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Nine Ways to Prepare an Exit Strategy Now (Even if You Aren’t Ready to Leave Yet)

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Not everyone wants to run their company forever, so preparing for an exit strategy early on is key. What’s one piece of advice you’d give for how to do this effectively, and why?

Exit strategy
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These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

1. Eye Up Partners in Advance

You’ll have a better chance of creating an effective exit strategy if you start eyeing up partners in advance. Many business leaders choose to sell their companies to more prominent brands that are capable of scaling up production, customer support and marketing. Building partnerships early in your career can help build your reputation in the community and help you make a humble exit. 

John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC

2. Conduct a Business Valuation and Exit Assessment

There are different pieces of advice on how to prepare for an exit and maximize the value of your company, however, tactics are different for every business. The number one thing I recommend is a business valuation and exit assessment. This will tell you what the value of your company is today, what the potential value is in the future and what key aspects to focus on in order to achieve that goal.

Jessica Fialkovich, Exit Factor

3. Have a Solid Grasp on Your Financial Situation

A critical piece of advice is to have a solid understanding of your financial situation. This includes knowing how much money you need to live comfortably, as well as how much your business is worth. This information will be critical in negotiating a fair price for your business. By having a backup plan and understanding your financial situation, you can be prepared for anything that might happen.

Blair Williams, MemberPress

Change management

4. Build an Organization That’s Resilient Through Change

To build something that lasts necessarily means it should be able to outlast the founders. Knowing this from the start, we should always seek to empower those around us and implement processes and structures to build an organization that is resilient through change, including change involving a founder leaving for whatever reason. A strong culture is key for an organization to endure the test of time.

Akshar Bonu, The Custom Movement

5. Focus on Increasing the Business’s Value

An exit strategy may be why you started your business in the first place, but it’s not an easy process. When you start your company, plan what you can do to make it increase in value with time. One way to do this is by regularly investing in your company’s growth and ensuring you’re profitable. This way, you’ll be able to sell the company for much more later.

Kelly Richardson, Infobrandz

6. Keep Accurate, Detailed Records

Make sure you keep clear, accurate and detailed books and records. If you want to sell your business, prospective buyers want to be able to go over all the important metrics related to accounting, legal records, customer databases, marketing systems and all of your business’s essential moving parts. If your books or documentation are incomplete or disorganized, it will be harder to find a buyer.

Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

Exit strategy

7. Always Run the Business Like You’re Going to Sell

Run your company like you are going to sell. Keep your books clean, the employees happy, the interior organized and the overhead low.

Mary Harcourt, CosmoGlo

8. Find Trustworthy Team Members and Help Them Grow

When you grow and start hiring, your goal should be to help others move up the career ladder. The best successors will be the people you’ve trained and nurtured in the business. This means finding trustworthy people who know the company well whom you can trust if and when you decide to leave. Leaders must inspire others, so it’s important to find individuals with both skill set and personality to lead your team.

Tonika Bruce, Lead Nicely, Inc.

9. Have a Backup Plan

One piece of advice I would give for how to effectively create an exit plan is to have a backup plan. This means having a plan B for your business if your exit doesn’t go smoothly or falls through. Keep another investor in mind or have a plan to sell your business to your employees. By doing this, you can be prepared for anything that might happen.

Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

Entrepreneurship

7 Essential Skills for New Entrepreneurs

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Founding a new business isn’t easy. You’ve certainly figured that out by now. However, learning new skills might make your job a lot easier.

As an aspiring entrepreneur, you must grasp a few important skills. These capabilities will help you battle the challenges in your entrepreneurship journey.

Busy entrepreneur

Here are seven essential soft skills you should prioritize as your career unfolds:

1. Stress Relief

Work should happen in a healthy way in order to keep your creative juices flowing. But when you’re a new entrepreneur struggling with many challenges, innovative ideas and creativity can sometimes be the last things that come to you. Oftentimes, that happens because you are dealing with too much stress. You’ll burn out if you can’t relieve the stress that’s bothering you.

Consider joining a gym or signing up for yoga classes to alleviate stress buildup. You might also take a relaxing bubble bath or go for a long drive — anything needed to deal with your stress and anxiety. But remember, it needs to be done in a healthy way. You won’t find relief at the bottom of a bottle.

2. Curiosity

Entrepreneurs must constantly update themselves and their businesses using the power of innovation. Explore new technologies, ideas, and better practices. Curiosity encourages entrepreneurs to learn something new or acquire a new skill.

Ask questions like, how can I improve my business? What are others doing in the industry? How can I offer a better solution? When you start learning more, your industry knowledge naturally increases. You can also look for ideas related to other industries similar to yours. You might end up discovering something better to pursue.

3. Adaptability

You could explore many of the latest and most effective entrepreneurship strategies when curious. But what happens when updating yourself and your business? Change isn’t easy. That’s where adaptability comes in.

If you can’t adapt, you can’t change. An entrepreneur should commit to being open-minded, skilled, and flexible. These qualities will help you adapt to changes more quickly and easily.

4. Sales and Communication

You’re trying to sell a solution to a specific problem. Sales and communication skills are solid qualities you must have. These skills help you establish your business. You need to sell your solution not just to your customers but also to your teammates, investors, and business partners. Master the art of writing messages and speaking clearly to others. It’s necessary to convey your message to different people.

When selling your solution, there’s no need to be manipulative. Instead, be a problem-solver when you speak or write for your business. Pinpoint your potential customer. That’s how you craft powerful messages for your target audience. Establishing credibility is another powerful sales tool. There are plenty of online learning courses that can help you learn or bolster your sales and communication tactics.

Manager communicating projects

5. Management

In a business, you have a lot of spinning plates to attend to. Many things might happen all at once, and an entrepreneur must manage them properly. Master skills like time management, milestone defining, priority planning, and task execution to shore up your management potential.

Financial management is also critically important. You must understand key parameters like ROI to understand how you can reduce costs and increase revenue. Most importantly, a good manager needs to be able to make the right decisions.

6. Patience

Entrepreneurs face many unique challenges on any given day. Only patience can help you push through them. You must manage marketing, supply chain, customer services, and so much more. You’ll want a clear, level head when handling the levers of the business.

You’ll also face plenty of threats in the form of burnout, rejection, stress, and so on. There’ll be times when you feel you can’t keep it up anymore. But with patience and resilience, it’s possible to overcome all obstacles. Nothing is perfect. Understand that and adapt your processes accordingly. And remember: The bad times won’t last forever.

7. Learning From Mistakes

Entrepreneurs must be hungry to always learn more. You’ll make mistakes and fail in many things along the way, sure, but you must show a learner’s attitude when you do. Being self-aware of your mistakes is the key. Try not to repeat them.

So there you are. Mastering these seven skills will help you in the long run, no matter the type of your business. Just make sure to take care of your physical and mental health along the way.

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Entrepreneurship

Is App Migration Painless?

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At one point or another, every organization will need to handle the migration of applications from legacy to more modern systems. These processes are often fraught with complexities that require training, infrastructure, and migration planning. They must also cover concerns like transition support, database compatibility, user interface, etc. And they must weigh business priorities against technical considerations.

In other words, migrating from on-site to a cloud platform or between different cloud computing environments is as daunting as it is time-consuming, even if they’re common projects for IT departments. Thankfully, you can overcome many of the challenges it poses by outsourcing the work to professionals that specialize in app and infrastructure migration.

App migration
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Be sure to consider companies that also offer asp .NET development services, as they’ll be able to provide you with bespoke solutions, especially for a cloud platform.

Minimize Disruptions of Critical Mission Applications

The impact of application migration on the workforce must never be underestimated. All users should be able to conduct any essential business process during migration. The platform or system to which existing software will be transferred must accommodate and support them and enhance the user experience.

If there are significant disruptions in critical mission applications, the IT staff could potentially find themselves handling calls, emails, and messages from irate and disgruntled employees in need of support.

Determine The Best Time to Migrate

When making the transition from one system to another, it’s vital to choose the most optimal time for migrating applications. And there is a multitude of factors that could potentially affect this decision. For instance, enterprises with immediate needs to expand their capacities might be more hesitant to opt for legacy technology than others and may benefit from migrating to a newer system or a cloud-based platform quickly.

Conversely, those without adequate resources to make the transition might have to delay migration first. Only by understanding and weighing these factors will you find the best time and strategy to migrate.

Resistance to Change

Another concern of app migration is the resistance some users may have to change. The good news is that you can overcome this challenge by allowing them to be more in the development and transition process. For example, you can give users a much better sense of control and ownership by giving them details regarding the project ahead of time and encouraging them to give their input.

Regular reports on the progress of the transition and adequate support and training for use are necessary.

Software developers
photo credit: Christina Morillo / Pexels

Deadline for Completion

It’s a general rule of thumb always to be a bit generous with the estimated completion time regarding app migration. After all, it isn’t uncommon for issues that may create setbacks to arise during the transition. So don’t forget to allocate resources and develop contingencies if the process takes much longer than you expect.

Conclusion

Application migration is a process that presents many difficulties, regardless of the size of a business. However, it is worth the investment when you consider the advantages that it offers. And by preparing yourself for the challenges listed above, you’ll make the transition process much easier and a lot less painful.

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Entrepreneurship

Digital Marketing Mistakes Companies Make and How to Avoid Them

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Online marketing is essential for every business because we live in the digital age, where many consumers prefer buying online. Interestingly, people who visit physical stores to make purchases often look up businesses online before buying from them. That’s why you must take advantage of digital technology in your marketing efforts.

Although digital marketing offers numerous benefits, many businesses are unaware that there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it. As a result, they spend their time and resources on online marketing without reaping the desired benefits.

Digital marketing
photo credit: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

Here are common mistakes that could hinder a successful digital marketing campaign and how to avoid them.

1. Running Without a Clear Marketing Strategy

Some businesses run their digital marketing campaigns without a defined plan for connecting and engaging with their target audience; this is one of the worst mistakes to make. Your campaigns will lack focus if you don’t set goals from the onset and articulate what you will do to achieve them within specific time frames. Even if you achieve significant feats in your digital marketing without a strategy, you wouldn’t have documented details of how you obtained such an outcome. Therefore, it will be difficult to replicate that success in your future marketing campaigns or apply it to other aspects of your business. And you’ll be unable to improve upon your previous success to achieve better results in your subsequent digital marketing campaigns.

So, document your digital marketing strategy and define your goals and the expected timeframes for achieving them. Also, define your target audience to avoid marketing your products or services to people who don’t need them and are unlikely to patronize you.

Map out all the activities that will enable you to achieve your marketing goals. This will make it easier for you to identify any strategy or activity that is not working and make the necessary adjustments for your desired outcome.

2. Having a Website Without a Blog

Digital marketing is not just about reaching your target market; you have to position yourself for your ideal customers to find you. One effective way to do this is by creating a blog.

Blogs drive a significant amount of organic traffic to websites. When you publish valuable blog content, you establish a reputation as a trusted industry leader while marketing your brand to your target audience. Furthermore, as you publish more blog posts, Google will index them and show them in search results. So, you should publish blog posts that rank high on search engine result pages (SERPs).

Ensure you follow best SEO practices when developing content, such as using alt texts for your images, internal links, compelling titles, and keywords. Also, your website’s domain name should be SEO-friendly so that it easily tells potential visitors what your site is about and the kinds of products or services you offer. You may want to change your domain name if you’re offering new solutions or if you have a new audience.

A domain appraisal is crucial to getting the most suitable domain for your website. If you’re considering selling your existing domain or buying a new one, you can learn more about domain appraisals here: https://saw.com/appraisals/.

Marketing campaign
photo credit: Pressmaster / Pexels

3. Spending Too Much on Paid Ads

Don’t just dive into pay-per-click (PPC) marketing without careful consideration. PPC marketing can be highly rewarding and can give you your desired reach, website traffic, and conversions. However, compared to other online marketing campaigns, PPC ads are quite expensive. And only a small percentage of website visitors that arrive through PPC traffic eventually follow the conversion to the checkout portal. Besides, some internet users don’t trust paid ads as much as known bloggers or industry leaders.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should abandon the idea of PPC marketing; you shouldn’t rely solely on it. Combine your PPC marketing with alternatives such as email marketing and social media marketing.

Before investing in PPC marketing, research your target audience thoroughly and segment them into groups based on age, geographic location, income, interests, and education level. Also, try out several campaigns with different audience segments and ad formats to determine which one provides the most favorable outcome.

You don’t have to spend too much of your marketing budget at this phase. Your budget should be just enough to give you credible results from which you can draw conclusions for your campaigns. When you launch a PPC marketing campaign, monitor its performance closely and be prepared to adjust the price on the go.

4. Not Leveraging Automation

Digital marketing campaigns require a significant amount of time. You can take advantage of software technologies to help automate several processes, such as email marketing, social media management, market research, and ad campaigns. This will give your team members more time for other tasks that require their expertise.

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