent of employees valuing workplace culture over salary, a scrappy atmosphere could mean the difference between a beginning business that fades into obscurity and one that evolves to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

There’s possibility in adversity

A tough culture is critically important to constructing a team that can go the distance. Employees that experience the benefits of a scrappy culture will be more motivated to contribute to a startup’s early growth period and that environment will cultivate a go-getter attitude that multiplies over time.

On the flip side, a toxic culture can gradually eat away at a startup’s trajectory. According to one study, 72 percent of employees said corporate culture influences where they choose to work.

That’s why startups can — and should — maintain that vibe, even as they continue to scale. Scrappiness is about keeping an underdog mentality (and we all know how much humans love Cinderella stories). People routinely vote for underdog candidates and support them in sports because they relate to the challenger. This mentality makes the excitement of the chase more significant and ends up making the eventual victory feel that much better.

Related: Winners Know It’s Always Better to Be the Underdog

I’ve seen firsthand how entrepreneurs can benefit from staying scrappier for longer. The companies I’ve worked with that have maintained this culture manage to appear more authentic to their audiences by stoking this mentality and their employees’ loyalty. A “never satisfied” mentality can help drive your small company over the top.

Keep the chip on your shoulder

A scrappy culture is easier to create at the outset of startup life, when the team is manageable and everyone’s back is against the wall. But the key to scaling successfully is finding ways to maintain this attitude at every stage of your company’s life.

Here are three strategies to deploy, even when you’re moving up in the world.

1. Offer employees their own stake

Encouraging employees to take on new challenges, create new efficiencies and take ownership of their processes is a great way to keep your team motivated.

Certain kinds of leadership can be detrimental to this sense of ownership and the motivation that comes from it. Micromanaging, for example, can make employees feel helpless and uncreative. During his first stint with Apple, Steve Jobs was a notorious micromanager. But when he returned to the helm in 1997, Jobs flipped that mentality by adopting a startup mindset that encouraged employees to act without input from higher-ups.

Create a workplace atmosphere in which creativity and autonomy are celebrated. Tear down silos and snip red tape so your team feels empowered to act and push the company forward.
Related: How to Strike a Balance Between Micromanaging and Under-Managing

2. Don’t shy away from details

Young companies need to manage their expenses carefully because they’re not yet making a profit. Before ShipMonk grew enough to open our Florida headquarters, critical team members — including myself and our chief revenue officer — personally laid down epoxy flooring throughout our office.

We didn’t need to rely on outside contractors. Staying consistent with our bootstrapped origins, we took matters into our own hands and laid the floor ourselves. Who’s to say you can’t keep this mentality as you scale? Just because you’re growing the team and achieving more significant projects doesn’t mean you have to invest in a vast office space or outsource all the handiwork to others.

Think about how you can reuse or re-purpose existing resources to keep your costs low and ambitions high. Encourage current staff to keep an eye out for promising talent, giving them the freedom to find ways to modify and improve existing resources and practices.

For example, perhaps you could reshuffle your existing space to make it more relaxing rather than moving to an office with a nap room? Do recruiting practices and internal policies need to be revisited? Empower your team to tackle internal tasks themselves.

Related: 8 Bulletproof Ways to Bootstrap Your Business

3. Give people their flowers

In the early days of any up-and-coming enterprise, the lows are low — but the highs are exceptionally high. There’s reason to celebrate whenever you make a sale, sign a contract or notice a spike in website traffic. At this time, employees are more likely to feel motivated and rewarded, which keeps them striving toward more.

When the initial buzz wears off, this inspiration can be hard to find. Keep the party going by celebrating large and small wins regularly. According to a SurveyMonkey study, 82 percent of employees are happier when their companies recognize their efforts.

We regularly treat our employees to company outings and activities. We recently rewarded our sales and marketing teams for their work with a team dinner and an ax-throwing outing. This isn’t just a vague morale boost; research shows that celebrating achievement is strongly linked to employee retention.

This is the attitude you need to succeed at any business stage, but it can be particularly valuable as you reach the tricky scaling phase. If you want employees to keep hustling, help them feel ownership over their work and see that they’re making an impact — do so by encouraging their inner scrappers.

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5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


You’ve likely walked past your kitchen counter and seen near-rotten bananas and thought to yourself, Oh, I’ll make a smoothie tomorrow with those. Then the next day you see the same bananas and think, Guess it’s time to make banana bread! On the third day, the bananas are collecting flies, and there’s not a smoothie or banana bread in sight.

We do this exact same thing in our businesses, often without even noticing.

We set mile-high goals, to-do lists for days and have ideas that constantly sit at the back of our minds. I think of it like this: When you first think of an idea, it’s green like an un-ripe banana. It’s natural for an idea to mature for a few days — and ripen like a banana. But after awhile, if you don’t act upon those ideas, they begin to rot and take up mental and physical space. 

If we don’t throw out the ideas that never came to be — or the rotten bananas — our business will start to attract flies, rot and slow down. 

Your business might have old bananas like unfinished courses, unpaid invoices and unwritten articles. I call these unclosed loops, but for the purpose of this article, we will continue to call them rotten bananas. Let’s clean them up before we enter into the new year.

Related: 4 Lessons Matthew McConaughey Taught Me About Success

Identifying your old bananas

Ask yourself these four questions:

  1. How many unfinished projects do you currently have floating around? Of these projects, would you rate them a somewhat-rotten smoothie banana or a nearly unusable banana bread banana?
  2. Of these projects, which ones give you energy, and which ones are weighing you down? If you’re not sure, imagine you didn’t have to do one, and see how you feel. If you feel free, it might be OK to sell this idea to someone else or to send it to the graveyard. If you feel passionate, it’s time to add time to the calendar to act on it.
  3. How many unpaid invoices do you have out for your business? Of these invoices, how past due are they? Smoothie or banana bread? Block time to address these today.
  4. How many other unclosed loops are floating around? Contractors to hire, websites to upgrade, office space to purchase, YouTube channel to start? Take about 10 minutes to rate each in order of importance and how long you’ve been sitting on the idea. Then get some time on your schedule with your team to finish these actions so they don’t drag you down.

When that’s done, give yourself some credit. Taking some of these items out to the trash is creating serious mental space and room for new (non-fly-like) clients to head your way.

Related: My Year of Discipline and Determination: How I Read 52 Books, Ran 520 KM, Completed 4 Courses and Started a New Business in 2020

Make a vow to the countertops

Before we move forward, let’s make a vow to eat the bananas when they’re ripe or give them away moving forward. Entrepreneurs are flooded with ideas daily, and some of them are right for us and should be acted on right away, while others are great ideas but not right for the moment. A mentor of mine had a mantra: “Good idea; stay on plan.” It might be wise to hire a coach or an office manager who can keep you on track when these ideas pop up to see if they’re worth adjusting the plan or if you need to stay on course. 

Moving forward for 2021

Now, take a look at your list and decide which items you’ll actually move forward with and which items you’ll toss. Make the smoothie and the banana bread. You’ll want to come up with a detailed plan — including some outsourcing ― to complete these items now. I would suggest one project per quarter and tossing all the other ideas into 2022 land for now. 

You’ll be amazed at how free you feel having chosen two to four big projects to actually focus on and complete next year. For example, next year I plan to launch an author mastermind, run a publishing firm and create journals and content. That’s it! Ahhhh.

Related: Discipline Is What Leads to Success

Chopping up your bananas

Now for our final step, let’s chop up our banana for the rest of 2020. Yes, I’m serious about this metaphor.

You get three slices to dump into your business cereal bowl. Pick the three most important things that will move your business forward by January 1, 2021. No. 1 should be something relatively vital, no. 2 should trail close behind and no. 3 should be something that can be completed in 2021 if necessary.

My three slices include:

1. Processes for operations

2. Finishing my manifestation journal and mini course

3. Launching my my author mastermind in February 2021

When you’re determining your three goals, think about who you’ll need to become to move them forward. You will likely automatically become more responsible, more leadership-driven and be more patient as you eliminate the need for hundreds of micro goals. Resistance is natural here, but this process is essential to help your progress speed up — even if it requires slowing down for the moment. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to make a smoothie.

Related: Entrepreneurs Need to Train Like Elite Athletes, According to a Former Pro Badminton Player

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5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


In his book Ultimate Guide to Twitter for Business, online marketing expert Ted Prodromou offers an easy-to-understand guide to using Twitter that will help small-business owners generate leads and connect with customers. In this edited excerpt, the author outlines his 14-step process for developing a lead generation system that brings in new customers. Buy it directly from us, click here, and SAVE 60% on this book when you use code SOCIAL2021 through 5/27/21.

Twitter is a great tool for finding potential customers, whether your company sells business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C). The easiest way to generate leads on the internet is to create an interesting free report or informational video that talks about one of your customers’ biggest problems. In the report or video, you focus on “why” they need to change something in their business to become more successful or profitable. The report or video doesn’t have to solve their problem. You just want to focus on telling them why they need to change the way they’re doing business if they want to see better results.

The lead-generation process is very simple and can be broken down into 14 steps:

1. Survey your followers.
If you don’t know what your customer’s biggest problem is, survey your customers and ask them. You can also Tweet the question to your followers and see how they respond.

2. Offer a solution.
If you don’t have one already, create a product or service that solves their biggest problem.

3. Educate your customers.
Create a free report or informational video that focuses on why they have that problem and why they need to change something in their business to overcome the problem. You’ll tell them how to solve the problem after they hire you.

4. Create a landing page for the video or report.
Create a landing page on your website or blog. A landing page is a page on your website that doesn’t have a navigational menu or anything that would distract the web visitor from reading the content on the page.

Related: Using Twitter for Sales and Marketing

5. Collect contact information. 
The only content on the landing page is a headline describing [your customers’] biggest problem and a few paragraphs describing what they’ll learn about their problem by reading the report or by viewing the video. The purpose of the landing page content is to get them to fill out the web form. You don’t want to talk about your product or service that will solve their problem until later. Right now, you just want to collect their contact information.

6. Use an email marketing tool.
You need an email autoresponder program such as AWeber.com or Infusionsoft.com so you can set up web forms to collect names and email addresses. You don’t need to collect more than that.

7. Set up your email campaign.
Install the web form on your landing page so you can collect their first name and email address. Your email autoresponder program will have detailed instructions to help you set up your email campaign and web form.

8. Create a ‘thank you’ page on your website or blog.
This page should use the same template as your landing page. This is the page they’ll be redirected to after they fill out their web form. They can download their free report or watch the video on this page.

9. Direct followers to your landing page.
Now you want to send a Tweet with a link to the landing page. The Tweet should mention the problem they’re having and hint that there’s a solution to their problem. You want to use a URL shortener that tracks the clicks on the link. HootSuite, www.bitly.com, and www.budurl.com all shorten and track your links.

Related: What to Say on Twitter

10. Set up auto-response messages.
After they fill out the web form, you’ll have their contact information. In your email autoresponder program, you can set up a series of automatic email messages. You’ll create one message that will be sent immediately after they fill out the web form thanking them for joining your email list. You should also tell them how to download their report or where to watch the video.

11. Send reminders.
Set up a series of five or six emails that will be sent every other day. The first couple of emails will talk about why they have the problem and that many businesses have the same problem. You can share some stories about other businesses that struggled with the same problem and overcame it with your help.

12. Don’t sell your product just yet.
The emails should transition into “what” they can do to solve the problem. Don’t tell them “how” to solve the problem yet. You can create more free reports or videos that teach them how they can solve the problem by making changes to their business. Don’t try to sell them your product or service yet. Just get them focused on what they can change in their business.

13. Explain how to solve their problem.
The last few emails should start talking about “how” they can solve their problem. Once they start understanding how the problem can be solved, you can start offering products and services that will solve their problem quickly.

14. Repeat the process.
Do this for each problem your customers have so you can build an email database of customers and prospects for your business. This way you can build a relationship with them and retain them as customers for a long time.

Related: What Not to Say on Twitter

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6 min read

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The following excerpt is from Ted Prodromou’s book Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn for Business. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | IndieBound or click here to buy it directly from us and SAVE 60% on this book when you use code SOCIAL2021 through 5/27/21.

Sales Navigator is LinkedIn on steroids: A completely separate appli­cation designed to meet salespeople’s needs. Subscriptions range from $64.99 per month for an annual personal subscription to $99.99 per month for an annual team subscription. Some people balk at the price, but even at $1,200 a year, unrestricted access to the entire LinkedIn membership and specialized tools for prospecting and follow-up make it worth the money. Bluntly, if you can’t earn at least $1,200 a year from your LinkedIn network, you are in the wrong job.

The heart of Sales Navigator is its advanced search engine, with detailed filters that let you pinpoint your ideal prospects. You can search for leads or for accounts, and there are multiple lead-search filters available when you do an advanced search, which can help you find an unlimited stream of prospects for your products and services.

To save time, you can set up your sales preferences, or default search settings, under your Sales Navigator Settings. You can set geography, industry, company size, function and seniority level.

Think of sales preferences as your starting point when you’re prospecting. They should include the characteristics of your top customers. Once you’ve created advanced searches that are reliably finding great prospects, you can save them so they’re running 24/7. You can be notified of new leads daily, weekly or monthly, or you can manually check for new leads from those searches.

Related: Finding Your Ideal Job Candidates in Minutes

As you scroll through your list of search results, you have a few options. You can:

  • Save. This lets you monitor a person to see how active they are on LinkedIn and get notified when they post or share content. You can send them a message without being a first-degree connection or using InMail. You can also save their company as an account lead.
  • Connect. Use this to send the person a personalized invitation to connect on LinkedIn.
  • View Profile. You can view their profile to see if they are a good fit for your network.
  • View Similar. LinkedIn’s algorithm will show you 99 other professionals who are similar to the person you’re looking at.
  • Add Tag. You can flag a prospect using preselected categories like Follow-up, Customer or Decision Maker, or you can create your own lead tags like Cold Warm or Hot.
  • Message. You can send a message without using InMail, even if you aren’t con­nected. This is a huge benefit of subscribing to Sales Navigator.

Engaging your leads and connections

Now that you’re following some leads, Sales Navigator will give you a lot of great information about their LinkedIn activity. For instance, you can see how many people in your first-degree network changed jobs in the past 90 days. This gives you an opportunity to congratulate them and start a conversation. You could ask them about their new roles, which might lead to an opportunity to work with them in their new positions.

You’ll also see who’s been mentioned in the news in the past 30 days. This is another opportunity for you to congratulate them. And you’ll see who’s posted on LinkedIn in the past 30 days, so you can view their posts and be one of the first to like, comment on, or share their content. If you’re looking for ways to start conversations on LinkedIn, Sales Navigator offers ways for you to reengage your connections or prospects.

News and updates from your network, as well as people and accounts you’re following, will appear in your Sales Navigator newsfeed. This is similar to your LinkedIn newsfeed, but you’ll only see information about specific people and accounts you saved as leads. You can filter the newsfeed data by most important or most recent. You can also sort by sales alerts, job changes, suggested leads, lead news, lead shares, account news, and account shares. You can also display only news and updates by one specific company or person you’re following.

Engaging quickly with people who appear in these updates is a great way to start a new conversation and get back on their radar.

Discover new leads and accounts automatically

The Discover tab on the menu uses LinkedIn’s algorithm to view recommended leads and accounts. There’s no need for you to waste your time digging for new leads because LinkedIn will do it for you. The site finds people and accounts with similar characteristics to the leads and accounts you are currently following.

Related: The 6 Hidden LinkedIn Apps That Can Take Your Business to the Next Level

Team tools

The Team version of Sales Navigator lets you connect popular CRM applications like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics, so all your Sales Navigator activity is captured in your CRM records. The most powerful tool is called Teamlink, which lets you coordinate your sales activity when selling to large organizations. Let’s say you have 20 sales reps who are responsible for managing a large account, like IBM. It would be embarrassing if two of your sales reps from different divisions called the same contact at IBM to sell them services. With Teamlink, your sales reps would know who’s been calling that person and what they’ve been discussing.

Social Selling Index

LinkedIn also has a tool called the Social Selling Index that assigns you a “score” for your LinkedIn activity. Your score is based on how well you:

  • Establish your professional brand
  • Find the right people
  • Engage with insights
  • Build relationships

The Social Selling Index gives you an idea of how well LinkedIn thinks you’re using the site. The score isn’t perfect, but it gives you an idea of what LinkedIn thinks of your daily activity. To learn more about the Social Selling Index and how you can improve your score, read this LInkedIn blog post.

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The $499 package includes your hotel stay, along with complimentary breakfast and a 2-hour daily open bar.


3 min read

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With the Covid-19 pandemic coming to an end, overworked professionals have one thing on our minds: that next getaway. And when it comes to destination vacations, there are few places more luxurious than Maldives — a small archipelagic nation comprising almost 1,200 islands sprinkled throughout the Indian Ocean. Because it’s one of the most picturesque locations in the world, it’s also typically one of the most expensive to visit. 

For a limited time, however, you and a loved one can travel to the country’s South Palm Resort in Addu City for just $499 total over at TravelZoo. In addition to five nights in a 700-square foot beach villa, that low price will get free breakfast and access to a 2-hour open bar each day. And you’re willing to spend $1,000 more, you can chow down on all three meals — breakfast, lunch, and dinner — and enjoy a domestic flight to Gan from Velana International Airport as well as a 10-minute speedboat transfer to the resort from there. Each villa has an outdoor shower on a private deck with a stunning view of the water. 

Step it up to a 750-square foot water villa for $300 more, and you’ll be treated to lavish lodging that overlooks the lagoon, for the ultimate summer escape. Like the base package, you’ll get all the bells and whistles including breakfast and an open bar for $799 and three meals plus the open bar and round trip domestic flights and speedboat transfers for $1,899. To sweeten the deal, the water villa comes with a 24-hour butler service, too, so you can live out your most extravagant dreams to their absolute fullest. 

As long as you book prior to December 19, 2023, TravelZoo is flexible on the times you can take off on your trip to Maldives. The vacation is completely refundable, too, in case you don’t end up wanting to go. If you’re at all interested in a once-in-a-lifetime experience at an affordable cost, you should jump on this bargain, risk-free, before it sells out. As of this writing, it’s “almost gone,” according to the site. Seeing as the previously least expensive sunrise villa option is sold out, we suspect the beach villa will be the next to go. Take your next step toward exploring the rest of the world, at a discount, while the offer still applies. 

Interested in more deals on highly rated travel destinations? TravelZoo is more than Maldives. From San Francisco to Paris to Waikiki, browse the full selection of vacation packages on sale at TravelZoo.com.

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