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Wish You Were More Confident? How to Develop a Mindset for Success.

February 2, 2021 7 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Developing a Mindset for Success
As business owners, I think it’s fair to say many of us feel most comfortable working with the tangibles. Written quotes and data-driven analytics are predictable, understandable, and provide a solid starting point for moving forward on action. In a similar vein, we’re typically adept at reading the behaviors of others. We’ve worked hard to understand our customer base to serve them better. We study what motivates and encourages and will most likely support the retention of our employees. And yet, as business leaders, I believe the single most impactful tool we have at our discretion is our own mindset. And I’m here to tell you, maintaining a mindset for success is a powerful, efficient, and proven tool. 
Related: 8 Mindset Shifts Entrepreneurs Must Make to Achieve Their Ultimate Goal 
Capitalizing on Mindset
I’m a marketer, not a neuroscientist, but I’ve been applying the power of mindset in the operation of my company successfully for several years now. I became even more interested when a client, a successful life coach, reached out to me for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) help for her coaching enterprise website. As I dug into her business and began to update her website, including her titles, keywords, and key phrases, I continually circled back to her core concepts, which include “emotional intelligence” and “coachable mindset” and “personal values.” A big part of her message centered around gaining the tools and self-awareness needed to foster the right mindset for success. 
As we crafted and promoted her success stories, my interest grew deeper. It was personally relatable. Even when I thought I was staying safely and comfortably in my realm of measurable outputs, they were influenced by my emotions – in positive and negative ways. When I was feeling optimistic, I was more creative and could tap into greater energy. When I felt down or frustrated, it bled over into all my decisions and dampened my outputs. And this trickled down to my team members – it was contagious. 
My client’s message was alluring because what was at the center of her product was something I already possessed – a mindset. But, with reflection, it was clear that I was not capitalizing on all that I had in front of me. I wanted to learn more. 
Limited Investment with Unlimited Potential
Vague and intangible? Perhaps at face value, but I can assure you this is not all rainbows and unicorns. There’s good science that backs me up on what I’m sharing, with more coming in every day as the field of neuroscience drills into mindset and human potential. Numerous variables influence mindset, but I’d like to focus on three key areas I believe offer great potential for business leaders: tapping into your passion, aligning your work with your personal values, and fostering an attitude of gratitude. The great thing is, taking advantage of these three mindset influencers is relatively simple. The biggest investment you’ll have to make is a commitment to growing your self-awareness. 
Personal Motivation
Why do we do what we do? The Self Determination Theory (SDT), developed by Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan, posits that, in addition to external motivations, all humans are intrinsically motivated to act, and generally most productively and creatively, when engaging in activities that address three core psychological needs: competency, autonomy and relatedness. I’ll give a brief explanation of each here:

Competency – engaging in activities one believes will enable them to master a skill, trade, concept, etc.

Autonomy – having the ability to direct efforts towards a goal, choosing what to do, when to do it, and with whom.

Relatedness – participating in activities that produce feelings of belonging or attachment to others; “others” could be a patient or client, a work team, or even the collective “greater good.”

When we find behaviors that check the boxes on these psychological needs, we’re driven to continually engage in these behaviors and generally do our best work. It’s like the magic sauce if you will.  
Finding My Passion in Marketing
For me personally, my passions began to emerge early in my career. Even when I held roles not directly related to online marketing, I found myself weighing in on strategies. I’d step up for responsibilities above and beyond my designated role, agreeing to create website design updates and digging into any web traffic analytics I could get my hands on. I was driven to try out my ideas, and it was rewarding to be given the opportunity to try them out. I was passionate about watching my efforts unfold and studying what worked and didn’t work. So, when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped at the chance to start my own digital marketing business. 
Related: 7 Growth-Mindset Principles 
Passion Translates to Better Business
I encourage my clients to share their passions when crafting their unique “About Us” pages for their websites. It is a big part of their being authentic, and clients and customers respond favorably to authenticity. We all do. I see this firsthand in website analytics. Well-crafted “About Us” pages get more traffic. People want to see the person behind the brand. When the message resonates with them – the company history, the owners’ motivation, the collective company ethos – the client’s decision to engage is positively supported. 
Aligning Your Work with Your Values
Closely related to passion is this concept of aligning your efforts with your personal values. Professional coach Kathy Walter of Brain Basics calls values “the secret force behind our ‘yes’ and ‘no.” There are many personal values, but examples include purpose, family, solitude, financial security, and generosity. All of us have top personal values. The majority are established early in life, primarily through interactions with our closest caregivers, but some values can be adopted later in life through significant life events.  
Keen Awareness Around Personal Values 
As business leaders, we’ll be called to make many decisions. Bringing the informative input of our core values into our decision-making process is valuable in-and-of-itself. When we make our decisions in line with our core beliefs, our passions stay intact. When we feel discontent, a survey of what troubles us, examined through the lens of our values, will often bring insights. You cannot be passionate about an activity that stands in contrast with your high-ranking personal values. Aligning your daily activities with your personal values will contribute to your passion, which will promote greater productivity.
Related: 4 Mindset Shifts Creative Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Richard Branson 
An Attitude of Gratitude 
The concept of gratitude is my favorite piece of this business leader mindset discussion because it’s straightforward and achievable, starting now. In his book The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor emphasizes the role gratitude plays in obtaining overall happiness. He explains that simply writing down three things you are grateful for, every day, for 21 days in a row will generate results-generating optimism that will last for six months. To be certain, research has shown that gratitude physically changes the brain through a process called neuroplasticity. For purposes of our discussion, I’d like to underscore that gratitude has been proven to:

Help find meaning in our professional work. 

Make better managers, i.e., increase our tendency to engage in prosocial behaviors, including offering emotional support to team members, which, in turn, boosts their productivity.

Improve decision-making, primarily by reducing “economic impatience,” basically allowing the decision-maker to think beyond immediate gains or rewards that could come at the cost of future, greater gains. 

Become a Curator of Your Mindset for Success
This success mindset curation process is doable and rewarding; that’s why I’m so passionate about sharing what I’ve learned. Sharing this with you supports my high-ranking personal value of helping others reach their true potential. 
Build that attitude of gratitude – there is always something to be thankful for. Become a curator for the mindset you need to achieve your best, and I assure you success will follow.

3 Tips for Young Entrepreneurs on the Power of Credit

February 2, 2021 6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
In the United States, personal credit scores can have a massive impact on entrepreneurs and their businesses. Poor credit history can eliminate the ability to qualify for small business loans and important life decisions, like purchasing a home. For many people, navigating the world of credit can be daunting. 
In recent years, it was estimated that over 26 million Americans do not have a credit score and 19 million have let their scores go stale. Unfortunately, personal finance is not something many people learn in school, but rather learn through personal journeys of trial and error. Thankfully, a new niche of savvy credit entrepreneurs has emerged on social media with a focus on educating people on the power of credit.
Related: These Credit Repair Specialists Tell 3 Steps To Repair Your Credit Score
Shawn Sharma, co-founder of Credit 101 and personal credit influencer, has dedicated the last three years of his life to helping thousands of people learn about credit, build their credit, and access the often exclusive financial services reserved for people with elite credit scores. His dedication has helped him amass nearly two million Instagram followers and, more importantly, help many aspiring entrepreneurs use credit to scale or start their businesses. 
All of this was accomplished from humble rural beginnings in Alabama. Sharma learned the hard way during his time studying at Cornell that debt and credit can either be your worst enemy or one of the most powerful tools in an entrepreneur’s toolkit. Here are three tips that Sharma shared to help entrepreneurs leverage and understand the power of credit.
1. Credit is a level playing field
One common benefit of credit is that the current credit system is largely transparent and fair. Everyone starts from the same place and can only build their credit score by being active and responsible participants in the credit system. Think of credit as a tool and a resource that can be extremely powerful for various use cases.
“It is critical that entrepreneurs educate themselves about credit and take a responsible approach to building their profiles,” Sharma says. “The current credit system rewards reliability versus starting capital, where consistent on-time payments are more important than income. This means the average American can build stronger credit and amass more limits than a millionaire who does not make on-time payments and actively build their history.” 
Most experts recommend starting with one or two credit cards that can be used to make day-to-day purchases and paid off at the end of each month. As a person’s credit history grows, their credit offers and limits will become more attractive. The most important part is becoming active in the system and having a plan to make sure credit works for you and not vice versa. 
“A great way to build credit is to build relationships with local banks and business bankers, who can often go out on a limb and help in applications and underwriting,” Sharma adds. He also emphasized credit is a long-term game and those who focus on consistent progress eventually build impressive limits.
Related: Help Build Your Credit and Savings in 2021 with This App
2. Take advantage of credit rewards 
Even if your business is successful and does not need capital, an ingenuitive benefit of credit is the rewards system. American credit cards offer the greatest cashback and largest airline mile signup bonuses of any other country. Business owners can leverage these credit card rewards and cashback opportunities to gain more revenue, subsidize business expenses and gain access to services otherwise unavailable for most people. 
Sharma explains, “For example, business owners that charge expenses to credit cards can quickly gain enough rewards to pay for travel, equipment, and other services. Many credit cards offer free travel and car insurance for business owners that travel often. Even just placing normal business transactions for a business that spends $100k a year on a high-end rewards credit card can lead to $1,000 to $4,000 in cash back or airline miles often worth much more.” 
New credit participants should make sure to read all of the fine print before signing up for credit cards to make sure they understand the interest rates and terms involved. Also, it is advised to spend time searching various sign up offers that typically offer enough bonus miles to use on a round-trip flight internationally. A great resource Sharma recommends for people getting started is The Points Guy. 
3. Credit can replace most traditional financing 
Entrepreneurs who have a decent credit track record can tap into various credit financing options. In many cases, using credit can help entrepreneurs remove the need of having to source external investors and offer enough runway to build and scale a profitable business. This is exactly what Sharma did starting in retail arbitrage and in his credit repair company that does over $10 million a year in sales. 
“Credit can provide a bankroll for entrepreneurs to hit the ground running,” he says. “There are many options now that offer low-interest rate capital, both in the forms of credit and cash, for entrepreneurs to leverage. In some cases, we have helped entrepreneurs with strong credit gain zero percent interest loans and lines of credit. This is what I have used in the past to retain 100% equity in my companies.”
Related: When Are Personal Loans a Good Idea?
As with any financing option, credit financing can vary from provider to provider so entrepreneurs should be diligent in their research. The important thing is to look for terms that include reasonable interest rates and payback periods, as well as secondary benefits such as compounding rewards. 
Disclaimer: The writer is a personal friend of Shawn Sharma and used this friendship to gain insights for this article. This article is educational in nature and does not represent financial advice. Please speak to your financial advisor or a credit professional before gaining access to and using credit. 

Sputnik V is 91.6% efficient, according to The Lancet

The Russian vaccine that generated mistrust among the international scientific community has proven effective.
Entrepreneur’s New Year’s Guide
Let the business resources in our guide inspire you and help you achieve your goals in 2021.

February 2, 2021 3 min read

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

The Russian Sputnik V vaccine is 91.6% effective against COVID-19 in its symptomatic manifestations, according to the medical journal The Lancet . “The trial results show a strong protective effect consistent across all age groups of participants,” the researchers explain.
The scientific media report includes the results of more than 20,000 participants, of which 75% were assigned to receive the injection. Within which they included people older than 18 years, some with comorbidities and even a group older than 60 years.
The trial volunteers received two doses or a placebo with three-week intervals, and only 16 of the 14,900 participants who received the vaccine were diagnosed with the disease.
“Vaccine efficacy, based on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases as of 21 days after the first vaccine dose, is reported as 91.6% (95% CI 85.6-95.2) and the suggested decrease in Disease severity after a dose is particularly encouraging for current dose-saving strategies, ”the study explains.
This vaccine has already begun to be applied in Russia and other countries such as Argentina and Algeria, in Mexico it is expected that Cofepris will authorize “in the next few hours” the emergency use of this vaccine, as announced by the Undersecretary of Health, Hugo López-Gatell .
The injection generated distrust in the scientific community at the international level since it was criticized for the lack of transparency in the process and the precipitation that occurred in its process.
“The development of the Sputnik V vaccine has been criticized for unseemly haste, process cutbacks and a lack of transparency. But the result reported here is clear and the scientific principle of vaccination is demonstrated, which means that now another vaccine can join the fight to reduce the incidence of COVID-19, ”reads a comment by Ian Jones , from the University of Reading and Polly Roy from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Facing Regulations, Amazon and Facebook Make Nice with the New Administration

February 2, 2021 6 min read
This story originally appeared on Stock News (AMZN) and Facebook (FB) are two highly successful technology companies that have experienced incredible growth over the past few years. Their market caps and rising share prices have put the companies in respective dominant positions in e-commerce and social media. It is more than a challenge to compete with these two technology giants. Smaller companies have either been swallowed up by the two or crushed by AMZN and FB’s ability to use economies of scale to gain price and competitive advantages.
Another factor that creates dominance has been their access to data. AMZN and FB have complied databases and use their proprietary technology to achieve information flow that predicts and can influence consumer behavior. The growing financial and technological power puts a bullseye on the companies for government officials and regulators in the US and Europe.
The new US administration has advocated for an increased regulatory environment for all companies, and technology is no exception. Over the past weeks, both AMZN and FB have taken steps to ingratiate themselves to governments to improve their reputations. The strategic moves are likely coming as they prepare for a bumpy road in 2021 and beyond. The leading threat to earnings and share growth for AMZN, FB, and many other technology leaders is a function of government interference with their business models.
Related: 7 Secret Ways to Save Money Shopping on Amazon
Technology stocks face headwinds in 2021
The best performing sector during one period often turns out to be the worst in the next. In 2020, the DJIA moved 7.25% higher. The S&P 500 posted a 16.26% gain. Meanwhile, the technology-heavy NASDAQ exploded 43.64% higher last year. The first reason for caution in the tech sector is the outperformance compared to other companies that trade on the stock exchanges.
Moreover, the share price growth pushed market caps to prohibitive levels, and earnings created massive cash hordes. Sustaining earnings growth could be a challenge for many of the leading companies. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, the rising power of the technology leaders has created a target for governments and the general public. Dominance over any competition and an almost monopoly on valuable data collection present antitrust and privacy issues.
In 2021, the tech sector could face mounting challenges when it comes to earnings and share price growth.
2020 gains will be hard to replicate this year
Jeff Bezos’ (AMZN) had an incredible 2020.
Mark Zuckerberg’s FB rose from $205.25 to $273.16 or 33.1% over the same period. AMZN outperformed the NASDAQ, while FB underperformed the technology index last year. However, both stocks did far better than the DJIA and S&P 500 indices on a percentage basis. At the end of the first month of 2021, both stocks pulled back from the 2020 closing levels.
One of the primary challenges for both companies, and other leaders in the sector, in 2021, will likely come from an increase in corporate taxes. However, all US companies are in the same boat when it comes to the IRS. Meanwhile, technology companies face another far more substantial set of roadblocks from increasing regulations.
Reining in anticompetitive behavior that is a natural progression from economic success and limiting data collection that interferes with privacy issues could stand in front of future growth. Over the past weeks, both companies have been demonstrating that they are good corporate citizens. However, the moves could be more about preserving economic power.
Amazon offers help on COVID-19 vaccines
In the immediate aftermath of the transition from the Trump to the Biden administration, AMZN reached out to President Biden  the company is “prepared to leverage our operations, information technology, and communications capabilities and expertise to assist your administration’s vaccination efforts.” Aside from the political questions of waiting until the new administration took over on January 20, AMZN’s letter stressed the company is the second-leading employer in the US, with over 800,000 workers.
Dave Clark, the CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, noted that most employees are essential workers who cannot work from home that should receive the COVID-19 vaccine “at the earliest appropriate time.” Offering to assist the government could also be an attempt to gain brownie points as the company is likely to face political pressures over the coming months.
Facebook uses an independent board to vet contributions
Facebook’s social media business has been in the crosshairs of many politicians in Washington DC and Europe over the past years. FB, along with Twitter and many other platforms, closed former President Trump’s account before he left office.  The companies now find themselves in the middle of the debate over free speech.
Most recently, CEO Mark Zuckerberg turned the issue over the former President’s ban to its independent oversight board, informally called Facebook’s “supreme court.” Aside from whether or not the ban was appropriate, the fact that the ban has created a free speech debate is a testament to FB’s social media presence and power.
Bipartisan agreement could weigh on the shares
Teddy Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States from 1901 through 1909. He was a progressive reformer who earned the reputation as a “trust buster” through a series of regulatory reforms and antitrust prosecutions. TR walked a fine line as he did not disagree with trusts and capitalism in principle but led the charge against monopolistic practices.
The success of companies like AMZN, FB, and other technology leaders have put them in positions where they became natural monopolies because of enormous cash hordes and access and control of proprietary data that raise privacy issues. If one shops on AMZN or expresses a desire for a product or service on FB, they find themselves bombarded with advertisements of competing products and services.
The system and activities only increase earnings for the two companies. Leading technology companies, including Alphabet (GOOG), Apple (APPL), and others, have experienced the same growth level leading to natural monopolies over the past years.
We are likely to see a new slew of regulations in the US and Europe to curb the growing monopolies. Higher US corporate taxes across the board creates a level playing field for all companies. However, increasing oversight and regulations are likely to impede rather than enhance earnings for companies like AMZN and FB over the coming months and years.
Both companies are looking to earn as many brownie points as possible with the US and European governments. However, it is not likely enough to stop the bipartisan agreement that technology companies cannot become more powerful than governments. Even though the technology sector will continue to bend over backward to make nice with the administration, I expect regulations will put a leash on their power that causes their future earnings to suffer.

How Should You Play PayPal in 2021?

Coming off a solid 2020, the electronics payment giant is poised for a bright future.
Entrepreneur’s New Year’s Guide
Let the business resources in our guide inspire you and help you achieve your goals in 2021.

February 2, 2021 4 min read
This story originally appeared on Market Beat PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) was one of the biggest pandemic winners in the market in 2020. The electronic payments giant added 21.3 million net active accounts during Q2 2020—its best result ever. It followed that up by adding 15.2 million net active accounts in Q3—its second-best result ever.
PayPal’s total payment volume (TPV) growth has accelerated over the last three quarters; it was 18 percent yoy in Q1, 28 percent yoy in Q2, and 36 percent yoy in Q3. That TPV acceleration may come to an end in Q4, however, as PayPal said to expect Q4 TPV growth in the low-to-mid 30 perfect range in its Q3 earnings release.
In addition to the soft Q4 outlook, PayPal didn’t issue 2021 guidance. Management said that it would provide its “thoughts for 2021” in February when PayPal releases its full-year results. Well, that time is almost here as PayPal is set to report tomorrow.
2020 looks like a tough act to follow, and growth rates are likely to slow down in 2021. But maybe not by much.
Related: What’s Next for PayPal After Integrating Cryptocurrencies?
Still innovating
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies to a lot of situations. But it doesn’t apply to running an electronic payments company with a market cap of more than a quarter of a trillion dollars.
PayPal has innovated its way to the top of its industry, and if it stops innovating, its competitors will crush it. Fortunately for PayPal investors, the company isn’t resting on its laurels.
The company is starting to allow users to buy and sell cryptocurrency directly from their PayPal accounts. Bitcoin has been on fire over the last few months; PayPal’s new crypto options will attract new users and increase activity for existing users. That’s a will not a should because we’re already seeing this story play out with Square (NYSE: SQ); Bitcoin is helping Square’s Cash App reach new heights.
In 2020, PayPal launched in-store payments via QR code, which supports contactless transactions. Yes, the pandemic is (hopefully) almost over but contactless payments aren’t going anywhere. People are increasingly cognizant of communicable diseases, and not handling cash or credit cards takes away a couple of transmission possibilities. Plus, it’s nice not to have to carry around cash or cards.
PayPal’s “Pay in 4” installment credit option is another recent innovation. It’s not the only company that is offering such an option, but PayPal’s offering enjoys several advantages over those of its competitors.
Venmo growth could accelerate 
Venmo’s TPV was up 61 percent yoy to $44.3 billion in Q3 and the platform has 65 million users. Those numbers are even more impressive when you consider that one of Venmo’s main use cases is the sharing of dinner and bar tabs.
In the second half of 2021 and 2022, people are likely to go out with friends more than ever. Which would result in more dinner and bar tabs to split. Venmo’s TPV could explode.
Wall Street sees upside
On Wednesday morning, three Wall Street firms released notes on PayPal:
Bernstein reinstated coverage with an outperform rating and $297 price target.
Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) adjusted its price target from $229 to $297.
KeyBanc boosted its price target from $235 to $300.
PayPal has more than doubled over the last year and is trading near all-time highs, but the analysts still think that shares have more room to run.
How should you play PayPal?
PayPal is trading at 11.2x forward sales and 53.3x forward earnings, but the company could see strong top and bottom-line growth for many years to come. Many of the greatest investments have been industry leaders in growing industries. PayPal is exactly that. And it’s not as if you’re paying some crazy multiple.
That said, an investment in PayPal requires a tough stomach. There has been a lot of volatility over the last few months – a combination of profit-taking and news-driven moves – and that may continue for the foreseeable future. If you are able to buy-and-hold PayPal, however, the long-term rewards should be worth the short-term volatility.

How This Mission-Driven Change Agent Is Disrupting Healthcare

A doctor and entrepreneur shares how his team is changing eldercare.
Entrepreneur’s New Year’s Guide
Let the business resources in our guide inspire you and help you achieve your goals in 2021.

February 2, 2021 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
When Si France was in medical school at Dartmouth, Dr. Elliott Fisher coined the phrase “accountable care organization,” which resonated with France on a profound level. Through his classes, France was exposed to doctors who were working on both how to change the healthcare system and fix what was broken. When he was in business school, he obtained a deeper understanding of entrepreneurship and investing, which inspired him to dedicate his medical career to improving healthcare.
Today France is a mission-driven change agent in healthcare who is on the front lines of COVID-19, helping the elderly in California get access to care through his company WelbeHealth. He spoke with Jessica Abo about his journey and to share business advice.
Jessica Abo: What was your first health care venture?
Dr. Si France: I stumbled on this opportunity to create these really great high-quality, urgent care networks for major hospital systems and joined the venture model. That became the first company I started, which was GoHealth Urgent Care. After a few years of doing that, when we grew really fast, I learned a lot about how to start companies. It left me questioning at the end of that because I was like, Did I really give up a career as a doctor to go be a healthcare capitalist? The whole reason I went on this journey was to go be a mission-driven change agent. Now that I know how to start a company, what would that look like? It just was so clear to me at that time. What became WelbeHealth, I wanted it to be about two things.
The first was it wasn’t about a business plan. It’s going to be about a culture. I wanted to go create this organization where people weren’t resources in some kind of capitalist plan. We cared about people.
Then the second part is that culture, that organization would then serve the most frail and vulnerable seniors. I had learned in medical school, the things that most need to be fixed in healthcare is how do we serve the highest utilizers, the most frail and vulnerable seniors with better coordination, with better compassion, with aligned incentives around their health? I wanted to go create this value-based care model that dramatically improved care for the most frail and vulnerable seniors, not through a business plan, but through creating this force for good, this culture.
All of our employees are cared for because we see them through the eyes of their loved ones, and care about them and have reverence for their humanity in that way, and then we can do the same thing for our patients.
How does WelbeHealth work?
France: We decided to go build this whole model around this Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). PACE cares for people who are poor enough for Medicaid, old enough for Medicare and sick enough to live in a nursing home which has 24-7 nursing care. They qualify for a state-funded nursing home level of care, so the state should pay for them to live in a nursing home. That’s how sick and frail they are, but yet they don’t live in a nursing home. They still live at home. The beauty of PACE is that they enroll in our program and that we provide 24-7 all the medical and social services that they need fully coordinated around the clock with the goal of keeping them healthy and living at home.
When someone enrolls in PACE, their life expectancy increases by one third, depression rates cut by 80 percent, ER days plummet and they live at home instead of a nursing home. Family member satisfaction skyrockets. It’s the most amazing program and yet for 40 years of PACE, you only had access if there’s a PACE in your community.
At Welbe, what we decided to do was just go rank communities by largest unmet need. The largest unmet need, which is the most people eligible for the program with no access to the program. It was in Stockton, California, so that became our first market. The second largest population of unmet need was Pasadena, so it became our second market. The third was Long Beach. That became our third market. We just went where the need is greatest.
What advice do you have for an entrepreneur who wants to be like you and be a mission-driven change agent?
France: One of the most important things that I’ve learned is being crystal clear on what you stand for. The most important thing to run a business is that it’s just a group of people you’re trying to organize to go accomplish a common goal. That’s all it is. These are human beings here. You just got to organize people around a common goal. If the goal actually can be something that’s much bigger, it’s about serving a cause that’s much bigger, it’s so much more inspiring. So many more people want to join you on the journey, and so that’s where I’ve really gone from the conviction of thinking that I had to go start a business plan to thinking we’re going to go create a force for good in the world. Once that snowball starts going, it’s the greatest possible mission I could imagine, to go do something like this.
Related: 3 Ways to Become a Purpose-Driven Company

5 Times Bill Gates Screwed Up, Including Failing at His First Startup and Getting His 'Butt Kicked' by Google

Silverberg also claimed Gates should have focused more on creating a relationship with the U.S. government. “When Microsoft’s competitors were effectively lobbying the government, Bill’s attitude was [that] the government should just go away and leave Microsoft alone. In his view the company was competing hard but fairly; it was creating value for customers and that should be enough. Well, this approach of not constructively engaging the government and concerned politicians, of not alleviating concerns that were not going to go away, was a disaster. The U.S. federal government, many states, and the EU all essentially declared war on Microsoft, and Microsoft paid a devastating price.”
That price came in the form of several lawsuits, which Microsoft settled after being accused of becoming a monopoly in using anti-competitive practices. The only good thing that came out of these lawsuits was Gates’ hilarious deposition, in which he stubbornly failed to directly answer questions for hours, even causing a judge to laugh. 
Related:  Habits of the World’s Wealthiest People (Infographic)

How You Should Be Evaluating Your Content Marketing Success

February 2, 2021 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
More than 80 percent of organizations use metrics to determine how well their content is performing, according to Content Marketing Institute’s 2021 report. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, because any good marketing tactic has to be measured consistently in order to ensure its effectiveness.
However, in this same report, marketers expressed reservations about whether their content efforts led to any actual sales. They were tracking consumer interest, but whether that interest yielded conversions or not was something of a mystery for many.
Over the past year, as trade shows and conferences have been put on hold, content has become an increasingly important part of many organizations’ marketing strategies. However, if business leaders can’t tell whether content is making a real difference in revenue, then content might never reach its full potential as an integral marketing tool.
Thankfully, measuring content marketing results is possible, even for businesses with smaller marketing teams and limited budgets. It doesn’t require keeping on top of a hundred different metrics or hiring new people just to pore over your analytics.
To get started, busy leaders can determine whether their content marketing strategy is affecting the bottom line by consistently reviewing three key performance indicators:
1. Marketing-qualified leads
Content Marketing Institute reports that 47 percent of marketers don’t track the number of marketing-qualified leads being generated as a result of their content. Instead, many of these marketers probably rely on broader metrics, such as general leads and new contacts, to determine success. This is a mistake. Unlike those more general metrics, marketing-qualified leads allow you to identify the people who are likely to have a real interest in buying a product or service.
To determine which leads should be considered qualified at our company, we assign points to each one on the basis of various factors, such as job title, industry and the number of times a contact has interacted with pieces of content. Marketing automation systems, such as the one offered by HubSpot, can streamline the process by automatically assigning these points based on your unique business’s priorities. Properly identified, marketing-qualified leads can tell a company whether its content marketing is effectively attracting potential customers — not just the general population.
If the idea of assigning scores to leads is new to your organization, Cyberclick has compiled examples of lead scoring models that you can review.
Related: 4 Strategies That Will Help You Land More Qualified Leads
2. Qualified leads that turn into sales calls
Of course, a qualified lead will offer only part of the story of a content strategy’s success. The next step should be to look at both the number and percentage of marketing-qualified leads that get on the phone for sales calls.
If a low number of marketing-qualified leads are moving forward to get on a sales call, that can mean that those contacts weren’t qualified in the first place or that the lead-nurturing process needs improvement. To fix this, you might encourage your marketing team members to revamp your email sequences being sent to marketing-qualified leads. Your team could also adjust when and how often they reach out to each lead or even rethink your lead scoring approach, which we talked about above.
If something isn’t adding up at my company, our marketing team performs what we call a “qualified audit.” We have a sales development representative or marketer review leads and assign a qualified score between one and five when they set up a call. Then, we have the salesperson assign a score once the call is completed. This helps us determine whether marketing and sales are on the same page. If they’re not, it then opens up a discussion for both teams to better understand how our company as a whole should be measuring qualified leads and managing sales calls.
Related: How to Strengthen Your Company Through Sales-Marketing Alignment
3. Sales conversions
This final content marketing metric is arguably the most important, which is why 80 percent of B2B organizations already track it. Sales conversions happen at the bottom of the funnel, so they won’t provide the same direct cause-and-effect information as tracking marketing-qualified leads. However, this metric can still provide valuable data that informs future content marketing decisions.
If a business is getting a lot of marketing-qualified leads on the phone, for instance, but few are converting into customers, that would be a signal that your sales team needs better sales enablement content at their disposal. It could also point to a disconnect between the messaging in your company’s marketing materials and the messaging salespeople use with prospects. Perform an audit of your company’s last 20 sales to determine which lead sources result in conversions.
This content marketing metric is also useful for tracking which lead source is driving the most new sales. If three of the last 10 sales originated from webinars, for example, that’s likely a strategy ripe for more investment. On the other hand, if nine of the last 10 sales came from organic search, you might decide to put the bulk of your efforts toward SEO.
Related: 4 Things Your Marketing Team Knows That Can Help You Close More Business
Effectively measuring your content marketing strategy’s success doesn’t require tracking dozens of metrics all the time. For busy leaders looking to get started with measuring the success of their content marketing strategies, a great place to start is tracking sales conversions, marketing-qualified leads and qualified leads that turn into sales calls. By focusing on the most important metrics, any company, big or small, can make content a powerful tool in its marketing toolbox.

Free Virtual Book Reading | Feb 17: Don't Just Influence–WINfluence: A Virtual Book Launch with Author Jason Falls

Join author Jason Falls and Jennifer Dorsey, Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Press, as they discuss Jason’s new book, Winfluence: Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand. This virtual book launch will feature a reading by the author and a fireside chat Q&A about the power of influence marketing.
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February 2, 2021 2 min read
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Join author Jason Falls and Jennifer Dorsey, Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Press, as they discuss Jason’s new book, Winfluence: Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand. This virtual book launch will feature a reading by the author and a fireside chat Q&A about the power of influence marketing.
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About the Speaker
Jason Falls solves problems. Most of the time they have to do with digital marketing for Cornett, a full-service advertising agency based in Lexington, Kentucky, where he leads digital strategy. His work has touched a number of major brands and has been recognized with several national and many regional awards, including a 2019 Shorty Award for his influence marketing work.
A public relations professional by trade and writer by craft, Falls has co-written two other books—No Bullshit Social Media: The All- Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing (Que 2011) and The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing: Grow Your List, Break the Rules, and Win (Que 2012). Falls is also an innovator in the social analytics space, having published the first-ever research report on online conversations in 2012.
Noted as influential in the social technology and marketing space by Entrepreneur, Advertising Age, and others, Falls is a frequent media analyst and guest, appearing on or in outlets like the BBC World Service, ESPN’s Outside the Lines, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, and NPR. Falls hosts two podcasts: Digging Deeper—Make Creativity Your Business Advantage, which features weekly interviews focused on marketing creativity, and Winfluence—The Influence Marketing Podcast, which is a companion to this book. You can find links to both at