Posts Tagged "Project Report"

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There will always be forces that throw your plans by the wayside and recalibrate — whether they take the form of political changes, a natural disaster, a cultural shift or a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. So for marketers, the question is not “How can we plan for the new normal?” but instead, “Why are you expecting one?”

While on a general level the phrase “new normal” just represents a desire to get back to times when we weren’t all constantly stressed out and life didn’t depend on being highly socially and politically aware, what it really represents is a desire for stagnancy. To be able to take a breather. But no matter what’s going on in the world, marketing has never been about taking a breather.

Our clients don’t hire us to create a “new normal”. They want to lead the pack in their industry and be positioned as movers and shakers. But with more competition and an increasing rate of media circulation, it’s getting harder and harder to be at the front of the curve.

There are a few techniques marketers should either adopt or dust off that can help place their clients at the front of the pack.

1. A heavier focus on social listening

Effectively, social listening is just an elevated version of the research you already do into your industry. It’s a bit like doing a competitive analysis, but of your audience instead of fellow industry members. What are customers saying about your brands versus the others? When they search for you, what terms do they use? How many mentions are you getting versus your closest competition? These and many more reasons why social listening is my most highly recommended technique that marketers should start adopting if they want to get to be cutting edge.

But think ahead: Once you’ve been actively social listening for a month or so and you have a good amount of data piled up, what should you do with it? Data is of no value if you collect it and let it sit there. Start incorporating it into your strategy discussions to help guide your campaign. If you were listening closely enough, you should be able to identify at least one key desire or pain point among your audience that your competitors aren’t addressing.

Related: 10 Marketing Strategies to Fuel Your Business Growth

2. Reputation is everything

The world is more connected than ever before and people have more outlets to make their voices heard. While this is a net positive for global communications, it does mean that brands have increasingly less armor against online outrages and bad reviews. For this reason, reputation and review management are going to be crucial services for marketers to add to their repertoire.

This is also where a strong competitive analysis and social listening techniques will do marketers a huge favor. The ability to know what successes or misfortunes your competitors are having is going to be the best navigator of your campaign. Emulate what similar businesses do well, but don’t shy away from highlighting the differences between you and your competition if one of them accidentally finds themselves at the mercy of an online mob.

Marketing is a full-contact sport. When you have the means to — ethically, of course — knock other players off the field, you should take it.

Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing

3. Build a community, then a campaign

A loyal fanbase can help a brand weather pretty much any storm unscathed, so channel a lot of your marketing efforts into fostering a community around your clients. Play to the audience in the first few weeks of your campaign. 

Engagement isn’t something that you have to pry out of your client’s audience — you just need to put more effort into asking questions. Audiences will see liking and sharing as a Herculean task if you’re not giving them anything to chew on, but they’ll gladly write you a novel in the comments of a Facebook post when given the right prompt.

Make sure that they feel like they’re part of a semi-exclusive club. If you don’t have a newsletter, start one. If you have one, start another one that’s only for the most devoted members of the brand. Hire influencers your audiences connect with and have them start making content for you.  

Marketers should realize that there isn’t going to be a new normal. Instead, marketers should use this time to get fully experimental with campaigns and see what kind of content hits the bullseye in the ever-evolving content cycle. With more competition and more content comes less of a chance that the tried-and-true methods of digital success will continue to hold up. In this way, as much as it might feel like constant chaos, we’re being given an opportunity: The world is clearing the board and saying, “Impress me.”

Related: 3 Reasons Marketing Is The New Sales

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If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us, it’s that there’s no certainty on the time that we’re employed. I’ve seen companies shut down while others were forced to let go of even their most valuable employees to keep the company alive.

But at the same time, being out on your own and starting your own business is more than just saying “I’m running my own business and being my own boss”. You need to have that entrepreneurial mindset that will allow you to succeed in this day and age.

And no, you don’t have to be a graduate of any fancy business school or go through a lot of seminars and conferences to have that mindset. You just need to reflect and get to know yourself first.

How do you know if you have that entrepreneurial mindset? If you have more than one of these traits, then you may have it.

1. The ability to maintain a positive attitude

When it comes to running a business, it pays to have a positive attitude. The way you act around challenges and obstacles will reflect on the way you do business. This also affects how your employees will see you.

If you cringe the moment you face a setback, your employees and the people around you will not have that much confidence in you. Having a positive attitude allows you to tackle problems and obstacles head on without a clouded judgment brought about by negative emotions.

2. The openess to anything

Businesses are unpredictable, just like in real life. You have to be prepared for what’s to come, whether you think they’re likely to happen to you or not. As an entrepreneur, you need to be able to take everything and roll with the punches. You need to be able to adapt to the changing environment of businesses. A good example here is being able to transition to an online business model to continue selling your products amidst the crisis.

3. The curiosity of a child

Businesses run on intricate cogs and wheels, and it’s always a wonder to see how different parts of the business work. When you investigate how things work and how to look at things from a different perspective, you tend to become curious and inquisitive. This curiosity and sense of inquisitiveness will allow you to come up with varying solutions to your business problems, even before they happen.

Related: 10 Ways to Develop a Success-Oriented Mindset

4. Persuasion is a natural thing for you

Being able to persuade people into buying your products is one thing, but persuading your employees that your solutions are effective is another.

That’s why it’s important for any entrepreneur to have this ability to persuade people, whether it’s about a sale or proposing a solution to a problem. You see, the key to persuading people is to be an effective communicator, and it’s more than just selling to people.

When you’re an effective communicator, you know how to drive your point across. You know how to deliver your message on more than one platform, be it on your social media page, your YouTube channel or even your blog.

5. Creativity

In line with problem-solving comes your ability to come up with ways to solve a problem from more than one angle. But creativity is also an important factor in how you innovate your products and services.

When entrepreneurs are creative, they go way beyond what they want to sell or what they want to solve. Remember, some of the most successful businesses and companies in the world didn’t start out from just one product.

6. You’re motivated on your own

One of the best examples of a motivated entrepreneur is Elon Musk. Apart from having all of the signs listed above and on this article, he’s known to be a highly driven entrepreneur, so much so that he works long hours during the week to get things done. Look at how SpaceX and Tesla have rebounded from one failure to another and still managed to become successful.

Being hardworking isn’t enough, but as an entrepreneur, you need to be self-motivated even when all seems lost. Self-motivation is also affected by your positive thinking. The more you think that you can power through the problem, the easier it is for you to motivate yourself.

Related: 8 Mindset Shifts Entrepreneurs Must Make to Achieve Their Ultimate Goal

7. Resiliency and tenacity

Businesses are never without their times of hardship and difficulties, even moreso with this pandemic. If you just started your business and you’ve been greeted by the pandemic, then you know what I’m talking about. There’s always going to be one of those days where all seems lost, but if you think about quitting — don’t.

Take the time to rest, recharge and get back on your feet to try once more. Tenacity and resiliency in the face of adversity are your two biggest driving forces to succeeding in any industry. Just look at Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Ray Kroc. If they gave up at any point in their entrepreneurial journey, they wouldn’t be the people they are now.

8. Taking ownership for everything that happens

Accountability is often a trait that gets ignored or forgotten by a lot of business owners. As a business owner, you have to understand that everything is, and will be, your fault.

It’s you who’s going to give the go-signal to do this and that. It’s you who’s going to decide what to do and what not to do.

Ownership of your actions means you’re not only taking possession of the business, but also the responsibilities that go along with it. When you recognize and own up to the happenings of a business, you become more driven to make your business more successful.

9. Receptiveness for anything

It’s tough persuading people about the vision and idea for your business, but it’s another thing to be receptive to ideas from other people. As an entrepreneur, you have to be receptive to feedback and criticisms towards your business.

A good entrepreneur is always open to new ideas and criticism because they want the business to succeed. They won’t always figure things out on their own, so it pays to have a few people from the outside looking in providing feedback.

10. The passion to continue and help

I have never met a business owner who isn’t passionate about their business. In this day and age, it’s all about being able to help people and making a difference in their lives. This is why some businesses are built around this passion to help people. When you are passionate, you are genuinely motivated to come up with solutions and ideas for your industry and for the people around you.

When your business is built around passion, then it will continue to use that as its fuel to continue. So long as you’re driven to make things work in order to pursue the greater cause, your business should do fine.

11. The ability to walk in another man’s shoes

Empathy is often a trait that gets overlooked by business owners. I’ve met a handful of them who don’t really know what’s going within his or her workforce because they don’t take the time to do so.

I remember one story about an HR officer reprimanding one of the employees for not performing as expected. Every week, this HR officer called this employee for a meeting and reminded him about his shortcomings. He never came up with a solution to help this man because he didn’t take the time to do so.

It was only when another HR officer stepped in and handled this crisis that the company finally knew why this man was doing terribly. It turns out that this man lost his wife in divorce and kids in a custody battle. He was also homeless and living in a friend’s house. The HR officer then recommended that he take a few weeks off to sort things out and he came back with a renewed vigor to work.

You see, business owners who are empathic about their employees will never go under because this is a passion of theirs. You just can’t expect your business to survive if you don’t help your employees.

The bottom line

Times are tough for any entrepreneur, and one of the keys to surviving is their mindset. If you think you have any of these signs within you, then you’re going to be a fine entrepreneur. If you have the passion and drive to become better and help people become better, then your business will continue to thrive.

Related: The Mindset That Sets Apart Great Leaders

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Relationship marketing builds loyalty. Show customers that you care about the person and not just the purchase.

4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Modern digital marketing strategies have created blurred lines between advertising, public relations and sales. Businesses that focus primarily on strictly compartmentalized approaches, hard sales and rigid data-driven strategies lose traction. Consumers expect that companies earn a relationship with them before asking for a sale. As these relationships develop, the customer churn rate may increase on customers who don’t develop a connection with the brand.

However, customers who develop a stronger connection with a brand demonstrate behaviors of loyalty. This results in a lower churn rate, higher lifetime customer value, and increases brand awareness through acts of voluntary advocacy.

Related: 7 Ways to Build Customer Trust Naturally

The long-term benefits of relationship marketing outweigh the short-term consequences of loss while learning what works and what doesn’t. According to HubSpot, in 2020, message personalization is the number one tactic used by email marketers to improve performance. They also shared that blog posts are among the top three forms of media used in content strategy. Building stronger connections through relationship-focused content is an effective strategy. One small idea can have a big outcome, so don’t overthink your efforts.

Companies that have not implemented relationship marketing techniques into their global efforts may find the pivot to be awkward and uncomfortable, at first. Have fun with the process and give customers an experience that will surprise and delight them. Use the 6:3:1 Formula to determine how much you should spend on relationship marketing.

Related: 5 Reasons Why Influence Is More Important Than Brand Awareness

1. Give a certificate of philanthropy to your customers

If your business donates proceeds for any purpose, create an email campaign that sends a personalized certificate of philanthropy to customers who have purchased products or services that trigger donations. This is a creative way to honor your customers and remind them that their purchase makes a difference.

2. Issue superlatives to customers who have given a 5-star review

Whether you post on social, issue a certificate or send an SMS, superlatives are a fun way to say thanks! Think about options that are relative to your brand and products or services. Here are some ideas that are sure to be entertaining and appreciated. The exact superlative doesn’t need to perfectly match your customers. It just needs to engage them.

  • Funniest 5-star review
  • Most likely to get free shipping
  • Most likely to save the planet
  • Best dressed
  • Life of the party
  • Most likely to know a movie star

3. Ask your customers to submit photos to be part of a branded digital photo mosaic

Share the completed mosaic with your customers via email and on all social media channels. Thank everyone for their participation and support in making the mosaic possible. Encourage them to comment on the post when they find their own photo. You can also create a landing page on your site for customers and their network to see the mosaic and enter for a chance to win prizes. This is a great strategy for building email lists and influencing your customers to share your brand with their network. Allow additional entries for specific acts of engagement.

This is also a great way to recognize customers who reach a variety of milestones such as length of time as a customer, spend amount, purchase quantity and other data points.

4. Invite customers as VIP guests or speakers to live virtual events

Offer VIP customers opportunities to co-host live shopping events, speak on panels, be a guest on the brand’s audio and video content, or be featured on the company blog. In relationship marketing, companies show their customers that they care about the person, not just the purchase.

Related: 5 Ways to Treat Your Customers Like VIPs and Deliver “Wow” Moments

5. Be your customer’s fan on social media

Follow your customers on social media. Engage with their posts, give genuine compliments, and provide value to their content. Turn comments into conversations. Show them that they have your attention. Quickly reply to good reviews with gratitude and appreciation. Reshare their content to your social platforms whenever it makes sense.

When done correctly, relationship marketing can lead to lifelong customers and is a rewarding experience for all parties. Get creative and have fun A/B testing new ideas. Marketing is as much of an art as it is a science.


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5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

After years of debate at the most senior levels of corporate, academic and governmental institutions, the day finally arrived. In July, college athletes across the country were availed the opportunity to receive compensation for using their name, image and likeness (NIL) to endorse products and services, without forgoing their NCAA eligibility. NCAA athletes who were once unable to receive compensation without sacrificing eligibility can now turn into formidable influencers and entrepreneurs themselves.

This rings especially loud given the fact that many college athletes spend their entire lives investing their personal and professional selves into a profession which never manifests into profit. Because the truth is, according to the NCAA, only 2% of college athletes ever turn professional. This fact hits home even harder with Black athletes, who according to the NCAA make up around half of the college athlete population, yet see graduation rates of up to 16% lower than their white counterparts. This results in athletes who have sacrificed their bodies and minds (literally), with little potential for monetary return.

Today, the tides have an opportunity to turn. Student-athletes can now become owners of their personal and professional destinies much earlier. They have the potential to build a business foundation and become entrepreneurs based on their name, image and likeness. And if the cards are played right, regardless of professional or even graduation outcome, they have the chance to establish revenue generation that will last beyond their athletic careers. We shouldn’t just say this allows for a new group of “influencers” to emerge. It is much more significant than that — it is a chance for younger athletes to become business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Related: It’s Time to Redefine the Influencer

To embrace this newfound opportunity, student-athletes must view their name, image and likeness as business assets. They are entrepreneurs. This is their product. And it can live well beyond their college days, regardless of whether they reach professional athletic status.

In that light, here are the top ten items that today’s NCAA athlete entrepreneurs should consider when building a business based on their name, image and likeness.

1. Own your brand and treat it as your business.  

This is your name, image and likeness and you will be living with it for years to come. You and your content are the money-maker and business driver, independent of any corporate sponsor or brand. Give careful consideration to your short- and long-term goals, what you care about, your reputation and the content you have and intend to create.

2. Determine what you want to be known for. 

Authenticity is the key to building a long-term, sustainable digital brand. Identify your passions as a first step and be consistent with your messaging and content.

3. Carefully select a headline social platform.  

Choosing your primary platform (TikTok, Twitter, Twitch, Instagram, YouTube, etc.) is incredibly important, and should align with where your intended audience spends their time. Be thoughtful and decisive.

4. Define your content strategy.

Is your content thematic? Episodic? Long form? Consistency of content is key, in terms of themes, branding, length and format.

5. Be realistic in determining how much time you have available to allocate.

Full-blown digital businesses are full time, requiring the creation of a large amount of high-quality content. As a digital personality, it is important that you are consistent with your posts. Student-athletes are already walking the high wire, balancing sports and school, so it is important to realistically determine how much time you can allocate to building your name, image and likeness platform.

Related: Train Like an Athlete to be a Smart Entrepreneur

6. Create your personal board of advisors.  

It is vital early on to seek legal and business counsel. Early deals can have a great positive or negative impact on the value of your brand and how you are compensated for it. Smart entrepreneurs surround themselves with experienced and knowledgeable advisors. Formalize your own board of advisors and trusted leaders who provide advice, guidance and support. This can be a blend of agents, lawyers, consultants and producers as well as personal mentors and counselors.

7. Be patient and act with intention.

Be strategic with brand partnerships and have the fortitude to carefully consider (and possibly pass up) your initial offer. Partner with companies that align with your values and interests.

8. Identify and utilize your university’s resources.

Schools may be able to offer content and platforms to help. Consult those at the business school of your selected university.

9. Understand your IP and make sure it is independent.

Make sure you know what IP is owned by you versus your university and make certain your revenue is independent from university or third-party control.

10. Read the fine print.

Understand the disclosure rules for influencers — it is essential that you understand and comply with the disclosures for social media influencers mandated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Know your state’s and school’s NIL policy inside and out to make sure you maintain your eligibility.

The opening of name, image and likeness (NIL) monetization by college athletes is a long overdue development for the world of college athletics and offers the potential for college athletes to leverage their hard work, talents and personal brands into long lasting businesses, regardless of racial or socioeconomic background. But in order for success to manifest through this new market, it is imperative that college athletes and the brands that work with them understand and play by the rules. 

Special thank you to Manatt’s Ned Sherman and Matthew Reece for their contributions to the article.

Related: 7 Lessons on Failure You Can Learn From Top Athletes

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Show your pooch the correct way to behave.

2 min read

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Many, many people adopted pets during the pandemic without thinking too much about it. Now, you’re trying to run a business while a misbehaved dog is running around all over your household. You love your dog, and you appreciate the breaks they build into the day, but it really would be better if you got a handle over your household once again. If you need help with your precious pup, check out The All-in-One DNA My Dog Breed Identification Test & Dog Training Bundle.

This bundle combines two best-selling pet products, the DNA My Dog Breed Identification Test and a leading dog training bundle. With DNA My Dog, you can better understand your pup in a painless, scientific way. Just swab your dog’s cheek, mail in the DNA sample, and in two weeks, you’ll have detailed reports about your dog’s unique characteristics. You’ll better understand your dog’s personality traits, breed mix, and DNA composition, and even learn about predisposition to disease. With all of this information, you’ll be better equipped to train and care for your dog.

Once you’re armed with that information, you can delve into the eight training courses from leading dog behavior expert, Sharon Bolt (4/5-star instructor rating). Bolt is a pet celebrity in the UK, with a regular slot on BBC Radio where she answers numerous listeners’ doggy dilemmas. She’s written three books, recorded three CDs, and produced four DVDs on dog training. In these courses, she’ll help you train your dog to stay nearby on a leash, stop barking, and much more. From puppy training to dietary suggestions, you’ll learn how to intervene in your dog’s life in a positive way.

Become a better dog owner. Right now, The All-in-One DNA My Dog Breed Identification Test & Dog Training Bundle is just $59.99.

Prices subject to change.

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Employee benefit plan audits are necessary for compliance, but can also enable management to improve and streamline plan operations.

4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Employee benefit plans are, by their very nature, decentralized. There are aspects of the plan that are likely to be outsourced to third-party service organizations that specialize in accounting and investment record keeping functions. However, somewhat paradoxically, companies bear the full responsibility for the integrity of all aspects of their benefit plan, including those handled by third parties.

Organizations with more than 100 employees eligible to participate in their benefit plan are required to have an audit performed on an annual basis and filed with Form 5500. Though the audit has to be performed by an outside firm, preparing for it and managing the process effectively is key, and can result in streamlining your employee benefit plan processes overall.

Choose an experienced firm

Employee benefit plan audits are submitted to the US Department of Labor, which actively encourages companies to use experienced audit firms. According to the DOL, accounting firms that perform the fewest employee benefit audits are six times more likely to make mistakes than those that perform a high volume of employee benefit audits.

Related: 5 Questions Entrepreneurs Should Ask Their CPAs to Reduce Audit Risk

Assign an internal person to manage the audit process

Since employee benefits may encompass retirement, healthcare, dental and more, the different vendors involved and information required for the audit can be quite sprawling. When companies go through their first employee benefit plan audit, they often underestimate what is involved.

The auditor has to get an understanding of all of the activities surrounding the plan, the internal controls and the financial processes that are directly related to how the plan operates. They’ll also need to understand what systems you’re using, such as payroll, a plan trustee and record keeper.

Appointing an individual within your organization to be the point of contact for the audit and to manage compiling and sharing this information will ensure the process unfolds smoothly and reduces the burden for the rest of your team.

Understand your processes and controls

Processes and controls over the systems that impact your employee benefit plan are an essential component of an employee benefit plan audit. This includes oversight and monitoring controls over any third-party service organizations who have a role in those processes. 

For example, employees frequently change the percentage of their pay that is diverted to their retirement account. The company has a responsibility to make this change in their payroll system in a timely manner. Understanding how those changes are received and made in the payroll system and ensuring procedures are established to ensure it happens is important.

The company also has to make sure it isn’t holding on to funds longer than it should. Contributions, which include employee contributions as well as any employer match, have to be sent to the trustee and record keeper in a timely fashion.

Maintaining these controls is no small task, but it’s essential in protecting the financial integrity of the employee benefit plan. Hiccups along the way aren’t something to be afraid of — the audit can help management improve, streamline the operations associated with the plan and strengthen the internal controls over the reporting within the plan.

Related: 7 Key Metrics to Check When Running a Local SEO Audit

A real-world example

My firm worked with a technology company that had grown rapidly. As a result, the HR department was understaffed and overburdened with other normal responsibilities internally. They weren’t able to make changes timely or accurately in their payroll system for employee contribution percentages, or sometimes weren’t even making changes that the employees were requesting.

When we went in and tested contributions made for employees, the amounts that the employee had asked to be taken out were either understated or overstated. This had to be fixed before the audit was completed. Most often, companies that have good policies and procedures over the employee contributions to the plan would have identified this problem and fixed it prior to the audit process.  

An audit helps the company file a complete and accurate Form 5500 for the plan with the DOL, but it may also help plan management improve and streamline plan operations. 

Related: How to ‘Spring Clean’ Your Website With Content Auditing

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5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Many see Anthony Fauci, MD, as the face of the American response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Whether vilified or admired, Fauci has sought to shoot straight on the challenge posed by the virus and the best paths for responding to it.

Named chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden this year and going as far back as the AIDS epidemic during Reagan’s tenure, Dr. Fauci brings decades of experience on infectious diseases. He turned 80 in December.

He and many others offer examples of how older workers can make dramatic contributions to the nation, organizations or business initiatives. However, older workers also can be defined  often negatively  by stereotypes associated with age. Too often, valuable knowledge and experience are marginalized because of preconceived societal notions.

A growing problem

Ageism is a growing concern as the nation’s workforce transitions from Baby Boomers (the oldest of whom are well into retirement) to different modes of employment, increased uses of technology and an evolving economy. Even though the country has tried to protect the rights of older workers, older talent is still being pushed to the sidelines. 

Age discrimination occurs when a person’s age impacts interactions with someone. In the workplace, ageism can affect an employee’s status in multiple ways  for example, someone’s age can improperly affect decisions on employment such as hiring, firing or layoff, according to Project WHEN (Workplace Harassment Ends Now), whose mission is to eliminate harassment and create more respectful workplaces. 

Ageism can affect compensation for employment as well. For older workers, it may mean discriminatory variations in pay, benefits or promotions. Finally, ageism can simply involve verbal or other harassment, which could occur when co-workers or supervisors make derogatory comments or provoke other nonverbal forms of discrimination. 

Related: Ageism and the Gender Pay Gap: Why Getting Older Can Be Problematic for Women

Regulating age discrimination falls under the purview of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which frequently offers guidance on nuances of federal regulations. For example, earlier this year, it noted that job postings conveying age-slanted preference — using terms like “recent graduate,” “young” or “energetic” — exemplify a standard recruiting practice that may evoke systemic age discrimination.

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which was enacted in 1968. But challenges facing older workers remain. With advances in medical technology, workers are healthier, living longer and consequently staying on the job longer than their parent’s generation. We’re also seeing a lot more diversity in STEM fields and overall more educated workers. Despite these positive health-related changes, age discrimination still persists largely because of prejudices and outdated attitudes about older generations.

Related: 5 Ways to Combat Ageism When You’re a Young Entrepreneur

Since the EEOC began tracking discriminatory workplace practices in 1997, the number of filings received between 2005 and 2016 related to age discrimination rose 88.5% (from 14,893 to 28,073)  representing the highest and lowest number of age-related filings recorded in a 23-year period. 

However, many experts believe complaints filed with the EEOC don’t completely reflect the full extent of age discrimination in the workplace; for example, the data doesn’t include complaints that are filed with state or local fair-employment-practices agencies and doesn’t account for cases that simply aren’t reported to any agency.

Age discrimination is expected to surface in different forms in the current economic environment, where employment appears to be growing post-pandemic. Still, unemployed older workers in their 50s look for jobs twice as long as younger job seekers.

Beyond just employment, older workers say age discrimination is pervasive, common and normalized. An AARP study of workers between 45 and 74 years of age found most people believe it begins when employees reach their 50s. Twenty-two percent say it begins earlier (30s to 40s), and 17% claim age discrimination occurs in one’s 60s.

It’s particularly vexing for certain industries that are dependent on older workers. For example, healthcare wrestles with nursing shortages, even as nearly 40% of its workforce is older than 55. The average age of registered nurses was 51 in 2017, according to the National Nursing Workforce Study.

Responses to age discrimination

In a letter from Charlotte Burrows, chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, recent age bias lawsuits have cost companies from $115,000 to $12 million  these fines stem from policies attributed to a range of age discrimination cases, from systemically laying off people over age 40 to being guilty of an ageist pension plan. In the last six years alone, the EEOC collected $438 million for age-discrimination victims in pre-litigation resolutions.

Related: What Small-Business Owners Should Know About Wrongful-Termination Lawsuits

Not intervening to defuse workplace cultures that discriminate against older workers can have other negative effects on employee morale, performance and public perception. With the growth of social media, instances of reported ageism can go viral. 

Most HR professionals would probably agree that open communication offers the best solution to identify and resolve issues. Discrimination can be mitigated with awareness of its habitual tendencies and unfounded assumptions. Everyone in the organization needs to be stewards and evangelists, in a sense, speaking up in defense of fellow workers of all ages, races, backgrounds and orientation. Just as companies run annual sexual-harassment training, they also need to include training on age intolerance to bring awareness to the forefront.

As more and more older workers look for job opportunities and professional and social fulfillment by working longer, it’s past time to ensure that they are treated fairly and without prejudice.

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With these simple shifts in perception, you can leave ‘frantic’ behind and make real progress on goals.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Just about every time I ask someone how they are doing, they reply with something akin to, “Busy, but good.” There’s so much that demands our attention, from ads to scrolling through social media to work calls to family activities. While I realize everyone is fractionally or wholly overcommitted, with me being no exception, at some point I began noticing that at the end of some days, I would sum up with, “I have no idea where the day went” or “I didn’t get anything on my list done” or “I feel like I made no progress.” This trend got me wondering about ways to better define progress. Even if it’s small, such progress, I thought, has to be focused, and of a sort that actually pushes me — not just a series of ticks on an ever-growing list. To produce this new mindset, I asked myself three questions, and the result has been a huge difference in how I spend time and what I’m able to accomplish. Now, instead of hearing myself ask, “Where did the time go?” I get asked “Where do you find the time for everything you do?”

1. Does a task affect my future or my “right now”?

So many items that filled up my list, I found, simply didn’t affect the future. They might be tasks that pushed paper back and forth, or were a step in a larger process only. They didn’t achieve much and would likely have to be redone anyway, but I was letting them take up a majority of my time. So, I began asking, “Does the time I spend on this task move me into the future and help me get where I’m going, or does it keep me in the same place I am presently?” If it’s something that keeps me in the same place, it’s in one of two buckets: it has to be done or doesn’t have to be done. If the former, maybe as a part of my job or because it’s something my boss is asking for, I get it done quickly and effectively and move on. If it’s something that doesn’t really have to be done, I delete it. Perhaps it’s a meeting that was optional; I’ll then ask whether I will be adding value or getting value? If neither, I don’t attend — protecting that time for projects that help me create the future I’m working on. 

Related: The Secret to Effective Time Management? Smaller Time Blocks

2. How much does it affect my future?

Some projects should take less time based on how much they affect the days and weeks to come. One major lightbulb moment came during a particular project; I needed to determine the best platform for hosting my courses for I needed something that was cost effective, but allowed my students to get the content they needed with convenience, and with an easy checkout process. I spent hours checking out blogs and reading about the best services and how they integrated with emails, along with other topics. I finally just picked one of the big providers and signed up. What I realized when I got into it was that I really just needed a good option for right now. As my business needs changed, I realized, it would be easy to simply move content somewhere else — there was no need to spend hours researching a forever solution. Too much focus was placed on the task itself — specifically the word “best” — and not how that task affected the future. In time, the need may be for a totally different solution, and I could have used some of those lost hours for something else. 

Related: What’s More Important for Your Business, Productivity or Efficiency?

3. Is this task producing or consuming?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve opened up an app, then ten, twenty or thirty minutes later thought, “What did I open this for?” The reason is that I switched from producing to consuming — started reading and interacting and forgot what I went in to do. In time, I started thinking about all the hours in a day spent on that consumption — devoted to social media, television, online shopping…you name it — and I was floored. Once I absorbed that hard truth, I was better able to switch to producing time and/or adapt consumption time for the better. In the case of the latter, for example, while I watch my favorite tv shows, I might also work on website edits or other tasks that don’t require silence. 

The answers to these three questions helped me take control of my time, focus my energy and make better strides towards my goals. They will allow you to focus on what drives you forward, and the result will be not just a feeling of “busy”, but “accomplished”.

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A special excerpt from the upcoming eighth edition of Entrepreneur Press’ ‘Start Your Own Business: The Only Startup Book You’ll Ever Need,’ available for pre-order now.

4 min read

The following is an excerpt from Entrepreneur Press’ Start Your Own Business: The Only Startup Book You’ll Ever Need, 8th Edition. Pre-order your copy today here!

It’s a lot easier to describe what negotiation “isn’t” than what it is. Let’s get some things straight upfront. Negotiation is not: A search for truth, justice and absolute fairness; a friendly discussion at the corner Starbucks; a quest for the perfect solution to a business problem.

Make no mistake: Negotiation is not a game, but sometimes feels like one. Whether sellers have paid good money for something or are emotionally attached to it, they’ll want to get the most money they can from its sale. Buyers are worried about losing money and want to pay as little as possible, so the chances of making a profit on a resale are as high as possible. Somewhere between these two goals, there’s a deal waiting to happen. The goal in negotiating is to win — to get the best deal you can. Period. Here’s how.

Related: These are the 6 Most Important Takeaways From ‘Shark Tank’ Investors

1. Ask for what you want

Be assertive and straightforward. You can aim high, even if you know you would be fine with a little less. Ask for $40,000 for the project, even if you are prepared to receive $30,000, which is still above the going rate for that project.

2. Do your due diligence

By researching the other party carefully, you’ll know what they want, need and exactly where they are coming from. What is important to their side in this negotiation? The more you know about them, the more leverage you will have. It’s important never to be blindsided, so do plenty of preparation.

3. Remember, everything is negotiable

Don’t take no for an answer. It doesn’t matter if this is the way the other party has “always” done business. If it does not fit into the way you’ve always done business, then something must change. There is no “standard contract,” so don’t back down and accept that it “has to be” done a certain way.

4. Recognize both people’s sides of the negotiations, not just your own

Once you have an idea of what the other side needs, and why they need it, you can decide how they can get what they want or need while you are getting what you need. Too many people are so focused on their own side that they forget the other person has wants and needs, too. This causes long negotiations that often end in stalemates with no one getting anything.

If you know what they want, you can determine if that will have any bearing on you getting your needs met. Sometimes what is important to the other side is insignificant to you.

5. Take your time

Unlike the hurry-up world around us, good negotiators do not rush through negotiations. If they do, they end up leaving money on the table or making a deal that is not in their best interests.

6. Know your must-haves

In negotiations, there are things you must have, things you’d like and those extra things that you could take or leave. Know what’s important to you and what isn’t. This means you can compromise on items or issues that are not important to your needs, but remain unwavering on your must-haves.

7. Remember, you can always walk away

Never let yourself feel that your back is against the wall and you must take what is on the table. Visualize yourself walking away and know it is a possibility. This will allow you to keep negotiating from a place of strength. Once the other side sees that you will walk if you have to, they will make concessions.

Related: What to Know to Run a Successful Family Business

Ultimately, as any lawyer will tell you, you know a deal’s been well-negotiated when both sides walk away from the table feeling at least somewhat disappointed in the outcome, but not defeated.

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Bitcoin sees a spike in price as Amazon shows interest in digital currency.

2 min read

This story originally appeared on ValueWalk

“When a simple job ad appears to spark resurgence in the value of Bitcoin, it shows how the crypto world is salivating for every nugget of news about the future use case for digital currencies.

Amazon To Dip Its Toe Into Crypto World

Although Amazon has scores of openings for blockchain specialists, it was the listing for a digital currency and blockchain product lead that has led to heightened speculation that crypto currency payments could be integrated on its platforms.

Given the might of Amazon Web Services, it isn’t surprising that the tech giant wants to be at the cutting edge of new payments technology and establishing a new digital currency is likely to be on the agenda. But the expectation that payment may also be accepted from  the current crypto kids on the block has also led to a spike in their value.  Over the past 24 hours Bitcoin has risen by 11%, Ethereum by 8% and Dogecoin by 11%.

Crypto fans are also hanging on every word of Elon Musk and his hint that Tesla could start accepting Bitcoin again is also behind the crypto bounce. The suspension of Bitcoin as a means of payment for Tesla cars sent the crypto world reeling in May, but in a debate with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Mr Musk indicated that could change given mining has reached a tipping point, with much more renewable energy used instead of fossil fuels.

Crypto assets are also largely following sentiment in financial markets. The sharp fall in stock markets around the world a week ago, was mirrored in the crypto world, and the rebound came as fears  receded about the impact of new variants on economic recovery.

The sensitivity of crypto coins and tokens remains stark, and given the uncertain landscape ahead, with central banks looking to develop their own digital coins, investors should be wary of speculating with money they can’t afford to lose.’’

Article by Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown

About Hargreaves Lansdown

Over 1.6 million clients trust us with £132.9 billion (as at 30 April 2021), making us the UK’s largest digital wealth management service. More than 98% of client activity is done through our digital channels and over 600,000 access our mobile app each month.

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