How small business development centers (SBDCs) can help your business

Getting a new business off the ground is a great achievement and the more advice and support you have the better your chances of success. There are hundreds of small business development centres (SBDCs) throughout the United States that help first-time entrepreneurs and small business owners establish sustainable and profitable businesses. Here, Sarah Hovet explores the role of SBDCs, how to find your local office, what kind of resources are available, and how they can help y...

6 rules for nailing the perfect elevator pitch

Every entrepreneur needs to master the art of delivering a compelling elevator pitch. While an actual elevator is rarely involved, it's the brevity of an elevator ride that's important to keep in mind. The idea being that when someone asks what your company does, you can deliver a summary that sparks their interest in less than 40 seconds. Like anything else, practice makes perfect and as you get more used to delivering your pitch it will sound natural even though it should be carefully prepared...

5 ways you can turn your Instagram account into a revenue-generating machine

Companies may underestimate the power of Instagram for business. Yet among the top social media platforms, Instagram boasts the highest engagement rate for brands with 80 per cent of its 500 million daily active users following a business. And having already rolled out a number of business-specific features, the platform is gradually becoming a fully functional ecommerce platform, writes Michael Burke. To help you leverage the power of Instagram, Burke shares here his top tips for turn...

10 ways to practice your pitch presentation when seeking investors

Very few startups are successful at raising venture capital and any entrepreneur who's faced the challenge of pitching to investors knows how grueling the process can be. There's no experience quite like it and to stand a good chance of success, you need to be as prepared as possible. For entrepreneurs raising funding for the first time, the best thing to do is learn from others who have already been through the process and get their advice. With that in mind, ten successful entrepreneurs s...

Does your business have the friendly-factor?

Likeability and trust are important currencies in business. People prefer to do business with people they like and the more they like you, the more they trust you. Consumers base their buying decisions on emotions, not rational thinking, and they're more likely to create an emotional connection with a likeable business. Since friendliness is a major factor in likeability, it's an important part of the customer experience. Yet many businesses make the mistake of sacrificing friendliness for the s...

The dangers of startup culture: How entrepreneurs can avoid burnout

Entrepreneurship isn't for everyone. It often involves a lot of hard work, long hours, multiple roles and responsibilities, and making decisions on a daily basis that may have important consequences for the business. And the uncertainty, frustration and stress that come with it can be emotionally draining. However, you can avoid burning out "by approaching entrepreneurship realistically," writes Jaime Faulkner. In this blog post, Faulkner explores some of the factors that contribute to burnout a...

Ask yourself these questions before giving honest feedback

Feedback is one of the most important tools you have for keeping your team on track. When it's given in the right way and with the right intentions, feedback improves an employee's performance and contributes to their personal and professional growth. Honest feedback also builds trust in you as a leader. Badly timed or poorly delivered feedback, on the other hand, is ineffective and may even be counterproductive. In this article, Stephanie Vozza shares some top tips from leadership expert Cheryl...

8 ways to better manage your startup’s burn

While it's impossible to grow a business without spending money, it's vital for startup founders to understand the difference between necessary and unnecessary outlay and avoid wasteful spending. It's also essential to manage your burn rate so you know how much capital you need and how you're going to spend any funding you raise. The key to how effectively you spend your money comes down to discipline and having a "low-burn mindset," says entrepreneur Dennis Zdonov. Here, he shares eight strateg...

How to do market research

Entrepreneurs often fall into the trap of thinking their idea for a new product is so great all they have to do is build it and consumers will come flocking to buy it. Yet the "build it and they will come," approach is one of the top reasons startups fail. They build a product first then seek a market for it instead of doing some market research first to find out who their customers are so they can build the right product for them. Here, Noah Parsons looks at how market research reduces risk, ho...

Raising venture capital can have some downsides—here’s how to avoid them

There are numerous ways to secure the funding you need to get a new business off the ground. When it comes to growing the business however, convincing venture capitalists to back your business is often seen as the ultimate form of validation. The fundraising process can be a challenging, time consuming and costly endeavour. And while a successful funding round can bring significant benefits, there are also some potential downsides, writes Adam Cragg. To help you make the right choice for yo...

Join Today!

  • #ShapingtheOdds is completely free to join and use, and community members buy into the pay-it-forward philosophy of openly sharing help, knowledge, ideas and advice to fellow community members. 

    Register below, or read more here!

  • We recommend that you register and log in using the Facebook button.